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July 14, 1864 [cont’d]

Our prisoners have all been removed from Pt Lookout to Elmira in the State of N Y. Fort Delware, that seat of misery & oppression, is also being rapidly depopulated. Mr Dunlop gave us the Key to this movement in the information that two ships were being fitted out at Wilmington well officered & manned & carry 20,000 stand of arms whose destination was Pt Lookout with the mission to release the prisoners there confined. Unhappily for us, someone betrayed the secret — a traitor — and the Yankee government put an end to the expedition by removing the prize. He tells us that day & night the shelling of Petersburg goes on with, however, comparatively little damage. The inhabitants have almost all left & those that remain are hopeful & cheerful. Mrs D and two of her daughters have returned to the city despite the fury of the fire, & we are in daily expectation of seeing the rest of the children here, having written for them so soon as we heard of their unpleasant situation in Chapel Hill. They will be with us until it is safe to return to their father’s roof.

He gave us many interesting incidents of the seige of Petersburg & of the state of unpreparedness in which we were when Butler made his first advance. A Lady living near Bermuda Hundred, having sure information of the approach of the enemy, sent a verbal message (being afraid to trust it to paper) by her confidential servant to the Commandant at Petersburg, telling him that Fort Clifton was menaced & that there were not troops enough there to defend it. This message the boy, recreant to his trust, carried to the Yankees who advanced confident of success thinking to obtain an easy victory; but, thanks to a Kind Providence, in the mean time a detachment of S C troops had arrived and but a short time before Butler’s attack manned the works and gave him that terrible repulse which saved both Richmond and Petersburg. Beleiving themselves to have been deceived by the negro, they gave him what he deserved for his treachery to us — viz — a hanging.

The poor market men captured by them on their attack on Petersburg itself were asked “what troops were then in the town?” They answered in good faith, “none,” & accordingly on came Kautz — was held at bay by the militia men & on their being flanked & forced to retire was, as I related, entering the town when they were met by a shell from Graham’s Battery & retired precipitately on sight of Dearing’s Cavalry.

One of the market men seeing how matters had turned out said to the other, “Come we had better get out of the way. The soldiers are there — tho we did not know it, & these Yankees will think we deceived them.” “No,” said the other. “I told the truth & I shall go home — there is nothing to fear,” & accordingly did so: but short shrift had he! for a party of the Cavalry followed his little cart & hung him at his own door whilst his more crafty companion made his escape. Had they been as wise as serpents they would have refused to answer the questions & would thus have done their duty to their country & escaped the fury of the irate Yankees.

Grant has detached more than an Army Corps for the defence of Washington, which makes us uneasy on Early’s account. Would that he could knock the White House about Mr Lincoln’s ears & retreat safely into Va again.

There has been considerable activity before Charleston — a renewal of the shelling & an advance on James Island. Gen Sam Jones, Patrick’s old friend is now in command of our forces there. He has repulsed the enemy in several slight skirmishes with heavy loss both in killed & prisoners. A night attack on Fort Johnson was signally driven back by us with the loss of several barges. The shelling of Sumter has been again resumed but without effect. Fighting both on John’s & James’ Island & from papers captured in one of the engagements we learn that the whole of the available Yankee force on the Atlantic coast is there engaged.

We were terribly startled by a rumour brought by our mail boy from Halifax a few days since to the effect that Gen Bragg with 1500 men had gone South. We feared Charleston was doomed, but as we have not yet heard of a disaster there & there is no intimation of a “falling back.” We hope that “Murad the Unlucky” has carried his ill omened visage elsewhere. Mr Davis ought not thus to trifle with even the prejudices of a people who have so much at stake & who have reposed such implicit confidence in him, who have done all that lay in their power to strengthen his hands with such self denying alacrity, & who have borne the miseries inflicted on them with the most uncomplaining fortitude.

Mr Dunlop told us that he had been applied to by the Confederate Generals for guides for a night attack which they proposed making on a portion of the enemies lines some distance from Petersburg. The Rev Mr Miller & Dr Osborne came to him & recommended some men for whom they could answer as “steady, upright, pious, men, religious and trustworthy.” “No! No!” was his answer. “Those are not the sort! your steady, pious, religious men do not go ‘possum hunting!’ I want some hearty frolicksome fellows who spend half the night in the woods.” An odd way of putting it, but there is much practical good sense in it.

Prices are higher than ever in spite of Mr Meminger’s sagacious schemes of finance. I last week pd $3 per doz for some as inferior horn buttons as I ever saw. Flour with the new crop coming in sells by retail at our County mills at $150 per lb! Mr E last week paid $50 for a half ream of paper & Tea is 35 per lb in Charleston! Famine prices and in the teeth of New Issues & New Crops! What is to become of us? Sister B & R were charged $25 a peice for a night’s lodging in Halifax!

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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Friday 8th [July 1864]

I received a letter from Eugenia this morning. Harrie is quite unwell, confined to his bed. Poor Harrie. I expect to hear is no more soon. Gus some better this morning. He slept very well last night. A good deal of mail this morning. I have knit & nursed Gus nearly all day. Till Morris did not get a letter from her husband today. She is very uneasy about him as ‘tis rumored he is killed. Mr. Mark Erwin was here this morning & got fifty lbs. of flour.

 

 

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

 

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Thursday 26th [May 1864]

I made Sam’s other pants today & sewed some on Hanes.’ Mr. Henry went to Asheville today. Charley took the wagon & some flax seed. Sam & George went. George is implicated with trading with one of Hugh Johnston’s negroes, something about stolen corn. They gave George about 50 licks. I hope it will do him good. Johnston said it was Sam & Charley first but the negro said George. Johnston has a spite at Sam & wanted to get him into trouble. I am glad he is clear. It wounded his feelings a good deal to think was accused of stealing.

 

Saturday May 18th 1864

Betsey McKinnish picked wool here yesterday & today. It is not quite dry as it has rained nearly every day since it was put out. Yesterday was bright, rather cool mornings & Evenings. I had the toothache last night, neuralgia I think. I have had it several nights this week.

I finished Jim’s pants & washed the children & cleaned them. Matt & Mary Tutt went to Mrs. Joe Green’s this morning, a long walk I think. Blair was to sell Mr. Henry’s flour at auction but Pat Thrash pressed it for the government. I think he acted badly. Mr. Henry’s fine horse Clarion is improving some. He thinks he has been foundered a little. We took in all the wool this evening as it rained. Jennie hoed out the flowers in the front yard, cleaned the candlesticks & baked some molasses bread for the children. George seems very much chagrinned at his strapping. He has not been to his meals since.

 

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

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Wednesday 25th May 1864

Sister Jane sent here Monday & got a two horse load of hay. Mr. Henry was in Asheville last Monday, sent five sacks of flour but did not sell it. Sister Jane sent today after two pigs & wants to hire a negro woman for her feed. I don’t want to hire the woman but will try to hire her to Mrs. A.B. Jones

I finished Sam’s pants & Charlie’s that Matt sewed on yesterday. Fannie & Tena finished the wool today & Fannie washed some cotton. Rained this evening. I took off the large wheel off my sewing machine & washing & cleaned it well. It runs some better but still heavy.

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

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May 5th [1864]

Bought four and one half dozen eggs, $2 per dozen. We had frost this morning, and the two previous morning, but I hope it has not injured the young, tender plants. Vegetation of every kind is backward. Opened a barrel of flour.

 

Source: Myrtle C. King, Anna Long Thomas Fuller’s Journal, 1856-1890: A Civil War Diary. (Alpharetta, Georgia: Priority Publishing, Inc., 1999)

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Sunday 20th March 1864

Pleasant but a little windy this morning. Goodlake was here this morning after some government flour as Morgan’s men are to pass through Asheville tomorrow. I hope none of them may come this road, they are such rogues. Mr. Henry & I will go over in the wheat in the Joe Green field. He thinks ‘tis nearly all froze out. If so, I don’t know what we will do for flour another year. The children are out at play. Gus is not improving any in walking. We have turnip salad for dinner & dinner will soon be in. Mr. Henry went off with some men soon after dinner so we did not take our walk. He went in the wheat. It is nearly all froze out. I fear the people will suffer for bread. God grant us peace & bread.

Source: Diary of Cornelia Henry in Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journal and Letters of the Henry Family. Clinard, Karen L. and Russell, Richard, eds. (Asheville, NC: Reminiscing Books, 2008).

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Camp of the 53 Reg.

8 miles North East of Orange CH Va

January 3rd 1864

Mr. Wm and Mary Proffit

Dear Father and Mother I with grate pleasure drop you a short note wich will in form you that I am in tolerable helth owing to hardships and privations of camp life. I do grately hope when these lines comes to hand you and family may be in Joying good helth.

I have no news for to communicate wish would inter rest you. I have no war news at present times & all is still in this vicinity at present & we have just go up some of our huts. I got mine done the first of this instant all to the done shelter. I had not laid in a house nor under a tent for eight months. We have just taken the wether as it came and you can give a gess how we have fard and the wether is powerful cold here at this time and we are scarce of blankets but if we can get to stay here in our huts I think we can do very well.

We have a grate many that is sick in our brigade and some ar dieing. John Wodey died at Orange the 15 of December. Harrison Brown was sent off to the horse pittal yester Day. Barnet Owens was sent this morning. Boath was very sick men. I have no thout that Owens will live. We have bin so exposed I feer that we shal have a grate Deal of sickness. Orders came round last nite to furlow one man for evry twenty men in camp that some of them will be coming home constantly.

We have a close time here at this time. Tha have cut our rashions down to a qarter of a pound of bacon and one pound of flower and evry thirde day we don’t get that. We drew to day one spoonful of shooger and not so much coffee and no bacon. We have close living.

I have bin looking for a letter from you for some time. I wrote you a letter just as soon as I herd W.H. was ded but has failed to receive please respond to me. So I will close by acknowledging my self as ever,

Jesse Miller

Source: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 2. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003). Original in Proffit Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill. 

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