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XIX. October, 1862

  • McClellan has crossed the Potomac.
  • -- another battle anticipated. -- I am assured here that Lee had but 40,000 men engaged at Sharpsburg. -- he has more now, as he is defending Virginia. -- radicals of the North want McClellan removed. -- our President has never taken the field. -- Lee makes demonstrations against McClellan. -- a Jew store robbed last. Night. -- we have 40,000 prisoners excess over the enemy. -- my family arrived from Raleigh. -- my wife's substitute for coffee. -- foul passports. -- my friend Brooks dines and wines with members of Congress. -- the Herald and Tribune tempt us to return to the Union -- Lee writes, no immediate advance of McClellan. -- still a rumor of Bragg's victory in Kentucky. -- enemy getting large reinforcements. -- diabolical order of Governor Baylor. -- Secretary's estimate of conscripts and all others, 500,000 -- Bragg retreating from Kentucky. -- bickering between Bragg and Beauregard. -- Lee wants Confederate notes made a legal tender. -- there will be no second Washington.

October 1

They are still striking at martial law in the Senate, as administered by Gen. Winder. A communication from the Secretary of War admits that Gen. W. was authorized to suppress substitute agencies-“but this did not justify impressment and confiscation.” It appears that Gen Winder ordered the agents to be impressed into the service, and the money paid for substitutes to be confiscated Notwithstanding his blundering ignorance is disavowed, he is still retained in command.

The enemy are at Warrenton; and McClellan's army has crossed the Upper Potomac. Another battle is imminent-and fearful will be the slaughter this time. Lee had but little if any more than 40,000 in the battle of Sharpsburg; the Northern papers said McClellan had 200,000! a fearful odds. But Lee now has 70,000-and, besides, he will be defending Virginia. McClellan, with his immense army, must advance, or else relinquish command. The Abolitionists of the North have never liked him, and they wield the power at present. A defeat of Lee near Winchester would produce consternation here.

There are, as usual, thousands of able-bodied men still in ourstreets. [161] It is probable every man, able to march, will be required on the field of battle. If we can get out all, we shall certainly gain the day, and establish our independence.

How shall we subsist this winter? There is not a supply of wood or coal in the city-and it is said there are not adequate means of transporting it hither. Flour at $16 per barrel, and bacon at 75 cts. per pound, threaten a famine. And yet there are no beggars in the streets. We must get a million of men in arms and drive the invader from our soil. We are capable of it, and we must do it. Better die in battle than die of starvation produced by the enemy.

The newspapers are printed on half sheets-and I think the publishers make money; the extras (published almost every day) are sold to the newsboys for ten cents, and often sold by them for twenty-five cents. These are mere slips of paper, seldom containing more than a column — which is reproduced in the next issue. The matter of the extras is mostly made up from the Northern papers, brought hither by persons running the blockade. The supply is pretty regular, and dates are rarely more than three or four days behind the time of reception. We often get the first accounts of battles at a distance in this way, as our generals and our government are famed for a prudential reticence. When the Northern papers simply say they have gained a victory, we rejoice, knowing their Cretan habits. The other day they announced, for European credulity, the capture and killing of 40,000 of our men: this staggered us; but it turned out that they did capture 700 of our stragglers and 2000 wounded men in field hospitals. Now they are under the necessity of admitting the truth. Truth, like honesty, is always the best policy.

October 2

News from the North indicate that in Europe all expectation of a restoration of the Union is at an end; and the probability is that we shall soon be recognized, to be followed, possibly, by intervention. Nevertheless, we must rely upon our own strong arms, and the favor of God. It is said, however, an iron steamer is being openly constructed in the Mersey (Liverpool), for the avowed purpose of opening the blockade of Charleston harbor.

Yesterday in both Houses of Congress resolutions were introduced [162] for the purpose of retaliating upon the North the barbarities contemplated in Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

The Abolitionists of the North want McClellan removed-I hope they may have their will. The reason assigned by his friends for his not advancing farther into Virginia, is that he has not troops enough, and the Secretary of War has them not to send him. I hope this may be so. Still, I think he must fight soon if he remains near Martinsburg.

The yellow fever is worse at Wilmington. I trust it will not make its appearance here.

A resolution was adopted yesterday in the Senate, to the effect that martial law does not apply to civilians. But it has been applied to them here, and both Gen. Winder and his Provost Marshal threatened to apply it to me.

Among the few measures that may be attributed to the present Secretary of War, is the introduction of the telegraph wires into his office. It may possibly be the idea of another; but it is not exactly original; and it has not been productive of good. It has now been in operation several weeks, all the way to Warrenton; and yet a few days ago the enemy's cavalry found that section of country undefended, and took Warrenton itself, capturing in that vicinity some 2000 wounded Confederates, in spite of the Secretary's expensive vigilance. Could a Yankee have been the inventor of the Secretary's plaything? One amused himself telegraphing the Secretary from Warrenton, that all was quiet there; and that the Yankees had not made their appearance in that neighborhood, as had been rumored! If we had imbeciles in the field, our subjugation would be only pastime for the enemy. It is well, perhaps, that Gen. Lee has razeed the department down to a second-class bureau, of which the President himself is the chief.

I see by a correspondence of the British diplomatic agents, that their government have decided no reclamation can be made on us for burning cotton and tobacco belonging to British subjects, where there is danger that they may fall into the hands of the enemy. Thus the British government do not even claim to have their subjects in the South favored above the Southern people. But Mr. Benjamin is more liberal, and he directed the Provost Marshal to save the tobacco bought on foreign account. So far, however, the grand speculation has failed.


October 3

Gen. Wise was countermanded in his march against Williamsburg, by Major-Gen. Gustavus W. Smith. He had 2700 men, the enemy 1500, and he would have captured and slain them all. Gen. Wise was the trusted and revered Governor of Virginia, while Smith was the Street Commissioner in New York.

A strong letter from Vice-President Stephens is published today, in which it is successfully maintained that no power exists, derived either from the Constitution or acts of Congress, for the declaration of martial law. He says all punishments inflicted by military governors on civilians are clearly illegal.

There is a rumor that we have Louisville, but it does not seem to be authentic. We have nothing from Lee, and know not exactly where McClellan is.

Many people thought the President himself would take the field. I doubt not he would have done so if the Provisional Government had continued in existence until independence was achieved.

October 4

A splendid aurora borealis last night.

Yesterday, most of the delegation in Congress from Kentucky and Tennessee petitioned the President to order Gen. Breckinridge, at Knoxville, to march to the relief of Nashville, and expel the enemy, without waiting for orders from Gen. Bragg, now in Kentucky. The President considers this an extraordinary request, and will not, I suppose, grant it.

It is said Gen. Lee is advancing against Gen. McClellan at Martinsburg. If Lee attacks him, and beats him, he will probably be ruined, for the Potomac will be in his rear.

The enemy's paper, printed at Nashville, thinks Bragg has taken Louisville. I hope so. I think we shall get Nashville soon.

Gen. Butler, the Yankee commander in New Orleans, has issued an order to all the inhabitants of that city, sympathizing with the Southern Confederacy, to present themselves immediately, and take the oath of allegiance, when they will be recommended for pardon. If they do not comply with the order, they will be arrested by his police, cast into prison, and their property confiscated. These are the orders which rally our men and make them fight like heroes. How many Yankees will bleed and die in consequence [164] of this order? And Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation will seal the doom of one hundred thousand of his own people! A letter from Gen. Lee, dated October 1st, says that McClellan has not crossed the Potomac. Some of his scouts have been at Martinsburg, or in its vicinity. It is not to be supposed that Lee can be amused by McClellan, while a force of any magnitude is sent against Richmond. Some fear this, but I don't.

Monday, October 6

A Jew store, in Main Street, was robbed of $8000 worth of goods on Saturday night. They were carted away. This is significant. The prejudice is very strong against the extortionists, and I apprehend there will be many scenes of violence this winter. And our own people, who ask four prices for wood and coal, may contribute to produce a new Reign of Terror. The supplies necessary for existence should not be withheld from a suffering people. It is dangerous.

There is great diversity of opinion yet as to the locality of McClellan's army and Lee's intentions.

A dispatch from Gen. Van Dorn, in West Tennessee, indicates that we are gaining a victory over Rosecrans. The battle was in progress, not completed.

October 7

Nothing further has been heard from Corinth. A great battle is looked for in Kentucky. All is quiet in Northern Virginia.

Some 2500 Confederate prisoners arrived from the North last evening. They are on parole, and will doubtless be exchanged soon, as we have taken at least 40,000 more of the enemy's men than they have captured of ours.

Yesterday, Congress, which has prolonged the session until the 13th instant, passed a bill increasing the pay of soldiers four dollars per month. I hope they will increase our pay before they adjourn. Congress also, yesterday, voted down the proposition of a forced loan of one-fifth of all incomes. But the Committee of Ways and Means are instructed to bring forward another bill.

This evening Custis and I expect the arrival of my family from Raleigh, N. C. We have procured for them one pound of sugar, 80 cents; one quart of milk, 25 cents; one pound of sausagemeat, 37 1/2 cents; four loaves of bread, as large as my fist, 20 cents each; and we have a little coffee, which is selling at $2.50 per pound. In the morning, some one must go to market, else there [165] will be short-commons. Washing is $2.50 per dozen pieces. Common soap is worth 75 cents per pound.

October 8

At last we have definite accounts of the battle of Corinth, on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday last. We have been defeated, and fearful has been the slaughter on both sides. The enemy had overwhelming numbers. We have no particulars, further than that our army retreated This is bad for Van Dorn and Price.

My family arrived last night, well, and pleased with the cottage, which they call Robin's Nest. But we were saddened by the loss of a trunk — the most valuable one-containing some heavy spoons, forks, and other plate, saved from the wreck at Burlington; my wife's velvet cloak, satin dress (bought in Paris), my daughter's gold watch, and many other things of value. Twelve trunks, the right number, were delivered; but one did not belong to us.

October 9

Early this morning I was at the depot. The superintendent suggested that I should send some one to Weldon in search of the trunk. He proffered to pass him free. This was kind; but I desired first to look among the baggage at the depot, and the baggage-master was called in. Only two were unclaimed last night; but he said a gentleman had been there early in the morning looking for his trunk, who stated that by some mistake he had got the wrong one last night. He said he stopped at the Exchange, and I repaired thither without delay, where I found my trunk, to the mutual joy of the traveler and myself. It was sent to the cottage, and the stranger's taken to the hotel. Had it not been for my lucky discovery, we should have had no spoons, forks, etc.

My wife has obviated one of the difficulties of the blockade, by a substitute for coffee, which I like very well. It is simply corn meal, toasted like coffee, and served in the same manner. It costs five or six cents per pound-coffee, $2.50.

I heard a foolish North Carolinian abusing the administration to-day. He said, among other things, that the President himself, and his family, had Northern proclivities. That the President's family, when they fled from Richmond, in May, took refuge at St. Mary's Hall, Raleigh, the establishment of the Rev. Dr. Smedes, a Northern man of open and avowed partiality for the Union; and that the Rev. Dr. Mason of the same place, with whom they [166] were in intimate association; was a Northern man, and an open Unionist. That the President's aid, and late Assistant Secretary of State, was an Englishman, imported from the North ; Gen. Cooper, the highest in rank of any military officer, was a Northern man; Col. Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, was also a Northern man; Gen. Lovell, who was in the defeat at Corinth, and who had surrendered New Orleans, was from Pennsylvania; Gen. Smith, in command of Virginia and North Carolina, from New York; and Gen. Winder, commanding this metropolis, a Marylander, and his detectives strangers and aliens, who sold passports to Lincoln's spies for $100 each. He was furious, and swore all the distresses of the people were owing to a Nero-like despotism, originating in the brain of Benjamin, the Jew, whose wife lived in Paris, The Senate, yesterday, passed the following resolutions, almost unanimously:

1st. Resolved by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That no officer of the Confederate Government is by law empowered to vest Provost Marshals with any authority whatever over citizens of the Confederate States not belonging to the land or naval forces thereof or with general police powers and duties for the preservation of the peace and good order of any city, town, or municipal district in any State of this Confederacy, and any such exercise of authority is illegal and void.

2d. Resolved, That no officer of the Confederate Government has constitutional or other lawful authority to limit or restrict, or in any manner to control the exercise of the jurisdiction of the civil judicial tribunals of the States of this Confederacy, vested in them by the constitutions and laws of the States respectively, and all orders of any such officer, tending to restrict or control or interfere with the full and normal exercise of the jurisdiction of such civil judicial tribunals are illegal and void.

3d. Resolved, That the military law of the Confederate States is, by the courts and the enactments of Congress, limited to the land and naval forces and the militia when in actual service, and to such other persons as are within the lines of any army, navy, corps, division or brigade of the army of the Confederate States.

Yesterday, the Dispatch contained an article, copied from the Philadelphia Inquirer, stating that a certain person who had [167] been in prison here, arrested by order of Gen. Winder, for disloyalty, and for attempting to convey information to the enemy, had succeeded in obtaining his release; and, for a bribe of $100, a passport to leave the Confederacy had been procured from Gen. Winder's alien detectives. The passport is printed in the Philadelphia paper, and the bearer, the narrative says, has entered the United States service.

This must have been brought to the attention of the President; for a lady, seeking a passport to go to her son, sick and in prison in the North, told me that when she applied to Gen. Winder today, he said the President had ordered him to issue no more passports. And subsequently several parties, government agents and others, came to me with orders from the Secretary (which I retain on file), to issue passports for them. I hope this may be the end of Winder's reign.

A letter from Gen. Lee states that, in view of certain movements, he had, without waiting for instructions, delivered the sword, horse, etc. of Gen. Kearney, lately killed, to his wife, who had made application for them. The movements referred to we shall know more about in a few days.

Gen. Van Dorn dispatches the department that his army is safe; that he took thirteen guns and 700 prisoners. So it was not so disastrous a defeat. But the idea of charging five times his number!

October 10

Mr. Brooks called this morning to get me to draft a passport bill, which he said he would get Congress to pass. I doubt it. I wrote the bill, however. He says fifteen or twenty members of Congress visit his house daily. They dine with him, and drink his old whisky. Mr. B. has a superb mansion on Clay Street, which he bought at a sacrifice. He made his money at trade. In one of the rooms Aaron Burr once dined with Chief Justice Marshall, and Marshall was assailed for it afterward by Mr. Jefferson. It was during Burr's trial, and Marshall was his judge. Mr. Wickham, who was Burr's counsel, then occupied the house, and gave a dinner party. Marshall did not know Burr was to be one of the guests. I got these facts from Mr. Foote, whom I met there the other evening.

A letter from Gen. Bragg to the President, indicates but too clearly that the people of Kentucky hesitate to risk the loss of [168] property by joining us. Only one brigade has been recruited so far. The general says 50,000 more men are requisite. Can he have them? None!

October 11

There are rumors of Abolition gun-boats in the York and James Rivers. A battery of long range guns was sent down yesterday.

It is said that an army of raw Abolitionists, under Sigel, has marched from Alexandria toward Culpepper County. If this be so, we shall soon have more fighting, and more running, I hope. Lee keeps his own counsel--wisely.

October 13

Northern papers, received last night, speak of a battle at Perryville, Kentucky, on the 9th instant, in which the Abolitionists lost, by their own confession, 2000 killed and wounded, which means 10,000. They say Bragg's forces held a portion of the field after the battle. If this prove not a glorious victory for our arms, I don't know how to read Abolition journals.

I see that our Congress, late on Saturday night (they adjourn to-day), passed an act increasing the salaries of officers and employees in the departments residing at Richmond. This will make the joint compensation of my son and myself $3000; this is not equal to $2000 a year ago. But Congress failed to make the necessary appropriation. The Secretary might use the contingent fund.

Another act authorizes the President to appoint twenty additional brigadier-generals, and a number of lieutenant-generals.

The New York Herald, and even the Tribune, are tempting us to return to the Union, by promises of protecting slavery, and an offer of a convention to alter the Constitution, giving us such guarantees of safety as we may demand. This is significant. We understand the sign.

Letters from Gen. Lee do not indicate an immediate purpose to retire from the Potomac; on the contrary, he has ordered Gen. Loring, if practicable, to menace Wheeling and Pennsylvania, and form a junction with him via the Monongahela and Upper Potomac. But Loring does not deem it safe to move all his forces (not more than 6000) by that route; he will, however, probably send his cavalry into Pennsylvania.

And Gen. Lee does not want any more raw conscripts. They get sick immediately, and prove a burden instead of a benefit. He [169] desires them to be kept in camps of instruction, until better seasoned (a term invented by Gen. Wise) for the field.

Senator Brown, of Mississippi, opposed the bill increasing our salaries, on the ground that letters from himself, indorsed by the President, applying for clerkships for his friends, remained unanswered. He did not seem to know that this was exclusively the fault of the head clerk, Mr. Randolph, who has the title of Secretary of War.

And the Examiner denounces the bill, because it seems to sanction a depreciation of our currency! What statesmanship! What logic!

October 14

Congress adjourned yesterday at five o'clock P. M. I have heard nothing of Mr. Brooks and the Passport Bill I drafted. The truth is that, with few exceptions, the members of this Congress are very weak, and very subservient to the heads of departments.

Congress has given him (the President) power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus anywhere, until thirty days after the reassembling of Congress-and they have failed to pass the joint resolution declaring no power exists under the Constitution to institute martial law. They voted it separately, but flinched when put to the test to act conjointly ; and martial law still exists in this city.

We have Northern accounts of a dash into Pennsylvania by Gen. Stuart and 1500 of his cavalry. He went as far as Chambersburg, which surrendered; and he was gathering horses, etc., for the use of the army, paying for them in Confederate notes. They say he did not disturb any other description of private property without paying for it. I hope he is safely back again by this time. The Northern papers claim a victory in Kentucky-but I shall wait until we hear from Bragg.

Gen. Magruder has been assigned to duty in Texas. What Gen. Johnston is to do, does not yet appear. A great many new assistant adjutants and inspector-generals are to be appointed for the generals, lieutenant-generals, majors, and brigadier-generals, having rank and pay of colonels, majors, captains, and lieutenants of cavalry. Like the Russian, perhaps, we shall have a purely military government; and it may be as good as any other. [170]

Gold, in the North, is selling at 28 per cent. premium; and Exchange on England at $1.40. This is an indication that the Abolitionists are bringing distress upon their own country.

The financial bill did not pass-so there is to be no forced loan. Neither did a bill, making Confederate notes a legal tender-so there will be a still greater depreciation.

Gen. Hardee is a lieutenant-general.

October 15

A young man showed me a passport to-day to return to Washington. It appears that Secretary Randolph has adopted another plan, which must be a rare stroke of genius. The printed passport is “by order of the Secretary of War,” and is signed by “J. H. Winder, Brig.-Gen.” But this is not all: on the back it is “approved-by order of Major-Gen. Gustavus W. Smith,” and signed by one of Smith's “adjutants.” So the command of the Secretary of War is approved by the New Yorker, Smith, after being first manipulated by Winder. It is an improvement, at all events, on the late mode of sending out spies-they cannot get passports for bribes now, without Smith's adjutant knowing something about it. Heretofore the “Plug Uglies” might take the bribe, and by their influence with Gen. Winder, obtain his signature to a blank passport.

The following was received yesterday:

The cavalry expedition to Pennsylvania has returned safe. They passed through Mercersburg, Chambersburg, Emmetsburg, Liberty, New Market, Syattstown, and Burnesville. The expedition crossed the Potomac above Williamsport, and recrossed at White's Ford, making the entire circuit, cutting the enemy's communications, destroying arms, etc., and obtaining many recruits.

R. E. Lee, General.

Thus, Gen. Stuart has made another circle round the enemy's army; and hitherto, every time he has done so, a grand battle followed. Let McClellan beware!

A letter, just received from Gen. Lee, says there is no apprehension of an immediate advance of McClellan's army. This he [171] has ascertained from his scouts sent out to obtain information. He says the enemy is in no condition to advance. Will they go into winter quarters? Or will Lee beat them up in their quarters?

But the government has desired Lee to fall back from the Potomac; and Lee, knowing best what he should do at present, declines the honor. He says he is now subsisting his army on what, if he retreated, would subsist the enemy, as he has but limited means of transportation. He says, moreover, that our cavalry about Culpepper and Manassas (belonging to the command of Gen. Gustavus W. Smith), should be more active and daring in dashing at the enemy; and then, a few weeks hence, McClellan would go into winter quarters. That would insure the safety of Richmond until spring.

There is a rumor, generally credited, that Bragg has led the enemy, in Kentucky, into an ambuscade, and slaughtered 25,000. A traveler from the West reports having read an account to this effect in the Louisville Journal. If the Journal really says sothat number won't cover the loss. The Abolitionist journals are incorrigible liars. And, indeed, so are many of those who bring us news from the West.

October 16

There is no confirmation of the reported victory in Kentucky.

An Englishman, who has been permitted to go North, publishes there a minute and pretty accurate description of our river defenses.

I have written a leading article for the Whig to-morrow, on “Martial law and passports.” My plan is to organize committees in all the border counties to examine the passports of strangers seeking egress from the country; and to permit loyal citizens, not desiring to pass our borders, or the lines of the armies, to travel without passports. An officer and a squad of soldiers at the depots can decide what soldiers are entitled to pass on the roads.

October 17

The article in the Whig is backed by one of a similar character in the Examiner. We shall see what effect they will have on the policy adopted by the Secretary of War.

Although still unofficial, we have confirmatory accounts of Bragg's victory in Kentucky. The enemy lost, they say, 25,000 men. Western accounts are generally exaggerated. [172]

The President has appointed the following lieutenant-generals: Jackson, Longstreet, (Bishop) Polk, Hardee, Pemberton, Holmes, and Smith (Kirby).

The raid of Stuart into Pennsylvania was a most brilliant affair. He captured and destroyed much public propertyre-specting that of individuals. The Abolitionists are much mortified, and were greatly frightened. The plan of this expedition was received at the department to-day-just as conceived and prepared by Lee, and it was executed by Stuart in a masterly manner.

Advices from Winchester inform the government that McClellan is receiving large reinforcements. He may be determined to cross the Potomac and offer battle — as nothing less will satisfy the rabid Abolitionists. Gen. Lee is tearing up the rails on the road from Harper's Ferry.

Our improvident soldiers lose a great many muskets. We should not have arms enough on the Potomac, were it not for those captured at Harper's Ferry. An order will be issued, making every man responsible for the safe-keeping of his gun.

October 18

Major-Gen. Jones telegraphs from Knoxville, Tenn., that a wounded officer arrived from Kentucky, reports a victory for Bragg, and that he has taken over 10,000 prisoners. We shall soon have positive news.

A letter from Admiral Buchanan states that he has inspected the defenses of Mobile, and finds them satisfactory.

I traversed the markets this morning, and was gratified to find the greatest profusion of all kinds of meats, vegetables, fruits, poultry, butter, eggs, etc. But the prices are enormously high. If the army be kept away, it seems the supply must soon be greater than the demand. Potatoes at $5 per bushel, and a large crop! Halfgrown chickens at $1 each! Butter at $1.25 per pound! And other things in the same proportion.

Here is a most startling matter. Gov. Baylor, appointed Governor of Arizona, sent an order some time since to a military commander to assemble the Apaches, under pretense of a treaty-and when they came, to kill every man of them, and sell their children to pay for the whisky. This order was sent to the Secretary, who referred it to Gen. Sibley, of that Territory, to [173] ascertain if it were genuine. To-day it came back from Gen. S. indorsed a true bill. Now it will go to the President-and we shall see what will follow. He cannot sanction such a perfidious crime. I predict he will make Capt. Josselyn, his former private Secretary, and the present Secretary of the Territory, Governor in place of Baylor.

October 20

The news from Kentucky is very vague. It seems there has been a battle, which resulted favorably for us, so far as the casualties are concerned. But then Bragg has fallen back forty miles, and is probably retiring toward Cumberland Gap, that he may not be taken in the rear by the enemy's forces lately at Corinth.

The President intends suspending the Conscription Act in Western Virginia, for the purpose, no doubt, of organizing an army of Partisan Rangers in that direction.

It seems, from recent Northern papers received in this city, that the elections in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana have gone against the Abolitionists. What then? If the war should be waged by the Democrats for the restoration of the Union, and waged according to the rules of civilized nations, respecting noncombatants, and exempting private property from pillage, it would be a still more formidable war than that now waged against us.

I have just received the following note from the Secretary:

October 17th, 1862.
Mr. J. B. Jones will hereafter refer all applicants for passports to Gen. Smith's Adjutant-General, and grant none from the department.

George W. Randolph, Sec. of War.

Neither the acting Assistant Secretary, nor Mr. Kean, with his whole alphabet of initials, could be certain whether the order referred merely to applicants to go out of the Confederacy, or all applicants of whatever kind. If the latter, I am functus officio, so far as passports are concerned. But Capt. Kean says there is plenty of work for me to do; and I presume I will not be entirely out of employment. [174]

I took a good look at Mr. Randolph to-day. He is thin, frail. His face is pale, and will soon be a mass of wrinkles, although he is not over forty. His eyes are extremely small, blue, and glisten very much.

October 21

Still nothing definite from Kentucky, more than the retreat of Bragg. Gen. Loring is here-he would not act upon the suggestions of Lee, and so he is recalled.

The government is uneasy about Richmond. They want a portion of Lee's army sent hither. But Lee responds, that although he is not advised of the condition of things on the south side of James River, yet, if he detaches a portion of his army, he may be too weak to encounter McClellan, if he should advance.

I saw the Secretary again this morning; he wished me to turn over all the passport business to the military. I said I was glad to be rid of that business, and would never touch it again.

October 22

Back at the department at work, but not much to do yet. The mails are not heavy.

We have Bragg's report of the battle of Perryville. He beat the enemy from his positions, driving him back two miles, when night set in. But finding overwhelming masses accumulating around him, he withdrew in good order to Bryattsville. Thus Kentucky is given up for the present!

McClellan has retired back into Maryland, hoping, I suppose, Lee will follow and fall into his ambuscade.

The President will call out, under the Conscription Act, all between the ages of eighteen and forty. This will furnish, according to the Secretary's estimate, 500,000, after deducting the exempts. A great mistake.

A letter from Gen. Lee indicates that he is in favor of making Treasury notes a legal tender. It was so with Washington concerning Continental money-but Congress pays no attention to the subject. Why does not the President recommend it? It would then pass-for, at present, he is master.

The paper from the Provost Marshal, referred by the latter to the President, came back to-day. The Secretary, in referring it, seems to incline to the opinion that the writ of habeas corpus not being suspended, there was no remedy for the many evils the Provost Marshal portrayed. The President, however, did not wholly [175] coincide in that opinion. He says: “The introduction and sale of liquors must be prevented. Call upon the city authorities to withhold licenses, and to abate the evil in the courts, or else an order will be issued, such as the necessity requires.”

Judge Campbell, late of the United States Supreme Court, has been appointed Assistant Secretary of War.

October 23

The Gov. of Florida calls for aid, or he thinks his State will fall.

Albert Pike, writing from Texas, says if the Indian Territory be not attended to “instantly,” it will be lost.

Per contra, we have a rumor that Lee is recrossing the Potomac into Maryland.

October 24

Bragg is in full retreat, leaving Kentucky, and racing for Chattanooga — the point of interest now. But Beauregard, from whom was taken the command of the Western army, day before yesterday repulsed with slaughter a large detachment of the Yankees that had penetrated to the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. Thus, in spite of the fantastic tricks of small men here, the popular general is destined to rise again.

October 25

Many severe things are alleged against the President for depriving Beauregard of the command of the Western army. It is alleged that Bragg reported that the enemy would have been annihilated at Shiloh, if Beauregard had fought an hour longer. Now, it appears, that Bragg would have annihilated the enemy at Perryville, if he had fought an hour longer! And just at the moment of his flying out of Kentucky, news comes of Beauregard's victory over the enemy in the South. Nor is this all. The enemy some time since intercepted a letter from Beauregard to Bragg (a copy of which was safely sent to the government here), detailing his plan of the campaign in the West, if he had not been unjustly deprived of the command. But Bragg chose to make a plan of his own, or was directed to disregard Beauregard's advice. No one doubts that Beauregard's plan would have been successful, and would have given us Cincinnati and Louisville; but that of Bragg, as the one sent him by the government, has resulted in the loss of Kentucky, and, perhaps, Tennessee!

Brig.-Gen. Edward Johnson is recommended by Gen. Lee for promotion to major-general, and to be placed in command of the army in Western Virginia.


October 27

From information (pretty direct from Washington), I believe it is the purpose of the enemy to make the most strenuous efforts to capture Richmond and Wilmington this fall and winter. It has been communicated to the President that if it takes their last man, and all their means, these cities must fall. Gen. Smith is getting negroes to work on the defenses, and the subsistence officers are ordered to accumulate a vast amount of provisions here.

Letters from Beauregard show that the Commissary-General, because he thinks Charleston cannot be defended, opposes the provisioning the forts as the general would have it done! The general demands of the government to know whether he is to be overruled, and if so, he must not be held responsible for the consequences. We shall see some of these days which side the President will espouse. Beauregard is too popular, I fear, to meet with favor here. But it is life or death to the Confederacy, and danger lurks in the path of public men who endanger the liberties of the people.

October 28

Gen. Bragg is here, but will not probably be deprived of his command. He was opposed by vastly superior numbers, and succeeded in getting away with the largest amount of provisions, clothing, etc., ever obtained by an army. He brought out 15,000 horses and mules, 8000 beeves, 50,000 barrels of pork, a great number of hogs, 1,000,000 yards of Kentucky cloth, etc. The army is now at Knoxville, Tennessee, in good condition. But before leaving Kentucky, Morgan made still another capture of Lexington, taking a whole cavalry regiment prisoners, destroying several wagon trains, etc. It is said Bragg's train of wagons was forty miles long! A Western tale, I fear.

Letters from Lee urge the immediate completion of the railroad from Danville to Greenville, North Carolina, as of vital importance. He thinks the enemy will cut the road between this and Weldon. He wants Confederate notes made a legal tender; and the President says that, as the courts cannot enforce payment in anything else, they are substantially a legal tender already. And he suggests the withholding of pay from officers during their absence from their regiments. A good idea.

Everything indicates that Richmond will be assailed this fall, [177] and that operations in the field are not to be suspended in the winter.

Polk, Bragg, Cheatham, etc. are urging the President to make Col. Preston Smith a brigadier-general. Unfortunately, Bragg's letter mentioned the fact that Beauregard had given Smith command of a brigade at Shiloh; and this attracting the eye of the President, he made a sharp note of it with his pencil. “What authority had he for this?” he asked; and Col. Smith will not be appointed.

October 29

There was a rumor yesterday that the enemy were marching on Weldon; but we have no confirmation of it to-day.

Loring, after all, did not send his cavalry into Pennsylvania, I presume, since nothing has been heard of it.

The Charleston Mercury has some strictures on the President for not having Breckinridge in Kentucky, and Price in Missouri, this fall. They would doubtless have done good service to the cause. The President is much absorbed in the matter of appointments.

Gen. Wise was again ordered down the Peninsula last Saturday; and again ordered back when he got under way. They will not let him fight.

October 30

The Commissary-General is in hot water on account of some of his contracts, and a board of inquiry is to sit on him.

The President has delayed the appointment of Gen. E. Johnson, and Gen. Echols writes that several hundred of his men have deserted; that the enemy, 10,000 or 15,000 strong, is pressing him, and he must fall back, losing Charleston, Virginia, the salt works, and possibly the railroad. He has less than 4000 men!

But we have good news from England — if it be true. The New York Express says Lord Lyons is instructed by England, and perhaps on the part of France and other powers, to demand of the United States an armistice; and in the event of its not being acceded to, the governments will recognize our independence. One of the President's personal attendants told me this news was regarded as authentic by our government. I don't regard it so. [178]

Yesterday the whole batch of “Plug Ugly” policemen, in the Provost Marshal's “department,” were summarily dismissed by Gen. Winder, for “malfeasance, corruption, bribery, and incompetence.” These are the branches: the roots should be plucked up, and Gen. Winder and his Provost Marshal ought to resign. I believe the President ordered the removal.

October 31

If it be not a Yankee electioneering trick to operate at the election in New York, on the fourth of November, the Northern correspondence with Europe looks very much like speedy intervention in our behalf.

Winder has really dismissed all his detectives excepting Cashmeyer, about the worst of them.

If we gain our independence by the valor of our people, or assisted by European intervention, I wonder whether President Davis will be regarded by the world as a second Washington? What will his own country say of him? I know not, of course; but I know what quite a number here say of him now. They say he is a small specimen of a statesman, and no military chieftain at all. And worse still, that he is a capricious tyrant, for lifting up Yankees and keeping down great Southern men. Wise, Floyd, etc. are kept in obscurity; while Pemberton, who commanded the Massachusetts troops, under Lincoln, in April, 1861, is made a lieutenant-general; G. W. Smith and Lovell, who were officeholders in New York, when the battle of Manassas was fought, are made major-generals, and the former put in command over Wise in Virginia, and all the generals in North Carolina. Ripley, another Northern general, was sent to South Carolina, and Winder, from Maryland, has been allowed to play the despot in Richmond and Petersburg. Washington was maligned.

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