Thursday, June 15, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 11, 1863

Lieut.-Gen. J. T. Jackson died at 3 P.M. yesterday. His remains will arrive in the city at 5 P.M. this afternoon. The flags are at half-mast, and all the government offices and even places of business are closed. A multitude of people, mostly women and children, are standing silently in the streets, awaiting the arrival of the hero, destined never again to defend their homes and honor.

A letter from Gen. Lee says, emphatically, that if cavalry be not brought from North Carolina and the South, the enemy's cavalry will be enabled to make raids almost anywhere without molestation. I recollect distinctly how he urged the Secretary of War (Randolph), months ago, to send to Texas for horses, but it was not attended to — and now we see the consequences.

The exchanged prisoners here, taken at Arkansas Post, are ordered to the Mississippi. Gen. Longstreet urged the Secretary to send them off, if that were their destination, without a moment's delay, several days ago — else they would be too late to participate in the campaign.

Northern papers set down Hooker's loss at 20,000, a modest figure, subject to revision.

The Federal Secretary of War has issued a statement to mollify the panic. He is bound to acknowledge that, whereas Hooker advanced upon Lee across the river, he is now, after the battle, back again, where he started from. But he says not more than a third of the army was engaged; and as 30,000 reinforcements have been sent from Washington, and as many from Suffolk, the army will soon be as strong as ever, and in condition for another advance — and defeat.

But what credit can we attach to such statements, since McClellan, under oath, said that he had ninety odd thousand men at the battle of Sharpsburg, 75,000 of whom only were actually engaged, while Lee had 100,000? We know that he did not have 40,000 engaged!

Gen. Van Dorn is dead—being killed by a man whose peace he had ruined.

More applications for passports to leave the country are coming in — and they are "allowed" by the Assistant Secretary of War. How could he refuse, since his own family (at least a portion of it) have enjoyed the benefits of sojourning in the North since the war began?

A letter was received to day from Mr. Ranney, president of the N. C., Jackson, and Great Northern Railroad Co., asking the protection of government from harm for violations of the Act of Congress of April 19th, 1862, prohibiting the transportation of cotton within the enemy's lines. He incloses a number of peremptory orders from Lieut.-Gen. Pemberton, dated January 19th, February l6th and 19th, to take large amounts of cotton into the enemy's lines for S. J. Josephs (Jew?), and for Messrs. Clarke, Ford, and Hust, etc. etc. He says Gen. P. threatened to seize the road if he did not comply, and asserted that he had authority from the Secretary of War to issue the orders. One of these orders was from Gov. Pettus, for a small lot not more than fifty bales, to be exchanged for salt. This was authorized by the President, who most positively forbid the others. The letter from Gen. Johnston the other day said this traffic was subjugating the people. Was that “allowed” to reach the Secretary and the President? I know not; it has not yet passed through my hands from the President back to the department.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 319-21

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