Thursday, February 9, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 9, 1863

Gen. Lee requests that all dispatches passing between his headquarters and the War Department be in cipher. He says everything of importance communicated, he has observed, soon becomes the topic of public conversation; and thence is soon made known to the enemy.

The iron-clad gun-boat, which got past Vicksburg, has been up the Red River spreading devastation. It has taken three of our steamers, forty officers on one, and captured large amounts of stores and cotton.

Gen. Wise made a dash into Williamsburg last night, and captured the place, taking some prisoners..

Custis (my son) received a letter to-day from Miss G., Newbern, via underground railroad, inclosing another for her sweet-heart in the army. She says they are getting on tolerably well in the, hands of the enemy, though the slaves have been emancipated. She says a Yankee preacher (whom she calls a white-washed negro) made a speculation. He read the Lincoln Proclamation to the negroes: and then announced that none of them had been legally married, and might be liable to prosecution. To obviate this, he proposed to marry them over, charging only a dollar for each couple. He realized several thousand dollars, and then returned to the North. This was a legitimate Yankee speculation; and no doubt the preacher will continue to be an enthusiastic advocate of a war of subjugation. As long as the Yankees can make money by it, and escape killing, the war will continue.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 256-7

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