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Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston, February 18th, 1861


Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston, February 18th, 1861


Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston (pictured) recorded in her diary her various emotional, social, and personal experiences, throughout the Civil War, that ultimately exposed the dominant attitude and perspective of a southern woman. Her diction, rhetoric, and elocution, throughout her diary, implies the fundamental values and expectations of the ideal Southern woman during the course of the Civil War. She maintained praise for the Southern cause and expressed her manner of opinion about such topics as the election of Abraham Lincoln, the secession of South Carolina, the battle at Fort Sumter and those “Yankees” up North. Catherine maintains her dairy well after the Civil War had ended, which provides an insight to the reconstruction efforts and the bitter frustrations that plagued the South. This specific diary expresses Catherines' distaste for the ideological divisions in her family between her and her father, Thomas Devereux, on the eve of the Civil War.


Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston


Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston, 1860-1866 (Raleigh NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979), 37-38






Halifax County, North Carolina

Original Format



It gets almost painful to go to Father’s we differ so widely. He it is true says nothing personal or unhandsome, but he censures so sweepingly every thing that SC does. Mama & Susan do go on so about the “Flag. Who cares for the old striped rag now that the principle it represented is gone? Its it but an emblem of a past glory. How can it be upheld when the spirit-nay even the body-that gave it value is lost?

That hateful National Intelligencer is a fruitful bone of contention between us. A vile unjust sheet, it has the effrontery too to pretend to impartiality and under that flimsy mask stabs the South, decries her conduct, ridicules her position, digs out every improbable slander it can hunt up from the obscurity into which good taste, to say nothing of justice, would consign it, blazon’s it to the world with a manifest gout & says " See how just I am; even the faults of my own side I will not stoop to conceal, painful as it is to me to admit them!" My beleive is that it is much a Northern-Abolition anti Southern sheet as the Tribune only in a more Machiavelli like manner. Impartial indeed! & yet at Father’s it is a text book, a political Koran, which can say no wrong, “ so gentlemanly”! “so dignified”! ”no personalities here”! “Old Federalist”! Had I patience to study its editorials perhaps I might find out what are : the principles which placed the house of Brunswick on the throne” but I have not.


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Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston, Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston, February 18th, 1861, Civil War Era NC, accessed February 22, 2024,