Monday, December 12, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 1, 1863

This first day of the year dawned in gloom, but the sun, like the sun of Austerlitz, soon beamed forth in great splendor upon a people radiant with smiles and exalted to the empyrean.

A letter from Gen. H. Marshall informed the government that Gen. Floyd had seized slaves in Kentucky and refused to restore them to their owners, and that if the government did not promptly redress the wrong, the Kentuckians would at once “take the law into their own hands.”
We had a rumor (not yet contradicted) that the enemy, or traitors, had burned the railroad bridge between Bristol and Knoxville, cutting our communication with the West.

Then it was said (and it was true) that Gen. Lee had sent his artillery back some 30 miles this side of the Rappahannock, preparatory to going into winter quarters. But this was no occasion for gloom. Lee always knows what is best to be done.

Next there was a rumor (not yet confirmed, but credited) that Stuart had made another of his wonderful reconnoissances, capturing prisoners and destroying much of the enemy's stores beyond the Rappahannock.

Then came a dispatch from Bragg which put us almost “beside” ourselves with joy, and caused even enemies to pause and shake hands in the street. Yesterday he attacked Rosecrans's army near Murfreesborough, and gained a great victory. He says he drove him from all his positions, except on the extreme left, and after ten hours' fighting, occupied the whole of the field except (those exceptions!) the point named. We had, as trophies, thirty-one guns, two generals, 4000 prisoners, and 200 wagons. This is a Western dispatch, it is true, but it has Bragg's name to it, and he does not willingly exaggerate. Although I, for one, shall await the next dispatches with anxiety, there can be no question about the victory on the last day of the bloody year 1862. Bragg says the loss was heavy on both sides.

I noticed that one of the brass pieces sent down by Lee to go to North Carolina had been struck by a ball just over the muzzle, and left a glancing mark toward the touch-hole. That ball, probably, killed one of our gunners.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 227

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