Friday, January 20, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 29, 1863

It appears from the Northern press that the enemy did make three attempts last week to cross the Rappahannock; but as they advanced toward the stream, the elements successfully opposed them. It rained, it snowed, and it froze. The gun carriages and wagons sank up to the hubs, the horses to their bodies, and the men to their knees; and so all stuck fast in the mud.

I saw an officer to-day from the army in North Carolina. He says the prospect for a battle is good, as soon as the roads admit of marching.

We have nothing further from the bombardment near Savannah. The wires may not be working — or the fort may be taken.

Gov. Vance has sent to the department a strong protest against the appointment of Col. August as commandant of conscripts in Northern Tennessee. Col. A. is a Virginian — that is the only reason. Well, Gen. Rains, who commands all the conscripts in the Confederate States, is a North Carolinian. But the War Department has erred in putting so many strangers in command of localities, where natives might have been selected. Richmond, for instance, has never yet been in the command of a Southern general.

There are indications of a speedy peace, although we are environed by sea and by land as menacingly as ever. The Tribune (New York) has an article which betrays much desperation. It says the only way for the United States Government to raise $300,000,000, indispensably necessary for a further prosecution of the war, is to guarantee (to the capitalists) that it will be the last call for a loan, and that subjugation will be accomplished in ninety days, or never. It says the war must then be urged on furiously, and negro soldiers sent among the slaves to produce an insurrection! If this will not suffice, then let peace be made on the best possible terms. The New York World denounces the article, and is for peace at once. It says if the project (diabolical) of the Tribune fails, it may not be possible to make peace on any terms. In this I see indications of a foregone conclusion. All over the North, and especially in the Northwest, the people are clamoring for peace, and denouncing the Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation. I have no doubt, if the war continues throughout the year, we shall have the spectacle of more Northern men fighting against the United States Government than slaves fighting against the South.

Almost every day, now, ships from Europe arrive safely with merchandise: and this is a sore vexation to the Northern merchants. We are likewise getting, daily, many supplies from the North, from blockade-runners. No doubt this is winked at by the United States military authorities, and perhaps by some of the civil ones, too.

If we are not utterly crushed before May (an impracticable thing), we shall win our independence.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 248-9

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