Melinda R., age unknown, North Carolina


This has seemed like a month of reverses to us. The Yankees have gained a decisive victory in Kentucky attended by great loss of life on either side. We lost one of our greatest Generals Zollicoffer. Gen Beauregard has been carried from Manassas to supply his place. Yesterday we heard sad news. The yankees with 53 vessels part of a great fleet called the Burnside fleet sent out by the yankees the greater part of which was lost in a recent storm attacked Roanoke Island which was defended by from 2800 to 3000 men. Roanoke Island is between Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. By the accounts yesterday 300 of our men were killed and some wounded only 24 escaped. I am not certain what the yankees loss was. Two of Ida Murchisons brothers are down there. There was a Georgia regiment, The Richmond Blues a company in the legion have only 7 men left. The people all along the coast are greatly excited and they reason to be as New Bern and Wilmington are both liable to an attack. No official count of the battle has been received. The accounts are contradicting but it is certain our loss is severe. How dreadful everyone must feel who has any of their family there, for I knew how badly we felt when we heard of the battle of Bethel.

*(Diary: Melinda Ray, 1861-1865, North Carolina State Archives)