June 17, 1864
Inexpressibly shocked last night by the news by Telegraph of Uncle Polk’s death! He was killed instantly by a cannon ball. Gens Johnston, Hardee, & Hood were with him when he fell. My poor Aunt! God be with & comfort her! Contrary to many anticipations, Gen Polk has proved himself an excellent officer, “a good fighting General,” handling his men well & commanding the confidence as well as the affection of his men. He leaves children none of whom, however, are of tender age. He had a daughter Lilly, married scarce a month since to Lieut Huger, formerly of his Staff, but who losing a leg on the bloody field of Murfresboro, has since been assigned to Bureau duty. Poor girl! it is sad to exchange the orange blossom for the Cypress so soon! What a life of contrast has Bishop Polk’s been! How little could one foresee that his Lawn Robes would be exchanged for the Uniform of a Lieut Gen, or that the soldier of the Cross would eventually die the Soldier of his Country!
Official dispatches from Gen Lee confirm Hampton’s defeat of Sheridan in all its particulars, says that “the enemy retreated in confusion apparently by the route he came leaving his dead & wounded on the field.” The fight occurred at Trevillian’s not far from Louisa C H. He says also, “At daylight this morning it was discovered that the army of Gen Grant had left our front,” so it would appear that Gen Ulysses stole a march literally upon “Marse Robert,” tho how it was possible I cannot understand as the lines of the two armies were in some places only 50 yds apart and in none more than 150. He was reported as still moving but no fighting as yet. He is now going from Richmond, ‘a retirer pour sauter,’ but Lee will be ready for him.
Lincoln & Andy Johnson of Tenn are the nominees of the great Republican Convention which last week met in Baltimore, a nomination secured by lying, but as there are to be three Richmond’s in the field, we can sit afar & watch who out lies & out Generals the other & amuse ourselves with their strategems.
Congress has adjourned after issuing a Manifesto, at once weak, whining, & useless, which I do not think it necessary to preserve. Capt Cooke has at his own request, in consequence of his health, been removed from the command of the Albemarle & Capt Maffit of the Florida memory assigned to the duty. Poor gentleman, I pity him! How he will chafe cooped up in this narrow crooked river after roaming at will the broad bosom of the sea in search of Yankee commerce.
At the Plantation today called to see Mrs George Pope in quest of a home for the girl Catherine Jackson. I fear we are doomed to much trouble on her account. She came to me a fortnight since, barefooted with her clothes in her hand, to say that she had not a shelter for her head. Provided for her temporarily & have been ever since looking out for a permanent employment for her but as yet unsuccessfully. She left Samantha some months since & there is so little about her to attract or interest one in her behalf & she is so ignorant, boorish, & disagreeable in her ways that few are willing to receive her as an inmate. Mrs Pope consents to keep her for four weeks only to do some spinning.
Morgan is again at work in Kentucky & Forest has gained signal successes in North Alabama, cutting up & scattering Sherman’s reinforcements & supplies, but we are without particulars.
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