No fighting on the Rappahannock yet, that I hear of; and it is said the enemy are moving farther down the river. Can they mean to cross? Nothing more is heard of Gen. Corcoran, with his Irish bogtrotters, on the Peninsula.
The government has realized 50,000 pounds of leather from two counties in Eastern North Carolina, in danger of falling into the hands of the enemy. This convinces me that there is abundance of leather in the South, if it were properly distributed. It is held, like everything else, by speculators, for extortioners' profits. The government might remedy the evils, and remove the distresses of the people; but instead of doing so, the bureaus aggravate them by capricious seizures, and tyrannical restrictions on transportation. Letters are coming in from every quarter complaining of the despotic acts of government agents.
Mr. J. Foulkes writes another letter to the department on his cotton scheme. He says it must be embraced now or never, as the enemy will soon make such dispositions as would prevent his getting supplies through their lines. The Commissary-General approves, and the late Secretary approved; but what will the new one do? The President is non-committal.
What a blunder France and England made in hesitating to espouse our cause! They might have had any commercial advantages.
SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 196-7