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Xvi. July, 1862

  • Terrific fighting.
  • -- anxiety to visit the battle-field. -- Lee prepares for other battles. -- hope for the Union extinct. -- Gen. Lee brings forward conscripts. -- Gen. Cobb appointed to arrange exchange of prisoners. -- Mr. Ould as agent. -- Pope, the braggart, comes upon the stage. -- meets a braggart's fate. -- the war transferred to Northern Virginia.

July 1

To-day Gen. Magruder led his division into action at Malvern Hill, it is said, contrary to the judgment of other commanders. The enemy's batteries commanded all the approaches in most advantageous position, and fearful was the slaughter. A wounded soldier, fresh from the field to-night, informs me that our loss in killed in this engagement will amount to as many as have fallen in all the others combined.

July 2

More fighting to-day. The enemy, although their batteries were successfully defended last night at Malvern Hill, abandoned many guns after the charges ceased, and retreated hastily. The grand army of invasion is now some twenty-five miles from the city, and yet the Northern papers claim the victory. They say it was a masterly strategic movement of McClellan, and a premeditated change of base from the Pamunky to the James; and that he will certainly take Richmond in a week and end the rebellion.

July 3

Our wounded are now coming in fast, under the direction of the Ambulance Committee. I give passports to no one not having legitimate business on the field to pass the pickets of [141] the army. There is no pilfering on this field of battle; no “Plug Ugly” detectives stripping dead colonels, and, Falstaff like, claiming to be made “either Earl or Duke” for killing them.

So great is the demand for vehicles that the brother of a North Carolina major, reported mortally wounded, paid $100 for a hack to bring his brother into the city. He returned with him a few hours after, and, fortunately, found him to be not even dangerously wounded.

I suffer no physicians not belonging to the army to go upon the battle-field without taking amputating instruments with them, and no private vehicle without binding the drivers to bring in two or more of the wounded.

There are fifty hospitals in the city, fast filling with the sick and wounded. I have seen men in my office and walking in the streets, whose arms have been amputated within the last three days. The realization of a great victory seems to give them strength.

July 4

Lee does not follow up his blows on the whipped enemy, and some sage critics censure him for it. But he knows that the fatal blow has been dealt this “grand army” of the North. The serpent has been killed, though its tail still exhibits some spasmodic motions. It will die, so far as the Peninsula is concerned, after sunset, or when it thunders.

The commanding general neither sleeps nor slumbers. Already the process of reorganizing Jackson's corps has been commenced for a blow at or near the enemy's capital. Let Lincoln beware the hour of retribution.

The enemy's losses in the seven days battles around Richmond, in killed, wounded, sick, and desertions, are estimated at 50,000 men, and their losses in cannon, stores, etc., at some $50,000,000. Their own papers say the work is to be begun anew, and subjugation is put off six months, which is equivalent to a loss of $500,000,000 inflicted by Lee's victory.

By their emancipation and confiscation measures, the Yankees have made this a war of extermination, and added new zeal and resolution to our brave defenders. All hope of a reconstruction of the Union is relinquished by the few, comparatively, in the South, who still clung to the delusion. It is well. If the enemy had pursued a different course we should never have had the same unanimity. If they had made war only on men in arms, and spared [142] private property, according to the usages of civilized nations, there would, at least, have been a neutral party in the South, and never the same energy and determination to contest the last inch of soil with the cruel invader. Now they will find that 3,000,000 of troops cannot subjugate us, and if subjugated, that a standing army of half a million would be required to keep us in subjection.

July 5

Gen. Lee is bringing forward the conscript regiments with rapidity; and so large are his powers that the Secretary of War has but little to do. He is, truly, but a mere clerk. The correspondence is mostly referred to the different bureaus for action, whose experienced heads know what should be done much better than Mr. Randolph could tell them.

July 6

Thousands of fathers, brothers, mothers, and sisters of the wounded are arriving in the city to attend their suffering relations, and to recover the remains of those who were slain.

July 7

Gen. Huger has been relieved of his command. He retains his rank and pay as major-general “of ordnance.”

Gen. Pope, Yankee, has been assigned to the command of the army of invasion in Northern Virginia, and Gen. Halleck has been made commanding general, to reside in Washington. Good! The Yankees are disgracing McClellan, the best general they have.

July 8

Glorious Col. Morgan has dashed into Kentucky, whipped everything before him, and got off unharmed. He had but little over a thousand men, and captured that number of prisoners. Kentucky will rise in a few weeks.

July 9

Lee has turned the tide, and I shall not be surprised if we have a long career of successes. Bragg, and Kirby Smith, and Loring are in motion at last, and Tennessee and Kentucky, and perhaps Missouri, will rise again in “Rebellion.”

July 10

-I forgot to note in its place a feat of Gen. Stuart and his cavalry, before the recent battles. He made a complete girdle around the enemy, destroying millions of their property, and returned without loss. He was reconnoitering for Jackson, who followed in his track. This made Stuart major-general.

I likewise omitted to note the death of the brave Gen. Ashby, who fell in one of Jackson's brilliant battles in the Valley. But history will do him justice. [My chronicles are designed to assist [143] history, and to supply the smaller incidents and details which the grand historian would be likely to omit.] July 1 Ith.-Gen. Howell Cobb has been sent down the river under flag of truce to negotiate a cartel with Gen. I)ix for the exchange of prisoners. It was decided that the exchange should be conducted on the basis agreed to between the United States and the British Government during the war of 1812, and all men taken hereafter will be released on parole within ten days after their capture. We have some 8000 prisoners in this city, and altogether, I dare say, a larger number than the enemy have of our men.

July 12

Mr. Ould has been appointed agent to effect exchanges of paroled men. He is also acting as judge advocate.

July 13

We have some of Gen. Pope's proclamations and orders. He is simply a braggart, and will meet a braggart's fate. He announces his purpose to subsist his army in our country, and moreover, he intends to shoot or hang our non-combating citizens that may fall into his hands, in retaliation for the killing of any of his thieving and murdering soldiers by our avenging guerrillas. He says his headquarters will be on his horse, and that he will make no provision for retreat. That he has been accustomed to see the backs of his enemies! Well, we shall see how he will face a Stonewall!

July 14

Jackson and Ewell and Stuart are after Pope, but I learn they are not allowed to attempt any enterprise for some weeks yet. Fatal error, I fear. For we have advices at the department that Pope has not now exceeding 20,000 men, but that all the rolling stock of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad is ordered West to bring reinforcements. Besides, the United States Government is calling for 600,000 additional men. Then again, Mc-Clellan and Burnside will form a junction with Pope, and we will be outnumbered. But the President and Gen. Lee know best what is to be done. We have lost many of the flower of Southern chivalry in the late conflicts.

July 15

Gen. Pendleton has given McClellan a scare, and might have hurt him if he had fired lower. He planted a number of batteries (concealed) on the south side of the river, just opposite the enemy's camp. The river was filled with gun-boats and transports. At a signal, all the guns were fired, at short range, too, for some minutes with great rapidity, and then the batteries [144] were withdrawn. I happened to be awake, and could not conjecture what the rumpus meant. But we fired too high in the dark, and did but little execution. Our shells fell beyond the enemy's camp on the opposite side of the river. We lost a few men, by accident, mostly. But hereafter in “each bush they fear an officer.”

July 16

Gen. Lee is hurrying up reinforcements from the South, old regiments and conscripts, and pays very little attention to McClellan on the Peninsula, knowing no further enterprises will be attempted by the enemy in that quarter for some time to come.

July 17

The people are too jubilant, I fear, over our recent successes near the city. A great many skulkers from the army are seen daily in the streets, and it is said there are 3000 men here subject to conscript duty, who have not been enrolled. The business of purchasing substitutes is prevailing alarmingly.

July 18

To-day several ladies applied in person to the Secretary of War for passports to Norfolk and Baltimore, and he sent me written orders to grant them. They next applied to Gen. Winder to go with the flag of truce, exhibiting their passports. He repudiated them, however, and sent the ladies back to me, saying he wanted something with the Secretary's signature, showing me to be authorized to sign them. I wrote such a note as I supposed he wanted, and the Secretary signed it as follows:

Sir :--The passports issued by J. B. Jones from this Department to pass the lines of the Confederate armies, and the lines of the Confederate States, are granted by my direction, evidences of which are on file in the Passport Office.

Respectfully, G. W. Randolph, Secretary of War.

This, one of the ladies delivered to him. I hope I am now done with Gen. Winder and his “Plug Ugly” dynasty.

July 19

This morning early, while congratulating myself on the evidence of some firmness and independence in the new Secretary, I received the following note: [145]

Richmond, July 19th, 1862.
Mr. J. B. Jones.
Sir :--I have just been directed by the Secretary of War that he has turned over the whole business of passports to Gen. Winder, and that applications for passports will not be received at this office at all.

Very respectfully, A. G. Bledsoe, Asst. Sec. War.

Of course I ceased operations immediately. So large a concourse of persons now accumulated in the hall, that it was soon necessary to put up a notice that Gen. Winder would grant them passports. But the current set back again. Gen. Winder refused to issue passports to the relatives of the sick and wounded in the camps, well knowing the generals, his superiors in rank, would not recognize his authority. He even came into the department, and tore down the notice with his own hands.

July 20

I am back again, signing passports to the army. But yesterday, during the interregnum, the Beaverdam Depot was burnt by the enemy, information of its defenseless condition having been given by a Jew peddler, who obtained no passport from me.

July 21

A Marylander, a lieutenant employed by Gen. Winder to guard the prisoners (the generals and other high Yankee officers), came to me to-day, with a friend who had just arrived from Baltimore, and demanded passports to visit Drewry's Bluff, for the purpose of inspecting the defenses. I refused, fearing he might (I did not like his face) have been corrupted by his prisoners. He said very significantly that he would go in spite of me. This I reported to the Assistant Adjutant- General, and also wrote a note to Gen. Wise, to examine him closely if he came within his lines.

July 22

To-day Gen. Winder came into my office in a passion with a passport in his hand which I had given, a week before, to Mr. Collier, of Petersburg, on the order of the Assistant Secretary of War-threatening me with vengeance and the terrors of Castle Godwin, his Bastile if I granted any more passports to Petersburg where he was military commander, that city being likewise [146] under martial law. I simply uttered a defiance, and he departed, boiling over with rage.

July 23

To-day I received the following note from the Secretary:

July 23D, 1862.
J. B. Jones, Esq.
Sir :--You will not issue passports except to persons going to the camps near — Richmond.

Passports elsewhere will be granted by Brig.-Gen. Winder.

Respectfully, Geo. W. Randolph, Secretary of War.

July 24

Already the flood-gates of treasonable intelligence flowing North seem to be thrown wide open. The Baltimore papers contain a vast amount of information concerning our condition, movements in progress, and projected enterprises. And to crown all, these rascals publish in the same papers the passports given them by Gen. Winder. I doubt not they are sold by the detectives, Winder being ignorant.

July 25

More Northern papers received to-day, containing news from the South. Most fortunately, they can know nothing reliable of what is passing within Gen. Lee's lines. The responsibility of keeping his gates closed against spies rests in a great measure on myself, and I endeavor to keep even our own people in profound ignorance of what transpires there.

July 26

There is a pause in the depreciation of C. S. securities.

July 27

Gen. Lovell, it is said, will be tried by a courtmartial. The same has been said of Generals Magruder and Huger. But I doubt it.

July 28

The Examining Board of Surgeons, established by the Secretary of War, has been abolished by order of Gen. Lee. It was the only idea of the Secretary yet developed, excepting the “handing over” of the “whole business of passports to Gen. Winder.”

July 29

Pope's army, greatly reinforced, are committing shocking devastations in Culpepper and Orange Counties. His brutal orders, and his bragging proclamations, have wrought our [147] men to such a pitch of exasperation that, when the day of battle comes, there will be, must be terrible slaughter.

July 30

Both Gen. Jackson and Gen. Stuart were in the department to-day. Their commands have preceded them, and must be near Orange C. H. by this time. These war-worn heroes (neither of them over forty years of age) attracted much attention. Everybody wished to see them; and if they had lingered a few minutes longer in the hall, a crowd would have collected, cheering to the echo. This they avoided, transacting their business in the shortest possible space of time, and then escaping observation. They have yet much work to do.

July 31

Gen. Breckinridge has beaten the Yankees at Baton Rouge, but without result, as we have no co-operating fleet.

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