Thursday, October 27, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 4, 1862

All is quiet (before the storm) on the Rappahannock, Gen. Jackson's corps being some twenty miles lower down the river than Longstreet's. It is said Burnside has been removed already and Hooker given the command.

Gen. S. Cooper takes sides with Col. Myers against Gen. Wise. Gen. W.'s letter of complaint of the words, “Let them suffer,” was referred to Gen. C., who insisted upon sending the letter to the Quartermaster-General before either the Secretary or the President saw it, — and it was done. Why do the Northern men here hate Wise?

Gen. Lee dispatches to-day that there is a very large amount of corn in the Rappahannock Valley, which can be procured, if wagons be sent from Richmond. What does this mean? That the enemy will come over and get it if we do not take it away?

A letter from the President of the Graniteville Cotton Mills, complains that only 75 per ct. profit is allowed by Act of Congress, whose operatives are exempted from military duty, if the law be interpreted to include sales to individuals as well as to the government, and suggesting certain modifications. He says he makes 14,000 yards per day, which is some 4,000,000 per annum. It costs him 20 cts. per yard to manufacture cotton cloth, including, of course, the cotton, and 75 per ct. will yield, I believe, $500,000 profits, which would be equivalent to 32 cts. per yard. But the market price, he says, is 68 cts. per yard, or some $2,000,000 profits! This war is a great encourager of domestic manufacturers, truly!

The Governor sends out a proclamation to-day, saying the President has called on him and other governors for assistance, in returning absent officers and men to their camps; in procuring supplies of food and clothing for the army; in drafting slaves to work on fortifications; and, finally, to put down the extortioners. The Governor invokes the people to respond promptly and fully. But how does this speak for the government, or rather the efficiency of the men who by “many indirect ways” came into power? Alas! it is a sad commentary.

The President sent a hundred papers to the department to-day, which he has been diligently poring over, as his pencil marks bear ample evidence. They were nearly all applications for office, and this business constitutes much of his labor.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 203-4

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