Sunday, July 7, 2013

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: Thursday, July 9, 1863

The sad tidings from Vicksburg have been confirmed by subsequent accounts. The number of men fit for duty on the day of capitulation was only a little upwards of 7000. Flour was selling at $400 per barrel! This betrays the extremity to which they had been reduced.

A dispatch to-day states that Grant, with 100,000 men (supposed), is marching on Jackson, to give Johnston battle. But Johnston will retire — he has not men enough to withstand him, until he leads him farther into the interior. If beaten, Mobile might fall.

We have no particulars yet — no comments of the Southern generals under Pemberton. But the fall of the place has cast a gloom over everything.

The fall of Vicksburg, alone, does not make this the darkest day of the war, as it is undoubtedly. The news from Lee's army is appalling. After the battle of Friday, the accounts from Martinsburg now state, he fell back toward Hagerstown, followed by the enemy, fighting but little on the way. Instead of 40,000 we have only 4000 prisoners. How many we have lost, we know not. The Potomac is, perhaps, too high for him to pass it — and there are probably 15,000 of the enemy immediately in his rear! Such are the gloomy accounts from Martinsburg.

Our telegraph operators are great liars, or else they have been made the dupes of spies and traitors. That the cause has suffered much, and may be ruined by the toleration of disloyal persons within our lines, who have kept the enemy informed of all our movements, there can be no doubt.

The following is Gen. Johnston's dispatch announcing the fall of Vicksburg:

“JACKSON, July 7th, 1863.


“Vicksburg capitulated on the 4th inst. The garrison was paroled, and are to be returned to our lines, the officers retaining their side-arms and personal baggage.

“This intelligence was brought by an officer who left the place on Sunday, the 5th.

“J. E. JOHNSTON, General.”

We get nothing from Lee himself. Gen. Cooper, the Secretary of War, and Gen. Hill went to the President's office about one o'clock. They seemed in haste, and excited. The President, too, is sick, and ought not to attend to business. It will kill him, perhaps.

There is serious anxiety now for the fate of Richmond. Will Meade be here in a few weeks? Perhaps so — but, then, Lee may not have quite completed his raid beyond the Potomac.

The Baltimore American, no doubt in some trepidation for the quiescence of that city, gets up a most glowing account of "Meade's victory" — if it should, indeed, in the sequel, prove to have been one. That Lee fell back, is true; but how many men were lost on each side in killed, wounded, and prisoners — how many guns were taken, and what may be the result of the operations in Pennsylvania and Maryland — of which we have as yet such imperfect accounts — will soon be known.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 374-5

No comments: