Monday, June 5, 2023

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 28, 1864

Calm and warm; clouds and sunshine, without wind.

All quiet below. It is reported that one of our picket boats in the James River deserted last night. It is said the crew overpowered the officers and put them ashore, and then the boat rowed down to the enemy.

I am informed by Capt. Warner that there are 12,000 graves of Federal prisoners at Andersonville, Ga. That climate is fatal to them; but the government cannot feed them here, and the enemy won't exchange.

A dispatch from Gen. Bragg:

"AUGUSTA, November 27th, 1864.-We have lost communication with the front. A small cavalry raid cut the Savannah Railroad and telegraph, this morning, at Brier Creek, twenty-six miles from here. Gen. Wheeler was, yesterday, confronting the enemy's infantry at Sandersville. An officer, who left Macon on the 23d, states that one corps of the enemy was still confronting us there; our force not exceeding 5000, nearly all militia. The force here, including all available reserves, does not exceed 6000 effectives: only one battery. I am not yet advised from Charleston and Savannah, but know the means are small. Neither point could long resist the enemy's whole force; hence my remarks about concentration. Gen. Hardee has gone to Savannah. Wheeler will continue to confront and harass the enemy. I have not learned the strength of his command. He estimates the enemy's force at about 30,000."

Gen. Beauregard has published a short proclamation, saying he will soon arrive to the rescue in Georgia. Here, then, will be war between the two B.'s—Bragg and Beauregard; and the President will be as busy as a bee. Meantime, Sherman may possess the land at pleasure.

A long letter (twenty-five pages) from Gov. Brown, Georgia, came to hand to-day, combating, in replication, one from the Secretary relating to calling out all the militia of Georgia, etc. State rights and the Constitution are discussed in extenso, and many a hard blow is aimed at the President. The Governor regards the Secretary as merely the instrument or head clerk of the President, whom he sneers at occasionally. But he denounces as vile the President himself, and refuses to obey the call[.] What he will do with the militia must soon be known, for Sherman is there.

A great stir among the officers on bureau and department duty in Richmond! Congress has called on the President for a list of all commissioned officers here, their ages, etc., and how many of them are fit for duty in the field. This will be dodged, of course, if possible.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 340-1

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