After all, Fredericksburg was severely shelled — whether designedly or incidentally in the fight, does not yet appear.
Our army has fallen back a little — for a purpose. Lee knows every inch of the ground.
Again we have rumors of a hostile fleet being in the river; and Major-Gen. G. W. Smith has gone to Petersburg to see after the means of defense, if an attack should be made in that quarter. Some little gloom and despondency are manifested, for the first time, in this community.
Major-Gen. S. Jones writes that although the Federal Gen. Cox has left the valley of the Kanawha, 5000 of his men remain; and he deems it inexpedient, in response to Gen. Lee's suggestion, to detach any portion of his troops for operations elsewhere. He says Jenkins's cavalry is in a bad condition.
Here is an instance of South Carolina honor. During the battle of Williamsburg, last spring, W. R. Erwin, a private in Col. Jenkins's Palmetto sharpshooters, was detailed to take care of the wounded, and was himself taken prisoner The enemy supposing him to be a surgeon, he was paroled. He now returns to the service; and although the mistake could never be detected, he insists on our government exchanging a private of the enemy's for himself. With the assurance that this will be done, he goes again to battle.
Yesterday flour and tobacco had a fall at auction. Some suppose the bidders had in view the contingency of the capture of the city by the enemy.
In the market-house this morning, I heard a man speaking loudly, denounce a farmer for asking about $6 a bushel for his potatoes, and hoping that the Yankees would take them from him for nothing!
SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 211-2