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No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion: A Composite Diary of the Last 16 Months of the Confederacy from 1864 to 1865

No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion: A Composite Diary of the Last 16 Months of the Confederacy from 1864 to 1865

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No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion: A Composite Diary of the Last 16 Months of the Confederacy from 1864 to 1865

497 pagine
8 ore
Aug 18, 2006


No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion is a groundbreaking study of life during the final sixteen months of the Confederacy.

Civil War studies normally focus on military battles, campaigns, generals, and politicians, with the common Confederate soldier and Southern civilians receiving only token mention. Using personal accounts from more than two hundred seventy soldiers, farmers, clerks, surgeons, sailors, chaplains, farm girls, nurses, nuns, merchants, teachers and wives, author Jeff Toalson has created a compilation that is remarkable in its simplicity and stunning in its scope.

These soldiers and civilians wrote remarkable letters and kept astonishing diaries and journals. They discussed disease, slavery, inflation, religion, desertion, blockade running, and their never-ending hope that the war would be over before their loved ones died. As in all wars, these are the people who suffer the most-and glory is hard to find amid lice, dysentery, starvation, and death.

A significant contribution to Civil War literature, No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion will open vistas to a side of the war with which most are only mildly familiar. The words of these individuals are an honest, powerful, and poetic portrayal of the war's effect on their lives.

Aug 18, 2006

Informazioni sull'autore

Missouri native Jeff Toalson earned a BS in business management from Missouri State University. Between the United States Navy and a thirty-two year career selling automotive products, he has lived in Rhode Island, North Dakota, and Minnesota. He currently lives in Virginia with his wife, Jan.

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No Soap, No Pay, Diarrhea, Dysentery & Desertion - Jeff Toalson





















May to August—1865

Final Entries

After The Conflict


Dedicated to my great grandfather and to my 5 great great uncles who answered the call of Virginia and somehow were fortunate enough to all survive:

Private James A. Wood

Co. D—11th Virginia Infantry

2nd. Lt. George Harrison Payne

Co. G—18th Virginia Cavalry

Private Charles H. Payne

Co. G—11th Virginia Cavalry

4th. Sgt. Lewis Payne

Co. F—11th Virginia Cavalry

2nd. Cpl. William G. Payne

Co. F—11th Virginia Cavalry

Private James P. Payne

Carpenter’s Company Virginia Light Artillery

(Alleghany Rough Light Artillery)


In the winter of 1865, from the Bermuda Hundred section of the Petersburg, Virginia line, James A. Wood, a 17 year old private in Company D of the 11th Virginia Infantry wrote his mother, I suppose you all have forgotten me or you would write oftener. Letters meant everything to the soldiers and to their loved ones at home. They longed for letters and they wrote at every opportunity. In the process they created unvarnished snapshots of their lives. My great grandfather, James A. Wood, and a host of his contemporaries, left us a very personal account of the conflict and their lives. ¹

The participants in the American Civil War were marvelous writers of letters, diaries, and journals. The letters of the privates, sergeants, wives, clerks, chaplains, nurses, and shopkeepers told a much different story than the correspondence of generals and politicians. They yield, perhaps, a better and certainly a more human understanding of the conflict.

Most books about the Civil War deal with the campaigns, battles, strategy, politics, and generalship. The reader is treated to studies of Generals Lee, Grant, Johnston and Sherman along with Presidents Davis and Lincoln. There are very few books that focus on the common soldiers, the civilians, and the impact of the war on their lives.

The generals filed post-battle reports, through the chain of command, of all their campaigns. Many of them wrote postwar books telling their version of the war. The reports and most of the books concentrate on unit movements, plans, and actions. They give you no feel for what their soldiers were encountering.

As an example, here is General Hood’s report of his army’s retreat after being defeated at the battle of Nashville in December of 1864:

"From Pulaski I moved by the most direct road to Bainbridge crossing on the Tennessee River, which was reached on the 25th, where the army crossed without interruption, completing the crossing on the 27th, including our rear guard,.. .After crossing the river the army moved by easy marches to Tupelo, Miss. ²`

In 1880 Hood wrote his post war memoirs, Advance and Retreat. He devotes two paragraphs to describing the retreat from Nashville to Tupelo. He does not mention the cold weather, the rain, the sleet, the lack of rations, or his barefooted and starving troops. He does note that his retreating army therefore continued.. …to march leisurely, and arrived at Bainbridge, on the 25th of December. In the following paragraph he launches into a multi-page explanation of his strategy and defends his handling of the Army of Tennessee during the Atlanta and Franklin-Nashville campaigns. ³

Perhaps General Hood was on a different retreat than his soldiers. Here is how 2nd Lt. Samuel Robinson of the 63rd Virginia Infantry saw it:

we have retreated some 200 miles through the wet and cold mud half leg deep and a great many men was entirely barfooted and almost naked. The men marched over frozen ground till their feet was worn out till they could be tracked by the blood and some of them there feet was frosted and swolen till they bursted till they could not stand on there feet.

Many of the letters, diaries, and journals have significant spelling errors and problems with grammar. But, as with Lt. Robinson, there is absolutely no problem feeling feet (that) was frosted and swolen till they bursted till they could not stand. You don’t get the same feeling from General Hood’s easy marches to Tupelo.

You can understand how I have become very partial to letters, journals, and diaries for presenting a picture of the war. Especially if these items were not modified, embellished, and dressed up before publication. Current editors and historians are transcribing the documents as written and adding footnotes to assist in clarification.

This book features a wonderful collection of women, who kept marvelous journals and wrote stunning letters. They will make you forget all about Mary Chestnut and Sarah Morgan. In fact, this will be the only mention of those two women. Their writing pales in comparison to the women you will meet within these pages.

Mrs. Susan Woolker, a farm wife from Hillsdale, North Carolina tells Governor Z. Vance, if you was in the army and was to hear your wife and children was suffiring and could not get anything to eat I think you would be very much tempted to start home…

Mrs. Judith McGuire in Richmond, Virginia writes, My diary has been somewhat neglected, for after looking over commissary accounts for 6 hours in a day and attending to…hospital duties in the afternoon, I am too much wearied to write.

Mrs. Harriet Perry, a farm wife in Marshall, Texas writes, Billie Hinton paid me for the hire of Sam & Rufus (slaves).. .he is much flustrated by the substitute law, and expects to have to go in the army.

Mrs. Jourdan Beck from Pike County, Alabama tells her son, We have got no clothes for the children. I killed my last hog Thursday…I had to borrow salt to salt my meat…Dr. McCarry died last week of pneumonia…The children all send howdy to you.

From rural North Carolina Mrs. Mary Bell writes her husband, If you could come riding up I would give you some nice light bread, butter and milk…and then invite you to sleep with me, do you suppose you would take the invitation as an insult?

Miss. Kate Sperry, of Winchester, Virginia, in her diary notes, Yankees behaved shamefully to Mrs. Sturman—took every eatable out of her house—meat, lard, and everything—more rapes committed on nicest ladies. O God, can such things be?

Miss. Lizzie Coffman, a farm girl near Dayton, Virginia penned, The Yanks camped on Grandpa’s orchard and nursery burning the fences of course and destroying the fruit. Took everything we had to eat, stole the beans, and all the vegetables.

Soldiers and civilians write about lice, food, prison life, desertion, salt, blockade running, and cotton cards. They discuss the devaluation of currency, the lowering of the draft age, furloughs, and the postal service. Diary entries detail having no soap, no pay, smallpox, poor sanitation, dysentery, and measles. Their letters discuss unmarried pregnancy, prostitution, medical practices, religion, estate sales, amputation, gangrene, snowball fights, and the lack of clothing. In journals and correspondence they lament the prices for various goods, the condition of the railroads, the possible use of negroes as soldiers in the Confederate army, life at sea, and eating rats and cats.

I hope you find this composite diary, of the last 16 months of the Confederacy, interesting and thought provoking. It should open vistas to a side of the war with which you are only mildly familiar. As in all wars, it is the civilians and the common soldiers who suffer. Glory is a little hard to find amidst the lice, dysentery, starvation, and death. Hope does survive and those who were lucky enough to make it through moved onward, put the war behind them, and worked toward a better life for themselves and future generations.

Their voices are remarkable.


Three titles, a different concept, and more than three years ago I began my project to write a book about the last 16 months of the Confederacy. I wanted to tell the story from the view of the civilian and the common soldier. I wanted to weave their quotes into my story but the power of their words changed my direction. My prose, around their words, it seemed to me, detracted from their thoughts. Therefore, we evolved into a composite diary of their words. Initially it seems a little disconnected but then you join the flow and the writers become your guides. I became trapped by the shear simplicity and power of their words. I hope you experience the same feeling.

Letters, diaries and journals create a you are there while it is happening feeling that is lost in memoirs and accounts that are written after the fact. I have avoided, with a few exceptions, using any of the latter types of quotes. In addition to losing their feel of immediacy they also may become exaggerated and inaccurate.

I have no idea how many days I spent at the Swem Library, on the College of William and Mary campus, in Williamsburg, Virginia. Their civil war stacks became my research home. They are blessed with an excellent collection of diaries, journals, and published collections of letters by civilians and soldiers. I would especially like to thank Carole Conger and David Morales for teaching me how the use their computer and microfilm systems and for helping me find listed but missing books. It is nice to have a research center that is quiet, well lit, and has plenty of comfortable chairs and desks.

Additionally, the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department of the Swem Library has a wonderful archive with a significant amount of unpublished material covering the last 16 months of the Confederacy. My thanks to John Haskell (Director), Stacy Gould, Chandi Singer, and the rest of the staff for their help in mining their archives and for shuttling folders and documents back and forth for my research. I thank them for their permission to quote excerpts from a variety of their material. John, I appreciate your time and assistance answering questions and providing assurances to a novice writer.

My second home, for research, was the Virginia Room at the Roanoke Public Library in Roanoke, Virginia. This is a hidden gem. They have a wonderful collection of books and an excellent microfilm section relating to the Confederacy. Both Brenda Finley and Elaine Powers were wonderful and gave me every assistance with the use of their microfilm equipment, indexing systems, and permission to quote excerpts from some of their manuscripts. The Virginia Room has census data, all types of files for genealogical research, county histories, cemetery histories, and other minutia of Virginia back to the settlement at Jamestown. It is a wonderful, quiet spot for research.

I would like to thank Robert E. L. Krick, historian, at the Richmond National Battlefield Park, who opened his files and research library for my use. They were most helpful for gaining a greater insight into disease, medicines, and hospital services during the conflict.

Randy Carter of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, called me to ask if I had heard of the journal of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston of Halifax County, North Carolina. I had not. Randy said a friend of his told him it was a remarkable diary. That proved to be an understatement. It is also a tome of almost 800 pages. Thank heavens I was only looking at 1864 and 1865!

Thanks to Pattie Wood of Lexington, Virginia who has done a great deal of Wood family research and printed several editions of family history. Antonia Wood McCoy of Glen Wilton, Virginia; Lucille Wood Cribb of Roanoke, Virginia; my mother Jessie Dark Toalson, my grandmother Jessie Wood Dark, and her sister Nora Wood Neel all saved items or passed on oral history that aided in this project. I thank Pattie for her permission to quote texts and excerpts from her family publications.

My wife, Jan, has done her share of proofreading and listening as I told her about the latest find in my research. For her constant support and encouragement I am forever grateful.

Proofreading is a thankless task. It is also never ending. You just can’t seem to catch all the errors of grammar or the typos and misspellings. I have personally proofed this entire text, multiple times, through each of 8 drafts. I am sure I look at the same mistakes over and over but just can’t see them. To Bobbe Redding, Chuck Redding, Elaine Baker, Jim Baker and Jan Toalson, my fresh eyes, my thanks for all the errors you caught and suggestions you made to improve this book. Also I would like to thank Robert E. L. Krick, historian, Richmond National Battlefield Park, who agreed to proofread my text focusing on the chapter introductions and the editorial comments. He provided valuable suggestions for improving both clarity and historical accuracy. I would also like to thank Robert for his words of encouragement and positive comments. I apologize for those pesky errors that have slipped past our combined efforts.

Dr. James I. Robertson, unbeknownst to him, deserves full credit for convincing me that it was necessary to include an index. His book reviews, of Civil War literature, never fail to scold an author who does not provide an index.

I would like to thank Jon McWilliams, Agnes Hoepker, & the entire iUniverse team for their professionalism and expertise. To say the least, it was an adventure.

Lastly, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the civilians and soldiers who wrote these marvelous letters, journals, and diaries and to the folks who had the wisdom to save them, sometimes for many generations. Also thanks to a wide variety of editors and family members who have published these documents or have donated them to libraries for safekeeping. I hope that while reading this composite diary you become drawn to a particular voice or voices, as I was, and will want to read that person’s entire diary or journal.


It is a bleak winter dawn that welcomes Captain Elijah Petty and the members of Co. F, 17th Texas Cavalry to the new year. Captain Petty will write his wife to tell her how the men sigh for peace, peace, peace, home and family. a After three years of war and privation the soldiers are undernourished, poorly clothed, and unpaid. Their families are also struggling to survive. The high spirits and hope of 1861 have turned to frustration and faint hope as the war enters its fourth year. The feelings of the 17th Texas, in Bayou de Glaze, Louisiana, are echoed throughout the Southern armies.

1863 was the year of destiny for the Confederacy. A few key victories and the tide could have turned in their favor. However, a spring victory by General Lee at Chancellorsville was followed by defeat at Gettysburg. In the west, Vicksburg and Port Hudson fell. Not only did the South lose control of the Mississippi River but also some 223 cannon, almost 75,000 rifles, and significant quantities of other munitions. More than 37,000 Confederate soldiers were paroled to fight again. Late in the year General Bragg and the Army of Tennessee won a bloody victory at Chickamauga and followed with the siege of their foe at Chattanooga. General Grant assumed command and broke the siege, delivering another victory for the Union, and banishing the Confederate forces to northern Georgia. b now becomes the year of destiny for the Union. The Confederate economy is battered. Confederate currency, that in 1861 was worth 95 cents to the U. S. dollar, is now worth about 3 V cents. Inflation is wreaking havoc in the South. Railroads are in dire straits and lesser lines are being torn up to provide rail for more important lines. Rolling stock, for the railroads, is of various gauges and supply is dwindling.

The blockade runners are very successful but the Union blockade has closed off all routine traffic and as Union forces capture various Southern ports the blockade runners are left with fewer ports of entry. The economy is teetering.

General Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia remains the mainstay of the Confederate forces. Lee has his men in winter camps in various locations throughout Virginia and detachments from his army are in North Carolina and Tennessee. General Bragg, following his defeat at Chattanooga and retreat into northwestern Georgia, has turned his command over to General Joseph Johnston. Johnston is busy re-supplying the Army of Tennessee and restoring morale. Forces in the Trans-Mississippi under General Edmund Kirby Smith are in various locations in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Many men are home on furlough as all of the armies rest and regroup to prepare for spring campaigns.

For the South it is now apparent that they are on the defensive. They no longer have the ability to carry the war into the North. Realistically they no longer have the ability to launch major offensives. In fact, the problem is far more basic. The Confederacy cannot keep its armies in shoes, clothing and food.


Near Centerville, Virginia                   Miss. Josephine Ross

                   Farm girl

"Very few families had stoves so cooking was done on the hearth in and around the fire. Ovens and skillets were used for cooking. The fire-place had a crane on which pots were hung for boiling.

My mother and older sisters often had the privilege of feeding our Southern soldiers as on several occasions they camped in winter on adjoining farms. I can remember when a company passed through and they cooked for them. It was hard on our scant supplies but mother gave fully while it lasted and I think we never went hungry ourselves. We had our cows, chickens, turkeys and a fine orchard that rarely failed to bear fruit."

(ed.—Centerville, Virginia is now called Greenville, West Virginia. For ease of reference I will refer to areas such as Centerville, Union, Gap Mills, Sweet Spring and other towns in the Monroe County area as Virginia. The Confederacy still considered them part of Virginia and they still paid taxes and portions of their crops were collected for the support of the Confederate armies and also support of needy soldiers families.)

January 1, 1864                   Mr. John B. Jones, Clerk

Richmond, Virginia                   CSA War Department

"Flour is now at $150 per barrel. Capt. Warner just sold us 2 bushels of meal at $5 per bushel; the price in the market is $16 per bushel.

Undated                   Pvt. Evan S. Larmer

                   Co.B—25thVirginia Cavalry

we had very skanty rashens & porley closed the only close I got my dear old Mother sent me. Som of my comlads were almost ber footid & raged close…at times we suffered greatly. ³

Description of the Confederate Soldier                   Pvt. Carlton McCarthy

                   Richmond Howitzers

"Reduced to a minimum the private soldier consisted of one man, one hat, one jacket, one shirt, one pair of pants, one pair of drawers, one pair of shoes and one pair of socks. His baggage was one blanket, one rubber blanket, and one haversack. The haversack contained smoking tobacco and a pipe and generally a small piece of soap, with temporary additions of apples, persimmons, blackberries and such other commodities as he could pick up on the march.

Common white cotton shirts and drawers proved the best…(for) the common private. The infantry. carried their caps and cartridges in their pockets. Canteens…were discarded. A good strong tin cup was better…easier to fill at a well…and serviceable as a boiler for making coffee.

(Each soldiers) one blanket and one rubber cloth were rolled lengthwise, with the rubber cloth outside, tying the ends together and throwing the loop over the left shoulder…the (tied) ends hanging under the right arm." ⁴

Description of the Confederate Soldier                   2nd Lt. Randolph A. Shotwell

                   Co. H—8th Virginia Infantry

"I often remarked the little consideration shown the humble musket-bearer…the disregard for the feelings, comfort, health and welfare of the private soldier.

.thousands of men marched and fought with torn and festered feet because of lack of shoes…Often we were without rations for three or four days.

Pestiferous vermin swarmed in every camp, and on the march…an indescribable annoyance to every…man. Nothing would destroy the little pests but hours of steady boiling and of course, we had neither kettles, nor the time to boil them, if we had been provided with ample means.

As to purchasing clothes, the private soldier did not have an opportunity to do so once in six months, as their miserable pittance of $12 per month was generally withheld that length of time, or longer.

Starvation, rags, dirt, and vermin may be borne for a time…but when (the soldier) had become habituated to them. (he) was gradually worn out, and undermined." ⁵

January 2-4, 1864                   Captain Thomas J. Key

Tunnel Hill, Georgia                   Key’s Batt. Ark. Lt. Artillery

…rumor say that almost half of the women in the vicinity of the army, married or unmarried, are lost to all virtue. Oh, what are we coming to! How shall we preserve our character when the women—gentle, kind and good women—forsake the path of virtue?

Oh, my dear wife and children, how often every day my thoughts dwell upon you and I offer a prayer for your happiness." ⁶

January 3, 1864                   Dr. Spencer G. Welch, Surgeon

Near Orange Court House, Virginia                   13th South Carolina Infantry

I gave my old black coat to my brother. It fits him well and he is very much pleased with it. He has been keeping a chicken and it is now nearly grown, so we intend to have a big dinner soon, and will make a pot of dumplings and also have stewed corn and Irish potatoes…News is very scarce here now, and it would be difficult for me to write you a longer letter.

(ed: This is a letter to his wife but when the collection was put together the salutation was not included.)

January 4, 1864                    Ord. Sgt. Nathaniel V. Watkins

Near Petersburg, Virginia                   Co. K—34th Virginia Infantry

"My dear wife—

.yesterday the citizens of Richmond & P. attempted to give Genl Lee’s army a New Years dinner but it was almost a perfect failure—they did not know how much it takes to feed a large army, & consequently didn’t provide a half enough. Many of the soldiers got nothing—I got enough beef & bread to make me a light supper—Capt. Bagley’s Company got one turkey, two or three cabbages & a few little things. I think the whole effort was rediculous, but would have been a success if it had been contributed for the poor of the cities. We have a little snow on the ground this morning…we are burning coal in our bomb-proof now, & it keeps it much warmer than wood did…I hope and pray that this may be a happy new year…that God will soon restore peace & happiness to our people…Much love to all & especially to little Minnie.

Your devoted husband NVW" ⁸

(ed: Rather than address his wife as My dear Nanni, Nathaniel will open almost all of his letters with My dear wife. Little Minnie is their little girl and she is very special to Nathaniel.)

January 6, 1864                                      Miss. Emily R. McKinley

Vicksburg, Mississippi                   Teacher

Another year has commenced, yet no prospects of this war being brought to a close. We have read messages of both President Davis and Lincoln, that of the first ably written, that of the other ridiculous.

January 6, 1864                   William T. Gannaway

Trinity, North Carolina                   President, Trinity College

But on January 6, 1864, the college opened…with a much better patronage than was expected. Girls were admitted to our classes, and our…arrangements proved beneficial to both sexes. Fifteen or twenty young ladies occupied my recitation room, and were under my supervision and control…The usual curriculum was still continued, and all of the regular classes were represented…(it was) war time and one professor did as much work then as two or three of our college specialists. The difficulties to overcome were anomalous and unprecedented. The country was drained of its supplies to feed the soldiers…Board had ceased to be remunerative and was hard to get within the village. My house was taxed, in that respect, beyond its limits; for on their arrival, most of the students stopped with me till other arrangements might possibly be made. Some of my boarders paid in kind, some in specie, that had not seen the light for many years. Only six dollars, specie value, was charged each month for board when payments were made in kind. A young man, Mr. John B. Yarborough, a crippled soldier…paid me for two and one-half months board with seven bushels of wheat and 250 pounds of salt, which was brought all the way from the county of Rockingham. ¹⁰

Importance of Salt

The per capita consumption of salt in the antebellum South had been about 50 pounds a year, it being used chiefly in diet, preserving, and the tanning of hides. The prewar South had bought most of its salt from the North, it could have supplied itself during the war by boiling sea water and from saline artesian wells, but labor and transportations problems, compounded by speculation, created a serious shortage in many areas. North Carolina had three sea-water salt plants. One in the Currituck Sound, another near Morehead City, and the longest surviving works near Wilmington. These were run by private manufacturers under contract. Virginia had an extensive saltwork near Saltville and these works even supplied some 300,000 bushels per year under contract to North Carolina. Significant quantities of salt were required by the provisions contractors to preserve the huge quantities of salt pork and salt beef needed to feed the military of the Confederacy. ¹¹

Southwestern Virginia                   Rev. Edward O. Guerrant

Staff of Gen. H. Marshall

Between. Virginia and Tennessee…was the East Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia Railroad. Near this road were the great King’s Salt-works, in Smythe County, and the lead mines in Wythe County, Virginia and (also) many very fertile farms and valley and rich uplands, which furnished the Confederate armies a large part of their provisions.(many) invasions, principally by cavalry, were made in order to destroy the salt works and the railroad. ¹²

January, 1864                   Mr. J. N. White

Warrenton, North Carolina                   N. C. State Commissioner

"To His Excellency

Governor Z. B. Vance

While in England I purchased chiefly through Alexander Collie & Co. for the State and shipped to Bermuda.

I purchased 20,000 pairs of Army shoes 10,000 pairs of Gray Blankets 160 dozen Flannel shirts 5800 yards 6/4 Army Cloth 10,000 of Gray Cloth of finer quality and 70,000 pairs of Cotton and Wool Cards, 5 Card setting machines with wire and other furnishings sufficient to keep them running for perhaps 12 months and probably some other articles of small value not now recollected. (These) articles or most of them were expected to be shipped about the first of January 1864 but as I left England early in December I do not know whether they have been shipped or not." ¹³

January 7, 1864                  Mrs. Catherine Edmondston

Halifax County, North Carolina                   Plantation wife

"Terribly startled this morning by a heavy cannonading…the windows even jarring at the sound.sad tidings…yesterday received of the death in action of two of our young neighbors, members of the Scotland Neck Rifles…Mr. Frank Ferrall and Mr. David Camp, killed, whilst Mr. James Baker was wounded & in the hands of the enemy. Their bodies were brought home (from Greenville) for burial yesterday…Truly this War will be a bloody memorial to us all!

.Gen Joe Johnston has assumed command of the Army of Northern Georgia (Army of Tennessee). All quiet there." ¹⁴

(ed: Catherine is married to Patrick M. Edmondston who was raised in Charleston, SC. He attended college at South Carolina College and one year at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point. The 1850 census shows them in Halifax County which is where Catherine’s family lives. A dowry of $10,000 was the Devereux marriage settlement which was given in land in the form of 1200 acres comprising plantations named Looking Glass and Hascosea. By the 1860 census their land had grown to 1894 acres and they owned 88 slaves. Catherine’s parents lived on the main Devereux plantation, Conneconara, which adjoined the Looking Glass plantation and shared the river bottom. Catherine is 40 years old as she writes this journal entry.) 15

January 7, 1864                   Captain Elijah P. Petty

Bayou de Glaze, Louisiana                   Co. F—17th Texas Cavalry

"My dear wife

It is a miserable wet time and mud mud mud is all the go. We are having a rough time soldiering. We are living tolerable well. Have plenty of corn bread & poor beef all the time with occasionaly pork and potatoes. Have plenty of sugar and molasses and occasionly some flour. We have to send along ways for forage and provisions.

I weighed to day 146 pounds none of your swashy dropsical but genuine substantive flesh." ¹⁶

January 8, 1864                   Captain Theophilus Perry

Near Marksville, Louisiana                   Co. F—28th Texas Cavalry

"For several days I have had cabbages. This is very good living for camps…we are making little board huts & shelters to live in; and we are located in thick forest where there is abundance of good wood. Wood is the great essential.

The health of camps is good. Beef is very poor and no pork or bacon…I endeavor to live as well as possible to keep off sickness. Bad diet is the cause of many deaths in the army." ¹⁷

(ed: The 28th Texas Cavalry is actually infantry. They were unable to obtain adequate forage for their animals. They served most of the war as the 28th Texas Cavalry Dismounted.)

January 8, 1864                     Colonel J. K. Edmondson

Lexington, Virginia                   on medical furlough

"My dear wife,

I did not purposely avoid speaking of the smallpox in my last letter, but forgot to do so. The disease is not now in so good a condition. We have had one death since Matilda Humble. The disease is spreading some and I am afraid it will spread more yet. The old cases of smallpox are all well or getting well. The smallpox is certainly in Lexington…it is wrong for me to wish you to come home during the existance of smallpox here.

Your affectionate husband" ¹⁸

(ed.—Emma is staying with family friends in Staunton, Virginia. While only 35 miles away it is a 2 day journey and in a time of limited travel a reasonable buffer against a disease like smallpox. James is on medical furlough from the 27th Virginia Infantry. He was wounded in the arm, at Chancellorsville, in May of1863. He had his left arm and part of the shoulder amputated. James is on furlough to recover but is still shown on the rolls of the 27th Virginia.)

January 8, 1864                   Mr. John B. Jones, Clerk

Richmond, Virginia                   CSA War Department

Today I bought a barrel of potatoes (Irish) for $25. ■-providing for an anticipated season of famine. ¹⁹

January 9, 1864                   Mrs. Catherine Edmondston

Halifax County, North Carolina                   Plantation wife

After much discussion Congress has repealed the Substitution Act & places all the principals in the field without, however, releasing the substitutes! By some it is argued that this is a breach of Faith by the Government whilst others contend that it is merely the resumption of a privilege granted for no definite time, that those who have furnished substitutes ought to be thankful for immunity so long granted them and not grumble at being now called on to shoulder arms."

That wise body is now exercising itself about the Exemptions. Truly this weak body is a mill stone around the neck of our young Confederacy…our gloomiest anticipations arise from the conduct of our law givers." ²⁰

January 9, 1864                       Captain Elijah P. Petty

Bayou de Glaze, Louisiana                   Co. F—17th Texas Cavalry

If the question of war or peace on any terms was submitted to this army the side of peace would get a heavy vote…they sigh for peace, peace, peace, home and family…This is between us & I wouldn’t have it circulated for any thing so be mum upon this subject. ²¹

January 10, 1864                   Rev. S. R. Houston, D.D.

Union, Virginia                   Presbyterian Minister

No services at night. Extremely difficult to get tallow and lard, oil cannot be obtained at all. ²²

January, 1864                   C. S. Blockade Runner Ad-Vance

Wilmington, North Carolina                   

"The Ad-Vance was as successful as she was lucky. In January she completed her 8th successful run to Bermuda. She (in these 8 runs) hauled in tons of munitions, 40,000 pairs of shoes, 40,000 blankets, vast quantities of British woolen cloth & over 300,000 pounds of bacon. One of the smallest, but most valuable items, were cotton cards, devices that made it possible to turn raw cotton into yarn. N. Carolina imported over 112,000 sets of cards (during the war), distributing to families to both clothe themselves & create a surplus of yarn which the state bought to make uniforms." ²³

(ed.—The Advance was unique in that she was purchased as a blockade runner by the State of North Carolina wholly for the use of the State in importing supplies to support the war effort. Because she was wholly state owned the CSA Government gave her an exemption and she was not subject to hauling initially 33% and later 50% of ships cargo for the National Government.) ²³

January 10, 1864                   Miss Julia Chase

Winchester, Virginia                   Resident

A Lieutenant of the 3rd. Arkansas…with a squad of men…delivered themselves up. We do not wonder at so many. rebel soldiers giving themselves up…deprived of their pay…money so depreciated that it will buy very small portions of food for their families, who are…in starvation. ²⁴

January 10, 1864                   Mrs. Harriet Perry

Marshall, Texas                   Farm wife

"My Dear Husband: (Theophilus)

Billie Hinton has paid me for the hire of Sam & Rufus. He will not take them again. He is much flustrated about the substitute law, and expects to have to go in the army. I feel very low-spirited about the war—may your life be spared is the prayer of your affectionate wife." ²⁵

January 11, 1864                   Major John G. Pressley

Near Secessionville, South Carolina                   25th South Carolina Infantry

I am not sure that any of the 25th S. C. Volunteers got to eating rats, which were very numerous and large on the post, but some of the officers and soldiers of the artillery indulged in savory messes of those delicate rodents. A fat rat was worth ten cents. On the 11th of January Lt. Col. Brown and Dr. Thomas Grimke invited me to a rat supper. I went, but was not sufficiently hungry to partake of the viands. The Colonel and Doctor pronounced the repast excellent. ²⁶

January 12, 1864                   Captain Theophilus Perry

Near Marksville, Louisiana                   Co. F—28th Texas Cavalry

"Dear Harriet—

I have two pigs fattening. If we remain at this camp for several weeks they will make good pork, weighing 60 or 70 pounds apiece. They cost 10 dollars a piece…Enough is wasted here to feed 100 hogs…nothing would be better than 20 or 30.old geese, I relish baked goose…I get good cabbages for one dollar each.

Attend to my wishes, in reference to buying a place. Consult Papa always. Confederate money is gone past all redemption I fear…I do not believe landed property is in as much danger as many think…there is always relenting and moderation of sentiments after victory. It has always been so. My love all. Kiss the Baby. Let him sleep with the tittee. Farewell." ²⁷

January 13, 1864                   Dr. Wm. M. McPheeters

Near Camden, Arkansas                   Surgeon, Churchill’s Division

Rode to Gen. Parsons’ Brigade this morning with Dr. Wooten to attend the Army Medical Association which met in Dr. Bell’s quarters. Had quite an interesting meeting. Several papers were heard on pnuemonia in the army and an intelligent discussion took place on the subject…Dr. Christie gave an interesting demonstration of the heart using an ox heart for the purpose. Had a spirited ride home. After dark ate broiled venison and ho cake (in my) tent. Spent the evening reading and smoking. ²⁸

January, 1864                   Private John Green

In camp near Dalton, Georgia                   1st Kentucky Infantry

"The army made itself comfortable winter quarters here at Dalton. They had built log huts, with chimneys.

Rations…are very short; the only meat we have had…has been blue beef. The cattle are slaughtered somewhere. cut up & put in barrels of salt brine & shipped here…some days corn meal & sweet potatoes and some days corn meal and peanuts." ²⁹

January 14, 1864                   General A. R. Lawton

Richmond, Virginia                   Quartermaster General, C.S.A.

"Governor J. E. Brown Milledgeville, GA. :

General Johnston considers the supply of his army as seriously endangered by the condition of the Western and Atlantic Railroad. The want of fuel (wood) and condition of rolling stock present serious obsticals. I beg to call your attention to this matter…the fate of Georgia may depend on that road. Can this department assist in any arrangement you desire to make?" ³⁰

January 15, 1864                   Governor Joe E. Brown

Milledgeville, Georgia               

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