Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 25, 1862

Christmas Day.—Northern papers show that there is much distraction in the North; that both Seward and Chase, who had resigned their positions, were with difficulty persuaded to resume them. This news, coupled with the recent victory, and some reported successes in the West (Van Dorn's capture of Holly Springs), produces some effect on the spirits of the people here; and we have a merrier Christmas than the last one.

It is said the Federal Congress is about to provide for the organization of 100 regiments of negroes. This does not occasion anxiety here. The slaves, once armed, would cut their way back to their masters. The only possible way to restore the Union — if indeed it be possible — is to withdraw all the Federal troops, and maintain an effeitive blockade. There might possibly ensue dissensions among our politicians and States, detrimental to any required unity of purpose. But the Yankees, with all their smartness, cannot perceive this. They can never appal us with horrors, for we have fed upon nothing else for so long a period, that we have become accustomed to them. And they have not men enough to subjugate us and hold us in subjugation. Two millions would not suffice!

The boys are firing Chinese crackers everywhere, and no little gunpowder is consumed in commemoration of the day.

But turkeys are selling at $11 each! Shoes for $25 per pair. Salt, however, has fallen from $1.50 to 33 cents per pound. Fresh meats sell at from 35 to 50 cents per pound.

A silver (lever) watch, which had been lying in my trunk for two years, and which cost me $25, sold at auction yesterday for $75. This sufficed for fuel for a month, and a Christmas dinner. At the end of another month, my poor family must be scattered again, as this house will be occupied by its owner. I have advertised for boarding in the country, but get no response. It would require $300 per month to board my family here, and that is more than my income. What shall we do? Trust in God!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 224-5

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