May 7, 1864
No mail today, which is hard on poor Pattie whose brother, whom she almost idolizes, may be in the midst of a bloody battle. Rumours by this train tell us that the battle commenced on the 6th & that Lee is getting the advantage of Grant. Train after train of troops pass Halifax going Northward. Hoke is said to have been ordered to ‘face about,’ leave New Berne, & concentrate at Petersburg. On his approach the Yankees evacuated Washington which fell with hands without a fight & retired into their retrenchments at New Berne. Hoke was following when he received the order above mentioned. We do not understand what it means, for, thank God, our leaders are singularly reticent & we are content to wait trusting in their wisdom.
President Davis has met with a heavy misfortune in which he has the sympathy of the country. One of his children, a bright little boy of four years of age, fell from the piazza of his father’s mansion into the paved court yard below, fracturing his skull & sustaining such other injuries that he died within an hour. God comfort the poor parents. On Mr Davis the blow falls at a most trying period when every energy & nerve is strained in the service of his country. God bless & keep him!
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