Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - February 14, 1862

Fredericksburg Friday 14 [February 1862]

My brother is safe. Capt Lynch, his officers and crew were saved.

God bless my dear husband. He is the noblest and best that ever lived. He told me yesterday evening that he thought the time had come for him to enlist and do what he could for the cause of our country, that even though he might not be very efficient himself, his example might lead others to go. He had already sacrificed more than most men in leaving Washington and giving up his profession, his partnership and all he possessed in the world to come here.
And now that he has an office under Government, one that will be quite profitable, and that exempts him from all military duty, he wants to resign it and go into the service as a Lieutenant of Artillery. Says he is not fit for any higher post and is not strong enough to be a private.

It is a life so entirely repugnant to all his tastes and feelings. He never has had the least taste even for field sports, and knows nothing about a gun. All his pleasures were centered in his home and in his books. If he goes he will make a greater sacrifice of tastes and feelings and worldly prospects than anybody I know. Many wealthy men go, but they can come back to their wealth. Many poor men go, but they have nothing to lose and all to gain. Many go and have their business carried on by others. He had nothing, and will give up his only chance of making money to go where he can barely earn a living.

He has written to consult Papa about it. If it is right I shall not say the first word against it. Though I shall live but half a life without him.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - February 12, 1862

Old Mansion. Wednesday 12 [February 1862]

What miserable and anxious days the two past have been. We hear of nothing but disaster and defeat on every side.

Capt Lynch and his little fleet of gun boats were captured at Elizabeth City where they made a stand, but had to give up to over whelming numbers. Where is my brother? Is he among the killed, or has he been taken prisoner? If he was prepared to die.

We can hear nothing yet except that Commodore Lynch was wounded before he was captured.

Our soldiers fought nobly. The news from the West is disastrous. The enemy have penetrated into North Alabama as far as Florence.

The coils of the "Great Anaconda" seem to be tightening around us. That is the name the Yankees have given their plan to crush us all around simultaneously from all points. God help us. Oh my brother my brother.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - February 10, 1862

Old Mansion, Monday 10 [February 1862]

The enemy have taken Roanoke island. They were fifteen thousand strong. We had fifteen hundred.

Roanoke island is a vital point and of great strategical importance. It is the key to many counties and towns in North Carolina and endangers Norfolk. God help us and grant that they gain no further foot hold on our soil.

Got a precious letter from my dear husband today. Oh that the feelings he expresses may be lasting.

I feel anxious about Johnny. He is with Capt Lynch. It is the Burnside fleet that have taken Roanoke.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - February 9, 1862

Sunday 9th [February 1862]

We hear no more of the Burnside fleet.

Will stopped here Tuesday on his way up to Fredericksburg from Richmond and stayed until yesterday.

He tells me that Gen’ Early has preferred charges against my dear Dick, that he is to be court-martialed and is now under arrest.

It seems that about three weeks ago Dick was on a Court Martial of which General Bonham was the President. The Court rose one Saturday morning to sit again on Monday and D obtained a verbal leave from Gen Bonham to absent himself for that time. As I understand it when an officer is on a Court Martial he is for the time under the command of his superiors on the Court and not under the officers of his Brigade.

Dick started to come to Fredericksburg and be married. When he got to Dumfries he found he could not go and return in that time. He was on horseback. So he spent the night there and returned to his post, near Union Mills, next day. This is the sum total of his offense. Papa says the charges against him are most frivolous and wicked. He wants Dick to employ council but D says he intends to plead his own cause, wants the first case he wins to be his own. Bless his heart. I hope he may gain it. There seems to be a sort of fatality attending his marriage.

Papa has got Bob an appointment as master in the Navy at a salary of a thousand dollars! He is acting as Papa’s Clerk now. Mr. Corbin has been promoted to the same rank and sent to New Orleans on some temporary duty. They will both be ordered to the steam Launches when they are done.

Johnny has gone to join Capt Lynch on the North Carolina coast. He is Capt’s Clerk.

Tom’s wife experts to have a baby next month. She is with her mother in Washington and he is in our army near Manassas.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - February 2, 1862

Old Mansion, Caroline County
Sunday, February 2nd [1862]

Aunt Mary, Nannie Belle and I came down here last Wednesday to see cousin Sally &c.

We heard yesterday that cousin Dabney, Col Maury, has been ordered away from Aquia Creek and sent to join Van Dorn in Arkansas. It goes hard with aunt Eliza for him to be ordered away before she knew any thing about it or could tell him good bye.
Burnside reports eighteen of his fleet wrecked and more missing. He is landing at Hatteras and awaits reinforcements. We do not know what place they intend to move against.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - January 24, 1862

Friday 24th [January 1862]

Three of Burnsides vessels were sunk or stranded in the late storm.

We have met with a defeat near Bowling Green Kentucky. Our General Zollicoffer, was killed and five hundred men.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - January 23, 1862

Thursday 23d [January 1862]

Cousin Mary Blackford found among cousin John’s old papers to day a letter to her father, my great uncle General Minor, from a Dr. Smith of Williamsburg written soon after the Revolutionary war. He stated that a few evenings before he was sent for by his friend the Rev’ Mr. Warrington of that town, to see Miss Warrington, his daughter, who was seized with a fit of violent cramp colic and while he was there she was delivered of a child. That child was the son of Count Rochambeau, and was the Commodore Warrington that we all knew so well, and who was my father’s good friend.

Mama says that after Commodore Warrington had distinguished himself as a Navy officer Count Rochambeau wanted to acknowledge him but his son refused to have any thing to do with him.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - January 22, 1862

Wednesday 22nd Jan[uary, 1862]

Burnsides fleet consisting of a hundred and twenty five vessels are off Cape Hatteras.

Johnny has gone to Richmond to act as Papa’s Clerk for a while.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - January 18, 1862

Sunday 18th [January 1862]

Milly, Nanny’s good and faithful servant died this morning. Nanny is much distressed about it. She was devoted to N. Eliza and I have just made a cross of ivy leaves and laid it on her breast.

I cannot help feeling anxious about Nannie Belle. She is very nervous and excitable and is unchildlike in her distress when she hears of the death of any friend, talks about her getting sick and dying, and tells me that she cannot help thinking about it all the time. She is remarkably precocious & curious. Papa says I ought to be very careful with her and not teach her any thing or allow her to talk of things above her comprehension. She inquired of her father this morning how much money he had. He asked her why she wanted to know. She replied, “Because I want you to send some to the Charleston sufferers.” I am sure that was not her motive in asking but she is so quick and never at a loss for an answer.

Papa went to Richmond last week. Mr. Blackford, cousin Mary and Charley Minor are still here attending to the division of cousin John’s property.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - January 16, 1862

Thursday [January 16, 1862]

Cousin John was not buried until yesterday evening. His family would keep him until then. The body was kept in our dining room (we have no parlour) and we took all our meals in the kitchen. The house is full of company and Papa confined to his sick room, so we have had a most uncomfortable time.

Certainly the Minors are a most eccentric people. Cousin Mary Blackford would have a few pleasant words to say to many of her old friends and acquaintances as she was following her brother’s coffin in and out of the church.

When we got to the ground cousin Lucius was the first one to jump into the grave, and help the coffin down and he would assist in shoveling in the earth.

I reckon we will have to move before long. Papa rented this house from cousin John and he boarded with us.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - January 12, 1862

Sunday afternoon Jan 12th [1862]

Cousin John Minor died at two o’clock today. Johnny and I had been with him for an hour or two. We had no idea he was so near his end. Capt Lewis and Capt Braxton came in just before he breathed his last. His mind had been wandering all the morning and towards the last he was insensible. He was sitting up in his chair when he died.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - January 5, 1862

[Sunday] January 5th 1862

Papa has been at home since before Christmas. Has been quite sick with cold and has the gout now though he insists it is the rhumetism. He is much worried at being confined here when it is so important that he should be attending to the building of the Steam Launches. The appropriation should have been given to him in October when he first asked for it. He could have made much head way in the last three months instead of just commencing now.

Lincoln has given up Mason and Slidell and their secretaries to Lord Lyons, but has made no apology for the insult as the English Government demanded. Mr. Seward rather justifies the act in his letter to Lord Lyons. Says that if Capt’ Wilkes had seized the Trent and had her condemned at the nearest port it would have been all lawful and right. But as that form was omitted, and as the rebellion has been effectually checked and considerably lessened in its propositions he is willing to give the Commissions up.

We hope to hear from England again on the subject.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - December 29, 1861

Sunday 29th [December 1861]

Mama has been telling Nannie Belle lately about when she was a little girl and lived with aunt Strachan. Yesterday Nannie Belle cut a number of straws out of the wisp and tied them together and said “mama here is a lock of my aunt Straws hair.”

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - December 25, 1861

Christmas night [1861]

The Yankee Government has decided to return Mason and Slidell, so the New York Herald says.

Capt Wilkes captured the Commissioners without the authority of his Government. But the Secretary of the Navy commended him for what he had done in his message to Congress and Congress had publicly approved of it. It will be a national disgrace for them to give the Commissioners up. So go our hopes for peace. We will have to fight it out by ourselves.

Expected Dick to night. His second wedding day had been fixed for tomorrow but we got a telegram this evening saying he could not come.

I feel anxious about Nannie Belle. She has taken cold.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - December 22, 1861

Sunday 22nd [December 1861]

At last we have heard from England about the capture of Mason and Slidell on board the British Steamer Trent.

Large meetings have been held in London and Liverpool to petition the Government to resent the insult offered to their flag.

The Queen held a Cabinet meeting, and detained the last Steamer to send a special messenger with dispatches to Lord Lyons. This much is certain.

The papers say that she has demanded the return of Mason and Slidell and their Secretaries, and that the Yankee Government apologize for the insult.

In the meantime she has sent over a supply of ammunition & guns to Canada. So the Yankees will have to choose between public disgrace and a war with England. From the tone of their papers they will choose the latter. If they do, the first action of the British Government will be to acknowledge the independence of the Confederate States, break up the blockade, and open the cotton market which will keep many thousand English people from ruin and want this winter.

If it is all true we can see peace glimmering in the distance. We ought to hear this week that Lord Lyons has demanded his passports. If not – the news has been exagerated, and the difficulty will be smoothed over in some way or other.

I wonder what cousin Ann and Nan and the rest of those Yankee English Maurys think now?

The Confederate Government has given Papa the appropriation for his Steam Launches. He is to build them and command them when built. He hopes to bring them into service by the first of June.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - December 15, 1861

Sunday December 15th [1861]

There was a terrible fire in Charleston last week. It lasted three days. More than one fourth of the city is in ruins. The two principal hotels, the Cathedral, the Theatre and St. Andrews Hall were all burnt.

The President has sent a special message to Congress on the subject. Says that the debt the Confederate States owe South Carolina ought to be paid at once.

A collection will be taken up next Sunday for the benefit of the people of Charleston.

It has been a good deal discussed lately whether or not Matsy should study Caesar's Latin history. I heard Nannie Belle tell her doll this morning that she was going to put her in Caesar.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - December 1, 1861

Sunday [1 December 1861]

Nothing has transpired lately worthy of note. Our troops are preparing to go into winter quarters and we will probably have no more battles before the Spring.

Jimmy Herndon arrived here this morning much to our surprise and delight. He was a surgeon in the U.S. army and has been stationed at some post in the far West. He arrived in New York via California a few days ago, came down to Washington and sent in his resignation. It was not accepted and he was ordered to Arlington Heights. He left at once in a buggy for the banks of the lower Potomac. He travelled in a stage part of the way. His fellow travellers scarcely spoke a word. Each one was afraid of the others. When they all got out to walk up a hill one man, who was walking close to Jimmy said “What state are you from, Sir?” “No state sir, no state atall” was his reply. All right, said the man, “I came from that state myself.” [Note written along left edge of page: May 1862. That man was hung in Richmond as a spy a few days ago.]

Jim brought us a long letter from Mother. It was written on a piece of cambric and sewed between the out side and the lining of his vest.

She tells us that Doctor Butler no longer received a regular salary from his congregation. The pews are full, a collection is taken up every Sunday and all who go to hear him pay 6 ½ cts per sermon!

Rutson Maury has been arrested and sent to Fort Lafayette.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - November 24, 1861

Sunday 24th [November 1861]

Papa came up last night. He is much disappointed at not getting the appropriation for the Steam Launch from the Virginia Convention. They have handed the matter over to the Confederate Government. Am afraid nothing will be done.

The Examiner comes out in a very bitter piece against Papa. Says he wants this appropriation of a million dollars to peculate with. The piece was written by Quinton Washington, Mr. Hunter’s private secretary. If I was a man I would horsewhip him.

Fontaine Maury, Nanny’s old sweetheart has been arrested and sent to Fort Lafayette.

It is just leaking out now that the fight at Port Royal entrance was a most disgraceful affair on our part.

The guns were so badly manned that all but two were dismounted by the mismanagement of our gunners. Two were dismounted at the first fire and after the second five were spiked by the jamming of the priming wire in the gun.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - November 22, 1861

Friday November 22nd [1861]

Read the Presidents message last night. He speaks of our succession of glorious victories at Bethel, Bull Run, Manassas, Springfield, Lexington, Leesburg and Belmont and says “We shall continue this struggle in humble dependence upon Providence, to whose rule we confidently submit our destinies knowing that liberty is always won where there exists the unconquerable will to be free.” It is a very able message – so folksy.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - November 18, 1861

Monday [November 18 1861]

Nannie Belle is still too sick for me to think of writing regularly in my diary. The scarlet fever is an epidemic here now. Many children are dying every day from it. I shall be so thankful if my little ewe lamb is spared.

The enemy still hold Port Royal harbour, the island and forts. They have made no attempts to go farther into the interior. Their object they say is to open several of the Southern ports in order that the Union men of the South may send their cotton abroad.

The British Steamer in which Messrs Mason and Slidell (our Commissioners to England and France) left Havanna was over hauled by a United States Man of War (Capt Wilkes) and the Commissioners and their secretaries carried to Fortress Monroe. English will have lost much of her old pride and arrogance if she submits to such an insult.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - November 12, 1861

Tuesday [12 November 1861]

Nannie Belle is better I hope. Her father bought her a china baby the other day of which she is very proud because it is china. Constantly says “it wont break Mama, it is so china.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - November 11, 1861

Monday [11 November 1861]

We have gained a victory and sustained a defeat since I last wrote.

The enemies fleet have captured Fort Walker and Bay Point battery, on either side of Port Royal entrance. We are expecting hourly to hear of a battle at Beaufort. Gen’ Lee has gone down to take command of the coast defences.

We gained a signal victory at Belmont Kentucky, on the 7th. The battle lasted five hours.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - November 7, 1861

Thursday [ 7 November 1861]

General Scott has retired from active service because of his age and infirmities. He says Lincoln and his Cabinet called upon the old humbug to express their regret and thank him for his services to his country and his adherence to the Union. The old crocodile was effected to tears and whished that he was able to assist in crushing the rebellion. And he is a Virginian.

Gen’ McClelland is their commander in chief now.

Commodore Tatnall has engaged the enemy off Port Royal Entrance.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - November 6, 1861

Wednesday [6 November 1861]

Have just read an account from the Washington Intelligencer of Lincoln's Armada. It consists of eighty vessels, which carry besides their full crews a force of thirty thousand soldiers. The expedition is most complete in its out fit. They carry five hundred surf boats, and experienced wreckers from the coast of New Jersey to land the troops in the surf. They take a number of masons and carpenters with their tools besides bricks, lumber, prepared frames of houses, barracks and wagons.

Beside the solders rations to last while they are on board ship, they carried provisions sufficient for three months and a half.

We hear that twenty three Federal vessels were standing off Port Royal S.C. in line of battle. Active preparations are making in Savannah to repel an attack.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - November 5, 1861

Tuesday [5 November 1861]

The terrible storm on Friday night has driven two transports of Lincolns Armada on the North Carolina coast. Papa says "Hurrah! for our allies the winds and the waves, and glory to that great and good Being whose ministers they are."

Have been buying things to send to Dick tins, groceries, and clothes & &.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - November 4, 1861

Monday [4 November 1861]

Papa has answered the Grand Duke's letter. Told him he could not go now, but after the war is over he will go to pay him the tribute of a grateful heart.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - November 2, 1861

Saturday 2 [November 1861]

[Illegible newspaper article] The President has issued a most eloquent proclamation.

Johnny did not succeed in getting up his artillery company. He is very anxious to join one of the batteries on the Potomac as private. Papa is opposed to it. Wants him to study in Will's office this winter, but J's heart is with the army. Papa thinks the duties as private will be too hard for him. The President says it is like grinding seed corn to allow such youths to enter the service.

We got a letter from Dick yesterday. Says he spent his wedding night (that was to be) on picket duty in the pine woods in a driving rain without fire or tent.

His camp bedstead is so cold that he has taken to mother earth and sleeps on the ground rolled up in a blanket with his feet to the fire. The whole regiment is up and about before day it is so cold and breakfast is over by sunrise.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - November 1, 1861

Friday - November 1st [1861]

Our Commissioners to England and France Mr. Mason and Mr. Slidell have sailed in a British steamer from Cuba. They ran the blockade at Charleston some weeks ago.

A most formidable Yankee fleet left Hampton Roads last Tuesday.

We feel very anxious about it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Diary of Betty Herndon Maury - October 30, 1861

Wednesday [30 October 1861]

Judge Merrick has been arrested in Washington for issuing a writ of habeas corpus upon a soldier who is a Minor.

Will got a letter this morning from the District Attorney telling him to report as soon as possible to the Secretary of the Navy all the ship timber to be sequestered in his District.