April 25, 1862
Letter from Patrick at Yanceyville; may be at home tomorrow; has mustered Capt Reinhart’s Co for “Edmondston’s Batalion of Light Horse.” He goes to Richmond to see the Sec of War, thence home. Would that I were well to welcome him.
The smoke of Battle has cleared up from the field of Corinth & seems now settled that on Monday we had a splendid Victory equal to Manassas, dimmed only by the loss of Gen A S Johnson; but the enemy during the night being reinforced by Buel snatched its fruits from the grasp of our jaded troops & retook much of their field artillery which we had captured the day before, but we burnt their tents & camp equipage, inflicting a heavy loss on them besides sleeping Sunday night in their encampment. Monday’s battle was a drawn one, both sides falling back.
Island No 10 was taken by a feat of the most remarkable Engineering skill ever displayed & for which the enemy deserve the greatest credit for their energy & perserverance, being nothing less than the sawing out a passage through a swamp, capable of passing their gun boats around the Island & thus flanking & attacking it on the undefended side. They took advantage of a swamp called the “Earthquake seam,” it having been the effect of a supposed Earthquake years ago & now grown up into a thick & impassable swamp. At high water their boats can readily float but trees, some of them three feet through, fill the whole space. Nothing daunted, the engineers went to work & sawed a passage three feet under water the whole distance. The branches interlock, so that it was necessary to use ladders of rope for the men to ascend them & cut off the branches which interfered with their smoke stacks. The details are so marvelous that, as our Northern brethren are given to lying, we must be excused believing them all. The fact that they passed is wonderful enough. Ah! that the Mississippi had fallen to its usual level suddenly & impaled their gun boats upon the snags & stumps they had just sawed off with such labour! Our men being thus out flanked, spiked their guns, sunk their gunboats, destroyed what of the provisions & ammunition they could & then all who were able made their escape. Our sick of course were forced to remain & a number who could not get over the River. The adventures of those who did escape are thrilling!
Bad news from New Orleans. Two steamers have succeeded in passing the Forts and are on their way to the city. We have some Iron boats above them however which they will have to pass. I hope they will give a good account of themselves.
The finding of the Court of Inquiry appointed to investigate the causes of the Roanoke Island disaster is that Maj Gen Huger & the late Sec of War Mr J B Benjamin are to blame for the whole affair. The situation of the defences were repeatedly represented to them by Gen Wise & Col Shaw. A deputation of gentlemen from the neighboring Counties waited on the Sec & offered to send their negroes there to complete the fortification but to no purpose. If their consciences have not already done so, the Court has now planted a thorn in their pillows for them.
The affair at South Mills in Pasquotank County grows in importance. Col Wright’s Georgia Regt repulsed three Yankee ones under Gen Reno, captured their canon, & the powder they had provided to blow up the Locks of the Canal, besides killing & wounding many. Our loss slight.
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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