Friday, June 2, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 28, 1863

The enemy's raid in Mississippi seems to have terminated at Enterprise, where we collected a force and offered battle, but the invaders retreated. It is said they had 1600 cavalry and 5 guns, and the impression prevails that but few of them will ever return. It is said they sent back a detachment of 200 men some days ago with their booty, watches, spoons, jewelry, etc. rifled from the habitations of the non-combating people.

I saw Brig.-Gen. Chilton to day, Chief of Gen. Lee's Staff. He says, when the time comes, Gen. Lee will do us all justice. I asked him if Richmond were safe, and he responded in the affirmative.

I am glad the Secretary of War has stopped the blockade-running operations of Gen. Winder and Judge Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War. Until to-day, Gen. W. issued many passports which were invariably approved by Judge Campbell, but for some cause, and Heaven knows there is cause enough, Mr. Secretary has ordered that no more passports be granted Marylanders or foreigners to depart from the Confederacy. I hope Mr. S. will not “back down” from this position.

To-day I returned to the department from the Bureau of Conscription, being required at my old post by Mr. Kean, Chief of the Bureau of War, my friend, Jacques, being out of town with a strangury. Thus it is; when Congress meets I am detailed on service out of the department, and when Congress adjourns they send for me back again. Do they object to my acquaintance with the members?

A few weeks ago I addressed the President a letter suggesting that an alphabetical analysis be made of letter and indorsement books, embracing principles of decisions, and not names. This I did for the Bureau of Conscription, which was found very useful. Precedents could thus be readily referred to when, as was often the case, the names of parties could not be recollected. It happened, singularly enough, that this paper came into my hands with forty-nine others to-day, at the department, where I shall wholly remain hereafter. The President seemed struck with the idea, and indorsed a reference on it to the “State, Treasury, War, and Navy Departments,” and also to the Attorney-General. I shall be curious to know what the Secretary thinks of this plan. No matter what the Secretary of War thinks of it; he declined my plan of deriving supplies directly from the people, and then adopted it.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 300-1

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