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XXIX. August, 1863

  • Some desertion.
  • -- Lee falling back. -- men still foolishly look for foreign aid. -- speculators swarming. -- God helps me to-day. -- conscripts. -- Memminger shipping gold to Europe. -- our women and children making straw bonnets. -- attack on Charleston. -- Robert Tyler as a financier. -- enemy throw large shells into Charleston, five and a half miles. -- diabolical scheme. -- Gen. Lee has returned to the army.

August 1

The President learns, by a dispatch from Gen. Hardee, of Mississippi, that information has reached him, which he considers authentic, that Gen. Taylor has beaten Banks in Louisiana, taking 6000 prisoners; but then it is said that Taylor has fallen back.

I see by Mr. Memminger's correspondence that he has been sending $1,000,000 in sterling exchange, with the concurrence of the President and the Secretary of War, to Gen. Johnston and Gov. Pettus. What can this mean? Perhaps he is buying stores, etc.

Gen. Pemberton, it is said, has proclaimed a thirty days furlough to all his paroled army — a virtue of necessity, as they had all gone to their homes without leave.

Gen. Lee writes that fifty men deserted from Scale's Regiment, North Carolina (a small regiment), night before last, being incited thereto by the newspapers. He wants pickets placed at certain places to catch them, so that some examples may be made.

Gov. Vance urges the War Department to interdict speculation on the part of officers of the government and army, as it tempts them to embezzle the public funds, enhances prices, and enrages the community. [4]

Peter V. Daniel, Jr., President of the Central Railroad, is anxious for the defense of the four bridges near Hanover Junction, which, if destroyed by the enemy,. could not be replaced for months, and Lee would have to fall back to Richmond, if not farther, as all his supplies must be transported by the road. He indicates the places where troops should be stationed, and says from those places, if needed in battle, 10,000 men could be transported in twenty-four hours to either Fredericksburg or Richmond.

Gen. Bragg is hurt, because one of his captains has been given an independent command, without consulting him, to defend Atlanta, in his department. He says the captain has no merit, and Atlanta and Augusta are in great danger — the newspapers having informed the enemy of the practicability of taking them. He intimates an inclination to be relieved.

Mr. Plant, President of the Southern Express Company, was “allowed” to leave the Confederate States to-day by the Assistant Secretary of War, subject to the discretion of Gen. Whiting at Wilmington. I suppose his fortune is made.

August 2

We have warm, fair weather now; but the momentary gloom, hanging like the pall of death over our affairs, cannot be dispelled without a decisive victory somewhere, or news of speedy foreign intervention. The letters which I read at the department this morning, contain no news whatever. I have suggested to the government to prohibit the exchange of newspapers in the flag of truce boat; but I doubt if they will act upon it. It is a manifest injury to us.

The exchange of prisoners is practically resumed; the Federal boat delivering yesterday 750 of our sick and wounded; and we returned 600 of their sick and wounded.

August 3

The President issued a proclamation to-day, calling upon all absentees to return to the ranks without delay, etc.

Hon. D. M. Barringer writes from Raleigh, N. C., that the State is in a ferment of rage against the administration for appointing Marylanders and Virginians, if not Pennsylvanians, quartermasters, to collect the war tax within its limits, instead of native citizens.

Mr. W. H. Locke, living on the James River, at the Cement and Lime Works, writes that more than a thousand deserters from Lee's army have crossed at that place within the last fortnight. This is awful; and they are mainly North Carolinians.


August 4

The partial gloom continues. It is now ascertained that Gen. Morgan is a prisoner; only some 250 of his men, out of 3000, having escaped.

Lee is falling back on this side of the Rappahannock. His army has been diminished by desertions; but he has been reinforced pretty considerably since leaving Pennsylvania. The President's address may reinforce him still more; and then it may be possible a portion of Bragg's and Johnston's armies may be ordered hither. If this should be done, the next battle may be fatal to Meade. Our people are thirsting for another victory; and may expect too much.

Confederate notes are now given for gold at the rate of $12 or $15 for $1. Flour is $40 per barrel; bacon, $1.75 per pound; coal, $25 per cart-load; and good wood, $30 per cord. Butter is selling at $3 per pound, etc. etc.

Nevertheless, most men look for relief in the foreign complications the United States are falling into. England will not prohibit the selling of steamers to the Confederate States, and the United States say it shall not be done; and France has taken possession of Mexico, erecting it into an Empire, upon the throne of which will be seated some European ruler. We think recognition of our government is not far behind these events; when we shall have powerful navies to open the blockade. We are used to wounds and death; but can hardly bear starvation and nakedness.

August 5

A letter from Hon. W. Porcher Miles to the Secretary of War, received the 15th July, urging the government to send some long-range Brooke guns for the salvation of Charleston, and saying that the President had once promised him that they should be sent thither, being sent by the Secretary to the President, was, to-day, August 5th, returned by the President, with a paper from the Secretary of the Navy, showing that, at the time Mr. Miles says he was promised the Brooke guns, there were really none on hand. Thus Mr. Miles has been caught by the President, after the lapse of twenty days! It is not denied, even by the Secretary of the Navy, that long-range guns were on hand at the time-but there were no Brooke guns, simply. Thus, while Charleston's fate hangs trembling in the balance, and the guns are idle here, twenty days are fruitlessly spent. Mr. Miles appears to be a friend of Beauregard. Every letter that general sends to the [6] department is sure to put twenty clerks at work in the effort to pick flaws in his accuracy of statement.

A report of the ordnance officers of Bragg's army shows that in the late retreat (without a battle) from Shelbyville to Chattanooga, the army lost some 6000 arms and between 200,000 and 300,000 cartridges!

Our naval commanders are writing that they cannot get seamen --and at Mobile half are on the sick list.

Lee writes that his men are in good fighting condition — if he only had enough of them. Of the three corps, one is near Fredericksburg (this side the river), one at Orange C. H., and one at Gordonsville. I doubt if there will be another battle for a month.

Meantime the Treasury notes continue to depreciate, and all the necessaries of life advance in price-but they do not rise in proportion.

The Examiner had a famous attack on the President to-day (from the pen, I think, of a military man, on Gen. Scott's staff, when Mr. Davis was Secretary of War), for alleged stubbornness and disregard of the popular voice; for appointing Pemberton, Holmes, Mallory, etc., with a side fling at Memminger.

August 6

A dispatch from Gen. Lee shows that he is still falling back (this side the Rapidan), but gradually concentrating his forces. There may be another battle speedily-and if our army does not gain a great victory, there will be great disappointment.

There are some gun-boats in the James as high up as Aiken's Landing. Two torpedoes, badly ignited, failed to injure either of them.

Capt. Kay, of Mobile, in conjunction with several other parties, has a scheme for the destruction of the enemy in the Mississippi Valley. What it is, I know not-but I know large sums of money are asked for.

After all, it appears that twenty-two transports of Grant's troops have descended the Mississippi River-Mobile, no doubt, being their destination.

It is now believed that only a portion of Grant's army has been ordered here; also that Rosecrans's army will operate with Meade; the object being to besiege Richmond. Well, we shall, in that event, have Johnston and Bragg-altogether 200,000 [7] men around the city, which ought to suffice for its safety. A grand battle may take place this fall, in which half a million of men may be engaged. That ought to be followed by a decisive result. Let it come!

The speculators have put up the price of flour to $50 per barrel. To the honor of Messrs. Warwick, they are selling it at their mills for $35-not permitting any family to have more than one barrel. This looks, however, like an approaching siege.

My good friend Dr. Powell, almost every week, brings my family cucumbers, or corn, or butter, or something edible from his farm. He is one in ten thousand! His son has been in sixteen battles-and yet the government refuses him a lieutenancy, because he is not quite twenty-one years of age. He is manly, well educated, brave, and every way qualified.

August 7

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

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

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

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

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

To-day, for the third time since the war began, I derived some [8] money from our farm. It was another interposition of Providence. Once before, on the very days that money was indispensable, a Mr. Evans, a blockade-runner to the Eastern Shore of Virginia, came unexpectedly with $100 obtained from my agent, who has had the management of the farm for many years, and who is reported to be a Union man. To-day, just when my income is wholly insufficient to pay rent on the house-$500 per annum and $500 rent for the furniture, besides subsisting the family-at the very moment when my wife was about to part with the last of her little store of gold, to buy a few articles of furniture at auction, and save a heavy expense ($40 per monthh, the same Evans came to me, saying that although he had no money from my agent, if I would give him an order on the agent for $300, he would advance that amount in Treasury notes. I accepted the sum on his conditions. This is the work of a beneficent Providence, thus manifested on three different occasions,--and to doubt it would be to deserve damnation!

August 8

There is nothing new from any of the armies, except that my old friend, Gen. Rains, sent to Mississippi, stopped and stampeded Grant's army, after Johnston retreated from Jackson, with his “subterra batteries.” It appears that hundreds of the enemy and their horses were killed and wounded by the shells planted by him beneath the surface of the earth, and which ignited under the pressure of their weight. They knew not where to go to avoid them, and so they retreated to Vicksburg. This invention may become a terror to all invading.

A letter received some days ago from a Mr. Bible, in Georgia, proposing to contribute one-quarter of his slaves as teamsters, cooks, etc. for the army, came back from the President, to-day, approved, with directions to quartermasters to employ in such capacities all that could be procured.

Col. Myers, the Quartermaster-General, who is charged with saying “Let them suffer,” when the soldiers wanted blankets last winter, is to go out of office at last — to be succeeded by Brig.-Gen. Lawton.

Oak-wood is selling to-day for $35 per cord; coal, $25 per cartload; and flour, $45 per barrel. Mr. Warwick, however, sells any family one barrel for $34. I got one from him, and the promise of another for $33-from Commissary Warner; and I hope to get [9] two loads of coal, under the navy contract, at $20 each. There is much excitement against the speculators in food and fuel-and some harsh proceeding may ensue.

The Tribune (New York) now says no terms will be listened to so long as we are in arms. We will not yield our arms but with life-and this insures independence.

August 9

No news from the armies.

Mrs. ex-President Tyler, who has already been permitted to visit her native State, New York, once or twice during the warand indeed her plantation has been within the enemy's lines-has applied for passage in a government steamer (the Lee) to Nassau, and to take with her “a few bales of cotton.” I suppose it will be “allowed.”

We have fine hot August weather now, and I hope my tomatoes will mature, and thus save me two dollars per day. My potatoes have, so far, failed; but as they are still green, perhaps they may produce a crop later in the season. The lima beans, trailed on the fence, promise an abundant crop; and the cabbages and peppers look well. Every inch of the ground is in cultivation-even the ash-heap, covered all over with tomato-vines.

August 10

No army news of immediate importance.

South Carolina has set an example in the prices of supplies for the army, under the Impressment Act, fixed by the Commissioners. By this schedule (for August, and it will be less in succeeding months) bacon is to be from 65 to 75 cents per pound; beef, 25 cents; corn, $2 per bushel; flour $20; pork, 35 cents; hay, $1.50 per 100 pounds; oats, $2 per bushel; potatoes, $3; rice, 10 cents; sugar, 80 cents; soap, 40 cents; and wheat, $3.50 per bushel.

Gen. Lee writes that the railroad brings him but 1000 bushels of corn per day; not enough to bring up his exhausted cavalry and artillery horses; and he suggests that passenger cars be occasionally left behind for the purpose of supplying the army-an indispensable measure.

Gen. Lee also writes that he has 1700 unarmed men in his army; in two weeks there will be 5000, and in a month 10,000. He suggests that the troops for local defense here, and even the militia, be disarmed, to supply his men. This indicates that Lee is to have an immense army, and that Richmond is to be defended. [10] But the Central and Fredericksburg Railroads must be repaired immediately, and at any expense to the government, or else all will fail!

August 11

After all the applications of the railroad companies when Gen. Lee was in Pennsylvania, and the enemy had withdrawn from this side of the Potomac, it appears that the fine iron on the road from Fredericksburg to Aquia Creek was not removed! Mr. Seddon's subordinates must answer for this. The iron was wanted more than anything else but men. The want of men cannot be alleged for not securing it, because the railroad companies would have procured negroes enough for its removal.

Well, the first of August has passed, and the grand scheme of the War Office at Washington of a general servile insurrection did not take place. On the contrary, a large army of slaves might be organized to fight for their masters.

To-day, it must be confessed, I saw some of the booty (if, indeed, it was not fairly bought) of the recent invasion of the North. A number of boxes of fine stationery, brought from Carlisle, Chambersburg, etc., were opened at the War Department.

There is a controversy between the Secretary of War, Assistant Secretary, and Attorney-General on one side, and the Commissary- General, Col. L. B. Northrop, on the other. It appears that one of the assistant commissaries exchanged sugar for flour and rice in Alabama with a merchant or speculator, and then, after the lapse of a month or so, impressed the sugar. The party got the Attorney-General's opinion in his behalf, which was approved by the Assistant Secretary of War, and the Secretary issued an order for the release of the sugar. In response to this, Col. N. rebuts the arguments of the whole three (lawyers) by saying it is not good sense to exempt anything, under any circumstances, from impressment, when needed to carry on the war; and that the way to success is to do justice to the whole country-and not to please the people. A palpable hit at the politicians. He says if the Secretary insists on the sugar being released, it will be done against his (N.'s) judgment.

August 12

Letters from Georgia to-day assure the government that the grain crops of that State will afford a surplus sufficient for the army, cavalry and all, for 12 months.

Also one from P. Clayton, late Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, [11] censuring the commissary agents in Georgia, who are sent thither from other States, who insult the farmers and encourage speculation.

Mr. Memminger is shipping gold from Wilmington, $20,000 by each steamer, to Bermuda and Nassau. Why is this? Cotton is quite as good as gold, and there are thousands of millions worth of that in the country, which Mr. Memminger might buy, certainly might have bought for Confederate notes, but, in his peculiar wisdom, he would not. And now, the great financier is shipping gold out of the country, thinking, perhaps, it may arrest the depreciation of paper money!

Col. Northrop, Commissary-General, is still urging a diminution of rations, and as our soldiers taken by the enemy fare badly in the North, and as the enemy make a point of destroying all the crops they can when they invade us, and even destroy our. agricultural implements and teams, he proposes, in retaliation, to stop meat rations altogether to prisoners in our hands, and give them instead oat gruel, corn-meal gruel, and pea soup, soft hominy, and bread. This the Secretary will not agree to, because the law says they shall have the same as our troops.

I read to-day Gen. Lee's report of his operations (an outline) in June and July, embracing his campaign in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The enemy could not be attacked advantageously opposite Fredericksburg, and hence he determined to draw him out of his position by relieving the lower valley of the Shenandoah, and, if practicable, transfer the scene of hostilities north of the Potomac.

The movement began on the 3d of June. The divisions of McLaws and Hood (Longstreet's) marched for Culpepper C. H. They were followed on the 4th and 5th by Ewell's corps, A. P. Hill's still occupying our lines at Fredericksburg.

When the enemy discovered the movement (on the: 5th), he sent an army corps across the Rappahannock, but this did not arrest Longstreet and Ewell, who reached Culpepper C. H. on the 8th, where they found Gen. Stuart and his cavalry. On the 9th the enemy's cavalry and a strong force of infantry crossed the Rappahannock and attacked Gen. Stuart, but they were beaten back, after fighting all day, with heavy loss, including 400 prisoners, 3 pieces artillery, and several colors. [12]

Gens. Jenkins and Imboden had been sent in advance, the latter against Romney, to cover the former's movement against Winchester, and both were in position when Ewell left Culpepper C. H. on the 16th.

Gen. Early stormed the enemy's works at Winchester on the 14th, and the whole army of Milroy was captured or dispersed.

Gen. Rhodes, on the same day, took Martinsburg, Va., capturing 700 prisoners, 5 pieces artillery, and a large supply of stores.

More than 4000 prisoners were taken at Winchester; 29 pieces artillery; 270 wagons and ambulances; 400 horses, besides a large amount of military stores.

Precisely at this time the enemy disappeared from Fredericksburg, seemingly designing to take a position to cover Washington.

Gen. Stuart, in several engagements, took 400 more prisoners, etc.

Meantime, Gen. Ewell, with Gen. Jenkins's cavalry, etc., penetrated Maryland, and Pennsylvania as far as Chambersburg.

On the 24th, Lt--Gens. Longstreet and Hill marched to the Potomac, the former crossing at Williamsport and the latter at Shepherdstown, uniting at Hagerstown, Md., advancing into Pennsylvania, and encamping near Chambersburg on the 27th.

Ewell's corps advanced as far as York and Carlisle, to keep the enemy out of the mountains, and to keep our communications open.

Gen. Imboden destroyed all the important bridges of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from Martinsburg to Cumberland, damaging the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.

Preparations were made to march upon Harrisburg, when information was received of the approach of the army of the enemy, menacing communications with the Potomac, necessitating a concentration of our army at Gettysburg.

Hill became engaged with a superior force of the enemy on the 1st July, but Ewell, coming up by the Harrisburg road, participated in the engagement, and the enemy were driven through Gettysburg with heavy loss, including about 5000 prisoners and several pieces of artillery.

The enemy retired to a high range of hills, south and east of the town.

On the 2d, Gen. Ewell occupied the left, Gen. Hill the center, and Gen. Longstreet the right. [13]

Longstreet got possession of the enemy's position in front of his corps after a severe struggle; Ewell also carried some strong positions. The battle ceased at dark.

The next day, 3d July, our batteries were moved forward to the positions we had gained, and it was determined to renew the attack.

Meantime the enemy had strengthened his line. The battle raged with great violence in the afternoon, until sunset. We got possession of some of the enemy's batteries, but our ammunition failing, our troops were compelled to relinquish them, and fall back to their original position with severe loss.

Our troops (the general says) behaved well in the protracted and sanguinary conflict, accomplishing all that was practicable.

The strong position of the enemy, and reduction of his ammunition, rendered it inexpedient for Gen. Lee to continue longer where he was. Such of the wounded as could be moved, and part Of the arms collected on the field, were ordered to Williamsport.

His army remained at Gettysburg during the 4th, and began to retire at night, taking with it about 4000 prisoners, nearly 2000 having been previously paroled. The enemy's wounded that fell into his hands were left behind.

He reached Williamsport without molestation, losing but few wagons, etc., and arrived at Hagerstown 7th July.

The Potomac was much swollen by recent rains, that had fallen incessantly ever since he had crossed it, and was unfordable.

The enemy had not yet appeared, until the 12th, when, instead of attacking, Meade fortified his lines.

On the 13th Gen. Lee crossed at Falling Waters, the river subsiding, by fords and a bridge, without loss, the enemy making no interruption. Only some stragglers, sleeping, fell into the hands of the enemy.

August 13

No news. It turns out that Gen. Taylor got only 500 prisoners at Donaldsonville, La., instead of 4000.

A writer in the New York Tribune says the Northern troops burnt Jackson, Miss.

Lincoln has marked for close confinement and hostages three of our men for three free negroes taken on Morris Island.

The government here has, at last, indicated blockade-goods (U. S.) which are to be seized; also sent circular letters to the generals [14] at Wilmington, Charleston, and Mobile to impose restrictions on blockade-running steamers belonging to private parties. The government must first have such articles as its necessities require, at fair prices, before the merchandise can be offered to the public, and the vessels must be freighted out partly with government cotton. This is a good arrangement, even if it is “locking the stable after the horse is stolen.”

August 14

The enemy is not idle. He knows the importance of following up his recent advantages, and making the utmost use of his veteran troops now in the field, because his new levies, if indeed the draft be submitted to, will not be fit for use this year, probably, if ever, for they will consist of the riff-raff of the Northern population. On the other hand, he suspects we will soon have larger armies in the field than ever before, and our accessions will consist of our bravest men, who will make efficient soldiers in a month. If our armies be not broken before October, no doubt the tide of success will turn again fully in our favor.

Major Wm. Norris, Signal Corps, reports that many transports and troops have been going down from Washington and Annapolis to Fortress Monroe during the whole week, and that 5000 men embarked at Fortress Monroe, on Monday, for (as they said themselves) Charleston. Among these was a negro regiment of 1300.

T. C. Reynolds, confidential agent of the government in the trans- Mississippi States, sends copy of a circular letter from Lieut.-Gen. Kirby Smith to the “representative men” of Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas, to meet him in convention, 15th August, at Marshall, Texas. Mr Reynolds says he and others will exert themselves to prevent the meeting from taking a dangerous political direction. Gen. Smith is popular, and opposed to the States named setting up for themselves, although he plainly says in the circular that they must now adopt self-sustaining measures, as they cannot look for aid from the East. Mr. Reynolds says something, not clearly understood by me, about an equipoise among the political generals. Has he been instructed on that point in reference to Gen. Price?

Letters from Mr. Crenshaw, in England, and the correspondence forwarded by him, might seem to implicate Major Caleb Huse, Col. J. Gorgas's ordnance agent, in some very ugly operations. It appears that Major H. has contracted for 50,000 muskets at $4 [15] above the current price, leaving $200,000 commission for whom? And that he really seems to be throwing obstacles in the way of Mr. C., who is endeavoring to procure commissary stores in England. Mr. C. has purchased £40,000 worth of bacon, but Major Huse, he apprehends, is endeavoring to prevent its shipment. Can this be so?

The Charleston Mercury that came to-day contains an editorial broadside against the President, Mr. Benjamin, Mr. Mallory, and Commissary-General Northrop.

Mr. Gilmer, lawyer, remarked to me to-day that some grave men (1) really believed Davis and Lincoln had an understanding, and were playing into each other's hands to prolong the war, knowing that peace would be the destruction of both! I think there is more danger to both in war. The blood of a brave people could not be trifled with without the utmost danger. Let peace come, even if the politicians be shorn of all their power.

August 15

I learn an order has been issued to conscribe all commissary and quartermasters' clerks liable to military service. There will be, and ought to be, some special cases of exemption, where men have lost everything in the war and have women and children depending on their salaries for subsistence; but if this order be extended to the ordnance and other bureaus, as it must be, or incur the odium of injustice, and the thousand and one A. A. G.'s, there will soon be a very important accession to the army.

Major Joseph B----, who was lately confined with over 1000 of our officers, prisoners, on Johnson Island, Lake Erie, proposes a plan to the Secretary of War whereby he is certain the island can be taken, and the prisoners liberated and conveyed to Canada. He proposes that a dozen men shall seize one of the enemy's steamers at Sandusky, and then overpower the guards, etc. It is wild, but not impracticable.

We hear nothing to-day from the enemy on the Rappahannock or at Fortress Monroe.

Our army in Western Louisiana captured some forty Yankee cotton-planters, who had taken possession of the plantations after driving their owners away. The account states that they were “sent to Texas.” Were they not sent into eternity?

August 16

-The President rides out with some of the [16] female members of his family every afternoon, his aids no longer accompanying him. In this he evinces but little prudence, for it is incredible that he should be ignorant of the fact that he has some few deadly enemies in the city.

Everywhere the ladies and children may be seen plaiting straw and making bonnets and hats. Mrs. Davis and the ladies of her household are frequently seen sitting on the front porch engaged in this employment-Ostentation cannot be attributed to them, for only a few years ago the Howells were in humble condition and accustomed to work.

My wife borrowed $200 of Mr. Waterhouse, depositing $20 in gold as security-worth $260-which, with the $300 from Evans on account of rent, have been carefully applied to the purchase of sundry housekeeping articles. After the 1st September we shall cease to pay $40 per month rent on furniture, but that amount for house-rent, so that in the item of rent my expenses will be less than they were the preceding year. So far, with the exception of crockery-ware and chairs, the purchases (at auction) have been at low prices, and we have been fortunate in the time selected to provide indispensable articles.

I often wonder if, in the first struggle for independence, there was as much suffering and despondency among certain classes of the people as we now behold. Our rich men are the first to grow weary of the contest. Yesterday a letter was received by the Secretary of War from a Mr. Reanes, Jackson, Mississippi, advising the government to lose no time in making the best terms possible with the United States authorities, else all would be lost. He says but a short time ago he was worth $1,250,000, and now nothing is left him but a shelter, and that would have been destroyed if he had not made a pledge to remain. He says he is an old man, and was a zealous secessionist, and even now would give his life for the independence of his country. But that is impracticable-numbers must prevail-and he would preserve his wife and children from the horrors threatened, and inevitable if the war be prolonged He says the soldiers that were under Pemberton and Lovell will never serve under them again, for they denounce them as traitors and tyrants, while, as they allege, they were well treated by the enemy when they fell into their hands.

Yet it seems to me that, like the Israelites that passed through [17] the Red Sea, and Shadrach and his brethren who escaped unscorched from the fiery furnance, my family have been miraculousl sustained. We have purchased no clothing for nearly three years, and had no superabundance to begin with, but still we have decent clothes, as if time made no appreciable change in them. I wear a hat bought four years ago, and shoes that cost me (government price then) $7.50 more than a year ago, and I suppose they would sell now for $10; new ones are bringing $50.

My tomatoes are maturing slowly, but there will be abundance, saving me $10 per week for ten weeks. My lima beans are very full, and some of them will be fit to pull in a few days. My potatoes are as green as grass, and I fear will produce nothing but vines; but I shall have cabbages and parsnips, and red peppers. No doubt the little garden, 25 by 50, will be worth $150 to me. Thank Providence, we still have health!

But the scarcity-or rather high prices, for there is really no scarcity of anything but meat — is felt by the cats, rats, etc., as well as by the people. I have not seen a rat or mouse for months, and lean cats are wandering past every day in quest of new homes.

What shall we do for sugar, now selling at $2 per pound? When the little supply this side of the Mississippi is still more reduced it will probably be $51 It has been more than a year since we had coffee or tea. Was it not thus in the trying times of the Revolution? If so, why can we not bear privation as well as our forefathers did? We must!

August 17

No news, except that the bombardment at Charleston is getting hotter-but the casualties are few.

The chief ordnance officer of Gen. Lee's army writes that the ammunition from Richmond has always to be tested before they can venture to use it. The shells for the Parrott guns are often too large-and of course would be useless in the hour of battle!

The Examiner to-day has an attack on the President for removing A. C. Myers, the Quartermaster-General.

August 18

There is heavy firing, day and night, on Wagner's battery and Fort Sumter. The enemy use 15-inch guns; but Sumter is 4000 yards distant, and it may be hoped will not be reduced.

After all, the enemy did not, durst not, shave the head of Gen. Morgan, and otherwise maltreat him, as was reported. [18]

The Secretary of War is, I believe, really in earnest in his determination to prevent future blockade-running on private account; and is resolved to send out cotton, tobacco, etc. by every steamer, so that funds and credit may be always available in Europe. The steamers go and come every week, in spite of the cruisers, and they bring munitions of war, equipments, provisions, iron, etc. etc. So long as this continues, the war can be maintained; and of late very few captures have been made by the enemy.

There are rumors of some manoeuvres of Gen. Lee, which may indicate an approaching battle.

August 19

A scout, from Washington, has reported to Major Norris, signal corps, that 10,000 New York troops have recently left Meade's army, their term of service having expired; and that 30,000 men have been sent from his army against Charleston. This accounts for the falling back of Meade-and the detachment never would have been made without.

This intelligence has been in the possession of the government four days; and if Charleston should fall now for want of men or material, there will be great culpability somewhere.

All the non-combatants have been requested to leave Charleston-and none are allowed to enter the city.

We have just got information from Charleston of a furious assault. So far the casualties are not very great, nor the Island batteries materially injured; but Sumter, it is feared, is badly shattered, yet is in no great danger. Much apprehension for the result is felt and manifested here. Six or eight large columbiads have been lying idle at the Petersburg depot for a month, although the prayers of the people of Charleston for heavy guns have been incessant!

Col. Preston, Chief of the Bureau of Conscription, sent in a long communication to-day, asking for enlarged powers and exclusive jurisdiction in the conscription business, and then, he says, he will have all the conscripts (not exempted) in the army in six months. But more are exempted than conscribed!

Robert Tyler publishes a long and hopeful letter on our finances.

If Mr. Memminger read and approved the manuscript, it is well; but if not, good-by, my friend! It is well done, however, [19] even though aspiring. But it is incredible there should be no more Treasury notes in circulation-and no more indebtedness.

August 20

A few weeks ago Gen. Cooper wrote to Bragg, suggesting that he advance into Middle Tennessee, reinforced by Gen. Johnston, and attack Rosecrans; Gen. Bragg replied (8th inst.) that with all the reinforcements he could get from Johnston, he would not have more than 40,000 effective men, while Rosecrans has 60,000, and will be reinforced by Burnside with 30,000 more-making 90,000 against 40,000-and as a true patriot he was opposed to throwing away our armies in enterprises sure to terminate disastrously. He said, moreover, that the enemy could starve him out, if he were to advance to the place designated, and thus destroy his army without a battle. Gen. Cooper sent this response to the President, asking if Bragg should not be ordered to fight under such circumstances. But the President paused, in following the guidance of this Northern man at the head of all our Southern generals-and to-day sent back the paper indorsed that “only a suggestion could be given to a commanding general to fight a battle; but to order him to fight when he predicted a failure in advance, would be unwise.”

A paper from Beauregard intimates that even if batteries Wagnot and Gregg should be taken by the enemy, he has constructed another which will render that part of Morris Island untenable. But he relied upon holding Sumter; and there is a vague rumor to-day that Sumter must surrender — if indeed it has not already been reduced.

Hon Wm. Porcher Miles writes another most urgent letter, demanding reinforcements of seasoned troops. He says Charleston was stripped of troops against the remonstrances of Beauregard to send to Mississippi--to no avail — which invited this attack; and now he asks that Jenkins's brigade of South Carolinians be sent to the defense; that South Carolinians are fighting in Virginia, but are not permitted to defend their native soil in the hour of extremity; and that if the enemy, with overwhelming numbers, should take James's Island, they would, from thence, be able to destroy the city. We are looking with anxiety for further news from Charleston.

Gen. Maury writes from Mobile that he has seized, in the hands of Steever (who is he?), receipts for 4000 bales of cotton — orders [20] for 150 bonds, each £ 225 sterling, and two bags of coin, $10,000. The President indorses on the paper that the money had better be turned over to the Secretary of the Treasury. What is all this?

The Secretary sent a paper to the President relating to some novel action performed or proposed, asking his “instructions.” The President returned it to-day indorsed, “The Secretary's advice invited.” How in the mischief can such non-committalists ever arrive at a conclusion?

Hon. E. S. Dargan writes that if Pemberton be restored to command (as he understands this to be the government's purpose), our cause is ruined beyond redemption. I say so too. When he made up his mind to surrender, it is unpardonable that he did not destroy the 50,000 stand of arms before he made any overture. I shall never forgive him!

The signal officers report that three large ocean steamers passed down the Potomac day before yesterday, having on board 1000 men each; and that many large steamers are constantly going up --perhaps for more.

Brig.-Gen. Roger A. Pryor, after dancing attendance in the ante-rooms for six months, waiting assignment to a command, has resigned, and his resignation has been accepted. He says he can at least serve in the ranks as a private. The government don't like aspiring political generals. Yet Pryor was first a colonel, and member of Congress — resigned his seat-resigned his brigadier-generalship, and is now a private.

Our cause is dim in Europe, if it be true, as the Northern papers report, that the Confederate loan has sunken from par to 35 per cent. discount since the fall of Vicksburg.

Friday, August 21

This is a day appointed by the President for humiliation, fasting, and prayer. Yet the Marylanders in possession of the passport office report the following in the Dispatch of this date:

Passports.--The passport office was besieged yesterday and last night by large crowds of persons soliciting permission to leave the city, in order that some relaxation might be had from its busy scenes. Among those who obtained them were His Excellency Jefferson Davis and his Honor Joseph Mayo, both designing to pay a short visit to the neighboring County of Chesterfield.” [21]

We fast, certainly-and feel greatly humiliated at the loss of New Orleans and Vicksburg-and we pray, daily.

Yesterday Fort Sumter suffered much from the enemy's batteries, and much apprehension is felt for its fate.

Gen. Lee, it is said, is not permitted to follow Meade, who is retrograding, being weakened by detachments. A few weeks hence the fall campaign will open in Virginia, when the very earth may tremble again with the thunders of war, and the rivulets may again spout human blood.

There were no letters to-day, for the reason that last night the clerks in the post-office resigned, their salaries not being sufficient to support them. I hope a force will be detailed, to-morrow, to distribute the letters.

I met Prof. A. T. Bledsoe to-day as he was ambling toward the passport office. He said he was just about to start for London, where he intended publishing his book — on slavery, I believe. He has a free passage on one of the government steamers, to sail from Wilmington. He asked me if I fasted to-day; I answered yes, as usual! He then bid me good-by, and at parting I told him I hoped he would not find us all hanged when he returned. I think it probable he has a mission from the President, as well as his book to publish.

August 22

All the guns of Fort Sumter on the south face have been silenced by the land batteries of the enemy on Morris Island; and this account is two days old. What has taken place since, none here but Gen. Cooper and the President know. But our battery, Wagner, dismounted one of the enemy's Parrott guns and blew up two magazines. It is rumored to-day that Sumter has been abandoned and blown up; also that 20,000 of Grant's men have been ordered to New York to quell a new émeute. Neither of these rumors are credited, however, by reflecting men. But they may be true, nevertheless.

Passengers from Bermuda say two monster guns were on the steamer, and were landed at Wilmington a few days ago, weighing each twenty. two tons; carriages, sixty tons; the balls, 15 inches in diameter, length not stated, weighing 700 pounds; the shells, not filled, weigh 480 pounds; and 40 pounds of powder are used at each discharge. They say these guns can be fired with accuracy and with immense effect seven miles. I wonder if the President will send them to Charleston? They might save the city. [22]

The balls fired by the enemy are eight inches in diameter, and two feet in length; 2000 of these, solid and filled, have struck the southern face of Sumter.

It is now positively asserted that Morgan's head was shaved, when they put him in the penitentiary.

Night before last all the clerks in the city post-office resigned, because the government did not give them salaries sufficient to subsist them. As yet their places have not been filled, and the government gets no letters — some of which lying in the office may be of such importance as to involve the safety or ruin of the government. To-morrow is Sunday, and of course the mails will not be attended to before Monday--the letters lying here four days unopened! This really looks as if we had no Postmaster-General.

August 23

Dispatches from Charleston, yesterday, brought the melancholy intelligence that Fort Sumter is but little more than a pile of rubbish. The fall of this fort caused my wife a hearty cry-and she cried when Beauregard reduced it in 1861; not because he did it, but because it was the initiation of a terrible war. She hoped that the separation would be permitted to pass without bloodshed.

To day we have a dispatch from Beauregard, stating the extraordinary fact that the enemy's batteries, since the demolition of Sumter, have thrown shell, from their Parrott guns, into the city — a distance of five and a half miles! This decides the fate of Charleston; for they are making regular approaches to batteries Wagner and Gregg, which, of course, will fall. The other batteries Beauregard provided to render the upper end of the island untenable, cannot withstand, I fear, the enginery of the enemy.

If the government had sent the long-range guns of large caliber when so urgently called for by Beauregard, and if it had not sent away the best troops against the remonstrances of Beauregard, the people are saying, no lodgment could have been made on Morris Island by the enemy, and Sumter and Charleston would have been saved for at least another year.

At all events, it is quite probable, now, that all the forts and cities on the seaboard (Mobile, Savannah, Wilmington, Richmond) must succumb to the mighty engines of the enemy; and our gunboats, built and in process of completion, will be lost. Richmond, it is apprehended, must fall when the enemy again approaches [23] within four or five miles of it; and Wilmington can be taken from the rear, as well as by water, for no forts can withstand the Parrott guns.

Then there will be an end of blockade-running; and we must flee to the mountains, and such interior fastnesses as will be impracticable for the use of these long-range guns. Man must confront man in the deadly conflict, and the war can be protracted until the government of the North passes out of the hands of the Abolitionists. We shall suffer immensely; but in the end we shall be free.

August 24

We have nothing further from Charleston, except that Beauregard threatened retaliation (how?) if Gilmore repeated the offense, against humanity and the rules of civilized war, of shelling the city before notice should be given the women and children to leave it. To-day, at 11 A. M., it is supposed the shelling was renewed.

This day week, I learn by a letter from Gen. Whiting, two 700-pounder Blakely guns arrived in the Gladiator. If these could only be transported to Charleston, what a sensation they would make among the turreted monitors! But I fear the railroad cannot transport them.

The Secretary of the Treasury asks transportation for 1000 bales of cotton to Wilmington. What for?

To-day I saw a copy of a dispatch from Gen. Johnston to the President, dated at Morton, Miss., 22d August, stating that he would send forward, the next day, two divisions to reinforce Gen. Bragg in Tennessee. This signifies battle.

The Secretary of the Treasury notified the Secretary of War, to-day, that the appropriation of fifty millions per month, for the expenditure of the War Department, was greatly exceeded; that already this month (August) the requisitions on hand amounted to over $70,000,000, and they bould not be met — some must lie over; and large sums for contracts, pay of troops, etc. will not be paid, immediately.

Exchange on London, I learn by a letter written by Mr. Endus to his agent in London, detained by Gen. Whiting and sent to the Secretary of War, is selling in Richmond at a premium of fifteen hundred per cent.

The post-office clerks have returned to duty, the Postmaster- [24] General promising to recommend to Congress increased compensation.

August 25

Hon. A. R. Boteler, after consultation with Gen. Stuart and Capt. Moseby, suggests that the Secretary of War send up some of Gen. Rains's subterra torpedoes, to place under the track of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, in possession of the enemy. Gen. Stuart suggested that a man familiar with their use be sent along with them, as they are dangerous weapons.

We have a report, to-day, that our expedition from this city has succeeded in boarding and capturing two of the enemy's gun-boats in the Rappahannock.

August 26

H. C.---, a mad private, and Northern man, in a Georgia Regiment, writes to the President, proposing to take some 300 to 500 men of resolution and assassinate the leading public men of the United States--the war Abolitionists, I suppose. The President referred the paper, without notice, to the Secretary of War.

Gen. Whiting writes that Wilmington is in imminent danger from a coup de main, as he has but one regiment available in the vicinity. He says he gives the government fair warning, and full information of his condition; asking a small brigade, which would enable him to keep the enemy at bay until adequate reinforcements could arrive. He also wants two Whitworth guns to keep the blockaders at a more respectful distance, since they captured one steamer from us, recently, nine miles below the city, and blew up a ship which was aground. He says it is tempting Providence to suffer that (now) most important city in the Confederate States to remain a day liable to sudden capture, which would effectually cut us off from the rest of the world.

Gen. Beauregard telegraphs for a detail of 50 seamen for his iron-clads, which he intends shall support Sumter, if, as he anticipates, the enemy should make a sudden attempt to seize it-or rather its debris — where he still has some guns, still under our flag. None of his vessels have full crews. This paper was referred to the Secretary of the Navy, and he returned it with an emphatic negative, saying that the War Department had failed to make details from the army to the navy, in accordance with an act of Congress, and hence none of our war steamers had full crews.

August 27

There is trouble in the Conscription Bureau. [25] 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. 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. [26]

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.

August 28

Another letter, from Gen. Whiting, calls vehemently for reinforcements, artillery, cavalry, and infantry — or else the city and harbor are soon to be at the mercy of the enemy. He is importunate.

After all, Morgan's head was not shaved — but his beard, and that of his officers, was cut, and their hair made short. This I learn from a letter at the department from Morgan's Assistant Adjutant-General.

The tocsin was ringing in my ears when I awoke this morning. Custis packed his haversack, and, taking blanket, etc. etc., joined his department comrades, and they were all marched out the Brooke turnpike. Yesterday the enemy in considerable force came up the Peninsula and attacked the guard (10 men) at Bottom's Bridge, killing, so report says, Lieut. Jetu, of South Carolina, and some twelve or fifteen others. But I believe the attacking party have recrossed the Chickahominy. We shall know in a few hours. Gen. Lee is still here. Gen. Wise's brigade, with the militia, the department companies, and the convalescents from the hospitals, must number some 8000 men in this vicinity. If the enemy be in formidable numbers, we shall soon be reinforced.

We have nothing from Charleston since Tuesday evening, when, it is said, the “first assault” was repulsed. It is strange we get nothing later.

August 29

After all, it appears that only a few hundred of the enemy's cavalry came up the Peninsula as far as Bottom's Bridge, from whence they quickly fell back again. And this alarm caused Gen. Elzey, or the government, to put in movement nearly [27] 20,000 men! But something else may be behind this demonstration; it may be the purpose of the enemy to strike in another direction, perhaps at Hanover Junction-where, fortunately, we have nearly a division awaiting them.

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

August 30

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

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

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

Gen. Samuel Jones has had a small combat with the enemy in Western Virginia, achieving some success. His loss was about 200, that of the enemy much greater. This is a grain of victory to a pound of disaster. [28]

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

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

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

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

August 31

Governor Vance writes that large bodies of deserters in the western counties of North Carolina are organized, with arms, and threaten to raise the Union flag at the courthouse of Wilkes Coufity on next court-day. The Governor demands a brigade from Virginia to quell them. Lieut.-Col. Lay has been sent thither, by the new good-natured chief of the Bureau of Conscription, to cure the evil. We shall see what good this mission will effect. Col. Preston writes to the Secretary to-day that disorders among the conscripts and deserters are now occurring in South Carolina for the first time-and proposes shortly to visit them himself. The best thing that can be done is to abolish the Bureau of Conscription, and have the law enforced by the military commanders in the field.

I saw to-day a letter to the Secretary of War, written by Mr. Benjamin, Secretary of State, on the 18th inst., referring to a Mr. Jno. Robertson, an artist, whom the Secretary of War promised a free passage in a government steamer to Europe. Mr. B. says the [29] promise was made in the President's room, and he asks if Mr. Seddon could not spare an hour in his office, for Mr., R. to take his portrait. He says Mr. R. has the heads of the President, all the heads of departments (except Mr. Seddon, I suppose), and the principal generals. It does not appear what was done by Mr. Seddon, but I presume everything asked for by Mr. Benjamin was granted. But this matter has not exalted the President and his “heads of departments” in my estimation, If it be not “fiddling while Rome is burning,” it is certainly egotizing while the Confederacy is crumbling. On that day Sumter was falling to pieces, and some 40 locomotives and hundreds of cars were burning in Mississippi, and everywhere our territory passing into the hands of the invader!

Mr. Robertson, I believe, is a stranger and an Englishman, and a free passage in a government ship is equivalent to some $2000, Confederate States currency. Almost every day passages are denied to refugees, natives of the South, who have lost fortunes in the cause, and who were desirous to place their children and non-combatants in a place of security, while they fight for liberty and independence. The privileged passage is refused them, even when they are able and willing to pay for the passage, and this refusal is recommended by Col. Gorgas, a Northern man. They do not propose to immortalize “the President, the heads of departments, and the principal generals.” But Mr. Benjamin has nothing else to do. Washington would accept no meed of praise until his great work was accomplished.

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