11 October 1864: “I cannot imagine why it was he came home”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 11 October 1864, written by Sarah Lois Wadley.


Item Citation: From volume 4 (folder 5) in the Sarah Lois Wadley Papers, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription: 

Tuesday, Oct. 11th. 1864.

Two weeks since I wrote here, but I have been too busy to write, every hour has been fully employed. Last Tuesday evening Father and I rode in to Trenton to see Mrs. Seale, who had just returned from her journey to the swamp. We stopped at the post office to get the paper, and found a letter from Willie, he was sick, but fortunately had gotten into a private house, and was hospitably entertained by “one of the kindest ladies he ever saw.”

On our return we met a young man who had dined with us that day who would stop in Monroe that night on his way to Virginia, and who said he would take letters for us if we sent them in the next morning, so I wrote short letters to Aunt Mary and Grandma, and one to Valeria that seemed short to me, though really it was quite long.

Friday we were surprised by Willie’s arrival, he came home on a furlough of thirty days, just three weeks after he went away, though a surprise to us, it was by no means one to Father and Mother. I cannot imagine why it was he came home, and as Father chooses to keep it secret I do not think it my place to speculate upon it, it is certainly very strange. Willie looks quite badly, his hair and beard are both very long, which heightens the thinness of his face; he has gone down to Girard now, to get Mr. Baldwin to put a new stock to his gun, left yesterday, we expect him back tomorrow; he had not reached the brigade before he was sick, but improved steadily after he got into camp.

We all had a grand “chinquapen hunt” Saturday, went up to Mrs. Phillips’ place, took a basket of lunch and did not come back till afternoon. The day was delightful and we enjoyed ourselves very much, gathered a great many chinquapens. We are having such beautiful weather now, day after day the sun runs his bright course through a sky of cloudless blue, and sets amid clear hues at evening only to give place to the moon, and to charm us with soft brilliancy of Venus, which gleams like a jewel on the brow of evening; the hickory trees alone show the approach of autumn by the slight russet hue of their outermost boughs, the oaks are still brightly green though we have had one or two very slight frosts. For several days we have had fire morning and evening but today it is very warm; my windows are all open. We have not omitted school one day since we commenced, the children have never studied so well. Georgie commenced to learn to write today, how earnest he was, and how his little hand trembled, how hard it must be for children to learn to write!

I have finished the first volume of my “Girondins,” am all impatience to get the next, it closed just in such an interesting part, I must send to Mrs. Leighton for the other volume as soon as possible.

I was busy all yesterday evening in my little garden replanting my violets, they have grown together so that many have died; also set out a little heliotrope which I had rooted, I forgot and left it in the sun this morning and was afraid my negligence had been fatal to it’s delicate life, but by taking it and carefully watering it I have brought to hold it’s head up quite blithely. Was delighted yesterday evening by receiving a letter from Mrs. Morancy, the first in a long, long time. She had suffered dreadfully from sore eyes, was quite blind for a time and had been dreadfully oppressed by melancholy afterwards; my poor friend, her life is indeed a darkened one. How I wish she might find the anchor of an assured hope in Christ, this is the only balm for an aching heart like hers. I must write to her now, will spend no more time on this.



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10 October 1864: “The Yellow fever is raging to such an extent at Newbern”

Item Description: Letter from Brigadier General L. S. Baker to his cousin John Kimberly explaining that because of his orders and the Yellow Fever epidemic in New Bern, North Carolina, he cannot allow him to visit New Bern.


Item Citation: From Folder 46 in the John Kimberly Papers, #398, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Goldsboro Oct 10th 1864

My Dear Cousin,

Your letter of recent date was received and has not been answered sooner on account of my absence from this place.  I am not at liberty to permit anyone to pass our lines to Newbern now.  By direction of Genl Beauregard some time since all who had passes from the War Department and who applied in a given time were allowed to pass.  Since that time communication has ceased between our outposts and the enemy’s.

The Yellow fever is raging to such an extent at Newbern that this route would be impracticable for some time even if it were in my power to grant your request.

I am very truly your servant,

L. S. Baker

Brig Genl


Mr John Kimberly

Chapel Hill


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9 October 1864: “The General has noticed the large number of men (apparently ablebodied soldiers) who frequent the numerous wagon camps and detached encampments”

Item Description: Circular ordering officers to return men on detached duty to their respective regiments and to make sure that men who are not fit for active duty are assigned jobs within their regiments.


Item Citation: Folder 18 of the T. L. Clingman Papers, #157, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Hd Qrs Army of No Va

October 9th, 1864


With a view to increase the effective strength of this army which is regarded as the first importance at this time the Commanding General directs that you will supervise the rolls of all the enlisted men on detached duty under your immediate control and of those serving with subordinate officers of your department and cause all to be returned to duty with their respective commands who shall not be declared by a board of army surgeons to be physically disqualified for duty in the ranks.

The General has noticed the large number of men (apparently ablebodied soldiers) who frequent the numerous wagon camps and detached encampments to be met with in the rear during an engagement with the enemy and he does not think there can be any indispensable service which necessitate the absence of these men from their regiments.

Those who are not are not capable of performing active service must be selected to perform the duties of ?, Field Hospital attendants, Forage Masters, Couriers, the like and this relieve the strong men for service in the ranks.  This is an important matter and the Commanding General expects your earnest cooperation to accomplish the object desired.

Very respectfully Your Obedient Servant,

W. H. Taylor

A. A. General



Jas McAdams

Inspector General

Clingman’s Brigade

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8 October 1864: “Write as you feel”

Item Description: Letter dated 8 October 1864 from John A. Ramsay to Margaret Beall (Maggie). Maggie was recently widowed by his cousin Julius D. Ramsay who died earlier in 1864. This is one of many letters of courtship that John wrote to Maggie after his cousin’s death.

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Item Citation: Folder 8, John A. Ramsay Papers (#03534), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Oct. 8th 1864

My Dearest—–

I have had the great pleasure of reading another of my Dear One’s letters of the 3rd inst, and was truly glad to find, that you were well, but was sorry to find poor little M. was sick. I hope she will have recovered before this comes to your hand.

My Dearest— you must excuse this short letter, as I will not have time to write long; but the long letter I wrote on the 5th & 6th will make up the difference.

In your last, in speaking of telling me your troubles, you wrote “I see I must hereafter make a miserable man. Now dearest ask me to comply with such a request again.” But my Dear Friend I must ask you to continue writing just as you have done hereafter. Write as you feel. If you are in trouble I wish to share it. I do not wish to be, and cannot be happy, if I think there is trouble on my Dear Ones mind. Tell me in your letters freely, and unrestrained; as I write to you, your feelings. I will do what I can to soothe, relieve, and calm your troubled heart; and if I cannot relieve you, I can sympathize with my Darling.

As to the story I told you, and which has occupied such a prominent place in our letters, I will try and satisfy my Dear’s curiousity if possible. It is itself a very small affair but the fact, that it was a story, kept troubling me. It grieved me to think I had done such a thing– I could have said nothing about it and let it passed; but that would not have alevred (alleviate?) my conscious. I could not deceive the Great Ruler of Heaven and Earth. He knew that I had done wrong, and I asked and hope I have obtained his pardon. I also felt that I had done injustice to the Darling of my heart, and I asked, and hope, you will forgive the fault.

I might have kept it from your knowledge, but I did not feel that it would be right, and I told you. I have no secret now, that you do not know. If it were possible for you to look into my heart and read and know all that is there, you would be welcome. There is nothing there now, that would cause me to blush.

I will try and recall your recollection to the occurrence which caused the story to be told. You recollect we sat talking one night until quite a late hours. I then left you but forgot my cap. I intended going to your plantation early in the morning, and rose early and found my cap missing, and studied awhile– remembered where I left it, and went and got it. After I returned from the plantation you asked me some questions about my coming after it, and not sending for it, and I did not give true answers. It was a small affair but would have embarrassed you, if I had told you then. But since things have taken the turn they have, and we stand towards each other as affirmed– and— it would have been much better, had I done what I shall ever do hereafter.

I hope your recollections will be refreshed by the foregoing, and that you will understand my motives in doing what I did.

With the high regard that I had for your character, I could not refrain from refolding to you the only thing that would ever cause me to blush, at your gaining a knowledge of; and I hope that my Darling will not trouble herself any more in regard to this affair; but, will bury it deep deep in the waters of Oblivion never to be resurrected again. 

I was very sorry to hear that Capt T. Beale was wounded and Capt J. Beale was ? and hope that the wound was slight and the sickness not severe. I had been anxiously waiting to hear from their ever since Early’s battles. Theirs was pretty severe fighting in this away yesterday on both flanks, but as I am in the centre I have not heard the particulars yet.

The cloth I send you, please take care of for me, for the present; please save it as I see the months are at work on it.

I would keep on writing till night, but have to stop I suppose my last letter tired you dull. It I believe is twenty pages.

May God’s richest blessings attend you in the prayer of

Yours only,

J. A. R.

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7 October 1864: “Captured and are still in Yankeedom.”

Item Description: Cornelius Dabney, a student at the University of Virginia, describes the effects of the Civil War on his family in his diary. At the time when this is written he was not at school.

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Item Citation: Folder 1, in the Cornelius Dabney Diary #201-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

Oct. 7th. Before turning my attention to more recent events I must record some of the chief events of the past six months. Many changes, some, sad, a few joyous have marked this brief period.


My cousin Alice Deffarges, who was going to School at Mr. Hart’s died on the 25th of January after an illness of one week. None of her friends from home could reach her before it was too late I assisted Mr. Hart in the sad duty of bearing her remains to their last resting place, at the home of her sister in King Wm.

Alas! how mysterious is death sparing not the flowers which spring up in our pathway and fill, for a short season, our hearts with joy.


My brother Alfred returned from Maryland, whither he had gone in Nov. 1863, in March and about the middle of April came up to see me. He had already joined the army and repaired to the company (Co H, 9th. Va. Cav.) the 1st of May just before Grant’s campaign opened. Owing to the arduous duties of the ensuing weeks his horse gave out and he was at home in search of another when the Yankees cut him off on the 30th of May. He returned the night before expecting to leave for camp the next day but when morning came he found that the Yankees were between him and the ferry. So that nothing was left him but to dodge them which he did successfully for the ten days during wh; they remained in the neighborhood Billy Timeberlake was with him most of the time. Uncle Bush & Pat Sweet were taken prisoners captured and are still in Yankeedom.

But to return to my bro. After the departure of the Yanks my father bought him another horse and he returned to camp. After passing through many engagements unhurt, he was wounded severely on the eighteenth of August. Papa happened to be in Richmond at the time and had him taken to my uncle Roberts immediately. At the same time Lt. Haw brought back the buggy, in which he and Papa had gone over, and a letter desiring Mamma & Sister to take the train for Richmond the next morning.

I took them over to the depot and put them under the care of Mr. B.C. Goodwin a college mate of mine, and who happened to be on the train that morning & whom I had not seen for more than a year.

Under the skillful treatment of Dr. Bolton combined with the tender nursing of Ma & Sister Allie improved rapidly and was well enough to course out home on the end of Sept. When I met them all, with the carriage, at Hanover C. H. Besides Mama, Papa, Sister, & Allie I found at the depot cousin James Bosher & his wife, and Mrs. Hawes & Miss Alice. Mrs. Hawes had been over to look for Walker who had been wounded on 25th of August.

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6 October 1864: “I cannot get anything to read here”

Item Description: Letter dated 6 October 1864 from J. D. from prison in Ohio. He writes to his Uncle Edwin in Philadelphia about finances.


Item Citation: From folder 19 in Confederate Papers, #00172, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Prison 3 Barrack G. Camp Chase Columbus Ohio Oct 6th 1864

Dear Uncle Edwin

Yours of the 30th ? came safely to hand a day or two since, with bill of arts// send for New York + all satisfactory. The articles spoken of, Mr Davis + I received a few days since. I am very much pleased and am under many obligations. The books of which you spoke some time since, I have not as yet received. I wish you would forward them as soon as convenient, as I cannot get anything to read here, save now+ then a trifling novel, which is worse than nothing you know. When you send the books I wish you would also put up a few collars, + send bill of all. I sent up check for collection + it was returned. (after served days dentention), without any explanation whatever + as I did not need the money I destroyed the check in Mr. Davis’ presence, so you will give me credit for the amt of ($10.00) ten dollars if you please. Mr Davis sends his compliments + says he will write you in a few days. The sick + wounded are going on exchange in a day or two from this camp.

Yours truly J D Miller


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5 October 1864: “not one tear of affection shed at her grave”

Item Description: Letter dated 5 October 1864 written by Eliza Jane Lord DeRosset to her son, Louis Henry.

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Item Citation: From folder 62 in the DeRosset Family Papers (#00214), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Wilmington Oct 5th/64

My precious Son

I wrote you some steamer the day after Marie left in the Lynx but as I fear you have never received a line from me I will endeavor to write by every Steamer hoping an occasional one may arrive at its destination.

No doubt you are one this made glad by the arrival of your little wife and precious little daughter who learned to love us in the two days she spent at home of your childhood. She is a little treasure God grant that you may train her properly and strive if ? and to you to make her meet for for the kingdom of Heaven– You have much more than most men of your age to be thankful for– the merciful restoration of yourself to health once more, and the preservation of your Wife and little one from the dangers of the deep — you have heard who in this from Marie’s life– may your heart be lifted in gratitude to our Heavenly Father for all his mercies to you and yours.

The body of Mr. Greenhow being brought up to me to attend to made me feel as if my heart would burst with gratitude for this preservation of your family– if Marie had been brought in the same way what agony if would have caused you, thank God always– Our ? (or rather many Ladies took charge of the poor women she was carried to the Hospital Chapel and arraged for the grace by kind hands the Ladies never left her, attended the funeral and buried her in a preserved lot near ours- Miss Buie said she was a Roman Catholic- the Priest here buried her and Mrs Hurtley and ? placed the crucifix, and burnt candles around her. I cut off her hair and will keep it for her daughter in case we ever hear from them, she was an elegant woman and not at all changed by death- it was a sad sad sight not one tear of affection shed at her grave what a different termination of all her ambitious schemes-

We have ? and Charlie with us still, they cannot get the house until next Monday– Willie is still here he has taken James McRee’s house, but the Cunningham’s have not moved yet fortunately Lizzie has not come yet and of course he will regret taking that house but he would not listen to advice, there are no gas fixtures in it disappointment No 1 — We will be terribly lonely when they leave, for I do not know when ? will return, she and Alice are very quietly seated at Chapel Hill, say they will remain until they can get some reliable person to take charge of the house, I want to go up but I hate to leave Pa he works so hard and is so tired and poorly when gets home in the evening he wants me by him and then it is such a pleasure to me to be near him, if Mr Brown ever returns I will try and persuade him to go up for a little while– his pulse troubles him to much, it is a terrible feeling this irregularity. I have felt a little of it. I had a letter from Johnnie at ?? he and his family are quite ? and very happy expect to make his ? a perfect model– Uncle Fred has gone up to bring down his family- Mother intends spending some time

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is looking very wretched. I hope this change may benefit her.

We heard a day or two ago of Willie London being badly wounded though the chest just escaping the lung, came out his back shattering his shoulder blade- John R went for him and I hope he is at home on this we have not heard of any other of our boys- hope they are all safe.

Our town is very ? and every body there about out fight in the rally- the report here yesterday was that Petersburg had been evacuated but so far that is not here, we are hoping great things from Georgia Beauregard has taken command out there– I saw ? ? today just from S.C. says the fever is very bad in Charleston he did not venture in the City– Pa invited a McBloom, I think one of ? clerks, to stay with us while here he says there is very little fever in the City, there have been a good many cases at Smith? most of them fatal. We hear Mr Brown is looking remarkably well and enjoying himself hunting ? while Pa’ and Brother are doing all the work– I trust that won’t last long– Please don’t let that precious little baby forget us but talk to her often of Bonnie, God bless you my son. Mother.

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4 October 1864: “Useless to send further orders to cross the troops”

Item Description: A copy of a telegram dated October 4th, from Lt. General R. Taylor to General Braxton Bragg regarding the order of a pardon for deserters by General E. Kirby Smith. The reverse side records the results of the telegram. 18641004_01 18641004_02 Item Citation: From Folder 45, in the Edmund Kirby-Smith Papers, #404, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Item Transcription:

Copy of Telegram

Selma October 4, 1864

General B. Bragg, 

I have just ascertained that General E. Kirby Smith issued an order pardoning the men who deserted from his army when ordered across the river. This after I had captured most of the deserters. Under these circumstances it seems to me to be useless to send further orders to cross the troops. 

Signed R. Taylor Leuit. Genl.

R. Taylor Leuit. Genl. 

Selma Oct. 4 1864

Has ascertained that Genl. E. K. Smith issued an order pardoning all the men who deserted from his Army when ordered to cross the river etc. 

Hd. Qrs. A.C.S. 

Richmond October 5 1864

Respectfully submitted to the Sec. of War. This unfortunate order renders and further attempt to cross the troops useless. 

(Signed) Braxton Bragg Genl. 

Rec’d A+J.G. office. Oct. 12th 1864

Reply submitted to the President for his consideration and for instructions. 

Signed, J. A. Seddon Sec. of War

Sec. of War

Require General Smith to explain his conduct. As set forth it is a it is a premium to desertion for the purpose of evading an order to cross the river in pursuit of the enemy, and sustained the idea of defending a section of the confederacy at the expense of the cause for which the States are associated.  (Signed) Jef. Davis  Oct. 7, 1864

Adjt. Genl. 

Address to Genl. Smith the inquires suggested by the President’s endorsement. 

(Signed) J. A. Seddon Sec. of War October 10, 1864

Reply referred to Genl E. K. Smith for report under the endorsement of the President By order of A+J. Genl (Signed) John W. Riely A.A. Genl A+J Genl. October 13th 1864

Hd. Qrs Trans Miss Sept.  Shrievefront Dec. 6th 1864

Respectfully returned. The within is a misrepresentation. There was no order published either by myself or any subordinate commander pardoning all or any of the men who deserted when the troops were ordered across the river: prompt me as assures were taken to arrest and punish the deserters. The ring leaders were tried, convicted, and shot.  In acting on any communication personal to myself from Genl. Taylor, I bet the President to remember that Genl. Taylor’s systematic misrepresentations of my motives and acts exhibit a violence and prejudice restrained neither by respect for himself nor for his superiors.  (Signed) E. Kirby Smith Genl. 

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3 October 1864: “The following transfers are hereby ordered”

Item Description: Orders issued by order of Lieutenant General Buckner for the transfers of Privates Gerod and Pool.


Item Citation: Folder 34 from the George William Logan Papers, #1560, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Headquarters District Western Louisiana

Alexandria October 3d, 1864

Special Orders No. 304

The following transfers are hereby ordered, they will take effect from date of this order and in accordance with Par. 141 of the Army regulations and must be made free of expense to the Government. Viz.

Private T. Gerod, Co “C,” 2nd La. Batt., H. Artillery to Co. “C,” 3rd Regt. La Cavalry

Private W. C. Pool, Co “C” 3rd Rgt. La Cavalry to Co “C,” 2nd La. Batt., H Artillery

By command of Lieut. Gen. Buckner

John Callihan Asst. Adjt. Gen.

Co Officer Commanding

2nd La 13th Heavy Artillery

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2 October 1864: “disappointed in seeing Gen. Chalmers tonight”

Item Description: Diary entry dated 2 October 1864 from Belle Edmondson. According to family legend, which appears to be supported by the diary accounts, Miss Edmondson was a Confederate spy.


Item Citation: Belle Edmondson Diary (1707-z), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item Transcription:

October                                             Sunday 2                           1864

Awakened very late, after a feverish, restless night. Emma and I started out to get a conveyance- Mr. Allexander of Henderson’s Scouts proved my friends, borrowed a buggy, and Mr. Johnson, one of their Company, Brother in law of Maj. Ingraham’s, on Cheatham’s Staff, brot me safely to Panola- arrived here about 7 o’clock. Mrs. Moore sick in bed, but glad to see me, so Mr. Johnson and I ate a hearty supper, and I am fixing for a hot toddy- think my cold will be relieved and save me from a spell- Got in too late, disappointed in seeing Gen. Chalmers tonight-

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