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XXXII. November, 1863

November 1

No news from any of the armies this morning. But Gen. Whiting writes that he is deficient in ordnance to protect our steamers and to defend the port. If Wilmington should fall by the neglect of the government, it will be another stunning blow.

However, our armies are augmenting, from conscription, and if we had honest officers to conduct this important business, some four or five hundred thousand men could be kept in the field, and subjugation would be an impossibility. But exemptions and details afford a tempting opportunity to make money, as substitutes are selling for $6000 each; and the rage for speculation is universal.

The President is looked for to-morrow, and it is to be hoped that he has learned something of importance during his tour. He will at once set about his message, which will no doubt be an interesting one this year:

How we sigh for peace, on this beautiful Sabbath day! But the suffering we have endured for nearly three years is no more than was experienced by our forefathers of the Revolution. We must bear it to the end, for it is the price of liberty. Yet we sigh for peace-God knows I do-while at the same time we will endure the ordeal for years to come, rather than succumb to the rule of an oppressor. We must be free, be the cost what it may. Oh, if the spirit of fanaticism had been kept down by the good sense of the people of the United States, the Union would have been preserved, and we should have taken the highest position among the [86] great powers of the earth. It is too late now. Neither government may, for a long series of years, aspire to lead the civilized nations of the earth. Ambition, hatred, caprice and folly have combined to snap the silken cord, and break the golden bowl. These are the consequences of a persistency in sectional strife and domination, foreseen and foretold by me in the Southern Monitor, published in Philadelphia; no one regarded the warning. Now hundreds of thousands are weeping in sackcloth and ashes. over the untimely end of hundreds of thousands slain in battle! And thousands yet must fall, before the strife be ended.

November 2

A refugee from Portsmouth reports the arrival of 6000 Federal troops at Newport News, and that Richmond is to be menaced again.

Brig.-Gen. H. W. Allen, Alexandria, La., reports 8000 deserters and skulking conscripts in that vicinity, and a bad state of things generally.

Gen. Lee has written three letters to the department, dated 30th and 31st October. 1st, complaining of the tardiness of the Bureau of Examination, and the want of efficient officers; 2d, complaining of the furloughs given Georgia officers as members of the legislature, causing a brigade to be commanded by a lieutenant-colonel, etc.; 3d, relating to an order from the Secretary to respite certain deserters, condemned to execution. He says executions are necessary to keep the army together, but he feels the painfulness of the sad necessity.

Mr. H. D. Whitcomb, Superintendent Central Railroad, applied for and obtained passports for his mother and sister to return to the United States. He is a Northern man.

Brig.-Gen. S. A. Meredith (United States) writes from Fortress Monroe, proposing that prisoners west of the Mississippi be exchanged at Galveston. Mr. Ould, our agent of exchange, indorses on it that there is no necessity for immediate action, for the United States are not exchanging any prisoners at all at this time.

Mr. Memminger writes for troops to be sent to Ashville, West North Carolina, which is menaced by the traitors, tories, and Federals. His family is there, having fled from South Carolina. Hon. Jas, Farron also writes that a bad state of things exists in that section, and communication is kept open with the enemy in East Tennessee. [87]

From St. Helena Parish, Ark., we have letters stating that all restraint is thrown off, and everybody almost is trading with the enemy. Some 1500 bales of cotton per week is taken to the Yankees from that region. They say most of the parties have permits from the government or from commanding generals to trade with the enemy.

Gen. Whiting writes that his men are suffering for shoes, and as 15,000 pairs are in that town, asks if he shall not impress them. The Secretary is reluctant to do this, and asks the Quartermaster- General what he shall do. The Quartermaster-General advises that the shoes be bought at a fair price, and paid for in cotton. He says blankets may be had in the same way.

November 3

Gen. Lee writes that he will endeavor to protect the workmen while removing the iron at Aquia Creek, but he fears the work has been too long delayed. The government has been too slow.

Gen. Sam Jones writes from Abingdon that his cavalry was at Jonesborough on the 30th ult., although the enemy's raiding parties were on this side. He says if he had a little more infantry, he could soon clear East Tennessee of the foe; and asks that an order from Gen. Cooper (A. and I. G.), calling for two of his best regiments of cavalry, be revoked.

In Gen. Lee's recent campaign beyond the Rappahannock, our losses in killed, wounded, and missing amounted to 1740; the enemy's losses must have been three times that number.

The President made a speech in Charleston on the 1st instant. We have copies from him to day of his correspondence with Gen. Bragg since he left Chickamauga field. Gen. B. says he will immediately call for Hardee's brigades, promised him, and without delay commence operations on the enemy's left (it is too wet on the right), and drive Burnside out of East Tennessee. But he complains of Gen. Buckner, who assumes to have an independent command in East Tennessee and West Virginia. The President replies that neither Bragg nor Buckner has jurisdiction over Gen. Jones in West Virginia, but that he gets his orders from Richmond. He does not promise to remove Buckner, whom he deems only impatient, but says he must be subject to Bragg's orders, etc.

Gen. Bragg has applied for Gen. Forrest (who went some time since to Mobile and tendered his resignation, in a pet with Gen. [88] Bragg) to command a cavalry force in North Mississippi and West Tennessee. In short, the President is resolved to sustain Gen. Bragg at the head of the army in Tennessee in spite of the tremendous prejudice against him in and out of the army. And unless Gen. Bragg does something more for the cause before Congress meets a month hence, we shall have more clamor against the government than ever. But he has quashed the charges (of Bragg) against Gen. Polk, and assigned him, without an investigation, to an important command.

November 4

Mr. M----, Major Ruffin's commissary agent, denies selling government beef to the butchers; of course it was his own. But he has been ordered not to sell any more, while buying for the government.

Mr. Rouss, of Winchester, merchant, has succeeded in getting some brown cotton from the manufacturer, in Georgia, at cost, which he sells for cost and carriage to refugees. My wife got 20 yards to-day for $20. It is brown seven-eighth cotton, and brings in other stores $3 per yard. This is a saving of $40. And I bought 24 pounds of bacon of Capt. Warner, Commissary, at $1 per pound. The retail price is $2.50-and this is a saving of $36. Without such “short cuts” as these, occasionally, it would be impossible to maintain my family on the salaries my son Custis and myself get from the government, $3000.

How often have I and thousands in our youth expressed the wish to have lived during the first Revolution, or rather to have partaken of the excitements of war! Such is the romance or “enchantment” which “distance lends” “to the view.” Now we see and feel the horrors of war, and we are unanimous in the wish, if we survive to behold again the balmy sunshine of peace, that neither we nor our posterity may ever more be spectators of or participants in another war. And yet we know not how soon we might plunge into it, if an adequate necessity should arise. Henceforth, in all probability, we shall be a military people. But I shall seek the peaceful haunts of quiet seclusion, for which I sigh with great earnestness. O for a garden, a vine and fig-tree, and my library!

Among the strange events of this war, not the least is the position on slavery (approving it) maintained by the Bishop of Vermont.


November 5

The President has not yet returned, but was inspecting the defenses of Charleston. The Legislature has adjourned without fixing a maximum of prices. Every night troops from Lee's army are passing through the city. Probably they have been ordered to Bragg.

Yesterday flour sold at auction at $100 per barrel; to-day it sells for $1201 There are 40,000 bushels of sweet potatoes, taken by the government as tithes, rotting at the depots between Richmond and Wilmington. If the government would wake up, and have them brought hither and sold, the people would be relieved, and flour and meal would decline in price. But a lethargy has seized upon the government, and no one may foretell the consequences of official supineness.

The enemy at Chattanooga have got an advantageous position on Bragg's left, and there is much apprehension that our army will lose the ground gained by the late victory.

The Commissary-General (Northrop) has sent in his estimate for the ensuing year, $210,000,000, of which $50,000,000 is for sugar, exclusively for the hospitals. It no longer forms part of the rations. He estimates for 400,000 men, and takes no account of the tithes, or tax in kind, nor is it apparent that he estimates for the army beyond the Mississippi.

A communication was received to-day from Gen. Meredith, the Federal Commissioner of Exchange, inclosing a letter from Gov. Todd and Gen. Mason, as well as copies of letters from some of Morgan's officers, stating that the heads of Morgan and his men are not shaved, and that they are well fed and comfortable.

November 6

The President was to have returned to-day, but did not.

Various conjectures are made as to the object of his month's tour of speech-making. Some deem the cause very desperate, others that the President's condition is desperate. If the first, they say his purpose was to reanimate the people by his presence, and to cultivate a renewal of lost friendships, and hence he lingered longest at Charleston, in social intercourse with Gens. Beauregard and Wise, who had become estranged. The latter is the oldest brigadier-general in the service, and still they have failed to promote him. The President's power is felt in the army, and his patronage being almost unlimited, it was natural, they say, that he [90] should be received with cheers. From a lieutenant up to a gen. eral, all are dependent on his favor for promotion. At all events, his austerity and inflexibility have been relaxed, and he has made popular speeches wherever he has gone. I hope good fruits will ensue. But he returns to find the people here almost in a state of starvation in the midst of plenty, brought on by the knavery or incompetency of government agents.

What is remarkableis the estimate of $50,000,000 by the Commissary-General for the purchase of sugar, exclusively for the sick and wounded in hospitals, the soldiers in the field being refused any more. One-fourth of the whole estimates ($210,000,000) for sugar, and not an ounce to go to the Army And this, too, when it is understood nearly all the sugar in the Confederacy has been impressed by his agents at from 50 cts. to $1 per pound. It is worth $2.50 now, and it is apprehended that a large proportion of the fifty millions asked for will go into the pockets of commissaries. No account whatever is taken of the tithe in the Commissary-General's estimates.

Flour sold at $125 per barrel to-day. There must be an explosion of some sort soon. Certainly Confederate notes have fallen very low indeed.

Another solution of the President's tour, by the uncharitable or suspicious, is a preparatory or a preliminary move to assuming all power in his own hands. They say the people are reduced by distress to such an extremity that, if he will only order rations to be served them, they will not quarrel with him if he assumes dictatorial powers. Legislation has failed to furnish remedies for the evils afflicting the community; and, really, if the evils themselves were not imputed to the government, and the President were ambitious-and is he not?-he might now, perhaps, play a successful Cromwellian role. But can he control the State governments? The government of this State seems like potter's clay in his hands, the Legislature being as subservient as the Congresses have hitherto been. It is observed-independence first-then let Cromwells or Washingtons come.

My wife, to-day, presented me with an excellent under-shirt, made of one of her dilapidated petticoats. A new shirt would cost $30. Common brown cotton (and in a cotton country!) sells for $3 per yard. I saw common cotton shirts sell at auction today [91] for $40 per pair. Beef is $1.50 per pound, and pork $2. But these prices are paid in Confederate Treasury notes, and they mark the rapid depreciation of paper money.

The enemy, however, in spreading over the Southern territory, are not completing the work of subjugation. It would require a million of bayonets to keep this people in subjection, and the indications are that the United States will have difficulty in keeping their great armies up. It is a question of endurance.

November 7

No news from any quarter, except the continued bombardment of the debris of Fort Sumter, and the killing and wounding of some 10 or 12 men there-but that is not news.

There is a pausej — a sort of holding of the breath of the people, as if some event of note was expected. The prices of food and fuel are far above the purses of all except speculators, and an explosion must happen soon, of some sort. People will not perish for food in the midst of plenty.

The press, a portion rather, praises the President for his carefulness in making a tour of the armies and ports south of us; but as he retained Gen. Bragg in command, how soon the tune would change if Bragg should meet with disaster!

Night before last some of the prisoners on Belle Isle (we have some 13,000 altogether in and near the city) were overheard by the guard to say they must escape immediately, or else it would be too late, as cannon were to be planted around them. Our authorities took the alarm, and increasing the guard, did plant cannon so as to rake them in every direction in the event of their breaking out of their prison bounds. It is suspected that this was a preconcerted affair, as a full division of the enemy has been sent to Newport News, probably to co-operate with the prisoners. Any attempt now must fail, unless, indeed, there should be a large number of Union sympathizers in the city to assist them.

Several weeks ago it was predicted in the Northern papers that Richmond would be taken in some mysterious manner, and that there was a plan for the prisoners of war to seize it by a coup de main, may be probable. But the scheme was impracticable. What may be the condition of the city, and the action of the people a few weeks hence, if relief be not afforded by the government, I am afraid to conjecture. The croakers say five millions of “greenbacks,” and cargoes of provisions, might be more effectual [92] in expelling the Confederate Government and restoring that of the United States than all of Meade's army. And this, too, they allege, when there is abundance in the country. Many seem to place no value on the only money we have in circulation. The grasping farmers refuse to get out their grain, saying they have as much Confederate money as they want, and the government seems determined to permit the perishable tithes to perish rather than allow the famishing people to consume them. Surely, say the croakers, such a policy cannot achieve independence. No, it must be speedily changed, or else worse calamities await us than any we have experienced.

Old Gen. Duff Green, after making many fortunes and losing them, it seems, is to die poor at last, and he is now nearly eighty years old. Last year he made a large contract to furnish the government with iron, his works being in Tennessee, whence he has been driven by the enemy. And now he says the depreciation of the money will make the cost of producing the iron twice as much as he will get for it. And worse, he has bought a large lot of sugar which would have realized a large profit, but the commissary agent has impressed it, and will not pay him cost for it. All he can do is to get a small portion of it back for the consumption of his employees, provided he returns to Tennessee and fulfills his iron contract.

November 8

At this late day the Secretary of War is informed by Col. Gorgas that, in consequence of the enemy's possessing the coal mines in Tennessee, he shall not be able to supply orders for heavy shot, etc., for the defense of Charleston harbor, if the fleet of monitors were to pass the forts. Why, this has been daily looked for any time during the last three months! And information from the Western army indicates that only about one shell in twenty, furnished by Col. Gorgas, will explode. This reminds me of the doubts expressed by Gen. Cobb of the fitness of Col. G. for his position.

This is a bleak November day, after some days of pleasant autumnal sunshine. I still gather a few tomatoes from the little garden; a bushel of green ones on the vines'will never mature. The young turnips look well, and I hope there may be abundance of salad in the spring.

Yesterday two tons of Northern anthracite coal in this city sold [93] for $500 per ton, to a church! We hope for relief when Congress meets, a month hence; but what can Congress do? The money is hopelessly depreciated. Even victories and peace could not restore it to par.

November 9

The President returned Saturday evening, looking pretty well. Yesterday, Sunday, he was under the necestity of reading a dispatch from Gen. Lee, announcing the surprise and capture of two brigades on the Rappahannock!

This is a dark and gloomy day, spitting snow; while not a few are despondent from the recent disasters to our arms. It is supposed that we lost 3000 or 4000 men on Saturday. A day or two before, Gen. Echols had his brigade cut up at Lewisburg! Per contra, Brig.-Gen. W. E. Jones captured, on Saturday, at Rogerville, 850 prisoners, 4 pieces of artillery, 2 stands of colors, 60 wagons, and 1000 animals. Our loss, 2 killed and 8 wounded. So reads a dispatch from “R. Ransom, Major-Gen.

There is some excitement in the city now, perhaps more than at any former period. The disaster to the Old guard has put in the mouths of the croakers the famous words of Napoleon at Waterloo: “Sauve qui peut.” We have out our last reserves, and the enemy still advances. They are advancing on North Carolina, and there was some danger of the President being intercepted at Weldon. Thousands believe that Gen. Bragg is about to retire from before Grant's army at Chattanooga. And to-day bread is selling at 50 cents per loaf-small loaf!

And now the Assistant Secretary of War, Judge Campbell, is “allowing” men to pass to Maryland, through our lines. First, is a Rev. Mr. A. S. Sloat, a chaplain in the army. He was degraded for some offense by his own church, and his wife and children having preceded him (all being Northern born), as stated in his letter on file, he is allowed a passport to follow them. Recommended by Mr. S. R. Tucker. Second, Mr. J. L. White and Mr. Forrester are “allowed” passports to go to Maryland for ordnance stores. Recommended by Col. Gorgas. Third and lastly, “Tom wash. Smith” is “allowed,” by the Assistant Secretary, to take fifteen boxes of tobacco to Maryland, and promises to bring back “medical stores.” Recommended by B. G. Williams, one of Gen. Winder's detectives, and by Capt. Winder, one of the general's sons. They bring in stores, when they return, in saddle-bags, while whole cargoes are landed at Wilmington!


November 10

It is supposed our loss in the surprise on Saturday did not exceed 1500, killed, wounded, and taken. It is thought that a battle will occur immediately, if it be not already in progress.

There is no news of moment from any quarter, except the loss of our steamer Cornubia, taken by the blockaders at Wilmington. She was laden with government stores. For months nearly all ships with arms or ammunition have been taken, while those having merchandise on board get in safely. These bribe their way through!

Col. Gorgas gave notice to-day that our supply of saltpeter will be exhausted in January, unless we can import a large quantity.

Another blue day!

November 11

No news. I saw, to-day, Gen. Lee's letter of the 7th instant, simply announcing the capture of Hoke's and Haye's brigades. They were on the north side of the river, guarding the pont de tete. There is no excuse, no palliation. He said it was likely Meade's entire army would cross. This had been sent by the Secretary to the President, who indorsed upon it as follows: “If it be possible to reinforce, it should be done promptly. Can any militia or local defense men be made available?-J. D.”

Gen. Whiting writes that he has refused to permit Mr. Crenshaw's correspondence with Collie & Co. to pass uninspected, from a knowledge of the nature of previous correspondence seen by him.

The Northern papers state that Mr. Seward has authorized them to publish the fact that the French Government has seized the Confederate rams building in the ports of France.

I have written Custis Lee, the President's aid, that but one alternative now remains: for the President, or some one else, to assume all power, temporarily, and crush the speculators. This I think is the only chance of independence. I may be mistakenbut we shall see.

Capt. Warner, who feeds the 13,000 prisoners here, when he has the means of doing so, says Col. Northrop, the Commissary, does not respond to his requisitions for meat. He fears the prisoners will take or destroy the city, and talks of sending his family out of it. [95]

I condemned the reign of martial law in this city, in 1862, as it was not then necessary, and because its execution was intrusted to improper and obnoxious men. But now I am inclined to think it necessary not only here, but everywhere in the Confederacy. Many farmers refuse to get out their grain, or to sell their meat, because they say they have enough Confederate money! money for the redemption of which their last negro and last acre are responsible. So, if they be permitted to maintain this position, neither the army nor the non-producing class of the population can be subsisted; and, of course, all classes must be involved in a common ruin. A Dictator might prevent the people from destroying themselves, and it seems that nothing short of extreme measures can prevent it. But, again, suppose the Federal Government were to propose a sweeping amnesty, and exemption from confiscation to all who should subscribe to a reconstruction of the Union-and this, too, at a time of suffering and despondencyand so large a body were to embrace the terms as to render a prolongation of the war impracticable? What would the money the farmers now possess be worth? And what would become of the slaves, especially in Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri?

November 12

No accounts of any fighting, but plenty of battles looked for.

A. A. Little writes to the Secretary of War from Fredericksburg, that the attempt to remove the iron from the Aquia Railroad by the government having failed, now is the time for private enterprise to effect it. If the Secretary “will say the word,” it can be done. He says the iron is worth “millions, its weight in gold!” Will Mr. Seddon let it be saved? Yes, indeed.

Mr. Heyliger, agent at Nassau, writes on the 3d instant (just a week ago), that he is shipping bacon by every steamer (three or four per week), leather, percussion caps, and a large amount of /quartermaster's stores. But the supply of lead and saltpeter is exhausted, and he hopes the agents in Europe will soon send more. About one in every four steamers is captured by the enemy. We can afford that.

The President sent over to-day, for the perusal of the Secretary of War, a long letter from Gen. Howell Cobb, dated at Atlanta, on the 7th instant. He had just returned from a visit to Bragg's army, and reports that there is a better Teeling among the officers [96] for Gen. Bragg, who is regaining their confidence. However, he says it is to be wished that more cordiality subsisted between Generals Bragg and--. , his — in command. He thinks Generals B-- and C — might be relieved without detriment to the service, if they cannot be reconciled to Bragg. He hints at some important movement, and suggests co-operation from Virginia by a demonstration in East Tennessee.

It is generally believed that France has followed the example of England, by seizing our rams. Thus the whole world seems combined against us. And Mr. Seward has made a speech, breathing fire and destruction unless we submit to Lincoln as our President. He says he was fairly elected President for four years of the whole United States, and there can be no peace until he is President of all the States, to which he is justly entitled. A war for the President!

November 13

No news of battles yet. But we have a rumor of the burning of the fine government steamer R. E. Lee, chased by the blockaders. That makes two this week.

Gen. Lee dispatched the President, yesterday, as follows:

Orange C. H., Nov. 12th.-For the last five days we have only received three pounds of corn per horse, from Richmond, per day. We depend oin Richmond for corn. At this rate, the horses will die, and cannot do hard work. The enemy is very active, and we must be prepared for hard work any day.-R. E. Lee.

On the back of which the President indorsed: “Have the forage sent up in preference to anything else. The necessity is so absolute as to call for every possible exertion.-Jefferson Davis.”

Perhaps this may rouse the department. Horses starving in the midst of corn-fields ready for gathering! Alas, what mismanagement!

I cut the following from the Dispatch:

flour.-We heard yesterday of sales of flour at $110 per barrel. We do not, however, give this as the standard price; for, if the article was in market, we believe that even a higher figure would be reached. A few days since a load of flour was sent to an auction-house on Cary Street to be sold at auction. The proprietors of the house very properly declined to receive it, refusing to dispose of breadstuffs under the hammer, where men of money, and destitute of souls, would have an opportunity of buying it up and withdrawing it from market. [97]

corn-meal.-This article is bringing from $18 to $20 per bushel, and scarce at that.

country produce and vegetables.-We give the following as the wholesale rates: Bacon, hoground, $2.75 to $3; lard, $2.25 to $2.30; butter, $3.75 to $4; eggs, $2 to $2.25; Irish potatoes, $7.50 to $8; sweet potatoes, $10.50 to $12; tallow candles, $4 per pound; salt, 45 cents per pound.

Groceries.-Coffee-wholesale, $9 per pound, retail, $10; sugar, $2.85 to $3.25; sorghum molasses, wholesale, $10, and $14 to $15 at retail; rice, 30 to 35 cents.

liquors.-Whisky, $55 to $70 per gallon, according to quality, apple brandy, $50; high proof rum, $50; French brandy, $80 to $100.

In the city markets fresh meats are worth $1.25 to $1.50 for beef and mutton, and $2 for pork; chickens, $6 to $8 per pair; ducks, $7 to $8 per pair; butter, $4.50 to $5 per pound; sweet potatoes, $2.50 per half peck; Irish potatoes, $2 per half peck.

leather.-Sole leather, $6.50 to $7.50 per pound; upper leather, $7.50 to $8; harness leather, $5.50 to $6; hides are quoted at $2.50 to $2.75 for dry, and $1.50 for salted green; tanners' oil, $4 to $5 per gallon.

tobacco.-Common article, not sound, $1 to $1.25; medium, pounds, dark, $1.30 to $2; good medium bright, $2 to $2.75; fine bright, $2 to $4; sweet 5's and 10's scarce and in demand, with an advance.

My friend Capt. Jackson Warner sent me, to-day, two bushels of meal at government price, $5 per bushel. The price in market is $20. Also nine pounds of good beef, and a shank — for which he charged nothing, it being part of a present to him from a butcher.

November 14

Some skirmishing between Chattanooga and Knoxville. From prisoners we learn that the enemy at both those places are on half rations, and that Grant intends to attack Bragg soon at Lookout Mountain. Either Grant or Bragg must retire, as the present relative positions cannot long be held.

Mr. A. Moseley, formerly editor of the Whig, writes, in response to a letter from the Secretary of War, that he deems our affairs in a rather critical condition. He is perfectly willing to resume his labor, but can see no good to be effected by him. He thinks, however, [98] that the best solution for the financial question would be to cancel the indebtedness of the government to all except foreigners, and call it ($800,000,000) a contribution to the wars-and the sacrifices would be pretty equally distributed. He suggests the formation of an army, quietly, this winter, to invade Pennsylvania next spring, leaving Lee still with his army on this side of the Potomac. Nevertheless, he advises that no time should be lost in securing foreign aid, while we are still able to offer some equivalents, and before the enemy gets us more in his power. Rather submit to terms with France and England, or with either, than submission to the United States. Such are the opinions of a sagacious and experienced editor.

Another letter from Brig.-Gen. Meredith, Fortress Monroe, was received to-day, with a report of an agent on the condition of the prisoners at Fort Delaware. By this report it appears our men get meat three times a day-coffee, tea, molasses, chicken soup, fried mush, etc. But it is not stated how much they get. The agent says they confess themselves satisfied. Clothing, it would appear, is also issued them, and they have comfortable sleeping beds, etc. He says several of our surgeons propose taking the oath of allegiance, first resigning, provided they are permitted to visit their families. Gen. M. asks for a similar report of the rations, etc. served the Federal prisoners here, with an avowed purpose of retaliation, provided the accounts of their condition be true. I know not what response will be made; but our surgeon-general recommends an inspection and report. They are getting sweet potatoes now, and generally they get bread and beef daily, when our Commissary-General Northrop has them. But sometimes they have little or no meat for a day or so at a time-and occasionally they have bread only once a day. It is difficult to feed them, and I hope they will be exchanged soon. But Northrop says our own soldiers must soon learn to do without meat; and but few of us have little prospect of getting. enough to eat this winter. My family had a fine dinner today-the only one for months. As for clothes, we are as shabby as Italian lazzaronis — with no prospect whatever of replenished wardrobe, unless some European power will come and take us, as the French have done Mexico.

November 15

After a fine rain all night, it cleared away [99] beautifully this morning, cool, but not unseasonable. There is no news of importance. The Governor of Georgia recommends, in his message, that the Legislature instruct their representatives in Congress to vote for a repeal of the law allowing substitutes, and also to put the enrolling officers in the ranks, leaving the States to send conscripts to the army. The Georgia Legislature have passed a resolution, unanimously, asking the Secretary of War to revoke the appointments of all impressing agents in that State, and appoint none but civilians and citizens. I hope the Secretary will act upon this hint. But will he?

The papers contain the following:

Arrived in Richmond.-Mrs. Todd, of Kentucky, the mother of Mrs. Lincoln, arrived in this city on the steamer Schultz, Thursday night, having come to City Point on a flag of truce boat. She goes South to visit her daughter, Mrs. Helm, wife of Surgeon-General Helm, who fell at Chickamauga. Mrs. Todd is about to take up her residence in the South, all her daughters being here, except the wife of Lincoln, who is in Washington, and Mrs. Kellogg, who is at present in Paris.

To the poor.-C. Baumhard, 259 Main Street, between Seventh and Eighth, has received a large quantity of freshlyground corn-meal, which he will sell to poor families at the following rates: one bushel, $16; half bushel, $8; one peck, $4; half peck, $2.

November 16

Governor Brown, Georgia, writes the Secretary that he is opposed to impressments, and that the government should pay the market price — whatever that is. And the Rhett politicians of South Carolina are opposed to raising funds to pay with, by taxing land and negroes. So indicates the Mercury.

We have news to-day of the crossing of the Rapidan River by Meade's army. A battle, immediately, seems inevitable.

November 17

A cold, dark day. No news. It was a mistake about the enemy crossing the Rapidan-only one brigade (cavalry) came over, and it was beaten back without delay.

Vice-President Stephens writes a long letter to the Secretary, opposing the routine policy of furloughs, and extension of furloughs; suggesting that in each district some-one should have authority to grant them. He says many thousands have died by [100] being hastened back to the army uncured of their wounds, etc.-preferring death to being advertised as deserters.

Captain Warner sent me a bag of sweet potatoes to-day, received from North Carolina. We had an excellent dinner.

November 18

We have no news whatever, except some damage reported at Charleston, done to two monitors yesterday. The bombardment has assumed no new phase.

A letter from Gen. J. E. Johnston, Meridian, Miss., indicates that the Secretary has been writing him and saying that he was responsible for the outrages of the impressing agents in his department. Gen. J. disclaims the responsibility, inasmuch as the agents referred to act under orders from the Commissary-General or Secretary of War.

November 19

Miss Harriet H. Fort, of Baltimore, has arrived via Accomac and Northampton Counties, with a complete drawing of all the defenses of Baltimore.

The Medical Purveyor's Guards have petitioned the Secretary for higher pay. They get now $1500 per annum, and say the city watchmen get $2300.

Gens. Banks and Taylor in the West are corresponding and wrangling about the exchange of prisoners — and the cartel is to be abrogated, probably.

The Governor of Mississippi (Clark) telegraphs the President that the Legislature (in session) is indignant at the military authorities for impressing slaves. The President telegraphs back that the order was to prevent them falling into the lines of the enemy, and none others were to be disturbed.

November 20

We have reports of some successes to-day. Gen. Hampton, it appears, surprised and captured several companies of the enemy's cavalry, a day or two since, near Culpepper Court House. And Gen. Wheeler has captured several hundred of the enemy in East Tennessee, driving the rest into the fortifications of Knoxville. Gen. Longstreet, at last accounts, was near Knoxville with the infantry. We shall not be long kept in suspense --as Longstreet will not delay his action; and Burnside may find himself in a “predicament.”

A private soldier writes the Secretary to-day that his mother is in danger of starving — as she failed to get flour in Richmond, at $100 per barrel. He says if the government has no remedy for [101] this, he and his comrades will throw down their arms and fly to some other country with their families, where a subsistence may be obtained.

Every night robberies of poultry, salt meats, and even of cows and hogs are occurring. Many are desperate.

November 21

We have further reports from the West, confirming the success of Longstreet. It is said he has taken 2200 prisoners, and is probably at Knoxville.

The President left the city this morning for Orange Court House, on a visit to Gen. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia.

We are a shabby-looking people now-gaunt, and many in rags. But there is food enough, and cloth enough, if we had a Roman Dictator to order an equitable distribution.

The Secretary of War is destined to have an uncomfortable time. After assuring the Legislature and the people that provisions in transitu would not be impressed, it is ascertained that the agents of the Commissary-General are impressing such supplies, and the Secretary is reluctant to interfere, the Commissary-General being understood to have the support of the President.

A committee of the Grand Jury yesterday submitted a paper to the President, on the subject of provisions-indicating the proximity of famine, and deprecating impressments. The President sent it to the Secretary, saying Mr. Seddon would no doubt take measures to keep the people of Richmond from starving; and directing the Secretary to “confer” with him. But to-day he is off to the army, and perhaps some may starve before any relief can be afforded.

A genteel suit of clothes cannot be had now for less than $700. A pair of boots, $200-if good. I saw to-day, suspended from a window, an opossum dressed for cooking, with a card in its mouth, marked “price, $10.” It weighed about four pounds. I luxuriated on parsnips to-day, from my own little garden.

A dollar in gold sold for $18 Confederate money, to-day. Our paper is constantly depreciating; and I think it is past redemption, unless we adopt Mr. Moseley's plan, and cause some six or eight hundred millions to be canceled, and fix a maximum price for all commodities necessary for the support of life. Congress will never agree upon any measure of relief. But if the paper [102] money be repudiated, nevertheless we shall have our independence, unless the Southern people should become mad, divided among themselves. Subjugation of a united people, such as ours, occupying such a vast extent of territory, is impossible. The tenure of its occupation by an invading army would always be uncertain, and a million would be required to hold it.

A hard rain commenced falling this evening, and continued in the night. This, I suppose, will put an end to operations in Virginia, and we shall have another respite, and hold Richmond at least another winter. But such weather must cause severe suffering among the prisoners on Belle Isle, where there are not tents enough for so large a body of men. Their government may, however, now consent to an exchange. Day before yesterday some 40,000 rations were sent them by the United States flagboat-which will suffice for three days, by which time I hope many will be taken away. Our Commissary-General Northrop has but little meat and bread for them, or for our own soldiers in the field. It must be confessed they have but small fare, and, indeed, all of us who have not been “picking and stealing,” fare badly. Yet we have quite as good health, and much better appetites than when we had sumptuous living.

November 22

We have nothing additional to-day, except another attempt to take Fort Sumter by assault, which was discovered before the crews of the boats landed, and of course it was defeated. Since then some shells have been thrown into the city of Charleston, doing little damage.

This morning was bright and warm, the clouds having passed away in the night.

November 23

Nothing of moment from the armies, although great events are anticipated soon.

On Saturday, Gen. Winder's or Major Griswold's head of the passport office, Lieut. Kirk, was arrested on the charge of selling passports at $100 per man to a Mr. Wolf and a Mr. Head, who transported passengers to the Potomac. W. and H. were in prison, and made the charge or confession. This passport business has been our bane ever since Gen. Winder got control of it under Mr. Benjamin. Lieut. K. is from Louisiana, but originally from New York.

Mr. Benjamin sent over to-day extracts from dispatches from [103] Mr. Slidell and a Mr. Hotze, agent, showing how the government is swindled in Europe by the purchasing agents of the bureaus here. One, named Chiles, in the purchase of $650,000, Mr. Slidell says, was to realize $300,000 profit! And Mr. Hotze (who is he?) says the character and credit of the government are ruined abroad by its own agents! Mr. Secretary Seddon will soon see into this matter.

Capt. Warner says the Federal prisoners here have had no meat for three days, Commissary-General Northrop having none, probably, to issue. One hundred tons rations, however, came up for them yesterday on the flag boat.

Exchange on London sells at $1 for $18.50, and gold brings about the same. Our paper money, I fear, has sunk beyond redemption. We have lostfive steamers lately; and it is likely the port of Wilmington (our last one) will be hermetically sealed. Then we shall soon be destitute of ammunition, unless we retake the mineral country from the enemy.

Mr. Memminger has sent a press to the trans-Mississippi country, to issue paper money there.

Mr. Slidell writes that all our shipments to and from Matamoras ought to be under the French flag. There may be something in this.

The President was expected back to-day; and perhaps came in the evening. He is about to write his message to Congress, which assembles early in December, and perhaps he desired to consult Gen. Lee.

Everywhere the people are clamorous against the sweeping impressments of crops, horses, etc. And at the same time we have accounts of corn, and hay, and potatoes rotting at various depots! Such is the management of the bureaus.

The clerks are in great excitement, having learned that a proposition will be brought forward to put all men under forty-five years of age in the army. It will be hard to carry it; for the heads of departments generally have nephews, cousins, and pets in office, young and rich, who care not so much for the salaries (though they get the best) as for exemption from service in the field. And the editors will oppose it, as they are mostly of conscript age. And the youthful members of Congress could not escape odium if they exempted themselves, unless disabled by wounds.


November 24

The President is expected back to-day. A letter from Gen. Lee indicates that the Commissary-General has been suggesting that he (the general) should impress supplies for his army. This the general deprecates, and suggests that if supplies cannot be purchased, they should be impressed by the agents of the Commissary Department; and that the burden should be laid on the farmers equally, in all the States. Gen. Lee does not covet the odium. But it is plain, now, that the extortionate farmers, who were willing to see us non-producing people starve, unless we paid them ten prices for their surplus products, will be likely to get only the comparatively low schedule price fixed by the government. Instead of $20 per bushel for potatoes, they will receive only $2 or $3. This will be a good enough maximum law. But the government must sell to us at cost, or I know not what may be the consequences.

November 25

We have an unintelligible dispatch from Gen. Bragg, saying he had, yesterday, a prolonged contest with the enemy for the possession of Lookout Mountain, during which one of his divisions suffered severely, and that the manoeuvring of the hostile army was for position. This was the purport, and the language, as well as I remember. There is no indication of the probable result — no intimation whether the position was gained. But the belief is general that Bragg will retreat, and that the enemy may, if he will, penetrate the heart of the South! To us it seems as if Bragg has been in a fog ever since the battle of the 20th of September. He refused to permit-- to move on the enemy's left for nearly two months, and finally consented to it when the enemy had been reinforced by 30,000 from Meade, and by Sherman's army from Memphis, of 20,000, just when he could not spare a large detachment! In other words, lying inert before a defeated army, when concentrated; and dispersing his forces when the enemy was reinforced and concentrated! If disaster ensues, the government will suffer the terrible consequences, for it assumed the responsibility of retaining him in command when the whole country (as the press says) demanded his removal.

From letters received the last few days at the department, I perceive that the agents of the government are impressing everywhere --horses, wagons, hogs, cattle, grain, potatoes, etc. etc.-leaving the farmers only enough for their own subsistence. This will insure [105] subsistence for the army, and I hope it will be a death-blow to speculation, as government pays less than one-fourth the prices demanded in market. Let the government next sell to nonpro-ducers, and every man of fighting age will repair to the field, and perhaps the invader may be driven back.

We have the speech of the French Emperor, which gives us no encouragement, but foreshadows war with Russia, and perhaps a general war in Europe.

We have rain again. This may drive the armies in Virginia into winter quarters, as the roads will be impracticable for artillery.

The next battle will be terrific; too many men on either side will be easily taken prisoners, as exchanges have ceased.

Dr. Powell brought us a bushel of meal to-day, and some persimmons.

November 26

The weather is clear and bright again; but, oh, how dark and somber the faces of the croakers!

The following dispatches have been received:

[battle at Lookout Mountain.]
(official dispatch.)

mission ridge, Nov. 24th, 1868.
To Gen. S. Cooper.
We have had a prolonged struggle for Lookout Mountain today, and sustained considerable loss in one division. Elsewhere the enemy has only manoeuvred for position.

[Signed] Braxton Bragg, General. The Latest-Official.

Chickamauga, Nov. 25th, 1868.
Gen. S. Cooper, A. And I. General.
After several unsuccessful assaults on our lines to-day, the enemy carried the left center about four o'clock. The whole left soon gave way in considerable disorder. The right maintained its ground, repelling every assault. I am withdrawing all to this point.

[Signed] Braxton Bragg. Official-John Withers, A. A. G.


All agree in the conviction that the enemy has been defeatedperhaps badly beaten.

Hon. H. S. Foote, just arrived from the vicinity of the field, says Bragg has only some 20,000 or 30,000 men, while Grant has 90,000, and he infers that incalculable disaster will ensue.

And Meade is steadily advancing. Gen. Pickett, at Petersburg, has been ordered to send some of his troops north of Richmond, for the defense of the railroad in Hanover County.

Miss Stevenson, sister of Major-Gen. Stevenson, has written the President for employment in one of the departments. He referred it to Mr. Memminger, who indorsed on it, coldly, as usual, there were no vacancies, and a hundred applications. The President sent it to the Secretary of War. He will be more polite.

Another letter to-day from Mr. Memminger, requesting that a company, commanded by a son of his friend, Trenholm, of Charleston, be stationed at Ashville, where his family is staying.

Lieut.-Gen. D. H. Hill has applied for a copy of Gen. Bragg's letter asking his removal from his army. The President sends a copy to the Secretary, who will probably comply, and there may be a personal affair, for Bragg's strictures on Hill as a general were pretty severe.

There are rumors of a break in the cabinet, a majority, it is said, having been in favor of Bragg's removal.

Bragg's disaster so shocked my son Custis that, at dinner, when asked for rice, he poured water into his sister's plate, the pitcher being near.

November 27

Dark and gloomy. At 10 o'clock Gov. Vance, of North Carolina, telegraphed the Secretary of War, asking if anything additional had been heard from Bragg. The Secretary straightened in his chair, and answered that he knew nothing but what was published in the papers.

At 1 o'clock P. M. a dispatch was received from Bragg, dated at Ringgold, Ga., some thirty miles from the battle-field of the day before. Here, however, it is thought he will make a stand. But if he could not hold his mountain position, what can he do in the plain? We know not yet what proportion of his army, guns, and stores he got away-but he must have retreated rapidly.

Meade is advancing, and another battle seems imminent.

To-day a countryman brought a game-cock into the department. [107] Upon being asked what he intended to do with it, he said it was his purpose to send its left wing to Bragg!

November 28

It rained last night. To-day there is an expectation of a battle near Chancellorville, the battle-ground of June last. Meade is certainly advancing, and Pickett's division, on the south side of the James River, at Chaffin's Farm, is ordered to march toward Lee, guarding the railroad, and the local defense men are ordered out.

My son Custis goes with his battalion to Chaffin's Farm in the morning.

There are rumors of six or eight thousand of the enemy marching up the line of the James River against Petersburg, etc. We have also a rumor of Gen. Rosser having captured the wagon train of two divisions of the enemy in Culpepper County.

From Bragg not a word since his dispatch from Ringgold, Ga., and nothing from Longstreet.

Gen. Whiting writes that a large number of Jews and others with gold, having put in substitutes, and made their fortunes, are applying for passage out of the country. They fear their substitutes will no longer keep them out of the army. Gen. W. says they have passports from Richmond, and that the spy who published in the North an account of the defenses of Wilmington, had a passport from Richmond. The government will never realize the injury of the loose passport system until it is ruined.

Never have I known such confusion. On the 26th inst. the Secretary ordered Gen. Pickett, whose headquarters were at Petersburg, to send a portion of his division to Hanover Junction, it being apprehended that a raid might be made in Lee's rear. Gen. P. telegraphs that the French steam frigate was coming up the river (what for?), and that two Federal regiments and three companies of cavalry menaced our lines on the south side of the river. The Secretary sent this to Gen. Elzey, on this side of the river, asking if his pickets and scouts could not get information of the movements of the enemy. To-day Gen. E. sends back the paper, saying his scouts could not cross the river and get within the enemy's lines. So the government is in a fog-and if the enemy knew it, and it may, the whole government might be taken before any dispositions for defense could be made. Incompetency in Richmond will some day lose it. [108]

Three o'clock P. M. The weather is clear, and Lee and Meade may fight, and it may be a decisive battle.

I met Mr. Foote, of Tennessee, to-day. He asked me if I did not think our affairs were in a desperate condition. I replied that I did not know that they were not, and that when one in my position did not know, they must be bad enough.

November 29

The clerks were marched out into the muddy street this morning in a cold rain, and stood there for hours, while the officers were making up their minds when to start for the boat to convey them to Drewry's Bluff, whence they are to march to Chaffin's Farm, provided the officers don't change their minds.

There are reports of a repulse of the enemy by Lee yesterday, and also of a victory by Bragg, but they are not traceable to authentic sources.

At 3 o'clock P. M. it is cold, but has ceased to rain.

The want of men is our greatest want, and I think it probable Congress will repeal the Substitute Law, and perhaps the Exemption Act. Something must be done to put more men in the ranks, or all will be lost. The rich have contrived to get out, or to keep out, and there are not poor men enough to win our independence. All, with very few exceptions, between the ages of 18 and 45, must fight for freedom, else we may not win it.

November 30

It is clear and cold. The boat in which my son and the battalion of clerks went down the river yesterday, sunk, from being overloaded, just as it got to the landing. It is said some of the boys had to wade ashore; but none were lostthank God!

This morning early, Lee and Meade confronted each other in battle array, and no one doubts a battle is in progress to-day this side of the Rapidan. Lee is outnumbered some two to one, but Meade has a swollen river in his rear. It is an awful moment.

I took my remaining son to the office this morning, to aid me in Custis's absence.

At night. Nothing has yet been heard from the battle, if indeed it occurred to-day. It is said that Meade is ordered to fight. They know at Washington it is too late in the season, in the event of Meade's defeat, for Lee to menace that city, or to invade Pennsylvania. It is a desperate effort to crush the “rebellion,” as they suppose, by advancing all their armies. And indeed it seems that [109] Meade is quite as near to Richmond as Lee; for he seems to be below the latter on the Rappahannock, with his back to Fredericksburg, and Lee's face toward it. If Meade should gain the victory, he might possibly cut off Lee from this city. Nevertheless, these positions are the result of Lee's manoeuvres, and it is to be supposed he understands his business. He has no fear of Meade's advance in this direction with his communications cut behind him.

Captain Warner has sold me two pieces of bacon again, out of his own smoke-house, at $1 per pound, while it is selling in the market at $3.50 per pound-and he has given us another bushel of sweet potatoes. Had it not been for this kind friend, my little revenue would not have sufficed for subsistence.

While the soldiers are famishing for food, what is called “red tapeism” prevents the consummation of contracts to supply them. Captains Montgomery and Leathers, old steamboat captains, with ample capital, and owning the only steamboats in certain waters of Florida, have just proposed to furnish the government with a million pounds salt beef, on the main line of railroad in Florida, at a reduced price. The cattle are exposed to incursions of the enemy, and have to be transported by steamboats. They endeavored to make a proposal directly to the Secretary, which was so expressed in the communication I prepared for them — as they were unwilling to treat with Col. Northrop, the CommissaryGen-eral, who has become extremely obnoxious. But it was intercepted, and referred to the Commissary-General. Learning this, the captains abandoned their purpose and left the city — the Secretary never having seen their proposal. Our soldiers will not get the beef, and probably the enemy will.

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