Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 29, 1862

The Quartermaster-General publishes a notice that he will receive and distribute contributions of clothing, etc. to the army, and even pay for the shirts $1 each! Shirts are selling at $12. The people will not trust him to convey the clothing to their sons and brothers, and so the army must suffer on. But he is getting in bad odor. A gentleman in Alabama writes that his agents are speculating in food: the President tells the Secretary to demand explanations, and the Secretary does so. Col. Myers fails, I think, to make the exhibit required, and it may be the worse for him.

I see by the papers that another of Gen. Winder's police has escaped to Washington City, and is now acting as a Federal detective. And yet many similar traitors are retained in service here!

The Governor of North Carolina writes the President that his State intends to organize an army of 10,000 men for its own defense, besides her sixty regiments in the Confederate States service; and asks if the Confederate States Government can furnish any arms, etc. The President sends this to the Secretary of War, for his advice. He wants to know Mr. Seddon's views on the subject — a delicate and embarrassing predicament for the new Secretary, truly! He must know that the President frowns on all military organizations not under his own control, and that he counteracted all Gen. Floyd's efforts to raise a division under State authority. Beware, Mr. Seddon! The President is a little particular concerning his prerogatives; and by the advice you now give, you stand or fall. What is North Carolina to the Empire? You tread on dangerous ground. Forget your old State Rights doctrine, or off goes your head.

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. 198-9

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