Monday, July 3, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 29, 1863

A dispatch from Gen. Johnston, dated 27th inst, says fighting at Vicksburg had been in progress ever since the 19th instant, and that our troops have been invariably successful in repulsing the assults. Other dispatches say the uuburied dead of the enemy, lying in heaps near our fortifications, have produced such an intolerable stench that our men are burning barrels of tar without their works.

But still all is indefinite. Yet, from the persistent assaults of the enemy it may be inferred that Grant is inspired with the conviction that it is necessary for him to capture Vicksburg immediately, and before Johnston collects an army in his rear. A few days may produce a decisive result.

Hon. E. S. Dargan, Mobile, Ala., writes that it is indispensable for our government to stipulate for aid from Europe at the earliest moment practicable, even if we must agree to the gradual emancipation of the slaves. He says the enemy will soon overrun the Southwestern States and prevent communication with the East, and then these States (Eastern) cannot long resist the superior numbers of the invaders. Better (he thinks, I suppose) yield slavery, and even be under the protection of a foreign government, than succumb to the United States.

The enemy, wherever they have possession in the South, have adopted the policy of sending away (into the Confederate States) all the inhabitants who refuse to take the oath of allegiance. This enables them to appropriate their property, and, being destitute, the wanderers will aid in the consumption of the stores of the Confederates. A Mr. W. E. Benthuisen, merchant, sent from New Orleans, telegraphs the President for passports for himself and family to proceed to Richmond. The President intimates to the Secretary of War that many similar cases may be looked for, and he thinks it would be better for the families to be dispersed in the country than congregated in the city.

The following are the wholesale prices to-day:

“produce, provisions, etc. – The quotations given are wholesale. Wheat-nothing doing – we quote it nominal at $6.50 to $7; corn, very scarce, may be quoted at $9 to $10; oats, $6 to $6.50 per bushel; flour-superfine, $32, extra, $34, family, $37 per barrel; corn-meal, $11 per bushel; bacon, hoground, $1.45 to $1.50 – a strictly prime article a shade higher; butter, $2.50 to $3 per pound; lard, $1.50 to $1.60; candles, $2.75 to $3 for tallow, $5 for adamantine; dried fruit-apples, $10 to $12, peaches, $15 to $18 per bushel; eggs, $1.40 to $1.50 per dozen; beans, $18 to $20; peas, $15 to $18 per bushel; potatoes, $8 to $10 per bushel; hay and sheaf-oats, $10 to $12 per cwt.; rice, 18 to 20 cents per pound; salt, 45 to 50 cents per pound; soap, 50 to 60 cents per pound for hard country.

leather. — Market unsettled. We quote as follows: Sole, $3.50 to $4 per pound; harness, $1 to $1.25; russett and wax upper, $5 to $5.50; wax kip skins, $6 per pound; calf skins, $300 to $325 per dozen.

liquors. — We continue to quote apple brandy at $23 to $25; whisky, $28 to $32; French brandy — common, $45, genuine, $30 per gallon.

groceries. — Brown sugar, $1.40 to $1.55 per pound — no clarified or crushed offering; molasses, $10.50 to $11 per gallon; coffee, $3.75 to $4 per pound; tea, $8.50 to $10 per pound.”

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 335-6

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