Saturday, January 21, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 30, 1863

There is a rumor that Kentucky has voted to raise an army of 60,000 men to resist the execution of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

Fort Caswell, below Wilmington, has been casemated with iron; but can it withstand elongated balls weighing 480 pounds?  I fear not. There are, however, submarine batteries; yet these may be avoided, for Gen. Whiting writes that the best pilot (one sent thither some time ago by the enemy) escaped to the hostile fleet since Gen. Smith visited North Carolina, which is embraced within his command. This pilot, no doubt, knows the location of all our torpedoes.

Nothing further from Savannah.

Mr. Adams, the United States Minister at London, writes to Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, dated 17th of October, 1862, that if the Federal army shall not achieve decisive successes by the month of February ensuing, it is probable the British Parliament will recognize the Confederate States. To-morrow is the last day of January.

I cut the following from yesterday's Dispatch:

“The Results of Extortion and Speculation. — The state of affairs brought about by the speculating and extortion practiced upon the public cannot be better illustrated than by the following grocery bill for one week for a small family, in which the prices before the war and those of the present are compared:

Bacon, 10 lbs. at 12½c
Bacon, 10 lbs. at $1
$10 00
Flour, 30 lbs. at 5c
Flour, 30 lbs. at 12½c
Sugar, 5 lbs. at 5c
Sugar, 5 lbs. at $1.15
Coffee, 4 lbs. at 12½c
Coffee, 4 lbs. at $5
Tea (green) ½ lb. at $1
Tea (green) ½ lb. at $16
Lard, 4 lbs. at 12½c
Lard, 4 lbs. at $1
Butter, 3 lbs. at 25c
Butter, 3 lbs. at $1.75
Meal, 1 pk. at 25c
Meal, 1 pk. at $1
Candles, 2 lbs at 15c
Candles, 2 lbs at $1.25
Soap, 5 lbs. at 10c
Soap, 5 lbs. at $1.10
Pepper and salt (about)
Pepper and salt (about)

“So much we owe the speculators, who have stayed at home to prey upon the necessities of their fellow-citizens.”

We have just learned that a British steamer, with cannon and other valuable cargo, was captured by the enemy, two days ago, while trying to get in the harbor. Another, similarly laden, got safely in yesterday. We can afford to lose one ship out of three — that is, the owners can, and then make money.

Cotton sells at seventy-five, cents per pound in the United States. So the blockade must be felt by the enemy as well as ourselves. War is a two-edged sword.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 249-50

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