September 27, 1863
Sunday — Have been all the week looking & hoping for details of Bragg’s recent victory which come in but slowly. Rosencrans has fallen back to Chattanooga where he is fortifying, rumours of our having cut him off to the contrary notwithstanding. Our loss in officers is heavy. Hood of Texas, our best Cavalry general, has lost a leg, but is doing well. Our loss estimated at 5000 killed & wounded. Bragg’s official Telegram tells us [we have] taken seven thousand prisoners, of whom two thousand are wounded, twenty five stands of colours & guidons and 36 peices of artillery & have already collected 15,000 small arms over and above those left by our killed & wounded and more a coming in. Rosencrans sent in two flags to ask a cessation of hostilities in order to bury his dead & to attend to the wounded, but Bragg returned for answer that he had prisoners enough to do the one & Yankee surgeons sufficient to releive the other & so should press on. Rosencranz has been reinforced by Burnside the Christian, so he may make a desperate stand yet, spite of the fact which we take from their own papers that two Divisions of his army were seized with a frightful panic & ran riot, 10,000 of them & they with difficulty being again rallied. Victory may be plucked from our grasp yet. Rosencranz is strong in a dogged obstinate resistance — “Old Holdfast” as his troops call him. “Bragg is a good dog, but Holdfast is a better” said an old proverb of our childish days. We may yet live to see it re-exemplified. God grant that we may not! How true it is that Bragg does not possess the heart, the confidence of the country. We fear to rejoice, fear to pluck the fruit lest it turn to ashes in our grasp!
On the Rapid Ann Lee’s & Meade’s armies confront each the other. A series of skirmishes mostly cavalry occur almost daily with varying success. They drove us back on Wednesday or Thursday & on Friday we ambushed a Brigade & captured 700 of them together with their officers.
The shooting of ten deserters which I recorded as having taken place in the 3d Cavalry is a mistake of the Reporters. He should have put it 13th Infantry. I have censured Baker wrongly for that but from no fault of mine.
There is but little doubt now of a fact which I deferred mentioning, viz., that Semmes has sunk the Vanderbilt. Altho not official, the story has reached us in too many ways to be longer doubted. That pride of the Yankee Navy lies midst the Coral Caves off the coast of Florida, sent there by the Confederate Cruiser, the Alabama. Capt Maffit has been received at Brest in the Imperial Navy Yard with orders to supply her with everything she wishes save munitions of war. We must build no hopes of speedy recognition on that fact, however, as it is but a return of courtesy on the part of the Emperor for assistance rendered by us to a French man of War ashore on our coast two years since. We rescued the crew & gave them free passage to Norfolk then in our possession, tho we were unable to save the vessel, the Yankees in the meantime not content with “passing by on the other side” but actually shelling our boats whilst engaged in the humane task!
And this reminds me that I have too long lost sight of the progress of the French in Mexico. As yet it has had no bearing upon our condition & therefore I have taken but little interest in it, but as that cannot long continue, I ought to mention it in time so that when it comes you, O Journal, will not be found entirely ignorant of matters there. The French, under pretence of a redress for commercial injuries, have conquered the whole of Mexico, so that the pliant Junta have under Marshal Forey’s influence offered an imperial crown to Maximillian, second brother of the Emperor of Austria. He wavers about accepting it whilst Lord Clarendon on the part of England has been ordered to make a solemn representation in his name of the dangers which envision it — to lift the gilded bauble for a moment as it were & to show the real crown of thorns hidden underneath it. The U S throws itself into a ferment of indignation at this breach of the “Monroe Doctrine,” blusters & threatens to annihilate France, pretends to beleive that she is in league with the Southern Confederacy & that Mr Davis has already or soon will cede to her all our territory west of the Mississippi, & exhausts herself in threats and declarations of his determination to allow no foreign domination on this continent. We sit passive but by no means uninterested spectators of the contest. Something must “turn up” to our advantage in it but as yet we see not what it is to be. The story of Marshal Forey’s having ordered 300 lashes to be given Maid Rubio for refusing to admit French officers into her house is a vile Yankee fabrication, trumped up by them to throw their own infamous conduct to the women of the South into the shade. None but Yankees or Russians could be guilty of such outrages on humanity & manhood.
Father left us for Raleigh on Thursday the 24th. When he returns he will bring Susan with him.
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
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