February 26, 1864
Have just seen a most sorrowful sight, the ruins or rather the ashes of our neighbor — Mr Whitmel Hill’s house. It took fire from a spark on the roof and was in a short time entirely consumed. My friend Nannie evinced the utmost coolness & presence of mind & by her own exertions & the directions which she gave the servants, who all rendered the most efficient aid, much of the furniture, all the groceries & clothing of the family were saved. Mr Edmondston hapened to be passing on his way to Hascosea but too late to enter the building as the roof had just fallen in & the only thing he could do was to take charge of what had been rescued & see that it was put in a place of safety. He gave Nannie the keys of our Hascosea house & begged her to induce her father when he should come home to consider it as his own & remove at once there. Poor Mrs Tom Hill, owing to the inefficiency of her maid, lost all her jewelry, her childs & most of her own clothing, five new dresses for summer wear &, sad to say, all her infant clothes for which she will soon have use. Mr E carried me out in the buggy to tender what aid we could but found them on the eve of leaving for her sister’s, Mrs Peter Smith’s, where they will remain for the present. Sue & her cousins Sarah & Mattie Dunlop have just left us, having been interrupted in a visit they were making us by the arrival at Father’s of Nannie Devereux & her Cousin Miss Myers. It is pleasant to have young faces in the house.
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