Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: March 14, 1863

Gen. Pemberton writes that he has 3000 hogsheads of sugar at Vicksburg, which he retains for his soldiers to subsist on when the meat fails. Meat is scarce there as well as here. Bacon now sells for $1.50 per pound in Richmond. Butter $3. I design to cultivate a little garden 20 by 50 feet; but fear I cannot get seeds. I have sought in vain for peas, beans, corn, and tomatoes seeds. Potatoes are $12 per bushel. Ordinary chickens are worth $3 a piece. My youngest daughter put her earrings on sale to-day — price $25; and I think they will bring it, for which she can purchase a pair of shoes. The area of subsistence is contracting around us; but my children are more enthusiastic for independence than ever. Daily I hear them say they would gladly embrace death rather than the rule of the Yankee. If all our people were of the same mind, our final success would be certain.

This day the leading article in the Examiner had a striking, if not an ominous conclusion. Inveighing against the despotism of the North, the editor takes occasion likewise to denounce the measure of impressment here. He says if our Congress should follow the example of the Northern Congress, and invest our President with dictatorial powers, a reconstruction of the Union might be a practicable thing; for our people would choose to belong to a strong despotism rather than a weak one — the strong one being of course the United States with 20,000,000, rather than the Confederate States with 8,000,000. There maybe something in this, but we shall be injured by it; for the crowd going North will take it thither, where it will be reproduced, and stimulate the invader to renewed exertions. It is a dark hour. But God disposes. If we deserve it, we shall triumph; if not, why should we?

But we cannot fail without more great battles; and who knows what results may be evolved by them? Gen. Lee is hopeful; and so long as we keep the field, and he commands, the foe must bleed for every acre of soil they gain.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 273-4

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