Friday, December 30, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 14, 1863

Gen. Beauregard, some of whose forces have been taken from him and sent to the defense of Wilmington, is apprehensive that they may be lost, in the event of the enemy making a combined naval and land attack, and then Charleston and Savannah would be in great peril. Gens. Smith and Whiting call lustily for aid, and say they have not adequate means of defense.

Some 4000 more negroes have been called for to work on the fortifications near Richmond. I believe 10,000 are at work now.

A letter “by order” of the Secretary of War to Col. Godwin, in King and Queen County, written by Judge Campbell, says that blockaders are allowed to run through, provided they be not suspicious parties. The government takes what it wants at seventy-five per cent, and releases the rest. The parties are liable to have their goods confiscated by the Secretary of the Treasury, who, however, the letter proceeds to say, has never molested any one in the illicit trade — smuggling.
In Congress, yesterday, Mr. Foote called for a committee to investigate the commissary's contract with Haxhall, Crenshaw & Co., and was particularly severe on Major Kuffin, in the commissary's office, whom he understood was a partner in the flour concern.

Mr. Foote introduced a series of resolutions to-day, tempting the Northern States to make peace with us separately, excluding the New England States, and promising commercial advantages, etc. But we must treat as independent States, pledging a league with those that abandon the United States Government — offensive and defensive — and guaranteeing the navigation of the Mississippi River to the Northwestern States. They were referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, of which he is the chairman. This is nothing.

But neither yesterday nor the day before was there a quorum of both houses; a sad spectacle in such a season of gloom. It was enlivened, however, by a communication from the Surgeon-General, proposing to send surgeons to vaccinate all the members. They declined the honor, though the small-pox is raging frightfully.

To-day a quorum was found in each house, and the President's message was sent in. I have not read it yet.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 237-8

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