Sunday, February 19, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 18, 1863

Mr. H——s, another of Gen. Winder's detectives, has gone over to the enemy. He went on a privateering cruise from Wilmington; the vessel he sailed in captured a brig, and H——s was put in command of the prize, to sail into a Confederate port. Instead of this, however, H——s sailed away for one of the West India islands, and gave up his prize to Com. Wilkes, of the United States Navy.

One or two of the regiments of Gen. Lee's army were in the city last night. The men were pale and haggard. They have but a quarter of a pound of meat per day. But meat has been ordered from Atlanta. I hope it is abundant there.

All the necessaries of life in the city are still going up higher in price. Butter, $3 per pound; beef, $1; bacon, $1.25; sausage-meat, $1; and even liver is selling at 50 cents per pound.

By degrees, quite perceptible, we are approaching the condition of famine. What effect this will produce on the community is to be seen. The army must be fed or disbanded, or else the city must be abandoned. How we, “the people,” are to live is a thought of serious concern.

Gen. Lee has recommended that an appeal be made to the people to bring food to the army, to feed their sons and brothers; but the Commissary-General opposes it; probably it will not be done. No doubt the army could be half fed in this way for months. But the “red tape” men are inflexible and inscrutable. Nevertheless, the commissaries and quartermasters are getting rich.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 260-1

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