September 16, 1864
On Tuesday last whilst sitting reading my Bible alone in the “Soltaire,” I was suddenly aroused by a heavy report, a boom as tho an explosion had taken place. So loud was it that I convinced myself that it was distant thunder & stepped out into the garden to see the cloud from whence it came, but the sky was “without speck or spot or stain.” “The blue Vault” was as clear as crystal. I called to the servants to know what it was, but they as much overcome with surprise as myself. They had also heard it & accepted the fact that it was thunder without examination. In the afternoon & all the next day a heavy canonade was heard by many, Mr E amongst the number, but my ears were not so sharp, deafened I said by the first report. Anxiously did we look for news on Wednesday and on Thursday and again today, Friday, but alaas! We have been doomed to disappointment! No mail! not even a Raleigh paper which would give us a Telegram, meagre it is true, yet still something on which to found conjecture. Every neighbor who comes in is full of eager questions, for the report or explosion was heard through a circuit of fifteen miles, but no one can throw the least light upon it. Pray God it be another Yankee Magazine blown up & with even more damage than that at City Point some weeks since. This want of news tho keeps us cruelly anxious.
Our loss before Atlanta was heavier than the Press Reports, but as we have no official statements it is idle to enumerate them. Hood fell back in good order, Sherman following. Very soon, however, Sherman gave up that game & fell back himself to Atlanta & commenced fortifying. He there promulgated an Order so infamous that a Russian example must be sought if we would find a parallel amongst civilized nations. He finds it for the interest of the U S that every inhabitant should be banished from Atlanta & its vicinity and accordingly directs that those who wish to go North shall be allowed to do so whilst those who prefer remaining at the South shall be sent through his lines into Hoods and proposes to Hood an armistice for ten days in which to execute his barbarious intentions. Hood accepts in order to spare the unfortunates any additional suffering but comments most severely upon the inhumanity of the Order. It seems to us so short sighted a peice of conduct that we can but hail it as an evidence that the Devil is forsaking his own, leaving him now in the lurch. What can he expect but resistance to the death from every Southern man, woman, & child in the future?
McClellan is out in his acceptance of the nomination of the Chicago Convention in a string of balderdash about this “glorious Union” which is almost too absurd to provoke Laughter. “The Union” & “the Constitution,” two corpses, murdered by Northern fanatics. It is more than Northern demagogues can now do to galvanize them. They sit in dumb, dead silence, grimly staring at their murderers.
Amo left us on Tuesday the 13th for a visit to Raleigh. In the meantime we are enjoying Jessie’s society in full. It is long since we have seen her & she is Mr E’s favourite sister, the one nearest his own age, & she it was who was the companion of all his childish pranks, the confidant & friend of his mature years.
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