Ii. May, 1861
- Depart for Montgomery. -- interview with President Davis. -- my position in the government. -- government removed to Richmond.- -- my family.
May 1Troops are coming in from all directions, cavalry and infantry; but I learn that none scarcely are accepted by the State. This is great political economy, with a vengeance! How is Gov. Letcher to be ready to fight in a few days? Oh, perhaps he thinks the army will spontaneously spring into existence, march without transportation, and fight without rations or pay! But the Convention has passed an act authorizing the enlistment of a regular army of 12,000 men. If I am not mistaken, Virginia will have to put in the field ten times that number, and the confederacy will have to maintain 500,000 in Virginia, or lose the border States. And if the border States be subjugated, Mr. Seward probably would grant a respite to the rest for a season. But by the terms of the (Tyler and Stephens) treaty, the Confederate States will reimburse Virginia for all her expenses; and therefore! see no good reason why this State, of all others, being the most exposed, should not muster into service every well-armed company that presents itself. There are arms enough for 25,000 men now, and thatnumber, if it be too late to take Washington, might at all events hold this side of the Potomac, and keep the Yankees off the soil of Virginia.
May 2There are vague rumors of lawless outrages committed on Southern men in Philadelphia and New York; but they are not well authenticated, and I do not believe them. The Yankees are not yet ready for retaliation. They know that game wouldn't pay. No — they desire time to get their money out of the South; and they would be perfectly willing that trade should go on, even during the war, for they would be the greatest gainers by the information derived from spies and emissaries. I see, too, their papers have extravagant accounts of imprisonments and summary executions here. Not a man has yet been molested. It is true, we have taken Norfolk, without a battle; but the enemy did all the burning and sinking.
May 3No letters from my wife. Probably she has taken the children to the Eastern Shore. Her farm is there, and she has many friends in the county. On that narrow peninsula it is hardly to be supposed the Yankees will send any troops. With the broad Atlantic on one side and the Chesapeake Bay on the other, it is to be presumed there will be no military demonstration by the inhabitants, for they could neither escape nor receive reinforcements from the mainland. In the war of the first Revolution, and the subsequent one with Great Britain, this peninsula escaped the ravages of the enemy, although the people were as loyal to the government of the United States as any; but the Yankees are more enterprising than the British, and may have an eye to “truck farms” in that fruitful region.
May 4Met Wm. H. B. Custis, Esq., to-day in the square, and had a long conversation with him. He has made up his mind to sign the ordinance. He thinks secession might have been averted with honor, if our politicians at Washington had not been ambitious to figure as leaders in a new revolution. Custis was always a Democrat, and supported Douglas on the ground that he was the regular nominee. He said his negro property a month before was worth, perhaps, fifty thousand dollars; now his slaves would not bring probably more than five thousand; and that would be the fate of many slaveowners in Virginia.
May 5President Tyler has placed in my hands a memorial to President Davis, signed by himself and many of the members of the Convention, asking appropriate civil employment for me in the new government. I shall be content to obtain the necessary  position to make a full and authentic Diary of the transactions of the government. I could not hope for any commission as a civil officer, since the leaders who have secured possession of the government know very well that, as editor, I never advocated the pretensions of any of them for the Presidency of the United States. Some of them I fear are unfit for the positions they occupy. But the cause in which we are embarked will require, to be successful, the efforts of every man. Those capable of performing military duty, must perform it; and those physically incapable of wielding the bayonet and the sword, must wield the pen. It is no time to stand on ceremony or antecedents. The post of duty is the post of honor. In the mighty winnowing we must go through, the wheat will be separated from the chaff. And many a true man who this day stands forth as a private, will end as a general. And the efficient subordinate in the departments may be likewise exalted if he deserves it, provided the people have rule in the new confederacy. If we are to have a monarchy for the sake of economy and stability, I shall submit to it in preference to the domination of the Northern radicals.
May 6To-day a Yankee was caught in the street questioning some negroes as to which side they would fight on, slavery or freedom. He was merely rebuked and ordered out of the country. Another instance of Southern magnanimity! It will only embolden the insidious enemy.
May 7Col. R. E. Lee, lately of the United States army, has been appointed major-general, and commander-in-chief of the army in Virginia. He is the son of “Light horse Harry” of the Revolution. The North can boast no such historic names as we, in its army. Gov. Wise is sick at home, in Princess Ann County, but has sent me a strong letter to President Davis. I fear the governor will not survive many months.
May 8The Convention has appointed five members of Congress to go to Montgomery: Messrs. Hunter, Rives, Brockenborough, Staples, and --. I have not yet seen Mr. Hunter; he has made no speeches, but no doubt he has done all in his power to secure the passage of the ordinance, in his quiet but effective way. To-day President Tyler remarked that the politicians in the Convention had appointed a majority of the members from the old opposition party. The President would certainly  have been appointed, if it had not been understood he did not desire it. Debilitated from a protracted participation in the exciting scenes of the Convention, he could not bear the fatigue of so long a journey at this season of the year. May 9TH.-The Examiner still fires shot and shell at Gov. Letcher and the dominant majority in the Convention, on account of recent appointments. It is furious over the selection of Mr. Baldwin, recently a leading Union man, for inspector-general; and seems'to apprehend bad results from thrusting Union men forward in the coming struggle. The Enquirer is moderate, and kind to Gov. Letcher, whose nomination and subsequent course were so long the theme of bitter denunciation. It is politic. The Whig now goes into the secession movement with all its might. Mr. Mosely has resumed the helm; and he was, I believe, a secessionist many years ago. The Dispatch, not long since neutral and conservative, throws all its powers, with its large circulation, into the cause. So we have perfect unanimity in the press. Per contra, the New York Herald has turned about and leap-frogged over the head of the Tribune into the front ranks of the Republicans. No doubt, when we win the day, the Herald will leap back again.
May 10The ladies are postponing all engagements until their lovers have fought the Yankees. Their influence is great. Day after day they go in crowds to the Fair ground where the 1st S. C. Vols. are encamped, showering upon them their smiles, and all the delicacies the city affords. They wine them and cake them-and they deserve it. They are just from taking Fort Sumter, and have won historic distinction. I was introduced to several of the privates by their captain, who told me they were worth from $100,000 to half a million dollars each. The Tribune thought all these men would want to be captains! But that is not the only hallucination the North labors under, judging from present appearances; by closing our ports it is thought we can be subdued by the want of accustomed luxuries. These rich young men were dressed in coarse gray homespun! We have the best horsemen and the best marksmen in the world, and these are the qualities that will tell before the end of the war. We fight for existence — the enemy for Union and the freedom of the slave. Well, let the Yankees see if this “new thing” will pay.
May 11Robert Tyler has arrived, after wonderful risks  and difficulties. When I left Mr. Tyler in the North, the people were talking about electing him their representative in Congress. They tempted him every way, by threats and by promises, to make them a speech — under the folds of the “star spangled banner” erected near his house. But in vain. No doubt they would have elected him to Congress, and perhaps have made him a general, if he had fallen down and worshiped their Republican idol, and fought against his father.
May 12To-day I set out for Montgomery. The weather was bright and pleasant. It is Sunday. In the cars are many passengers going to tender their services, and all imbued with the same inflexible purpose. The corn in the fields of Virginia is just becoming visible; and the trees are beginning to disclose their foliage.
May 13We traveled all night, and reached Wilmington, N. C., early in the morning. There I saw a Northern steamer which had been seized in retaliation for some of the seizures of the New Yorkers. And there was a considerable amount of ordnance and shot and shell on the bank of the river. The people everywhere on the road are for irremediable, eternal separation. Never were men more unanimous. And North Carolina has passed the ordinance, I understand, without a dissenting voice. Better still, it is not to be left to a useless vote of the people. The work is finished, and the State is out of the Union without contingency or qualification. I saw one man, though, at Goldsborough, who looked very much like a Yankee, and his enthusiasm seemed more simulated than real; and some of his words were equivocal. His name was Dibble. To-day I saw rice and cotton growing, the latter only an inch or so high. The pine woods in some places have a desolate appearance; and whole forests are dead. I thought it was caused by the scarifications for turpentine; but was told by an intelligent traveler that the devastation was produced by an insect or worm that cut the inner bark. The first part of South Carolina we touched was not inviting. Swamps, with cane, and cypress knees, and occasionally a plunging aligator met the vision. Here, I thought the Yankees, if they should carry the war into the far south, would fare worse than Napoleon's army of invasion in Russia.  But railroads seldom run through the fairest and richest portions of the country. They must take the route where there is the least grading. We soon emerged, however, from the marshy district, and then beheld the vast cotton-fields, now mostly planted in corn. A good idea. And the grain crops look well. The corn, in one day, seems to have grown ten inches. In the afternoon we were whisked into Georgia, and the face of the country, as well as the color of the soil, reminded me of some parts of France between Dieppe and Rouen. No doubt the grape could be profitably cultivated here. The corn seems to have grown a foot since morning.
May 14The weather is very warm. Day before yesterday the wheat was only six or eight inches high. To-day it is two or three feet in height, headed, and almost ripe for the scythe. At every station [where I can write a little] we see crowds of men, and women, and boys; and during our pauses some of the passengers, often clergymen, and not unfrequently Northern born, address them in soul-stirring strains of patriotic eloquence. If Uncle Abe don't find subjugation of this country, and of such a people as this, is truly a “big job” on his hands, I am much mistaken. Passed the Stone Mountain at 11 o'clock A. M. It appears at a distance like a vast artificial formation, resembling the pictures of the pyramids. Arrived at Montgomery 10 o'clock P. M., and put up at the Montgomery House. The mosquitoes bled me all night. Mosquitoes in the middle of May! And as they never cease to bite till killed by the frost, the pest here is perennial.
May 15From my window at the top of the house, I see corn in silk and tassel. Three days ago the corn I saw was not three inches high. And blackberries are in season. Strawberries and peas are gone. This city is mostly situated in a bottom on the Alabama River. Being fatigued I did not visit the departments to-day, but employed myself in securing lodgings at a boarding-house. Here I met, the first time, with my friend Dr. W. T. Sawyer, of Hollow Square, Alabama. A skillful surgeon and Christian gentleman, his mission on earth seems to be one of pure beneficence. He had known me before we met, it appears; and I must say he did me many kind offices.  In the afternoon I walked to the capitol, a fine structure with massive columns, on a beautiful elevation, where I delivered several letters to the Virginia delegation in Congress. They were exceedingly kind to me, and proffered their services very freely.
May 16Met John Tyler, Jr., to-day, who, with his native cordiality, proffered his services with zeal and earnestness. He introduced me at once to Hon. L. P. Walker, Secretary of War, and insisted upon presenting me to the President the next day. Major Tyler had recently been commissioned in the army, but is now detailed to assist the Secretary of War in his correspondence. The major is favorably known in the South as the author of several Southern essays of much power that have been published in a Review, signed “Python.” The principal hotel is the Exchange, as in Richmond; the entrance to the bar, reading-room, etc. is by a flight of stairs from the street to the second story, with stores underneath. Here there is an incessant influx of strangers coming from all directions on business with the new government. But the prevalent belief is that the government itself will soon travel to Richmond. The buildings here will be insufficient in magnitude for the transaction of the rapidly increasing business.
May 17Was introduced to the President to-day. He was overwhelmed with papers, and retained a number in his left hand, probably of more importance than the rest. He received me with urbanity, and while he read the papers I had given him, as I had never seen him before, I endeavored to scrutinize his features, as one would naturally do, for the purpose of forming a vague estimate of the character and capabilities of the man destined to perform the leading part in a revolution which must occupy a large space in the world's history. His stature is tall, nearly six feet; his frame is very slight and seemingly frail; but when he throws back his shoulders he is as straight as an Indian chief. The features of his face are distinctly marked with character; and no one gazing at his profile would doubt for a moment that he beheld more than an ordinary man. His face is handsome, and his thin lip often basks a pleasant smile. There is nothing sinister or repulsive in his manners or appearance; and if there are no special indications of great grasp of intellectual power on his forehead and on his sharply defined nose and chin, neither is there any evidence  of weakness, or that he could be easily moved from any settled purpose. I think he has a clear perception of matters demanding his cognizance, and a nice discrimination of details. As a politician he attaches the utmost importance to consistency — and here I differ with him. I think that to be consistent as a politician, is to change with the circumstances of the case. When Calhoun and Webster first met in Congress, the first advocated a protective tariff and the last opposed it. This was told me by Mr. Webster himself, in 1842, when he was Secretary of State; and it was confirmed by Mr. Calhoun in 1844, then Secretary of State himself. Statesmen are the physicians of the public weal; and what doctor hesitates to vary his remedies with the new phases of disease? When the President had completed the reading of my papers, and during the perusal I observed him make several emphatic nods, he asked me what I wanted. I told him I wanted employment with my pen, perhaps only temporary employment. I thought the correspondence of the Secretary of War would increase in volume, and another assistant besides Major Tyler would be required in his office. He smiled and shook his head, saying that such work would be only temporary indeed; which I construed to mean that even he did not then suppose the war was to assume colossal proportions.
May 18To-day I had another interview with the President. He advised me to see the Secretary of the Treasury without delay; but the Treasury would not answer so well for my Diary.
May 19The Secretary of War sent for me this morning, and said he required more assistance in his correspondence, then increasing daily; but the act of Congress limiting salaries would prevent him from offering me an adequate compensation. He could only name some ten or twelve hundred dollars. I told him my great desire was employment, and facilities to preserve interesting facts for future publication. I was installed at once, with Major Tyler, in the Secretary's own office. It was my duty to open and read the letters, noting briefly their contents on the back. The Secretary would then indicate in pencil marks the answers to be written, which the major and I prepared. These were signed by the Secretary, copied in another room, and mailed. I was happy in the discharge of these duties, and worked assiduously day and night.
May 20Mr. Walker, the Secretary of War, is some forty-seven or eight years of age, tall, thin, and a little bent; not by age, but by study and bad health. He was a successful lawyer, and having never been in governmental employment, is fast working himself down. He has not yet learned how to avoid unnecessary labor; being a man of the finest sensibilities, and exacting with the utmost nicety all due deference to the dignity of his official position. He stands somewhat on ceremony with his brother officials, and accords and exacts the etiquette natural to a sensitive gentleman who has never been broken on the wheel of office. I predict for him a short career. The only hope for his continuance in office is unconditional submission to the President, who, being once Secretary of War of the United States, is familiar with all the wheels of the department. But soon, if I err not, the President will be too much absorbed in the fluctuations of momentous campaigns, to give much of his attention to any one of the departments. Nevertheless Mr. Walker, if he be an apt scholar, may learn much before that day; and Congress may simplify his duties by enacting a uniform mode of filling the offices in the field. The applications now give the greatest trouble; and the disappointed class give rise to many vexations.
May 21Being in the same room with the Secretary, and seen by all his visitors, I am necessarily making many new acquaintances; and quite a number recognize me by my books which they have read. Among this class is Mr. Benjamin, the Minister of Justice, who, to-day, informed me that he and Senator Bayard had been interested, at Washington, in my “Story of Disunion.” Mr. Benjamin is of course a Jew, of French lineage, born I believe in Louisiana, a lawyer and politician. His age may be sixty, and yet one might suppose him to be less than forty. His hair and eyes are black, his forehead capacious, his face round and as intellectual as one of that shape can be; and Mr. B. is certainly a man of intellect, education, and extensive reading, combined with natural abilities of a tolerably high order. Upon his lip there seems to bask an eternal smile; but if it be studied, it is not a smileyet it bears no unpleasing aspect.
May 22To-day I had, in our office, a specimen of Mr. Memminger's oratory. He was pleading for an installment of the claims of South Carolina on the Confederacy; and Mr. Walker,  always hesitating, argued the other side, merely for delay. Both are fine speakers, with most distinct enunciation and musical voices. The demand was audited and paid, amounting, I believe, to several hundred thousand dollars. And I heard and saw Mr. Toombs to-day, the Secretary of State. He is a portly gentleman, but with the pale face of the student and the marks of a deep thinker. To gaze at him in repose, the casual spectator would suppose, from his neglect of dress, that he was a planter in moderate circumstances, and of course not gifted with extraordinary powers of intellect; but let him open his mouth, and the delusion vanishes. At the time alluded to he was surrounded by the rest of the cabinet, in our office, and the topic was the policy of the war. He was for taking the initiative, and carrying the war into the enemy's country. And as he warmed with the subject, the man seemed to vanish, and the genius alone was visible. He was most emphatic in the advocacy of his policy, and bold almost to rashness in his denunciations of the merely defensive idea. He was opposed to all delays, as fraught with danger; the enemy were in the field, and their purposes were pronounced. Why wait to see what they meant to do? If we did that, they would not only invade us, but get a permanent foothold on our soil. We must invade or be invaded; and he was for making the war as terrible as possible from the beginning. It was to be no child's play; and nothing could be gained by reliance upon the blunders and forbearance of the Yankees. News had been received of the occupation of Alexandria and Arlington Heights, in Virginia; and if we permitted them to build fortifications there, we should not be able to expel them. He denounced with bitterness the neglect of the authorities in Virginia. The enemy should not have been permitted to cross the Potomac. During the month which had elapsed since the passage of the ordinance in Virginia, nothing had been done, nothing attempted. It was true, the vote on ratification had not been taken; and although that fact might shield the provisional government from responsibility, yet the delay to act was fraught with danger and perhaps irreparable injury. Virginia alone could have raised and thrown across the Potomac 25,000 men, and driven the Yankees beyond the Susquehanna. But she, to avoid responsibility, had been telegraphing Davis to come to the rescue; and if he (Toombs) had been in Davis's place, he would have taken the responsibility.  The Secretary of War well knew how to parry these thrusts; he was not responsible. He was as ultra a man as any; and all he could do was to organize and arm the troops authorized by Congress. Some thirty odd thousand were mustered in already; and at least five thousand volunteers were offering daily. Mr. Toombs said five hundred thousand volunteers ought to be accepted and for the war. We wanted no six or twelve months men. To this the Secretary replied that the Executive could not transcend the limits prescribed by Congress. These little discussions were of frequent occurrence; and it soon became apparent that the Secretary of War was destined to be the most important man among the cabinet ministers. His position afforded the best prospect of future distinction-always provided he should be equal to the position, and his administration attended with success. I felt convinced that Toombs would not be long chafing in the cabinet, but that he would seize the first opportunity to repair to the field.
May 23To-day the President took the cars for Pensacola, where it had been said everything was in readiness for an assault on Fort Pickens. Military men said it could be taken, and Toombs, I think, said it ought to be taken. It would cost, perhaps, a thousand lives; but is it not the business of war to consume human life? Napoleon counted men as so much powder to be consumed; and he consumed millions in his career of conquest. But still he conquered, which he could not have done without the consumption of life. And is it not better to consume life rapidly, and attain results quickly, than to await events, when all history shows that a protracted war, of immobile armies, always engulfs more men in the grave from camp fevers than usually fall in battle during the most active operations in the field? To-day I saw Col. Bartow, who has the bearing and eye of a gallant officer. He was attended by a young man named Lamar, of fine open countenance, whom he desired to have as his aid; but the regulations forbid any one acting in that capacity who was not a lieutenant; and Lamar not being old enough to have a commission, he said he would attend the colonel as a volunteer aid till he attained the prescribed age. I saw Ben McCulloch, also-an unassuming but elastic and brave man. He will make his mark. Also Capt. Mcintosh, who goes to the West. I think I saw him  in 1846, in Paris, at the table of Mr. King, our Minister; but I had no opportunity to ask him. He is all enthusiasm, and will rise with honor or fall with glory. And here I beheld for the first time Wade Hampton, resolved to abandon all the comforts of his great wealth, and encounter the privations of the tented field in behalf of his menaced country. Arkansas and Tennessee, as I predicted, have followed the example of Virginia and North Carolina; and I see evidence daily in the mass of correspondence, that Missouri and Kentucky will follow in good time.
May 24Congress passed, in secret session, a resolution to remove the seat of government to Richmond; but I learn it has been vetoed by the President. There is a strong feeling against going thither among some of the secessionists in the Cotton States. Those who do not think there will be a great deal of fighting, have apprehensions that the border States, so tardy in the secession movement, will strive to monopolize the best positions and patronage of the new government. Indeed, if it were quite certain that there is to be no war for existence — as if a nation could be free without itself striking the blow for freedom — I think there would be a party-among the politicians, not the people — opposed to confederating with the border slave States. Some of his fellow-members tell many jokes on Mr. Hunter. They say every time he passes the marble-yards going up to the capitol, and surveys the tomb-stones, he groans in agony, and predicts that he will get sick and die here. If this be true, I predict that he will get the seat of government moved to Richmond, a more congenial climate. He has a way of moving large bodies, which has rarely failed him; and some of his friends at the hotels, already begin to hint that he is the proper man to be the first President of the permanent government. I think he will be President some day. He would be a safe one. But this whisper at the hotel has produced no little commotion. Some propose making him Secretary of War, as a sure means of killing him off. I know a better way than that, but I wouldn't suggest it for the world. I like him very much. To-day the Secretary placed in my hands for examination and report, a very long document, written by a deposed or resigned Roman priest. He urged a plan to avert the horrors of war. He  had been to see Lincoln, Gov. Letcher, etc., and finally obtained an interview on “important business” with President Davis. The President, not having leisure even to listen to his exordium, requested him to make his communication briefly in writing. And this was it — about twenty pages of foolscap. It consisted chiefly of evidences of the exceeding wickedness of war, and suggestions that if both belligerents would only forbear to take up arms, the peace might be preserved, and God would mediate between them. Of course I could only indorse on the back “demented.” But the old man hung round the department for a week afterward, and then departed, I know not whither. I forget his name, but his paper is in the archives of the government. I have always differed with the preachers in politics and war, except the Southern preachers who are now in arms against the invader. I think war is one of the providences of God, and certainly no book chronicles so much fighting as the Bible. It may be to the human race what pruning is to vegetation, a necessary process for the general benefit.
May 25There is to be no fight — no assault on Pickens. But we are beginning to send troops forward in the right direction — to Virginia. Virginia herself ought to have kept the invader from her soil. Was she reluctant to break the peace? And is it nothing to have her soil polluted by the martial tramp of the Yankees at Alexandria and Arlington Heights? But the wrath of the Southern chivalry will some day burst forth on the ensanguined plain, and then let the presumptuous foemen of the North beware of the fiery ordeal they have invoked. The men I see daily keeping time to the music of revolution are fighting men, men who will conquer or die, and who prefer death to subjugation. But the Yankee has no such motive to fight for, no thought of serious wounds and death. He can go back to his own country; our men have no other country to go to.
May 26Was called on by the Episcopal minister to-day, Dr. Sawyer having informed him that I was a member of the church — the doctor being one also. He is an enthusiastic young man, and though a native of the North, seems to sympathize with us very heartily. He prays for the President of the Confederate States. The President himself attends very regularly, and some intimate that he intends to become a candidate for membership.  I have not learned whether he has been baptized. Gen. Cooper, the first on our list of generals in the regular army, is a member of the church. The general was, I think, adjutant-general at Washington. He is Northern born. Major Gorgas is likewise a native of the North. He is Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance. The Quartermaster-General, Major Myers, is said to be a Jew; while the Commissary-General is almost a Jesuit, so zealous is he in the advocacy of the Pope. Mr. Mallory, the Secretary of the Navy, I have seen but once; but I have heard him soundly abused for not accepting some propositions and plans from Mobile and elsewhere, to build ironclad steam rams to sink the enemy's navy. Some say Mr. M. is an Irishman born. He was in the United States Senate, and embraced secession with the rest of the “conspirators” at Washington. I saw the Vice-President to-day. I first saw Mr. Stephens at Washington in 1843. I was behind him as he sat in the House of Representatives, and thought him a boy, for he was sitting beside large members. But when I got in front of him, it was apparent he was a man — every inch a man. There is some excitement in official circles here against Mr. Browne, the Assistant Secretary of State, on the ground that he interfered in behalf of a Mr. Hurlbut, a Northern man (probably arrested), a writer in the English Reviews against slavery in the South, and a correspondent for the New York Tribune. Mr. B. is an Englishman, who came from Washington on the invitation of Mr. Toombs, and through his influence was appointed Assistant Secretary of State, and the Southern gorge rises at it. I doubt whether he will be molested. I saw Major Tochman to-day, also a foreigner. He is authorized to enlist a regiment or two of Polanders in New Orleans, where I am told there are none. And there are several Northern men here wanting to be generals. This does not look much like Southern homogeneity. God save us, if we are not to save ourselves! How hot it is! But I like hot weather better than cold, and would soon become accustomed to this climate. This morning Mr. Hunter really seemed distressed; but he has four inches on his ribs, and I not the eighth of an inch.  Since writing the foregoing, I have seen Mr. Hunter again, and although there is no diminution of heat, he is quite cheerful: Congress has again passed the resolution to remove the seat of government to Richmond, and it is said the President will not veto it this time. The President himself came into our office today and sat some time conversing with Secretary Walker. He did not appear vexed at the determination of Congress, which he must have been apprised of.
May 26The President is sick to-day — having a chill, I believe. Adjutant-General Cooper was in, comparing notes with the Secretary as to the number of regiments in the field. The Secretary has a most astonishing memory, and could easily number the forces without referring to his notes. The amount is not large, it is true; but, from the eagerness to volunteer, I believe if we had the arms there might soon be organized an army of three or four hundred thousand men. And yet it would seem that no one dreams of armies of such magnitude. Wait till we sleep a little longer! A great many separate companies are accepted; all indeed that offer for three years or the war, provided they have arms — even double-barreled shot-guns and hunting rifles. What a deal of annoyance and labor it will be to organize these into battalions, regiments, brigades, and divisions! And then comes the appointment of staff and field officers. This will be labor for the President. But he works incessantly, sick or well. We have an agent in Europe purchasing arms. This was well thought on. And Capt. Huse is thought to be a good selection. It will be impossible for Lincoln to keep all our ports hermetically sealed. Hitherto improvident, it is to be hoped the South will now go to work upon her own resources. We have plunged into the sea of revolution, and must, unaided, sink or swim. The Yankees say they are going to subdue us in six months. What fools! I tasted green corn to-day, and, although very fond of it, I touched it lightly, because it seemed so much out of season. The country around is beautiful, and the birds are singing as merrily as if we were about to enter upon a perennial Sabbath-day, instead of a desolating war. But the gunpowder will be used to destroy the destroyer, man, and why should not the birds sing? The china-trees are beautiful, and abundant about the dwellings.