June 23, 1864
Yesterday came Father, Mama, & Sue to spend the summer with us. No news. Yankee accounts of the repulse of Morgan in Kentucky — which we bear most philosophically, as not crediting the source from whence they come. One peice of good news for us — an augury of better times for the future. Mr Meminger, that German incubus on our finances, has actually resigned! The Examiner says we cannot be worsted in his successor, be he who he may.
Butler is sending out parties from Suffolk with orders to seize all the horses & destroy all the agriculturial implements in the country. Our North Eastern counties be at his mercy. God help the wretched inhabitants! A most anxious week! No mails from Richmond for days. Rumours only of fighting around Petersburg in which we are victorious & Forays & raids of the enemy cutting our R Rs & Telegraphs, with which I will not fill you my Journal. Suffice it that we are in a most uncertain & harrassed state of mind. Mr McMahon sent us a telegram just received by him telling us that we had signally repulsed the enemy, captured many prisoners, & held two lines of his breastworks, but I know not from whom it came. The Weldon & Petersburg R R is certainly cut & heavy fighting has been going on there, at least heavy guns have been fired, and that is all we know certainly. Of the latter fact we have the testimony of our own ears.
Pattie today received a letter from her sister, Mrs Wood, now unfortunately in the enemies lines. She confirms the account given in the papers of Butler’s savage order mentioned above. Her house has been recently visited by a party of Yankees who took off her horses, mules, carriage, buggy, every spade, plough, hoe, & even plough lines & gear on the plantation, leaving her with a growing crop (which she had hired free negroes to cultivate for her own & children’s support) & no means whatever of tending it. She went herself to the commander of the expedition & represented her condition — her husband a prisoner in their hands & who had never been in arms against them, her little children, & her total inability to support them without her team, but for sole answer he replied that “the mules were just such animals as he wished & that they were too valuable to be returned.” The Lieut in command of the Gunboat on which the marauders came up, it almost seems in mockery, told her that “the Captain was acting without orders, as private property was to be respected.” Yet he nevertheless admitted the plunder on board of his boat, thus aiding & abetting in the theft, mocking her with deceitful promises that he “would report him & that her property should be returned.” Insult to injury — for he had the power then & there to make the Captain do his duty by refusing to receive the ill gotten goods on his boat. The weather for the last few days has been intensely hot. How our poor soldiers must suffer in the trenches & on their dusty marches & ah! how fearfully it will add to the mortality amongst our wounded!
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