Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: Sunday, May 24, 1863

We have had a fortnight of calm, dry, and warm weather. There is a hazy atmosphere, and the sun rises and sets wearing a blood-red aspect. At night the moon, dimly and indistinctly seen (now a crescent), has a somber and baleful appearance. This is strange at this season of the year; it is like Indian summer in May. The ground is dry and crusted, and apprehensions are felt for the crops, unless we have rain in a few days. My poor little garden has suffered for moisture, but the area is so small I am enabled to throw water over it in the evening. My beets, tomatoes, early potatoes, and lettuce look pretty well, though not so far advanced, in consequence of the late spring, as I have seen them in Burlington. But they are a great comfort to me. I work them, water them, and look at them, and this is what the French would call a distraction. I have abundance of roses, — this is the city of roses. And my cherries are coming on finely, — I know not yet what kind they are; but it relieves the eye to gaze on them. And then my neighbor has a pigeon-house, and the birds come into my yard and are fed by my daughters, being pretty and tame. I sit for hours watching them.

Alas! this cruel war! But independence will be ample compensation. Our posterity will thank us for our sacrifices and sufferings. Yet all do not suffer. The Gil Biases, by their servility and cringing to their patrons, the great men in power, and only great because they have patronage to bestow, which is power, are getting rich. Even adroit clerks are becoming wealthy. They procure exemptions, discharges, and contracts for the speculators for heavy bribes, and invest the money immediately in real estate, having some doubts as to its ultimate redemption, and possibly indifferent as to the fate of the country, so that their own prosperity be secure. After the war the rascals and traitors will be rich, and ought to be marked and exposed.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 331-2

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