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Xxxi. October, 1863

October 1

We have a rumor to-day that Meade is sending heavy masses of troops to the West to extricate Rosecrans, and that Gen. Hooker is to menace Richmond from the Peninsula, with 25,000 men, to keep Lee from crossing the Potomac.

We have absolutely nothing from Bragg; but a dispatch from Gen. S. Jones, East Tennessee, of this date, says he has sent Gen. Ranseur after the rear guard of the enemy, near Knoxville. [58]

A letter from W. G. M. Davis, describes St. Andrew's Bay, Florida, as practicable for exporting and importing purposes. It may be required, if Charleston and Wilmington fall — which is not improbable.

Nevertheless, Bragg's victory has given us a respite in the East, and soon the bad roads will put an end to the marching of armies until next year. I doubt whether the Yankees will desire another winter campaign in Virginia.

The papers contain the following account of sufferings at Gettysburg, and in the Federal prisons:

A lady from the vicinity of Gettysburg writes:

July 18th- We have been visiting the battle-field, and have done all we can for the wounded there. Since then we have sent another party, who came upon a camp of wounded Confederates in a wood between the hills. Through this wood quite a large creek runs. This camp contained between 200 and 300 wounded men, in every stage of suffering; two well men among them as nurses. Most of them had frightful wounds. A few evenings ago the rain, sudden and violent, swelled the creek, and 35 of the unfortunates were swept away; 35 died of starvation. No one had been to visit them since they were carried off the battle-field; they had no food of any kind; they were crying all the time “bread, bread! water, water!” One boy without beard was stretched out dead, quite naked, a piece of blanket thrown over his emaciated form, a rag over his face, and his small, thin hands laid over his breast. Of the dead none knew their names, and it breaks my heart to think of the mothers waiting and watching for the sons laid in the lonely grave on that fearful battle-field. All of those men in the woods were nearly naked, and when ladies approached they tried to cover themselves with the filthy rags they had cast aside. The wounds themselves, unwashed and untouched, were full of worms. God only knows what they suffered.

Not one word of complaint passed their lips, not a murmur; their only words were “Bread, bread! Water, water!” Except when they saw some of our ladies much affected, they said, “Oh, ladies, don't cry; we are used to this.” We are doing all we can; we served all day yesterday, though it was Sunday.

This lady adds:

There were two brothers-one a colonel, the other a captain-lying side by side, and both wounded. They had [59] a Bible between them.

Another letter from Philadelphia says:
There are over 8000 on the island (Fort Delaware), the hospitals crowded, and between 300 and 400 men on the pare floor of the barracks; not even a straw mattress under them. The surgeon says the hundred pillows and other things sent from here were a God-send. Everything except gray clothing will be thankfully received, and can be fully disposed of. It is very difficult to get money here. I write to you in the hope that you may be able to send some comforts for these suffering men. Some two or three thousand have been sent to an island in the East River, most of them South Carolinians, and all in great destitution. Your hearts would ache as mine does if you knew all I hear and know is true of the sufferings of our poor people.

Another writes: Philadelphia, July 20th, 1863.

I mentioned in my last the large number of Southern prisoners now in the hands of the Federal Government in Fort Delaware, near this city. There are 8000, a large portion of whom are sick and wounded; all are suffering most seriously for the want of a thousand things. Those in the city who are by birth or association connected with Southern people, and who feel a sympathy for the sufferings of these prisoners, are but few in number, and upon these have been increasing calls for aid. Their powers of contribution are now exhausted. I thought it my duty to acquaint you and others in Europe of this state of things, that you might raise something to relieve the sufferings of these prisoners. I believe the government has decided that any contributions for them may be delivered to them. There is scarcely a man among them, officers or privates, who has any money or any clothes beyond those in which they stood when they were captured on the battlefield. You can, therefore, imagine their situation. In the hospitals the government gives them nothing beyond medicines and soldier's rations. Sick men require much more, or they perish; and these people are dying by scores. I think it a matter in which their friends on the other side should take prompt and ample action.

October 2

Our 5000 prisoners taken at the battle of Chickamauga have arrived in this city, and it is ascertained that more are on the way hither. Gen. Bragg said he had 5000 besides the wounded, and as none of the wounded have arrived, more must [60] have been taken since his dispatch. Every effort is being made on our part to capture the army of Rosecrans-and everything possible is done by the enemy to extricate him, and to reinforce him to such an extent that he may resume offensive operations. Without this be done, the campaign must close disastrously in the West, and then the peace party of the North will have a new inspiration of vitality.

It is now said that Gen. Lee, despairing of being attacked in his chosen position, has resolved to attack Meade, or at least to advance somewhere. It is possible (if Meade has really sent two corps of his army to the West) that he will cross the Potomac again-at least on a foraging expedition. If he meets with only conscripts and militia he may penetrate as far as Harrisburg, and then let Europe perpend! The Union will be as difficult of reconstruction, as would have been the celebrated Campo Formio vase shivered by Napoleon. It is much easier to destroy than to construct. The emancipation and confiscation measures rendered reconstruction impracticable-unless, indeed, at a future day, the Abolitionists of the United States should be annihilated and Abolitionism abolished.

To-day I got an excellent pair of winter shoes from a quartermaster here for $13-the retail price for as good an article, in the stores, is $75; fine boots have risen to $200!

The enemy's batteries on Morris Island are firing away again at Sumter's ruins, and at Moultrie-but they have not yet opened on the city.

The newspapers continue to give accounts of the Chickamauga battle.

October 3

Nothing from the armies; but from Charleston it is ascertained that the enemy's batteries on Morris Island have some of the guns pointing seaward. This indicates a provision against attack from that quarter, and suggests a purpose to withdraw the monitors, perhaps to use them against Wilmington. I suppose the opposite guns in the batteries will soon open on Charleston.

Thomas Jackson, Augusta, Ga., writes that he can prove the president of the Southern Express Company, who recently obtained a passport to visit Europe, really embarked for the United States, taking a large sum in gold; that another of the same company [61] (which is nothing more than a branch of Adars's Express Company of New York) will leave soon with more gold. He says this company has enough men detailed from the army, and conscripts exempted, to make two regiments.

J. M. Williams writes from Morton, Miss., that his negroes have been permitted to return to his plantation, near Baton Rouge, and place themselves under his overseer. During their absence some ten or twelve died. This is really wonderful policy on the part of the enemy — a policy which, if persisted in, might ruin us. Mr. Williams asks permission to sell some fifty bales of cotton to the enemy for the support of his slaves. He says the enemy is getting all the cotton in that section of country-and it may be inferred that all the planters are getting back their slaves. The moment any relaxation occurs in the rigorous measures of the enemy, that moment our planters cease to be united in resistance.

October 4

The major-quartermasters and the acting quartermaster-generals (during the illness or absence of Gen. Lawton) are buffeting the project some of us set on foot to obtain wood at cost, $8, instead of paying the extortioners $40 per cord. All the wagons and teams of Longstreet's corps are here idle, while the corps itself is with Bragg-and the horses are fed by the government of course. These wagons and teams might bring into the city thousands of cords of wood. The quartermasters at first said there were no drivers; but I pointed out the free Yankee negroes in the prisons, who beg employment. Now Col. Cole, the quartermaster in charge of transportation, says there is a prospect of getting teamsters-but that hauling should be done exclusively for the army-and the quartermaster-general (acting) indorses on the paper that if the Secretary will designate the class of clerks to be benefited, some little wood might be delivered them. This concession was obtained, because the Secretary himself sent my second paper to the quartermaster-general--the first never having been seen by him, having passed from the hands of the Assistant Secretary to the file-tomb.

Another paper I addressed to the President, suggesting the opening of government stores for the sale of perishable tithes,being a blow at the extortioners, and a measure of relief to the non. producers, and calculated to prevent a riot in the city,--was referred [62] by him yesterday to the Secretary of War, for his special notice, and for conference, which may result in good, if they adopt the plan submitted. That paper the Assistant Secretary cannot withhold, having the President's mark on it.

October 5

It is now said that Meade's army has not retired, and that two corps of it have not been sent to Rosecrans. Well, we shall know more soon, for Lee is preparing for a movement. It may occur this week.

In the West it is said Gen. Johnston is working his way, with a few brigades, from Meridian towards Nashville.

Lieut.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith writes for authority to make appointments and promotions in the trans-Mississippi Army, as its “communications with Richmond are permanently interrupted.” The President indorses that he has no authority to delegate the power of appointing, as that is fixed by the constitution; but he will do anything in his power to facilitate the wishes of the general. The general writes that such delegation is a “military necessity.”

The Enquirer and the Dispatch have come out in opposition to the fixing of maximum prices for articles of necessity, by either the Legislature of the State or by Congress. It is charged against these papers, with what justice I know not, that the proprietors of both are realizing profits from speculation.

To-day I got a fine shin-bone (for soup) for $1. I obtained it at the government shop; in the market I was asked $5.50 for one. We had a good dinner, and something left over for tomorrow.

October 6

Gen. Bragg and others recommend Gen. Hood for promotion to a lieutenant-generalcy; but the President says it is impossible, as the number authorized by Congress is full. And Gen. Bragg also gives timely notice to the Commissary-General that the supplies at Atlanta will suffice for but a few weeks longer. This, Commissary-General Northrop took in high dudgeon, indorsing on the paper that there was no necessity for such a message to him; that Bragg knew very well that every effort had been and would be made to subsist the army; and that when he evacuated Tennessee, the great source of supplies was abandoned. In short, the only hope of obtaining ample supplies was for Gen. Bragg to recover Tennessee, and drive Rosecrans out of the country. [63]

The President has at last consented to send troops for the protection of Wilmington-Martin's brigade; and also Clingman's, from Charleston, if the enemy should appear before Wilmington.

I read to-day an interesting report from one of our secret agents --Mr. A. Superviele--of his diplomatic operations in Mexico, which convinces me that the French authorities there favor the Confederate States cause, and anticipate closer relations before long. When he parted with Almonte, the latter assured him that his sympathies were with the South, and that if he held any position in the new government (which he does now) he might say to President Davis that his influence would be exerted for the recognition of our independence.

Mr. Jeptha Fowlkes, of Aberdeen, Miss., sends a proposition to supply our army with 200,000 suits of clothing, 50,000 pairs of shoes, etc. etc. from the United States, provided he be allowed to give cotton in return. Mr. Randolph made a contract with him last year, of this nature, which our government revoked afterward. We shall see what will be done now.

It is positively asserted that Gen. Bragg has arrested Lieut.-Gen. (Bishop) Polk and Brig.-Gen. Hindman, for disobedience of orders in the battle of Chickamauga.

letter from President Davis--The Mobile papers publish the following letter from President Davis to the “Confederate Society,” of Enterprise, Miss.:

Richmond, Va., Sept. 17th, 1863.
J. W. Harmon, Esq , Secretary of the Confederate Society, enterprise, Miss.
Sir:--I have received your letter of the 22d ult., inclosing a copy of an address to the people of the Confederate States, calling upon them to unite in an effort to restore and maintain the par value of the currency with gold by forming societies of citizens who will engage to sell and buy only at reduced prices. The object of the address is most laudable, and I sincerely hope for it great success in arousing the people to concerted action upon a subject of the deepest importance. The passion for speculation has become a gigantic evil. It has seemed to take possession of the whole country, and has seduced citizens of all classes from a determined prosecution of the war to a sordid effort to amass money. It destroys enthusiasm and weakens public confidence. [64] It injures the efficiency of every measure which demands the zealous co-operation of the people in repelling the public enemy, and threatens to bring upon us every calamity which can befall freemen struggling for independence.

The united exertions of societies like those you propose should accomplish much toward abating this evil, and infusing a new spirit into the community.

I trust, therefore, that you will continue your labors until their good effect becomes apparent everywhere.

Please accept my thanks for the comforting tone of your patriotic letter. It is a relief to receive such a communication at this time, when earnest effort is demanded, and when I am burdened by the complaining and despondent letters of many who have stood all the day idle, and now blame anybody but themselves for reverses which have come and dangers which threaten.

Very respectfully, Your fellow citizen, Jefferson Davis.

There is a revival in the city among the Methodists; and that suggests a recent expiring. In my young days I saw much of these sensational excitements, and partook of them; for how can the young resist them? But it is the Caesarean method of being born again, violating reason, and perhaps outraging nature. There was one gratifying deduction derived from my observation tonight, at the Clay Street meeting-house — the absence of allusion to the war. I had supposed the attempt would be made by the exho.rters to appeal to the fears of the soldiery, composing more than half the congregation, and the terrors of death be held up before them. But they knew better; they knew that every one of them had made up his mind to die, and that most of them expected either death or wounds in this mortal struggle for independence. The fact is they are familiar with death in all its phases, and there is not a coward among them. They look upon danger with the most perfect indifference, and fear not to die. Hence there was no allusion to the battle-field, which has become a scene divested of novelty. But the appeals were made to their sympathies, and reliance was placed on the force of example, and the contagion of ungovernable emotions.


October 7

We have not a particle of news from the army to-day. It may be an ominous calm.

A Mr. Livingstone, from Georgia I believe, has been extensively engaged in financial transactions during the last week. He drew upon the house of North & Co., Savannah, and purchased some $35,000 in gold. After obtaining some $350,000 from the brokers here, he obtained a passport (of course!) and fled into the enemy's lines.

October 8

The President, accompanied by two of his aids, set off quietly day before yesterday for the Southwest--to Bragg's army, no doubt, where it is understood dissensions have arisen among the chieftains.

By telegraph we learn that one of Bragg's batteries, on Lookout Mountain, opened fire on the Federals in Chattanooga on the 5th inst., which was replied to briskly.

Night before last an attempt was made to destroy the enemy's steamer Ironsides at Charleston, but failed. The torpedo, however, may have done it some injury.

From Lee and Meade we have nothing.

A rather startling letter was read by the Secretary of War to-day from--, Lieut.-Gen. Bragg's----d in command. It was dated the 26th of September, and stated that Chickamauga was one of the most complete victories of the war, but has not been “followed up.” On the 21st (day after the battle), Gen. Bragg asked Gen. --‘s advice. which was promptly given: “that he should immediately strike Burnside a blow; or if Burnside escaped, then to march on Rosecrans's communications in the rear of Nashville.” Gen. Bragg seemed to adopt the plan, and gave orders accordingly. But the right wing had not marched more than eight or ten miles the next day, before it was halted, and ordered to march toward Chattanooga, after giving the enemy two and a half days to strengthen the fortifications. Bragg's army remains in front of the enemy's defenses, with orders not to assault him. The only thing Bragg has done well (says Gen.--) was to order the attack on the 19th of September; everything else has been wrong: and now only God can save us or help us-while Bragg commands. He begs that Gen. Lee be sent there, while the Army of Virginia remains on the defensive, to prosecute offensive measures against Rosecrans. He says Bragg's army has neither organization nor [66] mobility; and B. cannot remedy the evil. He cannot adopt or adhere to any course, and he invokes the government to interpose speedily. This letter is on file in the archives.

The question now is, who is right? If it be--, Bragg ought certainly to be relieved without delay; and the President cannot arrive in the field a moment too soon. As it is, while others are exulting in the conviction that Rosecrans will be speedily destroyed, I am filled with alarm for the fate of Bragg's army, and for the cause! I am reluctant to attribute the weakness of personal pique or professional jealousy to--; yet I still hope that events will speedily prove that Braggs plan was the best, and that he had really adopted and advised to the wisest course.

October 9

From the West we have only unreliable reports of movements, etc.; but something definite and decisive must occur shortly.

Gen. Lee's army crossed the Rapidan yesterday, and a battle may be looked for in that direction any day. It is said Meade has only 40,000 or 50,000 men; and, if this be so, Lee is strong enough to assume the offensive.

To-morrow the departments will be closed for a review of the clerks, etc., a piece of nonsense, as civil officers are under no obligation to march except to fight, when the city is menaced.

The mechanics and non-producers have made a unanimous call (in placards) for a mass meeting at the City Hall to-morrow evening. The ostensible object is to instruct Mr. Randolph and other members of the Legislature (now in session) to vote for the bill, fixing maximum prices of commodities essential to life, or else to resign. Mr. Randolph has said he would not vote for it, unless so instructed to do. It is apprehended that these men, or the authors of the movement, have ulterior objects in view; and as some ten or twelve hundred of them belong to the militia, and have muskets in their possession, mischief may grow out of it. Mr. Secretary Seddon ought to act at once on the plan suggested for the sale of the perishable tithes, since the government is blamed very much, and perhaps very justly, for preventing transportation of meat and bread to the city, or for impressing it in transitu.

Capt. Warner, who feeds the prisoners of war, and who is my good “friend in need,” sent me yesterday 20 odd pounds of bacon sides at the government price. This is not exactly according to [67] law and order, but the government loses nothing, and my family have a substitute for butter.

October 10

The enemy is undoubtedly falling back on the Rappahannock, and our army is pursuing. We have about 40,000 in Lee's army, and it is reported that Meade has 50,000, of whom many are conscripts, altogether unreliable. We may look for stirring news soon.

About 2500 of the “local” troops were reviewed to-day. The companies were not more than half filled; so, in an emergency, we could raise 5000 fighting men, at a moment's warning, for the defense of the capital. In the absence of Custis Lee, Col. Brown, the English aid of the President, commanded the brigade, much to the disgust of many of the men, and the whole were reviewed by Gen. Elzey, still more to the chagrin of the ultra Southern men.

The Secretary seems unable to avert the storm brewing against the extortioners; but permits impressments of provisions coming to the city.

It is said the President and cabinet have a large special fund in Europe. If they should fall into the hands of Lincoln, they might suffer death; so in the event of subjugation, it is surmised they have provided for their subsistence in foreign lands. But there is no necessity for such provision, provided they perform their duty here. I cut the following from the papers:

The Vicomte de St. Romain has been sent by the French Government to ours to negotiate for the exportation of the tobacco bought for France by French agents.

The Confederate States Government has at last consented to allow the tobacco to leave the country, provided the French Government will send its own vessels for it.

The latter will send French ships, accompanied by armed convoys.

To this the United States Government objects in toto.

Vicomte de St. Romain is now making his way to New York to send the result of his mission, through the French Consul, to the Emperor.

The French frigates in New York are there on this errand.

October 11

I attended a meeting of “mechanics” and citizens at the City Hall last night. The prime mover of this organization is E. B. Robinson, some twenty years ago one of my printers [68] in the Madisonian office. It was fully attended, and although not so boisterous as might have been expected, was, nevertheless, earnest and determined in its spirit. Resolutions instructing Mr. Randolph (State Senator, and late Secretary of War) to vote for a bill before the General Assembly reducing and fixing the prices of the necessities of life, were passed unanimously; also one demanding his resignation, in the event of his hesitating to obey. He was bitterly denounced by the speakers.

I understood yesterday, from the butchers, that they have been buying beef cattle, not from the producers, but from a Mr. Moffitt (they say a commissary agent), at from 45 to 55 cents gross; and hence they are compelled to retail it (net) at from 75 cents to $1.25 per pound to the people. If this be so, and the commissary buys at government prices, 18 to 22 cents, a great profit is realized by the government or its agent at the expense of a suffering people. How long will the people suffer thus? This community is even now in an inflammable condition, and may be ignited by a single spark. The flames of insurrection may at any moment wrap this slumbering government in its destructive folds; and yet the cabinet cannot be awakened to a sense of the danger. Mr. Seddon (who may be better informed than others), deeply sunken in his easy chair, seems perfectly composed; but he cannot know that his agents are permitted to prey upon the people: and the complaints and charges sent to him are acted upon by his subordinates, who have orders not to permit business of secondary importance to engage his attention; and his door-keepers have instructions to refuse admittance to persons below a certain rank.

Nothing but the generous and brave men in the army could have saved us from destruction long ago, and nothing else can save us hereafter. If our independence shall be achieved, it will be done in spite of the obstructions with which the cause has been burdened by the stupidity or mismanagement of incompetent or dishonest men.

The sufferings of the border Missourians.

The people of Missouri, on the Kansas border, are being slaughtered without mercy under the authority of the Yankee commander of that department, Schofield. A letter to the St. Louis Republican (Yankee) says:

On Sunday last the desire for blood manifested itself in the [69] southeastern part of Jackson County, not far from the village of Lone Jack. Although it was Sunday, the people of that region, alarmed and terror-stricken by threats from Kansas, and cruel edicts from headquarters of the district, were hard at work straining every nerve to get ready to leave their homes before this memorable 9th day of September, 1863.

One party of these unfortunate victims of a cruel order had almost completed their preparations, and within half an hour's time would have commenced their weary wanderings in search of a home. It consisted of Benjamin Potter, aged seventy-five; John S. Cave, aged fifty; William Hunter, aged forty-seven; David Hunter, aged thirty-five; William C. Tate, aged thirty; Andrew Owsley, aged seventeen; and Martin Rice and his son. While thus engaged in loading their wagons with such effects as they supposed would be most useful to them, a detachment of Kansas troops (said to be part of the Kansas 9th, though this may be a mistake), under command of Lieut.-Col. Clark and Capt. Coleman, came up and took them all prisoners.

After a little parleying, Mr. Rice and his son were released and ordered to leave; which they did, of course. They had not gone much over three-fourths of a mile before they heard firing at the point at which they had left the soldiers with the remaining prisoners. In a short time the command moved on, and the wives and other relatives of the prisoners rushed up to ascertain their fate. It was a horrid spectacle.

There lay six lifeless forms-mangled corpses-so shockingly mangled that it was difficult, my informant stated, to identify some of them. They were buried where they were murdered, without coffins, by a few friends who had expected to join them on that day, with their families, and journey in search of a home.

These are the unvarnished facts with reference to an isolated transaction. There are many, very many others of a similar character that I might mention, but I will not. The unwritten and secret history of our border would amaze the civilized world, and would stagger the faith of the most credulous. In the case just mentioned, we find an old man who had passed his threescore and ten, and a youth who had not yet reached his score, falling victims to this thirsty cry for blood.

The world will doubtless be told that six more bushwhackers [70] have been cut off, etc. But believe it not, sir; it is not true. These six men never were in arms, neither in the bush or elsewhere, I have been told by one who has known them for years past. The widows and orphans of some of them passed through this city yesterday, heart-broken, homeless wanderers.

October 12

Hon. G. A. Henry, Senator from Tennessee, writes to the Secretary that it is rumored that Gen. Pemberton is to command Gen. Polk's corps in Tennessee. He says if this be true, it will be disastrous; that the Tennessee troops will not serve under him, but will mutiny and desert.

It is reported to-day by Gen. Elzey (on what information I know not) that Meade's army has been reduced to 30,000 or 40,000 men, by the heavy reinforcements sent to extricate Rosecrans. Be this as it may, there is no longer any doubt that Lee is advancing toward the Potomac, and the enemy is retreating. This must soon culminate in something of interest.

I saw Commissary-General Northrop to-day, and he acknowledges that Mr. Moffitt, who sells beef (gross) to the butchers at from 45 to 55 cents, is one of his agents, employed by Major Ruffin, to purchase beef for the army! The schedule price is from 16 to 20 cents, and he pays no more, for the government-and if he buys for himself, it is not likely he pays more-and so we have a government agent a speculator in meat, and co-operating with speculators! Will Mr. Secretary Seddon permit this?

October 13

Gen. Lee's cavalry are picking up some prisoners, several hundreds having already been sent to Richmond. It is said the advance of his army has been delayed several weeks for want of commissary stores, while Commissary-General Northrop's or Major Ruffin's agent Moffitt, it is alleged, has been selling beef (gross) to the butchers at 50 cents per pound, after buying or impressing at from 16 to 20 cents.

Gen. Lee writes that a scout (from Washington?) informs him that Gen. Gilmore has been ordered to take Charleston at all hazards, and, failing in the attempt, to make a flank movement and seize upon Branchville; which he (Gen. Lee) deems an unlikely feat.

What a change! The young professors and tutors who shouldered their pens and became clerks in the departments are now resigning, and seeking employment in country schools remote from [71] the horrid sounds of war so prevalent in the vicinity of the Capitol, and since they were ordered to volunteer in the local companies, which will probably have some sharp practice in the field. They are intent, however, on “teaching the young idea how to shoot.” The young chiefs of bureaus, being fixed “for life,” did not volunteer.

October 14

A letter from Gen. Lee to the Secretary of War, dated 11th inst. at Madison C. H., complains of the injury done by the newspapers of Richmond, which contain early accounts of his movements, and are taken quickly (by flag of truce? or Gen. Winder's corps of rogues and cut-throats?) to the enemy. He says he is endeavoring to strike at Meade, and has already captured, this week, some 600 of the enemy (cavalry), including that number of horses. The Secretary sent the requisite notice to the editors.

Gen. Gilmer, at Charleston, suggests the removal of the guns on the boats in that harbor to land batteries, to be commanded by officers of the navy.

An order has been sent to Gen. S. Jones, West Virginia, for the 8th and 14th Regiments Virginia Cavalry.

October 15

To-day, at 12 M., I saw a common leatherwing bat flying over the War Department. What this portends I do not pretend to say, perhaps nothing. It may have been dislodged by the workmen building chimneys to the offices of the department.

The order of the government conscribing all foreign residents who have acquired homes in this country, and the expulsion of the British consuls, will immediately be followed by another exodus of that class of residents. Already passports are daily applied for, and invariably granted by Mr. Assistant Secretary Campbell. The enemy, of course, will reap great benefit from the information conveyed by these people, and the innumerable brood of blockaderunners.

Gen. Lee has sent down between 60Q and 700 prisoners captured in recent cavalry engagements. He took their horses and equipments also. And there is an account of an engagement in the West, near Memphis, in which the Confederate troops inflicted injury on the enemy, besides destroying the railroad in several places.


October 16

No battle had occurred in Northern Virginia up to 10 o'clock yesterday morning, although there is a constant stream of prisoners being sent to this city daily, taken by our cavalry. At last accounts Meade's army was retreating toward Washington City, hotly pursued by Lee. They were near Manassas, the first battle-field of the war.

There is nothing new from the West, except some skirmishing of cavalry in Central and Western Tennessee, wherein our men have had the advantage, though sometimes falling back before superior numbers.

At Charleston a brisk cannonading is kept up between the batteries; and it is said more hostile transports are arriving, which may indicate active operations on land. Our 700-pounder Blakely No. 2 is there.

Judge Campbell is giving passports rapidly, sometimes binding the Jews not to engage in private operations, but to confine themselves, while in the United States, to the purchase of supplies for the Confederate States service! Some, however, are willing to go on these terms to avoid conscription, but will realize profit by selling information to the enemy.

Judge Hastings, of California, proposes to return thither and publish a pamphlet describing newly discovered gold mines, and organizing companies to work them, which shall be secessionists; and when organized, he will fall upon and destroy the United States troops, march into Arizona, and from thence pour reinforcements into Texas. The Secretary, in the absence of the President, sends a copy of this scheme to Lieut.-Gen. E. K. Smith, trans-Mississippi Department, and gives some encouragement to the judge; abstaining, however, for the present, from devoting any money to the project.

October 17

We hear to-day that a battle has taken place near Manassas, and that Lee has taken some 9000 prisoners and many wagons. At 3 P. M. there was no official intelligence of this event, and it was not generally credited.

Gen. Wise writes from Charleston, that it is understood by the French and Spanish Consuls there that the city will not be bombarded.

In Eastern North Carolina the people have taken the oath of allegiance to the United States, to be binding only so long [73] as they are within the military jurisdiction of the enemy; and they ask to be exempt from the Confederate States tithe tax, for if they pay it, the enemy will despoil them of all that remains.

October 18

No authentic information of a battle near Manassas has been received at the War Department, although it is certain there has been some heavy skirmishing on the Rappahannock. We have several brigadier-generals wounded, and lost five guns; but, being reinforced, continued the pursuit of the enemy, picking up many prisoners — they say 1500. The pursuit was retarded by the swelling of the streams.

A letter from Major-Gen. Jones, at Dublin Depot, Va., Oct. 14th, leads me to think danger is apprehended in that quarter, the objective point being the Salt Works; and it may be inferred, from the fact that Burnside is still there, that Rosecrans is considered safe, by reason of the heavy reinforcements sent from other quarters.

While I write, the government is having the tocsin sounded for volunteers from the militia to go to the rescue of the Salt Works, which is absurd, as the enemy will either have them before aid can be received from Richmond, or else he will have been driven off by the local troops near that vicinity.

Captain Warner took me in his buggy this morning to the military prisons. He did not lead me into the crowded rooms above, where he said I would be in danger of vermin, but exhibited his cooking apparatus, etc.-which was ample and cleanly. Everywhere I saw the captives peeping through the bars; they occupy quite a number of large buildings-warehouses-and some exhibited vengeful countenances. They have half a pound of beef per day, and plenty of good bread and water — besides vegetables and other matters furnished by themselves. Several new furnaces are in process of erection, and most of the laborers are Federal prisoners, who agree to work (for their own convenience) and are paid for it the usual wages. There are baths to the prisons; and the conduits for venting, etc. have cost some $10,000. To-day the weather is as warm as summer, and no doubt the prisoners sigh for the open air (although all the buildings are well ventilated), and their distant homes in the West--most of them being from the field of Chickamauga.

October 19

After all the rumors from Northern Virginia, [74] I have seen nothing official. I incline to the belief that we have achieved no success further than an advance toward Washington, and a corresponding retreat of the enemy. It is to be yet seen whether Lee captured more prisoners than Meade captured. It is said we lost seven guns. But how can Lee achieve anything when the enemy is ever kept informed not only of his movements in progress, but of his probable intentions? I observe that just about the time Lee purposes a movement, several Jews and others of conscript age are seen to apply for passports through the lines, for ordnance and medical stores, and Judge Campbell is certain to “allow” them. The letter-book, for they are now recorded, shows this. These men bring supplies from Maryland, if they ever return, in saddle-bags, while the same kind are landed every week at Wilmington by the cargo!

A recent letter from Lieut.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith, transMis-sissippi, fills me with alarm. He says the property-holders in Arkansas and Louisiana--which States we are evacuating-are willing to return to their allegiance to the United States if that government should modify its policy. He says we have but 32,500 in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas-all told-and the enemy twice that number.

Gen. D. H. Hill has been relieved in the West, and ordered to report in this city to Gen. Cooper. It was necessary perhaps to have a scape-goat. Bragg will probably be sustained by the President-but then what will become of----, who is so inimical to Bragg?

The President has published, in the West, ah eloquent address to the soldiers.

It appears from Gen. K. Smith's letter that the French captured a vessel having on board, for the Confederate States, 12,000 stand of arms, which were taken to Vera Cruz. It is presumed that the French commander supposed these arms were sent over for the use of the Mexicans, probably by the United States. If this be so, it is reasonable to suppose they will be restored us, and so far I do not learn that this government has taken umbrage at the capture. It may be that they were taken to keep them from falling into the possession of the United States cruisers. There are one or two French war steamers now at Charleston, interchanging courtesies with the Confederate States authorities there. It also [75] appears by Gen. Smith's letter that a large amount of arms for the trans-Mississippi Department were deposited at Vicksburg, and fell into the hands of the enemy. The President indorsed on the back of the letter that this was a blunder, and asks by whose order the deposit was made. Col. Gorgas must answer.

October 20

Nothing definite from Lee. I fear his little campaign from the Rapidan to Bull Run was not a glorious one, although Meade did run to the fortifications at Centreville. He may possibly have had a counter-plot, which is not yet developed. Our papers are rejoicing over thousands of prisoners “picked up;” but Captain Warner, who furnishes the prisoners their rations, assures me that they have not yet arrived; while our papers acknowledge we lost 1000 men, killed and wounded, besides several guns.

The Secretary of War received a dispatch to-day from Gen. Barton, Kinston, N. C., stating that a number of Federal regiments were embarking for (he thinks) South Carolina. This, the Secretary, of course, sends to Gen. Beauregard, but doubts, however, the destination of the troops. He thinks they are to menace Richmond again, and says there are indications of this purpose on the York River. Is Hooker really there? The public knows nothing, as yet, of what is going on down that river. What if Meade retreated to entice Lee away from Richmond, having in preparation an expedition against this city? I should not wonder at anything, since so many equivocal characters are obtaining passports to the United States. Gen. Winder and Judge Campbell are busy signing passports-one granted by the latter yesterday (recorded) also allows the bearer to take with him 2000 pounds tobacco!

A letter was received to-day from the President, ordering certain concessions to Governor Brown, relating to exemptions and details.

Letters have been received justifying the belief (notwithstanding the forebodings of Lieut.-Gen. E. K. Smith) that we have taken Little Rock, Ark., again. This is Price's work; also that Quantrell and other bold raiders in Missouri have collected some thousands of desperate men, and killed several regiments of the enemy. They have burned a number of towns (Union), and taken the large town of Boonville. These are the men against whom [76] Kansas Abolitionists have sworn vengeance — no quarter is to be granted them. I suspect they are granting no quarter!

Yesterday I saw a Captain Commissary on Broad Street give his dog a piece of beef for which I would have given a dollar. Many little children of soldiers stood by with empty baskets. He would not sell a shank!

Dispatch from Alabama:

Selma, October 18th, 1868.
President Davis arrived here this evening, and was welcomed by the citizens en masse. An immense crowd gathered in front of the hotel. The President congratulated the people on meeting them under such favorable circumstances, and spoke in glowing terms of the gallantry of Alabamians on every battle-field. He said if the non-conscripts of Alabama would gather their guns and go to the rescue, by guarding Courtland and other points, thereby relieving regular soldiers who are now, from necessity, discharging that sort of duty, such blows would be dealt the enemy as he would find it difficult to recover from. In this way most effective aid could be given the gallant men and officers who are carrying out the plans of the noble Longstreet, under the supervision of the heroic Bragg.

In this way the President was confident that Rosecrans could be crushed to dust. It was only by force of arms that the Yankees could be brought to reason and their plans for our subjugation defeated. Self-reliance and energy were now our only duty. We should not look to Europe for aid, for such is not to be expected now. Our only alternative was to sustain ourselves with renewed energy and determination, and a little more sacrifice upon the part of the people, and the President firmly believed that next spring would see the invader driven from our borders. Then farmers, who are now refugees, could return to their families and pursue their business undisturbed as heretofore. In fact, he believed that the defeat of Rosecrans would practically end the war.

Mr. Randolph has signified his purpose to vote for the bill reducing prices, rather than resign; but Mr. Wyndham Robertson, the delegate, has resigned. Nearly all the papers have taken ground against the “Maximum bill.” To-night a mass meeting is called, to urge the passage of the bill. [77]

The “mass meeting” to-night was a small affair. Mr. Robinson, my old compositor, made a speech, abusing the editors; but the editors have succeeded in putting down for the present the cry for bread. I fear, however, it is but the work of Sisyphus, and it may destroy them; for, if the measure fails before the Legislature, the prices will be sure to advance, and then the people will attribute their woes to those who were instrumental in the defeat of the plan of relief. It is a dangerous thing to array one's self against a famishing people, even when the remedy they demand is not calculated to alleviate their distresses. I saw flour sell at auction to-day for $61 per barrel. This, too, when there is an abundant crop of new grain but recently harvested. It is the result of the depreciation of a redundant currency, and not of an ascertained scarcity. Timber and coal are as abundant as ever they were; and the one sells at $32 per cord, and the other at $30 per load of 25 bushels. And cotton is abundant, while brown domestic is bringing $3.00 per yard. Many are becoming very shabby in appearance; and I can get no clothes for myself or my family, unless the government shall very materially increase our salaries.

October 21

Gen. Lee telegraphed last night that our cavalry had routed the enemy's horse on Monday, capturing some 200, etc. etc.

The Legislature passed a series of resolutions yesterday, requesting the Secretary of War to impress free negroes for the public works; to detail the 2d class militia (over 45); and to order into the ranks the thousands of detailed soldiers and conscripts seen everywhere. The report of a committee states that conscripts and soldiers pay bonuses to contractors to have them detailed, and then they furnish negroes as substitutes to perform the work, engaging themselves in speculation. Also that one-third( of the conscripts of one county have been detailed to get wood for certain iron works which have a year's supply on hand! Surely the Secretary will attend to this.

There is a row about passports. It appears that Judge Campbell and Gen. Winder are competitors in the business. Judge C. yesterday remarked that, at Gen. Winder's office, he understood a passport could be bought for $100; and this was repeated by Mr. Kean, the young Chief of the Bureau, and it somehow reached [78] the ears of Gen. Winder. Perhaps Judge C. reported the fact of his belief to Mr. Secretary Seddon, who had ceased to grant any himself (to the United States), and of course was not aware of the great number his assistant, much less Gen. W., issued; and if so, it is probable he called Gen. W. to an account. The general, in a rage, charged Mr. Kean with the propagation of a damaging report. Mr. K. said he heard Mr. Chapman (a clerk) say soand so off they started in pursuit of Chapman, who could not be found up to 3 P. M. By to-morrow Gen. W. may hear of Judge Campbell's remarks and agency, and a pretty kettle of fish they will have, if Judge C.'s record be brought to the notice of the Secretary! It is all wrong, and if the business be not better regulated or terminated, it will terminate the government. Gen. Lee's reputation as a great captain will be ruined, if the blockaderun-ners be allowed to continue to give information to the enemy of all his movements.

October 22

Gen. Wheeler has taken 700 of the enemy's cavalry in East Tennessee, 6 cannon, 50 wagons, commissary stores, etc. Per contra, the steamer Venus, with bacon, from Nassau, got aground trying to enter the port of Wilmington, and ship and cargo were lost. There is a rumor that Gen. Taylor, transMis-sissippi, has captured Gen. Banks, his staff, and sixteen regiments. This, I fear, is not well authenticated.

A poor woman yesterday applied to a merchant in Carey Street to purchase a barrel of flour. The price he demanded was $70.

“My God!” exclaimed she, “how can I pay such prices? I have seven children; what shall I do?”

“I don't know, madam,” said he, coolly, “unless you eat your children.”

Such is the power of cupidity — it transforms men into demons. And if this spirit prevails throughout the country, a just God will bring calamities upon the land, which will reach these cormorants, but which, it may be feared, will involve all classes in a common ruin.

Beef, to-day, sold in market at $1.50 per pound.. There is no bacon for sale, or corn-meal. But we shall not starve, if we have faith in a beneficent Providence. Our daughter Anne, teaching in Appomattox County, writes that she will send us a barrel of potatoes, some persimmons, etc. next Wednesday. And we had a good [79] dinner to-day: a piece of fat shoulder Capt. Warner let me have at $1 per pound — it is selling for $2.50-and cabbage from my garden, which my neighbor's cow overlooked when she broke through the gate last Sunday. Although we scarcely know what we shall have to-morrow, we are merry and patriotic to-day.

Last night I went to hear Rev. Dr. Hobson, Reformed Baptist, or Campbellite, preach. He is certainly an orator (from Kentucky) and a man of great energy and fertility of mind. There is a revival in his congregation too, as well as among the Methodists, but he was very severe in his condemnation of the emotional or sensational practices of the latter. He said, what was never before known by me, that the word pardon is not in the New Testament, but remission was. His point against the Methodists was their fallacy of believing that conversion was sudden and miraculous, and accompanied by a happy feeling. Happy feeling, he said, would naturally follow a consciousness of remission of sins, but was no evidence of conversion, for it might be produced by other things. It was the efficacy of the Word, of the promise of God, which obliterated the sins of all who believed, repented, and were baptized. He had no spasmodic extravagances over his converts; but, simply taking them by the hand, asked if they believed, repented, and would be baptized. If the answers were in the affirmalive, they resumed their seats, and were soon after immersed in a pool made for the purpose in the church.

I pray sincerely that this general revival in the churches will soften the hearts of the extortioners, for this class is specifically de. nounced in the Scriptures. There is abundance in the land, but “man's inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.” I hope the extortioners may all go to heaven, first ceasing to be extortioners.

The Legislature has broken up the gambling establishments, for the time being, and the furniture of their gorgeous saloons is being sold at auction.-Some idea of the number of these establishments may be formed from an estimate (in the Examiner) of the cost of the entertainment prepared for visitors being not less than $10,000 daily. Their agents bought the best articles offered for sale in the markets, and never hesitated to pay the most exorbitant prices. I hope now the absence of such customers may have a good effect. But I fear the currency, so redundant, is past remedy.


October 23

Gen. Lee has retired to the south side of the Rappahannock again, while Meade remains in the intrenchments at Centreville. Gen. Imboden occupies Winchester.

From the West we have only newspaper reports, which'may not be true.

October 24

To-day we have a cold northwest storm of wind and rain, and we have our first fire in the parlor.

The elections in Ohio and Pennsylvania have gone for the Republican (War) candidates. We rely on ourselves, under God, for independence. It is said Gen. Lee learned that 15,000 Republican voters were sent from Meade's army into Pennsylvania to vote, and hence he advanced and drove back the Federal army. Yet he says that Meade's army is more numerous than his. It is not known what our losses have been, but the following dispatch from Lee gives an accurate account of the enemy's loss in prisoners.

headquarters army of Northern Virginia, October 23d, 1863.
Gen. S. Cooper, A. and I. General.
Gen. Imboden, on the 18th, attacked the garrison at Charlestown, Shenandoah Valley, captured 434 prisoners, with their arms, transportation, and stores. To these, add prisoners already forwarded, makes 2462.

(Signed) R. E. Lee. Official.: John Withers, A. A. General.

And Capt. Warner says he is now feeding them.

Gen. Lee writes on the 19th inst., that it is doubtful whether Gen. Meade will remain where he is, behind his fortifications along Bull Run, or make another movement on Richmond. A few days will decide this matter. He says Meade has superior numbers. If he remains, Gen. Lee will advance again, provided he can get quartermaster supplies for his army. But at present, thousands of his men are barefooted, without overcoats, blankets, etc. He says it was the sublimest spectacle of the war to see men in such condition move forward with such cheerfulness and alacrity, in the recent pursuit of the enemy. He deprecates sending any of his regiments to West Virginia and East Tennessee, and thinks Gen. Sam Jones has not evinced sufficient energy and judgment in that quarter, He says it would be better to send reinforcements to Chattanooga, [81] where it is practicable to conduct a winter campaign. He could drive the enemy from the Peninsula, Gloucester Point, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, but to keep them away Lee would have to station an army there. If North Carolina be menaced, he advises that the troops at Richmond and Petersburg be sent thither, and he will replace them with troops from his army. He thinks it the best policy not to disperse troops in Virginia.

From this letter it is easy to perceive that the Secretary of War, in the absence of the President, has been making suggestions to Gen. Lee, none of which does he deem it good policy to adopt, the Secretary not being versed in military matters.

A private note from Gen. Lee, dated the 13th inst., which I saw to-day, informs the Secretary of War that much of the benefits he anticipated from his movement, then in progress, must be lost, from the fact that the enemy had been informed of his purposes. Thus it was the duty of the government to prevent, but Mr. Seddon, like his predecessors, cannot be convinced that the rogues and cut-throats employed by Gen. Winder as detectives, have it in their power to inflict injury on the cause and the country. The cleaning of the Augean stables here is the work which should engage the attention of the Secretary of War, rather than directing the movements of armies in the field, of which matter he knows nothing whatever.

The Secretary of War wrote a long and rather rebuking letter to-day to Mr. Sheffey, chairman of the Committee on Confederate Relations, of the General Assembly, who communicated a report and resolutions of the House of Delegates, in relation to details of conscripts, and the employment in civil offices of robust young men capable of military service, and urging the department to ap. point men over forty-five years of age to perform such services, and to impress free negroes to do the labor that soldiers are detailed for. The Secretary thinks the Confederate Government knows its duties, and ought not to be meddled with by State Governments. It touched Mr. Seddon nearly.

By the last Northern papers I see President Lincoln has issued a proclamation calling for 300,000 more volunteers, and if they “do not come when he calls for them,” that number will be drafted in January. This is very significant; either the draft has already failed, or else about a million of men per annum are concerned in [82] the work of suppressing this “rebellion.” We find, just at the time fixed for the subjugation of the South, Rosecrans is defeated, and Meade is driven back upon Washington!

October 25

We have nothing new this morning; but letters to the department from North and South Carolina indicate that while the troops in Virginia are almost perishing for food, the farmers are anxious to deliver the tithes, but the quartermaster and commissary agents are negligent or designedly remiss in their duty. The consequence will be the loss of the greater portion of these supplies, and the enhancement of the price of the remainder in the hands of the monopolists and speculators.

The Southern Express Co. has monopolized the railroads, delivering cotton for speculators, who send it to the United States, while the Confederate States cannot place enough money in Europe to pay for the supplies needed for the army.

October 26

No news from our armies. The President was in Mobile two days ago.

Gen. Rosecrans has been removed from his command, and Grant put in his place. Meade, it is said in Northern papers, will also be decapitated, for letting Lee get back without loss. Also Dalgren, at Charleston, has been relieved. And yet the Northern papers announce that Richmond will soon and suddenly be taken, and an unexpected joy be spread throughout the North, and a corresponding despondency throughout the South.

The weather is cloudy and cold. The papers announce that all clerks appointed since October 11th, 1862, by order of the Secretary of War, are liable to conscription. This cannot be true; for I know a Secretary who has just appointed two of his cousins to the best clerkships in the department-both of conscript age. But Secretaries know how to evade the law, and “whip the devil round the stump.”

How long will it be after peace before the sectional hatred intensified by this war can abate? A lady near by, the other night, while surveying her dilapidated shoes, and the tattered sleepinggowns of her children, burst forth as follows: “I pray that I may live to see the United States involved in a war with some foreign power, which will make refugees of her people, and lay her cities in ashes! I want the people ruined who would ruin the South. It will be a just retribution!”


October 27

Nothing from the North or West to-day. But Beauregard telegraphs that the enemy's batteries and monitors opened this morning heavily on his forts and batteries, but, as yet, there were no casualties.

The Commissary-General to-day, in a communication to the department, relating to the necessity of impressment to subsist our armies, says “the armies in Virginia muster 150,000 men.” If this be so, then let Meade come! It may be possible that instead of exaggerating, a policy may have been adopted calculated to conceal the actual strength of armies.

Nevertheless, it is understood that one of the cabinet is offering his estates, lands, and negroes for sale. Will he convert the money into European funds? If so, he should not let it be known, else it will engender the terrible idea that our affairs are in a desperate condition. The operations of the next thirty days may be decisive of our fate. Hundreds of thousands of Southern men have yet to die before subjugation can be effected; and quite that number of invaders must fall to accomplish it!

October 28

No news from the army. We have some 13,000 prisoners here, hungry; for there is not sufficient meat for them.

Mr. Memminger, Secretary of the Treasury, is said to be trans. porting his private fortune (very large) to Europe.

October 29

Gen. Lee writes (a few days since), from Brandy Station, that Meade seems determined to advance again; that troops are going up the Potomac to Washington, and that volunteers from New York have been ordered thither. He asks the Secretary to ascertain if there be really any Federal force in the York River; for if the report be correct of hostile troops being there, it may be the enemy's intention to make another raid on the railroad. The general says we have troops enough in Southwestern Virginia; but they are not skillfully commanded.

After all, I fear we shall not get the iron from the Aquia Creek Railroad. In the summer the government was too slow, and now it is probably too slow again, as the enemy are said to be landing there. It might have been removed long ago, if we had had a faster Secretary.

Major S. Hart, San Antonio, Texas, writes that the 10,000 (the number altered again) superior rifles captured by the French [84] off the Rio Grande last summer, were about to fall into the hands of United States cruisers; and he has sent for them, hoping the French will turn them over to us.

Gen. Winder writes the Secretary that the CommissaryGen-eral will let him have no meat for the 13,000 prisoners; and he will not be answerable for their safe keeping without it. The Quartermaster-General writes that the duty of providing for them is in dispute between the two bureaus, and he wants the Secretary to decide between them. If the Secretary should be very slow, the prisoners will suffer.

Yesterday a set (six) of cups and saucers, white, and not china, sold at auction for $50.

Mr. Henry, Senator from Tennessee, writes the Secretary that if Ewell were sent into East Tennessee with a corps, and Gen. Johnston were to penetrate into Middle Tennessee, forming a junction north of Chattanooga, it would end the war in three months.

October 30

We have nothing new to-day, except the continued bombardment of Charleston. That city has been besieged over one hundred days.

October 31

Letters came to-day from the President (or rather copies in his own handwriting), relieving Lieut.-Gen. Hardee, in Mississippi, and assigning him to a command under Gen. Bragg. He also writes a friendly letter (from Meridian, Miss.) to Gen. Bragg, informing him that Gen. Hardee had been ordered to report to him without delay, and that two brigades might go with him, if needed. This indicates that the President means to sustain Bragg, nothwithstanding the clamor against him; and that Bragg must have an immense army. Lieut.-Gen. Polk (whom the President will always sustain) is assigned to the Mississippi Department.

The latest accounts from Chattanooga show that the enemy are stirring a little, and trying to flank Bragg's left wing.

The bombardment at Charleston is still without decisive result.

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