,000 men, besides a numerous fleet of gun-boats; and Gen. Wise has but 3000 effective men.
The department leaves Gen. Wise to his superior officer, Gen. Huger, at Norfolk, who has 15,000 men. But I understand that Huger says Wise has ample means for the defense of the island, and refuses to let him have more men. This looks like a man-trap of the Red-tapers to get rid of a popular leader.
I hope the President will interfere.
All calm and quiet to-day.
I forgot to mention the fact that some weeks ago I received a work in manuscript from London, sent thither before the war, and brought by a bearer of dispatches from our Commissioner, Hon. Ambrose Dudley Mann, to whom I had written on the subject.
I owe him a debt of gratitude for this kindness.
When peace is restored, I shall have in readiness some contributions to the literature of the South, and my family, if I should not survive, may derive pecuniary benefit from them.
I look for
Relations, of which he is the chairman.
This is nothing.
But neither yesterday nor the day before was there a quorum of both houses; a sad spectacle in such a season of gloom.
It was enlivened, however, by a communication from the Surgeon-General, proposing to send surgeons to vaccinate all the members.
They declined the honor, though the small-pox is raging frightfully.
To-day a quorum was found in each house, and the President's message was sent in. I have not read it yet.
The President's message is highly applauded.
It is well written; but I do not perceive much substance in it, besides some eloquent reproaches of England and France for the maintenance of their neutrality, which in effect is greatly more beneficial to the United States than to us. The President essays to encourage the people to continued effort and endurance-and such encouragement is highly judicious at this dark epoch of the struggle.
He says truly we have larger armies, and a better
dier 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.
We have no news.
But there is a feverish anxiety in the city on the question of subsistence, and there is fear of an outbreak.
Congress is in secret session on the subject of the currency, and the new Conscription bill.
The press generally is opposed to calling out all men of fighting age, which they say would interfere with the freedom of the press, and would be unconstitutional.
General good spirits prevail since Northern arrivals show that the House of Representat
The President has decided that such agents have no right to expend any money but that contributed.
This hits the Assistant Secretary of War, and Mr. Kean, Chief of Bureau, and our agent, Mr. Peck, for whom so many barrels of flour were purchased by the latter as agent, leaving the greater part of the contribution unexpended; nay, more, the money has not yet been refunded, although contributed five months ago!
Some 700 barrels of flour were realized yesterday for the army, January 15TH.-Clear and frosty.
Guns heard down the river.
Dispatches came last night for ammunition — to Wilmington,! believe.
We have nothing yet decisive from Fort Fisher, but I fear it will fall.
Mr. Hunter was in the Secretary's office this morning before the Secretary came.
I could give him no news from Wilmington.
He is much distressed; but if the enemy prevails, I have no doubt he will stipulate saving terms for Virginia.
He cannot contemplate the ruin of his fortune; political ru