Rebel War Clerk

SEPTEMBER 27TH.—The papers this morning contain accounts of the landing of Yankees at White House, York River; and of reinforcements at Williamsburg and Suffolk. They might attempt to take Richmond, while Lee’s army is away; for they know we have no large body of troops here.

A battery passed through the city this morning early, at double-quick, going eastward.

Yesterday Congress passed an act, supplemental and amendatory to the Conscription Act of last April, authorizing the President to call into the military service all residents between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five. The first act included only those between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five.

By the 1st of January there will be $300,000,000 Treasury notes in circulation. It is proposed in Congress to make a forced loan of one-fifth of the incomes of the people.

It is said Lincoln has issued a proclamation declaring the slaves of Rebels free, on and after the 1st of January, 1863. This will only intensify the war, and add largely to our numbers in the field.

A letter was received from General Lee to-day, dated at Martinsburg, giving a sad account of the army. It seems that without some additional power given the President by Congress to enforce discipline, he fears the army will melt away. He suggests that incompetent officers be reduced to the ranks, and that more stringent regulations be adopted. He is in no condition to advance now, since so many thousands of his men are permitted to wander away. We shall be afflicted with fresh invasions—and that, if nothing else, may cause the stragglers to return.

The substance of Lee’s letter has been communicated to Congress, and that body, I understand, has postponed the day of adjournment until the 6th October.

In future times, I wonder if it will be said that we had great men in this Congress? Whatever may be said, the truth is, there are not a dozen with any pretensions to statesmanship.

A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary at the Confederate States Capital, By John Beauchamp Jones

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