Posts Tagged ‘straw hat’

August 29, 1864

What a prey we are to rumours of all kinds! We were summoned from the “soltaire” yesterday by the announcement that Mr Hill was in the house. Patrick lay on the couch reading at his ease whilst I amused myself with my journal, the conviction that Gen Lee held the R R adding greatly to our Sabbath peace & quiet. Mr Hill somewhat dashed our comfort by the news he had from “a soldier just from the battle field” to the effect that Lee had not taken the line of R R tho he had defeated the Yankees, but nevertheless such is our Faith that we went to bed with a calm conviction that tho it might be true that he had not yet taken it he soon would do so & that Grant could “work us no annoy.” Today brought Gen Lee’s official dispatch of Thursday fight about which, as there is some discussion amongst us, I will transcribe.

Headquarters A N V, Aug 26, 1864. Hon J A Seddon — Gen A P Hill attacked the enemy in his entrenchments at Ream’s Station yesterday evening & on the second assault carried his whole entire line. Cooks & McRae’s N C Brigades under Heth’s & Lane’s N C Brigade & Wilcox’s Division under Connor with Pegram’s Artillery composed the assaulting column. One line of breastworks was carried by the cavalry under Hampton with great gallantry which contributed largely to our success. Seven stands of colours, 2000 prisoners, & nine peices of Artillery are in our possession. Loss of the enemy in killed & wounded is reported heavy, ours relatively small. Our profound gratitude is due to the Giver of all victories & our thanks to the brave men & officers engaged. Signed R E Lee, General.

Some of us think that he captured the R R, others not, whilst others again suppose that by a flank movement A P Hill got into the rear of Grant’s centre which was represented as holding the R R within three miles of Petersburg & made the attack at Ream’s nine miles from that place & that Grant is, as it were, enclosed between two divisions of our army. We wait the issue not as usual with “feverish impatience” but with a calm confidence that all will be right. Pattie, poor thing, is in great distress & anxiety as her brother is in Cook’s Brigade & was therefore in the assault. Pray God we may soon hear of his safety.

Busy all morning purifying salt for table use, making pickles & Vinegar, Chess, straw sewing, etc., & in the afternoon commenced reading Woodstock to Patty. Last week read Aurora Floyd & like it.

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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June 27, 1864

News today from Petersburg brought by a Maj Shepperd, who left that place on horse back & came to Stony Crk where he took the cars, to the effect that “Petersburg is now considered safe.” The wires were last night working between Weldon & Petersburg, but as the enemy were entrenched 8000 strong within 3/8th of a mile of the R R, it was not considered safe to allow cars to pass. The Danville Road has been torn up at Keysville, a short distance from Clarksville, so no more news of Lee or Breckenridge can reach us for a time. Was startled today by a messenger riding up & putting into my hands a note from Col Bell to Mr E enclosing an official dispatch from Gen Whiting to Gen L S Baker to which Mr E wasrequested to forward with all speed & telling him that a raid had been made upon the Wilmington R R below Goldsboro. Gen Baker was kind enough to write by the servant who “sped on the fiery cross” that it was a “threatened” raid which he did not beleive the enemy had force to make. There is in the papers a most disgraceful account of an advance of the enemy below Kinston, in which tho they were but 300 strong they defeated the 6th Cavalry, Folks, &, part at least of the 67th infantry, killed several of them & took 60 prisoners, losing themselves “but one man & he drowned by falling into Cobb’s mill tail”! Disgraceful truly! The papers call it “botched on our side.” They were piloted by a deserter from Nethercutts Bat named Taylor Waters, & to his shame be it said, from Lenoir County.

Have been much interested latterly curing & drying my own tea! Tea from my own plants & very fine indeed it is. Good judges pronounce it an excellent article! My stock of either time or patience does not admit of my rolling it “a la Chinoise,” tho I tried it partially. I simply dry the leaves slowly on a chafing dish over the fire taking care to bruise them as they become hot & being careful not to burn or scorch them. I have fifty or more young plants from last year’s nuts which in a few years, if they yeild in the ratio that my present number of old plants (eight) have done, will supply me amply — something of an object when tea is, as now, $50 per lb in Petersburg and $25 in Charleston. So much for our late wise Congress tampering with the law of imports. Our present august body is but little better, as it has left the evil unremedied. I have been also busy plaiting straw for Mr E’s hat. Wheat straw is softer than Rye, but the blanched part of the rye is so much longer that one is tempted to forego beauty for ease of manufacture. It is pleasant to feel that we have the ability at least to be independant of these vile Yankees, that in spite of their boasted blockade, kept up with such expenditure of both men & money by them, we are not forced to forego our usual comforts or luxuries. The excesses the wretches commit are almost incredible.

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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[Cornelia Henry to her son Pinck]

My Dear little Pinck,

The mail will soon be on but I will write a little as Papa left this for me. Papa has told you all about the big snow. Atheline’s baby is growing finely, about as big as a rabbit. She asks about you a heap of times. Let me tell you something. Gus can walk all over the house & not fall & when he does fall he can get up hisself. See I told you he would walk before you came home. He can say Papa right plain. He will run & meet you at the gate when you come & call you Pinck. Now see if he don’t. He has got to fighting of late. He pulls Rose’s wool good for her when she don’t please him.

Zona has grown a good deal since you left. She spells her lesson every day & Willie wants to spell too. They often speak of you & want to see Pinck come home. You must learn fast so you can read your paper when you come.

Tell Aunt Dora to send me the measure of your head. I want to have  you a straw hat made by the time you come & tell her to send the measure of your foot to have you some shoes made to travel home in. I am afraid Mother can’t come after you as Papa can’t stay at home & if we all leave the soldiers and deserters will steal all we got. We will send after next month I think. I would like to come so much but can’t this time. Be a good boy.

Mother has been sick for a month but I am a good deal better now. I have not weaned Gus yet. Papa wants me to wean him. I am so lean. Love Aunt Dora & Aunt Matt. They are your Mother’s sister just like Zona is your sister. Be kind to them. They will love you for you are a good boy. Mother & Papa love you dearly. Knit me something & send in a letter so I can show it to Zona & Willie. Good bye. God bless you my dear child.

Your fond Mother

Zona, Willie & Gus send kisses to Pinck, Aunt Dora & Matt. Dora give my love to Pa. It seems he cares nothing for me.


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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