Gen. Fitzhugh Lee has made a dash into Fairfax (near Washington) a day or two ago, and captured the Federal Gen. Slaughter and other officers, in their beds.
Last night one of the government warehouses in this city was burnt. It is supposed to have been the work of an incendiary traitor; perhaps in retaliation for the recent impressment of flour. Yesterday the lower house of Congress passed a resolution restricting impressments. This has a bad aspect.
The Bureau of Conscription, to-day, under the direction of Col. Lay, decided that all clerks in the departments, appointed subsequent to the eleventh of October last, are liable to be enrolled for service. Yet the colonel himself has a clerk appointed in January last.
Gold sells at $5 in Confederate States notes for one; U. S. Treasury notes are at a premium here of $2.50. Even the notes of our State banks are at 60 per cent, premium over Confederate notes. This is bad for Mr. Memminger. An abler financier would have worked out a different result.
All the patriotism is in the army; out of it the demon avarice rages supreme. Every one seems mad with speculation; and the extortioners prey upon every victim that falls within their power. Nearly all who sell are extortioners. We have at the same time, and in the same community, spectacles of the most exalted virtue and of the most degrading vice.
Col. Mattel, the former commandant of conscripts for North Carolina, who was wounded at Kinston, and yet was superseded by Col. Lay's friend, Col. August, is now to be restored, and Col. A. relieved. Upon this Col. L. has fallen sick.
Mr. Duffield, whom Col. Lay and Mr. Jacques had appointed A. A. G. over me, has not yet, for some cause, got his commission. The Secretary or some one else may have “intervened.”
SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 272