Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 8, 1862

A letter from Gen. Lee, received to-day, states that, in the recent campaigns, he has experienced the effects of having inferior artillery and fixed ammunition. But this discrepancy is rapidly disappearing, from captures of the enemy's batteries, etc He recommends that our 12-pounder howitzers and 6-pounder smooth bores be recast into 12-pounder Napoleons, 10-pounder Parrott guns, and 3-inch rifle cannon. He wants four 12-pounder Napoleons sent him immediately, for a special purpose. His next battle will be principally with artillery.

Gov. Vance sends a letter, referring to an order of the government that all cotton not removed west of the Weldon and Williamsburg Railroad, by the 16th instant, is to be destroyed. He says his State is purchasing 15,000 to 20,000 bales, to establish a credit in Europe, and asks that the Confederate Government authorities will respect the cotton designed for this purpose. He says he will destroy it himself, when the enemy approaches. He says, moreover, that the order will have an unhappy effect; that many of the people have already lost their slaves, grain, etc. from the inroads of the enemy, and have nothing to live on but their cotton. If it remains where it is, how can they subsist on it without selling it to the enemy? And that would be treason, pretty nearly. But why does the government issue such an order in North Carolina, when the government itself is selling, not destroying, the cotton of Mississippi?

The President of the Central Railroad says that Messrs. Haxhall, Crenshaw & Co., who have the gigantic contract with the government to furnish flour, and who have a preference of transportation by the contract, are blocking up their depots, and fail to remove the grain. They keep whole trains waiting for days to be unladen; and thus hundreds of thousands of bushels, intended for other mills and the people are delayed, and the price kept up to the detriment of the community. Thus it is that the government contractors are aiding and abetting the extortioners. And for this reason large amounts of grain may fall into the hands of the enemy.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 207-8

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