Thursday, January 11, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 14, 1863

The enemy is not idle. He knows the importance of following up his recent advantages, and making the utmost use of his veteran troops now in the field, because his new levies, if indeed the draft be submitted to, will not be fit for use this year, probably, if ever, for they will consist of the riff-raff of the Northern population. On the other hand, he suspects we will soon have larger armies in the field than ever before, and our accessions will consist of our bravest men, who will make efficient soldiers in a month. If our armies be not broken before October, no doubt the tide of success will turn again fully in our favor.

Major Wm. Norris, Signal Corps, reports that many transports and troops have been going down from Washington and Annapolis to Fortress Monroe during the whole week, and that 5000 men embarked at Fortress Monroe, on Monday, for (as they said themselves) Charleston. Among these was a negro regiment of 1300.

T. C. Reynolds, confidential agent of the government in the trans-Mississippi States, sends copy of a circular letter from Lieut.-Gen. Kirby Smith to the “representative men” of Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, to meet him in convention, 15th August, at Marshall, Texas. Mr Reynolds says he and others will exert themselves to prevent the meeting from taking a dangerous political direction. Gen. Smith is popular, and opposed to the States named setting up for themselves, although he plainly says in the circular that they must now adopt self sustaining measures, as they cannot look for aid from the East. Mr. Reynolds says something, not clearly understood by me, about an equipoise among the political generals. Has he been instructed on that point in reference to Gen. Price?

Letters from Mr. Crenshaw, in England, and the correspondence forwarded by him, might seem to implicate Major Caleb Huse, Col. J. Gorgas's ordnance agent, in some very ugly operations. It appears that Major H. has contracted for 50,000 muskets at $4 above the current price, leaving $200,000 commission for whom? And that he really seems to be throwing obstacles in the way of Mr. C, who is endeavoring to procure commissary stores in England. Mr. C. has purchased £40,000 worth of bacon, but Major Huse, he apprehends, is endeavoring to prevent its shipment. Can this be so?

The Charleston Mercury that came to-day contains an editorial broadside against the President, Mr. Benjamin, Mr. Mallory, and Commissary-General Northrop.

Mr. Gilmer, lawyer, remarked to me to-day that some grave men (!) really believed Davis and Lincoln had an understanding, and were playing into each other's hands to prolong the war, knowing that peace would be the destruction of both! I think there is more danger to both in war. The blood of a brave people could not be trifled with without the utmost danger. Let peace come, even if the politicians be shorn of all their power.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 14-5

No comments: