Xliv. November, 1864
- Proclamation for a day of public worship. -- Gov. Allen, of Louisiana. -- letter from Gen. Beauregard. -- departure for Europe. -- Congress assembles. -- quarrel between Gens. Kemper and Preston. -- Gen. Forrest doing wonders. -- Tennessee. -- Gen. Johnston on his Georgia campaign. -- John Mitchel and Senator Foote. -- progress of Sherman. -- from Gov. Brown, of Georgia. -- capture of Gen. Pryor.
November 1Bright and frosty morning. All quiet. No confirmation of Early's defeat; and the nightfeat of Mahone puts the people in better hope. One-third of all our lead comes from the mines near Wytheville, Virginia. I got 128 pounds of flour from the investment in supplies in North Carolina, and one-fourth of that amount is still behind. We got 26 pounds of bacon, worth $260; the flour received, and to be received, 160 pounds, $320; and we expect to get 6 gallons molasses, $30 per gallon, $180: total, $760; and only $200 invested. This shows the profits of the speculators! Gov. Yates, of Illinois, has declared Richmond will be in the hands of the Federals before the 8th of November. This is the 1st. It may be so; but I doubt it. It cannot be so without the effusion of an ocean of blood! I learned to-day that every tree on Gov. Wise's farm of any size has been felled by the enemy. What harm have the poor trees done the enemy? I love trees, anywhere. The President attends to many little matters, such as solicitations for passports to leave the country, details or exemptions of husbands and sons; and generally the ladies who address him, knowing his religious bias, frame their phraseology accordingly, and often with effect.  The following is his last proclamation: Proclamation appointing a Day for Public Worship.
The President gets but few letters from members of Congress.
November 2Dark and dismal. The Governor continues his exemptions, now amounting to thousands. S. Basset French (State agent to buy and sell supplies to the people), with one or more clerks, and such laborers, etc. as may be necessary, I find among his last exemptions. A smart and corrupt agent could make a fortune out of these exemptionS. Of course, the Governor's A. D. C. will do no such thing. No news from below. Rev. John Clark writes from Stafford County that the conscripts there have hid themselves in White Oak Swamp, because the Secretary of War has exempted an able-bodied man to work for Mrs.----, his — widow. Gen. Winder, with the prisoners in the South, is in hot water again. He wants to make Cashmyer suttler (like ancient Pistol), and Major--, the Secretary's agent, opposes it, on the ground that he is a “Plug Ugly rogue and cut-throat.” Mr. George Davis, Attorney-General Confederate States, has given it as his opinion that although certain civil officers of the government were exempted from military service by the Constitution, yet a recent act of Congress, decreeing that all residents between the ages of 17 and 50 are in the military service, must be executed. In other words, the cabinet ministers must “see that the laws be faithfully executed,” even should they be clearly and expressly unconstitutional. Is not the Constitution the law? Have they not sworn to support it, etc.? It seems to me that this is a weak opinion. It makes the President absolute. I fear this government in future times will be denounced as a Cabal of bandits and outlaws, making and executing the most despotic decrees. This decision  will look bad in history, and will do no good at present. How could the President “approve” such a law? The desertions from the Tredegar Battalion and other workshops-local defense-amount to between one and two hundred since the 1st of September.
November 3Cold rain; rained all night. Gen. Lee, urging that his regiments from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, etc. etc. be recruited from their respective States, concludes a recent letter thus: “I hope immediate action will be taken upon this subject, as I think our success depends much upon a speedy increase of our armies in every possible way.” This dismal weather casts a deeper gloom upon the spirits of the croakers. They fear Richmond cannot be long defended. Plymouth, N. C., has been retaken by the enemy. During this damp weather the deep and sullen sounds of cannon can be heard at all hours, day and night. The firing is mostly from our iron-clads. The market was well supplied this morning with abundance of good meat, vegetables, fruit, etc.; and I was glad to see but few making purchases. The reason may have been that the extortionate prices repelled the people; or it may have been the rain. I passed on.
November 4Rained all night; glimpses of the sun between the running clouds this morning. Windy, and likely to be cold. Our iron-clad “Albemarle” was blown up by a handful of the enemy at Plymouth-surprising the water pickets (all asleep). The manner of the loss of the town, and of the counties east of it, is not known yet; but everything was foretold by Mr. Burgyson to the cabinet then devoting their attention to the problem how to violate the Constitution, and put into the trenches some fifty delicate clerks, that their places might be filled by some of their own special favorites. Mr. George Davis, Attorney-General, the instrument selected to rend the Constitution, or rather to remove the obstacles out of the way, is from North Carolina; and this blow has fallen upon his own State! We learn that gold is rising rapidly in the North, which may be significant of President Lincoln's re-election next week. We get no news from our armies except through the Northern papers — not reliable just now.  Gov. Allen, of Louisiana, writes a furious letter to the Secretary of War, who ordered the disbandment of the State Battalion. He says the order is a personal offense to him and an insult to his State (he is a native Virginian), and he will resent it and resist it to the last extremity. He gives notice that the 3d battalion has been ordered back from the east side of the Mississippi River. The battalion disbanded numbered but 150 men! A little business-like losing one-fourth of North Carolina, to put out of office fifty clerks, whose tenure, by the Constitution, is for life!
November 5Clear and cold. Grant has attempted nothing this week, and it is probably too late for any demonstration to affect the election. I infer that the government is convinced President Lincoln will be re-elected, else some desperate effort would have been made in his behalf by his generals. Will he float on a sea of blood another four years? I doubt it. One side or the other must, I think, give up the contest. He can afford to break with the Abolitionists now. We cannot submit without the loss of everything. It is thought Grant will continue to “swing to the left,” making a winter campaign on the coasts of North and South Carolinamean time leaving Butler's army here, always menacing Richmond. Gen. Beauregard writes from Gadsden, Ala., October 24th, that his headquarters Will be at Tuscumbia, Ala.; will get supplies from Corinth to Tuscumbia. Forrest has been ordered to report to Gen. Hood, in Middle Tennessee. The railroad iron between Corinth and Memphis will be taken to supply wants elsewhere. Gen. Dick Taylor is to guard communications, etc., has directed Gen. Cheatham to issue an address to the people of Tennessee, saying his and Gen. Forrest's command have entered the State for its redemption, etc., and calling upon the people to aid in destroying the enemy's communications, while the main army is between Atlanta and Chattanooga, when the purpose is to precipitate the whole army upon it, etc. Gen. B. doubts not he will soon be able to announce good tidings, etc. etc. This letter to Gen. Cooper is “submitted to the Secretary of War,” by whom it is “submitted for the information of the President,” and sent back by him-“Read and returned, 4th Nov. ‘64.-J. D.” Gen. B. was to leave that day to join Gen. Hood, in vicinity of  Guntersville, on Tennessee River. Sherman's army was between Dalton and Gadsden, 15 miles from Gadsden.
Sunday, November 6Bright and frosty. All quiet below. Another day, and if it remains quiet, we may know that Lincoln will be re-elected. It is said news came from the North last night, that gold sold for $260, and that Governor Seymour had ordered the militia of New York to be in readiness for the protection of the polls on Tuesday next. G. W. Randolph, late Secretary of War, has sailed for Europe, taking his family with him. Other quondam Confederate States functionaries have gone, or are going. Many have realized fortunes, who were poor, and this country has ceased to be the one to enjoy them in. A parting letter was written by Mr. Randolph to his friend, R. G. H. Kean, Chief of the Bureau of War-appointed by Mr. R., and from whom I derived the information of the sailing of his patron. Such departures, at a crisis like this, spread additional doubts in the community. Mr. R. was not liable to conscription, if averse to fighting more in our cause, being exempted by Governor Smith as a member of the Common Council. To-morrow is the day fixed for the reassembling of our Congress, but doubts are entertained whether there will be a quorum. We shall soon have lively news from Beauregard. If I understand his letter of the 24th ult., he is determined to march the army without delay into Middle Tennessee, leaving Sherman on his right flank and rear. It is a desperate conception, and will probably be a brilliant success-or a sad disaster. Napoleon liked such games. If Beauregard really has great genius, he has now the field on which to display it. If the Tennesseeans and Kentuckians rise, momentous events may follow; if not, it is probably the last opportunity they will have. They have their choice-but blood is the price of independence.
November 7Dar.k and raining. Cannon heard down the river. To-day our Congress assembles. Senator Johnson, of Missouri (who relinquished six years in United States Senate and $200,000  for the cause), called to see me. He is hopeful of success in the West. By the Northern papers we see that Mr. Seward has discovered a “conspiracy” to burn all the Northern cities on election day. It may be so-by Northern incendiaries. Our citizens are still asking permits to bring flour and meal to the city (free from liability to impressment) for “family use.” The speculators divide and subdivide their lots, and get them in, to sell at extortionate prices. Rumors of fighting toward Petersburg-nothing reliable. Gen. Lee writes that he sent in the Tredegar Battalion to the foundry a few days ago (desertions being frequent from it); and now he learns it is ordered out to report to Lieut.-Col. Pemberton. He requests that it be ordered back to the foundry, where it is absolutely necessary for the supply of munitions, etc.
November 8Wet and warm; all quiet below, and much mud there. Congress assembled yesterday, and the President's message was read. He recommends the employment of 40,000 slaves in the army, not as soldiers, unless in the last extremity; and after the war he proposes their emancipation. This is supposed to be the idea of Mr. Benjamin, for foreign effect. It is denounced by the Examiner. The message also recommends the abolition of all class exemptions, such as editors, etc. The Examiner denounces this as a blow at the freedom of the press. The message is cheerful and ful of hope, showing that the operations of the year, in the field, have resulted in no disadvantage to us. By the Northern papers we find that a fleet of four or five cruisers is devastating their commerce. They sailed recently from Wilmington, in spite of Gen. Whiting. No attack was made on Richmond during the last few days. I have no doubt it was deemed unnecessary by the enemy to secure Mr. Lincoln's re-election. To-day, no doubt, the election in the United States will result in a new lease of presidential life for Mr. Lincoln. If this result should really have been his motive in the conduct of the war, perhaps there may soon be some relaxation of its rigors-and possibly peace, for it is obvious that subjugation is not possible. President Lincoln may afford to break with  the Abolition party now, and, as has been often done before, kick down the ladder by which he ascended to power. This is merely speculation, however; he may resolve to wield the whole military strength and resources of the United States with more fury than ever. But there will henceforth be a dangerous party against him in the rear. The defeated Democrats will throw every obstruction in his path — and they may chock his wheels-or even give him employment for the bayonet at home. Dispatches from Beauregard and Hood, November 4th, at Tuscumbia, say that Sherman is concentrating at Huntsville and Decatur. Part of our army is at Florence. Gen. B. says his advance has been retarded by bad weather and want of supplies, but that he will march into Tennessee immediately. Gen. Forrest is throwing difficulties in the way of Sherman. The armies are equidistant from Nashville, and if Sherman's supplies fail, his condition becomes desperate. Captain Manico (acting lieutenant-colonel Departmental Regiment) informs me that the enemy will certainly open batteries in a day or two on our troops at Chaffin's Bluff, and will be replied to vigorously, which he thinks will bring on a battle. We shall hear more thunder, as the distance is only seven or eight miles. It seems to be clearing up, and there may be news before night. When election news arrives per telegraph from the North--if favorable — it is supposed the enemy will celebrate it by shotted salutes, and thus recommence the slaughter.
November 9Rained last night; clear this morning, and warm. All quiet below, except the occasional bombs thrown at the canal by our iron-clads. The press is mostly opposed to the President's project of employing 40,000 slaves in the army, under promise of emancipation. Some indicate the belief that the President thinks the alternatives are subjugation or abolition, and is preparing the way for the latter. The Enquirer is averse to conscribing editors between the ages of eighteen and forty-five. The editor says it would be a violation of the Constitution, etc. We all believe Lincoln has been easily re-elected. It is supposed Grant will soon receive large accessions from Sheridan's army, and make another attempt to take Richmond.  It will be the most formidable attempt, and will be the most formidably resisted. A row between Gen. Kemper and Gen. Preston: latter refers papers directly to Col. Shields, Gen. K.'s subordinate. Gen. K. asks to be relieved: Secretary Seddon agrees to it, taking sides with the Bureau of Conscription. But the President does not (yet) agree to it, asks investigation of Gen. K.'s complaints, etc.; and so it rests at the present. The Assistant Secretary of War, his son-in-law Lieut.-Col. Lay, etc. etc. are all on the side of the Bureau of Conscription; but I suspect the President is on the other side. My opinion is that unless the Bureau of Conscription be abolished or renovated, our cause will fare badly. The President states his suspicions of “malpractice” in his indorsement. Much cheering has been heard this morning in the enemy's lines --over election news, probably: whether McClellan's or Lincoln's success, no one here knows; but no doubt the latter.
November 10Warm; rain and wind (south) all night. Quiet below. One of the enemy's pickets said to one of ours, last night, that Warren's corps had voted unanimously for McClellan, and that New York City has given a majority of 40,000 for him. This is hardly reliable. Mr. Foote offered a resolution, yesterday, condemning the President's suggestion that editors be put in the ranks as well as other classes. Now I think the President's suggestion will be adopted, as Mr. Foote is unfortunate in his resolutions. Mr. Barksdale (President's friend) had it easily referred to the Committee on Military Affairs. Hon. J. A. Gilmer, North Carolina, is applying for many passports through the lines for people in his district. He applies to Judge Campbell. Coal is selling at $90 per load, twenty-five bushels. The vote referring Foote's resolution (on the exemption of editors) was passed unanimously, which is regarded as favoring the President's recommendation. Mr. Foote had denounced the President as a despot. Bought two excellent knit undershirts, to-day, of a woman who gets her supplies from passing soldiers. Being washed, etc., they bore no evidences of having been worn, except two small round holes in the body. Such are the straits to which we are reduced.  I paid $15 each; the price for new ones, of inferior quality, is $50 a piece.
November 11Clear and pleasant. All quiet. No doubt, from the indications, Lincoln has been re-elected. Now preparations must be made for the further “conflict of opposing forces.” All our physical power must be exerted, else all is lost. Mr. Sparrow, Louisiana, chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs, introduced a measure, yesterday, in the Senate, which, if consummated, might put all our able-bodied men in the field. It would equalize prices of the necessaries of life, and produce a panic among the speculators. I append it. But, probably, the press will have to be suppressed, “as a war measure,” too, to pass it:
We are now tending rapidly, under fearful exigencies, to the absolutism which, in a republic, alone can summon the full forces into the field. Power must be concentrated, and wielded with promptitude and precision, else we shall fail to achieve our independence. All obstructions in the way of necessary war measures must be speedily removed, or the finances, and the war itself, will speedily come to an ignominious end. The Secretary recommends, and the President orders, that Gen. Bragg be assigned to the command of North Carolina. The President yields; Bragg is “given up.”  The Richmond Enquirer is out, to-day, in an article advocating the employment of 250,000 negroes in our army.
November 12Bright and pleasant. The rumor is revived that Mr. Seddon will resign. If he really does resign, I shall regard it as a bad sign. He must despair of the Republic; but, then, his successor may be a man of greater energy and knowledge of war. We are destitute of news, with an awful silence between the armies. We believe this cannot last long, and we know Grant has a great superiority of numbers. And he knows our weakness; for the government will persist in keeping “at the front” local defense troops, smarting under a sense of wrong, some of whom are continually deserting. The money-changers and speculators, who have lavished their bribes, are all in their places, preying upon the helpless women and children; while the clerks — the permanence of whose tenure of office was guaranteed by the Constitution — are still kept in the trenches, and their families, many of them refugees, are suffering in destitution. But Mr. Seddon says they volunteered. This is not candid. They were told by Mr. Memminger and others that, unless they volunteered, the President had decided their dismissal --when conscription into the army followed, of course!
November 13Bright and cold; ice on the porch. All quiet below, save the booming of bombs every night from our iron-clads, thrown at the workmen in the canal. There is a dispatch from the West, relating to Gen. Forrest's operations in Tennessee, understood to be good news. I did not wait to see, knowing the papers will have it to-morrow. Mr. Hunter was with Mr. Secretary Seddon, as usual, this Sunday morning, begging him not to resign. This is flattery to Mr. Seddon.
November 14Clear and cold. Lincoln is re-elected, and has called for a million of men! This makes many of our croaking people despondent; others think it only a game of brag. I saw the President to-day in earnest conversation with several members of Congress, standing in the street. It is not often he descends from his office to this mode of conference. Some one of the family intimating that stains of blood were on  my undershirts (second hand), I was amused to see Mrs. J. lifting them with the tongs. They have been thoroughly washed, and prove to be a first-rate article. I am proud of them, for they are truly comfortable garments. Gen. Forrest is doing wonders in Tennessee, as the appended dispatch from Gen. Beauregard shows,
November 15Fair and cold; ice. Quiet below; rumors of further successes in the Southwest, but not official. Congress did nothing of interest yesterday in open session, but spent most of its time in secret session. There will probably be stringent martial law, for the strong hand of unlimited power will be required to correct abuses, repress discontent, and bring into the field the whole military strength of the Confederacy. The large majorities for Lincoln in the United States clearly indicate a purpose to make renewed efforts to accomplish our destruction. It is now contradicted that Lincoln has called for 1,000,000 men. Three P. M. Cloudy, and threatening snow. An attack upon the city seems to be apprehended. All men must now have passes from Mr. Carrington, Provost Marshal, or be liable to arrest in the street. Such are the changes, indicating panic on the part of official dignitaries.
November 16Bright and frosty. This is the day designated by the President for worship, etc., and the offices and places of business are all closed. It is like Sunday, with an occasional report of cannon down the river. I doubt whether the clerks in the trenches will pray for the President. Compelled to volunteer under a threat of removal, they were assured that they would only be called out in times of great  urgency, and then be returned to their offices in a few days. They have now been in the front trenches several months; while the different secretaries are quietly having their kinsmen and favorites detailed back to their civil positions, the poor and friendless are still “left out in the cold.” Many of these have refugee families dependent on them, while those brought in are mostly rich, having sought office merely to avoid service in the field. The battalion, numbering 700, has less than 200 now in the trenches. Hundreds of the local forces, under a sense of wrong, have deserted to the enemy. Gen. Breckinridge has beaten the enemy at Bull's Gap, Tenn., taking several hundred prisoners, 6 guns, etc. Mr. Hunter was at the department early this morning in quest of news. Gave $75 for a load of coal. Messrs. Evans & Cogswell, Columbia, S. C., have sent me some of their recent publications: “A Manual of Military Surgery, by I. Julian Chisolm, M. D., 3d edition ;” “Digest of the military and naval laws,” by Lester & Bromwell; “Duties of a Judge Advocate, etc.” by Capt R. C. Gilchrist; and “A map of East Virginia and North Carolina;” all beautifully printed and bound.
November 17-Dark and dismal — threatening rain or snow. Quiet below; but we have no papers to-day, yesterday being holiday. It is rumored that Gen. Sheridan (Federal) is sailing from Washington to reinforce Grant, and that Gen. Early is marching hitherward from the Valley. There may be renewed operations against Richmond, or Grant may penetrate North Carolina. No one knows what will happen a month or a week hence. Mr. Hunter was again with Mr. Seddon this morning. Governor Smith's exemption mill is yet grinding out exemptions, sometimes fifty per day. Constables, department clerks, and sheriffs, commonwealth's attorneys, commissioners of the revenue, ec. etc., who win his favor, get his certificate of exemption, as necessary for the State administration. A dispatch from Gen. Wheeler, Jonesborough, November 14th, says Sherman has three corps at Atlanta, and is destroying railroads between him and Marietta, probably intending to move forward-farther South.  Another dispatch from Gen. W., dated 14th inst., Lovejoy's, Georgia, says scouts from enemy's rear report that Sherman left Atlanta yesterday morning, with 15th, 17th, and 21st corps, in two columns, one on the Jonesborough, and one on the McDonough Roads-cavalry on his flanks. Many houses have been burned in Rome, Marietta, and Atlanta, and the railroad bridge over Chattanooga River (in his rear) Enemy advancing this morning. To Gen. Bragg. Twelve M. Still another dispatch from Gen. Wheeler to Gen. Bragg, dated Jonesborough, 3 P. M., 15th inst. “Enemy advanced early this morning with infantry, cavalry, artillery, and wagonshave driven our cavalry back upon this place-strength not yet ascertained, etc.” Still another dispatch:
The dispatches from Gen. Weeler have produced no little commotion in the War Office. Gen. J. E. Johnston's report of his Georgia campaign concludes by asserting that he did intend to defend Atlanta; that he retreated before overwhelming numbers; that the President did not favor him with any directions; that Lee retreated before Grant, and everybody praised him for it; that Gen. Hood professed to be his friend, when seeking his removal, or cognizant of the purpose to remove him; and that the vituperation heaped upon him in certain papers seemed to have Executive authorization at Richmond. The President indorses this growlingly; that it all differs with his understanding of the facts at the time, etc.
November 18Bright, calm, and pleasant. All quiet below, save our bombardment of Dutch Gap Canal. The Senate passed a resolution yesterday, calling on the President for a statement of the number of exemptions granted by the Governors. This will, perhaps, startle Governor Smith, of Virginia, who has already kept out of the army at least a thousand.  Perhaps it will hit Governor Brown, of Georgia, also; but Sherman will hit him hardest. He must call out all his fighting people now, or see his State ravaged with impunity. Both Houses of Congress sit most of the time in secret session, no doubt concocting strong measures under the influence of the existing crisis. Good news only can throw open the doors, and restore the hilarity of the members. When not in session, they usually denounce the President; in session, they are wholly subservient to him. Hon. R. L. Montague has written to the Secretary of War, on behalf of the entire Virginia delegation, requesting a suspension of the impressment of slaves until further legislation by Congress; what that legislation will be, the President might tell, if he would. A dispatch from Gen. Wheeler, dated to-day, 12 miles from Forsyth, states that Sherman advances by the most direct route toward Macon, Ga. My wife presented me to-day an excellent pocket-handkerchief, my old ones being honey-combed and unfit for another washing. Upon inquiry (since the cost of a single handkerchief is now $20), I ascertained it to be a portion of one of my linen shirts bought in London in 1846. We have now 200 pounds of flour in the house; 1 bushel meal; 1 bushel sweet potatoes; 1 bushel Irish potatoes; 3 half pecks white beans; 4 pumpkins; 10 pounds beef; 2 pounds butter, and 3 pounds sugar, with salt, etc. This seems like moderate stores for a family of seven, but it is a larger supply than we ever had before, and will suffice for a month. At the market price, they would cost $620. Add to this 1 1/2 loads coal and a quarter cord of wood — the first at $75, the last at $80-the total is $762.50. This sum in ordinary times, and in specie, would subsist my family twelve months.
November 19Rained all night, and still rains. All quiet below, save the occasional bomb thrown by our iron-clads. Gen. and Hon. R. K. Wright, of Georgia, is said to have gone to Washington to negotiate a peace for Georgia. A dispatch from Gen. Wheeler, dated yesterday, 12 miles from Forsyth, says: “I think definite orders should be sent to officers in command here, as to the line of policy to be pursuedlarly  as to defending Macon, Augusta, or Columbus. If not to be defended, government stores should be removed, on enemy's approach, if possible. An officer should be sent to command everything, who knows the views, wishes, and plans of the government.” I think so too! The papers think that Grant is about to try again to force his way into Richmond, as soon as the weather will permit. We had a delicious treat of persimmons to-night — a quart bought for a dollar. They were delicious, and we enjoyed them hugely. Also a quart of apples, for which we paid a dollar.
Sunday, November 20Rained all night — raining this morning. A dispatch from Gen. Wheeler, 18th, at Forsyth, Ga., says: “The enemy rapidly advancing.” It is said Gov. Brown has called out the men en masse. I think Sherman is in danger. Mr. Foote made what is called “a compromise speech” in Congress yesterday. But although there is vacillation in the government, no compromise measures will be tolerated yet — if ever. Everything still depends upon events in the field. I think the government at Washington and the people of the United States are very weary of the war, and that peace of some sort must ensue. We shall be recognized by European powers upon the first symptoms of exhaustion in the United States; and there soon will be such symptoms, if we can only keep up a determined resistance. Besides, the seizure of our cruiser Florida in a neutral port (Brazil) will furnish a pretext for a quarrel with the United States by the maritime powers. I am amused by our fireside conversations at night. They relate mostly to the savory dishes we once enjoyed, and hope to enjoy again. Gen. Butler's speech in New York, suggesting that the rebels be allowed a last chance for submission, and failing to embrace it, that their lands be divided among the Northern soldiers, has a maddening effect upon our people.
November 21Wet, dark, and dismal. Quiet below. In Congress, Mr. Staples, of Virginia, unfortunately exhibited a statement obtained from the Bureau of Conscription, to the effect that while 1400 State officers, etc. were exempted in Virginia, there were 14,000 in North Carolina. This produced acrimonious  debate, Which is not the end of it, I fear. I don't believe the statement. Gov. Smith, of Virginia, is exempting a full share of constables, etc. etc. The Bureau of Conscription strikes, perhaps, at Gen. Bragg, a North Carolinian. It is not the end. An anonymous letter to Gov. Bonham states that Capt. Hugener and all his officers at Fort Sumter are drunkards or gamblers, and that the place is in great danger. Gov. B. sends the letter to the President, who directs the Secretary of War to make inquiry, etc. Perhaps it will be done in time-since the fall of Plymouth. Gold, to-day, brings $40 for $1. Oak wood sells to-day at $100 per cord. A large amount of apple-brandy has been made this year. A lady, whose husband is a prisoner in the North, writes to the Secretary, asking the release of her apple-brandy (in Virginia) from the clutches of the impressing officer. She and her daughters had distilled 500 gallons, upon which they depended to procure other supplies, etc. Brandy is selling at $75 per gallon--37,500. Pretty well for the old woman and her three daughters! Apples are worth $100 per barrel; but the currency (Confederate) is nearly worthless.
November 22Rained in torrents last night; cold this morning and cloudy. All quiet below. But there was an alarm, night before last, growing out of a stampede of some 50 of the enemy's beeves. They charged upon our line, regardless of the fire of cannon and musketry, and were all captured after penetrating our works. Brave cattle! Gov. Vance writes that if Wilmington be attacked by a large force in the rear of Fort Fisher, its fall is inevitable, unless two brigades of veteran troops be sent from Gen. Lee's army. He says the defense of Wilmington is as important as that of Richmond. The President directs the Secretary of War to communicate with Gen. Lee on the subject. We learn that Gen. Grant is on a visit to his family at Burlington, N. J.; and yet the departmental troops (clerks) are still kept in the trenches. It is said the President's family keep them there by the most imploring appeals to Gen. Lee, and that the President himself does not feel altogether safe while the Federal army is so near him. His house is on the side of the city most exposed, if a  sudden attack were made, of which, however, there seems to be no danger at present. Several brigades of Gen. Early's troops have arrived from the Valley. Gold sells to-day at $42 for $1. And it rises in the United States. This produces trepidation in the cabinet. Snowed a few few minutes to-day, 4 P. M. The clouds are breaking-cold. What appetites we have! Shin-soup and bean-soup alternately are relished with shark-like appetites.
November 23Snowed last night three inches. Clear and cold this morning; ground frozen. Had a dream last night — that meeting a few men in my wood and coal-house, I nominated R. Tyler for the Presidency, and it was well received. I must tell this to Mr. T. I narrated my dream to Mr. T. Before I left, he said a clerkship was at the disposal of my son Thomas; but Thomas is clerk in the conscription service, getting rations, etc. etc., better than the $4000 per annum. But still that dream may be realized. He is the son of President Tyler. deceased. John Mitchel is now editor of the Examiner, and challenged Mr. Foote yesterday-the note was borne by Mr. Swan, of Tennessee, Mr. Foote's colleague. Mr. Foote would not receive it; and Mr. S. took offense and assaulted Mr. F. in his own house, when Mrs. F. interposed and beat Mr. S. away. Gen. Winder has been appointed, by Gen. Cooper, commander of all prisons east of the Mississippi. Gen. Winder has been made Commissary-General of all prisons and prisoners of war. The Bureau of Conscription is yet sustained in power. All this is done by Gen. Cooper,--unwise, probably fatal measures!
November 24Clear and frosty. Ice half an inch thick this morning. All quiet below. Col. St. John, Niter and Mining Bureau, required 13,000 men to furnish ammunition, etc. Col. Northrop, Commissary-General, reports only 15 days bread rations in Richmond for 100,000 men, and that we must rely upon supplies hereafter from the Carolinas and Virginia alone. The difficulty is want of adequate transportation, of course. The speculators and railroad companies being in partnership, very naturally  exclude the government from the track. The only remedy, the only salvation, in my opinion, is for the government to take exclusive control of the railroads, abate speculation, and change most. of the quartermasters and commissaries. Hon. J. B. Clarke proposed a resolution of inquiry in the House of Representatives, which was adopted, calling for the number and name of employees in the departments, and the State they were appointed from. Virginia has more than half of them. Gen. Cooper, the Adjutant-General, Northern by birth, turned out twenty of his eighty clerks yesterday, to replace them with ladies. It is said and believed that Sherman's cavalry has reached Milledgeville, and destroyed the public buildings, etc. We have nothing from Wheeler since the 18th inst.
November 25Bright and frosty. A report from the Bureau of Conscription shows after all that only some 3000 men have been sent to the army during the last two months, under General Order 77, revoking details, etc. I don't wonder, for there has been the natural confusion consequent upon a conflict of authority between Gen. Kemper and the Bureau of Conscription. About as many details have been made by the one authority as have been enrolled by the other.
November 26Clear and frosty. The following dispatch was received to-day from Gen. Bragg:
When I carried this dispatch to the Secretary I found him sitting in close conference with Mr. Hunter, both with rather lugubrious faces.  Another dispatch from Bragg:
The President orders detail of fifty men for express company. Ifeared so!
November 27Cloudy and warmer; slight rain. Nothing from Bragg this morning. Nothing from below the city. When I entered the Secretary's room this morning, I found him as grave as usual. L. Q. Washington, son of Peter Washington, once a clerk under President Tyler (and he still remains in the United States), and grandson of Lund Washington, who, we learn by one of the published letters of Gen. Washington, was his overseer, with no traceable relationship to his family, was seated with him. He is chief clerk to Mr. Benjamin, a sinecure position in the State Department. He was placed there by Mr. Hunter, after writing a series of communications for the Examiner, as Mr. Pollard informed me, denunciatory of Mr. Stephens, Vice-President Con. federate States. Mr. Kean and Mr. Shepherd, the clean chief clerk, were also present, enjoying the Hon. Secretary's confidence. They are all comparatively young men, whom the Secretary has not assigned to positions in the field, although men are alone wanted to achieve independence. They were discussing a resolution of Congress, calling for the names, ages, etc. of the civil and military officers employed by the Secretary in Richmond, or it might have been the subject of the removal of the government, or the chances of success, etc., or the President's appointment of Gen. Bragg to command the army in Georgia, or Mr. Hunter's prospects for the Presidency. No matter what. It is a dismal day, and a settled vexation is on the faces of many of the officials. But if the time should come for flight, etc., I predict  many will have abundance of funds in Europe. The quartermasters, commissaries, etc. will take care of themselves by submission. The railroad companies have already taken care of themselves by their partnership with the speculators. The express company bribes all branches of the government, and I fear it has obliged some of the members of the President's military or domestic family. By a report from the Niter and Mining Bureau, it appears that thirteen furnaces of the thirty odd in Virginia have ceased operations. Several have been destroyed by the enemy; the ore and fuel of others have become exhausted; and those in blast threaten to cease work for want of hands, the men being put in the army.
November 28Calm and warm; clouds and sunshine, without wind. All quiet below. It is reported that one of our picket boats in the James River deserted last night. It is said the crew overpowered the officers and put them ashore, and then the boat rowed down to the enemy. I am informed by Capt. Warner that there are 12,000 graves of Federal prisoners at Andersonville, Ga. That climate is fatal to them; but the government cannot feed them here, and the enemy won't exchange. A dispatch from Gen. Bragg:
Augusta, November 27th, 1864.-We have lost communication with the front. A small cavalry raid cut the Savannah Railroad and telegraph, this morning, at Brier Creek, twenty-six miles from here. Gen. Wheeler was, yesterday, confronting the enemy's infantry at Sandersville. An officer, who left Macon on the 23d, states that one corps of the enemy was still confronting us there; our force not exceeding 5000, nearly all militia. The force here, including all available reserves, does not exceed 6000 effectives: only one battery. I am not yet advised from Charleston and Savannah, but know the means are small. Neither point could long resist the enemy's whole force; hence my remarks about concentration. Gen. Hardee has gone to Savannah, Wheeler will continue to confront and harass the enemy. I have not learned the strength of his command. He estimates the enemy's force at about 30,000.Gen. Beauregard has published a short proclamation, saying  he will soon arrive to the rescue in Georgia. Here, then, will be war between the two B.'s-Bragg and Beauregard; and the President will be as busy as a bee. Meantime, Sherman may possess the land at pleasure. A long letter (twenty-five pages) from Gov. Brown, Georgia, came to hand to-day, combating, in replication, one from the Secretary relating to calling out all the militia of Georagia, etc. State rights and the Constitution are discussed in extenso, and many a hard blow is aimed at the President. The Governor regards the Secretary as merely the instrument or head clerk of the President, whom he sneers at occasionally. But he denounces as vile the President himself, and refuses to obey the call What he will do with the militia must soon be known, for Sherman is there. A great stir among the officers on bureau and department duty in Richmond! Congress has called on the President for a list of all commissioned officers here, their ages, etc., and how many of them are fit for duty in the field. This will be dodged, of course, if possible.
November 29Clear, and warm as summer almost. Another dispatch from Bragg:
Augusta, November 28th, 1864.-On the 26th instant, the enemy started a heavy cavalry force in this direction, from his main body near Sandersville; Gen. Wheeler promptly following, leaving a portion of his force to confront Sherman. Kilpatrick reached vicinity of Waynesborough yesterday, where Wheeler overtook and attacked him. A runnTng fight has continued to this time; the advantage with us. We are driving them toward Millen. Young's command has just arrived, and will go forward to Wheeler, who will, I hope, be able to mount most of them from his captures. Devastation marks the enemy's route. Hear nothing from the movements of the enemy's infantry, since Wheeler left their front. I fear they may cross the Savannah, and make for Beaufort. It is perfectly practicable.The number of deserters, under General Order 65, received here and sent to Abingdon, Va., is 1224 men. Senator Waldo P. Johnson, Missouri, told me he would move, to-day, to allow the civil officers, etc. to buy rations and clothes of government, at schedule prices. This would be better than an increase of salary.  No movements below, to-day, that I hear of. Gen. Jos. E. Johnston was at the department to-day, and was warmly greeted by his friends. If Sherman's campaign should be a success, Johnston will be a hero; if the reverse, he will sink to rise no more. A sad condition, for one's greatness to depend upon calamity to his country!
November 30Clear, and warm as summer. No fires. It is reported that Gen. Hood is still marching North, and is near Nashville. The following telegrams were received this morning:
The following items were in the papers this morning: