Friday, July 7, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 30, 1863

The newspapers have a dispatch, to-day, from Jackson, Miss., which says the enemy have fallen back from the position lately occupied by them in front of Vicksburg. It adds, that they will be forced to retire to the Big Black River, for want of water. Gen. G. A. Smith, who is here, and who resigned because he was not made lieutenant-general instead of Pemberton, says he “don't know how to read this dispatch.” Nevertheless, it is generally believed, and affords much relief to those who appreciate the importance of Vicksburg.

Mr. Botts was offered $500 in Confederate States notes, the other day, for a horse. He said he would sell him for $250 in gold, but would not receive Confederate notes, as the South would certainly be conquered, and it was merely a question of time. This information was communicated to the Secretary of War to-day, but he will attach no importance to it.

Among the papers sent in by the President, to-day, was a communication from Gov. Vance, of North Carolina, inclosing a letter from Augustus S. Montgomery, of Washington City, to Major Gen. Foster, Newbern, N. C., found in a steamer, captured the other day by our forces, in Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, It informed Gen. F. that a plan of servile insurrection had been adopted, and urged his co-operation. All the Yankee generals in the South would co-operate: they were to send smart negroes from the camps among the slaves, with instructions to rise simultaneously at night of the 1st August. They were to seize and destroy all railroad bridges, cut the telegraph wires, etc., and then retire into the swamps, concealing themselves until relieved by Federal troops. It is said they were to be ordered to shed no blood, except in self-defense, and they were not to destroy more private g property than should be unavoidable. The writer said the corn would be in the roasting-ear, and the hogs would be running at large, so that the slaves could easily find subsistence.

The President thanked Gov. Vance for this information, and said our generals would be made acquainted with this scheme; and he commended the matter to the special attention of the Secretary of War, who sent it to Gen. Lee.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 336-7

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