A young man showed me a passport to-day to return to Washington. It appears that Secretary Randolph has adopted another plan, which must be a rare stroke of genius. The printed passport is “by order of the Secretary of War,” and is signed by “J. H. Winder, Brig.-Gen.” But this is not all: on the back it is “approved — by order of Major-Gen. Gustavus W. Smith,” and signed by one of Smith's “adjutants.” So the command of the Secretary of War is approved by the New Yorker, Smith, after being first manipulated by Winder. It is an improvement, at all events, on the late mode of sending out spies — they cannot get passports for bribes now, without Smith's adjutant knowing something about it. Heretofore the “Plug Uglies” might take the bribe, and by their influence with Gen. Winder, obtain his signature to a blank passport.
The following was received yesterday:
winchester, Va., Oct. 14, 1862.
hon. G. W. Randolph.
The cavalry expedition to Pennsylvania has returned safe. They passed through Mercersburg, Chambersburg, Emmetsburg, Liberty, New Market, Syattstown, and Burnesville. The expedition crossed the Potomac above Williamsport, and recrossed at White's Ford, making the entire circuit, cutting the enemy's communications, destroying arms, etc., and obtaining many recruits.
R. E. Lee, General.
Thus, Gen. Stuart has made another circle round the enemy's army; and hitherto, every time he has done so, a grand battle followed. Let McClellan beware!
A letter, just received from Gen. Lee, says there is no apprehension of an immediate advance of McClellan's army. This he has ascertained from his scouts sent out to obtain information. He says the enemy is in no condition to advance. Will they go into winter quarters? Or will Lee beat them up in their quarters?
But the government has desired Lee to fall back from the Potomac; and Lee, knowing best what he should do at present, declines the honor. He says he is now subsisting his army on what, if he retreated, would subsist the enemy, as he has but limited means of transportation. He says, moreover, that our cavalry about Culpepper and Manassas (belonging to the command of Gen. Gustavus W. Smith), should be more active and daring in dashing at the enemy; and then, a few weeks hence, McClellan would go into winter quarters. That would insure the safety of Richmond until spring.
There is a rumor, generally credited, that Bragg has led the enemy, in Kentucky, into an ambuscade, and slaughtered 25,000. A traveler from the West reports having read an account to this effect in the Louisville Journal. If the Journal really says so — that number won't cover the loss. The Abolitionist journals are incorrigible liars. And, indeed, so are many of those who bring us news from the West.
SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 170-1