August 29, 1864
What a prey we are to rumours of all kinds! We were summoned from the “soltaire” yesterday by the announcement that Mr Hill was in the house. Patrick lay on the couch reading at his ease whilst I amused myself with my journal, the conviction that Gen Lee held the R R adding greatly to our Sabbath peace & quiet. Mr Hill somewhat dashed our comfort by the news he had from “a soldier just from the battle field” to the effect that Lee had not taken the line of R R tho he had defeated the Yankees, but nevertheless such is our Faith that we went to bed with a calm conviction that tho it might be true that he had not yet taken it he soon would do so & that Grant could “work us no annoy.” Today brought Gen Lee’s official dispatch of Thursday fight about which, as there is some discussion amongst us, I will transcribe.
Headquarters A N V, Aug 26, 1864. Hon J A Seddon — Gen A P Hill attacked the enemy in his entrenchments at Ream’s Station yesterday evening & on the second assault carried his whole entire line. Cooks & McRae’s N C Brigades under Heth’s & Lane’s N C Brigade & Wilcox’s Division under Connor with Pegram’s Artillery composed the assaulting column. One line of breastworks was carried by the cavalry under Hampton with great gallantry which contributed largely to our success. Seven stands of colours, 2000 prisoners, & nine peices of Artillery are in our possession. Loss of the enemy in killed & wounded is reported heavy, ours relatively small. Our profound gratitude is due to the Giver of all victories & our thanks to the brave men & officers engaged. Signed R E Lee, General.
Some of us think that he captured the R R, others not, whilst others again suppose that by a flank movement A P Hill got into the rear of Grant’s centre which was represented as holding the R R within three miles of Petersburg & made the attack at Ream’s nine miles from that place & that Grant is, as it were, enclosed between two divisions of our army. We wait the issue not as usual with “feverish impatience” but with a calm confidence that all will be right. Pattie, poor thing, is in great distress & anxiety as her brother is in Cook’s Brigade & was therefore in the assault. Pray God we may soon hear of his safety.
Busy all morning purifying salt for table use, making pickles & Vinegar, Chess, straw sewing, etc., & in the afternoon commenced reading Woodstock to Patty. Last week read Aurora Floyd & like it.
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