Saturday, July 1, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 27, 1863

Gen. Beauregard's statement of the number of his troops, after 10,000 had been ordered to Mississippi, with urgent appeals for the order to be countermanded, came back from the President to-day, to whom it had been referred by Mr. Secretary Seddon. The President indorsed, characteristically, that the statement did not agree in numbers with a previous one, and asked the Secretary to note the discrepancy! This was all.

The president of the Seaboard Railroad requests the Secretary to forbid the common use of the bridge over the Roanoke at Weldon, the tracks being planked, to be used in case of a hasty retreat; the loss might be great, if it were rendered useless. It is 1760 feet long, and 60 feet high.

Mr. John Minor Botts is here in difficulty, a negro being detected bearing a letter from him to the enemy's camp. The letter asked if no order had come from Washington, concerning the restoration of his slaves taken away (he lives on the Rappahannock) by Hooker's men; and stating that it was hard for him to be insulted and imprisoned by the Confederate States — and deprived of his property by the United States — he a neutral. Gen. R Lee thought he ought not to be permitted to remain in proximity to the enemy, and so sent him on to Richmond. He was to see the Secretary to-day.

Hon. D. M. Lewis, Sparta, Ga., writes that he will cut his wheat on the 28th (to-morrow), and both for quality and quantity he never saw it equaled. They have new flour in Alabama; and everywhere South the crops are unprecedented in amount.

To-morrow is election day. For Congress, Col. Wickham, who voted against secession, opposes Mr. Lyons. But he has fought since!

We have a letter from Gen. Jos. E. Johnston, dated at Calhoun, Miss., l6th inst. He says the enemy on the railroad at Clinton numbered 25,000. We got our baggage out of Jackson before it was abandoned. Pemberton marched to Edward's Station with 17,000 men. Gen. Johnston himself had 7500, and some 15,000 more were on the way to him. We had 3000 at Port Hudson — being over 40,000 which he meant to concentrate immediately. I think Vicksburg ought to be safe.

Our government has been notified that, if we execute the two officers (selected by lot) in retaliation for the execution of two of our officers in Kentucky, two men will be shot or hung by the enemy. Thus the war will be still more terrible!

Vallandigham has been sent to Shellbyville, within our lines. I think our people ought to give him a friendly greeting.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 333-4

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