Monday, November 5, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 19, 1863

After all the rumors from Northern Virginia, I have seen nothing official. I incline to the belief that we have achieved no success further than an advance toward Washington, and a corresponding retreat of the enemy. It is to be yet seen whether Lee captured more prisoners than Meade captured. It is said we lost seven guns. But how can Lee achieve anything when the enemy is ever kept informed not only of his movements in progress, but of his probable intentions? I observe that just about the time Lee purposes a movement, several Jews and others of conscript age are seen to apply for passports through the lines, for ordnance and medical stores, and Judge Campbell is certain to “allow” them. The letter-book, for they are now recorded, shows this. These men bring supplies from Maryland, if they ever return, in saddle-bags, while the same kind are landed every week at Wilmington by the cargo!

A recent letter from Lieut.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith, trans-Mississippi, fills me with alarm. He says the property-holders in Arkansas and Louisiana — which States we are evacuating — are willing to return to their allegiance to the United States if that government should modify its policy. He says we have but 32,500 in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas — all told — and the enemy twice that number.

Gen. D. H. Hill has been relieved in the West, and ordered to report in this city to Gen. Cooper. It was necessary perhaps to have a scape-goat. Bragg will probably be sustained by the President — but then what will become of ———, who is so inimical to Bragg?

The President has published, in the West, an eloquent address to the soldiers.

It appears from Gen. K. Smith's letter that the French captured a vessel having on board, for the Confederate States, 12,000 stand of arms, which were taken to Vera Cruz. It is presumed that the French commander supposed these arms were sent over for the use of the Mexicans, probably by the United States. If this be so, it is reasonable to suppose they will be restored us, and so far I do not learn that this government has taken umbrage at the capture. It may be that they were taken to keep them from falling into the possession of the United States cruisers. There are one or two French war steamers now at Charleston, interchanging courtesies with the Confederate States authorities there. It also appears by Gen. Smith's letter that'a large amount of arms for the trans-Mississippi Department were deposited at Vicksburg, and fell into the hands of the enemy. The President indorsed on the back of the letter that this was a blunder, and asks by whose order the deposit was made. Col. Gorgas must answer.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 73-4

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