Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 20, 1863

It has got out that the President intends to dispense with the services of Mr. Myers, the Jew Quartermaster-General, and Mr. Miles, member of Congress from South Carolina, who happens to be his friend, is characteristically doing the part of friend for his retention. But he gives the President some severe raps for alleged contempt of the wishes of Congress, that body having passed a bill (vetoed by the President) conferring on Col M. the rank and pay of brigadier-general.

The operations of Gen. Lee have relieved the depot here, which was nearly empty. Since the capture of Winchester and Martinsburg, only about 1500 bushels of corn are sent to the army daily whereas 5000 were sent before, and there were rarely more than day's supply on hand.

To-day, about one o'clock, the city was thrown into a state of joyful excitement, by the reception of news from the North. From this source it was ascertained, what had hitherto been only a matter of conjecture, that a portion of our forces, the same that captured Winchester and Martinsburg, were in Pennsylvania! Gen. Jenkins, with his cavalry, had taken Chambersburg on the 16th inst — and the North, from the line of Pennsylvania to the lakes, am from the seaboard to the western prairies, was stricken with consternation. These are some of the dispatches, as copied from Northern papers:

“The Governor of Ohio calls for 30,000 troops. The Governor of Pennsylvania calls for 50,000, to prevent the invasion of each State.

Washington, June 15th.—Lincoln has issued a proclamation for 100,000 men, to repel the invasion of Maryland, Northern Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

Harrisburg, June 15th.—Dispatches from Chambersburg and Hagerstown state that the rebel cavalry are at Berryville and Martinsburg. A dispatch dated 14th, says that hard fighting is going on. The rebels had driven Reynolds from Berryville, and were advancing on the capital. The towns and cities throughout Pennsylvania are in danger.

later. — Private dispatches state that on the 16th the rebels were at Chambersburg in force. .The Federals were removing the railroad machinery, stock, and stores. Great excitement and alarm pervaded the entire country.”

In the “hard fighting,” Gen. Lee reports our loss as “one killed and two wounded.” Here's the second dispatch:

Shelbyville, Tenn., June 18th.—Nashville papers of the 17th inst. have been received here. They contain Lincoln's proclamation, calling for 100,000 militia, for six months' service, and the following highly interesting telegrams:

loudon, Pa., June 16th.—The rebels are in heavy force in the Cumberland Valley.

bedford, Pa., June 16th. — Scouts report 6000 rebels at Cumberland, Maryland. The inhabitants are flying for safety from Harper's Ferry.

Harrisburg, June 16th. — Business is suspended here. All the important documents have been removed from the capital.

“Milroy telegraphs officially his repulse from the fortifications at Winchester by 15,000 rebels, with the loss of 2900 men.

“Governor Curtin calls upon the people of Pennsylvania to defend the State, saying that Philadelphia has not responded, while the enemy are in Chambersburg. He reproaches Pennsylvania for sniffling about the length of service when the exigency exists.

“Dispatches state that everything looks gloomy, and there is no saving the country south of the Susquehanna.

baltimore, June 16th. — Governor Bradford calls on the people to rally to the defense of Maryland.

Providence, R. I., June 16th.—Governor Smith convenes the Legislature on Thursday for the purpose of raising troops.

philadelphia, June 16th.—The Mayor has issued a proclamation closing the stores in order that the occupants may join military organizations to defend the city.

new York, June 16th. — All the regiments are getting ready under arms. The Brooklyn bells were rung at midnight, summoning the men to the regiments, which were to leave immediately for Philadelphia.

“Governor Andrews, of Massachusetts, tenders Lincoln all the available force of militia from that State.”

Milroy's statement in relation to the number of prisoners taken by us is pretty fair, when compared with Hooker's official statements on similar occasions. Some of the prisoners will probably arrive in Richmond to-day—and the Agent of Exchange has been notified that 7000 would be sent on. So Gen. Milroy told nearly half the truth.


Shelbyville, June 19th. — Other dispatches in the Nashville papers say that the rebels advanced six miles beyond Chambersburg. On the 16th Gen. Taylor telegraphs officially his retreat, and the capture of the Federal forces at Winchester.”

Later in the day the New York Herald of the 17th inst. was received by the flag of truce boat. I now quote from it:

“Fortifications are being rapidly erected all along the north bank of the Susquehanna, and Gen. McClellan or Gen. Franklin has been called for to head the State troops.


harrisburg, Pa., June 16th. — Midnight. — Rebel cavalry today occupied Littletown, eleven miles from Gettysburg, but at last accounts had not advanced beyond that point.

“The rebel officers at Chambersburg stated that they were only waiting for infantry to move forward. The authorities are inclined to believe, however, that they will not move farther North.

“The farmers in the valley are sending their horses and cattle into the mountains.

“The rebels are gathering up all the negroes that can be found.

“Private property has been respected.

“They burned the railroad bridge across Scotland Creek, six miles this side of Chambersburg. Harper's Ferry Invested.

baltimore, June 16th. — Fugitives from Hagerstown report the rebels picketing all the roads and not permitting any one to pass.

“The force that passed through were all cavalry, under Jenkins and Imboden, and did not exceed 2500.

“All was quiet at Frederick up to five o'clock this evening, though the people were greatly excited and hundreds were leaving.

Harrisburg, June 17th. — The aspect of affairs, so far as can be judged by the reports from the border, seems to be this:

“The rebel force occupy Hagerstown and such other points as leave them free to operate either against Harrisburg or Baltimore.

“Apprehensions are entertained by the people of Altoona and other points on the line of the Pennsylvania Railroad, that the rebels will strike for the West, and then go back to their own soil by way of Pittsburg and Wheeling.

“The fortifications constructed on the hills opposite Harrisburg are considered sufficient protection for the city, and an offensive movement on our part is not unlikely."

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 354-7

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