Showing posts with label John H Winder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John H Winder. Show all posts

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 8, 1864

The air is filled with rumors—none reliable. It is said Gen. Lee is much provoked at the alarm and excitement in the city, which thwarted a plan of his to capture the enemy on the Peninsula; and the militia and the Department Battalions were kept yesterday and to-day under arms standing in the cold, the officers blowing their nails, and “waiting orders,” which came not. Perhaps they were looking for the “conspirators;” a new hoax to get “martial law.”

A Union meeting has been held in Greensborough, N. C. An intelligent writer to the department says the burden of the speakers, mostly lawyers, was the terrorism of Gen. Winder and his corps of rogues and cut-throats, Marylanders, whose operations, it seems, have spread into most of the States. Mr. Sloan, the writer, says, however, a vast majority of the people are loyal.

It is said Congress is finally about to authorize martial law. My cabbages are coming up in my little hot-bed—half barrel. Gen. Maury writes from Mobile that he cannot be able to obtain any information leading to the belief of an intention on the part of the enemy to attack Mobile. He says it would require 40,000 men, after three months' preparation, to take it.

Gov. Brown, of Georgia, says the Confederate States Government has kept bad faith with the Georgia six months’ men; and hence they cannot be relied on to relieve Gen. Beauregard, etc. (It is said the enemy are about to raise the siege of Charleston.) Gov. B. says the State Guard are already disbanded. He says, moreover, that the government here, if it understood its duty, would not seize and put producers in the field, but would stop details, and order the many thousand young officers everywhere swelling in the cars and hotels, and basking idly in every village, to the ranks. He is disgusted with the policy here. What are we coming to?

 Everywhere our troops in the field, whose terms of three years will expire this spring, are re-enlisting for the war. This is an effect produced by President Lincoln's proclamation; that to be permitted to return to the Union, all men must first take an oath to abolish slavery!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 145-6

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 11, 1864

Night before last 109 Federal prisoners, all commissioned officers, made their escape from prison—and only three or four have been retaken! 

The letter of Mr. Sloan, of North Carolina, only produced a reply from the Secretary that there was not the slightest suspicion against Gen. W., and that the people of North Carolina would not be satisfied with anybody. 

Eight thousand men of Johnston's army are without bayonets, and yet Col. Gorgas has abundance. 

Governor Milton, of Florida, calls lustily for 5000 men—else he fears all is lost in his State. 

To-day bacon is selling for $6 per pound, and all other things in proportion. A negro (for his master) asked me, to-day, $40 for an old, tough turkey gobbler. I passed on very briskly. 

We shall soon have martial law, it is thought, which, judiciously administered, might remedy some of the grievous evils we labor under. I shall have no meat for dinner to-morrow. 

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 147-8

Friday, September 25, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: February 2, 1864

So lax has become Gen. Winder's rule, or deficient, or worse, the vigilance of his detectives,—the rogues and cut-throats,—one of them keeps a mistress in a house the rent of which is more than his salary, that five Jews, the other day, cleared out in a schooner laden with tobacco, professedly for Petersburg, but sailed directly to the enemy. They had with them some $10,000 in gold; and as they absconded to avoid military service in the Confederate States, no doubt they imparted all the information they could to the enemy.

Mr. Benjamin, Secretary of State, asked the Secretary of War to-day to make such arrangements as would supply the State Department with regular files of Northern papers. They sometimes have in them important diplomatic correspondence, and the perusal of this is about all the Secretary of State has to do.

It is rumored that the Hon. Robert Toombs has been arrested in Georgia for treason. I cannot believe it, but I know he is inimical to the President.

The British papers again seem to sympathise with us.

Senator Orr writes to the Secretary that a resolution of the Senate, asking for copies of Gen. Beauregard's orders in 1862 for the fortification of Vicksburg (he was the first to plan the works which made such a glorious defense), and also a resolution calling for a copy of Gen. B.'s charges against Col. ——, had not been responded to by the President. He asks that these matters may be brought to the President's attention.

The weather is beautiful and spring-like again, and we may soon have some news both from Tennessee and North Carolina. From the latter I hope we shall get some of the meat endangered by the proximity of the enemy.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 140-1

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 14, 1864

Mr. A. ——, editor of the ——, recommends the Secretary of War to get Congress to pass, in secret session, a resolution looking to a reconstruction of the Union on the old basis, and send Commissioners to the Northern Governors. Meantime, let the government organize an army of invasion, and march into Pennsylvania. The object being to sow dissension among the parties of the North.

A letter from a Mr. Stephens, Columbia, S. C, to the President, says it is in his power to remove one of the evils which is bringing the administration into disrepute, and causing universal indignation—Gen. Winder. The writer says Winder drinks excessively, is brutish to all but Marylanders, and habitually receives bribes, etc. The President indorsed on it that he did not know the writer, and the absence of specifications usually rendered action unnecessary. But perhaps the Secretary may find Mr. S.'s character such as to deserve attention.

Captain Warner says it is believed there will be a riot, perhaps, when Col. Northrop, the Commissary-General, may be immolated by the mob. Flour sold to-day at $200 per barrel; butter, $8 per pound; and meat from $2 to $4. This cannot continue long without a remedy.

The President has another reception to-night.

A Yankee Account Of The Treatment Op Confederate Prisoners.—The Chicago Times gives the account which follows of the treatment of our soldiers at Camp Douglas.

It is said that about four weeks ago one of the prisoners was kindling his fire, which act he had a right to perform, when one of the guard accosted him with, “Here, what are you doing there?” The prisoner replied, “That is not your business,” when the guard instantly drew his musket and shot the fellow dead. It is said also that a mulatto boy, a servant of one of the Confederate captains, and, of course, a prisoner of war, who was well known to have a pass to go anywhere within the lines, was walking inside the guard limits about a day after the above occurrence, when the guard commanded him to halt. He did not stop, and was instantly killed by a bullet.

It is also charged that, at the time the discovery was made of an attempt on the part of some of the prisoners to escape, a party of three or four hundred was huddled together and surrounded by a guard; that one of them was pushed by a comrade and fell to the ground, and that instantly the unfortunate man was shot, and that three or four others were wounded. It is further stated that it is no uncommon thing for a soldier to fire on the barracks without any provocation whatever, and that two men were thus shot while sleeping in their bunks a week or two ago, no inquiry being made into the matter. No court-martial has been held, no arrest has been made, though within the past month ten or twelve of the prisoners have been thus put out of the way. Another instance need only be given: one of the prisoners asked the guard for a chew of tobacco, and he received the bayonet in his breast without a word.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 128-9

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: January 12, 1864

Hundreds were skating on the ice in the basin this morning; but it thawed all day, and now looks like rain.

Yesterday the President vetoed a bill appropriating a million dollars to clothe the Kentucky troops. The vote in the Senate, in an effort to pass it nevertheless, was 12 to 10, not two-thirds. The President is unyielding. If the new Conscription act before the House should become a law, the President will have nearly all power in his hands. The act suspending the writ of habeas corpus, before the Senate, if passed, will sufficiently complete the Dictatorship.

Gen. Jos. E. Johnston writes in opposition to the organization of more cavalry.

Mr. J. E. Murral, Mobile, Ala., writes Judge Campbell that a party there has authority from the United States authorities to trade anything but arms and ammunition for cotton.

Gen. Winder being directed to send Mr. Hirsh, a rich Jew, to the conscript camp, says he gave him a passport to leave the Confederate States some days ago, on the order of Judge Campbell, A. S. W. Col. Northrop says supplies of meat have failed.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 127-8

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 29, 1863

A letter from the President, for the Secretary of War, marked “private,” came in to-day at 2 P.M. Can it be an acceptance of his resignation?

A resolution has been introduced in the House of Representatives to inquire into the fact of commissioned officers doing clerical duties in Richmond receiving “allowances,” which, with their pay, make their compensation enormous. A colonel, here, gets more compensation monthly than Gen. Lee, or even a member of the cabinet!

Mr. Ould, agent of exchange, has sent down some 500 prisoners, in exchange for a like number sent up by the enemy. But he has been instructed by the President not to hold correspondence with Gen. Butler, called "the Beast," who is in command at Fortress Monroe.

My daughters have plaited and sold several hats, etc., and today they had a large cake (costing $10) from their savings. And a neighbor sent in some egg-nog to my daughter Anne, just arrived from the country.

Gen. Winder reported to the Secretary, to-day, that there were no guards at the bridges, the militia refusing to act longer under his orders.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 120-1

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: December 19, 1863

Bright and cold. A resolution passed Congress, calling on the President to report the number of men of conscript age removed from the Quartermaster's and Commissary's Departments, in compliance with the act of last session. The Commissary-General, in response, refers only to clerks—none of whom, however, it seems have been removed.

Capt. Alexander, an officer under Gen. Winder, in charge or Castle Thunder (prison), has been relieved and arrested for malfeasance, etc.

Gen. C. J. McRae, charged with the investigation of the accounts of Isaacs, Campbell & Co., London, with Major Huse, the purchasing agent of Col. J. Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, reports irregularities, overcharges, etc., and recommends retention of gold and cotton in this country belonging to I., C. & Co.

Mr. ——— informed me to-day that he signed a contract with the Commissary-General last night to furnish meat on the Mississippi in Tennessee, in exchange for cotton. He told me that the proposition was made by the Federal officers, and will have their connivance, if not the connivance of Federal functionaries in Washington, interested in the speculation. Lieut.-Col. Ruffin prefers trading with the enemy at New Orleans.

It is rumored that Mr. Seddon will resign, and be succeeded by Gov. Letcher; notwithstanding Hon. James Lyons asserted in public (and it appears in the Examiner to-day) that Gov. L. told Gen. J. R. Anderson last year, subsequent to the fall of Donelson, "he was still in favor of the Union."

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 117

Friday, August 23, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 23, 1863

Nothing of moment from the armies, although great events are anticipated, soon.

On Saturday, Gen. Winder's or Major Griswold's head of the passport office, Lieut. Kirk, was arrested on the charge of selling passports at $100 per man to a Mr. Wolf and a Mr. Head, who transported passengers to the Potomac. W. and H. were in prison, and made the charge or confession. This passport business has been, our bane ever since Gen. Winder got control of it under Mr. Benjamin. Lieut. K. is from Louisiana, but originally from New York.

Mr. Benjamin sent over to-day extracts from dispatches from Mr. Slidell and a Mr. Hotze, agent, showing how the government is swindled in Europe by the purchasing agents of the bureaus here. One, named Chiles, in the purchase of $650,000, Mr. Slidell says, was to realize $300,000 profit! And Mr. Hotze (who is he?) says the character and credit of the government are ruined abroad by its own agents! Mr. Secretary Seddon will soon see into this matter.

Capt. Warner says the Federal prisoners here have had no meat for three days, Commissary-General Northrop having none, probably, to issue. One hundred tons rations, however, came up for them yesterday on the flag boat.

Exchange on London sells at $1 for $18.50, and gold brings about the same. Our paper money, I fear, has sunk beyond redemption. We have lost five steamers lately; and it is likely the port of Wilmington (our last one) will be hermetically sealed. Then we shall soon be destitute of ammunition, unless we retake the mineral country from the enemy.

Mr. Memminger has sent a press to the trans-Mississippi country, to issue paper money there.

Mr. Slidell writes that all our shipments to and from Matamoras ought to be under the French flag. There may be something in this.

The President was expected back to-day; and perhaps came in the evening. He is about to write his message to Congress, which assembles early in December, and perhaps he desired to consult Gen. Lee.

Everywhere the people are clamorous against the sweeping impressments of crops, horses, etc. And at the same time we have accounts of corn, and hay, and potatoes rotting at various depots 1 Such is the management of the bureaus.

The clerks are in great excitement, having learned that a proposition will be brought forward to put all men under forty-five years of age in the army. It will be hard to carry it; for the heads of departments generally have nephews, cousins, and pets in office, young and rich, who care not so much for the salaries (though they get the best) as for exemption from service in the field. And the editors will oppose it, as they are mostly of conscript age. And the youthful members of Congress could not escape odium if they exempted themselves, unless disabled by wounds.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 102-3

Monday, April 22, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: November 9, 1863

The President returned Saturday evening, looking pretty well. Yesterday, Sunday, he was under the necestity of reading a dispatch from Gen. Lee, announcing the surprise and capture of two brigades on the Rappahannock!

This is a dark and gloomy day, spitting snow; while not a few are despondent from the recent disasters to our arms. It is supposed that we lost 3000 or 4000 men on Saturday. A day or two before, Gen. Echols had his brigade cut up at Lewisburg! Per contra, Brig.-Gen. W. E. Jones captured, on Saturday, at Rogerville, 850 prisoners, 4 pieces of artillery, 2 stands of colors, 60 wagons, and 1000 animals. Our loss, 2 killed and 8 wounded. So reads a dispatch from “R. Ransom, Major-Gen.”

There is some excitement in the city now, perhaps more than at any former period. The disaster to the "Old Guard" has put in the mouths of the croakers the famous words of Napoleon at Waterloo: “Sauve qui peut.” We have out our last reserves, and the enemy still advances. They are advancing on North Carolina, and there was some danger of the President being intercepted at Weldon. Thousands believe that Gen. Bragg is about to retire from before Grant's army at Chattanooga. And to-day bread is selling at 50 cents per loaf — small loaf!

And now the Assistant Secretary of War, Judge Campbell, is “allowing” men to pass to Maryland, through our lines. First, is a Rev. Mr. A. S. Sloat, a chaplain in the army. He was degraded for some offense by his own church, and his wife and children having preceded him (all being Northern born), as stated in his letter on file, he is allowed a passport to follow them. Recommended by Mr. S. R. Tucker. Second, Mr. J. L. White and Mr. Forrester are “allowed” passports to go to Maryland for ordnance stores. Recommended by Col. Gorgas. Third and lastly, "Tom Wash. Smith" is “allowed,” by the Assistant Secretary, to take fifteen boxes of tobacco to Maryland, and promises to bring back “medical stores.” Recommended by B. G. Williams, one of Gen. Winder's detectives, and by Capt. Winder, one of the general's sons. They bring in stores, when they return, in saddle-bags, while whole cargoes are landed at Wilmington!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 93

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 29, 1863

Gen. Lee writes (a few days since), from Brandy Station, that Meade seems determined to advance again; that troops are going up the Potomac to Washington, and that volunteers from New York have been ordered thither. He asks the Secretary to ascertain if there be really any Federal force in the York River; for if the report be correct of hostile troops being there, it may be the enemy's intention to make another raid on the railroad. The general says we have troops enough in Southwestern Virginia; but they are not skillfully commanded.

After all, I fear we shall not get the iron from the Aquia Creek Railroad. In the summer the government was too slow, and now it is probably too slow again, as the enemy are said to be landing there. It might have been removed long ago, if we had had a faster Secretary.

Major S. Hart, San Antonio, Texas, writes that the 10,000 (the number altered again) superior rifles captured by the French off the Rio Grande last summer, were about to fall into the hands of United States cruisers; and he has sent for them, hoping the French will turn them over to us.

Gen. Winder writes the Secretary that the Commissary-General will let him have no meat for the 13,000 prisoners; and he will not be answerable for their safe keeping without it. The Quartermaster-General writes that the duty of providing for them is in dispute between the two bureaus, and he wants the Secretary to decide between them. If the Secretary should be very slow, the prisoners will suffer.

Yesterday a set (six) of cups and saucers, white, and not china, sold at auction for $50.

Mr. Henry, Senator from Tennessee, writes the Secretary that if Ewell were sent into East Tennessee with a corps, and Gen. Johnston were to penetrate into Middle Tennessee, forming a junction north of Chattanooga, it would end the war in three months.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 83-4

Monday, December 17, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 24, 1863

To-day we have a cold northwest storm of wind and rain, and we have our first fire in the parlor.

The elections in Ohio and Pennsylvania have gone for the Republican (War) candidates. We rely on ourselves, under God, for independence. It is said Gen. Lee learned that 15,000 Republican voters were sent from Meade's army into Pennsylvania to rote, and hence he advanced and drove back the Federal army. Yet he says that Meade's army is more numerous than his. It is not known what our losses have been, but the following dispatch from Lee gives an accurate account of the enemy's loss in prisoners.

headquarters Army Northern Virginia,
October 23d, 1863.                
Gen. S. Cooper, A. and I. General.

Gen. Imboden, on the 18th, attacked the garrison at Charlestown, Shenandoah Valley, captured 434 prisoners, with their arms, transportation, and stores. To these, add prisoners already forwarded, makes 2462.

R. E. Lee.
Official: John Withers, A. A. General.

And Capt. Warner says he is now feeding them.

Gen. Lee writes on the 19th inst., that it is doubtful whether Gen. Meade will remain where he is, behind his fortifications along Bull Run, or make another movement on Richmond. A few days will decide this matter. He says Meade has superior numbers. If he remains, Gen. Lee will advance again, provided he can get quartermaster supplies for his army. But at present, thousands of his men are barefooted, without overcoats, blankets, etc. He says it was the sublimest spectacle of the war to see men in such condition move forward with such cheerfulness and alacrity, in the recent pursuit of the enemy. He deprecates sending any of his regiments to West Virginia and East Tennessee, and thinks Gen. Sam Jones has not evinced sufficient energy and judgment in that quarter. He says it would be better to send reinforcements to Chattanooga, where it is practicable to conduct a winter campaign. He could drive the enemy from the Peninsula, Gloucester Point, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, but to keep them away Lee would have to station an army there. If North Carolina be menaced, he advises that the troops at Richmond and Petersburg be sent thither, and he will replace them with troops from his army. He thinks it the best policy not to disperse troops in Virginia.

From this letter it is easy to perceive that the Secretary of War, in the absence of the President, has been making suggestions to Gen. Lee, none of which does he deem it good policy to adopt, the Secretary not being versed in military matters.

A private note from Gen. Lee, dated the 13th inst, which I saw to-day, informs the Secretary of War that much of the benefits he anticipated from his movement, then in progress, must be lost, from the fact that the enemy had been informed of his purposes. This it was the duty of the government to prevent, but Mr. Seddon, like his predecessors, cannot be convinced that the rogues and cut-throats employed by Gen. Winder as detectives, have it in their power to inflict injury on the cause and the country. The cleaning of the Augean stables here is the work which should engage the attention of the Secretary of War, rather than directing the movements of armies in the field, of which matter he knows nothing whatever.

The Secretary of War wrote a long and rather rebuking letter to-day to Mr. Sheffey, chairman of the Committee on Confederate Relations, of the General Assembly, who communicated a report, and resolutions of the House of Delegates, in relation to details of conscripts, and the employment in civil offices of robust young men capable of military service, and urging the department to appoint men over forty-five years of age to perform such services, and to impress free negroes to do the labor that soldiers are detailed for. The Secretary thinks the Confederate Government knows its duties, and ought not to be meddled with by State Governments. It touched Mr. Seddon nearly.

By the last Northern papers I see President Lincoln has issued a proclamation calling for 300,000 more volunteers, and if they “do not come when he calls for them,” that number will be drafted in January. This is very significant; either the draft has already failed, or else about a million of men per annum are concerned in the work of suppressing this “rebellion.” We find, just at the time fixed for the subjugation of the South, Rosecrans is defeated, and Meade is driven back upon Washington!

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 80-2

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 21, 1863

Gen. Lee telegraphed last night that our cavalry had routed the enemy's horse on Monday, capturing some 200, etc. etc.

The Legislature passed a series of resolutions yesterday, requesting the Secretary of War to impress free negroes for the public works; to detail the 2d class militia (over 45); and to order into the ranks the thousands of detailed soldiers and conscripts seen everywhere. The report of a committee states that conscripts and soldiers pay bonuses to contractors to have them detailed, and then they furnish negroes as substitutes to perform the work, engaging themselves in speculation. Also that one-third of the conscripts of one county have been detailed to get wood for certain iron works which have a year's supply on hand! Surely the Secretary will attend to this.

There is a row about passports. It appears that Judge Campbell and Gen. Winder are competitors in the business. Judge O. yesterday remarked that, at Gen. Winder's office, he understood a passport could be bought for $100; and this was repeated by Mr. Kean, the young Chief of the Bureau, and it somehow reached the ears of Gen. Winder. Perhaps Judge C. reported the fact of his belief to Mr. Secretary Seddon, who had ceased to grant any himself (to the United States), and of course was not aware of the great number his assistant, much less Gen. W., issued; and if so, it is probable he called Gen. W. to an account. The general, in a rage, charged Mr. Kean with the propagation of a damaging report. Mr. K. said he heard Mr. Chapman (a clerk) say so — and so off they started in pursuit of Chapman, who could not be found up to 3 P.m. By to-morrow Gen. W. may hear of Judge Campbell's remarks and agency, and a pretty kettle of fish they will have, if Judge C.'s record be brought to the notice of the Secretary! It is all wrong, and if the business be not better regulated or terminated, it will terminate the government. Gen. Lee's reputation as a great captain will be ruined, if the blockade-runners be allowed to continue to give information to the enemy of all his movements.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 77-8

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 20, 1863

Nothing definite from Lee. I fear his little campaign from the Rapidan to Bull Run was not a glorious one, although Meade did run to the fortifications at Centreville. He may possibly have had a counter-plot, which is not yet developed. Our papers are rejoicing over thousands of prisoners "picked up;" but Captain Warner, who furnishes the prisoners their rations, assures me that they have not yet arrived; while our papers acknowledge we lost 1000 men, killed and wounded, besides several guns.

The Secretary of War received a dispatch to-day from Gen. Barton, Kinston, N. C, stating that a number of Federal regiments were embarking for (he thinks) South Carolina. This, the Secretary, of course, sends to Gen. Beauregard, but doubts, however, the destination of the troops. He thinks they are to menace Richmond again, and says there are indications of this purpose on the York River. Is Hooker really there? The public knows nothing, as yet, of what is going on down that river. What if Meade retreated to entice Lee away from Richmond, having in preparation an expedition against this city? I should not wonder at anything, since so many equivocal characters are obtaining passports to the United States. Gen. Winder and Judge Campbell are busy signing passports — one granted by the latter yesterday (recorded) also allows the bearer to take with him 2000 pounds tobacco!

A letter was received to-day from the President, ordering certain concessions to Governor Brown, relating to exemptions and details.

Letters have been received justifying the belief (notwithstanding the forebodings of Lieut.-Gen. E. K. Smith) that we have taken Little Rock, Ark., again. This is Price's work; also that Quantrell and other bold raiders in Missouri have collected some thousands of desperate men, and killed several regiments of the enemy. They have burned a number of towns (Union), and taken the large town of Boonville. These are the men against whom Kansas Abolitionists have sworn vengeance — no quarter is to be granted them. I suspect they are granting no quarter!

Yesterday I saw a Captain Commissary on Broad Street give his dog a piece of beef for which I would have given a dollar. Many little children of soldiers stood by with empty baskets. He would not sell a shank!

Dispatch from Alabama:

selma, October 18th, 1863.

President Davis arrived here this evening, and was welcomed by the citizens en masse. An immense crowd gathered in front of the hotel. The President congratulated the people on meeting them under such favorable circumstances, and spoke in glowing terms of the gallantry of Alabamians on every battle-field. He said if the non-conscripts of Alabama would gather their guns and go to the rescue, by guarding Courtland and other points, thereby relieving regular soldiers who are now, from necessity, discharging that sort of duty, such blows would be dealt the enemy as he would find it difficult to recover from. In this way most effective aid could be given the gallant men and officers who are carrying out the plans of the noble Longstreet, under the supervision of the heroic Bragg.

In this way the President was confident that Rosecrans could be crushed to dust. It was only by force of arms that the Yankees could be brought to reason and their plans for our subjugation defeated. Self-reliance and energy were now our only duty. We should not look to Europe for aid, for such is not to be expected now. Our only alternative was to sustain ourselves with renewed energy and determination, and a little more sacrifice upon the part of the people, and the President firmly believed that next spring would see the invader driven from our borders. Then farmers, who are now refugees, could return to their families and pursue their business undisturbed as heretofore. In fact, he believed that the defeat of Rosecrans would practically end the war.

Mr. Randolph has signified his purpose to vote for the bill reducing prices, rather than resign; but Mr. Wyndham Robertson, the delegate, has resigned. Nearly all the papers have taken ground against the "Maximum Bill." To-night a mass meeting is called, to urge the passage of the bill.

The "mass meeting" to-night was a small affair. Mr. Robinson, my old compositor, made a speech, abusing the editors; but the editors have succeeded in putting down for the present the cry for bread. I fear, however, it is but the work of Sisyphus, and it may destroy them; for, if the measure fails before the Legislature, the prices will be sure to advance, and then the people will attribute their woes to those who were instrumental in the defeat of the plan of relief. It is a dangerous thing to array one's self against a famishing people, even when the remedy they demand is not calculated to alleviate their distresses. I saw flour sell at auction to-day for $61 per barrel. This, too, when there is an abundant crop of new grain but recently harvested. It is the result of the depreciation of a redundant currency, and not of an ascertained scarcity. Timber and coal are as abundant as ever they were; and the one sells at $32 per cord, and the other at $30 per load of 25 bushels. And cotton is abundant, while brown domestic is bringing $3.00 per yard. Many are becoming very shabby in appearance; and I can get no clothes for myself or my family, unless the government shall very materially increase our salaries.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 75-7

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: October 14, 1863

A letter from Gen. Lee to the Secretary of War, dated 11th inst. at Madison C. H., complains of the injury done by the newspapers of Richmond, which contain early accounts of his movements, and are taken quickly (by flag of truce? or Gen. Winder's corps of rogues and cut-throats ?) to the enemy. He says he is endeavoring to strike at Meade, and has already captured, this week, some 600 of the enemy (cavalry), including that number of horses. The Secretary sent the requisite notice to the editors.

Gen. Gilmer, at Charleston, suggests the removal of the guns on the boats in that harbor to land batteries, to be commanded by officers of the navy.

An order has been sent to Gen. S. Jones, West Virginia, for the 8th and 14th Regiments Virginia Cavalry.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 71

Monday, April 9, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: September 10, 1863

A Mr. J. C. Jones has addressed a letter to the President asking permission to run the blockade to confer with Mr. Bates, of President Lincoln's cabinet, on terms of peace, with, I believe, authority to assure him that none of the Northwestern States, or any other free States, will be admitted into the Confederacy. Mr. J. says he has been on intimate terms with Mr. B., and has conceived the idea that the United States would cease the war, and acknowledge the independence of the South, if it were not for the apprehension of the Northwestern States seceding from the Union. If his request be not granted, he intends to enter the army immediately. He is a refugee from Missouri. He assures the President he is his friend, and that a “concentration of power” in his hands is essential, etc. The President refers this paper, with a gracious indorsement, to the Secretary of War, recommending him either to see Mr. Jones, or else to institute inquiries, etc.

S. Wyatt, Augusta, Ga., writes in favor of appeals to the patriotism of the people to counteract what Mr. Toombs has done. What has he done? But he advises the President, to whom he professes to be very friendly, to order a discontinuance of seizures, etc.

A. Cohen (Jew name), purser of the blockade-running steamer “Arabia” at Wilmington, has submitted a notable scheme to Gen. Winder, who submits it to the Secretary of War, establishing a police agency at Nassau. Gen. W. to send some of his detectives thither to examine persons coming into the Confederate States, and if found “all right,” to give them passports. It was only yesterday that a letter was received from Gen. Whiting, asking authority to send out a secret agent on the “Arabia,” to see what disposition would be made of her cargo, having strong suspicions of the loyalty of the owners and officers of that vessel.

Gov. Z. B. Vance complains indignantly of Marylanders and Virginians appointed to office in that State, to the exclusion of natives; he says they have not yet been recalled, as he had a right to expect, after his recent interview with the President. He says he is disgusted with such treatment, both of his State and of himself. Alas I what is behind?

Night before last some thirty of the enemy's barges, filled with men, attempted to take the ruins of Sumter by assault. This had been anticipated by Beauregard, and every preparation had been made accordingly. So the batteries at Forts Moultrie, Bee, etc. opened terrifically with shell and grape; the amount of execution by them is not ascertained: but a number of the barges reached the debris of Sumter, where a battalion of infantry awaited them, and where 115 of the Yankees, including more than a dozen officers, begged for quarters and were taken prisoners. No doubt the casualties on the side of the assailants must have been many, while the garrison sustained no loss. This is substantially the purport of a dispatch from Beauregard to Gen. Cooper, which, however, was published very, awkwardly — without any of the niceties of punctuation a fastidious general would have desired. Nevertheless, Beauregard's name-is on every tongue.

The clerks in the departments were startled to-day by having read to them an order from Brig.-Gen. Custis Lee (son of Gen. R. E. Lee), an order to the captains of companies to imprison or otherwise punish all who failed to be present at the drills. These young gentlemen, not being removable, according to the Constitution, and exempted from conscription by an act of Congress, volunteered some months ago for “local defense and special service,” never supposing that regular drilling would be obligatory except when called into actual service by the direction of the President, in the terms of an act of Congress, which provided that such organizations were not to receive pay for military service, unless summoned to the field by the President in an emergency. They receive no pay now—but yet the impression prevails that this order has the approbation of the President, as Gen. G. W. Custis Lee is one of his special aids, with the rank and pay of a colonel of cavalry. As an aid of the President, he signs himself colonel; as commander of the city brigade, he signs himself brigadier-general, and has been so commissioned by the President. How it can be compatible to hold both positions and commissions, I do not understand — but perhaps the President does, as he is well versed in the rules and regulations of the service. Some of the clerks, it is said, regard the threat as unauthorized by law, and will resist what they deem a usurpation, at the hazard of suffering its penalties. I know not what the result will be, but I fear “no good will come of it.” They are all willing to fight, when the enemy comes (a probable thing); but they dislike being forced out to drill, under threats of “punishment.” This measure will not add to the popularity of Col. (or Gen.) Lee.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 39-41

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: August 27, 1863

There is trouble in the Conscription Bureau. Col. Preston, the new superintendent, finds it no bed of roses, made for him by Lieut.-Col. Lay — the lieutenant-colonel being absent in North Carolina, sent thither to compose the discontents; which may complicate matters further, for they don't want Virginians to meddle with North Carolina matters. However, the people he is sent to are supposed to be disloyal. Gen. Pillow has applied to have Georgia in the jurisdiction of his Bureau of Conscription, and the Governors of Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee unite in the request; also Generals Johnston and Bragg. Gen. Pillow already has Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, etc.—a much larger jurisdiction than the bureau here. Col. Preston, of course, protests against all this, and I believe the Secretary sympathizes with him.

Prof. G. M. Richardson, of the Georgia Military Institute, sends some interesting statistics. That State has furnished the army 80,000, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years. Still, the average number of men in each county between sixteen and eighteen and forty-five and sixty is 462, and there are 132 counties: total, 60,984. He deducts 30 per cent, for the infirm, etc. (18,689), leaving 42,689 men able to bear arms still at home. Thus, after putting some 500,000 in the field (if we could put them there), there would yet remain a reserve for home defense against raids, etc. in the Confederate States, of not less than 250,000 men.

Gen. Winder sent to the Secretary of War to-day for authority to appoint a clerk to attend exclusively to the mails to and from the United States — under Gen. Winder's sole direction.

Major Quantrel, a Missouri guerrilla chief, has dashed into Lawrence, Kansas, and burnt the city — killing and wounding 180. He had Gen. Jim Lane, but he escaped.

Gen. Floyd is dead; some attribute his decease to ill treatment by the government.

I saw Mr. Hunter yesterday, bronzed, but bright. He is a little thinner, which improves his appearance.

Gen. Lee is in town—looking well. When he returns, I think the fall campaign will open briskly.
A dispatch received to-day says that on Tuesday evening another assault on Battery Wagner was in progress — but as yet we have no result.

Lieut. Wood captured a third gun-boat in the Rappahannock, having eight guns.

The prisoners here selected to die, in retaliation for Burnside's execution of our officers taken while recruiting in Kentucky, will not be executed.

Nor will the officers taken on Morris Island, serving with the negroes, suffer death in accordance with the act of Congress and the President's proclamation. The Secretary referred the matter to the President for instruction, and the President invited the advice of the Secretary. The Secretary advised that they be held indefinitely, without being brought to trial, and in this the President acquiesces.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 2p. 24-6

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: July 31, 1863

Hon. E. S. Dargan, member of Congress, writes from Mobile that Mississippi is nearly subdued, and Alabama is almost exhausted, He says our recent disasters, and Lee's failure in Pennsylvania, have nearly ruined us, and the destruction must be complete unless France and England can be induced to interfere in our behalf. He never believed they would intervene unless we agreed to abolish slavery; and he would embrace even that alternative to obtain their aid. He says the people are fast losing all hope of achieving their independence; and a slight change of policy on the part of Lincoln (pretermitting confiscation, I suppose) would put an end to the revolution and the Confederate States Government. Mr. D. has an unhappy disposition.

Mr. L. Q. Washington recommends Gen. Winder to permit Mr. Wm. Matthews, just from California, to leave the country. Gen. W. sends the letter to the Assistant Secretary of War, Judge Campbell, who “allows” it; and the passport is given, without the knowledge of the President or the Secretary of War.

The news from Mexico (by the Northern papers) is refreshing to our people. The “notables” of the new government, under the auspices of the French General, Forey, have proclaimed the States an Empire, and offered the throne to Maximilian of Austria; and if he will not accept, they “implore” the Emperor of France to designate the one who shall be their Emperor. Our people, very many of them, just at this time, would not object to being included in the same Empire.

The President is still scrutinizing Beauregard. The paper read from the general a few days since giving a statement of his forces, and the number of the enemy, being sent to the President by the Secretary of War, was returned to-day with the indorsement, that he hoped “a clearer comprehension of the cause,” in the promised further report of the general, would be given “why the enemy approached Morris Island before being observed.” So, omitting all notice of the defense (so far) of the batteries, etc., the attention of the President seems fixed on what the general omitted to do; or what he might, could, or should have done.

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 391-2

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Diary of John Beauchamp Jones: July 21, 1863

We have intelligence to-day, derived from a New York paper of the 18th inst., that the “insurrection” in New York had subsided, under the menacing attitude of the military authority, and that Lincoln had ordered the conscription law to be enforced. This gives promise of a long war.

Mr. Mallory sent a note to the Secretary of War to-day (which of course the Secretary did not see, and will never hear of) by a young man named Juan Boyle, asking permission for B. to pass into Maryland as an agent of the Navy Department. Judge Campbell indorsed on the back of it (to Brig.-Gen. Winder) that permission was “allowed” by “order.” But what is this “agent” to procure in the United States which could not be had by our steamers plying regularly between Wilmington and Europe?

SOURCE: John Beauchamp Jones, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital, Volume 1, p. 384-5

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: June 21, 1864

I am a fair writer, and am besieged by men to write letters to the rebel officers praying for release, and I do it, knowing it will do no good, but to please the sufferers. Some of these letters are directed to Capt Wirtz, some to Gen. Winder, Jeff Davis and other officers. As dictated by them some would bring tears from a stone. One goes on to say he has been a prisoner of war over a year, has a wife and three children destitute, how much he thinks of them, is dying with disease, etc., etc. All kinds of stories are narrated, and handed to the first rebel who comes within reach. Of course they are never heard from. It's pitiful to see the poor wretches who think their letters will get them out, watch the gate from day to day, and always disappointed. Some one has much to answer for.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 69

Monday, August 7, 2017

Diary of 1st Sergeant John L. Ransom: June 17, 1864

Must nurse my writing material. A New York Herald in camp, which says an exchange will commence the 7th of July. Gen. Winder, is on a visit to Andersonville Is quite an aged man, and white haired. Very warm and almost suffocating. Seems as if the sun was right after us and belonged to the Confederacy. Chas. Humphrey, of Massachusetts, who has been in our hundred for months, has gone crazy; wanders about entirely naked, and not even a cap on his head. Many of the prisoners are crazy, and I only speak of those in our immediate proximity. Am in good spirits, notwithstanding my afflictions. Have never really thought yet that I was going to die in this place or in the Confederacy. Saw a new comer pounded to a jelly by the raiders. His cries for relief were awful, but none came. Must a few villains live at the expense of so many? God help us from these worse than rebels.

SOURCE: John L. Ransom, Andersonville Diary, p. 68