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Vii. October, 1861

October 1

I find that only a few hundred alien enemies departed from the country under the President's proclamation, allowing them forty days, from the 16th of August, to make their arrangements; but under the recent order of Mr. Benjamin, if I may judge from the daily applications, there will be a large emigration. The persons now going belong to a different class of people: half of them avowing themselves friendly to our cause, and desiring egress through our lines on the Potomac, or in the West, to avoid being published as alien enemies going under flag [83] of truce via Norfolk and Fortress Monroe. Many of them declare a purpose to return.

October 2

A day or two ago Col. Bledsoe, who visits me now very seldom, sent an order by Mr. Brooks for me to furnish a list of the names of alien enemies for publication. This was complied with cheerfully; and these publications have produced some excitement in the community.

October 3

The President not having taken any steps in the matter, I have no alternative but to execute the order of the Secretary.

October 4

Sundry applications were made to-day to leave the country under flag of truce, provided I would not permit the names to be published. The reason for this request is that these persons have connections here who might be compromised. I refused compliance. In one or two instances they intimated that they would not have their names published for thousands of dollars. My response to this was such as to cause them to withdraw their applications.

October 5

To-day several Southern-born gentlemen, who have lived long in the North, and have their fortunes and families there, applied for passports. They came hither to save the investments of their parents in Northern securities, by having them transferred to their children. This seems legitimate, and some of the parties are old and valued friends of mine. I know their sympathies are with their native land. Yet why are they so late in coming? I know not. It is for me to send them out of the country, for such is the order of the Secretary of War. The loyalty of the connections of these gentlemen is vouched for in a note (on file) written by Mr. Hunter, Secretary of State. Their names must be published as alien enemies. They will take no part in the war.

October 6

Nothing of importance.

October 7

Nothing of note.

October 8

Mr. Gustavus Myers, a lawyer of this city, seems to take an active interest in behalf of parties largely engaged in business at Baltimore. And he has influence with the Secretary, for he generally carries his points over my head. The parties he engineers beyond our lines may possibly do us no harm; but I learn they certainly do themselves much good by their successful speculations. And do they not take gold and other property [84] to the North, and thereby defeat the object of the sequestration act? The means thus abstracted from the South will certainly be taxed by the North to make war on us.

October 9

Contributions of clothing, provisions, etc. are coming in large quantities; sometimes to the amount of $20,000 in a single day.

Never was there such a patriotic people as ours! Their blood and their wealth are laid upon the altar of their country with enthusiasm.

I must say here that the South Carolinians are the gentlest people I ever met with. They accede to every requisition with cheerfulness; and never have I known an instance where any one of them has used subterfuge to evade a rule, however hard it might bear upon them. They are the soul of honor, truth, and patriotism.

October 10

A victory — but not in the East. I expect none here while there is such a stream of travel flowing Northward. It was in Missouri, at Lexington. Gen. Price has captured the town and made several thousand prisoners, whom he dismissed on parole.

October 11

And Wise has had bloody fighting with Rosecrans in Western Virginia. He can beat the enemy at fighting; but they beat him at manoeuvring, with the use of the guides Gen. Winder has sent them from our prisons here.

October 12

Col. Wright has had a race with the Yankees on the North Carolina coast. They fled to their works before his single regiment with such precipitation as to leave many of their arms and men behind. We lost but one man: and he was fat, broke his wind, and died in the pursuit, October 13TH.-Another little success, but not in this vicinity. Gen. Anderson, of South Carolina, in the night crossed to Santa Rosa Island and cut up Billy Wilson's regiment of New York cutthroats and thieves; under the very guns of Fort Pickens.

October 14

Kissing goes by favor! Col. M — r, of Maryland, whose published letter of objuration of the United States Government attracted much attention some time since, is under the ban. He came hither and tendered his services to this government, but failed to get the employment applied for, though his application was urged by Mr. Hunter, the Secretary of State, who [85] is his relative. After remaining here for a long time, vainly hoping our army would cross the Potomac and deliver his native State, and finding his finances diminishing, he sought permission of the Secretary to return temporarily to his family in Maryland, expecting to get them away and to save some portion of his effects. His fidelity was vouched for in strong language by Mr. Hunter, and yet the application has been refused! I infer from this that Mr. Benjamin is omnipotent in the cabinet, and that Mr. Hunter cannot remain long in it.

October 15

I have been requested by Gen. Winder to-day to refuse a passport to Col. M — r to leave the city in any direction. So the colonel is within bounds I learn that he differed with Gen. Winder (both from Maryland) in politics. But if he was a Whig, so was Mr. Benjamin. Again, I hear that Col. M. had some difficulty with Col. Northrop, Commissary-General, and challenged him. This is a horse of another color. Col. N. is one of the special favorites of the President.

October 16

Col. M. applied to me to-day for a passport to Maryland, bringing a strong letter from Mr. Hunter, and also a note from Col. Bledsoe, Chief of the Bureau of War. He seemed thunderstruck when I informed him that Gen. Winder had obtained an order from the Secretary of War to detain him. A few moments after Gen. Winder came with a couple of his detectives (all from Baltimore) and arrested him. Subsequently he was released on parole of honor, not to leave the city without Gen. Winder's permission. I apprehend bad consequences from this proceeding. It may prevent other high-toned Marylanders from espousing our side of this contest.

October 17

Hurlbut has been released from prison. Mr. Hunter has a letter (intercepted) from Raymond, editor of the New York Times, addressed to him since the battle of Manassas.

October 18

I cannot perceive that our army increasas much in strength, particularly in Virginia. The enemy have now over 660,000 in the field in various places, and seem to be preparing for a simultaneous advance.

It is said millions of securities, the property of the enemy, are transferred to the United States. It is even intimated that the men engaged in this business have the protection of men in high [86] positions on both sides. Can it be possible that we have men in power who are capable of taking bribes from the enemy? If so, God help the country!

October 19

Col. Ashby with 600 men routed a force of 1000 Yankees, the other day, near Harper's Ferry. That is the cavalry again! The spies here cannot inform the enemy of the movements of our mounted men, which are always made with celerity.

October 20

A lady, just from Washington, after striving in vain to procure an interview with the Secretary of War, left with me the programme of the enemy's contemplated movements. She was present with the family of Gen. Dix at a party, and heard their purposes disclosed. They meditate an advance immediately, with 200,000 men. The head of Banks's column is to cross near Leesburg; and when over, a movement upon our flank is intended from the vicinity of Arlington Heights. This is truly a formidable enterprise, if true. We have not 70,000 effective men in Northern Virginia. The lady is in earnest-and remains here.

I wrote down the above information and sent it to the President; and understood that dispatches were transmitted immediately to Gen. Johnston, by telegraph.

The lady likewise spoke of a contemplated movement by sea with gun-boats, to be commanded by Burnside, Butler, etc.

In the evening I met Mr. Hunter, and told him the substance of the information brought by the lady. He seemed much interested, for he knows the calm we have been enjoying bodes no good; and he apprehends that evil will grow out of the order of the Secretary of War, permitting all who choose to call themselves alien enemies to leave the Confederacy. While we were speaking (in the street) Mr. Benjamin came up, and told me he had seen the letter I sent to the President. He said, moreover, that he did not doubt the enemy intended to advance as set forth in the programme.

October 21

The enemy's papers represent that we have some 80,000 men in Kentucky, and this lulls us from vigilance and effort in Virginia. The Secretary of War knows very well that we have not 30,000 there, and that we are not likely to have more. We supposed Kentucky would rise. The enemy knows this fact as well as we do; nevertheless, it has been his practice from the [87] beginning to exaggerate our numbers. It lulls us into fancied security.

October 22

We have news of a victory at Leesburg. It appears that the head of one of the enemy's columns, 8000 strong, attempted a passage of the Potomac yesterday, at that point pursuant to the programme furnished by the lady from Washington. That point had been selected by the enemy because the spies had reported that there were only three Confederate regiments there. But crossing a river in boats in the face of a few Southern regiments, is no easy matter. And this being the People's War, although Gen. Evans, in command, had received orders to fall back if the enemy came in force, our troops decided for themselves to fight before retreating. Therefore, when seven or eight regiments of Yankees landed on this side of the river, two or three of our regiments advanced and fired into them with terrible effect. Then they charged; and ere long such a panic was produced,that the enemy rushed in disorder into the river, crowding their boats so much that several went to the bottom, carrying down hundreds. The result was that the head of the serpent received a tremendous bruising, and the whole body recoiled from the scene of disaster. We had only some 1500 men engaged, and yet captured 1600 muskets; and the enemy's loss, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, amounted to 2000 men. This battle was fought, in some respects, by the privates alone-much of the time without orders, and often without officers.

October 23

The President is highly delighted at the result of the battle of Leesburg; and yet some of the red-tape West Point gentry are indignant at Gen. Evans for not obeying orders, and falling back. There is some talk of a court-martial; for it is maintained that no commander, according to strict military rules, should have offered battle against such superior numbers. They may disgrace Gen. Evans; but I trust our soldiers will repeat the experiment on every similar occasion.

October 24

We made a narrow escape; at least, we have a respite. If the Yankee army had advanced with its 200,000 men, they would not have encountered more than 70,000 fighting Confederate soldiers between the Potomac and Richmond. It was our soldiers (neither the officers nor the government) that saved us; and they fought contrary to rule, and even in opposition [88] to orders. Of course our officers at Leesburg did their duty manfully; nevertheless, the soldiers had determined to fight, officers or no officers.

But as the man in the play said, “it will suffice.” The Yankees are a calculating people: and if 1500 Mississippians and Virginians at Leesburg were too many for 8000 Yankees, what could 200,000 Yankees do against 70,000 Southern soldiers? It made them pause, and give up the idea of taking Richmond this year. But the enemy will fight better every successive year; and this should not be lost sight of. They, too, are Anglo-Saxons.

October 25

Gen. Price, of Missouri, is too popular, and there is a determination on the part of the West Pointers to “kill him off.” I fear he will gain no more victories.

October 26

Immense amounts of patriotic contributions, in clothing and provisions, are daily registered.

October 27

Still the Jews are going out of the country and returning at pleasure. They deplete the Confederacy of coin, and sell their goods at 500 per cent. profit. They pay no duty; and Mr. Memminger has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in this way.

The press everywhere is thundering against the insane policy of permitting all who avow themselves enemies to return to the North; and I think Mr. B. is beginning to wince under it. I tremble when I reflect that those who made the present government, and the one to succeed it, did not represent one-third of the people composing the inhabitants of the Confederate States.

October 28

The most gigantic naval preparations have been made by the enemy; and they must strike many blows on the coast this fall and winter. They are building great numbers of gun-boats, some of them iron-clad, both for the coast and for the Western rivers. If they get possession of the Mississippi River, it will be a sad day for the Confederacy. And what are we doing? We have many difficulties to contend against; and there is a deficiency in artisans and material. Nevertheless, the government is constructing a monster at Norfolk, and several similar floating batteries in the West. But we neglect to construct casemated batteries! Our fortifications, without them, must fall before the iron ships of the enemy. The battle of Manassas has given us a long exemption from the fatigues and horrors of war; but this calm will be succeeded by a storm.


October 29

The election to take place during the ensuing month creates no excitement. There will be less than a moiety of the whole vote cast; and Davis and Stephens will be elected without opposition. No disasters have occurred yet to affect the popularity of any of the great politicians; and it seems no risks will be run. The battle of Manassas made everybody popular — and especially Gen. Beauregard. If he were a candidate, I am pretty certain he would be elected.

October 30

I understand a dreadful quarrel is brewing between Mr. Benjamin and Gen. Beauregard. Gen. B. being the only individual ever hinted at as an opponent of Mr. Davis for the Presidency, the Secretary of War fights him on vantageground, and likewise commends himself to the President. Van Buren was a good politician in his day, and so is Mr. Benjamin in his way. I hope these dissensions may expend themselves without injury to the country.

October 31

Mr. Benjamin, it is understood, will be a candidate for a seat in the C. S. Senate. And I have learned from several members of the Louisiana legislature that he will be defeated. They charge him with hob-nobbing too much with Northern friends; and say that he still retains membership in several clubs in New York and Boston.

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