Friday, December 16, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 5, 1863

We learn from Gen. Bragg that the enemy did not retire far on the 2d inst., but remain still in the vicinity of Murfreesborough. He says, however, that our cavalry are still circling the Yankees, taking prisoners and destroying stores. During the day an absurd rumor was invented, to the effect that Bragg had been beaten. We are anxious to learn the precise particulars of the battle. It is to be feared that too many of Bragg's men were ordered to reinforce Pemberton. If that blunder should prove disastrous, the authorities here will have a hornet's nest about their ears. The President arrived yesterday, and his patriotic and cheering speech at Jackson, Miss., appeared in all the papers this morning.

We hear of no fighting at Suffolk. But we have dispatches from North Carolina, stating that a storm assailed the enemy's fleet off Hatteras, sinking the Monitor with all on board, and so crippling the Galena that her guns were thrown overboard! This is good news — if it be confirmed.

A letter from Major Boyle, in command at Gordonsville, gives information that the smugglers and extortioners are trading tobacco (contraband) with the enemy at Alexandria. He arrested B. Nussbaum, E. Wheeler, and S. Backrack, and sent them with their wagons and goods to Gen. Winder, Richmond. But instead of being dealt with according to law, he learns that Backrack is back again, and on his way to this city with another wagon load of goods from Yankee-land, and will be here to-day or tomorrow. I sent the letter to the Secretary, and hope it will not be intercepted on its way to him from the front office. The Secretary never sees half the letters addressed him, or knows of one-half the attempts of persons to obtain interviews. The Assistant Secretary's duty is to dispose of the less important communications, but to exhibit his decisions.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 231-2

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