Showing posts with label Arnold Elzey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arnold Elzey. Show all posts

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: Sunday, February 7, 1864

 The tocsin is sounding at 9 A.M. It appears that Gen. Butler is marching up the Peninsula (I have not heard the estimated number of his army) toward Richmond. But, being in the Secretary's room for a moment, I heard him say to Gen. Elzey that the “local defense men” must be relied on to defend Richmond. These men are mainly clerks and employees of the departments, who have just been insulted by the government, being informed that no increased compensation will be allowed them because they are able to bear arms. In other words, they must famish for subsistence, and their families with them, because they happen to be of fighting age, and have been patriotic enough to volunteer for the defense of the government, and have drilled, and paraded, and marched, until they are pronounced good soldiers. Under these circumstances, the Secretary of War says they must be relied upon to defend the government. In my opinion, many of them are not reliable. Why were they appointed contrary to law? Who is to blame but the Secretaries themselves? Ah! but the Secretaries had pets and relatives of fighting age they must provide for; and these, although not dependent on their salaries, will get the increased compensation, and will also be exempted from aiding in the defense of the city—at least such has been the practice heretofore. These things being known to the proscribed local troops (clerks, etc.), I repeat my doubts of their reliability at any critical moment.

We have good news from the Rappahannock. It is said Gen. Rosser yesterday captured several hundred prisoners, 1200 beeves, 350 mules, wagons of stores, etc. etc.

Nevertheless, there is some uneasiness felt in the city, there being nearly 12,000 prisoners here, and all the veteran troops of Gen. Elzey's division are being sent to North Carolina.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 144-5

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 5, 1864

Bright, pleasant day. I saw a letter from Gen. Elzey to-day, stating that his command will probably soon be called out from the city on important service. What can this mean? And our iron-clads are to go below the obstructions if they can get out.

Yesterday Mr. Good offered a resolution declaring the unalterable purpose of Congress to prosecute the war until independence is attained. What significance is in this? Why declare such a purpose at this day?

Mr. Benjamin, Gen. Myers, Col. Preston, and Mr. Seddon are to partake of a feast on Thursday. A feast in time of famine!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 124

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 28, 1863

It rained last night. To-day there is an expectation of a battle near Chancellorville, the battle-ground of June last. Meade is certainly advancing, and Pickett's division, on the south side of the James River, at Chaffin's Farm, is ordered to march toward Lee, guarding the railroad, and the local defense men are ordered out.

My son Custis goes with his battalion to Chaffin's Farm in the morning.

There are rumors of six or eight thousand of the enemy marching up the line of the James River against Petersburg, etc. We have also a rumor of Gen. Rosser having captured the wagon train of two divisions of the enemy in Culpepper County.

From Bragg not a word since his dispatch from Ringgold, Ga., and nothing from Longstreet.

Gen. Whiting writes that a large number of Jews and others with gold, having put in substitutes, and made their fortunes, are applying for passage out of the country. They fear their substitutes will no longer keep them out of the army. Gen. W. says they have passports from Richmond, and that the spy who published in the North an account of the defenses of Wilmington, had a passport from Richmond. The government will never realize the injury of the loose passport system until it is ruined.

Never have I known such confusion. On the 26th inst. the Secretary ordered Gen. Pickett, whose headquarters were at Petersburg, to send a portion of his division to Hanover Junction, it being apprehended that a raid might be made in Lee's rear. Gen. P. telegraphs that the French steam frigate was coming up the river (what for?), and that two Federal regiments and three companies of cavalry menaced our lines on the south side of the river. The Secretary sent this to Gen. Elzey, on this side of the river, asking if his pickets and scouts could not get information of the movements of the enemy. To-day Gen. E. sends back the paper, saying his scouts could not cross the river and get within the enemy's lines. So the government is in a fog—and if the enemy knew it, and it may, the whole government might be taken before any dispositions for defense could be made. Incompetency in Richmond will some day lose it.

Three o'clock P.M. The weather is clear, and Lee and Meade may fight, and it may be a decisive battle.

I met Mr. Foote, of Tennessee, to-day. He asked me if I did not think our affairs were in a desperate condition. I replied that I did not know that they were not, and that when one in my position did not know, they must be bad enough.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 107-8

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 12, 1863

Hon. G. A. Henry, Senator from Tennessee, writes to the Secretary that it is rumored that Gen. Pemberton is to command Gen. Polk's corps in Tennessee. He says if this be true, it will be disastrous; that the Tennessee troops will not serve under him, but will mutiny and desert.
                                
It is reported to-day by Gen. Elzey (on what information I know not) that Meade's army has been reduced to 30,000 or 40,000 men, by the heavy reinforcements sent to extricate Rosecrans. Be this as it may, there is no longer any doubt that Lee is advancing toward the Potomac, and the enemy is retreating. This must soon culminate in something of interest.

I saw Commissary-General Northrop to-day, and he acknowledges that Mr. Moffitt, who sells beef (gross) to the butchers at from 45 to 55 cents, is one of his agents, employed by Major Ruffin, to purchase beef for the army! The schedule price is from 16 to 20 cents, and he pays no more, for the government — and if he buys for himself, it is not likely he pays more — and so we have a government agent a speculator in meat, and co-operating with speculators! Will Mr. Secretary Seddon permit this?

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 70

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 10, 1863

The enemy is undoubtedly falling back on the Rappahannock, and our army is pursuing. We have about 40,000 in Lee's army, and 4t is reported that Meade has 50,000, of whom many are conscripts, altogether unreliable. . We may look for stirring news soon.

About 2500 of the “local” troops were reviewed to-day. The companies were not more than half filled; so, in an emergency, we could raise 5000 fighting men, at a moment's warning, for the defense of the capital. In the absence of Custis Lee, Col. Brown, the English aid of the President, commanded the brigade, much to the disgust of many of the men, and the whole were reviewed by Gen. Elzey, still more to the chagrin of the ultra Southern men.

The Secretary seems unable to avert the storm brewing against the extortioners; but permits impressments of provisions coming to the city.

It is said the President and cabinet have a large special fund in Europe. If they should fall into the hands of Lincoln, they might suffer death; so in the event of subjugation, it is surmised they have provided for their subsistence, in foreign lands. But there is no necessity for such provision, provided they perform their duty here. I cut the following from the papers:

The Vicomte de St. Romain has been sent by the French Government to ours to negotiate for the exportation of the tobacco bought for France by French agents.

The Confederate States Government has at last consented to allow the tobacco to leave the country, provided the French Government will send its own vessels for it.

The latter will send French ships, accompanied by armed convoys.

To this the United States Government objects in toto.

Vicomte de St. Romain is now making his way to New York to send the result of his mission, through the French Consul, to the Emperor.

The French frigates in New York are there on this errand.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 67

Monday, March 19, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 30, 1863

The department companies and militia returned yesterday, through a heavy shower, from the wild-goose chase they were rushed into by Gen. Elzey's order.

Mr. Reagan, the Postmaster-General, informed me to-day (the government will not allow bad news to transpire) that at the second assault on Battery Wagner, Morris Island, the enemy captured and held the rifle-pits. This, perhaps, involves the loss of the battery itself — and indeed there is a report, generally believed, that it fell subsequently. I fear that the port of Charleston is closed finally — if indeed, as I hope, the city will be still held by Beauregard.

Letters from Wilmington, dated 21st instant, urgently ask the Secretary of War to have one of the Great Blakely guns for the defense of that city — and protesting against both being sent to Charleston. From this, I infer that one or both have been ordered to Beauregard.

Gen. Samuel Jones has had a small combat with the enemy in Western Virginia, achieving some success. His loss was about 200, that of the enemy much greater. This is a grain of victory to a pound of disaster.

The owners of several fast blockade-running steamers, in anticipation of the closing of all the ports, are already applying for letters of marque to operate against the commerce of the United States as privateers, or in the “volunteer navy” — still with an eye to gain.

Gen. Lee has returned to the Army of Northern Virginia — and we shall probably soon hear of interesting operations in the field. Governor Vance writes for a brigade of North Carolinians to collect deserters in the western counties of that State.

There must be two armies in Virginia this fall — one for defense, and one (under Lee) for the aggressive — 150,000 men in all — or else the losses of the past will not be retrieved during the ensuing terrible campaign.

Some good may be anticipated from the furious and universal outcry in the Confederate States against the extortioners and speculators in food and fuel. Already some of the millers here are selling new flour at $27 to families; the speculators paid $35 for large amounts, which they expected to get $50 for! But meat is still too high for families of limited means. My tomatoes are now maturing — and my butter-beans are filling rapidly, and have already given us a dinner. What we shall do for clothing, the Lord knows — but we trust in Him.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 27-8

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 29, 1863


After all, it appears that only a few hundred of the enemy's cavalry came up the Peninsula as far as Bottom's Bridge, from whence they quickly fell back again. And this alarm caused Gen. Elzey, or the government, to put in movement nearly 20,000 men! But something else may be behind this demonstration; it may be the purpose of the enemy to strike in another direction, perhaps at Hanover Junction—where, fortunately, we have nearly a division awaiting them.

The Hon. Mr. Dargan's letter, received at the department a few days ago, saying that the reinstatement of Gen. Pemberton in command would be the ruin of the cause, was referred by the Secretary to the President, with some strong remarks, to the effect that popular opinion was almost universal against Pemberton. It came back to-day, with the following indorsement of the President: “The justice or injustice of the opinion will be tested by the investigation ordered. — J. D.” If the President desires it, of course Pemberton will be exonerated. But even if he be honorably and fairly acquitted, the President ought not to forget that he is not a ruler by Divine right to administer justice merely, but the servant of the people to aid in the achievement of their independence; and that their opinions and wishes, right or wrong, must be respected, or they can deprive him of honor, and select another leader.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 26-7

Monday, October 16, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 7, 1863

Nothing new from Lee's army — only that his troops are eager for another battle, when they are resolved to gain the day. There will probably not be so many prisoners taken as usual, since the alleged cruel treatment of our men now taken at Gettysburg, and the sending of Gen. Morgan to the Ohio Penitentiary, and shaving his head, by order of Gen. Burnside.

A dispatch from Beauregard, to-day, states that the enemy are getting large reinforcements, and are at work on their island batteries. There was a slow firing — and but one man killed.

It is believed that Governor Letcher will, reluctantly, call the Legislature together; but he says the members will exhibit only the bad spirit of the people they represent. What that means, I know not.

The Governor elect — commonly called “Extra-Billy Smith” — has resigned his brigadiership. But he is a candidate for a major-generalship, until inauguration day, 1st January. He has had an interview with the President, and proposes to take command of the troops defending the city — that Gen. Elzey may take the field. Smith would undoubtedly have a strong motive in defending the capital — but then he knows nothing of military affairs, yet I think he will be appointed.

Gen. Wise's batteries crippled and drove off the enemy's monitor and gun-boats day before yesterday. The monitor was towed down the James River in a disabled condition.

To-day, for the third time since the war began, I derived some money from our farm. It was another interposition of Providence. Once before, on the very days that money was indispensable, a Mr. Evans, a blockade-runner to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, came unexpectedly with $100 obtained from my agent, who has had the management of the farm for many years, and who is reported to be a Union man. To-day, just when my income is wholly insufficient to pay rent on the house — $500 per annum and $500 rent for the furniture, besides subsisting the family — at the very moment when my wife was about to part with the last of her little store of gold, to buy a few articles of furniture at auction, and save a heavy expense ($40 per month), the same Evans came to me, saying that although he had no money from my agent, if I would give him an order on the agent for $300, he would advance that amount in Treasury notes. I accepted the sum on his conditions. This is the work of a beneficent Providence, thus manifested on three different occasions, — and to doubt it would be to deserve damnation!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2, p. 7-8

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: July 3, 1863

My son Custis stayed out all night, sleeping on his arms in the farthest intrenchments. A little beyond, there was a skirmish with the enemy. We lost eight in killed and wounded. What the enemy suffered is not known, but he fell back, and ran toward the White House.

This morning, Mr. Ould, agent for exchange of prisoners, reported that “not a Yankee could be found on the face of the earth.” And this induced a general belief that the enemy had retired, finally, being perhaps ordered to Washington, where they may be much needed.

The Secretary of War, believing the same thing, intimated to Gen. Elzey (who for some cause is unable to ride, and therefore remains in the city) a desire to send several regiments away to some menaced point at a distance. In response, Elzey writes that none can be spared with safety; that the enemy had apparently divided his force into two bodies, one for Hanover, and the other for the Chickahominy, and both strong; and he advised against weakening the forces here He said he had not yet completed the manning of the batteries, the delay being in arming the men — and he hoped “Hill could hold out.”

We have 3400 convalescents at Camp Lee, and as many more may be relied on for the defense of the city; so we shall have not less than 22,000 men for the defense of Richmond. The enemy have perhaps 35,000; but it would require 75,000 to storm our batteries. Let this be remembered hereafter, if the 35,000 sent here on a fool's errand might have saved Washington or Baltimore, or have served to protect Pennsylvania — and then let the press of the North bag the administration at Washington! Gen. Lee's course is "right onward," and cannot be affected by events here.

My friend Jacques (clerk) marched out yesterday with the Department Guard; but he had the diarrhoea, and was excused from marching as far as the company. He also got permission to come to town this morning, having slept pretty well, he said, apart from the company. No doubt he did good service in the city today, having his rifle fixed (the ball, I believe, had got down before the powder), and procuring a basket of edibles and a canteen o. strong tea, which he promised to share with the mess. He said he saw Custis this morning, looking well, after sleeping on the ground the first time in his life, and without a blanket.

We have nothing further from the North or the West.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 368-9

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 27, 1863

An officer of the Signal Corps reported, yesterday, the force of Gen. Keyes, on the Peninsula, at 6000. To-day we learn that the enemy is in possession of Hanover Junction, cutting off communication with both Fredericksburg and Gordonsville. A train was coming down the Central Road with another installment of the Winchester prisoners (some 4000 having already arrived, now confined on Belle Island, opposite the city), but was stopped in time, and sent back.

Gen. Elzey had just ordered away a brigade from Hanover Junction to Gordonsville, upon which it was alleged another raid was projected. What admirable manoeuvring for the benefit of the enemy!

Gen. D. H. Hill wrote, yesterday, that we had no troops on the Blackwater except cavalry. I hope he will come here and take command.

Gen. Whiting has arrested the Yankee crew of the Arabian, at Wilmington. It appears that she is owned by New Yorkers, sailed from New York, and has a Yankee cargo!

Capt. Maury writes from London that R. J. Walker, once a fire-and-fury Mississippi Senator (but Yankee-born), is in Europe trying to borrow £50,000,000 for the United States. Capt. Maury says the British Government will not willingly let us have another “Alabama;” but that it is also offended at the United States for the atrocities of Wilkes, and this may lead to war. The war, however, would not be intended as a diversion in our behalf.

Nothing is heard to-day from Lee, except what appears in Northern papers several days old, when our troops were occupying Hagerstown, Cumberland, etc., in Maryland, and foraging pretty extensively in Pennsylvania.

Nothing from Vicksburg.

Just as I apprehended! The brigade ordered away from Hanover to Gordonsville, upon a wild-goose chase, had not been gone many hours before some 1200 of the enemy's cavalry appeared there, and burnt the bridges which the brigade had been guarding! This is sottishness, rather than generalship, in our local commanders.

A regiment was sent up when firing was heard (the annihilation of our weak guard left at the bridges) and arrived just two hours too late. The enemy rode back, with a hundred mules they had captured, getting under cover of their gun-boats.

To-day, it is said, Gen. Elzey is relieved, and Gen. Ransom, of North Carolina, put in command; also, that Custis Lee (son of Gen. R. E. Lee) has superseded Gen. Winder. I hope this has been done. Young Lee has certainly been commissioned a brigadier-general. His brother, Brig.-Gen. W. H. F. Lee, wounded in a late cavalry fight, was taken yesterday by the enemy at Hanover Court House.

Gen. Whiting's letter about the “Arabian” came back from the President, to-day, indorsed that, as Congress did not prohibit private blockade-running, he wouldn't interfere. So, this is to be the settled policy of the government.

This morning the President sent a letter to the Secretary of War, requesting him to direct all mounted officers — some fifty A. A. G.'s and A. D.'s — to report to him for duty around the city. Good! These gentlemen ought to be in the saddle instead of being sheltered from danger in the bureaus.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 360-1

Monday, August 7, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 25, 1863

The excitement has subsided. No doubt small detachments of the enemy were seen at the places indicated, and Gen. Elzey (who some say had been drinking) alarmed the Governor with a tale of horror. The reports came through Gen. Winder's detectives, one-half of whom would rather see the enemy here than not, and will serve the side that pays most. Yet, we should be prepared.

I saw an indorsement by the President to-day, that foreigners should give guarantees of neutrality or be sent out of the city.

Nothing from Lee.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 360

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 15, 1863

The enemy have abandoned the vicinity of Fredericksburg, falling back across the river, and probably retiring toward Alexandria, or else they have taken to their transports, and intend making another effort to capture Richmond. It is rumored that Gen. Ewell has taken Winchester; but this, I think, is at least premature.

Certainly the government is taking steps to guard against a blow at Richmond. All the civil officers (subordinates, only, of course) are being mustered into the service for “local defense or special duty;” but Gen. Elzey, the Marylander, it is reported, has said the “d----d clerks have given me so much trouble, that I intend to keep them on duty in such a way that they cannot perform their functions in the departments, and so others must be appointed in their places.” This would be in violation both of the Constitution and several acts of Congress. Yet they are to be mustered in this evening “for three years, or the war.” And the Secretary of the Treasury has announced that all who refuse to volunteer are to be reported, by the President's command, and will be removed. The President has intimated no such thing. Of course they will volunteer. There is much censure of the President for “bad faith” — most of the clerks being refugees, with families to support.

Mayor Mayo has refused to admit Gen. Winder's three policemen (all imported) to bail, and they remain in prison; and Judge Meredith has refused to discharge them on a writ of habeas corpus — resolving first to test the validity of the martial law set up for them in their defense.

I believe the government is acting on my suggestion to Col. Johnston, A. D. C., in regard to searching blockade-runners, caught in the lines, bearing sealed letters to the North. To-day the Attorney-General sent to the department, for Mr. Seddon's approval, instructions to Confederate Attorneys and Marshals to aid and co-operate with M. Greenwood, a detective agent of the government. I think about the first men he detects in treasonable practices will be Gen. Elzey and Gen. Winder's detectives.

Mr. Vallandigham has been nominated for Governor of Ohio.

The following are the conditions upon which women and children can come to the South, or go to the North, published in Washington and Baltimore:

First. — All applications for passes to go South must be made in writing and verified by oath, addressed to Major L. C. Turner, Judge Advocate, Washington, D. C., as follows:

“I, A—— B——, applicant for a pass to go to City Point, Virginia, and now residing at ——, do solemnly swear that, if said pass be granted, I will not take any property excepting my wearing apparel, and that all the articles to be taken with me are contained in the trunk or package delivered or to be delivered to the quartermaster on the transport steamer on which I am to go to City Point. That I have not been in any insurgent State, nor beyond the military lines of the United States, within thirty days last past. That I will not return within the military lines of the United States during the present war, and that I have not in my trunk nor on my person any papers or writings whatsoever, nor any contraband articles.

“No person will be allowed to take more than one trunk or package of female wearing apparel, weighing not over one hundred pounds, and subject to inspection; and if anything contraband be found in the trunk or on the person, the property will be forfeited and the pass revoked.

Second. — A passenger boat will leave Annapolis, Md., on the first day of July next, to deliver those permitted to go South at City Point, and the baggage of each applicant must be delivered to the quartermaster on said boat, at least twenty-four hours previous to the day of departure for inspection.

Third. — Children will be allowed to accompany their mothers and relatives, and take their usual wearing apparel; but the name and age of each child must be given in the application.

Fourth. — Ladies and children desiring to come North will be received on the boat at City Point and taken to Annapolis, and every adult person coming North will be required to take and subscribe to the oath of allegiance to the Government of the United States before the boat leaves Fortress Monroe.

"L. C. Turner, Judge Advocate."

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 348

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 14, 1863

W——ll, one of the Winder detectives that fled to Washington last year, is back again. But the Mayor has arrested him as a spy, and it is said a lady in the city can prove his guilt. Gen. Winder wanted to bail him; but the Mayor was inexorable, and so W——ll is in the jail, awaiting his trial. Two others, of  Winder's police, have likewise been arrested by the city authorities for some harsh treatment of a citizen supposed to have a barrel of whisky in his house. The justification offered is the jurisdiction of martial law, which Gen. Winder still thinks exists, although annulled by Congress.

The company (of 104) organized in the War Department as independent volunteers for local defense, being objected to by Gen. Elzey, because they would not be subject to his command, was rejected by the President, who insisted that the officers of the departments (civil) should be mustered into the service under the act of August 21st, 1861, and are subject to his control, and liable to be attached to battalions, regiments, etc., he appointing the field and staff officers. This was communicated to the lieutenant of the company by the Secretary of War, who stated also that the President required the names of all refusing to reorganize on that basis to be reported to him.

There is an indefinable dread of conspiracy, and the President is right, perhaps, to frown upon all military organizations not subject to his orders. Mr. Randolph, late Secretary of War, has been very busy organizing the second class militia of the city for. “local defense,” under the supposition that he would command them; but the President has made a requisition for 8000 of this class of men, for the same purpose, which will put them under Confederate orders, perhaps. A jealousy, I fear, is growing up between Confederate and State authority. This when the common enemy is thundering at all our gates!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 347-8

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: June 13, 1863

Col. Baylor, of Arizona, has been heard from again. He confesses that he issued the order to slaughter the Apaches in cold blood, and says it is the only mode of dealing with such savages. The President indorses on it that it is “a confession of an infamous crime.”

Yesterday the enemy appeared on the Peninsula, in what numbers we know not yet; but just when Gen. Wise was about to attack, with every prospect of success, an order was received from Gen. Arnold Elzey to fall back toward the city, pickets and all.

A letter from Gen. Holmes, containing an account from one of his scouts, shows that the enemy's militia in Arkansas and Missouri are putting to death all the men, young or old, having favored the Confederate cause, who fall into their hands. These acts are perpetrated by order of Gen. Prentiss. The President suggests that they be published, both at home and abroad.

Mr. L. Heyliger, our agent at Nassau, sends an account of the firing into and disabling the British steamer Margaret and Jessee by the United States steamer Rhode Island, within a half mile of shore. Several British subjects were wounded. This may make trouble.

Mr. J. S. Lemmon applied by letter to-day for permission to leave a Confederate port for Europe. Major-Gen. Arnold Elzey indorsed on it: “This young man, being a native of Maryland, is not liable to military service in the Confederate States.” Well, Arnold Elzey is also a native of Maryland.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 346-7

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: May 7, 1863


A scout came in to-day with the vexatious intelligence that a body of hostile cavalry is still in Louisa County. And later in the day we have information that the Mattapony bridge was burned last night! Thus again is communication interrupted between Gen. Lee and the city! Our wounded cannot be brought to the hospitals here, nor supplies sent to them! It really does seem as if an organization of Union men here were co-operating with the enemy, else they never could disappear and reappear so often with impunity. Every one is asking what Gens. Elzey and Winder are doing — and echo answers, What?

There is a great pressure for passports to leave the country. Mr. Benjamin writes an indignant letter to the Secretary against Gen. Whiting, at Wilmington, for detaining a Mr. Flanner's steamer, laden with cotton for some of the nationalities — Mr. B. intimates a foreign or neutral power. But when once away from our shore, many of these vessels steer for New York, depositing large sums “for those whom it may concern.”

Mr. J. B. Campbell, attorney for J. E. Hertz (Jew), writes a long letter to “J. A. Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War,” urging the payment of the slight sum of $25,200 for ninety kegs of bicarbonate of soda seized by the agent of the department! The true value is about $250!

At two o'clock this afternoon a note was received by the Secretary of War from Lieut.-Gen. Longstreet (still in the city), stating that the President last night desired him to go to Gen. Lee immediately; but the general, during the day, has become convinced that he should not leave the city until communications are reestablished with Gen. Lee, and the city in a condition of defense against the sudden dash of one or two columns of the enemy — an event, he thinks, meditated by the Yankees! And the persistency of the Federal cavalry in hanging round the city in spite of all the generals here, and the many companies, battalions, and regiments vainly sent out in quest of them, would seem to indicate such purpose.

But the raids in the West don't seem to flourish so well. We have an official dispatch from Gen. Bragg, stating that Gen. Forrest has captured 1600 of the enemy's cavalry in a body, near Rome, Georgia.

There are amusing scenes among the horrors of war, as the following, taken from a paper to-day, shows:

Taking the Oath under Protest. — A few weeks ago a laughable incident occurred in the neighborhood of Nashville, which is worthy of record. A saucy, dashing young girl, of the Southern persuasion, was, with a number of other ladies, brought into the presence of Gen. Rosecrans, in order that their Southern ardor might be checked by the administration of the oath of loyalty. The bold, bright-eyed Juno in question, objected to take the oath, saying that her mother had taught her that it was unlady-like to swear; her sense of morality forbid her to swear, and swear she could and would not. The officer insisted that the lady must take an oath before she left his presence.

“’Well, general,’” said bright eyes, ‘if I must swear, I will; but all sins of the oath must rest on your shoulders, for I swear on your compulsion: “G-d d-m[n] every Yankee to H--1!’”

“And the defiant beauty tossed her dark curls and swept out of the presence unmolested.” —Nashville Union.

7 O'clock P.m. The report that the bridge over the Mattapony had been burned by the enemy was false — invented probably by a spy or emissary, who has enjoyed the freedom of the city under the Dogberrys and Vergises imported hither to preserve the government. A number of trains containing our wounded men, guarded by a detachment of troops, have arrived at the Fredericksburg depot. An officer just arrived from the army says we have taken 15,000 prisoners. If this be so, the loss of the enemy during the week in Virginia will not be less than 40,000. Our loss in killed and wounded is estimated at from 8 to 10,000 — we lost a few hundred prisoners. We have taken, it is said, 53 guns, and lost 14.

I think the reports to-day of squadrons of the enemy's cavalry seen in the surrounding counties are not reliable — they were probably our own men in quest of the enemy.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 312-4

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 21, 1863

Gen. Longstreet lost, it is said, two 32-pounder guns yesterday, with which he was firing on the enemy's gunboats. A force was landed and captured the battery.

Gen. Lee writes that his men have each, daily, but a quarter pound of meat and 16 ounces of flour. They have, besides, 1 pound of rice to every ten men, two or three times a week. He says this may keep them alive; but that at this season they should have more generous food. The scurvy and the typhoid fever are appearing among them. Longstreet and Hill, however, it is hoped will succeed in bringing off supplies of provision, etc. — such being the object of their demonstrations.

Gen. Wise has fallen back, being ordered by Gen. Elzey not to attempt the capture of Fort Magruder — a feat he could have accomplished.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 296-7

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 12, 1863

Gen. Van Dorn, it is reported, has captured or destroyed another gun-boat in the West.

Night before last another riot was looked for in this city by the mayor, and two battalions of Gen. Elzey's troops were ordered into the city. If the President could only see the necessity of placing this city under the command of a native Southern general, he might avoid much obloquy. The Smiths, Winders, and Elzeys, who are really foreigners, since the men from their States are not liable to conscription (vide Judge Campbell's decision), are very obnoxious to the people. Virginians can never be reconciled to the presence of a mercenary Swiss guard, and will not submit to imported masters.

Notwithstanding the Enquirer urges it, and Mr. Barksdale, of Mississippi, persistently advocates it, Congress still refuses to confer additional powers on the President. Twice, within the last week, Congress has voted down the proposition to clothe the President with power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. Congress has likewise refused to reconsider the vote postponing the consideration of the bill to create a Court of Claims Judge S— was here, working for it; but was doomed to disappointment.

A few nights since a full Federal band came within a hundred yards of our men, the Rappahannock only separating them, and played “Dixie.” Our men cheered them lustily. Then they played “Yankee Doodle,” when the Yankees cheered. After this they played “Home, sweet Home!” and all parties cheered them. There may be something significant in this. The pickets have orders not to fire on each other, when no demonstration is in progress.

Our members of Congress get salaries of $2750. A cobbler (free negro), who mends shoes for my family, told me yesterday that he earned $10 per day, or $3000 per annum.

A pair of pantaloons now costs $40; boots, $60; and so on.

We have warm weather at last, and dry. Armies will soon be in motion.

Our government and people seem now to despair of European intervention. But the President says our armies are more numerous, and better armed and disciplined than at any period during the war. Hence the contest will be maintained indefinitely for independence. With these feelings the third year of the war opens. May God have mercy on the guilty men who determine more blood shall be shed. The South would willingly cease the sanguinary strife, if the invader would retire from our territory; but just as willingly will she fight hereafter as heretofore, so long as a foeman sets foot upon her soil. It must soon be seen with what alacrity our people will rush to the battle-field!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 290-1

Friday, April 7, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: April 2, 1863

This morning early a few hundred women and boys met as by concert in the Capitol Square, saying they were hungry, and must have food. The number continued to swell until there were more than a thousand. But few men were among them, and these were mostly foreign residents, with exemptions in their pockets. About nine A.m. the mob emerged from the western gates of the square, and proceeded down Ninth Street, passing the War Department, and crossing Main Street, increasing in magnitude at every step, but preserving silence and (so far) good order. Not knowing the meaning of such a procession, I asked a pale boy where they were going. A young woman, seemingly emaciated, but yet with a smile, answered that they were going to find something to eat I could not, for the life of me, refrain from expressing the hope that they might be successful; and I remarked they were going in the right direction to find plenty in the hands of the extortioners. I did not follow, to see what they did; but I learned an hour after that they marched through Cary Street, and entered diverse stores of the speculators, which they proceeded to empty of their contents. They impressed all the carts and drays in the street, which were speedily laden with meal, flour, shoes, etc. I did not learn whither these were driven; but probably they were rescued from those in charge of them. Nevertheless, an immense amount of provisions, and other articles, were borne by the mob, which continued to increase in numbers. An eye-witness says he saw a boy come out of a store with a hat full of money (notes); and I learned that when the mob turned up into Main Street, when all the shops were by this time closed, they broke in the plate-glass windows, demanding silks, jewelry, etc. Here they were incited to pillage valuables, not necessary for subsistence, by the class of residents (aliens) exempted from military duty by Judge Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War, in contravention of Judge Meredith's decision. Thus the work of spoliation went on, until the military appeared upon the scene, summoned by Gov. Letcher, whose term of service is near its close. He had the Riot Act read (by the mayor), and then threatened to fire on the mob. He gave them five minutes' time to disperse in, threatening to use military force (the city battalion being present) if they did not comply with the demand. The timid women fell back, and a pause was put to the devastation, though but few believed he would venture to put his threat in executions If he had done so, he would have been hung, no doubt.

About this time the President appeared, and ascending a dray, spoke to the people. He urged them to return to their homes, so that the bayonets there menacing them might be sent against the common enemy. He told them that such acts would bring famine upon them in the only form which could not be provided against, as it would deter people from bringing food to the city. He said he was willing to share his last loaf with the suffering people (his best horse had been stolen the night before), and he trusted we would all bear our privations with fortitude, and continue united against the Northern invaders, who were the authors of all our sufferings. He seemed deeply moved; and indeed it was a frightful spectacle, and perhaps an ominous one, if the government does not remove some of the quartermasters who have contributed very much to bring about the evil of scarcity. I mean those who have allowed transportation to forestalled and extortioners.

Gen. Elzey and Gen. Winder waited upon the Secretary of War in the morning, asking permission to call the troops from the camps near the city, to suppress the women and children by a summary process. But Mr. Seddon hesitated, and then declined authorizing any such absurdity. He said it was a municipal or State duty, and therefore he would not take the responsibility of interfering in the matter. Even in the moment of aspen consternation, he was still the politician.

I have not heard of any injuries sustained by the women and children. Nor have I heard how many stores the mob visited j and it must have been many.

All is quiet now (three p.m.); and I understand the government is issuing rice to the people.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 284-6

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: March 30, 1863

Gen. Bragg dispatches the government that Gen. Forrest has captured 800 prisoners in Tennessee, and several thousand of our men are making a successful raid in Kentucky.

Gen. Whiting makes urgent calls for reinforcements at Wilmington, and cannot be supplied with many.

Gen. Lee announces to the War Department that the spring campaign is now open, and his army may be in motion any day.

Col. Godwin (of King and Queen County) is here trying to prevail on the Secretary of War to put a stop to the blockaderunners, Jews, and spies, daily passing through his lines with passports from Gens. Elzey and Winder. He says the persons engaged in this illicit traffic are all extortioners and spies, and $50,000 worth of goods from the enemy's country pass daily.

Col. Lay still repudiates Judge Meredith's decision in his instructions to the Commandants of Camps of Instruction. Well, if we have a superabundance of fighting men in the field, the foreign-born denizens and Marylanders can remain at home and make money while the country that protects them is harried by the invader.

The gaunt form of wretched famine still approaches with rapid strides. Meal is now selling at $12 per bushel, and potatoes at $l6. Meats have almost disappeared from the market, and none but the opulent can afford to pay $3.50 per pound for butter. Greens, however, of various kinds, are coming in; and as the season advances, we may expect a diminution of prices. It is strange that on the 30th of March, even in the “sunny South,” the fruit-trees are as bare of blossoms and foliage as at mid-winter. We shall have fire until the middle of May, — six months of winter!

I am spading up my little garden, and hope to raise a few vegetables to eke out a miserable subsistence for my family. My daughter Ann reads Shakspeare to me o' nights, which saves my eyes.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 282-3

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 8, 1863

Gen. French writes that the enemy at Suffolk and Newbern amounted to 45,000; and this force now threatens Weldon and Wilmington, and we have not more than 14,000 to oppose them. With generalship that should suffice.

All the Virginia conscripts are ordered to Gen. Wise, under Major-Gen. Elzey. The conscripts from other States are to be taken to Gen. Lee. If the winter should allow a continuance of active operations, and the enemy should continue to press us, we might be driven nearly to the wall. We must help ourselves all we can, and, besides, invoke the aid of Almighty God!

We have nothing fresh from Bragg — nothing from Vicksburg — and that is bad news.

I like Gen. Rains. He comes in and sits with me every day. Col. Lay is the active business man of the bureau. The general is engaged in some experiments to increase the efficiency of small arms.
He is very affable and communicative. He says he never witnessed more sanguinary fighting than at the battle of the Seven Pines, where his brigade retrieved the fortunes of the day; for at one time it was lost. He was also at Yorktown and Williamsburg; and he cannot yet cease condemning the giving up of the Peninsula, Norfolk, etc. Gen. Johnston did that, backed by Randolph and Mallory.

We have all been mistaken in the number of troops sent to the rescue of North Carolina; but four or five regiments, perhaps 3000 men, have gone thither from Virginia. A letter from Gen. Lee, dated the 5th inst., says he has not half as many men as Burnside, and cannot spare any. He thinks North Carolina, herself, will be able to expel the Federals, who probably meditate only a marauding expedition. And he supposes Bragg's splendid victory (what did he suppose the next day?) may arrest the inroads of the enemy everywhere for a season. At this moment I do not believe we have 200,000 men in the field against 800,000 1 But what of that, after seeing Lee beat 150,000 with only 20,000 in action! True, it was an ambuscade.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 234-5