All is quiet on the Rappahannock; the enemy reported to be extending his line up the river some twenty miles, intending to find a passage. He might have come over last week but for a ruse of Gen. Lee, who appeared near Fredericksburg twenty-four hours in advance of the army. His presence deceived Burnside, who took it for granted that our general was at the head of his army!
M. Paul carried the day yesterday, in the Confederate Court, in the matter of $2,000,000 worth of tobacco, which, under pretense of its belonging to French citizens (though bought by Belmont, of New York, an alien enemy), is rescued from sequestration. In other words, the recognition of M. Paul as Consul, and the validity of his demands, deprives the Confederate Government of two millions; and really acknowledges the exequatur of the United States, as M. Paul is not Consul to the Confederate States but to the United States. This looks like submission; and a great fee has been realized by somebody. If the enemy were to take Richmond, this tobacco would be destroyed by the military.
Gen. Joseph E. Johnston is assigned to the command of the army of the West.
To-day we have a dispatch from Gov. Pettus, saying authority to pass cotton through the lines of the army, and for salt to have ingress, must be given immediately. The President directs the Secretary to transmit orders to the generals to that effect. He says the cotton is to go to France without touching any port in the possession of the enemy.
SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 197-8