We have nothing additional or confirmatory from the West. A letter from Gen. Beauregard states that he has but 17,000 men in South Carolina, and 10,000 in Georgia, 27,000 in all. He asks more, as he will be assailed, probably, by 100,000 Federals. The President refers this important letter to the Secretary of War, simply with the indorsement, “this is an exact statement of affairs in South Carolina and Georgia."
Col. Lay predicts that we shall be beaten in thirty days, or else we shall then be in the way of beating the enemy. A safe prediction — but what is his belief? This deponent saith not. There will be fearful odds against us, and yet our men in the field fear nothing.
We are sending Napoleons up to Lee. But the weather, which has been fine for the last two days, is wet again. If Hooker makes a premature advance, he will be sure to “march back again.”
An amusing letter was received from an officer in Tennessee today. He was taken prisoner by seven Federals when straying some distance from camp, and subsequently hearing the men express some anxiety to be at home again with their families, gave them some brandy which he happened to possess. He then suggested a plan by which they might return to their homes, viz., to become his prisoners, and being paroled by him. After consultation, they agreed to it, and released him. He then paroled them, giving them the usual certificates to exhibit to their officer, and so, taking another drink, they pursued their different ways. If this disposition prevails extensively among the Western Federals, we may look for speedy results in that quarter. Rosecrans may lose his laurels in a most unexpected manner.
SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 280-1