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XL. July, 1864

July 1

Clear, hot, and dry; my snap beans, corn, etc. burning up.

The papers this morning fail to confirm the capture of as many prisoners, near Petersburg, as were reported yesterday. But the dispatch (subjoined) of Gen. Lee renders it certain that the enemy was routed. There is a suspicion that our exasperated men refused quarter to some hundreds of the raiders, on the plea that they ravish, murder, burn, pillage, etc. It may be so.

headquarters army of Northern Virginia, June 29th, 1864--8:30 P. M.
Hon. Secretary of War.
Sir :--Gen. Hampton reports that he attacked the enemy's cavalry yesterday afternoon, on their return from Staunton River bridge, this side of Sappony Church, and drove them beyond that point.

The fight continued during the night, and at daylight this morning he turned their left and routed them.

When they reached Ream's Station, they were confronted by a portion of Mahone's division, who attacked them in front, while their left flank was turned by Gen. Fitz Lee's cavalry.

The enemy was completely routed, and several pieces of artillery, with a number of prisoners, wagons, ambulances, etc., captured. The cavalry are in pursuit.

R. E. Lee, General.

Gen. Early, with perhaps 10,000 men, is believed to be in Winchester to-day. He will probably be soon playing havoc with the [242] enemy's railroads, stores, etc., and perhaps may threaten Washington or Harrisburg, or both; and so have Grant called off from his “siege of Richmond.”

We were paid our salaries yesterday, and Custis, after his campaign and his sickness, resolved on a little indulgence. So he had a couple of small saucers of ice-cream-one for his mother, costing $6; quarter pound of coffee and two pounds of sugar, $25; and to-day a rice pudding, two pounds of rice, $5; one pound of sugar, $10; two quarts of milk, $5; total, $511

Col. Shields, Commandant of Conscripts, etc., informed me today that he received only yesterday the order to proceed to the enrollment of Maryland and foreign residents. Thus the express orders of the President are delayed in the execution, and in such an exigency as this! I know Judge Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War, more than a year ago, attempted to interpose grave constitutional obstacles; but surely he can hardly have had the temerity to thwart the President's wishes, so plainly expressed. Nevertheless, the delay has been caused by some one; and Col. S. has apprehensions that some wheel within a wheel will even now embarrass or defeat the effective execution of the order.

Brig.-Gen. Gardner, successor of Brig.-Gen. Winder, has not yet assumed supervision of the passport business, and it remains in the hands of Judge Campbell and Provost Marshal Carrington. Very many persons are going to the United States via the Potomac.

July 2

Hot and dry.

A dispatch from Gen. Lee (will be published on Monday) says Gen. Beauregard reports the number of prisoners taken from Wilson's south side raiding party about 1000, besides the killed and wounded, and several hundred negroes recaptured, 13 guns, many small arms, wagons, etc. It is said the killed and wounded amount to 1500, of whom there are not exceeding 300 of the latter, leaving 1200 killed.

Gen. Morgan has got back to Western Virginia with 1800 men, having lost but 200. He did not fight a battle with Gen. Burbridge at all; hence the Federal account of Morgan's defeat was without foundation. Morgan will probably soon be in Maryland and Pennsylvania, attending to the enemy's railroads, bridges, mills, etc. [243]

The President said (so reported) to Dr. Garnett, yesterday, he hoped to hear of no more raids, since the last fared so badly.

I drank two cups of coffee this morning, which seem to have had an extraordinary effect upon my strength, activity, and spirits; and indeed the belief that the discontinuance of the use of this beverage, about two years ago, may have caused the diminution of all. I am, and have long been, as poor as a church. mouse. But the coffee (having in it sugar and cream) cost about a dollar each cup, and cannot be indulged in hereafter more than once a week. We had also boiled beans to-day, followed by fritters, the cherries from our garden, with sugar-sauce. This the family consider a sumptuous dinner — with no meat!

July 3

Clear and dry; pleasant temperature.

I learn that Petersburg has not been much injured by the enemy's batteries, and that Gen. Lee has ordered the casting of mortars for use immediately.

To-morrow being the anniversary of the surrender of Vicksburg to Grant, I should not be surprised if that general let off some fire-works, not only in commemoration of that event, but in pursuance of some desperate enterprise against Richmond. I don't see how he can feel any veneration for the day of Independence for the “rebels” of 1776, without sympathy for the “rebels” of 1864, struggling also for independence.

After the failure of the enemy's next move, I think the tempest of war will rapidly abate. Nearly every movement in this (I think final) effort to capture Richmond has failed. Sheridan failed to destroy the Central, Hunter the South Side, and Wilson the Danville Railroad-each losing about half his men and horses. Grant himself, so far, has but “swung round” a wall of steel, losing 100,000 men, and only gaining a position on the James River which he might have occupied without any loss. On the other hand, Lee wields a larger army than he began with, and better armed, clothed, and fed.

This ought to end the vain attempt at subjugation. But if not, the Confederate States, under the new policy (defensive), might maintain the contest against a half million of invaders. Our crop of wheat is abundant, and the harvest over; our communications will be all re-established in a few days, and the people being armed and drilled everywhere, the enemy's raiders will soon be checked [244] in any locality they may select as the scene of operations. All the bridges will be defended with fortifications. Besides, Lee is gathering rapidly an army on the Potomac, and may not only menace the enemy's capital, but take it. Early and Breckinridge, Imboden and Morgan, may be at this moment inflicting more serious injury on the enemy's railroads and canals than we have sustained in Virginia. And it is certain the stores of — the Federal army in Georgia have been captured or destroyed to a very serious extent.

Still, in this hour of destitution and suffering among certain classes of the people, we see no beggars in the streets.

Likewise, notwithstanding the raiding parties penetrate far in the rear of our armies, there has been no instance of an attempt on the part of the slaves to rise in insurrection.

July 4

Cloudy, but still hot and dry.

From the clouds of dust seen rising between Petersburg and the James River, it is conjectured that Grant's army is in motion.

The Federal Congress has authorized the drafting of 200,000 more men, after 60 days fruitless attempt to raise volunteers. So it will be September before the draft, and January before the men will be soldiers.

July 5

Cool and dry, everything suffering for rain.

All quiet about Petersburg, but later in the day a rumor sprung up that fighting had recommenced there. I doubt it, because by Northern accounts I see Gen. Early is destroying railroads beyond the Potomac, and will undoubtedly threaten Washington itself. If Grant fails to send troops there, Early may even throw shell into the Federal city.

Peter V. Daniel sends the Secretary of War a letter from Mr. Westmoreland, Wilmington, complaining that he is not allowed by government agents to transport cotton to that port, where his steamers are, in redemption of Confederate States bonds, while private persons, for speculative purposes, are, through the favor (probably for a consideration) of government officials, enabled to ship thousands of bales, and he submits a copy of a correspondence with Col. Sims, Assistant Quartermaster-General, and Lieut.-Col. Bayne, who is charged with the control of the exporting and importing business. Mr. Daniel thinks there is some “bribery and corruption” even in the South. But Mr. Seddon is incredulous sometimes. [245]

The express company has an arrangement with Col. Sims, the Assistant Quartermaster-General, by which much freight is transported.

New potatoes are selling at $4 per quart in the market.

July 6

Hot and dry.

We have no news to-day, but there are rumors that Grant is preparing to abandon his position. He cannot remain where he is, inactive. There is a scarcity of water, and the location is unhealthy.

We had corn bread and gravy for dinner, with a tremendous dessert, the suggestion of Custis, consisting of whortleberry flitters, with butter and sugar sauce, costing about $16.

July 7

Hot and dry, but a light shower at 2 P. M., laying the dust.

A letter from Gen. Gilmer states that the Danville Railroad will not be fully repaired before the last of this month. But there is a good wagon road, and the army can be supplied by wagons when the cars cannot run, some 25 miles.

There is an idle rumor that Wilmington has been taken by the enemy. This, indeed, would hurt us. But we get neither let. ters nor dispatches from beyond Petersburg.

Last week, when the local forces were recalled, one of the clerks in the Treasury Department, upon being dismissed, fell upon his lieutenant, who had insulted him while in the military service, and as a civilian, gave him a beating. To-day the officer, after consulting his lieutenant-colonel commanding, and, it is said, the Secretary of War, sent a subaltern to the department to arrest the clerk, who resisted. The subaltern said he acted by authority of the lieutenant-colonel and the Secretary of War, and would arrest him and throw him in prison, if he had to come with force enough to pull down the building. To all this the Secretary of the Treasury demurred, and made a formal complaint to the President, who most indignantly indorsed on the paper that the conduct of the officer was “very reprehensible,” that if when the offense was committed, the battalion had been dismissed, the military authority of the officers ceased, and as civil officers, all were on the same footing. He ordered the Secretary to make this known to the officers, etc. None believe now that the President ever threatened to turn [246] the clerks out of office, as represented, nor wished them put in the army, as hinted.

July 8

Clear; hot and dusty.

The news of the falling back of Gen. Johnston on Atlanta, Ga., causes no uneasiness, for the destruction of Sherman's army is deemed the more certain the farther he penetrates.

There is nothing of interest from Petersburg, but there are rumors of demoralization and disaffection in Grant's army. His men suffer for water.

Still we get no letters from the South, beyond the point on the Danville Railroad reached by the raiders, who tore up 18 miles of the track.

We have nothing definite from Early's column yet, but no doubt there is alarm enough in Pennsylvania and in Washington City by this time.

July 9

Dry and pleasant.

We have a rumor to-day of the success of a desperate expedition from Wilmington, N. C., to Point Lookout, Md., to liberate the prisoners of war (20,000) confined there and to arm them. If this be confirmed, the prisoners will probably march upon Washington City, and co-operate with Gen. Early, who has taken Martinsburg (with a large supply of stores), and at last accounts had driven Sigel back to Washington, and on the 6th inst. was (by Northern accounts) at Hagerstown, Md. Much excitement prevails there. Lincoln has called for the militia of the surrounding States, etc.

We have British accounts of the sinking of the Alabama, near Cherbourg, by the United States steamer Kearsarge, but Semmes was not taken, and his treasure, etc. had been deposited in France.

July 10

The drought continues; vegetation wilting and drying up. There is no war news, save some shelling by the enemy at Petersburg.

The raiders have caused many who were hiding and hoarding their meat and grain to bring them to market, for fear of losing them. This has mitigated the famine, and even produced a slight reduction of prices.

But the gardens are nearly ruined, and are only kept alive by watering freely. Mine has repaid me. The tomatoes are growing apace, and seem to endure the drought pretty well; also the [247] lima beans. We are now eating the last of the cherries. We began to pull them about one month ago.

Some of the members of the Tredegar Battalion have been detected endeavoring to pass over to the enemy. It is said (maliciously) Jos. R. Anderson's works (the Tredegar) would not be destroyed if the enemy were to capture the city, nor Crenshaw's nor Haxall's mills, all having an understanding that the party in power shall enjoy the benefits of them. The fall of Richmond would exhibit strange developments among men of wealth. The poor could not get away, and would have no alternative but submission. But Richmond will not be taken.

July 11

Hot and dry, and the famine continues.

The Secretary of War intimated on Saturday that if the clerks of the bureaus would raise a fund and send an agent South to buy provisions, he would insure them transportation, etc. To-day he denies that he made the promise, and refuses to aid them.

The government now proposes to increase its schedule of prices from 300 to 500 per cent., thus depreciating its own credit. Before harvest the impressing agents allowed about $40 per barrel for flour; now, that we have a good harvest, about $130 will be paid, thus raising the price everywhere. The transportation is the expensive item.

A dispatch from Gen. Johnston, at Atlanta, says the enemy having flanked him with his cavalry, he has fallen back across the Chattahooehee.

Dispatches from Gen. S. D. Lee, Tupelo, state that a column of the enemy, 20,000 strong, is about marching from New Orleans against Mobile, and he fears he cannot spare men to resist them. The reserve class is not ready. Also that 15,000 of the enemy are matching from Lagrange, and he will have to dismount some of Forrest's cavalry. Gen. E. K. Smith will not cross the Mississippi to assist in repelling the foe without orders, Orders have been sent from the Secretary of War--I fear too late!

Northern papers of the 8th inst. indicate a state of high excitement. Some there believe we have an army of 60,000 pouring into Pennsylvania. Gold was $2.65 for one.

There is some commotion in Granit's army, and it is believed by some that he is about to retire down the river.

It is rumored that the prisoners heretofore confined at Point Lookout have been removed by the Federal Government. [248]

At 7. P. M. we had a gentle shower, lasting more than an hour.

July 12

Clear and warm — the earth refreshed.

Gen. Johnston telegraphs to Gen. Bragg to have the United States prisoners at Andersonville “distributed immediately.” He does not allege a reason for the necessity. It may be danger of an outbreak-or that the yellow fever has broken out among them.

I think Grant is about to have a race with Lee for Washington. The news from the Northern frontier is interesting.

A slight shower in the evening-heavy a few miles distant.

July 13

Bright and pleasant.

The city is in great excitement and joy. Gen. Early has gained a victory in Maryland, near Frederick, defeating Gen. Wallace, capturing Gen. Tyler and Col. Seward (son of the Secretary), besides many prisoners. The slaughter was great, and the pursuit of the routed army was toward Baltimore.

Grant is certainly sending away troops.

Gen. Lee writes a particular letter to the Secretary (dated 9th inst.), desiring most specially that the papers be requested to say nothing of his movements for some time to come, and that the department will not publish any communication from him, which might indicate from its date his distance from Richmond. This is mysterious. He may be going to Maryland.

Gen. Johnston telegraphs from near Atlanta that the enemy holds several fords above, and a portion of his forces have crossed, and are intrenched. Some cannonading is going onineffective-aimed at the railroad depot. Some think Lee is going thither. Others that he is going to flank what remains of the Federal army in front of Petersburg.

July 14

The drought continues here; but at some other places there has fallen heavy rain.

The excitement on the news of our successes in Maryland is intense, and a belief prevails that great results will grow out of this invasion of the country held by the enemy. Twice before but little if any benefit resulted from crossing the Potomac.

It is rumored to-day that Longstreet's corps has marched to Maryland, and that Lee is with it.

July 15

Clear and cool; subsequently cloudy.

The Washington Chronicle of the 12th, received yesterday, indicates [249] that Washington or Baltimore, or both, were in danger of falling into our possession.

Lieut.-Col. G. W. Lay said, this morning, in my office, that Grant would not leave — that he held a most important positionthat he would not fail in his campaign; that our operations beyond the Potomac were not of sufficient magnitude to produce important results; and, finally, that Germany and Ireland would replenish the armies of the United States, while our last reserves were now in the field. The colonel had come into my office more than a month ago and said Grant had outgeneraled Pemberton, and would capture Vicksburg. I reminded him of this to-day, and asked his opinion on the present aspect of affairs. He has been recently on Gen. Beauregard's staff, and is irritated at the supposed hard treatment which that general receives from the President. He is a little bitter against the President, and is no special admirer of Lee, who, he thinks, committed a blunder in not fighting Grant at Hanover Junction. And he thinks, if Gen. Johnston forbears to fight Sherman, in pursuance of orders from Richmond, disaster will ensue. But neither he nor any one is capable of sounding the profound plans of Lee. Grant's forces are now far away from Washington.

21 o'clock P. M. An officer just from Petersburg, arrived at the War Department with the intelligence that a Washington paper of the 13th inst. had been received at headquarters, announcing the capture of Baltimore by our troops! The inhabitants within, or a large proportion of them, co-operated with our army! Our people are in ecstasies! This is the realization of the grand conception of a great general, and Lee is immortalized — if it only be true.

June 16

Bright and cool — the canopy assuming a brassy aspect from the drought.

Alack! all the rejoicings are checked, and the public seems to have been hoaxed by the officer who reported that a Washington paper of the 13th inst. contained an account of the surrender of Baltimore to the Confederate States forces! The paper of that date, it appears, contains nothing of the kind, or else the account has been suppressed, to subserve some military purpose. But our people bear the disappointment well, not doubting but success will ultimately come. [250]

There is a rumor that we sank two of the enemy's transports today in James River.

An immense mass of letters, etc.--175 bags--has just come in; the first mail matter that has arrived from beyond the breaks in the Danville Railroad, perpetrated by Wilson's raiders.

July 17

Dry — the sky bright and brassy — the gardens almost ruined.

Last evening definite news came in the Washington Chronicle of the 14th. Gen. Early was recrossing the Potomac with an immense amount of stores levied in the enemy's country, including thousands of horses, etc. This, the Chronicle thinks, will be beneficial to the United States, as recruiting will be stimulated, to punish us for making prize of provisions, etc. in the enemy's country, after the enemy had despoiled us of everything in their power!

Troops are still going up toward Washington from our army, as well as from the enemy's before Petersburg; and Early, after bestowing his prizes in a place of safety, may return to Maryland and Pennsylvania for another supply. That may be the best policy to get the enemy off our soil. His cutting off communications with the South will not signify much, if we can derive supplies from the North.

July 18

Clear and dry.

It is believed that a battery sent down opposite to Harrison's Bar in the James River sank two of the enemy's transports, Saturday, and drove back five others to Grant.

It is rumored that Gen. Johnston has been relieved at Atlanta, and Lieut.-Gen. Hood placed in command. I doubt.

It is said Mr. Trenholm, firm of Fraser, Trenholm & Co., bankers, Charleston, has been appointed Secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Seddon holds on to.the office he occupies.

A letter from Gen. Lee ( “Headquarters army Northern Virginia” ) says Gen. Early has recrossed the Potomac, and is at Leesburg, safe,--I hope with his captured supplies.

The following is a synopsis of Gen. Kirby Smith's brilliant campaign of 1864; official report. Enemy's losses.

In Louisiana, 5000 killed and wounded, 4000 prisoners, 21 pieces artillery, 200 wagons, 1 gun-boat, 3 transports.

In Arkansas, 1400 killed, 2000 wounded, 1500 prisoners, 13 pieces of artillery, 900 wagons, [251]

Confederate losses, 3000 killed, wounded, and missing.

Enemy's losses, 14,000.

Confederate strength, 15,000.

Enemy's strength, 47,000.

In Georgia, 35,000. In Arkansas, 12,000.

July 19

A steady, gentle rain from 8 A. M. till 4 P. M.

A dispatch from Gen. Hood, who relieves Gen. Johnston, was received to-day. It was in cipher, and I did not learn the con. tents.

I strove in vain to-day to buy a few cabbage seed!

The following is a copy of a letter received from Gen. Lee, his locality not indicated, but from the date, he must be near the city:

Headquarters, Army Northern Virginta, 17th July, 1864.
Hon. Secretary of War, Richmond.
Sir :--I have received a dispatch from Gen. Early, dated at Leesburg on the 15th inst. On the 8th he crossed South Mountain, leaving Sigel at Maryland Heights. On the 9th he reached Frederick, and in the afternoon attacked and routed the enemy, ten thousand strong, under Wallace, at Monocacy Junction. The next day he moved on Washington, and arrived in front of the fortifications around that city on the 11th. The defenses were found very strong, and were not attacked. After a reconnoissance on the night of the 12th, he withdrew, and crossed the Potomac at White's Ford on the 14th, bringing off everything safely and in good order. He reports the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to have been cut in several places, and severely damaged. The bridges over Gunpowder River, Northern Central and Philadelphia Railroads were burned, and the connection between Washington and Baltimore cut by Johnson's cavalry. The 6th corps (Federal) had arrived at Washington, and it was reported that other parts of Grant's army had reached there, but of the latter he was not certain. Hunter had passed Williamsport, and was moving toward Frederick. Gen. Early states that his loss was light.

I am, with great respect, Your obed't servant.

(Not signed.) [252]

Custis walked with Lieut. Bell last evening a mile from Hanover Junction to the battle-field of last month (just a month ago), and beheld some of the enemy still unburied! They fell very near our breastworks.

July 20

Cloudy and warm, but no rain up to 5 P. M. There is no news of importance; but a battle is momentarily expected in Georgia. The Examiner says the President bears malice against Johnston, and embraces an occasion to ruin him at the risk of destroying the country. That he was not allowed the aid of detachments necessary to success, and hence he could not fight; but all aids will he give his successor, Hood, who will be successful. And that this game was played on Johnston in 1862 in Virginia, and when Lee took command, every facility was afforded by the government. In short, Gen. Johnston cannot be vindicated unless our army be destroyed; and if Hood wins a victory, he is ruined. This is an unpleasant predicament for a general.

Planted some cabbage-seeds given me; no plants are for sale.

July 21

Clear and warm. Bought fifty cabbage-plants and set them out before breakfast.

Gen. Early met Gen. Hunter at Snicker's Gap, and whipped him.

All quiet at Petersburg. Grant must be dead, sure enough.

Gen. Bragg left the city some days ago. The following is a verbatim dispatch received from him yesterday:

Montgomery, Ala., July 19th, 1864.
Col. J. B. Sale :--The enemy still hold West Point Railroad. Forces are moving forward to dislodge them. Gen. S. D. Lee informs me 5000 (13th Army Corps) passed Vicksburg on the 16th, supposed to be going to White River. Reported Memphis, 19th Army Corps, Franklin left New Orleans on the 4th for Fort Monroe, 13,000 strong. Ought not Taylor's forces to cross the Mississippi?

I hear nothing from Johnston.

Telegraph me to Columbus, Ga.

B. Bragg, General.

July 22

Bright and dry again. Gen. Johnston has been relieved. It would seem that Gen. Hood has made a successful [253] debut as a fighting general in command of the army, since Gen. Johnston's removal.

A dispatch from Gen. Bragg, dated yesterday, states that the enemy is withdrawing from Arkansas, either to operate in Mississippi, or to reinforce Sherman.

Gen. Lee is opposed to retaliating on innocent prisoners the cruelties committed by the guilty in executing our men falling into their hands.

July 23

Clear, but a smoky atmosphere, like Indian summer. A dispatch was received to-day at M. from Gen. Hood, dated last night at 10 o'clock, stating that Gen. Hardee had made a night march, driving the enemy from his works, and capturing 16 guns and several colors, while Gen. Cheatham captured 6 guns. We took 2000 prisoners. Also that Gen. Wheeler had routed the enemy's cavalry at Decatur, capturing his camp. Our Major-Gen. Walker was killed and three brigadiers were wounded. Whether the battle was resumed to-day is not yet ascertained. All are now anxious to get further news from Atlanta.

And the local forces here are ordered to be in readiness; perhaps Lee meditates, likewise, a night march, and an attack on Grant.

The Danville and the Weldon Railroads are now in active operation, and I hope supplies will soon come in abundance.

Our government blundered in sanctioning the schedule of prices fixed by the commissioners on impressments for the next two months. The prices are five times those hitherto paid. The whole country cries shame, and a revision is demanded, else the country will be ruined.

July 24

Cloudy and cool, but dry.

Yesterday and last night both Grant and Lee, or Beauregard, were moving pretty heavy forces from the south side to the north side of the river. I am not advised which initiated this manceuvre, but it indicates renewed activity of the armies in this vicinity.

I hope the roads will not be cut again, or we shall starve!

July 25

It rained all night! Cloudy and windy to-day.

Gen. Hood corrects his dispatch of Saturday; we captured only 13 guns; but we captured some 18 stand of colors. [254]

headquarters, Atlanta, July 23d, 1864.
Hon. James A. Seddon, Secretary of War.
The enemy shifted his position on Peach Tree Creek last night, and Gen; Stewart's and Cheatham's corps formed line of battle around the city.

Gen. Hardee's corps made a night march, and attacked the enemy's extreme left to-day. About 1 o'clock he drove him from his works, capturing artillery and colors. Gen. Cheatham attacked the enemy, capturing six pieces of artillery.

During the engagement we captured about 2000 prisoners.

Gen. Wheeler's cavalry routed the enemy in the neighborhood of Decatur, to-day, capturing his camp.

Our loss is not yet fully ascertained.

Major-Gen. Walker was killed. Brig.-Gens. Smith, Gist, and Mercer were wounded.

Prisoners report that Gen. McPherson was killed.

Our troops fought with great gallantry.

J. B. Hood, General.

It is certain that a considerable force of the enemy has crossed to the north side of James River; for what purpose is not yet clear.

A detachment of our forces has been defeated near Winchester, by superior numbers, losing 4 guns.

The Dispatch of this morning says:

All accounts received of the engagement at Snicker's represent that the Yankees were badly whipped on that occasion. It is stated that some fifteen hundred of the enemy fell to rise no more, and only six were made prisoners. It is probable that a considerable number were drowned in their attempt to recross the Shenandoah.

Gen. Beauregard wrote to the department a few days ago that the country in the rear of the enemy was filled with their deserters, and suggested that by proclamation or otherwise, desertion should be encouraged. They ought to be welcomed and subsisted, and transported to any point near their own country designated by them. On this the Secretary of War indorsed rather a cold negative. But he went too far — the country must be saved-and the [255] President, while agreeing that no proclamation should be issued, indorsed an emphatic approval of any other means to encourage desertion from the enemy.

My cabbages and turnips (fall) are coming up already.

We had but 13,500 men and 44 pieces artillery in the recent march into Maryland. The enemy say we had 40,000!

Letters are pouring in, denouncing the new schedule of prices, sanctioned by the Secretary, and demanding a prompt modification. The President wrote the Secretary to-day that immediate action is necessary.

July 26

Clear and pleasant; later cloudy.

Yesterday, Mr. Peck, our agent, started South to buy provisions for the civil officers of the department. He had $100 from each, and it is to be hoped he will be back soon with supplies at comparatively low prices. He obtained transportation from the Quartermaster-General, with the sanction of the Secretary, although that----had refused to order it himself.

Gen. Lee advises that all government stores be taken from Wilmington, as a London newspaper correspondent has given a glowing account (republished in the New York Herald) of the commerce of that place, and the vast amount of government property there. Gen. Lee advises that the stores be deposited along the line of railroad between Columbia and Danville, and be in readiness to move either way, as the roads are “liable to be cut at any moment.” Will the government act in time to save them?

Gen. Cooper went to the President to-day in high dudgeon, because papers were referred to him from the QuartermasterGen-eral's and Ordnance offices signed by subordinates, instead of the heads of the bureaus. The President wrote an elaborate decision in favor of the general, and ordered the Secretary to “make a note of it.” Thus, important affairs wait upon “red tape.”

I saw Secretaries Benjamin and Mallory, and some lesser lights, riding down the river in an ambulance-wagon, supposed to be going a fishing. They were both excessively fat and red.

July 27

Cloudy and warm; light shower at 3. P. M.

Gen. Lee's dispatch, giving an account of a victory last Sunday, near Winchester, has diffused hope and satisfaction anew in the city.

The following dispatch was received from Gen. Bragg: [256]

Atlanta, July 26th, 1864.
Leave to-morrow to confer with Major-Gen. Maury at Montgomery, and urge matters beyond. Lieut.-Gen. Lee arrived. Tone of the army fine, and strength increasing daily, etc. All is quiet to-day.

B. Bragg, General. Col. J. B. Sale, Mil. Sec.

Nevertheless, the clerks are ordered out this afternoon at five, to march to Chaffin's Farm.

I met Mr. Benjamin as I was passing to the office of the Secretary of War with Gen. Bragg's dispatch, and showed it him. After reading it carefully, he said, “That's very good.”

Gen. Lee may be on the eve of attacking Grant, or Grant him, or we may be reinforcing Early, as the solution of the marching of the clerks. No doubt one of Grant's corps is on this side of the river, but I think that is to guard the river against our batteries.

During my conversation with Mr. Benjamin, I hoped that in two months the Federal armies would be called to Washington for the defense of the capital. He did not express any such belief. He was at the department procuring passports from Judge Campbell, for a young Jew to pass the lines into the United States.

July 28

Cloudy, but no rain.

Nothing new from Georgia or Petersburg. But a dispatch from Gen. Ewell, received to-day at half past 2 P. M., orders the local troops (they did not march yesterday) or other disposable forces to occupy the Darby Town, New Bridge, and Williamsburg roads, for the enemy's cavalry were working round to our left. This was dated “27” when, no doubt, it should be 28th. The Secretary was over at the President's office, whither I sent the dispatch. I suppose the troops were ordered out, provided there was a mistake in the date. All dispatches should have the day written out in full as well as the day of the month, for the salvation of a city might depend on it.

July 29

Clear and warm.

The local troops did not march until this morning, and no one supposes Richmond is seriously menaced by Grant. I believe the object of the demonstration on the part of the enemy is to draw our forces away from the vicinity of Washington.

The Chief of the Signal Corps reports, on information supposed [257] by him to be reliable, that Gen. Early's captures in Maryland were worth $12,000,000-consisting of some 10,000 horses, 10,000 cattle, 7000 hogs, 4000 sheep, 200,000 barrels of flour, and a large amount of bacon, etc. Also, that he got between 2000 and 3000 recruits. All this doubtful.

Mr. G. W. Lamar, Augusta, Ga., writes the Secretary of War that he knows, personally, over one hundred men who have bought exemptions, and that they are bought and sold every day at a certain price. Now will the Secretary order an investigation? Mr. L. has, or had, nine sons in the army, and he says he could have bought exemptions for all, as he is rich. And yet a poor ensigncy is refused one of his sons.

July 30

Clear and hot.

Dispatches from Bragg, at Montgomery, of yesterday, give no accounts of more fighting, although the press dispatches, etc. did mention four of our generals who have been wounded.

There is a revival of murmurs against the President. He will persist in keeping Bragg in command, that is “of the armies in the field,” though he does not lead any of them, and Gen. Pemberton really has command of all the batteries defending Richmond. The raiders are cutting the Georgia and Alabama Road since Bragg went South, and we'have lost four pieces of artillery near this city a few days ago. Ill luck is indefensible!

To-day the enemy sprung a mine at Petersburg, but were repulsed in the attempt to rush in. This is all we know of it yet. Again it is rumored that the major parts of both armies are on this side of the river. This I believe, and I think that unless there be a battle immediately, Grant's intention is to abandon the “siege” of Richmond at the earliest practicable moment.

The local troops are back again. The President directed the Secretary of War to inform Gen. Ewell that he misapprehended the character of these troops. They were only for special and temporary service, having also civil duties to perform, and desired them to be sent back in twenty-four, or at at most, forty-eight hours. Gen. E. writes that he will employ them exclusively hereafter in the city fortifications, and only in times of extreme peril. And he says there was peril on Thursday, the enemy's cavalry being between our infantry and the city, and it will not do to rely always on his want of enterprise.


July 31

Clear, dry, and hot.

A dispatch from Gen. Lee (I have not seen it yet) says, in the repulse of the enemy's assault on the breach made by their mine, we captured over 800 prisoners--a general and his staff among them — some 12 stands of colors, and killed some 500. Our loss very light.

The enemy has mostly countermarched from this side of the river, followed, of course, by our army at double-quick, and rumor says there are little or no forces of either party on the north side of the James this morning.

This was probably Grant's grand stratagem for our destruction, and it has failed disastrously for him. What will he do next? No matter what, Lee is the master of the situation.

My daughter's large pet cat died last night under the cherry-tree, and was buried this morning under a rose-bush. I sympathize with Fannie in the grief natural on such an occasion; but really, the death of the cat in such times as these is a great relief to me, as he was maintained at the cost of not less than $200 per annum. His death was probably occasioned by a surfeit of meat which his mistress obtained unexpectedly, seeing it fall in the street, and sending a servant for it.

This morning a large fat chicken was found in my yard, picked and prepared for cooking, brought hither by a cat which had stolen it from some kitchen. A portion of the breast only had been eaten, and our cook seized upon the remains for her own benefit. To such straits are we reduced by this cruel war!

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