APRIL 29TH.—Major Griswold is here, and so is a new batch of Marylanders.
A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary at the Confederate States Capital, By John Beauchamp Jones
APRIL 28TH.—We have rumors of an important cabinet meeting, wherein it was resolved to advise or command Gen. Johnston to evacuate Yorktown and retire toward Richmond! Also that Norfolk is to be given up! I don’t believe it; Lee’s name is not mentioned.
APRIL 27TH.—Gen. Lee is calm—but the work of preparation goes on night and day.
APRIL 26TH.—Gen. Lee is doing good service in bringing forward reinforcements from the South against the day of trial—and an awful day awaits us. It is understood that he made fully known to the President his appreciation of the desperate condition of affairs, and demanded carté blanche as a condition of his acceptance of the [...]
APRIL 25TH.—Gen. Wise, through the influence of Gen. Lee, who is a Christian gentleman as well as a consummate general, has been ordered into the field. He will have a brigade, but not with Beauregard. The President has unbounded confidence in Lee’s capacity, modest as he is. Another change! Provost Marshal Godwin, for rebuking the [...]
APRIL 24TH —Webster has been tried, condemned, and hung. Is it not shameful that martial law should be playing such fantastic tricks before high heaven, when the enemy’s guns are booming within hearing of the capital?
APRIL 23D.—The North Carolinians have refused to give up Dibble to Gen. Winder. And, moreover, the governor has demanded the rendition of a citizen of his State, who was arrested there by one of Gen. Winder’s detectives, and brought hither. The governor says, if he be not delivered up, he will institute measures of retaliation, [...]
APRIL 22D.—Dibble, the traitor, has been captured by our soldiers in North Carolina.
APRIL 21ST.— A calm before the storm.
APRIL 19TH.—All believe we are near a crisis, involving the possession of the capital.
APRIL 18TH.—The President is thin and haggard ; and it has been whispered on the street that he will immediately be baptized and confirmed. I hope so, because it may place a great gulf between him and the descendant of those who crucified the Saviour. Nevertheless, some of his enemies allege that professions of Christianity [...]
APRIL 17TH.—To-day Congress passed an act providing for the termination of martial law within thirty days after the meeting of the next session. This was as far as they could venture; for, indeed, a majority seem to be intimidated at the glitter of bayonets in the streets, wielded by the authority of martial law. The [...]
APRIL 16TH—Troops are being concentrated rapidly in Virginia by Gen. Lee.
APRIL 15TH.—Gen. Beauregard has written to Gen. Wise, offering him a command in his army, if the government will consent to it. It will not be consented to.
APRIL 14TH.—There will soon be hard fighting on the Peninsula.
APRIL 13TH.—Gen. Wise now resolved to ask for another command, to make another effort in defense of his country. But, when he waited upon the Secretary of War, he ascertained that there was no brigade for him. Returning from thence, some of his officers, who had escaped the trap at Roanoke, crowded round him to [...]
APRIL 12TH.—The committee (Congressional) which have been investigating the Roanoke Island disaster have come to the conclusion, unanimously, and the House has voted accordingly, and with unanimity, that the blame and guilt of that great calamity rest solely upon “Gen. Huger and Judah P. Benjamin.”
APRIL 11TH—The enemy are at Fredericksburg, and the Yankee papers say it will be all over with us by the 15th of June. I doubt that.
APRIL 10TH.—The condemned spies have implicated Webster, the letter-carrier, who has had so many passports. He will hang, probably. Gen. Winder himself, and his policemen, wrote home by him. I don’t believe him any more guilty than many who used to write by him; and I mean to tell the Judge Advocate so, if they [...]
APRIL 9TH.—There are several young officers who have sheathed the sword, and propose to draw the pen in the civil service. To-day I asked of the department a month’s respite from labor, and obtained it. But I remained in the city, and watched closely, still hoping I might serve the cause, or at least prevent [...]
APRIL 8TH.—Col. Bledsoe has been appointed Assistant Secretary of War by the President. Now he is in his glory, and has forgotten me.
APRIL 7TH.—R. G. H. Kean, a young man, and a connection of Mr. Randolph, has been appointed Chief of the Bureau of War in place of Col. Bledsoe, resigned at last. Mr. Kean was, I believe, a lieutenant when Mr. Randolph was colonel, and acted as his adjutant.
APRIL 6TH.—Two spies (Lincoln’s detective police) have been arrested here, tried by court-martial, and condemned to be hung. There is an awful silence among the Baltimore detectives, which bodes no harm to the condemned. They will not be executed, though guilty.
APRIL 5TH.—Newbern, N. C., has fallen into the hands of the enemy! Our men, though opposed by greatly superior numbers, made a brave resistance, and killed and wounded 1000 of the invaders. The enemy were piloted up the river to Newbern by the same Mr. Dibble to whom I refused a passport, but to whom [...]
APRIL 4TH.—The enemy are shelling our camp at Yorktown. I can hear the reports of the guns, of a damp evening. We are sending back defiance with our guns. The President has not taken any notice of my communication. Mr. Benjamin is too powerful to be affected by such proofs of such small matters.