XXIII. February, 1863
The Virginia Legislature, now in session, has a bill under discussion for the suppression of extortion.
One of the members, Mr. Anderson
, read the following table of the prices of
|Before the war.|
|White wheat, per bushel||$1.50|
|Flour, per barrel||7.50|
|Corn, per bushel||70|
|Hay, per hundred||1.00|
|Hides, per pound||7|
|Beef, per pound||8|
|Bacon, per pound||13|
|Lard, per pound||15|
|Butter, per pound||30|
|Wool, per pound||30||
|White wheat, per bushel||$4.50|
|Flour, per barrel||22.00|
|Corn, per bushel||3.50|
|Hay, per hundred||3.50|
|Hides, per pound||40|
|Beef, per pound||50|
|Bacon, per pound||60|
|Lard, per pound||1.00|
|Butter, per pound||1.50|
|Wool, per pound||2.00|
|Bar iron, per pound ||4|
|Nails, per pound||4|
|Leather, sole, per pound||25|
|Leather, upper, per pound||33||
|Bar iron, per pound ||20|
|Nails, per pound||60|
|Leather, sole, per pound||2.50|
|Leather, upper, per pound||3.50|
|Osnaburgs, per yard||10|
|Brown cotton, per yard||10 |
|Sheeting, per yard ||15 |
|Osnaburgs, per yard||75|
|Brown cotton, per yard||75|
|Sheeting, per yard||1.25|
|Coarse shoes||$1.50 |
|High-quartered shoes||3.50 |
|Wool hats, per dozen ||7.00 |
|Coarse shoes ||$15.00|
|High-quartered shoes ||25.00|
|Wool hats, per dozen ||50.00|
|Dividends on stocks in cotton companies, worth in May, 1861, $25 to $50 per share, now from $112 to $140.|
It is doubtful whether the bill will pass, as most of the members are agriculturists.
It is said and believed that several citizens from Illinois
, now In this city, have been sent hither by influential parties, to consult our government on the best means of terminating the war; or, that failing, to propose some mode of adjustment between the Northwestern States
and the Confederacy
, and new combination against the Yankee States
and the Federal
has at last been removed; and Franklin
now commands the Federal
Army of the Potomac--if it may be still called an army.
R --, who knows Hooker
well, says he is deficient in talent and character; and many years ago gentlemen refused to associate with him. He resigned from the army, in California
, and worked a potatoe patch, Yankee like, on speculation-and failed.
-After the feat at Charleston
, Gen. Beauregard
and Commodore Ingraham
invited the consuls resident to inspect the harbor, and they pronounced the blockade raised, no United States
ship being seen off the coast.
Then the general and the commodore issued a proclamation to the world that the port was open.
If this be recognized, then the United States
will have to give sixty days notice before the port can be closed again to neutral powers; and by that time we can get supplies enough to suffice us for a year.
Before night, however, some twenty blockaders were in sight of the bar. It is not a question of right, or of might, with France
-but of inclination.
Whenever they, or either of them, shall be disposed to relieve us, it can be done.
There was a fight near Suffolk
yesterday, and it is reported that our troops repulsed the enemy.
The enemy's gun-boats returned to the bombardment of Fort McAlister, and met no success.
They were driven off. But still, I fear the fort must succumb.
, of Delaware
, has been arrested by the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate, for his denunciation of Lincoln
as an “imbecile.”
And a Philadelphia editor has been imprisoned for alleged “sympathy with secessionists.”
These arrests signify more battles — more blood.
It appears that Gen. Pryor
's force, 1500 strong, was attacked by the enemy, said to be 5000 in number, on the Blackwater
After some shelling and infantry firing, Gen.
P. retired some eight miles, and was not pursued.
Our loss was only fifty; it is said
the enemy had 500 killed and wounded; but I know not how this was ascertained.
Gold in the North
now brings 58 1/2 cents premium.
Exchange sells at $1.75. Cotton at 96 cents per pound!
They are getting up a fine rumpus in the North
over the imprisonment of an editor.
To-day, when conversing with Judge Perkins
in relation to having a passport system established by law, he admitted the necessity, but despaired of its accomplishment.
“For,” said he, “nothing can be done in Congress which has not the sanction of the Executive
He meant, I thought, from his manner and tone, that the Executive branch
of the government was omnipotent, having swallowed up the functions of the other co-ordinate branches.
I cannot understand this, for the Executive
has' but little appointing patronage, the army being completely organized, having supplementary generals, and all officers, under the grade of brigadiers, being promoted as vacancies occur.
One of the enemy's iron-clad gun-boats has got past our batteries at Vicksburg
says it was struck “three times.”
But it is through.
The enemy's presses reiterate the assertion that Gen. Longstreet
is in Tennessee
with his corps; and that the detachments from Gen. Lee
's army amount to 75,000 men. This is evidently for the purpose to encourage Hooker
's army to cross the Rappahannock
These presses must know that Gen. Lee
's whole army was less than 75,000 men; that Longstreet
is still with him, and that only one small brigade has been sent away to North Carolina
let them come!
They will be annihilated.
But is it not diabolical in the New York Post, Times
, etc. to urge their own people on to certain destruction?
had 300,000, he could not now come to Richmond
We have extremely cold weather now; and, probably, the rivers in Virginia
will be frozen over to-night.
It snowed again last night.
Tuesday night the mercury was 8° below zero.
A dispatch from Gen. Beauregard
says sixty sail of the enemy have left Beaufort, N. C.
, for Charleston
A British frigate (Cadmus
) has arrived at Charleston
with intelligence that; the Federal fleet of gun-boats will attack the city immediately; and that the British
consul is ordered away by the Minister
The attack will be by sea and land.
God help Beauregard
in this fearful ordeal!
will be assailed, and suggests that all the troops in North Carolina
be concentrated near Wilmington
, and he will undertake the defense of the rest of the State
Nevertheless, if the government deems it more important to have his troops sent to North Carolina
, than to retain them for the defense of Richmond
, he must acquiesce.
But he thinks Hooker
will attempt the passage of the Rappahannock
, at an early day, if the weather will admit of it. In regard to the last attempt of Burnside
to cross his army (when he stuck in the mud), Gen. Lee
says it was fortunate for the Federals
that they failed to get over.
No doubt he was prepared for their reception.
Congress is doing nothing but voting money for themselves.
The President (some of the members say) is their master, and they await his nod. These are his enemies.
We have a dispatch from Texas
, of another success of Gen. Magruder
at Sabine Pass
, wherein he destroyed a large amount of the enemy's stores.
But we are calmly awaiting the blow at Charleston
, or a Savannah, or wherever it may fall.
We have confidence in Beauregard
We are more anxious regarding the fate of Vicksburg
Northern man as he is, if Pemberton
suffers disaster by any default, he will certainly incur the President
's eternal displeasure.
must be defended, else the President
himself may feel the pangs of a refugee.
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me!
From intelligence received yesterday evening, it is probable the Alabama
, Harriet Lane, and Florida
have met off the West Indies
, and turned upon the U. S. steamer Brooklyn
The account says a large steamer was seen on fire, and three others were delivering broadsides into her. The United States
press thought the burning steamer was the Florida
we shall soon have stirring news.
They may overpower our forces, but our power there will be completely exhausted before resistance ceases.
There will be no more “giving up,” as with New Orleans, Norfolk
, etc. Yet there is a feverish anxiety regarding Vicksburg
permitted one iron-clad gun-boat to pass, and all our boats below are now at its mercy.
The House of Representatives, at Washington
, has passed the “negro soldier bill.”
This will prove a “Pan dora's box,” and the Federals
may rue the day that such a measure was adopted.
requests that all dispatches passing between his headquarters and the War Department be in cipher.
He says everything of importance communicated, he has observed, soon becomes the topic of public conversation; and thence is soon made known to the enemy.
The iron-clad gun-boat, which got past Vicksburg
, has been up the Red River
It has taken three of our steamers, forty officers on one, and captured large amounts of stores and cotton.
made a dash into Williamsburg
last night, and captured the place, taking some prisoners.
(my son) received a letter to-day from Miss
underground railroad, inclosing another for her sweet-heart in the army.
She says they are getting on tolerably well in the hands of the enemy, though the slaves have been emancipated.
She says a Yankee preacher (whom she calls a white-washed negro) made a speculation
. He read the Lincoln Proclamation
to the negroes: and then announced that none of them had been
legally married, and might be liable to prosecution.
To obviate this, he proposed to marry them over, charging only
a dollar for each couple.
He realized several thousand dollars, and then returned to the North
This was a legitimate Yankee speculation; and no doubt the preacher will continue to be an enthusiastic advocate of a war of subjugation.
As long as the Yankees
can make money by it, and escape killing, the war will continue.
No stirring news yet. The enemy's fleet is at Port Royal, S. C.
Everywhere we are menaced with overwhelming odds.
Upon God, and our own right arms, we must rely, and we do rely.
To-day, in cabinet council, it is believed it was decided to call out all conscripts under forty-five years of age. The President might have done it without consulting the cabinet.
Yesterday Mrs. Goddin
, the owner or wife of the owner of the house I occupy, failing to get board in the country, and we having failed to get another house, took possession of one room of the little cottage.
We have temporarily the rest: parlor, dining-room, and two chambers-one of them 8 by 11-at the rate of $800 per annum.
This is low, now; for ordinary dwellings, without furniture, rent for $1800. Mr.
G. has an hereditary (I believe) infirmity of the mind, and is confined by his father in an asylum.
G. has four little children, the youngest only a few weeks old. She has a white nurse, who lost her only child (died of scarlet fever) six days ago; her husband being in the army.
It is a sad spectacle.
To-day beef was selling in market at one dollar
And yet one might walk for hours in vain, in quest of a beggar
. Did such a people ever exist before?
There is a rumor that Major-Gen. Gustavus W. Smith
has tendered his resignation.
Some idea may be formed of the scarcity of food.
in this city from the fact that, while my youngest daughter was in the kitchen to-day, a young rat came out of its hole and seemed to beg for something to eat; she held out some bread, which it ate from her hand, and seemed grateful.
Several others soon appeared, and were as tame as kittens.
Perhaps we shall have to eat them!
Congress has not yet restricted the class of exempts, and the work of conscription drags heavily along.
under forty-five must be called, else the maximum of the four hundred regiments cannot be kept up. It reminds me of Jack Falstaff
's mode of exemption.
The numerous employees of the Southern Express Co. have been let off, after transporting hither, for the use of certain functionaries, sugars, etc. from Alabama
And so in the various States, enrolling and other officers are letting thousands of conscripts slip through their hands.
There is a rumor in the papers that something like a revolution is occurring, or has occurred, in the West
; and it is stated that the Federal
troops demand the recall of the Emancipation Proclamation
They also object to serving with negro troops.
But we ought to look for news of terrific fighting at Savannah
No doubt all the troops in the field (Federal) or on the water will be hurled against us before long, so as to effect as much injury as possible before defection can spread extensively, and before the expiration of the enlistments of some 200,000 men in May.
And what are we doing?
The acceptance of substitutes who desert, and the exemption of thousands who should be fighting for the country, employ hundreds of pens daily in this city.
Alas, that so many dishonest men have obtained easy places!
The President has been grossly imposed upon.
A beautiful day. Yet Gen. Lee
is giving furloughs, two to each company.
If the weather should be dry, perhaps Hooker
will advance: a thing desired by our people, being confident of his destruction.
The papers issued extras to-day with news from the Northwest
, based upon the account of a “reliable gentleman,” who has just run the blockade.
He says Ohio
, and Illinois
have resolved to meet in convention, at Frankfort, Ky.
, for the purpose of seceding from the United States, and setting up a confederacy for themselves, or joining the Southern Confederacy
. I fear the “reliable gentleman” is not to be relied upon.
Yet it would be well for the Western States
, a just retribution to New England
, and a very great relief to us
is urging the department to have the meat at Atlanta
brought to his army without delay.
It is here
the army will be wanted.
I saw pigs to-day, not six weeks old, selling in market at $10 a piece.
I met Col. Bledsoe
to-day, on a visit to the city, who told me Fenelon
never tasted meat, and lived to be ninety years old. I am no Fenelon
, but I shall probably have to adopt his regimen.
I would barter, however, some of his years for a good supply of food.
We must have peace soon, or a famine.
Already, as if quite certain that the great Northwest would speedily withdraw from the Eastern United States
, our people are discussing the eventualities of such a momentous occurrence.
The most vehement opposition to the admission of any of the non-slaveholding States, whose people have invaded our country and shed the blood of our people, into this Confederacy, is quite manifest in this city.
, “the Old Mother,” would, I think, after due hesitation, take back her erring children, Ohio
, and perhaps one or two more, if they earnestly desired to return to her parental protection.
Some of the Cotton States
might revolt at such a project, and even the cabinet might oppose the scheme of adding several powerful free States to the Confederacy
; but it would not all suffice to prevent it, if they desire to join us. It is true, the constitution would have to be modified, for it is not to be supposed that slaves would be held in any of the States referred to; but then slavery would be recognized by its proper term, and ample guarantees would be agreed upon by the great free States which abandon the United States
on the issue of emancipation.
, and Illinois
, added to the thirteen Confederate States
, would speedily constitute us a people of sufficient military power to defy the menaces of the arms of the greatest powers of the earth; and the commercial and agricultural prosperity of the country would amaze the world.
I am of the opinion that Virginia, Maryland
, North Carolina
, and Missouri
would form a league of union with Ohio
, and Indiana
, even if the rest of the Southern States
were to reject the alliance.
But who can foresee the future through the smoke of war, and amid the clash of bayonets?
Nevertheless, division and subdivision would relieve all of the burden of debt, for they would repudiate the greater part, if not the whole, of the indebtedness of both
the present governments, which has been incurred in ravaging the country and cutting each other's throats
. The cry will be: “We will not pay the price of blood — for the slaughter of our brothers!”
Another gun-boat has got past Vicksburg
But three British steamers have run into Charleston
with valuable cargoes.
is now sending troops to Charleston
, and this strengthens the report that Hooker
's army is leaving the Rappahannock
They are probably crumbling to pieces, under the influence of the peace party growing up in the North
Some of them, however, it is said, are sent to Fortress Monroe
Our Bureau of Conscription ought to be called the Bureau of Exemption
It is turning out a vast number of exempts.
The Southern Express Company bring sugar, partridges, turkeys, etc. to the potential functionaries, and their employees are exempted during the time they may remain in the employment of the company.
It is too bad!
I have just been reperusing Frederick
's great campaigns, and find much encouragement.
was not so strong as the Confederate States
, and yet was environed and assailed by France
, and several smaller powers simultaneously.
And yet Frederick maintained the contest for seven years, and finally triumphed over his enemies.
The preponderance of numbers against him in the field was greater than that of the United States
against us; and Lee
is as able a general as Frederick.
Hence we should never despair.
sending troops to Charleston
He is sending them here
for the defense of Richmond
, which is now supposed to be the point of attack, by land and by water, and on both sides of the James River
Well, they have striven to capture this city from every point of the compass but one-the south side.
Perhaps they will make an attempt from that direction; and I must confess that I have always apprehended the most danger from that quarter.
But we shall beat them, come whence they may!
H --‘s, another of Gen. Winder
's detectives, has gone over to the enemy.
He went on a privateering cruise from Wilmington
; the vessel he sailed in captured a brig,
and H — s was put in command of the prize, to sail into a Confederate port.
Instead of this, however, H---s sailed away for one of the West India islands
, and gave up his prize to Corn.
, of the United States Navy.
One or two of the regiments of Gen. Lee
's army were in the city last night.
The men were pale and haggard.
They have but a quarter of a pound of meat per day. But meat has been ordered from Atlanta
I hope it is abundant there.
All the necessaries of life in the city are still going up higher in price.
Butter, $3 per pound; beef, $1; bacon, $1.25; sausagemeat, $1; and even liver is selling at 50 cents per pound.
By degrees, quite perceptible, we are approaching the condition of famine.
What effect this will produce on the community is to be seen.
The army must be fed or disbanded, or else the city must be abandoned.
How we, “the people,” are to live is a thought of serious concern.
has recommended that an appeal be made to the people to bring food to the army, to feed their sons and brothers; but the Commissary-General
opposes it; probably it will not be done.
No doubt the army could be half fed in this way for months.
But the “red tape” men are inflexible and inscrutable.
Nevertheless, the commissaries and quartermasters are getting rich.
The resignation of Gen. Gustavus W. Smith
has been accepted by the President
It was well done — the acb ceptance, I mean.
Who will Gen. Winder
report to now?
has learned that I am keeping a diary, and that some space in it may be devoted to the history of martial law. He said to Capt. Warner
, his commissary of prisons, that he would patronize it. The captain asked me if Gen. Winder
's rule was not dwelt upon in it. I said doubtless it was; but that I had not yet revised it, and was never in the habit of perusing my own works until they were completed.
Then I carefully corrected them for the press.
's division marched through the city to-day for Drewry's Bluff
. Gen. Lee
writes that this division can beat the army corps of Hooker
, supposed to be sent to the Peninsula
It has 12,000 men — an army corps 40,000. Brig.-Gen. Hood
's division is near the city, on the Chickahominy
government to see that Gens. French
be vigilant, and to have their scouts closely watching the enemy at Suffolk
He thinks, however, the main object of the enemy is to take Charleston
; and he suggests that every available man be sent thither.
The rest of his army he will keep on the Rappahannock
, to watch the enemy still remaining north of that river.
I sent a communication to the President
to-day, proposing to reopen my register of “patriotic contributions” to the army, for they are suffering for meat.
I doubt whether he will agree to it. If the war be prolonged, the appeal must be to the people to feed the army, or else it will dissolve.
We have exciting news from the West
The iron-shod gun-boat, Queen of the West
, which run past Pemberton
's batteries some time since, captured, it appears, one of our steamers in Red River
, and then compelled our pilot to steer the Queen of the West
farther up the river.
The heroic pilot ran the boat under our masked batteries, and then succeeded in escaping by swimming.
The Queen of the West
was forced to surrender.
This adventure has an exhilarating effect upon our spirits.
Hon. James Lyons
sent to the President
to-day a petition, signed by a majority of the members of Congress, to have me appointed major in the conscription service.
's division passed through the city to-day, and crossed over the river.
I hope an attack will be made at Suffolk
It is too menacing a position to allow the invader to occupy it longer.
No attack on Charleston
yet, and there is a rumor that the command of the expedition is disputed by Foster
If it hangs fire, it will be sure to miss the mark.
This is the anniversary of the birth of Washington
, and of the inauguration of President Davis
, upon the installation of the permanent government of the Confederate States
It is the ugliest day I ever saw. Snow fell all night, and was falling fast all day, with a northwest wind howling furiously.
The snow is now nearly a foot deep, and the weather very cold.
My communication to the President
, proposing an appeal to the people to furnish the army with meat and clothing (voluntary contributions), was transmitted to the Secretary of War
without remark, other than the simple reference.
The plan will not be adopted, in all probability, for the Secretary
will consult the Commissary
, and they will oppose any interference with the business of their departments.
Red tape will win the day, even if our cause be lost.
Our soldiers must be fed and clothed according to the “rules and regulations,” or suffer and perish for the want of food and clothing!
I have some curiosity to learn what the President
has indorsed, or may indorse, on the paper sent him by Mr. Lyons
, signed by half the members of Congress.
Will he simply refer it to the Secretary
Then what will the Secretary
My friends in Congress will likewise be curious to learn the result.
I saw a letter from Gen. Lee
to-day, suggesting to the government on appeal to the Governors
of the States to aid more directly in recruiting the armies.
He says the people habitually expect too much from the troops now in the field; that because we have gained many victories, it does not follow that we shall always gain them; that the legitimate fruits of victory have hitherto been lost, for the want of numbers on our side; and, finally, that all those who fail to go to the field at such a momentous period as this, are guilty of the blood of the brave soldiers who perish in the effort to achieve independence.
This would be contrary to the “rules and regulations” as understood by the Adjutant
(a Northern man), and no doubt the Secretary of War
and the President
will reject the plan.
The petition of forty members of Congress in my behalf came from Mr. Seddon
, the Secretary
, to our bureau to-day.
He asks the superintendent if there is a necessity for such an officer, one whose rank is equal to that of a commandant of a camp of instruction.
Ite says important services only should require the appointment of such an officer.
Well, Gen. Rains
recommended it. I know not whether he can say more.
I shall not get it, for Congress has but little influence, just now.
is now in command of Gen. Smith
's late department, besides his own corps.
Our papers contain a most astonishing speech purporting to have been delivered by Mr. Conway
, in the United States Congress.
C. is from Kansas
, that hot-bed of Abolitionism.
He is an avowed Abolitionist; and yet he advocates an immediate suspension of hostilities, or at least that the Federal
armies and fleets be ordered to act on the defensive; that the independence of the Confederate States
be recognized, upon the basis of a similar tariff; free-trade between the North and South; free navigation of the Mississippi
, and co-operation in the maintenance of the Monroe
I like the indications apparent in this speech.
Let us have a suspension of hostilities, and then we can have leisure to think of the rest.
No doubt the peace party is growing rapidly in the United States
; and it may be possible that the Republicans mean to beat the Democrats in the race, by going beyond them on the Southern
The Democrats are for peace and Union; the Republicans may resolve to advocate not only peace, but secession
On the 18th inst. the enemy's battery on the opposite side of the Mississippi River
opened on Vicksburg
The damage was not great; but the front of the town is considered untenable.
The Conscription bill has passed the United States Senate, which will empower the President
to call for 3,000,000 men. “Will they come, when he does call for them?”
That is to be seen.
It may be aimed at France
; and a war with the Emperor
might rouse the Northern
Some of them, however, have had enough of war.
To-day I heard of my paper addressed to the President
on the subject of an appeal to the people to send food to the army.
He referred it to the Commissary-General
, Col. Northrop
, who sent it to the War Department, with an indorsement that as he had no acquaintance with that means of maintaining an army (the patriotic contributions of the people), he could not recommend the adoption of the plan.
Red tape is mightier than patriotism still.
There may be a change, however, for Gen. Lee
approves the plan.
We have good news from Vicksburg
The Queen of the West
, lately captured by us, and another gunboat, attacked the Indianola
, the iron-clad Federal
gun-boat which got past our batteries the other day, and, after an engagement, sunk her. We captured all the officers and men.
No news from any quarter to-day.
Gen. Joseph E. Johnston
is discontented with his command in the West
The armies are too far asunder for co-operative action; and, when separated, too weak for decisive operations.
There is no field there for him, and he desires to be relieved, and assigned to some other command.
I was surprised to receive, to-day, the following very official letter from the Secretary of War