Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 19, 1862

Gen. Burnside acknowledges a loss of upwards of 5000, which is good evidence here that his loss was not less than 15,000. The Washington papers congratulate themselves on the escape of their army, and say it might have been easily captured by Lee. They propose, now, going into winter quarters.

We have nothing further from North Carolina or Mississippi. Gen. Banks's expedition had passed Hilton Head.

A Mr. Bunch, British Consul, has written an impudent letter to the department, alleging that an Irishman, unnaturalized, is forcibly detained in one of our camps. He says his letters have not been answered, which was great discourtesy, and he means to inform Lord John Russell of it. This letter was replied to in rather scathing terms, as the Irishman had enlisted and then deserted. Besides, we are out of humor with England now, and court a French alliance.

The President was at Chattanooga on the 15th instant; and writes the Secretary that he has made some eight appointments of brigadiers, and promotions to major-generals. Major-Gen. Buckner is assigned to command at Mobile.

We are straightened for envelopes, and have taken to turning those we receive. This is economy; something new in the South. My family dines four or five times a week on liver and rice. We cannot afford anything better; others do not live so well.

Custis and I were vaccinated to-day, with the rest of the officers of the department.

The Northern papers now want the Federal army to go into winter quarters. This was, confessedly, to be the final effort to take Richmond. It failed. Many of the people regard the disaster of Burnside as the harbinger of peace.

An officer from the field informs me that all our generals were sadly disappointed, when it was discovered that Burnside had fled. They wanted one more blow at him, and he would have been completely destroyed.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 217-8

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