The heavy firing heard did no execution. Letters from Gen. Lee indicate no battle, unless the enemy should make an egregious blunder. He says he has not half men enough to resist McClellan's advance with his mighty army, and prefers manoeuvring to risking his army. He says three-fourths of our cavalry horses are sick with sore-tongue, and their hoofs are falling off, and the soldiers are not fed and clad as they should be. He urges the sending of supplies to Gordonsville.
And we have news of a simultaneous advance of Northern armies everywhere; and everywhere we have the same story of deficiency of men and provisions. North and south, east and west of us, the enemy is reported advancing.
Soon we shall have every one blaming the Secretary of War for the deficiency of men, and of quartermaster and commissary stores.
The Commissary-General, backed by the Secretary of War, made another effort to-day to obtain the President's permission to trade cotton with “Butler, the Beast.” But the President and Gov. Pettus will manage that little matter without their assistance.
Major Ruffin's (Commissary's Bureau) statement of the alarming prospects ahead, unless provisions be obtained outside of the Confederacy (for cotton), was induced by reports from New Orleans. A man was in the office to-day exhibiting Butler's passport, and making assurances that all the Yankee generals are for sale — for cotton. Butler will make a fortune — and so will some of our great men. Butler says the reason he don't send troops into the interior is that he is afraid we will burn the cotton.
It is reported that a fleet of the enemy's gun-boats are in the James River.
SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 187-8