We have nothing more from the Peninsula, Suffolk, N. C, or South Carolina; but it is rumored that the enemy's gun-boats (seven or eight) have passed down the Mississippi in spite of our batteries at Vicksburg, which sunk one of them. If this be true, it is bad news.
We have lovely weather now, and vegetation shows signs of the return of the vernal season. We shall soon have blossoms and roses in abundance, and table vegetables too, to dispel the fears of famine. But we shall also have the horrid sounds of devastating war; and many a cheerful dame and damsel to-day, must soon put on the weeds of mourning.
Gen. Jos. E. Johnston has assumed the command of the army of Tennessee. Gen. Howell Cobb is preparing for the defense of Florida. We do not hear a word from Lee or Jackson — but this is the ominous silence preceding their decisive action.
Bacon fell to-day from $2 to $1 50 per pound, and butter from $3.50 to $3.25; potatoes are $16 per bushel. And yet they say there is no scarcity in the country. Such supplies are hoarded and hidden to extort high prices from the destitute. An intelligent gentleman from North Carolina told me, to-day, that food was never more abundant in his State; nevertheless, the extortioners are demanding there very high prices.
This evening we have dispatches (unofficial) confirmatory of the passing of Vicksburg by the enemy's gun-boats. One of them was destroyed, and two disabled, while five got by uninjured. This is not cheering. No doubt an attack by land will be made, by superior numbers, and blood will gush in streams!
It is now said that Longstreet has captured two gun-boats in the Nansemond, and taken 600 prisoners; and that the Yankees in Norfolk have been thrown into great commotion. The general in command there, Veille, has adopted very stringent measures to keep the people sympathizing with our cause in subjection. Perhaps he fears an outbreak.
The weather continues fine, and we must soon have important operations in the field.
SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 295-6