Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: March 30, 1863

Gen. Bragg dispatches the government that Gen. Forrest has captured 800 prisoners in Tennessee, and several thousand of our men are making a successful raid in Kentucky.

Gen. Whiting makes urgent calls for reinforcements at Wilmington, and cannot be supplied with many.

Gen. Lee announces to the War Department that the spring campaign is now open, and his army may be in motion any day.

Col. Godwin (of King and Queen County) is here trying to prevail on the Secretary of War to put a stop to the blockaderunners, Jews, and spies, daily passing through his lines with passports from Gens. Elzey and Winder. He says the persons engaged in this illicit traffic are all extortioners and spies, and $50,000 worth of goods from the enemy's country pass daily.

Col. Lay still repudiates Judge Meredith's decision in his instructions to the Commandants of Camps of Instruction. Well, if we have a superabundance of fighting men in the field, the foreign-born denizens and Marylanders can remain at home and make money while the country that protects them is harried by the invader.

The gaunt form of wretched famine still approaches with rapid strides. Meal is now selling at $12 per bushel, and potatoes at $l6. Meats have almost disappeared from the market, and none but the opulent can afford to pay $3.50 per pound for butter. Greens, however, of various kinds, are coming in; and as the season advances, we may expect a diminution of prices. It is strange that on the 30th of March, even in the “sunny South,” the fruit-trees are as bare of blossoms and foliage as at mid-winter. We shall have fire until the middle of May, — six months of winter!

I am spading up my little garden, and hope to raise a few vegetables to eke out a miserable subsistence for my family. My daughter Ann reads Shakspeare to me o' nights, which saves my eyes.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 282-3

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