February 28, 1864
Have just read in the Examiner General Orders No 23, by which “General Braxton Bragg is assigned to duty at the seat of Government & under the direction of the President is charged with the conduct of military operations in the Armies of the Confederacy,” by order signed S Cooper Adj & Ins. Gen. So the deed is done! What we last week laughed at as idle & wild, a foolish rumour which no one heeded, is “un fait accompli,” Gen Bragg, Bragg the incapable, the Unfortunate, is Commander in Chief! Unhappy man, unhappy in his birth, for he is, I beleive, the son of his parents who was born in jail where his Mother was imprisoned on a charge of murder & the murder, too, of a negro, & now doubly unhappy in being elevated to a post for which he is unfit over the head of a man too who has won the confidence of the country. The object of execration to the greater part of the nation, he will be viewed with suspicion & dislike and will ere long have cause to rue the blind unreasoning friendship with which Mr Davis regards him. Pray God the Army may submit & that this insult to their Idol Gen Lee be patiently borne by it.
Every mouth filled with criticism of the Currency & the Tax Bills. I have not heard one voice raised in their favour. We draw comfort from an odd source, the Richmond Examiner, who says . . . “therefore in spite of maladministration or perverseness or imbecility there is a healthier confidence that the people will bring all things right in the end. We are to have a splendid army in the field this spring & one way or another it will be fed. That is enough & with that nothing can fatally hurt us. We can bear even Gen Bragg, for he is not to command any Army in action, & he will surely scarce order Lee to fall back or Johnston’s troops to hunt the duck in Mississippi or Beauregard to evacuate Charleston or Polk & Maury to raise the white flag on the Forts of Mobile! . . . This Confederate people is going to carry our Cause through & the whole Government along with it. . . . No incubus or Old Man of the Sea will weigh a feather. By Heaven’s blessing we will carry them all on our shoulders, will pull through the very Quartermasters & even if that be possible the Commissaries themselves. There will be a heavy drag indeed. Yes Heaven’s blessing alone can aid us. Whilst Mr Davis makes such a toy, such a play thing of a nation’s love, reverence, & admiration, casts it away idly & lightly as a thing of naught, to indulge a personal predilection, what can we expect? The preamble of the act repealing Habeas Corpus recites that it is in accordance with his wishes. That sentence has cost him thousands of hearts & Bragg’s elevation will cost many more. Shades of the Barons of Runemede who bequeathed to us that Charter which secures our birthright of freemen, weep over the degeneracy of your children.”
Sherman is reported as falling back towards Vicksburg. We have had a cavalry engagement in which we were victorious. The cause of the retrograde now is unknown, supposed to be the impossibility of obtaining supplies. No further advance from Grant’s Pass. Polk’s force, my Aunt writes, is small, so our thanks are due to Sherman for not pressing him. Another success in Florida. A letter from Amo containing drafts of the Yankee missiles thrown into the city. Up to Feb 23d the number thrown amounted to between six & seven thousand & the damage done so slight as scarcely to be appreciable. Butler as brutal as ever in Norfolk, vide the order of his Satrap Wild, & his treatment of Miss Roan B. & [ — ].
Busy yesterday cutting out shirts for Mr E out of some sheets & Valences. Fortunately I have linen for the bosoms as it is $15. Saw last week in Halifax a peice of gray confederate Uniform cloth, imported, which was held at $175 per yd! Sugar in Petersburg on the 22d, $12.50; flour, $300 to 325 per bll; Sorghum Sucre Syrup, $35 per gal; Sausage meat, $6 per lb; Bacon, $5 do; Corn & Meal, $10 per bu; Peas & Beans, $25 to 30 do; vide the price current.
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