September 17, 1864
Last night when Mr E came home from the plantation he brought us the Key to the terrific explosion which so startled me on Tuesday & has been ever since a matter of grave conjecture with the whole community. It appears that one of our big guns at Weldon, “Long Tom” or “Laughing Charley,” had been so long loaded that it was thought expedient to fire it off. The charge happened to be a [ — ] inch shell, one of the largest size made. From some unknown cause, the explosion of the shell was almost simultaneous with the report of the gun, hence the prolonged & booming sound which caused us such uneasiness. We were greatly releived as the want of a mail made us fear that it came from some device of Grant’s, which would “work us some annoy.” The heavy cannonading heard that day & the next was along the lines & a furious shelling of the city which was kept up for some hours with but little damage.
News from Thomas Devereux up to the 6th — he was well but on the 5th had his horse killed under him. He lost his saddle & bridle and is I suppose poor fellow a foot. Thanks to a merciful God for his preservation!
Details of poor Morgan’s death. He died by treachery & the treachery, too, of a woman! but as statements vary as to what the name of the infamous wretch is, I will wait for authentic accounts. Himself & staff stopped for the night at the house of a Mrs Williams. When they were asleep a woman, whose name should be associated with that of Arnold, mounted her horse & eluding our pickets rode to the Yankee headquarters & returned with a body of Yankee Cavalry whom she guided to the house in which Morgan slept. He was aroused by his hostess, who endeavoured to aid his escape, but another woman, a Yankee, Mrs Fry told his pursuers which way he went. After a desperate struggle in which he discharged every load in his pistols, killing several of his opponents, he received a shot through the heart & expired instantly! In consequence of the brutal treatment he met with when a prisoner in the hands of the Christian Burnside, he had determined never again to be taken alive & too well did he keep his vow. We are much cast down by his sad fate & Father, in vain, attempts to console us by repeating those lines from Chevy Chase, [ — ] but I do not like the sentiment contained in them, it is too “French.” “Le Roi est mort“! “Vive le Roi.” They compliment the living at the expense of the dead.
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