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XXXV. February, 1864

February 1

Hazy, misty weather. Gen. Lovell (who lost New Orleans) has applied for a command in the West, and Gen. Johnston approves it strongly. He designs dividing his army into three corps, giving one (3d division) to Gen. Hardee; one (2d division) to Gen. Hindman; and one (1st division) to Lovell. But the Secretary of War (wide awake) indorses a disapproval, saying, in his opinion, it would be injudicious to place a corps under the command of Gen. Lovell, and it would not give confidence to the army. This being sent to the President, came back indorsed, “opinion concurred in.-J. D.”

Gen. Pillow has applied for the command of two brigades for operations between Gen. Johnston's and Gen. Polk's armies, protecting the flanks of both, and guarding the coal mines, iron works, etc. in Middle Alabama. This is strongly approved by Generals Johnston, Polk, Gov. Watts & Co. But the President has not yet decided the matter.

The Commissary-General is appointing many ladies to clerkships. Old men, disabled soldiers, and ladies are to be relied on for clerical duty, nearly all others to take the field. But every ingenuity is resorted to by those having in substitutes to evade military service.

There is a great pressure of foreigners (mostly Irish) for passes to leave the country.

February 2

So lax has become Gen. Winder's rule, or deficient, or worse, the vigilance of his detectives,--the rogues and cut-throats,--one of them keeps a mistress in a house the rent of [141] which is more than his salary, that five Jews, the other day, cleared out in a schooner laden with tobacco, professedly for Petersburg, but sailed directly to the enemy. They had with them some $10,000 in gold; and as they absconded to avoid military service in the Confederate States, no doubt they imparted all the information they could to the enemy.

Mr. Benjamin, Secretary of State, asked the Secretary of War to-day to make such arrangements as would supply the State Department with regular files of Northern papers. They sometimes have in them important diplomatic correspondence, and the perusal of this is about all the Secretary of State has to do.

It is rumored that the Hon. Robert Toombs has been arrested in Georgia for treason. I cannot believe it, but I know he is inimical to the President.

The British papers again seem to sympathise with us.

Senator Orr writes to the Secretary that a resolution of the Senate, asking for copies of Gen. Beauregard's orders in 1862 for the fortification of Vicksburg (he was the first to plan the works which made such a glorious defense), and also a resolution calling for a copy of Gen. B.'s charges against Col.--, had not been responded to by the President. He asks that these matters may be brought to the President's attention.

The weather is beautiful and spring-like again, and we may soon have some news both from Tennessee and North Carolina. From the latter I hope we shall get some of the meat endangered by the proximity of the enemy.

February 3

The following dispatch indicates the prestige of success for the year 1864, and it is probable it will be followed by a succession of successes, for the administration at Washington will find, this year, constant antagonisms everywhere, in the North as well as in the South, and in the army there will be opposing parties-Republicans and Democrats. On the part of the South, we have experienced the great agony of 1863, and have become so familiar with horrors that we shall fight with a fearful desperation. But the dispatch:

Glorious news! The whole Yankee force, about 150, are our prisoners, and their gun-boat “Smith Briggs,” destroyed.

No one hurt on our side. Four Yankees killed and two or three wounded. [142]

The prisoners are now at Broad Water. Send down a train for them to-morrow.

We learn that this Yankee force was commissioned to destroy a large factory at Smithfield, in Isle of Wight County. We do not know the size or composition of our command which achieved the results noticed above, but understand that it contained two companies of the Thirty-first North Carolina Regiment.

Congress has not yet finally acted on the Tax bill, nor on the new Conscription bill.

The Secretary of War said to-day that he would not allow the increased pay to any of his civil officers who were young and able to bear arms-and this after urging Congress to increase their compensation. It will be very hard on some who are refugees, having families dependent on them. Others, who board, must be forced into the army (the design), for their expenses per month will be some fifty per cent. more than their income.

The weather is clear but colder.

February 4

Clear and pretty cold. We have news of another brilliant affair at Kinston, N. C., where Gen. Pickett has beaten the enemy, killing and wounding and taking some 500 men, besides capturing another gun-boat Thus the campaign of 1864 opens auspiciously.

And Gen. Early has beaten the foe in Hardy County, Northwest Virginia, capturing, it is said, some 800.

It is supposed that Gen. Pickett will push on to Newbern, and probably capture the town. At all events we shall get large supplies from the tide-water counties of North Carolina. General Lee planned the enterprise, sending some 15,000 men on the expedition.

Yesterday the Senate Committee reported against the House bill modifying the act making all men liable to conscription who have hired substitutes. But they are debating a new exemption bill in the House.

It is true Mr. Toombs was arrested at Savannah, or was ejected from the cars because he would not procure a passport.

To-day Mr. Kean, the young Chief of the Bureau of War, has registered all the clerks, the dates of their appointments, their age, and the number of children they have. He will make such remarks as suits him in each case, and submit the list to the Secretary [143] for his action regarding the increased compensation. Will he intimate that his own services are so indispensable that he had better remain out of the field?

The following “political card” for the Northern Democrats was played yesterday. I think it a good one, if nothing more be said about it here. It will give the Abolitionists trouble in the rear while we assail them in the front.

The following extraordinary resolutions were, yesterday, introduced in the House of Representatives by Mr. Wright of Georgia. The House went into secret session before taking any action upon them.

whereas: The President of the United States, in a late public communication, did declare that no propositions for peace had been made to that government by the Confederate States, when, in truth, such propositions were prevented from being made by the President of the United States, in that he refused to hear, or even to receive, two commissioners, appointed to treat expressly of the preservation of amicable relations between the two governments.

Nevertheless, that the Confederate States may stand justified in the sight of the conservative men of the North of all parties, and that the world may know which of the two governments it is that urges on a war unparalleled for the fierceness of the conflict, and intensifying into a sectional hatred unsurpassed in the annals of mankind. Therefore, Resolved, That the Confederate States invite the United States, through their government at Washington, to meet them by representatives equal to their representatives and senators in their respective Congress at--, on the — day of — next, to consider, First: Whether they cannot agree upon the recognition of the Confederate States of America.

Second: In the event of such recognition, whether they cannot agree upon the formation of a new government, founded upon the equality and sovereignty of the States; but if this cannot be done, to consider Third: Whether they cannot agree upon treaties, offensive, defensive, and commercial.

Resolved, In the event of the passage of these resolutions, the President be requested to communicate the same to the Government [144] at Washington, in such manner as he shall deem most in accordance with the usages of nations; and, in the event of their acceptance by that government, he do issue his proclamation of election of delegates, under such regulations as he may deem expedient.

Eighteen car loads of coffee went up to the army to-day. I have not tasted coffee or tea for more than a year.

February 5

Bright frosty morning, but warmer and hazy later in the day. From dispatches from North Carolina, it would seem that our generals are taking advantage of the fine roads, and improving the opportunity, while the enemy are considering the plan of the next campaign at Washington.

February 6

Major-Gen. Breckinridge, it is said, is to command in Southwestern Virginia near the Kentucky line, relieving Major-Gen. Sam Jones.

Yesterday the cabinet decided to divide the clerks into three classes. Those under eighteen and over forty-five, to have the increased compensation; those between those ages, who shall be pronounced unable for field service, also to have It; and all others the Secretaries may certify to be necessary, etc. This will cover all their cousins, nephews, and pets, and exclude many young men whose refugee mothers and sisters are dependent on their salaries for subsistence. Such is the unvarying history of public functionaries.

Gen. Pickett, finding Newbern impregnable, has fallen back, getting off his prisoners, etc. But more troops are going to North Carolina.

Sunday, February 7

The tocsin is sounding at 9 A. M. It appears that Gen. Butler is marching up the Peninsula (I have not heard the estimated number of his army) toward Richmond. But, being in the Secretary's room for a moment, I heard him say to Gen. Elzey that the “local defense men” must be relied on to defend Richmond. These men are mainly clerks and employees of the departments, who have just been insulted by the government, being informed that no increased compensation will be allowed them because they are able to bear arms. In other words, they must famish for subsistence, and their families with them, because they happen to be of fighting age, and have been patriotic enough to volunteer for the defense of the government, and have drilled, and paraded, and marched, until they are pronounced good [145] soldiers. Under these circumstances, the Secretary of War says they must be relied upon to defend the government. In my opinion, many of them are not reliable. Why were they appointed contrary to law? Who is to blame but the Secretaries themselves? Ah! but the Secretaries had pets and relatives of fighting age they must provide for; and these, although not dependent on their salaries, will get the increased compensation, and will also be exempted from aiding in the defense of the city-at least such has been the practice heretofore. These things being known to the proscribed local troops (clerks, etc.), I repeat my doubts of their reliability at any critical moment.

We have good news from the Rappahannock. It is said Gen. Rosser yesterday captured several hundred prisoners, 1200 beeves, 350 mules, wagons of stores, etc. etc.

Nevertheless, there is some uneasiness felt in the city, there being nearly 12,000 prisoners here, and all the veteran troops of Gen. Elzey's division are being sent to North Carolina.

February 8

The air is filled with rumors-none reliable.

It is said Gen. Lee is much provoked at the alarm and excite. ment in the city, which thwarted a plan of his to capture the enemy on the Peninsula; and the militia and the Department Battalions were kept yesterday and to-day under arms standing in the cold, the officers blowing their nails, and “waiting orders,” which came not. Perhaps they were looking for the “conspirators;” a new hoax to get “martial law.”

A Union meeting has been held in Greensborough, N. C. An intelligent writer to the department says the burden of the speakers, mostly lawyers, was the terrorism of Gen. Winder and his corps of rogues and cut-throats, Marylanders, whose operations, it seems, have spread into most of the States. Mr. Sloan, the writer, says, however, a vast majority of the people are loyal.

It is said Congress is finally about to authorize martial law.

My cabbages are coming up in my little hot-bed-half barrel.

Gen. Maury writes from Mobile that he cannot be able to obtain any information leading to the belief of an intention on the part of the enemy to attack Mobile. He says it would require 40,000 men, after three months preparation, to take it.

Gov. Brown, of Georgia, says the Confederate States Government has kept bad faith with the Georgia six months men; and [146] hence they cannot be relied on to relieve Gen. Beauregard, etc. (It is said the enemy are about to raise the siege of Charleston.) Gov. B. says the State Guard are already disbanded. He says, moreover, that the government here, if it understood its duty, would not seize and put producers in the field, but would stop details, and order the many thousand young officers everywhere swelling in the cars and hotels, and basking idly in every village, to the ranks. He is disgusted with the policy here. What are we coming to?

Everywhere our troops in the field, whose terms of three years will expire this spring, are re-enlisting for the war. This is an effect produced by President Lincoln's proclamation; that to be permitted to return to the Union, all men must first take an oath to abolish slavery!

February 9

A letter from Gen. Johnston says he received the “confidential instructions” of the President, from the Secretary of War, and succeeded in getting Gen. Cleburn to lay aside his “memorial,” the nature of which is not stated; but I suspect the President was getting alarmed at the disposition of the armies to dictate measures to the government.

Hon. Mr. Johnson, Senator, and Hon. Mr. Bell, Representative from Missouri, called on me to-day, with a voluminous correspondence, and “charges and specifications” against Lieut.-Gen. Holmes, by my nephew, Lieut.-Col. R. H. Musser. They desired me to read the papers and submit my views. I have read them, and shall advise them not to proceed in the matter. Gen. Holmes is rendered unfit, by broken health, for the command of a Western Department, and his conviction at this time would neither benefit the cause nor aid Lieut.-Col. Musser in his aspirations. It is true he had my nephew tried for disobedience of orders; but he was honorably acquitted. Missouri will some day rise like a giant, and deal death and destruction on her oppressors.

Col. Gorgas, Chief of Ordnance, says the enemy have taken more guns from us than we from them-exclusive of siege artillery --but I don't think so.

Our people are becoming more hopeful since we have achieved some successes. The enemy cannot get men again except by dragging them out, unless they should go to war with France — a not improbable event.

February 10

Gen. Lee wrote to the Secretary of War, on [147] the 22d of January, that his army was not fed well enough to fit them for the exertions of the spring campaign; and recommended the discontinuance of the rule of the Commissary-General allowing officers at Richmond, Petersburg, and many other towns, to purchase government meat, etc. etc. for the subsistence of their families, at schedule prices. He says the salaries of these officers ought to be sufficient compensation for their services; that such allowances deprived the officers and soldiers in the field of necessary subsistence, and encouraged able-bodied men to seek such easy positions; it offended the people who paid tithes, to see them consumed by these non-combating colonels, majors, etc., instead of going to feed the army; and it demoralized the officers and soldiers in the field.

This letter was referred to the Commissal'y-General, who, after the usual delay, returned it with a long argument to show that Gen. Lee was in “error,” and that the practice was necessary, etc.

To this the Secretary responded by a peremptory order, restricting the city officers in the item of meat.

Again the Commissary-General sends it back, recommending the suspension of the order until it be seen what Congress will do! Here are twenty days gone, and the Commissary-General has his own way still. He don't hesitate to bully the Secretary and the highest generals in the field. Meantime the Commissary-General's pet officers and clerks are living sumptuously while the soldiers are on hard fare. But, fortunately, Gen. Lee has captured 1200 beeves from the enemy since his letter was written.

And Gen. Cobb writes an encouraging letter from Georgia. He says there is more meat in that State than any one supposed; and men too. Many thousands of recruits can be sent forward, and meat enough to feed them.

The President has issued a stirring address to the army.

The weather is still clear, and the roads are not only good, but dusty-yet it is cold.

They say Gen. Butler, on the Peninsula, has given orders to his troops to respect private property-and not to molest noncombatants.

February 11

Night before last 109 Federal prisoners, all commissioned officers, made their escape from prison-and only three or four have been retaken! [148]

The letter of Mr. Sloan, of North Carolina, only produced a reply from the Secretary that there was not the slightest suspicion against Gen. W., and that the people of North Carolina would not be satisfied with anybody.

Eight thousand men of Johnston's army are without bayonets, and yet Col. Gorgas has abundance.

Governor Milton, of Florida, calls lustily for 5000 men-else he fears all is lost in his State.

To-day bacon is selling for $6 per pound, and all other things in proportion. A negro (for his master) asked me, to-day, $40 for an old, tough turkey gobbler. I passed on very briskly.

We shall soon have martial law, it is thought, which, judiciously administered, might remedy some of the grievous evils we labor under. I shall have no meat for dinner to-morrow.

February 12

It is warm to-day, and cloudy; but there was ice early in the morning. We have recaptured twenty-odd of the escaped prisoners.

A bill has passed Congress placing an embargo on many imported articles; and these articles are rising rapidly in price. Sugar sold to-day at auction in large quantity for $8.00 per pound; rice, 85 cents, etc.

There is a rumor that Gen. Finnegan has captured the enemy in Florida.

Gen. Lee says his army is rapidly re-enlisting for the war.

February 13

Bright, beautiful weather, with frosty nights.

The dispatches I cut from the papers to-day are interesting. Gen. Wise, it appears, has met the enemy at last, and gained a brilliant success-and so has Gen. Finnegan. But the correspondence between the President and Gen. Johnston, last spring and summer, indicates constant dissensions between the Executive and the generals. And the President is under the necessity of defending Northern born generals, while Southern born ones are without trusts, etc.

Interesting from Florida: official dispatch.

Charleston, February 11th, 1864.
To Gen. S. Cooper.
Gen Finnegan has repulsed the enemy's force at Lake Citydetails not known.

(Signed) G. T. Beauregard.


Second dispatch.

Charleston, February 11th-11 A. M.
To Gen. S. Cooper.
Gen. Finnegan's success yesterday was very creditable-the enemy's force being much superior to his own. His reinforcements had not reached here, owing to delays on the road. Losses not yet reported.

(Signed) G. T. Beauregard.

Repulse of the enemy near Charleston: official dispatch.

Charleston, February 12th, 1864.
Gen. Wise gallantly repulsed the enemy last evening on John's Island. He is, to-day, in pursuit. Our loss very trifling. The force of the enemy is about 2000; ours about one-half.

(Signed) G. T. Beauregard.

Every day we recapture some of the escaped Federal officers. So far we have 34 of the 109.

The President sent over a “confidential” sealed letter to the Secretary to-day. I handed it to the Secretary, who was looking pensive..

Dr. McClure, of this city, who has been embalming the dead, and going about the country with his coffins, has been detected taking Jews and others through the lines. Several live men have been found in his coffins.

Again it is reported that the enemy are advancing up the Peninsula in force, and, to-morrow being Sunday, the local troops may be called out. But Gen. Rhodes is near with his division, so no serious danger will be felt, unless more than 20,000 attack us, Even that number would not accomplish much — for the city is fortified strongly.

It is rumored by blockade-runners that gold in the North is selling at from 200 to 500 per cent. premium. If this be true, our day of deliverance is not distant.

February 14

Clear and windy. There is nothing new that I have heard of; but great apprehensions are felt for the fate of Mississippi-said to be penetrated to its center by an overwhelming [150] force of the enemy. It is defended, however, or it is to be, by Gen. (Bishop) Polk.

I hear of more of the escaped Federal officers being brought in to-day.

The correspondence between the President and Gen. Johnston is causing some remark. The whole is not given. Letters were received from Gen. J. to which no allusion is made, which passed through my hands, and I think the fact is noted in this diary. He intimated, I think, that the position assigned him was equivocal and unpleasant in Tennessee. He did not feel inclined to push Bragg out of the field, and the President, it seems, would not relieve Bragg.

Mr. Secretary Seddon, it is now said, is resolved to remain in office.

February 15

We have over forty of the escaped Federal officers. Nothing more from Gens. Wise and Finnegan. The enemy have retreated again on the Peninsula. It is said Meade's army is falling back on Washington.

We have a snow storm to-day.

The President is unfortunate with his servants, as the following from the Dispatch would seem:

Another of President Davis's negroes run away.

On Saturday night last the police were informed of the fact that Cornelius, a negro man in the employ of President Davis, had run away. Having received some clew of his whereabouts, they succeeded in finding him in a few hours after receiving the information of his escape, and lodged him in the upper station house. When caught, there was found on his person snack enough, consisting of cold chicken, ham, preserves, bread, etc., to last him for a long journey, and a large sum of money he had stolen from his master. Some time after being locked up, he called to the keeper of the prison to give him some water, and as that gentleman incautiously opened the door of his cell to wait on him, Cornelius knocked him down and again made his escape. Mr. Peter Everett, the only watchman present, put off after him; but before running many steps stumbled and fell, injuring himself severely.

February 16

A plan of invasion. Gen. Longstreet telegraphs that he has no corn, and cannot stay where he is, unless supplied by the Quartermaster-General. This, the President says, [151] is impossible, for want of transportation. The railroads can do no more than supply grain for the horses of Lee's army-all being brought from Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, etc. But the President says Longstreet might extricate himself from the exigency by marching into Middle Tennessee or Kentucky, or both.

Soon after this document came in, another followed from the Tennessee and Kentucky members of Congress, inclosing an elaborate plan from Col. Dibrell, of the Army of Tennessee, of taking Nashville, and getting forage, etc. in certain counties not yet devastated, in Tennessee and Kentucky, Only 10,000 additional men will be requisite. They are to set out with eight days nations; and if Grant leaves Chattanooga to interfere with the plan, Gen. Johnston is to follow and fall upon his rear, etc. Gen. Longstreet approves the plan — is eager for it, I infer from his dispatch about corn; and the members of Congress are in favor of it. If practicable, it ought to be begun immediately; and I think it will be.

A bright windy day-snow gone.

The Federal General Sherman, with 30,000 men, was, at the last dates, still marching southeast of Jackson, Miss. It is predicted that he is rushing on his destruction. Gen. Polk is retreating before him, while our cavalry is in his rear. He cannot keep open his communications.

February 17

Bright and very cold-freezing all day. Col. Myers has written a letter to the Secretary, in reply to our ordering him to report to the Quartermaster-General, stating that he considers himself the Quartermaster-General--as the Senate has so declared. This being referred to the President, he indorses on it that Col. Myers served long enough in the United StatEs army to know his status and duty, without any such discussion with the Secretary as he seems to invite.

Yesterday Congress consummated several measures of such magnitude as will attract universal attention, and which must have, perhaps, a decisive influence in our struggle for independence.

Gen. Sherman, with 30,000 or 40,000 men, is still advancing deeper into Mississippi, and the Governor of Alabama has ordered the non-combatants to leave Mobile, announcing that it is to be attacked. If Sherman should go on, and succeed, it would be [152] the most brilliant operation of the war. If he goes on and fails, it will be the most disastrous-and his surrender would be, probably, like the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. He ought certainly to be annihilated.

I have advised Senator Johnson to let my nephew's purpose to bring Gen. Holmes before a court-martial lie over, and I have the papers in my drawer. The President will probably promote Col. Clark to a brigadiership, and then my nephew will succeed to the colonelcy; which will be a sufficient rebuke to Gen. H., and a cataplasm for my nephew's wounded honor.

The Examiner has whipped Congress into a modification of the clause putting assistant editors and other employees of newspaper proprietors into the army. They want the press to give them the meed of praise for their bold measures, and to reconcile the people to the tax, militia, and currency acts. This is the year of crises, and I think we'll win.

We are now sending 400 Federal prisoners to Georgia daily; and I hope we shall have more food in the city when they are all gone.

February 18

This was the coldest morning of the winter. There was ice in the wash-basins in our bed chambers, the first we have seen there. I fear my cabbage, beets, etc. now coming up, in my half barrel hot-bed, although in the house, are killed.

The topic of discussion everywhere, now, is the effect likely to be produced by the Currency bill. Mr. Lyons denounces it, and says the people will be starved. I have heard (not seen) that some holders of Treasury notes have burnt them to spite the government! I hope for the best, even if the worst is to come. Some future Shakspeare will depict the times we live in in striking colors. The wars of “The roses” bore no comparison to these campaigns between the rival sections. Everywhere our troops are reenlist-ing for the war; one regiment re-enlisted, the other day, for forty years!

The President has discontinued his Tuesday evening receptions. The Legislature has a bill before it to suppress theatrical amusements during the war. What would Shakspeare think of that?

Sugar has risen to $10 and $12 per pound.

February 19

Cold and clear. Congress adjourned yesterday, having passed the bill suspending the writ of habeas corpus [153] for six months at least. Now the President is clothed with Dicta-Torial powers, to all intents and purposes, so far as the war is concerned.

The first effect of the Currency bill is to inflate prices yet more. But as the volume of Treasury notes flows into the Treasury, we shall see prices fall. And soon there will be a great rush to fund the notes, for fear the holders may be too late, and have to submit to a discount of 331 per cent.

Dispatches from Gen. Polk state that Sherman has paused at Meridian.

February 20

Bright, calm, but still cold-slightly moderating. Roads firm and dusty. Trains of army wagons still go by our house laden with ice.

Brig.-Gen. Wm. Preston has been sent to Mexico, with authority to recognize and treat with the new Emperor Maximilian.

I see, by a letter from Mr. Benjamin, that he is intrusted by the President with the custody of the “secret service” money.

Late papers from the United States show that they have a money panic, and that gold is rising in price. In Lowell not a spindle is turning, and 30,000 operatives are thrown out of employment!

From England we learn that the mass of the population are memorializing government to put an end to the war!

I saw a ham sell to-day for $350; it weighed fifty pounds, at $t per pound.

February 21

Cold, clear, and calm, but moderating.

Mr. Benjamin sent over, this morning, extracts from dispatches received from his commercial agent in London, dated December 26th and January 16th, recommending, what had already been suggested by Mr. McRae, in Paris, a government monopoly in the export of cotton, and in the importation of necessaries, etc.

This measure has already been adopted by Congress, which clearly shows that the President can have any measure passed he pleases; and this is a good one.

So complete is the Executive master of the “situation,” that, in advance of the action of Congress on the Currency bill, the Secretary of the Treasury had prepared plates, etc. for the new issue of notes before the bill passed calling in the old.

Some forty of the members of the Congress just ended failed to [154] be re-elected, and of these a large proportion are already seeking office or exemption.

The fear is now, that, from a plethora of paper money, we shall soon be without a sufficiency for a circulating medium. There are $750,000,000 in circulation; and the tax bills, etc. will call in, it is estimated, $800,000, 0001 Well, I am willing to abide the result. Speculators have had their day; and it will be hoped we shall have a season of low prices, if scarcity of money always reduces prices. There are grave lessons for our edification daily arising in such times as these.

I know my ribs stick out, being covered by skin only, for the want of sufficient food; and this is the case with many thousands of non-producers, while there is enough for all, if it were equally distributed.

The Secretary of War has nothing new from Gen. Polk; and Sherman is supposed to be still at Meridian.

There is war between Gen. Winder and Mr. Ould, agent for exchange of prisoners, about the custody and distribution to prisoners, Federal and Confederate. It appears that parents, etc. writing to our prisoners in the enemy's country, for want of three cent stamps, are in the habit of inclosing five or ten cent pieces, and the perquisites of the office amounts to several hundred dollars per month-and the struggle is really between the clerks in the two offices. A. Mr. Higgens, from Maryland, is in Winder's office, and has got the general to propose to the Secretary that he shall have the exclusive handling of the letters; but Mr. Ould, it appears, detected a letter, of an alleged treasonable character, on its way to the enemy's country, written by this Higgens, and reported it to the Secretary. But as the Secretary was much absorbed, and as Winder will indorse Higgens, it is doubtful how the contest for the perquisites will terminate.

The Secretary was aroused yesterday. The cold weather burst the water-pipe in his office, or over it, and drove him off to the Spottswood Hotel.

February 22

The offices are closed, to-day, in honor of Washington's birth-day. But it is a fast day; meal selling for $40 per bushel. Money will not be so abundant a month hence! All my turnip-greens were killed by the frost. The mercury was, on Friday, 5° above zero; to-day it is 40°. Sowed a small bed [155] of curled Savoy cabbage; and saved the early York in my half barrel hot-bed by bringing it into the parlor, where there was fire.

A letter from Lieut.-Col. R. A. Alston, Decatur, Ga., says Capt.-- , one of Gen. Morgan's secret agents, has just arrived there, after spending several months in the North, and reports that Lincoln cannot recruit his armies by draft, or any other mode, unless they achieve some signal success in the spring campaign. IHe says, moreover, that there is a perfect organization, all over the North, for the purpose of revolution and the expulsion or death of the Abolitionists and free negroes; and of this organization Generals---- , and----are the military leaders. Col. A. asks permission of the Secretary of War to go into Southern Illinois, where, he is confident, if he cannot contribute to precipitate civil war, he can, at least, bring out thousands of men who will fight for the Southern cause.

Dispatches from Gen. Lee show that nearly every regiment in his army has re-enlisted for the war.

The body guard of the President has been dispersed.

Here is the sequel to the history of the Jew whose goods brought such fabulous prices at auction a few weeks ago:

A heavy robbery. A former citizen of Richmond stripped of all his goods and chattels.

A few weeks ago, Mr. Lewis Hyman, who had for some years carried on a successful and profitable trade in jewelry in the City of Richmond, disposed of his effects with a view of quitting the Confederacy and finding a home in some land where his services were less likely to be required in the tented field. Having settled up his business affairs to his own satisfaction, he applied for and obtained a passport from the Assistant Secretary of War, to enable him to pass our lines. He first took the Southern route, hoping to run out from Wilmington to Nassau; but delays occurring, he returned to Richmond. From this point he went to Staunton, determined to make his exit from the country by the Valley route. All went on smoothly enough until he had passed Woodstock, in Shenandoah County. Between that point and Strasburg he was attacked by a band of robbers and stripped of everything he possessed of value, embracing a heavy amount of money and a large and valuable assortment of jewelry. We have heard his loss estimated at from $175,000 to $200,000. His passport was not taken from him, and after the [156] robbery he was allowed to proceed — on his journey-minus the essential means of traveling. It is stated that some of the jewelry taken from him has already made its appearance in the Richmond market.

P. S.--Since writing the above, we have had an interview with Mr. Jacob Ezekiel, who states that the party of Mr. Hyman consisted of Lewis Hyman, wife and child, Madam Son and husband, and H. C. Ezekiel; and the presumption is that if one was robbed, all shared the same fate. Mr. E. thinks that the amount in possession of the whole party would not exceed $100,000. On Friday last two men called upon Mr. Ezekiel, at his place of business in this city, and exhibited a parchment, in Hebrew characters, which they represented was captured on a train on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. This story, Mr. Ezekiel thinks, is incorrect, from the fact that he received a letter from his son, then at Woodstock, dated subsequent to the capture of the train on that road; and he is satisfied that the articles shown him belonged to some of the parties above mentioned.

February 23

Bright and pleasant.

A letter from Gen. Maury indicates now that Mobile is surely to be attacked. He says they may force a passage at Grant's Pass, which is thirty miles distant; and the fleet may pass the forts and reach the lower bay. Gen. M. has 10,000 effective men, and subsistence for 20,000 for six months. He asks 6000 or 7000 more men. He has also food for 4000 horses for six months. But he has only 200 rounds for his cannon, and 250 for his siege guns, and 200 for each musket.

Meal is the only food now attainable, except by the rich. We look for a healthy year, everything being so cleanly consumed that no garbage or filth can accumulate. We are all good scavengers now, and there is no need of buzzards in the streets. Even the pigeons can scarcely find a grain to eat.

Gold brought $30 for $1, Saturday. Nevertheless, we have only good news from the armies, and we have had a victory in Florida.

February 24

Bright and pleasant. Intelligence from the West is of an interesting character. The column of Federal cavalry from Memphis, destined to co-operate with Gen. Sherman, has been intercepted and a junction prevented. And both Sherman [157] and the cavalry are now in full retreat-running out of the country faster than they advanced into it. The desert they made as they traversed the interior of Mississippi they have now to repass, if they can, in the weary retreat, with no supplies but those they brought with them. Many will never get back.

And a dispatch from Beauregard confirms Finnegan's victory in Florida. He captured all the enemy's artillery, stores, etc., and for three miles his dead and wounded were found strewn on the ground. Thus the military operations of 1864 are, so far, decidedly favorable. And we shall probably soon have news from Longstreet. If Meade advances, Lee will meet him-and let him beware!

Gold is still mounting up-and so with everything exposed for sale. When, when will prices come down?

But we shall probably end the war this year-and independence will compensate for all. The whole male population, pretty Inuch, will be in the field this year, and our armies will be strong. So far we have the prestige of success, and our men are resolved to keep it, if the dissensions of the leaders do not interfere with the general purpose.

February 25

The President has certainly conferred on Bragg the position once (1862) occupied by Lee, as the following official announcement, in all the papers to-day, demonstrates:

General orders no. 23.

War Department, Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, Richmond, February 24th, 1864.
Gen. Braxton Bragg is assigned to duty at the seat of government, and, under direction of the President, is charged with the conduct of military operations in the~ armies of the Confederacy.

By order of the Secretary of War.

S. Cooper, Adjutant and Inspector General.

No doubt Bragg can give the President valuable counsel-nor can there be any doubt that he enjoys a secret satisfaction in triumphing thus over popular sentiment, which just at this time is [158] much averse to Gen. Bragg. The President is naturally a little oppugnant.

He has just appointed a clerk, in the Department of War, a military judge, with rank and pay of colonel of cavalry-one whom he never saw; but the clerk once had a street fight with Mr. Pollard, who has published a pamphlet against the President. Mr. Pollard sees his enemy with three golden stars on each side of his collar.

The retreat of Sherman seems to be confirmed.

Gen. Beauregard sends the following dispatch:

Charleston, February 23d-2.15 P. M.
To Gen. S. Cooper.
The latest reports from Gen. Finnegan give no particulars of the victory at Occum Pond, except that he has taken all of the enemy's artillery, some 500 or 600 stand of small arms already collected, and that the roads for three miles are strewn with the enemy's dead and wounded.

(Signed) G. T. Beauregard.

The Examiner has the following remarks on the appointment of Bragg:

The judicious and opportune appointment of Gen. Bragg to the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Confederate Armies, will be appreciated as an illustration of that strong common sense which forms — the basis of the President's character, that regard for the opinions and feelings of the country, that respect for the Senate, which are the keys to all that is mysterious in the conduct of our public affairs. The Confederate armies cannot fail to be well pleased. Every soldier's heart feels that merit is the true title to promotion, and that glorious service should insure a splendid reward. From Lookout Mountain, a step to the highest military honor and power is natural and inevitable. Johnston, Lee, and Beauregard learn with grateful emotions that the conqueror of Kentucky and Tennessee has been elevated to a position which his superiority deserves. Finally this happy announcement should enliven the fires of confidence and enthusiasm, reviving among the people like a bucket of water on a newly kindled grate.


The day before his appointment, the Enquirer had a long editorial article denouncing in advance his assignment to any prominent position, and severely criticised his conduct in the West. Today it hails his appointment as Commander-in-Chief with joy and enthusiasm! This reminds one of the Moniteur when Napoleon was returning from Elba. The Enquirer's notion is to prevent discord-and hence it is patriotic.

The weather is still bright, pleasant, but dusty. We have had only one rain since the 18th of December, and one light snow. My garden is too dry for planting.

We have not only the negroes arrayed against us, but it appears that recruiting for the Federal army from Ireland has been carried on to a large extent.

February 26

Cool, bright, but windy and dusty.

Dispatches announce heavy skirmishing in the vicinity of Dalton --and Gen. Johnston's army was in line of battle. It may be merely a feint of the enemy to aid in the extrication of Sherman.

Gen. Lee is here in consultation with the President. They decided that over 1000 men be transferred from the army to the navy-so that something may be soon heard from our ironclads.

Pork is selling at $3 per pound to-day.

Writings upon the walls of the houses at the corners of the streets were observed this morning, indicating a riot, if there be no amelioration of the famine.

February 27

Bright and pleasant — dusty. But one rain during the winter!

The “associated press” publishes an unofficial dispatch, giving almost incredible accounts of Gen. Forrest's defeat of Grierson's cavalry, 10,000 strong, with only 2000. It is said the enemy were cut up and routed, losing all his guns, etc.

Sugar is $20 per pound; new bacon, $3; and chickens, $12 per pair. Soon we look for a money panic, when a few hundred millions of the paper money is funded, and as many more collected by the tax collectors. Congress struck the speculators a hard blow. One man, eager to invest his money, gave $100,000 for a house and lot, and he now pays $5000 tax on it; the interest is $6000 more-$11,000 total. His next door neighbor, who bought [160] his house in 1860 for $10,000, similar in every respect, pays $500 tax (valued at date of sale), interest $600; total, $1100 per annum. The speculator pays $10,000 per annum more than his patriotic neighbor, who refused to sell his house for $100,000.

February 28

Bright, cool, and dusty. No war news; nor denial or confirmation of the wonderful victory of Forrest in Mississippi. That he captured the enemy's artillery and drove them back, is official.

Longstreet has retired from before Knoxville; perhaps to assault Nashville, or to penetrate Kentucky.

Yesterday the Secretary ordered Col. Northrop to allow full rations of meal to the engineer corps; to-day he returns the order, saying: “There is not sufficient transportation for full rations to the troops in the field.”

Last night the Secretary sent for Mr. Ould, exchange agent, and it is thought an exchange of prisoners will be effected, and with Butler. A confidential communication may have been receiued from Butler, who is a politician, and it may be that he has offered secret inducements, etc. He would like to establish a trade with us for tobacco, as he did for cotton and sugar when he was in New Orleans. No doubt some of the high officials at Washington would wink at it for a share of the profits.

The Southern Express Company (Yankee) has made an arrangement with the Quartermaster-General to transport private contributions of supplies to the army-anything to monopolize the railroads, and make private fortunes. Well, “all's well that ends well,” --and our armies may be forced to forage on the enemy.

I copy this advertisement from a morning paper:

notice.-Owing to the heavy advance of feed, we are compelled to charge the following rates for boarding horses on and after the 1st of March:

Board per month$300.00
Board per day15.00
Single feed5.00

Virginia Stables. James C. Johnson, W. H. Sutherland, B. W. Green.


Congress and the President parted at the adjournment in bad temper. It is true everything was passed by Congress asked for by the Executive as necessary in the present exigency — a new military bill, putting into the service several hundred thousand more men, comprising the entire male population between the ages of 17 and 50; the tax and currency bills, calculated to realize $600,000,000 or $800,000,000; and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. These were conceded, say the members, for the sake of the country, and not as concessions to the Executive. But the Commissary-General's nomination, and hundreds of others, were not sent into the Senate, in derogation of the Constitution; and hundreds that were sent in, have not been acted on by the Senate, and such officers now act in violation of the Constitution.

Dill's Government Bakery, Clay Street, is now in flamessup-posed to be the work of an incendiary. Loss not likely to be heavy.

February 29

Raining moderately.

There is a rumor that Frederick's Hall, between this city and Fredericksburg, was taken to-day by a detachment of the enemy's cavalry, an hour after Gen. Lee passed on his way to the army. This is only rumor, however.

A dispatch from Gen. Lee's Chief Commissary, received to-day, says the army has only bread enough to last till the 1st of March, to-morrow! and that meat is getting scarce again. Col. Northrop, the Commissary-General, indorses on this, that he foresaw and frequently foretold that such a crisis would come. He says transportation sufficient cannot be had, and that he has just heard of an accident to the Wilmington Railroad, which will diminish the transportation of corn one-half; and he says a similar accident to the Charlotte Road would be fatal. Comfortable! And when I saw him afterward, his face was lit up with triumph, as if he had gained a victory! He predicted it, because they would not let him impress all the food in the country. And now he has no remedy for the pressing need. But the soldiers won't starve, in spite of him.

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