XXX. September, 1863
- Situation at Wilmington. -- situation at Charleston. -- Lincoln thinks there is hope of our submission. -- market prices. -- ammunition turned over to the enemy at Vicksburg. -- attack on Sumter. -- stringent conscription order. -- disaffection in North Carolina. -- victory announced by Gen. Bragg. -- peril of Gen. Rosecrans. -- surrender of Cumberland Gap. -- Rosecrans fortifying Chattanooga. -- Mr Seward on flag-of-truce boat. -- Burnside evacuating East Tennessee. -- the trans -- Mississippi army. -- Meade sending troops to Rosecrans. -- Pemberton in Richmond. -- a suggestion concerning perishable tithes.
September 1Another letter from Gen. Whiting, urging the government by every consideration, and with all the ingenuity and eloquence of language at his command, to save Wilmington by sending reinforcements thither, else it must be inevitably lost. He says it will not do to rely upon what now seems the merest stupidity of the enemy, for they already have sufficient forces and means at their command and within reach to capture the fort and city. He has but one regiment for its defense! I saw to-day a telegraphic correspondence between the Secretary of War and Gen. Buckner in regard to the invasion of Kentucky, the general agreeing to it, being sure that with 10,000 men he could compel Rosecrans' to fall back, etc. But I suppose the fall of Vicksburg, and the retreat from Pennsylvania, caused its abandonment. Hon. Wm. Capeton, C. S. Senate, writes the Secretary on the subject of compelling those who have hired substitutes now to serve themselves, and he advocates it. He says the idea is expanding that the rich, for whose benefit the war is waged, have procured substitutes to fight for them, while the poor, who have no slaves to lose, have not been able to procure substitutes. All will be required to fight, else all will be engulfed in one common destruction. He will endeavor to get an expression of opinion from the Legislature, about to assemble, and after that he will advocate the  measure in Congress, intimating that Congress should be convened at an early day.
September 2We have no news of any importance from any of the armies. Gen. Bragg, however, telegraphs, August 31st, that he is concentrating his forces to receive the enemy, reported to be on the eve of assailing his position. He says he has sent our paroled men to Atlanta (those taken at Vicksburg), and asks that arms be sent them by the eastern road. Col. Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, says this is the first intimation he has had as to the disposition of the paroled prisoners. Does he understand that they are to fight before being exchanged? Brig.-Gen. G. J. Rains writes from Charleston that the grenades reported by the enemy to have been so destructive in their repulse at Battery Wagner, were his subterra shells, there being no handgrenades used. The other night Beauregard sent a steamer out with a torpedo to destroy the Ironsides, the most formidable of the enemy's ironclads. It ran within forty yards of the Ironsides, which, however, was saved by swinging round. The torpedo steamer's engine was so imperfect that it could not be worked when stopped, for several minutes, to readjust the arrangements for striking the enemy in his altered position. When hailed, “What steamer is that?” the reply was, “The live Yankee,” and our adventurers got off and back to the city without injury-and without inflicting any. There has been much shelling the last few days, but Sumter and Battery Wagner are still under the Confederate flag. How long this will continue no one knows. But it is hoped the great Blakely guns are there by this time, and that Gen. Rains's torpedoes may avail something for the salvation of the city.
September 3Night before last the heavens were illuminated, it is said, by the terrific bombardment of the batteries and forts in the vicinity of Charleston, and earth and sea trembled with the mighty vibrations. Yet no material injury was done our works, and there were not more than a dozen casualties. On the side of the enemy there is no means of ascertaining the effect. N. S. Walker, Confederate States agent, Bermuda, writes that the steamer R. E. Lee was chased, on her last trip out, twelve hours, and was compelled to throw 150 bales government cotton overboard. He says the British crown officers have decided that  British bottoms, with British owners of cargo, running out of blockaded ports, are liable to seizure anywhere on the high seas. Some of the papers say Knoxville is in the hands of the enemy, and others deny it. Hon. F. S. Lyon writes from Demopolis, Ala., that the Vicksburg army have not reported upon the expiration of the thirty days leave, in large numbers, and that the men never can be reorganized to serve again under Pemberton. Gen. Jos. E. Johnston writes from Morton, Miss., that he is disposing his force to oppose any raids of the enemy, and that he shall keep the Vicksburg troops (when exchanged) in Eastern Mississippi. Gov. Jos. E. Brown telegraphs that the men (militia) in Georgia cannot be compelled to leave the State; but if the government will send them 5000 arms, he thinks he can persuade them to march out of it, provided he may name a commander. The President indorses on this: “If they are militia, I have no power to appoint; if C. S. troops, I have no power to delegate the authority to appoint.” Gen. Lee is still here (I thought he had departed), no doubt arranging the programme of the fall campaign, if, indeed, there be one. He rode out with the President yesterday evening, but neither were greeted with cheers. I suppose Gen. Lee has lost some popularity among idle street walkers by his retreat from Pennsylvania. The Preslident seeks seclusion. A gentleman who breakfasted with him this morning, tells me the President complained of fatigue from his long ride with Gen. Lee.
September 4There is a rumor that Gen. Lee (who is still here) is to take the most of his army out of Virginia, to recapture the Southern territory lost by Loring, Pemberton, and Bragg. I doubt this; for it might involve the loss of Richmond, and indeed of the whole State of Virginia. It would be a sad blow to the extortionate farmers, it is true; but we cannot afford to lose the whole country, and sacrifice the cause, to punish the speculators. It may be, however, that this is a ruse, and if so, Lee is preparing for another northern campaign. The project of the Hon. Mr. Boteler to place Rains's subterra shells under the Orange and Alexandria Railroad used by the enemy, was referred by the Secretary to Col. J. Gorgas, the  Northern Chief of Ordnance, who says he can furnish the shells, but advises against the use of them, as they will “only irritate the enemy, and not intimidate them.” For this presumptuous advice, which was entirely gratuitous, I do not learn that the Secretary has rebuked him. Letters from Western North Carolina show that the defection is spreading. In Wilkes County, Gideon Smoot is the commander of the insurgents, and has raised the United States flag. I have not learned, yet, whether Lieut.-Col. Lay, of the Bureau of Conscription, reached that far; and I was amazed when the good nature of Col. Preston yielded to his solicitations to go thither. What possible good could he, a Virginian, and formerly an aid of Gen. Scott, effect in that quarter?
September 5It is believed that Lee, with a large portion of his army, will proceed immediately to Tennessee against Rosecrans; and it is ascertained that Meade is sending reinforcements thither. But I fear for Virginia when Lee is away! Meade must have a large army left behind, else he would not send reinforcements to Rosecrans. This move will excite the fear of the extortionate farmers, at all events, and make them willing to sell their surplus produce. But if Richmond should fall, and the State be overrun, it is possible it would secede from the Confederacy, which would be a virtual dissolution of it. She would then form alliances with other Southern States on a new basis, and create a new provisional government, and postpone the formation of a permanent one until independence be achieved. However, I am incredulous about the abandonment of Virginia. Meantime, I hope France will intervene, and that Mexico will recognize the independence of the Southern Government. Another letter from Hon. Mr. Miles, of Charleston, in reply, as it seems, to a pretty severe rebuke by the Secretary of War, for asking Jenkins's brigade of South Carolinians for the defense of South Carolina, was received to-day. Knowing the honorable gentleman's intimate relations with Beauregard, the Secretary criticises the conduct of the general in permitting the enemy to establish himself on the lower end of Morris Island-allowing a grove to remain, concealing the erection of batteries, etc. etc. Mr. Miles in reply asserts the fact that Gen. B. did the utmost that could be accomplished with the force and means left at his disposal  by the government; and that the grove would have been felled, if he had been authorized to impress labor, etc. It is sad to read these criminations and recriminations at such a time as this; but every Secretary of War is apt to come in conflict with Beauregard. Gen. Whiting asks, as second in command, Brig.-Gen. Herbert, and reiterates his demand for troops, else Wilmington will be lost. This letter came open-having been broken on the way. If a spy did it, which is probable, the army will soon learn what an easy conquest awaits them. Mr. C. C. Thayer, clerk in the Treasury Department, leaves on the 9th, with $15,000,000 for the trans-Mississippi Department; another clerk has already gone with $10,000,000. After all, I am inclined to think our papers have been lying about the barbarous conduct of the enemy. A letter was received to-day from C. N. Hubbard, a respectable farmer of James City County, stating that when Gen. Keyes came up the Peninsula about the 1st of July, he sent guards for the protection of the property of the people living along the line of march; and they remained, faithfully performing that duty, until the army retired. Mr. H. complains that these guards were made prisoners by our troops, and, if exchanges be demanded for them, he fears the next time the hostile army approaches Richmond, their request for a guard will be refused. What answer the Secretary will make to this, I have no means of conjecturing; but Mr. Hubbard recommends him to come to some understanding with the enemy for the mutual protection of the persons and property of non-combating civilians; and he desires an answer directed to the care of Col. Shingler, who, indeed, captured the guard. The Secretary consented to the exchange.
September 6Northern papers received yesterday evening contain a letter from Mr. Lincoln to the Illinois Convention of Republicans, in which I am told (I have not seen it yet) he says if the Southern people will first lay down their arms, he will then listen to what they may have to say. Evidently he has been reading of the submission of Jack Cade's followers, who were required to signify their submission with ropes about their necks. This morning I saw dispatches from Atlanta, Ga., stating that in one of the northern counties the deserters and tories had defeated  the Home Guard which attempted to arrest them. In Tennessee, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Georgia, we have accounts of much and growing defection, and the embodying of large numbers of deserters. Indeed, all our armies seem to be melting away by desertion faster than they are enlarged by conscription. They will return when there is fighting to do! A letter from Col. Lay, dated North Carolina, to the Chief of the Bureau of Conscription, recommends the promotion of a lieutenant to a captaincy. The colonel is great in operations of this nature; and Col. Preston is sufficiently good natured to recommend the recommendation to the Secretary of War, who, good easy man, will not inquire into his age, etc. Gold is worth from 1000 to 1500 per cent. premium; and yet one who has gold can buy supplies of anything, by first converting it into Confederate notes at low prices. For instance, coal at $30 is really bought for $3 per load. A fine horse at $1000 for $100. Bacon, at $2 per pound is only 20 cents; boots at $100 is only $10, and so on. Thank Heaven! the little furniture, etc. we now have is our own --costing less to buy it than the rent we paid for that belonging to others up to the beginning of the month. A history of the household goods we possess would, no doubt, if it could be written, be interesting to haberdashers. I think we have articles belonging in their time to twenty families. The following list of prices is cut from yesterday's paper:
Produce, provisions, etc. Apples, $30 to $35 per barrel; bacon is firm at $2 to $2.10 for hoground. Butter is advancing; we quote at $2.50 to $3 by the package. Cheese has advanced, and now sells at $1.50 to $2 per pound; corn, $8 to $9 per bushel; corn-meal, $9 per bushel, in better supply. Flour, at the Gallego Mills, new superfine, uninspected, is sold at $25 per barrel; at commission houses and in second hands, the price of new superfine is from $35 to $40; onions, $40 to $50 per barrel; Irish potatoes, $5 to $6 per bushel, according to quality; oats firm at $6 per bushel. Wheat — the supply coming in is quite limited. The millers refuse to compete with the government, and are consequently paying $5 per bushel. It is intimated, however, that outside parties are buying on speculation at $6 to $6.50, taking the risk of impressment. Lard, $1.70 to $1.75 per pound; eggs, $1.25  to $1.50 per dozen; seeds, timothy, $8 to $10; clover, $40 to $45 per bushel. Groceries.-Sugars: the market is active; we hear of sales of prime brown at $2 to $2.15; coffee, $4.25 to $4.75 per pound; molasses, $15 per gallon; rice, 25 cents per pound; salt, 45 cents per pound; soap, 50 cents to 80 cents, as to quality; candles, $2.75 to $3 per pound. Liquors.-We quote corn whisky at $20 to $25 per gallon; rye whisky, $38 to $40, according to quality; apple brandy, $25 to $30; rum, $28 per gallon.
September 7Batteries Wagner and Gregg and Fort Sumter have been evacuated! But this is not yet the capture of Charleston. Gen. Beauregard telegraphed yesterday that he was preparing (after thirty-six hours incessant bombardment) to evacuate Morris Island; which was done, I suppose, last night. He feared the loss of the garrisons, if he delayed longer; and he said Sumter was silenced. Well, it is understood the great Blakely is in position on Charleston wharf. If the enemy have no knowledge of its presence, perhaps we shall soon have reports from it. Gen. Lee, it is said, takes two corps d'armee to Tennessee, leaving one in Virginia. But this can be swelled to 50,000 men by the militia, conscripts, etc., which ought to enable us to stand a protracted siege, provided we can get subsistence. Fortune is against us now. Lieut.-Col. Lay reports great defection in North Carolina, and even says half of Raleigh is against “the Davis Government.” The Secretary of War has called upon the Governor for all the available slave labor in the State, to work on the defenses, etc. The United States flag of truce boat came up to City Point last night, bringing no prisoners, and nothing else except some dispatches, the nature of which has not yet transpired.
September 8We have nothing further from Charleston, to-day, except that the enemy is not yet in possession of Sumter. Mr. Seddon, Secretary of War, said to Mr. Lyons, M. C., yesterday, that he had heard nothing of Gen. Lee's orders to march a portion of his army to Tennessee. That may be very true; but, nevertheless, 18,000 of Lee's troops (a corps) is already marching thitherward. A report on the condition of the military prisons, sent in to-day,  shows that there is no typhoid fever, or many cases of other diseases, among the prisoners of war. Everything is kept in cleanliness about them, and they have abundance of food, wholesome and palatable. The prisoners themselves admit these facts, and denounce their own government for the treatment alleged to be inflicted on our men confined at Fort Delaware and other places. An extra session of the legislature is now sitting. The Governor's message is defiant, as no terms are offered; but he denounces as unjust the apportionment of slaves, in several of the counties, to be impressed to work on the defenses, etc.
September 9Troops were arriving all night and to-day (Hood's division), and are proceeding Southward, per railroad, it is said for Tennessee, via Georgia Road. It may be deemed impracticable to send troops by the western route, as the enemy possesses the Knoxville Road. The weather is excessively dry and dusty again. Gen. Jos. E. Johnston, Morton, Miss., writes that such is the facility of giving information to the enemy, that it is impossible to keep up a ferry at any point on the Mississippi; but he will be able to keep up communications, by trusty messengers with small parcels, with Lieut.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith's trans-Mississippi Department. He says if he had another cavalry brigade, he could make the navigation too dangerous for merchant steamers between Grand Gulf and Natchez. Two letters were received to-day from privates in North Carolina regiments, demanding to be transferred to artillery companies in the forts of North Carolina, or else they would serve no more. This is very reckless! Ordnance officer J. Brice transmitted to the Secretary to-day, through the Ordnance Bureau, an official account of the ammunition, etc. at Vicksburg during the siege and at the evacuation. He says all the ordnance stores at Jackson were hastily removed to Vicksburg, and of which he was unable, in the confusion, to get an accurate account, although he accompanied it. He detained and held 9000 arms destined for the trans-Mississippi Department, and issued 120 rounds to each man in the army, before the battle of Baker's Creek. Much ammunition was destroyed on the battlefield, by order of Gen. Pemberton, to keep it, as he alleged, from falling into the hands of the enemy. During the siege, he got  250,000 percussion caps from Gen. Johnston's scouts, and 150,000 from the enemy's pickets, for a consideration. There was abundance of powder. The ammunition and small arms turned over to the enemy, on the surrender, consisted as follows: 36,000 cartridges for Belgian rifles; 3600 Brunswick cartridges; 75,000 rounds British rifled muskets; 9000 shot-gun cartridges; 1300 Maynard cartridges; 5000 Hall's carbine cartridges; 1200 holster pistol cartridges; 35,000 percussion caps; 19,000 pounds of cannon powder. All this was in the ordnance depots, and exclusive of that in the hands of the troops and in the ordnance wagons, doubtless a large amount. He says 8000 defective arms were destroyed by fires during the bombardment. The troops delivered to the enemy, on marching out, 27,000 arms. The Governor demanded the State magazine to-day of the War Department, in whose custody it has been for a long time. What does this mean? The Governor says the State has urgent use for it. Gen. Cooper visited the President twice to-day, the Secretary not once. The Enquirer, yesterday, attacked and ridiculed the Secretary of War on his passport system in Richmond. The Northern papers contain the following letter from President Lincoln to Gen. Grant:
 If Pemberton had acted differently, if the movement northward had been followed by disaster, then what would Mr. Lincoln have written to Grant? Success is the only standard of merit in a general.
September 10A Mr. J. C. Jones has addressed a letter to the President asking permission to run the blockade to confer with Mr. Bates, of President Lincoln's cabinet, on terms of peace, with, I believe, authority to assure him that none of the Northwestern States, or any other free States, will be admitted into the Confederacy. Mr. J. says he has been on intimate terms with Mr. B., and has conceived the idea that the United States would cease the war, and acknowledge the independence of the South, if it were not for the apprehension of the Northwestern States seceding from the Union. If his request be not granted, he intends to enter the army immediately. He is a refugee from Missouri. He assures the President he is his friend, and that a “concentration of power” in his hands is essential, etc. The President refers this paper, with a gracious indorsement, to the Secretary of War, recommending him either to see Mr. Jones, or else to institute inquiries, etc. S. Wyatt, Augusta, Ga., writes in favor of appeals to the patriotism of the people to counteract what Mr. Toombs has done. What has he done? But he advises the President, to whom he professes to be very friendly, to order a discontinuance of seizures, etc. A. Cohen (Jew name), purser of the blockade-running steamer “Arabia” at Wilmington, has submitted a notable scheme to Gen. Winder, who submits it to the Secretary of War, establishing a police agency at Nassau. Gen. W. to send some of his detectives thither to examine persons coming into the Confederate States, and if found “all right,” to give them passports. It was only yesterday that a letter was received from Gen. Whiting, asking authority to send out a secret agent on the “Arabia,” to see what disposition would be made of her cargo, having strong suspicions of the loyalty of the owners and officers of that vessel. Gov. Z. B. Vance complains indignantly of Marylanders and Virginians appointed to office in that State, to the exclusion of natives; he says they have not yet been recalled, as he had a right to expect, after his recent interview with the President. He says he is disgusted with such treatment, both of his State and of himself. Alas! what is behind?  Night before last some thirty of the enemy's barges, filled with men, attempted to take the ruins of Sumter by assault. This had been anticipated by Beauregard, and every preparation had been made accordingly. So the batteries at Forts Moultrie, Bee, etc. opened terrifically with shell and grape; the amount of execution by them is not ascertained: but a number of the barges reached the debris of Sumter, where a battalion of infantry awaited them, and where 115 of the Yankees, including more than a dozen officers, begged for quarters and were taken prisoners. No doubt the casualties on the side of the assailants must have been many, while the garrison sustained no loss. This is substantially the purport of a dispatch from Beauregard to Gen. Cooper,. which, however, was published very awkwardly-without any of the niceties of punctuation a fastidious general would have desired. Nevertheless, Beauregard's name is on every tongue. The clerks in the departments were startled to-day by having read to them an order from Brig.-Gen. Custis Lee (son of Gen. R. E. Lee), an order to the captains of companies to imprison or otherwise punish all who failed to be present at the drills. These young gentlemen, not being removable, according to the Constitution, and exempted from conscription by an act of Congress, volunteered some months ago for “local defense and special service,” never supposing that regular drilling would be obligatory except when called into actual service by the direction of the President, in the terms of an act of Congress, which provided that such organizations were not to receive pay for military service, unless summoned to the field by the President in an emergency. They receive no pay now-but yet the impression prevails that this order has the approbation of the President, as Gen. G. W. Custis Lee is one of his special aids, with the rank and pay of a colonel of cavalry. As an aid of the President, he signs himself colonel; as commander of the city brigade, he signs himself brigadiergen-eral, and has been so commissioned by the President. How it can be compatible to hold both positions and commissions, I do not understand-but perhaps the President does, as he is well versed in the rules and regulations of the service. Some of the clerks, it is said, regard the threat as unauthorized by law, and will resist what they deem a usurpation, at the hazard of suffering its penalties. I know not what the result will be, but I fear “no good  will come of it.” They are all willing to fight, when the enemy comes (a probable thing); but they dislike being forced out to drill, under threats of “punishment.” This measure will not add to the popularity of Col. (or Gen.) Lee.
September 11A dispatch from Raleigh informs us of a mob yesterday in that city. Some soldiers broke into and partially destroyed the office of the Standard, alleged to be a disloyal paper; after that, and when the soldiers had been dispersed by a speech from Governor Vance, the citizens broke. into and partially destroyed the Journal, an ultra-secession paper. These were likewise dispersed by a speech from the Governor. Gen. Whiting writes that the enemy is making demonstrations against Lockwood's Folly, 23 miles from Wilmington. He says if 3000 were to pass it, the forts and harbor would be lost, as he has but one regiment-and it is employed on picket service. He says in ten nights the enemy can come from Charleston-and that Wilmington was never so destitute of troops since the beginning of the war, and yet it was never in such great peril. It is the only port remaining-and to lose it after such repeated warning would be the grossest culpability. The officers of the signal corps report that Gen. Meade has been ordered to advance, for it is already known in Washington that a large number of troops are marching out of Virginia. Lee, however, it is now believed, will not go to Tennessee. They also report that a Federal army of 6400-perhaps they mean 64,000-is to march from Arkansas to the Rio Grande, Texas. If they do, they will be lost. The engineer corps are to fortify Lynchburg immediately. The clerks of the Post-office Department have petitioned the Secretary of War to allow them (such as have families) commissary stores at government prices, else they will soon be almost in a state of starvation. Their salaries are utterly inadequate for their support. The clerks in all the departments are in precisely the same predicament. The Postmaster-General approves this measure of relief — as relief must come before Congress meets-and he fears the loss of his subordinates. It is said by western men that the enemy is organizing a force of 25,000 mounted men at Memphis, destined to penetrate Georgia and South Carolina, as far as Charleston! If this be so-and it  may be so — they will probably fall in with Longstreet's corps of 20,000 now passing through this city.
September 12Lieut.-Col. Lay, “Inspector,” reports from North Carolina that some twenty counties in that State are “disaffected;” that the deserters and “recusants” are organized and brigaded; armed, and have raised the flag of the United States. This is bad enough to cause the President some loss of sleep, if any one would show it to him. Gen. Wise, it is said, is ordered away from the defense of Richmond with his brigade. I saw him to-day (looking remarkably well), and he said he did not know where he was going-waiting orders, I suppose. C. J. McRae, agent of the loan in Europe, writes July 24th, 1863, that the bad news of Lee's failure in Pennsylvania and retreat across the Potomac, caused the loan to recede 3 1/2 per cent., and unless better news soon reaches him, he can do nothing whatever with Confederate credits. He says Capt. Bullock has contracted for the building of two “iron-clads” in France, and that disbursements on account of the navy, hereafter, will be mostly in France. I fear the reports about a whole fleet of Confederate gun-boats having been built or bought in England are not well founded. Major Ferguson has also (several have done so before him) made charges against Major Huse, the agent of Col. Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance. Mr. McRae thinks the charges cannot be substantiated. We have tidings of the bursting of the Blakely gun at Charleston. I fear this involves the fall of Charleston. Still Beauregard is there. Gen. Pickett's division (decimated at Gettysburg) is to remain in this vicinity — and Jenkins's and Wise's brigades will leave. The hour now seems a dark one. But we must conquer or die. It is said a deserter has already gone over from our lines and given information to the enemy of the large number of troops detached from the Army of Virginia. No doubt Gen. Meade will take advantage of their absence, and advance on Richmond again. Yet I am told the very name of RichmonA is a terror to the foe.
September 13A letter from Gen. J. E. Johnston, Atlantawhither he had repaired to attend a Court of Inquiry relating to  Pemberton's operations, but which has been postponed under the present peril — repels indignantly the charge which seems to have been made in a letter from the Secretary of War, that in executing the law of conscription in his command, he had acted hastily, without sufficient attention to the rights of exemption under the provisions of the act. He says the law was a dead letter when he charged Gen. Pillow with its execution; that Gen. Pillow has now just got his preparations made for its enforcement; and, of course, no appeals have as yet come before him. He hopes that the Secretary will re-examine the grounds of his charge, etc. He is amazed, evidently, with the subject, and no doubt the “Bureau” here will strain every nerve to monopolize the business — providing as usual for its favorites, and having appointed to snug places a new batch of A. A. G.'s — men who ought to be conscribed themselves. Col Preston, under the manipulations of Lieut.-Col. Lay, is getting on swimmingly, and to-day makes a requisition for arms and equipments of 2500 cavalry to force out conscripts, arrest deserters, etc. I think they had better popularize the army, and strive to reinspire the enthusiasm that characterized it at the beginning; and the only way to do this is to restore to its ranks the wealthy and educated class, which has abandoned the field for easier employments. I doubt the policy of shooting deserters in this war-better shoot the traitors in high positions. The indigent men of the South will fight, shoulder to shoulder with the wealthy, for Southern independence; but when the attempt is made to debase them to a servile condition, they will hesitate. Gen. Pickett's division, just marching through the city, wears a different aspect from that exhibited last winter. Then it had 12,000 men — now 6000; and they are dirty, tattered and torn. The great Blakely gun has failed. We have reports of the evacuation of Cumberland Gap. This was to be looked for, when the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad was suffered to fall into the enemy's hands. When will this year's calamities end? Gen. Lee is at Orange Court House, and probably will not leave Virginia. He will still have an army of 50,000 men to oppose Meade; and Richmond may possibly be held another winter. Congress will not be called, I think; and the Legislature, now  in session, I am told, will accomplish no good. It will not be likely to interfere with the supreme power which resolves to “rule or ruin,” --at least this seems to be the case in the eyes of men who merely watch the current of events.
September 14The report from Lt.-Col. Lay of the condition of affairs in North Carolina, received some days ago, was indorsed by Judge Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War, and father-in-law of Col. Lay, that the destruction of the government was imminently menaced, does not seem to have alarmed the President; on the contrary, he sends the paper back to the Secretary, Mr. Seddon, suggesting that he had better correspond with Gov. Vance on the subject, and if military force should be required, he might call in the aid of Brig.-Gen. Hoke, thus ending hopes of a conscription officer here obtaining a command. And so with rumors from Eastern Tennessee; the President takes matters coolly, saying the “locals,” meaning home guards, or companies for local defense, should be on the alert against raiders. If large bodies of the enemy come in, Jenkins's brigade, and one from Pickett's division, might be temporarily detached to punish them. Bragg is falling back toward Atlanta, and Burnside says, officially, that he has taken Cumberland Gap, 1200 prisoners, with 14 guns, without a fight. All of Tennessee is now held by the enemy. There has been another fight (cavalry) at Brandy Station, and our men, for want of numbers, “fell back.” When will these things cease?
September 13Gov. Vance writes that he has reliable information that the 30,000 troops in New York, ostensibly to enforce the draft, are intended for a descent on North Corolina, and Gen. Whiting has said repeatedly that 3000 could take Wilmington. The Governor says if North Carolina be occupied by the enemy, Virginia and the whole Confederacy will be lost, for all communication now, by rail, is through that State. Gen. Sam. Jones writes from Abingdon, Va., that from his information he does not doubt Cumberland Gap and its garrison capitulated on the 9th inst. He calls lustily for reinforcements, and fears the loss of everything, including the salt works, if he be not reinforced. Well, he will be reinforced!  Gov. (just elected) R. L. Caruthers (of Tennessee) begs that 20,000 men from Lee's army be sent out on Rosecrans's left flank to save Tennessee, which alone can save the Confederacy. Well, they have been sent! There must be a “fight or a foot-race” soon in Northern Georgia, and also in Virginia, on the Rappahannock. May God defend the right! If we deserve independence, I think we shall achieve it. If God be not for us, we must submit to His will. Major Huse is buying and shipping 2000 tons saltpetre, besides millions of dollars worth of arms and stores. If we can keep Wilmington, we can send out cotton and bring in supplies without limit.
September 16The enemy advanced yesterday, and, our forces being unequal in numbers, captured Culpepper C. H. Our cavalry fell back several miles, and a battle is looked for immediately, near Orange C. H., where Gen. Lee awaits the foe in an advantageous position. From the Southwest also a battle is momentarily looked for. If the enemy be beaten in these battles, they will suffer more by defeat than we would. Gov. Vance has written a pointed letter to the President in regard to the mob violence in Raleigh. He says, when the office of the Standard was sacked, the evil was partially counterbalanced by the sacking of the Journal,--the first, moderate Union, the last, ultra-secessionist. He demands the punishment of the officers present and consenting to the assault on the Standard office, part of a Georgia brigade, and avers that another such outrage will bring back the North Carolina troops from the army for the defense of their State. From Morton, Miss., Gen. Hardee says, after sending reinforcements to Bragg, only three brigades of infantry remain in his department. Upon this the President made the following indorsement and sent it to the Secretary of War:
The danger to Atlanta has probably passed.While the army of Gen. Taylor threatens the southwestern part of Louisiana, troops will not probably leave New Orleans. The movement to White River is more serious at this time than the preparations against Mobile. “Efforts should be made to prevent the navigation of the Mississippi  by commercial steamers, and especially to sink transports.” The letter of Gov. Vance in relation to the 30,000 men destined for North Carolina being referred to the President, he sent it back indorsed as follows:
Gov. V.'s vigilance will discover the fact if this supposition be true, and in the mean time it serves to increase the demand for active exertions, as well to fill up the ranks of the army as to organize ‘local defense’ troops.The letter of Lt.-Col. Lay, Inspector of Conscripts, etc., was likewise referred to the President, who suggests that a general officer be located with a brigade near where the States of North Carolina, South Carolina, etc. meet. And the President indorses on Gen. Whiting's earnest calls for aid at Wilmington, that Gen. Martin be sent him, with the “locals,” as he calls them, and a brigade from Pickett's division, when filled up. But suppose that should be too late? He says Ransom's troops should also be in position, for it is important to hold Wilmington. Calico is selling now for $10 per yard; and a small, dirty, dingy, dilapidated house, not near as large as the one I occupy, rents for $800. This one would bring $1200 now; I pay $500, which must be considered low. Where are we drifting? I know not; unless we have a crop of victories immediately.
September 17Lee and Meade have their armies daily drawn up in battle array, and an engagement may be expected. It is said the enemy is evacuating East Tennessee; concentrating, I suspect, for battle with Bragg. It is now said that Brigadier and Col. Lee, A. D. C. to the President, etc. etc., is going to call out the civil officers of the government who volunteered to fight in defense of the city, and encamp them in the country. This will make trouble. A Mr. Mendenhall, New Garden, N. C., Quaker, complains of the treatment two of his young Friends are receiving at Kiniston from the troops. They won't fight, because they believe it wrong, and they won't pay the tax (war) of $500, because they cannot do it conscientiously. And Gov. Vance says the treatment referred to willnot be tolerated.
September 18Nothing new from the Rappahannock, but  a battle is looked for soon. Rosecrans, who had advanced into Georgia, has fallen back on Chattanooga, which he is fortifying. If he be not driven from thence, we shall lose our mines, and the best country for commissary supplies. But Bragg had from 60,000 to 70,000 men on the 5th inst., when he had not fallen back far from Chattanooga; since then he has received more reinforcements from Mississippi, and Longstreet's corps, arrived by this time, will swell his army to 90,000 men, perhaps. Johnston will probably take command, for Bragg is becoming unpopular. But Bragg will fight! The equinoctial storm has commenced, and the monitors are not in view of Charleston, having sought quiet waters. The Enquirer has again assailed Mr. Benjamin, particularly on account of the retention of Mr. Spence, financial agent in England (appointed by Mr. Memminger), an anti-slavery author, whose books advocate Southern independence. To-day a letter was sent to the Secretary of War, from Mr. Benjamin, stating the fact that the President had changed the whole financial programme for Europe. Frazer, Trenholm, & Co., Liverpool, are to be the custodians of the treasure in England, and Mr. McRae, in France, etc., and they would keep all the accounts of disbursements by the agents of departments, thus superseding Mr. Spence. I think this arrangement will somewhat affect the operations of Major Huse (who is a little censured in the letter, purporting to be dictated by the President, but really written by the President) and Col. Gorgas. If Wilmington continues in our possession, the transactions in Europe will be large, and the government will derive more of its supplies from thence.
September 19The reports from Western North Carolina indicate that much bad feeling prevails there still; and it is really something more than a military trick to obtain a command. But I think the government had better keep out of the field its assistant adjutant-generals, and especially those in the Bureau of Conscription, unless they are put in subordinate positions. Some of them have sought their present positions to keep aloof from the fatigues and dangers of the field; and they have contributed no little to the disaffection in North Carolina. Gen. Whiting suggests that one of Gen. Pickett's brigades be sent to Weldon; and  then, with Ransom's brigade, he will soon put down the deserters and tories. The Governor approves this plan, and I hope it will be adopted. The Northern papers say President Lincoln, by proclamation, has suspended the writ of habeas corpus throughout the United States. This is good news for the South; for the people there will strike back through the secret ballot-box. They also say an expedition is about to sail up the Rio Grande, where it will come in collision with the French, now occupying Matamoras. And it appears that Lord John Russell will not prevent the sailing of our monitor-rams from British ports without evidence of an intention to use them against the United States. He will do nothing on suspicion; but must have affidavits, etc. A young lady, Miss Heiskell, applied yesterday, through the Hon. A. H. H. Stuart, for a passport to Philadelphia, to be married to a young merchant of that city. Her father was a merchant of that city, though a native of Virginia. I believe it was granted. The country is indignant at the surrender of Cumberland Gap by Brig.-Gen. Frazier, without firing a gun, when his force was nearly as strong as Burnside's. It was too bad! There must be some examples of generals as well as of deserting poor men, whose families, during their absence, are preyed upon by the extortioners, who contrive to purchase exemption from military service. The country did not know there was such a general until his name became famous by this ignominious surrender. Where did Gen. Cooper find him?
September 20We have nothing to-day from any of the seats of war; but I saw several hundred head of cattle driven through the city this morning, marked “C. S.,” which I learned had come from Essex and King and Queen Counties, which may indicate either a raid from the Lower Rappahannock, or another advance on Richmond. There was a meeting called four mechanics, etc. last night, to consider the grievance of the times. I have not learned what was done, or rather said; but I hear citizens on the street to-day talking about subverting the government. I believe they have no plan; and as yet it amounts to nothing.
September 21The President was called out of church yesterday, and was for three hours closeted with the Secretary of War and Gen. Cooper. It appears that the enemy were occupying Bristol, on the line between Virginia and Tennessee, with seven regiments, and Carse's brigade was ordered (by telegraph) to reinforce Gen. S. Jones. But to-day a dispatch from Gen. Jones states that the enemy had been driven back at Zollicoffer, which is beyond Bristol. This dispatch was dated yesterday. It is unintelligible. But to-day we have a dispatch from Gen. Bragg, announcing a great battle on the 19th and 20th insts. He says, “after two days engagement, we have driven the enemy, after a desperate resistance, from several positions; we hold the field, but the enemy still confronts us. The losses on both sides are heavy, and especially so among our officers. We have taken more than twenty guns, and 2500 prisoners.” We await the sequel — with fear and trembling, after the sad experience of Western victories. The Secretary of War thinks Longstreet's corps had not yet reached Bragg; then why should he have commenced the attack before the reinforcements arrived? We must await further dispatches. If Bragg beats Rosecrans utterly, the consequences will be momentous. If beaten by him, he sinks to rise no more. Both generals are aware of the consequences of failure, and no doubt it is a sanguinary field. Whether it is in Georgia or over the line in Tennessee is not yet ascertained.
September 22Another dispatch from Bragg, received at a late hour last night, says the victory is complete. This announcement has lifted a heavy load from the spirits of our people; and as successive dispatches come from Gov. Harris and others on the battle-field to-day, there is a great change in the recent elongated faces of many we meet in the streets. So far we learn that the enemy has been beaten back and pursued some eleven miles; that we have from 5000 to 6000 prisoners, some 40 guns, besides small arms and stores in vast quantities. But Gen. Hood, whom I saw at the department but a fortnight ago, is said to be dead and some half dozen of our brigadier-generals have been killed and wounded. The loss of the enemy, however, has been still greater than ours. At last accounts (this morning) the battle was still raging — the enemy having made a stand (temporarily, I presume)  on a ridge, to protect their retreat. They burnt many commissary stores, which they may need soon. Yet, this is from the West. The effects of this great victory will be electrical. The whole South will be filled again with patriotic fervor, and in the North there will be a corresponding depression. Rosecrans's position is now one of great peril; for his army, being away from the protection of gun-boats, may be utterly destroyed, and then Tennessee and Southern Kentucky may fall into our hands again. To-morrow the papers will be filled with accounts from the field of battle, and we shall have a more distinct knowledge of the magnitude of it. There must have been at least 150,000 men engaged; and no doubt the killed and wounded on both sides amounted to tens of thousands! Surely the Government of the United States must now see the impossibility of subjugating the Southern people, spread over such a vast extent of territory; and the European governments ought now to interpose to put an end to this cruel waste of blood and treasure. My little garden has been a great comfort to me, and has afforded vegetables every day for a month past. My potatoes, however, which occupied about half the ground, did not turn out well. There were not more than a dozen quarts-worth $10, though — in consequence of the drought in June and July; but I have abundance of tomatoes, and every week several quarts of the speckled lima bean, which I trailed up the plank fence and on the side of the wood-house — just seven hills in all. I do not think I planted more than a gill of beans; and yet I must have already pulled some ten quarts, and will get nearly as many more, which will make a yield of more than 300-fold! I shall save some of the seed. The cabbages do not head, but we use them freely when we get a little bacon. The okra flourishes finely, and gives a flavor to the soup, when we succeed in getting a shin-bone. The red peppers are flourishing luxuriantly, and the bright red pods are really beautiful. The parsnips look well, but I have not yet pulled any. I shall sow turnip seed, where the potatoes failed, for spring salad. On the whole, the little garden has compensated me for my labor in substantial returns, as well as in distraction from painful meditations during a season of calamity.
September 23We have nothing additional up to three P. M.  to-day; but there is an untraceable rumor on the street of some undefinable disaster somewhere, and perhaps it is the invention of the enemy. We still pause for the sequel of the battle; for Rosecrans has fallen back toga strong position; and at this distance we know not whether it be practicable to flank him or to cut his communications. It is said Gen. Breckinridge commanded only 1600 men, losing 1300 of them! Gen. Cooper and the Secretary of War have not been permitted to fill up his division; the first probably having no desire to replenish the dilapidated command of an aspiring “political general.” A Mr. G. Preston Williams, of Eden, Chatham County, Ga., writes to the President, Sept. 7th, 1863, saying he has lost three sons in the war, freely given for independence; His fourth son is at home on furlough, but he shall not return unless the President gives up his obstinacy, and his favorites-Bragg, Pemberton, Lovell, etc. He charges the President with incapacity, if not wickedness, and says our independence would have been won ere this, but for the obstacles thrown by him in the way. He threatens revolution within a revolution, when Congress meets, unless the President reforms, which will cause him to lose his office, and perhaps his head. To which the President replies thus, in an indorsement on the envelope:
Secretary of War.-This is referred to you without any knowledge of the writer. If it be a genuine signature, you have revealed to you a deserter, and a man who harbors him, as well as incites to desertion, and opposition to the efforts of the government for public defense. Sept. 19th, 1863.-J. D.The indorsement was written to-day, since hearing of Bragg's victory.
September 24A dispatch from Gen. Bragg, received today, three miles from Chattanooga, and dated yesterday, says the enemy occupies a strong position, and confronts him in great force, but he is sending troops round his flanks. No doubt he will cross the river as soon as possible. Only a small portion of Longstreet's corps has been engaged, so Bragg will have a fresh force to hurl against the invader. We learn to-day that Gen. Hood is not dead, and will recover. The President sent over to the Secretary of War to-day some extracts from a letter he has just received from Mobile, stating  that a large trade is going on with the enemy at New Orleans. A number of vessels, laden with cotton, had sailed from Pascagoula Bay, for that destination. Some one or two had been stopped by the people, as the traffic is expressly prohibited by an act of Congress. But upon inquiry it was ascertained that the trade was authorized by authority from Richmond — the War Department. I doubt whether Mr. Seddon authorized it. Who then? Perhaps it will be ascertained upon investigation. Mr. Kean, the young Chief of the Bureau, is a most fastidious civil officer, for he rebukes older men than himself for mistaking an illegible K for an R, and puts his warning on record in pencil marks. Mr. K. came in with Mr. Randolph, but declined to follow his patron any further.
September 25The latest dispatch from Gen. Bragg states that he has 7000 prisoners (2000 of them wounded), 36 cannon, 15,000 of the enemy's small arms, and 25 colors. After the victory, he issued the following address to his army:
 The President has received an official report of Gen. Frazer's surrender of Cumberland Gap, from Major McDowell, who escaped. It comprised 2100 men, 8 guns, 160 beef cattle, 12,000 pounds of bacon, 1800 bushels of wheat, and 15 days rations. The President indorsed his opinion on it as follows:
This report presents a shameful abandonment of duty, and is so extraordinary as to suggest that more than was known to the major must have existed to cause such a result.-J. D. Sept. 24.The quartermasters in Texas are suggesting the impressment of the cotton in that State. The President indorses as follows on the paper which he returned to the Secretary of War:
I have never been willing to employ such means except as a last resort.-J. D.The Secretary of War is falling into the old United States fashion. He has brought into the department two broad-shouldered young relatives, one of whom might serve the country in the field, and I believe they are both possessed of sufficient wealth to subsist upon without $1500 clerkships.
September 26Nothing additional has been received from Gen. Bragg, but there is reason to believe Rosecrans is fortifying Chattanooga, preparatory to crossing the river and retreating northward with all possible expedition. From the Upper Rappahannock there is much skirmishing, the usual preliminary to a battle; and Kemper's brigade, of Pickett's division, went up thither last night, and it may be probable that a battle is imminent. Lee is apt to fight when the enemy is present facing him. The victory of Bragg has lifted a mountain from the spirits of the people, and another victory would cast the North into the “slough of despond.” Gen. C. J. McRae, and another gentleman, have been directed to investigate the accounts of Major Caleb Huse, the friend and agent of Col. Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance. Gear. McR. writes from Folkestone, England, to Col. G. that the other gentleman not having appeared, he is undertaking the work himself, and, so far, the accounts are all right. Messrs Isaac, Campbell & Co. (Jews), with whom the Ordnance Bureau has had large transactions, have afforded (so far) every facility, etc.
September 27Nothing additional has been heard from  either Bragg's or Lee's army. But the positions of both seem quite satisfactory to our government and people. How Rosecrans can get off without the loss of half his army, stores, etc., military authorities are unable to perceive; and if Meade advances, there is a universal conviction that he will be beaten. But there is an excitement in the city. It is reported that the United States flag of truce steamer is down the river, having on board no less a personage than Mr. Seward, United States Secretary of State, and that Mr. Benjamin, and other dignitaries of the Confederate States, are going off this morning to meet him. Of course it is conjectured that terms of peace will be discussed, and an infinite variety of opinions are expressed in relation to them. Some suppose the mission grows out of foreign complications, of which, as yet, we can have no knowledge, and that, to maintain the vantage ground of France or England, or both, Mr. Seward may have a scheme of recognition and alliance, etc., looking to the control of affairs on this continent by the United States and Confederate States in conjunction, with commercial arrangements, etc. Both Seward and Benjamin are regarded by their uncharitable enemies as alike destitute of principle, and of moral or physical courage, and hence that they would have no hesitation in agreeing to any terms likely to be mutually advantageous — to themselves. They are certainly men of great intellectual power, and if they are not strictly honest, as much may be said of the greatest diplomats who have played conspicuous parts in the field of diplomacy during the last century. They may sacrifice men, and castles, etc., as skillful players do chessmen, with no particle of feeling for the pieces lost, for equivalents, etc. Nevertheless, nothing can be finally consummated without the concurrence of all the co-ordinate branches of both governments, and the acquiescence of the people. But these gentlemen are fully aware of the anxiety of both peoples (if so they may be called) for peace, and they may, if they choose, strike a bargain which will put an end to the manslaughter which is deluging the land with blood. Then both governments can go into bankruptcy. It may be a humbug.
September 28All is reported quiet on the Rappahannock, the enemy seeming to be staggered, if not stupefied, by the stunning blows dealt Rosecrans in the West. Burnside's detachment is evacuating East Tennessee; we have  Jonesborough, and are pursuing the enemy, at last accounts, toward Knoxville. Between that and Chattanooga he may be intercepted by the right wing of Bragg. The President had his cabinet with him nearly all day. It is not yet ascertained, precisely, whether Mr. Seward was really on the flag of truce steamer yesterday, but it is pretty certain that Mr. Benjamin went down the river. Of course the public is not likely to know what transpired there — if anything. The trans-Mississippi army is getting large amounts of stores, etc., on the Rio Grande River. Major Hart, Quartermaster, writes from San Antonio, Texas, on the 13th of July, that three large English steamers, “Sea Queen,” “Sir Wm. Peel,” and the “Gladiator,” had arrived, were discharging, etc. Also that two large schooners were hourly expected with 20,000 Enfield rifles on board. He says Gen. Magruder is impressing cotton to freight these vessels. So far, 260 Quakers, non-combatants, have been reported, mostly in North Carolina. A few cannot pay the $500consci-entiously. The papers begin to give the details of the great battle of Chickamauga--the “river of death.”
September 29We have nothing additional from Bragg, except confirmation of his victory from Northern journals; and it is reported that Meade is sending two more army corps to the Southwest, for the purpose of extricating Rosecrans from his perilous predicament. It is believed our cavalry is in his rear, and that we have the road below Chattanooga, cutting him off from his supplies. The President sent for the Secretary of War and Gen. Cooper just before 3 P. M. to-day, having, it is supposed, some recent intelligence of the movements of the enemy. It is possible we shall send troops, etc., with all possible expedition, to reinforce Bragg, for the purpose of insuring the destruction of Rosecrans's army, and thus to Tennessee may be transferred the principal military operations of the fall campaign. Young Mr. Kean has taken friend Jacques's place at the door of the Secretary, and put him to abstracting the recorded letters containing decisions, the plan I suggested to the President, but which was claimed as the invention of the Assistant Secretary of War.  Some one has written a flaming article on the injurious manner in which impressments have been conducted in Mississippi-the President's State-and sent it to him. This being referred to Col. Northrop, the Commissary-General, the latter splutters over it in his angular chirography at a furious rate, saying he did not authorize it, he doubted if it were done, and lastly, if done, he was sure it was done by agents of the Quartermaster-General.
September 30Still nothing additional from Lee's or Bragg's army; but from abroad we learn that the British Government has prevented the rams built for us from leaving the Mersey. Gen. Pemberton is here, and was closeted for several hours today with the Secretary of War. Capt. J. H. Wright, 56th Georgia, gives another version of the surrender of Cumberland Gap. He is the friend of Gen. Frazer, and says he was induced to that step by the fear that the North Carolina regiments (62d and 63d) could not be relied on. Did he try them? A Mr. Blair, Columbus, Miss., applies for permission to bring drugs from Memphis, and refers, for respectability, to President Davis and Gov. Letcher. His letter gives a list of prices of medicines in the Confederate States. I select the following: Quinine, per oz., $100; calomel, $20; blue mass, $20; Opiun, $100; S. N. bismuth, $100; soda, $5; borax, $14; oil of bergamot, per lb., $100; indigo, $35; blue-stone, $10. Boots are selling in this city at $100 per pair, and common shoes for $60. Shuck mattresses, $40. Blankets, $40 each; and sheets, cotton, $25 each. Wood is $40 per cord. I submitted a proposition to the Secretary (of a quartermaster) to use some idle government wagons and some negro prisoners, to get in wood for the civil officers of the government, which could be done for $8 per cord; but the quartermasters opposed it. But to-day I sent a letter to the President, suggesting that the perishable tithes (potatoes, meal, etc.) be sold at reasonable rates to the civil officers and the people, when in excess of the demand of the army, and that transportation be allowed, and that a government store be opened in Richmond. I told him plainly, that without some speedy measure of relief there would be much discontent, for half the families here are neither half-fed nor half-clad. The measure, if adopted in all the cities, would be a beneficent one,  and would give popular strength to the government, while it would be a death-blow to the speculators and extortioners. It will be seen what heed the government will give it. Gen. Wise has his brigade in South Carolina.
The markets.-The quantity of produce in our markets continues large, and of good quality, but the prices remain as high as ever, as the following quotations will show: butter, $4; bacon, $2.75 to $3 per pound; lard, $2.25 per pound; beef, $1 to $1.25; lamb, $1 to $1.25; veal, $1 to $1.50; shote, $1.25 to $1.75; sausage, $1; chickens, $2.50 to $7 per pair; ducks, $5 per pair; salt herrings, $4 per dozen; cabbage, $1 to $1.50; green corn, $1.50 to $2 per dozen; sweet potatoes, $21 to $26 per bushel; Irish potatoes, 50 to 75 cts. per quart; snaps, $1 per quart; peas, 75 cts. to $1.25 per quart; butter-beans, $1 to $1.50 per quart; onions, $1.25 per quart; egg-plant, $1 to $2 a piece; tomatoes, 50 cts. to $1 per quart; country soap, $1 to $1.50 per pound.