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Xxxvii. April, 1864

April 1

Cloudy all day, with occasional light showers.

No war news; but the papers have an account of the shooting of an infant by some Yankees on account of its name. This shows that the war is degenerating more and more into savage barbarism.

April 2

It rained furiously all night; wind northwest, and snowed to-day until 12 M. to a depth of several inches. It is still blowing a gale from the northwest.

To-day the clerks were paid in the new currency; but I see no abatement of prices from the scarcity of money, caused by funding. Shad are selling at $10 each, paper; or 50 cents, silver. Gold and silver are circulating — a little. [180]

A letter from Liberty, Va., states that government bacon (tithe) is spoiling, in bulk, for want of attention.

From Washington County there are complaints that Gen. Longstreet's impressing officers are taking all, except five bushels of grain and fifty pounds of bacon for each adult — a plenty, one would think, under the circumstances.

Senator Hunter has asked and obtained a detail for Mr. Daudridge (under eighteen) as quartermaster's clerk. And Mr. Secretary Seddon has ordered the commissary to let Mrs. Michie have sugar and flour for her family, white and black.

Mr. Secretary Benjamin sent over, to-day, for passports to the Mississippi River for two “secret agents.” What for?

Gen. Lee has made regulations to prevent cotton, tobacco, etc. passing his lines into the enemy's country, unless allowed by the government. But, then, several in authority will “allow” it without limit.

I set out sixty-eight early cabbage-plants yesterday. They are now under the snow!

April 3

The snow has disappeared; but it is cloudy, with a cold northwest wind. The James River is very high, and all the streams are so much swollen that no military operations in the field are looked for immediately. It is generally believed that Grant, the Federal lieutenant-general, will concentrate an immense army for the capture of Richmond, and our authorities are invoked to make the necessary dispositions to resist the attempt.

The papers contain a supplemental proclamation of President Lincoln, and understand it to be merely an electioneering card to secure the Abolition vote in the convention to nominate a candidate for the Presidency. If it does not mean that, its object must be to induce us to send an Army North to burn and pillage, so that the Federal authorities may have a pretext to raise new armies, and prosecute the war, not for the Union, but for conquest and power.

Custis and I received yesterday $500 in the new Treasury notes, but we had to pay $16 for two pounds of bacon. So no diminution of prices is yet experienced. It is now a famine, although I believe we are starving in the midst of plenty, if it were only equally distributed. But the government will not, it seems, require the railroads to bring provisions to the exclusion of freight [181] for the speculators. Certain non-combating officers of the government have abundance brought them by the Southern Express Co., and the merchants have abundance of goods brought hither by the same company for the purposes of speculation. Well, we shall see the result! One is almost ready to believe that the government declines to fill the depots here, harboring the purpose of abandoning the city. That would be abandonment of the cause. Nearly all who own no slaves would remain citizens of the United States, if permitted, without further molestation on the part of the Federal authorities, and many Virginians in the field might abandon the Confederate States army. The State would be lost, and North Carolina and Tennessee would have an inevitable avalanche of invasion precipitated upon them. The only hope would be civil war in the North, a not improbable event. What could they do with four millions of negroes arrogating equality with the whites?

April 4

A cold rain all day; wind from northwest.

Mr. Ould and Capt. Hatch, agents of exchange (of prisoners), have returned from a conference with Gen. Butler, at Fortress Monroe, and it is announced that arrangements have been made for an immediate resumption of the exchange of prisoners on the old footing. Thus has the government abandoned the ground so proudly assumed — of non-intercourse with Butler, and the press is firing away at it for negotiating with the “Beast” and outlaw. But our men in captivity are in favor of a speedy exchange, no matter with whom the agreement is made.

Forrest has destroyed Paducah, Ky.

There is a little quarrel in progress between the Secretaries of War and the Treasury. Some days ago the Postmaster-General got from the President an order that his clerks should be detailed for the use of the department until further orders. The Secretary of the Treasury made an application to the Secretary of War for a similar detail, but it was refused. Mr. Memminger appealed, with some acerbity, to the President, and the President indorsed on the paper that the proper rule would be for the Secretary of War to detail as desired by heads of departments. Nevertheless, the clerks were detailed but for thirty days, to report at the Camp of Instruction, if the detail were not renewed. To-day Mr. Memminger addresses a note to Mr. Seddon, inquiring if it was his [182] purpose to hold his clerks liable to perform military duty after the expiration of the thirty days, and declaring that the incertitude and inconvenience of constantly applying for renewal of details, deranged and obstructed the business of his department. I know not yet what answer Mr. S. made, but doubtless a breach exists through which one or both may pass out of the cabinet. The truth is, that all clerks constitutionally appointed are legally exempt, and it is the boldest tyranny to enroll them as conscripts. But Mr. Memminger has no scruples on that head. All of them desire to retain in “soft places” their own relatives and friends, feeling but little sympathy for others whose refugee families are dependent on their salaries.

On Saturday, the cavalry battalion for local defense, accepted last summer by the President, were notified on parade that 20 days would be allowed them to choose their companies in the army, and if the choice were not made, they would be assigned to companies. They protested against this as despotic, but there is no remedy.

April 5

Cold rain all night and all day; wind northwest.

The Quartermaster-General now recommends that no furloughs be given, so as to devote the railroads to the transportation of grain to Virginia.

The Commissary-General again informs the Secretary of War, to-day, that unless the passenger trains were discontinued, the army could not be subsisted, and Richmond and all Virginia might have to be abandoned, and the country might be pillaged by our own soldiers. Not a word against the Southern (Yankee) Express Company.

Our prospects are brighter than they have been for many a day, and the enemy are doomed, I think, to a speedy humiliation.

I saw a note to-day from Mr. Memminger stating his fears that the amount of Treasury notes funded will not exceed $200,000,000, leaving $600,000,000 still in circulation It is true, some $300,000,000 might be collected in taxes, if due vigilance were observed,--but will it be observed? He says he can make between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000 of the new currency per day. If this be done, the redundancy will soon be as great as ever. Nothing but success in the field will prevent an explosion and repudiation of the currency, sooner or later.


April 6

At mid-day it cleared off; wind still northwest, and cool.

Beans (white) were held to-day at $5 per quart I and other articles bf food in proportion. How we are to live is the anxious question. At auction old sheets brought $25 a piece, and there seemed to be an advance on everything, instead of a decline as was expected. The speculators and extortioners seem to act in concert, and the government appears to be no match for them. It is not the scarcity of food which causes the high prices, for wood and coal sell as high as other things, and they are no scarcer than at any former period. But it is an insatiable thirst for gain, which I fear the Almighty Justicer will rebuke in some signal manner, perhaps in the emancipation of the slaves, and then the loss will be greater than all the gains reaped from the heart's blood of our brave soldiers and the tears of the widow and orphan And government still neglects the wives and children of the soldiers,a fearful risk But, alas! how are our brave men faring in the hands of the demon fanatics in the United States? It is said they are dying like sheep.

April 7

A bright spring day.

We look for startling news from the Rappahannock in a few days. Longstreet will be there.

Gen. Lee writes that the fortifications around Richmond ought to be pushed to completion: 2000 negroes are still at work on them.

April 8

Bright and warm — really a fine spring day. It is the day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, and all the offices are closed. May God put it into the hearts of the extortioners to relent, and abolish, for a season, the insatiable greed for gain! I paid $25 for a half cord of wood to-day, new currency. I fear a nation of extortioners are unworthy of independence, and that we must be chastened and purified before success will be vouchsafed us.

What enormous appetites we have now, and how little illness, since food has become so high in price! I cannot afford to have more than an ounce of meat daily for each member of my family of six; and to-day Custis's parrot, which has accompanied the family in all their flights, and, it seems, will never die, stole the cook's ounce of fat meat and gobbled it up before it could be [184] taken from him. He is permitted to set at one corner of the table, and has lately acquired a fondness for meat. The old cat goes staggering about from debility, although Fannie often gives him her share. We see neither rats nor mice about the premises now. This is famine. Even the pigeons watch the crusts in the hands of the children, and follow them in the yard. And, still, there are no beggars.

The plum-tree in my neighbor's garden is in blossom to-day, and I see a few blossoms on our cherry-trees. I have set out some 130 early York cabbage-plants-very small; and to-day planted lima and snap beans. I hope we shall have no more cold weather, for garden seed, if those planted failed to come up, would cost more than the crops in ordinary times.

April 9

Rained all day.

Lieut. Tyler, grandson of President Tyler, is here on furlough, which expires to-morrow. His father (the major), whom he has not seen for two years, he learns, will be in the city day after tomorrow; and to-day he sought admittance to Mr. Secretary Seddon to obtain a prolongation of his furlough, so as to enable him to remain two days and see his parent. But Mr. Kean refused him admittance, and referred him to the Adjutant-General, who was sick and absent; and thus “red tape” exhibits its insensibility to the dictates of humanity, even when no advantage is gained by it. Robert Tyler subsequently addressed a note to Mr. K., the purport of which I did not inquire.

We have no war news-indeed, no newspapers to-day. The wet weather, however, may be in our favor, as it will give us time to concentrate in Virginia. Better give up all the cities South, than lose Richmond. As long as we hold Richmond and Virginia, the “head and heart” of the “rebellion,” we shall not only be between the enemy (south of us) and their own country, but within reach of it.

April 10

Rained all night. Cloudy to-day; wind southwest.

The Secretary of War must feel his subordination to Gen. Bragg. Gen. Fitz Lee recommended strongly a Prussian officer for appointment in the cavalry, and Mr. Seddon referred it to Gen. B., suggesting that he might be appointed in the cavalry corps to be stationed near this city. Gen. B. returns the paper, [185] saying the President intends to have an organized brigade of cavalry from the Army of Northern Virginia on duty here, and there will be no vacancy in it. From this it seems that the Secretary is not only not to be gratified by the appointment, but is really kept in ignorance of army movements in contemplation!

Major Griswold has resigned, at last. He did not find his position a bed of roses. I believe he abandons the Confederate States service altogether, and will attend to the collection of claims, and the defense of prisoners, probably arrested by Major Carrington, his successor in office.

To-day I saw two conscripts from Western Virginia conducted to the cars (going to Lee's army) in chains. It made a chill shoot through my breast. I doubt its policy, though they may be peculiar offenders.

The benevolent Capt. Warner, being persecuted by the Commissary-General for telling the truth in regard to the rations, etc., is settling his accounts as rapidly as possible, and will resign his office. He says he will resume his old business, publishing books, etc.

April 11

Rained all night, but clear most of the day.

There are rumors of Burnside landing troops on the Peninsula; also of preparations for movements on the Rappahannock-by which side is uncertain. It is said troops are coming from Mississippi, Lieut.-Gen. (Bishop) Polk's command.

The famine is still advancing, and his gaunt proportions loom up daily, as he approaches with gigantic strides. The rich speculators, however, and the officers of influence stationed here, who have secured the favor of the Express Company, get enough to eat. Potatoes sell at $1 per quart; chickens, $35 per pair; turnip greens, $4 per peckI An ounce of meat, daily, is the allowance to each member of my family, the cat and parrot included. The pigeons of my neighbor have disappeared. Every day we have accounts of robberies, the preceding night, of cows, pigs, bacon, flour — and even the setting hens are taken from their nests!

April 12

Cloudy — rained in the afternoon.

This is the anniversary of the first gun of the war, fired at Fort Sumter.

It is still said and believed that Gen. Lee will take the initiative, [186] and attack Grant. The following shows that we have had another success:

Mobile, April 11th, 1864.
To Gen. S. Cooper, A. & I. General.
The following report was received at Baton Rouge, on the 3d inst., from the Surgeon-General of Banks's army: We met the enemy near Shreveport. Union force repulsed with great loss. How many can you accommodate in hospitals at Baton Rouge? Steamer Essex, or Benton, destroyed by torpedoes in Red River, and a transport captured by Confederates.

Farragut reported preparing to attack Mobile. Six monitors coming to him. The garrisons of New Orleans and Baton Rouge were very much reduced for the purpose of increasing Banks's forces.

D. H. Maury, Major-General Commanding.

April 13

A clear, but cool day. Again planted corn, the other having rotted.

There is an unofficial report that one of our torpedo boats struck the Federal war steamer Minnesota yesterday, near Newport News, and damaged her badly.

I learn (from an official source) to-day that Gen. Longstreet's corps is at Charlottesville, to co-operate with Lee's army, which will soon move, no doubt.

Gen. Bragg received a dispatch yesterday, requesting that commissary stores for Longstreet be sent to Charlottesville, and he ordered his military secretary to direct the Commissary-General accordingly. To this Col. Northrop, C. G. S., took exceptions, and returned the paper, calling the attention of Gen. B.'s secretary to the Rules and Regulations, involving a matter of red tape etiquette. The C. G. S. can only be ordered or directed by the Secretary of War. Gen. B. sent the paper to the Secretary, with the remark that if he is to be restricted, etc., his usefulness must be necessarily diminished. The Secretary sent for Col. N., and I suppose pacified him.

April 14

Bright morning-cloudy and cold the rest of the day.

No reliable war news to-day; but we are on the tip-toe of expectation of exciting news from the Rapidan. Longstreet is certainly [187] in communication with Lee; and if the enemy be not present with overwhelming numbers, which there is no reason to anticipate, a great battle may be imminent.

Read Vice-President Stephens's speech against the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus to-day. He said independence without liberty was of no value to him, and if he must have a master, he cared not whether he was Northern or Southern. If we gain our independence, this speech will ruin Mr. S.; if we do not, it may save him and his friends.

April 15

Cloudy-slight showers. I published an article yesterday in the Enquirer, addressed to the President, on the subject of supplies for the army and the people (the government to take all the supplies in the country), the annihilation of speculation, and the necessary suppression of the Southern (Yankee) Express Company. This elicited the approval of Col. Northrop, the Commissary-General, who spoke to me on the subject. He told me the Express Company had attempted to bribe him, by offering to bring his family supplies gratis, etc. He said he had carried his point, in causing Gen. Bragg to address him according to military etiquette. He showed me another order from Bragg (through the Adjutant-General), to take possession of the toll meal at Crenshaw's mills. This he says is contrary to contract, and he was going to the Secretary to have it withdrawn. “Besides,” said he, “and truly, it would do no good. The people must eat, whether they get meal from Crenshaw or not. If not, they will get it elsewhere, and what they do get will be so much diverted from the commissariat.”

There are rumors of the enemy accumulating a heavy force at Suffolk.

The guard at Camp Lee are going in the morning to Lee's army; their places here to be filled by the reserve forces of boys and old men. This indicates a battle on the Rapidan.

April 16

Rained all night% and in fitful showers all day.

We have more accounts (unofficial) of a victory near Shreveport, La. One of the enemy's gun-boats has been blown up and sunk in Florida.

By late Northern arrivals we see that a Mr. Long, member of Congress, has spoken in favor of our recognition. A resolution of expulsion was soon after introduced. [188]

Gen. Lee has suggested, and the Secretary of War has approved, a project for removing a portion of the population from Richmond into the country. Its object is to accumulate supplies for the army. If some 20,000 could be moved away, it would relieve the rest to some extent.

Troops are passing northward every night. The carnage and carnival of death will soon begin!

April 17

Rained until bedtime-then cleared off quite cold. This morning it is cold, with occasional sunshine.

Gen. Beauregard's instructions to Major-Gen. Anderson in Florida, who has but 8000 men, opposed by 15,000, were referred by the Secretary of War to Gen. Bragg, who returned them with the following snappish indorsement: “The enemy's strength seems greatly exaggerated, and the instructions too much on the defensive.” April 18TH.-Cleared away in the night-frost. To-day it clouded up again!

We have an account from the West, to the effect that Forrest stormed Fort Pillow, putting all the garrison, but one hundred, to the sword; there being 700 in the fort-400 negroes.

April 19

Cloudy and cold.

We have no authentic war news, but are on the tip-toe of expectation. The city is in some commotion on a rumor that the non combating population will be required to leave, to avoid transportation of food to the city. Corn is selling at $1.25 per bushel in Georgia and Alabama; here, at $40-such is the deplorable condition of the railroads, or rather of the management of them. Col. Northrop, Commissary-General, said to-day that Gen. Lee and the Secretary of War were responsible for the precarious state of affairs, in not taking all the means of transportation for the use of the army; and that our fate was suspended by a hair.

The President returned the paper to day, relating to the matter of etiquette between Col. Northrop and Gen. Bragg's military secretary. The President says that Gen. B. certainly has the right to give orders-being assigned to duty here, and, I presume, representing the President himself; but that any one of his staff, unless directing those of inferior rank, ought to give commands “by order” of Gen. Bragg. Col. N. says that don't satisfy him; and that no general has a right to issue orders to him! [189]

The famine is becoming more terrible daily; and soon no salary will suffice to support one's family.

The 1st and 2d Auditors and their clerks (several hundred, male and female) have been ordered to proceed to Montgomery, Ala. Perhaps the government will soon remove thither entirely. This is ill-timed, as the enemy will accept it as an indication of an abandonment of the capital; and many of our people will regard it as a preliminary to the evacuation of Richmond. It is more the effect of extortion and high prices, than apprehension of the city being taken by the enemy.

April 20

A clear morning, but a cold, cloudy day.

The following dispatch from Gen. Forrest shows that the bloody work has commenced in earnest:

The following dispatch has just been received from Gen. Forrest, dated Jackson, Tenn., April 15th.

L. Polk, Lieut.-General.

I attacked Fort Pillow on the morning of the 12th inst., with a part of Bell's and McCulloch's brigades, numbering--, under Brig.-Gen. J. R. Chalmers. After a short fight we drove the enemy, seven hundred strong, into the fort, under cover of their gun-boats, and demanded a surrender, which was declined by Major L. W. Booth, commanding United States forces. I stormed the fort, and after a contest of thirty minutes captured the entire garrison, killing 500 and taking 100 prisoners, and a large amount of quartermaster stores. The officers in the fort were killed, including Major Booth. I sustained a loss of 20 killed and 60 wounded. The Confederate flag now floats over the fort.

(Signed) N. B. Forrest, Major-General.

There is a rumor that Grant's army is falling back toward Centreville.

It is supposed by many that all the departments will follow the Auditor to Montgomery soon.

April 21

Bright sunshine all day, but cool.

Gen. Bragg received a dispatch to day from Gen. Hoke, of Plymouth, N. C., stating that he had (yesterday) stormed Plymouth, [190] taking 1600 prisoners, 25 cannon, stores, etc. etc. This put the city in as good spirits as possible.

But the excitement from Hoke's victory was supplanted by an excitement of another kind. A report was circulated and believed that the President resolved yesterday to remove the government to South Carolina or Alabama; and the commotion was very great. The President's salary is insufficient to meet his housekeeping expenditures; and Mrs. D. has become, very naturally, somewhat indignant at the conduct of the extortioners, and, of course, the President himself partook of the indignation.

At 2 P. M. to-day the President's papers came in. Among them was one from the Commissary-General, stating that the present management of railroad transportation would not suffice to subsist the army. This had been referred to Gen. Bragg yesterday (who seems to rank the Secretary of War), and he made an elaborate indorsement thereon. He recommended that all passenger trains be discontinued, except one daily, and on this that government agents, soldiers, etc. have preference; that arrangements be made at once to hasten on the freight trains (taking military possession of the roads) without breaking bulk; and finally to reduce consumers here as much as possible by a reduction of civil officers, etc. etc. in the departments — that is, sending to other places such as can perform their duties at distant points. On this the President indorsed a reference to the Secretary of War, requiring his opinion in writing, etc. Since then, the President and cabinet have been in consultation, and we shall probably know the result to-morrow.

If the departments are sent South, it will cause a prodigious outburst from the press here, and may have a bad, blundering effect on the army in Virginia, composed mostly of Virginians; and Gen. Bragg will have to bear the brunt of it, although the government will be solely responsible.

Gov. Vance recommended the suspension of conscription in the eastern counties of North Carolina the other day. This paper was referred by the Secretary to the President, by the President to Gen. B. (who is a native of North Carolina), and, seeing what was desired, Gen. B. recommended that the conscription be proceeded with. This may cause Gov. V. to be defeated at the election, and Gen. B. will be roundly abused. He will be unpopular still.


April 22

A bright day and warmer. Cherry-trees in blossom.

We have the following war news:

Plymouth, N. C., April 20th.
To Gen. Bragg.
I have stormed and captured this place, capturing 1 brigadier, 1600 men, stores, and 25 pieces of artillery.

R. F. Hoke, Brig.-General.

The President has changed his mind since the reception of the news from North Carolina, and has determined that all the government shall not leave Richmond until further orders. All that can be spared will go, however, at once. The War and Navy Departments will remain for the present. The news is said to have had a wonderful effect on the President's mind; and he hopes we may derive considerable supplies from Eastern North Carolina. So do I.

Gov. Watts writes to the Secretary that commissary agents, who ought to be in the ranks, are making unnecessary impressments, leaving to each negro only four ounces of bacon per day. He says the government has already some 10,000,000 pounds of bacon in Alabama; and that if the other States, east of the Mississippi, furnish a proportional amount, there will be 60,000,000 pounds-enough to feed our armies twelve months.

The Commissary-General's estimates for the next six months are for 400,000 men.

April 23

A bright day, with southern breezes.

It is rumored and believed that Gen. Lee's army is in motion. If this be so, we shall Soon hear of a “fight, or a foot race.” And how can Grant run away, when Mr. Chase, the Federal Secretary of the Treasury, openly proclaims ruin to the finances unless they speedily achieve success in the field? I think he must fight; and I am sure he will be beaten, for Lee's strength is probably underestimated.

We are also looking to hear more news from North Carolina; and Newbern will probably be stormed next, since storming is now the order of the day.

April 24

Cloudy and windy, but warm.

We have none of the details yet of the storming of Plymouth, [192] except the brief dispatches in the newspapers; nor any reliable accounts of subsequent movements. But a letter from Gen. Whiting indicates that all his troops had been taken northward, and we may expect something further of interest.

It is still believed that Lee's and Grant's armies are in motion on the Rappahannock; but whether going North or coming South, no one seems to know. Our people unanimously look for a victory.

I bought a black coat at auction yesterday (short swallow-tailed) for $12. It is fine cloth, not much worn-its owner going into the army, probably-but out of fashion. If it had been a frockcoat, it would have brought $100. It is no time for fashion now.

Gen. Johnston's Chief Commissary offers to send some bacon to Lee's army. A short time since, it was said, Johnston was prevented from advancing for want of rations.

April 25

A bright and beautiful day; southern breezes.

No reliable war news; but there are rumors that our victory at Shreveport was a great one. Nothing additional from North Carolina, though something further must soon occur there. It is said the enemy's killed and wounded at Plymouth amounted to only 100: ours 300; but we got 2500 prisoners.

President Lincoln has made a speech at Baltimore, threatening retaliation for the slaughter at Fort Pillow--which was stormed.

Lieut.-Gen. Polk telegraphs that our forces have captured and burnt one of the enemy's gun-boats at Yazoo City-first taking out her guns, eight rifled 24-pounders.

To-day Mr. Memminger, in behalf of the ladies in his department, presented a battle-flag to the Department Battalion for its gallant conduct in the repulse of Dahlgren's raid. But the ladies leave early in the morning for South Carolina.

The President still says that many of the government officers and employees must be sent away, if transportation cannot be had to feed them here as well as the armies.

April 26

Another truly fine spring day.

The ominous silence on the Rapidan and Rappahannock continues still. The two armies seem to be measuring each other's strength before the awful conflict begins.

It is said the enemy are landing large bodies of troops at Yorktown. [193]

Major-Gen. Ransom has been assigned to the command of this department; and Gen. Winder's expectations of promotion are blasted. Will he resign? I think not.

The enemy's accounts of the battle on the Red River do not agree with the reports we have.

Neither do the Federal accounts of the storming of Fort Pillow agree with ours.

April 27

Another bright and beautiful day; and vegetation is springing with great rapidity. But nearly all my potatoes, corn, egg-plants, and tomatoes seem to have been killed by the frosts of March. I am replanting corn, lima beans, etc. The other vegetables are growing well. One of my fig-bushes was. killed — that is, nearly all the branches. The roots live.

It is rumored that the armies on the Rapidan were drawn up in line.

The enemy have again evacuated Suffolk.

Gen. Beauregard is at Weldon. Perhaps Burnside may hurl his blows against North Carolina.

Food is still advancing in price; and unless relief comes from some quarter soon, this city will be in a deplorable condition. A good many fish, however, are coming in, and shad have fallen in price to $12 per pair.

The government ordered the toll of meal here (which the miller, Crenshaw, sold to the people) to be taken for the army; but Col. Northrop, Commissary-General, opposes this; and it is to be hoped, as usual, he may have his way, in spite of even the President. These papers pass through the hands of the Secretary of War.

The French ships have gone down the river, without taking much tobacco; said to have been ordered away by the United States Government.

Col. W. M. Browne (the President's English A. D.C.), it is said, goes to Georgia as commandant of conscripts for that State. It is probable he offended some one of the President's family, domestic or military. The people had long been offended by his presence and arrogance.

The Enquirer, to-day, has a communication assaulting Messrs. Toombs and Stephens, and impeaching their loyalty. The writer denounced the Vice-President severely for his opposition to the [194] suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. During the day the article was sent to Mr. Secretary Seddon, with the compliments of Mr. Parker--the author, I suppose.

April 28

After a slight shower last night, a cool, clear morning.

The ominous silence or pause between the armies continues. Lieut.-Gen. Longstreet, it is said, is “hidden.” I suppose he is working his way around the enemy's right flank. If so, we shall soon hear thunder.

It is also supposed that Lee meditates an incursion into Pennsylvania, and that Gen. Beauregard will protect his rear and cover this city. All is merely conjecture.

We are amused at the enemy's accounts of the storming of Plymouth. Their papers pretend to have not heard the result, and would lead their readers to believe that Gen. Hoke was repulsed, and that the place is “impregnable.”

The following appears in the morning papers:

Gen. Lee's bill of fare.

The Richmond correspondent of the Mobile Advertiser gives the following about Gen. Lee's mode of living:

In Gen. Lee's tent meat is eaten but twice a week, the general not allowing it oftener, because he believes indulgence in meat to be criminal in the present straitened condition of the country. His ordinary dinner consists of a head of cabbage, boiled in salt water, and a pone of corn bread. In this connection rather a comic story is told. Having invited a number of gentlemen to dine with him, Gen. Lee, in a fit of extravagance, ordered a sumptuous repast of cabbage and middling. The dinner was served: and, behold, a great pile of cabbage and a bit of middling about four inches long and two inches across! The guests, with commendable politeness, unanimously declined middling, and it remained in the dish untouched. Next day Gen. Lee, remembering the delicate tit-bit which had been so providentially preserved, ordered his servant to bring “that middling.” The man hesitated, scratched his head, and finally owned up: “De fac is, Masse Robert, dat ar middlina was borrid middlina; we all did'n had nar spec; and I done paid it back to de man whar I got it from.” Gen. Lee heaved a sigh of deepest disappointment, and pitched into his cabbage.


By a correspondence between the Secretaries of the Treasury and War, I saw that Mr. Memminger has about a million and a quarter in coin at Macon, Ga., seized as the property of the New Orleans banks-perhaps belonging to Northern men. I believe it was taken when there was an attempt made to smuggle it North. What it is proposed to do with it I know not, but I think neither the President nor the Secretaries will hesitate to use it — if there be a “military necessity.” Who knows but that one or more members of Mr. Lincoln's cabinet, or his generals, might be purchased with gold? Fortress Monroe would be cheap at that price!

April 29

A letter from Major-Gen. Hoke, dated Plymouth, April 25th, and asking the appointment of Lieut.-Col. Dearing to a brigadiership, says his promotion is desired to lead a brigade in the expedition against Newbern. The President directs the Secretary to appoint him temporarily “for the expedition.” Soon we shall know the result.

By flag of truce boat, it is understood Northern papers admit a Federal defeat on the Red River, the storming of Plymouth, etc., and charge the Federal authorities at Washington with having published falsehoods to deceive the people. Gold was $1.83.

Troops are passing through Richmond now, day and night, concentrating under Lee. The great battle cannot be much longer postponed.

Last night was clear and cold, and we have fire to-day.

The President has decided not to call into service the reserve class unless on extraordinary occasions, but to let them remain at home and cultivate the soil.

It is now probable the Piedmont Railroad will be completed by the 1st June, as extreme necessity drives the government to some degree of energy. If it had taken up, or allowed to be taken up, the rails on the Aquia Creek Road a year ago, the Piedmont connection would have been made ere this; and then this famine would not have been upon us, and there would have been abundance of grain in the army depots of Virginia.

April 30

Federal papers now admit that Gen. Banks has been disastrously beaten in Louisiana. They also admit their calamity at Plymouth, N. C. Thus in Louisiana, Florida, West Tennessee, and North Carolina the enemy have sustained severe defeats: their losses amounting to some 20,000 men, 100 guns, half a dozen war steamers, etc. etc. [196]

Gen. Burnside has left Annapolis and gone to Grant-whatever the plan was originally; and the work of concentration goes on for a decisive clash of arms in Virginia.

And troops are coming hither from all quarters, like streamlets flowing into the ocean. Our men are confident, and eager for the fray.

The railroad companies say they can transport 10,000 bushels corn, daily, into Virginia. That will subsist 200,000 men and 25,000 horses. And in June the Piedmont connection will be completed.

The great battle may not occur for weeks yet. It will probably end the war.

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