Saturday, July 15, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 7, 1863

I saw yesterday a specimen of the President's elaborate attention to the matter of appointments. Lient.-Gen. A. P. Hill having asked for a military court to his corps, and having recommended the officers, the President, with his own hand, laid down the rule of selection for the guidance of the Secretary, viz.: the State which had the greatest number of regiments would be entitled to the choice of positions, to be taken from the candidates of its citizens according to qualifications, recommendations, etc. It appeared that North Carolina stood first on the list, Virginia next, Georgia next, and so on.

Oh that we could get something decisive from Vicksburg! If Grant's and Banks's armies should be destroyed, I think there would be some prospect of peace at an early day. For, if Lincoln should persist in a prolongation of the war, the probabilities would be the expulsion of the enemy from the Mississippi Valley and the recovery of New Orleans. After the fifteenth of this month, operations must cease on the Carolina and Georgia coasts — Charleston and Wilmington being still in our possession. But we should not be idle. Lee, in disdaining the sheltered army of the invaders, would be likely to invade in turn; and the public demand of retaliation for the cruelties and destruction of private property perpetrated by the enemy could not be resisted. His men would probably apply the torch to the towns and cities of the Yankees, destroying their crops, farming utensils, etc., as the invaders have done in Virginia and elsewhere.

To avoid these calamities, it is possible Lincoln would make peace. Therefore we are so anxious to hear from Vicksburg, the turning-point of the war.

Besides, we shall not please England by our treatment of her consuls; and this may stimulate the United States to concentrate its wrath upon its ancient foe.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 342

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