We have nothing from the West to-day. But it is believed that Hooker is retiring toward Manassas — that fatal field — where another (and the third) battle may be fought. Lee's army is certainly on the march, and a collision of arms cannot be averted many days. It is believed Gen. Ewell, successor of Jackson, has beaten Milroy at Winchester.
But, while terrible events are daily anticipated in the field, all the civilians seem to have gone wild with speculation, and official corruption runs riot throughout the land. J. M. Seixas, agent of the War Department, writes from Wilmington that while the government steamers can get no cotton to exchange abroad for ordnance stores, the steamers of individuals are laden, and depart almost daily. This is said to be partly the work of the “Southern Express Company,” believed to be Yankees (a portion of them), which contracts to deliver freight, and bribes the railroads and monopolizes transportation. This is the company on whose application Judge Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War, granted so many exemptions and details! It takes a great number of able-bodied men from the army, and then, by a peculiar process, absolutely embarrasses, as Gen. Whiting says, the conduct of the war.
Judge Dargan, of Alabama, writes that private blockade-runners are ruining the country — supplying the enemy with cotton, and bringing in liquors and useless gew-gaws.
SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 350