Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: March 18, 1863

I sent an extract from my Diary of yesterday to the Hon. T. H. Watts, Minister of Justice. I know not whether he will appreciate its importance; but he has professed friendship for me.

The city is in some excitement to-day, for early this morning we had intelligence of the crossing of the Rappahannock by a portion of the Federal army. During the day the division of Hood defiled through the streets, at a quick pace, marching back to Lee's army. But the march of troops and the rumbling of artillery have ceased to be novel spectacles to our community. Some aged ladies ran out as they passed, calling the bronzed Texans their “children,” and distributed loaves of bread and other food among them. I never saw a merrier set than these brave soldiers, who have been through the “fire and the flood” numberless times. Some of them had three or four loaves on their bayonets.

Gen. Lee himself left early this morning, on an extra train, having been “caught napping” here, the first time. The enemy crossed the river yesterday.

But during the day a dispatch was received from Gen. J. E. B. Stuart (cavalry), stating that he had attacked the enemy on this side of the river, and beaten him back, forcing him to recross with loss. The particulars of the fight were not stated; but it is believed we lost a brigadier-general, killed.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 276-7

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