February 19, 1864
Our Wedding day! Our one great anniversary of the year! Came home last night tho bitterly cold to keep it alone at home. Early on the morning of the 17th came a message to Mr E from Father requesting him to go down upon the Chowan & bring Lewis home, he having been arrested by our Pickets there. He accordingly went & Father sending the carriage for me, in the afternoon I went up to Conneconara to remain during his absence. It was intensely cold & Mr E had a terrible two days journey of it. It seems that Lewis and Hilliard the run-aways went up to a man whom they took to be a Quaker & asked his aid. He pretended that he was such & under the pretence of sheltering them took them to the house of a Mr Lassiter where he was staying & secured them. He himself was a soldier on leave. During the night they succeeded in getting apart (he had fastened them together), but Hilliard could not get the chain from his neck. Getting to the door they ran off & the soldier seizing his musket fired in the direction where he heard the chain rattle & Lewis says struck Hilliard. In the darkness they got off but soon became separated in their flight. Lewis ran on until he came to a picket station of Col Griffin’s Regt.
Taking them to be Yankees he rushed up to them with “How d’ye! Mr Yankee, How d’ye! I am so glad to see you. We have been looking a long time for you.” They humoured the joke & in a short time he cursed “the Rebels” soundly. Seeing the roof of a shed under the cliff he asked “if that was the Gunboat?,” to which they answered in the affirmative when he said all right I feel safe now. When they told him to take a gun & come with them, they were going to fight immediately, he objected & on their insisting said “it was not fair — they ought to drill him first.” I mention all this to show how he had been tampered with, for a more innocent, ignorant, inoffensive negroe than himself does not exist. He stammers so as to be almost dumb & how he found tongue to say all this is a marvel to those who know him. They amused themselves with him for some time threatening to hang & to shoot him & frightened him so that when his young master came he welcomed him most heartily as a deliverer & made a full & free confession, telling Mr E that it was through the persuasions of the Ferryman Jesse Bartley who was worked on by a free man Henry Cumbo who traveled regularly through our lines to the Yankees, that himself and many others of father’s young negroes had been induced to consent to go off. On Thursday afternoon Mr E brought him home to Conneconara and a more penitent, distressed and, as the negroes say “convinced” individual has rarely been seen. His disclosures implicating several others, Father made his arrangements to sell them & we came home late on Thursday the 18th to aid him in carrying his wishes out & sent for Mr Whetmore to take the negroes to Richmond. He came here today to dinner & is off for Conneconara where we follow in a short time. No public affair worth recording.
Congress expired yesterday, for which God be praised! I would gladly join in a Jubilate or a Te Deum over its dissolution. Weather bitterly cold. Hands all day filling the Ice House & if we can judge from present prospects it will keep well. But half a wedding day. Mr Whetmore & this tiresome business of the negroes having absorbed one half.
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