Sunday, May 18, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - April 23, 1862

Wednesday 23rd April [1862]

Count Mercier, the French Minister, has been in Richmond for the last week. He expresses great surprise at the spirit and unanimity of our people. Says the Yankees have no idea of it. They think the rebellion is nearly crushed.

He is about to return to Washington and will tell his Government and Mr. Seward that a reconstruction of the Union is impossible. We suppose he came to find out exactly how matters stand.

Prince Napoleon has invited Papa, through Count Mercier, to come to France to live. I wish he would go for a time. I feel so miserable when I think of him falling into the hands of the Yankees.

The enemy have not yet crossed the river. A good many soldiers are in town every day, unarmed.

Our pickets have contrived to get off several waggon loads of their tents and baggage from here in the last few nights. They hide in the different houses until dark.

Got a letter from our dear Dick. He had been in a skirmish with the enemy and was complimented [and was complimented (crossed out)]by Gen’ Early for the way in which he conducted it. He thinks there will be no general engagement at Yorktown, and Papa is of the same opinion, unless we bring it on at once which is doubtful. What a ruinous policy we are pursuing. While the enemy is making a feast there, he will advance upon Richmond from some other point.

If we succeed in this struggle it will be in spite of our Generals. The man for the times has not yet been developed.

The enemy could not have a stranger position than they have on these Stafford hills with the river and town in front of them.

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