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Xlii. September, 1864

September 1

Clear, bright, and cool.

The intelligence from the North indicates that Gen. McClellan will be nominated for the Presidency. Judge Campbell, Assistant Secretary of War, shakes his head, and says he is not the right man. Our people take a lively interest in the proceedings of the Chicago Convention, hoping for a speedy termination of the war.

Senator Johnson, of Missouri, has a project of taxation for the extinguishment of the public debt — a sweeping taxation, amounting [276] to one-half the value of the real and personal estate of the Confederate States. He got me to commit his ideas to writing, which I did, and they will be published.

Gen. Kemper told me to-day that there were 40,000 able-bodied men in Virginia now detailed.

There is a project on the tapis of introducing lady clerks into this bureau-all of them otherwise able to subsist themselveswhile the poor refugees, who have suffered most, are denied places. Even the President named one to-day, Mrs. Ford, who, of course, will be appointed.

September 2

Bright, and cool, and dry.

It is reported that a battle has occurred at Atlanta; but I have seen no official confirmation of it.

It is rumored that Gen. McClellan has been nominated by the Chicago Convention for President, and Fernando Wood for Vice-President. There is some interest felt by our people in the proceedings of this convention, and there is a hope that peace candidates may be nominated and elected.

Senator Johnson (Missouri) told me to-day that he had seen Mrs. Vaughan (wife of our Gen. V.), just from the United States, where she had been two months; and she declares it as her belief that Gen. McClellan will be elected, if nominated, and that he is decidedly for peace. She says the peace party would take up arms to put an end to Lincoln's sanguinary career, but that it is thought peace can be soonest restored by the ballot-box.

The President to-day arrested the rush of staff appointments.

To-day an old gentleman, after an interview with Mr. Secretary --, said he might be a good man, an honest man; but he certainly had a “most villainous face.”

September 3

Slight rain in the morning.

There is an ugly rumor on the streets to-day-disaster to Gen. Hood, and the fall of Atlanta. I cannot trace it to an authentic source; and, if true, the telegraph operatives must have divulged it.

A dispatch from Petersburg states that there is much cheering in Grant's army for McClellan, the nominee of the Chicago Convention for the Presidency.

I think the resolutions of the convention amount to a defiance of President Lincoln, and that their ratification meetings will inaugurate civil war. [277]

The President has called upon the Governor of Alabama for the entire militia of the State, to be mustered into the service for the defense of the States. It is dated September 1st, and will include all exempted by the Conscription Bureau as farmers. Every farm has its exempted or detailed man under bonds to supply meat, etc.

I incline to the belief that Hood has met with disaster at Atlanta. If so, every able-bodied man in that State will be hunted up for its defense, unless, indeed, the Union party should be revived there.

There will be a new clamor against the President, for removing Johnston, and for not putting Beauregard in his place.

But we may get aid from the North, from their civil dissensions. If Lincoln could precipitate 500,000 additional men upon us now, we should be compelled to give back at all points. But this he cannot do. And the convention at Chicago did not adjourn sine die, and may be called again at any time to exercise other functions than the mere nomination of candidates, etc.

September 4


Atlanta has fallen, and our army has retreated some thirty miles; such is Hood's dispatch, received last night.

The cheering in Grant's camp yesterday was over that event. We have not had sufficient generalship and enterprise to destroy Sherman's communications.

Some 40,000 landowners, and the owners of slaves, are at their comfortable homes, or in comfortable offices, while the poor and ignorant are relied upon to achieve independence! and these, very naturally, disappoint the President's expectations on momentous occasions.

September 5

Clear and warm.

Gen. Lee has called for 2000 negroes (to be impressed) to work on the Petersburg fortifications. Gen. Lee has been here two days, giving his advice, which I hope may be taken. He addresses Gen. Bragg as “commanding armies C. S.” This ought to be an example for others to follow.

The loss of Atlanta is a stunning blow.

I am sick to-day-having been swollen by beans, or rather cowpeas.

September 6

Raining moderately, and cool, [278]

Gen. Bragg has taken the Bureau of Conscription in hand, since Col. August, “acting superintendent,” wrote him a “disrespectful and insubordinate” note. He required a report of the officers in the bureau, from Lieut.-Col. Lay, “Acting Superintendent,” --there have been three “acting superintendents” during the last three days,--and Col. Lay furnished it. On this Gen. B. remarks that one young and able-bodied colonel (August) was here while his regiment was in the field, and recommended that he be permitted to have an opportunity to see some “service” before the war is ended, and military experience, which will teach him to be more respectful to seniors, etc.; and that the able-bodied lieutenantcolonel (Lay), from whom he can get no report of inspections, and who remains here idle most of his time, could render more efficient service in the field.

And he thought Lieut. Goldthwait, relative of the Assistant Secretary of War, in the bureau, was performing functions that would better pertain to an older and more experienced man. In short, the whole organization required modification.

These papers, with this indorsement, being sent to the President, that functionary sends them to the Secretary of War, with an indorsement intimating that such remarks from Gen. Bragg required action. Here's a row Perhaps the Secretary himself may flare up, and charge Gen. B. with interference, etc.;--but no, he must see that Gen. B. is acting with the concurrence of the President.

But the Assistant Secretary, Col. August, Lieut.-Col. Lay, etc. will be like so many hornets stirred up with a pole, and no doubt they are rich enough to defy the emoluments of office.

September 7

Clear and cool; rained in the night.

Gen. J. H. Morgan is dead,--surprised and killed in Tennessee,--and his staff captured.

Gen. Hood telegraphs that the enemy is still retreating-toward Atlanta, I suppose.

The cruiser Tallahassee having run into Wilmington, that port is now pretty effectually closed by an accumulation of blockaders.

It is said Gen. Forrest has blown up Tunnel Hill; if so, Sherman must be embarrassed in getting supplies of ordnance stores.

Sir Wm. Armstrong has sent from England one or two splendid guns (a present) to our government, with equipments, etc. [279] And the manufacturers have presented us with a battery of Whitworth guns, six in number, but they have not arrived yet.

September 8

Bright and cool; subsequently cloudy and warm.

Dispatches from Gen. Hood (Sept. 7th) state-Ist dispatch: that Sherman still holds his works one and a half miles from Jonesborough. 2d dispatch, same date: “Sherman continues his retreat!” He says, in a 3d dispatch, that Sherman visited the hospitals, and said he would rest awhile at Atlanta, and then march away to Andersonville, where we keep the Federal prisoners. Although Hood attaches no importance to declarations from such a source, yet he deems it a matter of first importance to remove the prisoners, which suggestion Gen. Bragg refers to the Secretary of War without remark. Gen. Hood also urges the reinforcing of his army from the trans-Mississippi Department. He is sending a brigade to Opelika, to await a raid.

Gen. Forrest has been ordered, the President approving, to Middle Tennessee; but, contrary to his desire, he is not allowed to proclaim amnesty to the thousands of deserters expected to join him, so firmly do the President and Gen. Bragg adhere to Gen. Lee's advice never to proclaim pardon in advance to deserters, even at this critical epoch in our affairs.

All of us have been made sick by eating red peas, or rather overeating.

Our cause is in danger of being lost for want of horses and mules, and yet I discovered to-day that the government has been lending horses to men who have but recently suffered some of the calamities of war! I discovered it in a letter from the Hon. B. M. T. Hunter, of Essex County, asking in behalf of himself and neighbors to be permitted to retain the borrowed horses beyond the time specified-Oct. 1st. Mr. Hunter borrowed two horses and four mules. He is worth millions, and only suffered (having a mill burned) his first loss by the enemy a few weeks ago! Better, far better, would it be for the Secretary to borrow or impress one hundred thousand horses, and mount our infantry to cut the communications of the enemy, and hover on his flanks like the Cossacks in Russia.

September 9

Rained last night; clear to — day.

We hear of great rejoicing in the United States over the fall of [280] Atlanta, and this may be premature. President Lincoln has issued a proclamation for thanksgiving in the churches, etc.

Mr. Benjamin informs the Secretary of War that the President has agreed to facilitate the emigration of Polish exiles and a few hundred Scotchmen, to come through Mexico, etc. The former will enter our service.

The “Hope” has arrived at Wilmington with Sir Wm. Armstrong's present of a fine 12-pounder, all its equipments, ammunition, etc. Also (for sale) two 150-pounder rifled guns, with equipments, etc.

September 10

Slight showers, and warm.

Gen. J. H. Morgan was betrayed by a woman, a Mrs. Williamson, who was entertaining him.

Custis made an estimate of the white male population in seven States this side of the Mississippi, leaving out Tennessee, between the ages of fifteen and fifty, for Gen. Kemper, for Gen. Lee, which is 800,000, subject to deduction of those between fifteen and seventeen, disabled, 250,000, leaving 550,000-enough for defense for several years yet, if the Bureau of Conscription were abolished and a better system adopted.

It is said the draft is postponed or abandoned in the United States. I hope so.

Two 32-pounder guns passed down the river to-day on this side. We shall probably hear from them soon, and then, perhaps-lose them.

September 11


No war news, though important events are looked for speedily. It is time. If our coat-tails were off, we should, in nine cases out of ten, be voted a nation of sans cullottes. We are already meager and emaciated. Yet I believe there is abundance of clothing and food, held by the extortioners. The government should wage war upon the speculators-enemies as mischievous as the Yankees.

September 12

Clear, and quite cold.

Gen. Hood has agreed to a short armistice with Sherman, ten days, proposed by the latter. Our people don't know what to think of this, and the government is acquiescent.

But there is a mournful gloom upon the brows of many, since Gen. Grant holds the Weldon Road, and is daily receiving reinforcements, [281] while we get but few under the Conscription system and the present organization of the bureau.

There is a rumor of an intention to abandon Petersburg, and that 20,000 old men and boys, etc. must be put in the trenches on our side immediately to save Richmond and the cause.

Over 100,000 landed proprietors, and most of the slaveowners, are now out of the ranks, and soon, I fear, we shall have an army that will not fight, having nothing to fight for. And this is the result of the pernicious policy of partiality and exclusiveness, disintegrating society in such a crisis, and recognizing distinction of ranks,--the higher class staying home and making money, the lower class thrust into the trenches. And then the infamous schedule, to make the fortunes of the farmers of certain counties.

I bought 30 yards of brown cotton to-day, at $2. 0 per yard, from a man who had just returned from North Carolina. The price here is $5. I sold my dear old silver reel some time ago (angling) for $75, the sum paid for this cotton.

Already the Dispatch is publishing paragraphs in praise of the “Bureau of Conscription,” never dreaming that it strikes both Gen. Bragg and the President. These articles are written probably by Lieut.-Col. Lay or Col. August. And the Examiner is opening all its batteries again on the President and Gen. Bragg. The conscription men seem to have the odds; but the President, with a single eye, can discern his enemies, and when fully aroused is apt to pounce upon them like a relentless lion. The times are critical, however, and the Secretary of War is very reserved, even when under positive orders to act.

September 13

A bright, cool morning.

Dispatches from Lieut.-Gen. R. Taylor indicate that Federal troops are passing up the Mississippi River, and that the attack on Mobile has been delayed or abandoned.

Gen. Lee writes urgently for more men, and asks the Secretary to direct an inquiry into-alleged charges that the bureaus are getting able-bodied details that should be in the army. And he complains that rich young men are elected magistrates, etc., just to avoid service in the field.

Gen. McClellan's letter accepting the nomination pledges a restoration of the Union “at all hazards.” This casts a deeper gloom over our croakers. [282]

“Everybody” is now abusing the President for removing Gen. Johnston, and demand his restoration, etc.

Our agent has returned, without wheat or flour. He says he has bought some wheat, and some molasses, and they will be on soon. I hope Gen. Grant will remain quiet, and not cut our only remaining railroad (south), until we get a month's supply of provisions! I hear of speculators getting everything they want, to oppress us with extortionate prices, while we can get nothing through on the railroads for our famishing families, even when we have an order of the government for transportation. The companies are bribed by speculators, while the government pays more moderate rates. And the quartermasters on the roads are bribed, and, although the Quartermaster-General is apprised of these corruptions, nothing is done to correct them.

And Mr. Seward has promised, for President Lincoln, that slavery will not be disturbed in any State that returns to the Union; and McClellan pledges States rights, and all the constitutional guarantees, when the Union is re-established. A few more disasters, and many of our croakers would listen to these promises. The rich are looking for security, and their victims, the poor and oppressed, murmur at the Confederate States Government for its failure to protect them.

In this hour of dullness, many are reflecting on the repose and abundance they enjoyed once in the Union. But there are more acts in this drama! And the bell may ring any moment for the curtain to rise again.

Dr. Powell brought us some apples to-day, which were fried for dinner — a scanty repast.

September 14

Bright and cold.

Gen. Lee is in the city, looking after recruits, details, etc.

Mr. Secretary Seddon appears to be in very high spirits to-day, and says our affairs are by no means so desperate as they seem on the surface. I hope the good coming will come soon.

Gen. Beauregard has been sent to North Carolina on a tour of inspection.

No news of our wheat and molasses yet; and we have hardly money enough to live until the next pay-day. We have no coal yet.

Four o'clock P. M. A brisk cannonade down the river is distinctly [283] heard. It is not supposed to be a serious matter,--perhaps we are shelling Gen. Butler's observatory, erected within his lines to overlook ours.

September 15

Bright and pleasant.

The firing was from our gun-boats and two batteries, on Gen. Butler's canal to turn the channel of the river.

Our fondly-cherished visions of peace have vanished like a mirage of the desert; and there is general despondency among the croakers.

Mr. Burt, of South Carolina (late member of Congress), writes from Abbeville that Vice-President A. H Stephens crossed the Savannah River, when Sherman's raiders were galloping through the country, in great alarm. To the people near him he spoke freely on public affairs, and criticised the President's policy severely, and the conduct of the war generally. He said the enemy might now go where he pleased, our strength and resources were exhausted, and that we ought to make peace. That we could elect any one we might choose President of the United States, and intimated that this would enable us to secure terms, etc., which was understood to mean reconstruction of the Union.

A dispatch from Gen. Hood, dated yesterday, says Wheeler has been forced, by superior numbers, south of the Tennessee River; and he now proposes that he (W.) shall retreat south along the railroad, which he is to destroy. This is the very route and the very work I and others have been hoping would engage Wheeler's attention, for weeks. For one, I am rejoiced that the enemy “forced” him there, else, it seems, Sherman's communications never would have been seriously interrupted. And he proposes sending Forrest to operate with Wheeler. Forrest is in Mobile!

Gen. Morgan's remains are looked for this evening, and will have a great funeral. And yet I saw a communication to the President to-day, from a friend of his in high position, a Kentuckian, saying Morgan did not die too soon; and his reputation and character were saved by his timely death! The charges, of course, will be dropped. His command is reduced to 280 men; he was required to raise all his recruits in Kentucky.

September 16

Bright and pleasant — the weather.

Gen. Hood telegraphs that his army is so much mortified at the feeble resistance it made to Sherman, that he is certain it will fight better the next time. [284]

Mr. Benjamin asks a passport and transportation for Mrs. Jane L. Brant, who goes to Europe in the employment of the government.

Gen. Morgan's funeral took place to-day. None were allowed to see him; for the coffin was not opened. On the way to Hollywood Cemetery, Gen. Ewell received a dispatch that our pickets were driven in at Chaffin's Farm. This demonstration of the enemy compelled him to withdraw the military portion of the procession, and they were hurried off to the battle-field.

The local troops (clerks, etc.) are ordered to assemble at 5 P. M. to-day. What does Grant mean? He chooses a good time, if he means anything serious ; for our people, and many of the troops, are a little despondent. They are censuring the President again, whose popularity ebbs and flows.

September 17

Bright and dry.

The demonstration of the enemy yesterday, on both sides of the river, was merely reconnoissances. Our pickets were driven in, but were soon re-established in their former positions.

The Secretary of War is now reaping plaudits from his friends, who are permitted to bring flour enough from the Valley to subsist their families twelve months. The poor men in the army (the rich are not in it) can get nothing for their families, and there is a prospect of their starving.

Gen. Hood is a prophet. I saw a letter from him, to-day, to the President, opposing Gen. Morgan's last raid into Kentucky: predicting that if he returned at all, it would be with a demoralized handful of men — which turned out to be the case. He said if Morgan had been with Gen. Jones in the Valley, we might not have been compelled to confess a defeat, and lament the loss of a fine officer.

They do not take Confederate notes in the Valley, but sell flour for $8 per barrel in gold, which is equal to $200 in paper; and it costs nearly $100 to bring it here. Chickens are selling in market for $7 each, paper, or 37 1/2 cents, specie.

September 18

Cool and cloudy; symptoms of the equinoctial gale.

We have intelligence of another brilliant feat of Gen. Wade Hampton. Day before yesterday he got in the rear of the enemy, and drove off 2500 beeves and 400 prisoners. This will furnish [285] fresh meat rations for Lee's army during a portion of the fall campaign. I shall get some shanks, perhaps; and the prisoners of war will have meat rations.

Our people generally regard McClellan's letter of acceptance as a war speech, and they are indifferent which succeeds, he or Lincoln, at the coming election; but they incline to the belief that McClellan will be beaten, because he did not announce himself in favor of peace, unconditionally, and our independence. My own opinion is that McClellan did what was best for him to do to secure his election, and that he will be elected. Then, if we maintain a strong front in the field, we shall have peace and independence. Yet his letter convinces me the peace party in the United States is not so strong as we supposed. If it shall appear that subjugation is not practicable, by future success on our part, the peace party will grow to commanding proportions.

Our currency was, yesterday, selling $25 for $1 in gold; and all of us who live on salaries live very badly: for food and everything else is governed by the specie value. Our $8000 per annum really is no more than $320 in gold. The rent of our house is the only item of expense not proportionably enlarged. It is $500, or $20 in gold. Gas is put up to $30 per 1000 feet.

Four P. M. We bear the deep booming of cannon again down the river. I hope the enemy will not get back the beeves we captured, and that my barrel of flour from North Carolina will not be intercepted!

J. J. Pollard's contract to bring supplies through the lines, on the Mississippi, receiving cotton therefor, has been revoked, it being alleged by many in that region that the benefits reaped are by no means mutual.

And Mr. De Bow's office of Cotton Loan Agent has been taken away from him for alleged irregularities, the nature of which is not clearly stated by the new Secretary of the Treasury, who announces his removal to the Secretary of War.

The President has had the porch of his house, from which his son fell, pulled down.

A “private” letter from Vice-President Stephens was received by Mr. Secretary Seddon to-day.

The cannonading ceased at sundown. The papers, to-morrow, will inform us what it was all about. Sunday is not respected in [286] war, and I know not what is. Such terrible wars as this will probably make those who survive appreciate the blessings of peace.

September 19

Clear and pleasant.

We have nothing yet explanatory of the shelling yesterday.

To-day we have news of an expedition of the enemy crossing Rapidan Bridge on the way toward Gordonsville, Charlottesville, etc. Gen. Anderson's division, from Early's army, is said to be marching after them. We shall learn more of this business very soon.

Mrs. D. E. Mendenhall, Quaker, Jamestown, N. C., has written a “strictly confidential” letter to Mr. J. B. Crenshaw, of this city (which has gone on the files of the department), begging him to use his influence with Mr. Secretary Seddon (which is great) to get permission for her to send fourteen negroes, emancipated by her late husband's will, to Ohio. She says there is but one able to bear arms, and he is crazy; that since the enemy uses negro soldiers, she will withhold the able-bodied ones; that she has fed our soldiers, absolutely starving some of her stock to death, that she might have food for our poor men and their families, etc. etc.

No news from our flour.

I saw Nat Tyler to-day, and told him to call upon the farmers, in the Enquirer, to send their provisions to the city immediately, or they may lose their crops, and their horses too. He said he would.

The only news of interest is contained in the following official dispatch from Gen. Lee:

headquarters army of Northern Virginia, September 17th, 1864.
Hon. J. A. Seddon, Secretary of War.
At daylight yesterday the enemy's skirmish line west of the Jerusalem Plank Road was driven back upon his intrenchments along their whole extent. Ninety prisoners were taken by us in the operation.

At the same hour Gen. Hampton attacked the enemy's position north of the Norfolk Railroad, near Sycamore Church, and captured about three hundred prisoners, some arms and wagons, a large number of horses, and twenty-five hundreds cattle.

Gen. Gregg attacked Gen. Hampton, on his return in the afternoon, [287] at Belchess' mill, on the Jerusalem Plank Road, but was repulsed and driven back. Everything was brought off safely.

Our entire loss does not exceed fifty men.

R. E. Lee.

Gen. Preston, Superintendent Bureau of Conscription, has made a labored defense (written by Colonels Lay and August) of the bureau against the allegations of Gen. Bragg. This was sent to the President by the Secretary of War, “for his information.” The President sent it back, to-day, indorsed, “the subject is under general consideration.”

The “Bureau,” by advertisement, to-day, calls upon everybody between the ages of sixteen and fifty to report at certain places named, and be registered, and state the reasons why they are not now in the army and in the field. What nonsense! How many do they expect to come forward, voluntarily, candidates for gunpowder and exposure in the trenches?

September 20

Bright and pleasant.

An order has been given to impress all the supplies (wheat and meat) in the State, and Gen. Kemper has been instructed to lend military aid if necessary. This is right, so that speculation may be suppressed. But, then, Commissary-General Northrop says it is all for the army, and the people-non-producers — may starve, for what he cares. If this unfeeling and despotic policy be adopted by the government, it will strangle the Confederacy-strangle it with red-tape.

I learned, to-day, that Gen. Preston, Superintendent of the Bureau of Conscription, resigned upon seeing Gen. Bragg's and the President's indorsements on the bureau papers; but the Secretary and the President persuaded him to recall the resignation. He is very rich.

A practical railroad man has sent to the Secretary a simple plan, by which twenty-five men with crowbars can keep Sherman's communications cut.

There is a rumor that Sherman has invited Vice-President Stephens, Senator H. V. Johnson, and Gov. Brown to a meeting with him, to confer on terms of peace-i.e. the return of Georgia to the Union. The government has called for a list of all the Georgians who have sailed from our ports this summer.

A letter from Hon. R. W. Barnwell shows that he is opposed [288] to any conference with the enemy on terms of peace, except unconditional independence. He thinks Hood hardly competent to command the army, but approves the removal of Johnston. He thinks Sherman will go on to Augusta, etc.

The raid toward Gordonsville is now represented as a small affair, and to have returned as it came, after burning some mills, bridges, etc.

I saw a letter, to-day, written to the President by L. P. Walker, first Secretary of War, full of praise. It was dated in August, before the fall of Atlanta, and warmly congratulated him upon the removal of Gen. Johnston.

Gov. Bonham sent a telegram to the Secretary of War, to-day, from Columbia, asking if the President would not soon pass through that city; if such were his intentions, he would remain there, being very anxious to see him.

Beauregard is at Wilmington, while the whole country is calling for his appointment to the command of the army in Georgia. Unless some great success crowns our arms before Congress reassembles, the President will be assailed with great bitterness, and the consequences may be fatal.

September 21

Cloudy and somber.

We have authentic intelligence of the defeat of our forces under Gen. Early, near Winchester. Two generals, Rhodes and Godwin, were killed. We lost some guns, and heavily in killed and wounded. The enemy have Winchester, and Early has retreated, bringing off his trains, however. This has caused the croakers to raise a new howl against the President, for they know not what.

Mr. Clapman, our disbursing clerk (appointed under Secretary Randolph), proposed, to-day, to several in his office-jestingly, they supposed-revolution, and installing Gen. Lee as Dictator. It may be a jest to some, but others mean it in earnest.

I look for other and more disastrous defeats, unless the speculators are demolished, and the wealthy class put in the ranks. Many of the privates in our armies are fast becoming what is termed machine soldiers, and will ere long cease to fight wellhaving nothing to fight for. Alas, the chivalry have fallen! The lagging land proprietors and slaveowners (as the Yankees shrewdly predicted) want to be captains, etc. or speculators. The poor will not long fight for their oppressors, the money-changers, extortioners, etc., whose bribes keep them out of the service. [289]

Mr. Foote openly advocates a convention; and says the other States will have one certainly: and if Virginia declines to unite in it, she will be “left out in the cold.” This is said of him; I have not heard him say it. But I believe a convention in any State or States, if our disasters continue, will lead to reconstruction, if McClellan be elected. If emancipation, confiscation, etc. be insisted on, the war will never terminate but in final separation.

September 22

Cloudy; rained much last night.

The following is all we know yet of Early's defeat:

headquarters army of Northern Virginia, September 20th, 1864.
Hon. James A. Seddon.
Gen. Early reports that, on the morning of the 19th, the enemy advanced on Winchester, near which place he met his attack, which was resisted from early in the day till near night, when he was compelled to retire. After night he fell back to Newtown, and this morning to Fisher's Hill.

Our loss reported to be severe.

Major-Gen. Rhodes and Brig.-Gen. Godwin were killed, nobly doing their duty.

Three pieces of artillery of King's battalion were lost.

The trains and supplies were brought off safely.

(Signed) R. E. Lee.

The profound chagrin produced by this event is fast becoming a sort of reckless unconcern. Many would fight and die in the last ditch, rather than give up Richmond; and many others are somewhat indifferent as to the result, disgusted with the management of affairs.

The President left the city on Monday, ignorant of the defeat of Early, for Georgia. It is said Beauregard is with him; but this is not certain. His private secretary, Mr. Burton Harrison, says he will be absent at least a month, perhaps until Christmas. Congress meets early in November; and before that day we may have terrible events-events determining the fate of the war.

We have heard heavy firing down the river all day; but it may not be a serious matter, though a general battle is looked for soon on the south side.

Gen. Lee will soon be reinforced materially. The President has [290] adopted a suggestion I made to Gen. Bragg, and a general order is published to-day virtually abolishing the Bureau of Conscription. The business is mostly turned over to the commanders of the Reserves; and conscription is to be executed by Reserve men unfit for duty in the field. All the former conscript officers, guards, details, clerks, etc. fit to bear arms, are to go into the ranks.

“When the cat's away, the mice will play,” is an old saying, and a true one. I saw a note of invitation to-day from Secretary Mallory to Secretary Seddon, inviting him to his house at 5 P. M. to partake of “pea-soup” with Secretary Trenholm. His “peasoup” will be oysters and champagne, and every other delicacy relished by epicures. Mr. Mallory's red face, and his plethoric body, indicate the highest living; and his party will enjoy the dinner while so many of our brave men are languishing with wounds, or pining in a cruel captivity. Nay, they may feast, possibly, while the very pillars of the government are crumbling under the blows of the enemy.

It is said the President has.gone to Georgia to prevent Governor Brown, Stephens, H. V. Johnson, Toombs, etc. from making peace (for Georgia) with Sherman.

A splenetic letter from Gov. Vance indicates trouble in that quarter. He says the Confederate States Government threw every possible impediment in his way when he bought a steamer and imported machinery to manufacture clothing for the North Carolina troops, and now the Confederate States QuartermasterGen-eral is interfering with these factories, because, he says, he, the Governor, is supplying the troops at less expense than the Quartermaster-General would do. He demands details for the factories, and says if the Confederate States Government is determined to come in collision with him, he will meet it. He says he will not submit to any interference; Gov. Vance was splenetic once before, but became amiable enough about the time of the election. Since his election for another term, he shows his teeth again.

September 23


Our loss, killed, wounded, and taken in the battle near Winchester, is estimated by our people at 2500. The enemy say they got 2500 prisoners. The enemy's loss in killed and wounded amounted probably to as much as ours. [291]

Gen. Lee writes that, in his opinion, the time has come for the army to have the benefit of a certain per cent. of the negroes, free and slave, as teamsters, laborers, etc.; and he suggests that there should be a corps of them permanently attached to the army. He says if we do not make use of them in the war, the enemy will use them against us. He contemplates staying where he is during the winter, and proposes building a railroad from his rear to the oak woods, as the pines do not answer a good purpose.

Gen. Hood telegraphs (dated yesterday) his intention to get in the enemy's rear, and intercept supplies from Dalton. Sherman must either attempt to drive him from that position (north bank of the Chattahoochee), or advance farther south with his supplies cut off and our army assaulting his rear.

Mr. Roy (clerk), cousin of Mr. Seddon, said to-day that he regarded the Confederacy near its end, and that the Union would be reconstructed.

Our good friend Dr. Powell brought us a gallon of sorghum molasses to-day.

September 24

Raining alternate hours and warm. Had a chill this morning, and afterward several spells of blindness, from rushes of blood to the head. Came home and bathed my feet and recovered.

Another disaster! but no great loss of men. Gen. Early was compelled to retreat again on Thursday, 22d inst., the enemy flanking him, and getting in his rear. He lost 12 more guns. This intensifies the chagrin and doubts prevalent in a certain class of the community. However, Lee commands in Virginia, and there may be better luck next time, which will cause everybody's spirits to rise.

Gen. Lee writes a long letter to the Secretary of War, deprecating the usage of the port of Wilmington by the Tallahassee and other cruisers, that go out and ravage the enemy's commerce, such as the destruction of fishing smacks, etc. Already the presence of the Tallahassee and the Edith at Wilmington has caused the loss of one of our blockade-runners, worth more than all the vessels destroyed by the Tallahassee, and the port is now guarded by such an additional number of blockaders that it is with difficulty our steamers can get in with supplies. Gen. L. suggests that Charleston or some other port be used by our cruisers; and that [292] Wilmington be used exclusively for the importation of suppliesquartermaster's, commissary's ordnance, etc. Gen. L. advises that supplies enough for two or three years be brought in, so that we shall not be under apprehension of being destitute hereafter. Such were his ideas. Lieut. Wood, who commads the Tallahassie, is the President's nephew, and gains eclat by his chivalric deeds on the ocean; but we cannot afford to lose our chances of independence to glorify the President's nephew. Gen. Lee but reiterates what has been written on the same subject by Gen. Whiting at Wilmington.

September 25

Clear and cool. Pains in my head, etc.

Hon. Mr. Foote told G. Fitzhugh early this morning that he had learned Gen. Early's army was scattered to the winds; that the enemy had the Central Railroad (where?) and would soon have all the roads. This is not credited, though it may be so.

There is a mysterious fascination in scenes of death and carnage. As I crossed Franklin Street, going down to the department this morning, I heard on my right the cry of “halt!” and saw a large man in citizen's clothes running toward me pursued by a soldiercoming from the direction of Gen. Ewell's headquarters. The man (perhaps a deserter) ran on, and the soldier took deliberate aim with his rifle, and burst a cap. I stood and watched the man, being riveted to the spot by a strange fascination, although I was nearly in a line with the pursuit. An irresistible curiosity seized me to see the immediate effects of the shot. The man turned up Ninth Street, the soldier fixing another cap as he ran, and, taking deliberate aim, the cap failed to explode the charge again. I saw several persons crossing the street beyond the flying man, who would have been greatly endangered if the rifle had been discharged. In war the destruction of human life excites no more pity than the slaughter of beeves in peace!

September 26

Bright and cool.

Gen. Early is still falling back; on Saturday he was at Port Republic, but he will soon be reinforced, and may turn the tide on Sheridan.

A long letter was received at the department to-day from Gov. Brown, absolutely refusing to respond to the President's call for the militia of that State. He says he will not encourage the President's ambitious projects by placing in his hands, and under [293] his unconditional control, all that remains to preserve the reserved rights of his State. He bitterly and offensively criticises the President's management of military affairs-sending Morgan into Kentucky, Wheeler into East, and Forrest into West Tennessee, instead of combining all upon Sherman's rear and cutting his communications. He says Georgia has fifty regiments in Virginia, and if the President won't send reinforcements, then he demands the return of Georgia troops, and he will endeavor to defend the State without his aid, etc.

September 27

Bright and pleasant.

We have rumors of heavy fighting yesterday near Staunton, but no authentic accounts.

A dispatch from Gen. R. Taylor says Gen. Forrest had gained a victory at Athens, Ala., capturing some 1500 prisoners, 500 horses, etc. etc.

We still hear the thunder of artillery down the river — the two armies shelling each other, I suppose, as yet at a safe distance. A few more days and the curtain will rise again-Lee and Grant the principal actors in the tragedy!

The President is making patriotic speeches in Alabama and Georgia.

Mr. Hudson, of Alabama, proposes to deliver to the government 5,000,000 pounds of bacon for the same number of pounds cotton, delivered at the same place.

Our cotton agent in Mississippi is authorized by the government here to sell cotton in exposed situations to the enemy's agents for specie, and to buy for Confederate notes.

The funeral expenses of Gen. Morgan the other day amounted to $1500; the Quartermaster-General objects to paying it, and sends the bill to the Secretary for instructions.

The following is a copy of Gen. Lee's indorsement on Lieut.-Col. Moseby's report of his operations from the 1st of March to the 11th of September, 1864:

headquarters, army of Northern Virginia, September 19th, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded to the Adjutant and InspectorGen-eral for the information of the department. Attention is invited to the activity and skill of Col. Moseby, and-the intelligence and [294] courage of the officers and men of his command, as displayed in this report.

With the loss of little more than 20 men, he has killed, wounded, and captured, during the period embraced in this report, about 1200 of the enemy, and taken more than 1600 horses and mules, 230 beef cattle, and 85 wagons and ambulances, without counting many smaller operations. The services rendered by Col. Moseby and his command in watching and reporting the enemy's movements have also been of great value. His operations have been highly creditable to himself and his command.

(Signed) R. E. Lee, General. Official: John Blair Hoge, Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.

September 28

-Bright; subsequently cloudy and warm rain.

Staunton was entered by the enemy's cavalry on Monday afternoon.

We have no news whatever to-day from any quarter. But the deep booming of cannon is still heard down the river, foreboding an awful conflict soon.

I saw three 10-inch Columbiads at the Petersburg depot to-day; they are going to move them toward Petersburg, I believe.

Gold is thirty for one to-day, and still rising, Forrest's exploit having done nothing to revive confidence in Treasury notes here.

September 29

Bright and beautiful.

As I walked down to the department, heavy and brisk cannonading below assailed the ear. It was different from the ordinary daily shelling, and to my familiar senses, it could only be a battle. The sounds continued, and even at my desk in the department the vibrations were very perceptible.

About 10 o'clock, when walking down Main Street (the cannon still heard), I met Robert Tyler and Mr. Foote, member of Congress, the latter in some excitement, denouncing the management of affairs by the Executive. He said if Richmond were lost, he should move that the people take matters in their own hands, and proclaim a Dictator. Mr. Tyler, commanding his temper, banteringly told him that he ran some risk of being arrested, tried by drum-head court-martial, and shot-before night. Mr. Foote [295] whirled away, repeating his desperate purpose; and Tyler repeating, more gravely, that he might be arrested for treasonable language-and ought to be.

Mr. Tyler then invited me to join him at breakfast at a neighboring restaurant, where we had each a loaf of bread, a cup of coffee with milk (but brown sugar), and three eggs. The bill was sixteen dollars!

When I returned to the department, information came that the enemy had captured Fort Harrison (Signal Hill), near Chaffin's Bluff, and were advancing toward the city. From that moment much excitement sprung up (the greatest! have ever known here), and all the local organizations were immediately ordered out. Not only this, but squads of guards were sent into the streets everywhere with orders to arrest every able-bodied man they met, regardless of papers; and this produced a consternation among the civilians. The offices and government shops were closed, and the tocsin sounded for hours, by order of the Governor, frightening some of the women.

At 2 P. M. the fight was nearer, and it was reported that the enemy were at the intermediate fortifications-three miles distant.

From the observatory on the War Department we could see the puffs of white smoke from our guns; but these were at the intermediate line, several miles distant, and the enemy were, of course, beyond. We could see our cannon firing from right to left at least a mile in length; and the enemy had evidently made much progress toward the city. The firing then ceased, however, at 3 P. M., indicating that the enemy had withdrawn from that point; but the booming of artillery was still heard farther to the right on or near the river. And this continued until the present writing, 5 P. M. We have no particulars; but it is reported that the enemy were handsomely repulsed. Clouds of dust can be seen with the telescope in that direction, which appears to the naked eye to be smoke. It arises no doubt from the march of troops, sent by Gen. Lee. We must soon have something definite from the scene of action.

Half-past 5 P. M. Gen. Ewell dispatches that the enemy's attack on Fort Gilmer (five miles below the same we saw) was handsomely repulsed.

A dispatch from Gen. Pemberton, on Williamsburg Road, says there is no immediate danger there. [296]

Another dispatch from Georgia says Forrest has captured 800 more men somewhere in Alabama, on the railroad.

At night, distant cannon heard. Gen. Ewell said in his last dispatch that as soon as certain reinforcements came up he would take the offensive, attacking the enemy. The conflict recedes, and I presume he is driving the enemy back.

Mr. Foote intimates that the President will not return to Richmond, and did not intend to return.

September 30

Cloudy, and occasional showers.

None of the papers except the Whig were published this morning, the printers, etc. being called out to defend the city. Every device of the military authorities has been employed to put the people here in the ranks. Guards everywhere, on horseback and on foot, in the city and at the suburbs, are arresting pedestrians, who, if they have not passes from Gen. Kemper, are hurried to some of the depots or to the City Square (iron palings), and confined until marched to the field or released. Two of the clerks of the War Department, who went down to the Spottswood Hotel to hear the news, although having the Secretary's own details, were hustled off to a prison on Cary Street to report to Lieut. Bates, who alone could release them. But when they arrived, no Lieut. Bates was there, and they found themselves incarcerated with some five hundred others of all classes and conditions. Here they remained cooped up for an hour, when they espied an officer who knew them, and who had them released.

To-day the guards arrested Judges Reagan and Davis, Postmaster-General and Attorney-General, both members of the cabinet, because neither of them were over fifty years old. Judge Reagan grew angry and stormed a little; but both were released immediately.

Gen. Lee dispatched Gen. Bragg, at 9 P. M. last night, that all the assaults of the enemy on Fort Gilmer had been repulsed, the enemy losing many in killed, and wounded, and prisoners, while our loss was small.

And we have driven the Yankees from Staunton, and have them in full retreat again as far as Harrisonburg.

To-day at 2 P. M. another battle occurred at or near Fort Harrison or Signal Hill, supposed to be an attempt on our part to retake the post. I never heard more furious shelling, and fear our [297] loss was frightful, provided it was our assault on the enemy's lines. We could see the white smoke, from the observatory, floating along the horizon over the woods and down the river. The melee of sounds was terrific: heavy siege guns (from our steam-rams, probably) mingled with the incessant roar of field artillery. At 3 P. M. all was comparatively quiet, and we await intelligence of the result.

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