I have meditated on this day, as the anniversary of my birth, and the shortening lapse of time between me and eternity. I am now fifty-three years of age. Hitherto I have dismissed from my mind, if not with actual indifference, yet with far more unconcern than at present, the recurring birthdays which plunged me farther in the vale of years. But now I cannot conceal from myself, if so disposed, that I am getting to be an old man. My hair is gray — but nevertheless my form is still erect, and my step is brisk enough. My fancies, tastes, and enjoyments have not changed perceptibly; and I can and often do write without glasses. I desire to live after this war is over, if it be the will of God — if not, I hope to exist in a better world.
We have no news of interest to-day. A letter says the noncombatants, even the women and children, heedless of danger, were voluntary spectators of the bombardment of Vicksburg the other day. The shells often exploded near them, and behind them, but the-fascination was so great that they remained on the ground; even one had an arm carried away by a ball! Can such a people be subjugated?
Houses (furnished) are beginning to be offered more plentifully than ever before; their occupants and owners finding their ordinary incomes insufficient for subsistence. I suppose they mean to find in the country an escape from famine prices prevailing in the city.
There is a rumor this evening of the fall of Vicksburg; but that rumor has been whispered here several times during the last few months. No one believes it. When Vicksburg falls, many an invader will perish in its ruins.
SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 269