July 29, 1863
This is a terrible state to live in. Expectation & anxiety unsettle and destroy one’s peace of mind to that degree that we are ready for anything. We sit here at home in a calm of desperation, I fear tho perhaps it may be resignation, unable to do anything but determined to meet the fate in store for us as becomes christians & patriots — something analagous, I suppose, to the resignation & calmness with which most persons meet death when it is inevitable — struggles, murmurs, & repining are alike useless & the human mind takes refuge in that sublime repose which is the admiration of all who witness even the violent death of men of high spirit.
Mama came out on Monday night, Father remaining on the River. Herself, Sue, & I compose the household & we even wait for news with a calmness that surprises me. Can it be Faith or do we indeed realize the promise “as thy days so shall thy strength be”? Was up early yesterday & my first work was indicative. I made a number of Rifle Cartridges & sent them with a Canteen of Tea to Mr Edmondston. I received messages constantly yesterday from him all telling the same tale, viz., a steady advance of the enemy in heavy force from Plymouth. The last courier reported them across Gardner’s Creek the bridge over which had been rebuilt by them. The 24th N C, Col Clark, is at Jackson to repel a column advancing from Murfresboro; a few troops in Halifax & aid promised from Weldon. Pray God Col Martin hold out until it reaches him. Put in a place of safety some valuables & some meat, but it is but little that we can save. I look at our books, friends which we have been years in collecting, with a sigh to think that a few days may see them desecrated by theivish hands, torn, mutilated, & cast out, perhaps burned, & ourselves wanderers without a home or a roof to shelter our heads! Gods will be done! As I write, a messenger comes in from Mr Edmondston. No news he tells us, not one word from below. Can the courier be captured? Is it guns or thunder which I hear in the distance all this morning? God be with and grant us Peace!
Morgan’s command, 2500 men, is we fear cut off, surrounded, & made prisoners of in Ohio, he with a squad of men only making his escape, but I will wait for news until it comes from our own side. These Cretan accounts take up paper to no purpose. An official report, for instance, of an attack on Drewry’s Bluff has appeared in the Northern papers, whereas we know that the Gunboats did not ascend so high & that not a gun was fired! Gen Lee officially contradicts, in a Dispatch to Gen Cooper, Meades late official dispatch to his Government of the capture of a Brigade of men & many guns at Falling Waters. Gen Lee says that he only notices it because of its official character, that Meade captured only a few stragglers, men wearied & footsore who on account of the heaviness of the roads could not keep up. Two Guns were abandoned because of the failing of their team the jaded horses could not be replaced with others until the head of the column was so far in advance that it was thought a needless risk to return for them & they were therefore abandoned. He officially gives Meade the lie. Which General will the world beleive? Pope, Halleck, & McClellan, even if Meade be innocent, your sins will be visited on his head, but Gen Meade had you the honour of a preux chevalier you would not allow your Government thus to tamper with your fair fame! You were said to be a gentleman, but “it is hard to touch pitch without being defiled.” No mail last night.
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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