July 5, 1864
Still no mail! — meagre & unsatisfactory dispatches only which serve but to stimulate our interest by hints of great deeds & stirring scenes enacted by our army but of which all details are denied us. Early on Sunday morning came news from Mr Hill that we had captured 2800 of the raiders about Belfield. No confirmation of it was, however, brought by the mail & we lived in hope until today when Gen Holmes (now stationed at Weldon) is reported to have confirmed it with the additional pleasing intelligence that we had retaken 2000 captured negroes & all their other plunder. Through the Scotland Neck Riflemen we also get the same intelligence, they saying “that it was the last of the Yankee Cavalry” which, however, we know to be a mistake. Charleston is again threatened, but we beleive it only a feint to weaken Lee. The troops in this state have been ordered there & their places here filled by the young reserves — lads between seventeen & eighteen, jocularly known as the “new Issue“; but the boys gave so capital an answer to that sarcasm recently that I must record it. A body of them being marched past some veteran soldiers, the cry was playfully raised by the veterans — “Room, room for the new Issue.” “Yes, stand back,” retorted the boys, “stand back you old fives! Stand back! — there is no discount about us,” which effectually turned the laugh on their elders!
Rumours yesterday and today reach us that Grant is abandoning the South Side and re-crossing the James. God grant it be true, but we fear to trust it. “Marse Robert,” God bless him, has we hear given orders that the Petersburg and Weldon road be instantly repaired. This seems to verify the good news & it will not be long ere we are blessed with a sight of his official Dispatches, which we can always trust to the letter.
The Yankees with but a handful of men in Wagner & at their “Swamp Angel” (anglice Devil) keep up their barbarous shelling of the City of Charleston in defiance of every rule of civilized warfare & our Government has therefore given them official notice that hereafter their own prisoners shall be confined in barracks in that part of the city most exposed to their fire & that if they hereafter keep up the inhuman practice of shelling a city which they have not strength sufficient to leaguer it will be at the expense of the lives of their own men there confined. So we wait to see what action they will take in these pleasant premises. The Yankee women, who amuse themselves pulling the string that discharges a shell upon the homes of Southern women & children can now intensify the excitement & show their devotion to the “old Flag” by sacrificing their own compatriots, their own husbands, brothers, & sons, it may be, upon the altar of their fanaticism.
Morgan has returned in safety from his expedition into Kentucky after destroying the R R tracks & capturing quantities of provisions on their way, we hope, to Sherman. By the way he (Sherman) was to have dined yesterday (July the 4th) in Atlanta. But Gen Joe Johnston has changed his “table de hote” in the same manner that Lee has disappointed Grant. Gentlemen the Southern Confederacy wishes you both a “good digestion”! Their Generals have, it is true, given you a hard nut to crack but “kernals” are not to be had for big words, so Courage! We get no news from the North, so know not what to make of a telegram which has accidentally reached one of our Southern papers to the effect that “Vallandigham has returned to Ohio & that the Chicago Democratic Convention have pledged themselves to protect him.” We hope it means a fire in Mr. Lincoln’s rear, but as yet we are in the dark.
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