October 11, 1862 [cont’d]
My heart was touched on my journey by the sight of the wounded soldiers on their way home! My heart goes forth to every soldier but doubly so to them, some on crutches, some with their arms in a sling or their heads bandaged, looking so pale & wan, so utterly unfit for locomotion, & yet so uncomfortable where they were, that I longed to do something for all of them. One fine looking man, a private but evidently a gentleman, occupied the seat in front of us. His wife seemed so devoted to him & there was an air of such refinement about him that I longed to know his name. I could only conjecture that it was Witherspoon. Had I been sure I would have asked him & entered into conversation with him, but I feared to intrude, for if I was traveling with my wounded husband, I know I would shrink from my interrogatories of strangers. So I could only look my sympathy & offer him newspapers, etc. I wish I was not so diffident. I would so like to have asked him where & how he was wounded.
Got to Raleigh on Tuesday the 7th. Found all well. Attempted but vainly to dissuade sister F from her wild scheme of opening a boarding house. What infatuation it is! And so soon after her husband’s death! I can neither comprehend or have any patience with it—this pretence of Independence—but, Journal, I will say more than I ought. Some thing we will scarce say “to any,” and all I think of this matter comes under this class. Patrick alone knows all I do think & feel. So, Journal, don’t you set yourself up by thinking you are my confidant. I do not tell you one half I feel. Some where in the Psalms I think it is there is a text about man’s life being “like water spilled upon the ground.” And so it indeed seems.
Sophia & her children came down whilst we were there. Three fine boys she has! Her youngest is a splendid baby & right well he looks in his Aunt Kate’s old clothes. The six little dresses I carried him fit well, & sturdy & solid he looks in them. Mr Turner was to be down the next day to have his head put under medical advice. Sophia tells me he suffers terribly with it. Trepanning may be necessary, but I hope not.**
Dined on Thursday at brothers. His children are attractive as usual. Kate is growing up a beauty. Pray God to have her in his Holy keeping. Saw James Edmondston most unexpectedly, he being there for clothing for his Brigade; says he likes his officers and is well & pleasantly situated. Poor fellow, I feel for him, so much alone does he seem to be. I wish he could have a furlough & spend it here with us. It would do him good. Mary Livingston, brother’s youngest, is a nice little thing, not so pretty as Laura but better perhaps for it. Nelly is sweeter & more attractive than ever. I do love that child.
** Trepanning in this instance is drilling a hole in the skull to relieve pressure: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trepanning
Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979). http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html
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