Rebel War Clerk

SEPTEMBER 29TH.—We have Lincoln’s proclamation, freeing all the slaves from and after the 1st January next. And another, declaring martial law throughout the United States! Let the Yankees ruminate on that! Now for a fresh gathering of our clans for another harvest of blood.

On Saturday the following resolutions were reported by Mr. Semmes, from the Committee of the Judiciary, in the Senate:

“1st. That no officer of the Confederate Government is by law empowered to vest Provost Marshals with any authority whatever over citizens of the Confederate States not belonging to the land and naval forces thereof, or with general police powers and duties for the preservation of the peace and good order of any city, town, or municipal district in any State of this Confederacy, and any such exercise of authority is illegal and void.

“2d. That no officer of the Confederate Government has constitutional or other lawful authority to limit or restrict, or in any manner to control, the exercise of the jurisdiction of the civil judicial tribunals of the States of this Confederacy, vested in them by the Constitution and laws of the States respectively ; and all orders of any such officer tending to restrict or control or interfere with the full and normal exercise of the jurisdiction of such civil judicial tribunals are illegal and void.”

We shall see what further action will follow. This is in marked contrast to the despotic rule in the Yankee nation. Nevertheless, the Provost Marshal here keeps his establishment in full blast. He was appointed by Gen. Winder, of Maryland, who has been temporarily subordinated by Major-Gen. Smith, of New York.

Since Gen. Smith has been in command, the enemy has made raids to Leesburg, Manassas, and even Warrenton, capturing and paroling our sick and wounded men. Who is responsible?

Accounts from Nashville state that our cavalry is beleaguering that city, and that both the United States forces there, and the inhabitants of the town, are reduced nearly to starvation.

Buell, it is said, has reached Louisville. We hope to hear soon of active operations in Kentucky. Bragg, and Smith, and Price, and Marshall are there with abundant forces to be striking heavy blows.

Beauregard is assigned to the defense of South Carolina and Georgia.

Harper’s Ferry is again occupied by the enemy—but we have removed everything captured there. The Northern papers now admit that the sanguinary battle of Sharpsburg was without result.

I sent my wife money to-day, and urged her to return to Richmond as soon as possible, as the enemy may cut the communications—being within forty miles of the railroad. How I should like to think they were cut to pieces! Then they would let us alone.

Hitherto 100,000 sick and wounded patients have been admitted into the army hospitals of this city. Of these, about 10,000 have been furloughed, 3000 discharged from the service, and only 7600 have died. At present there are 10,000 in the hospitals. There is not so much sickness this year as there was last, nor is it near so fatal.

Many of the Northern papers seem to dissent from the policy of Lincoln’s proclamation, and hope that evil consequences may not grow out of it. But how can it be possible for the people of the North to submit to martial law? The government which directs and enforces so obnoxious a tyranny cannot be sure of its stability. And when the next army of invasion marches southward, it will be likely to have enemies in its rear as well as in its front. The Tribune exclaims “God bless Abraham Lincoln.” Others, even in the North, will pray for “God to _____ him!”


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

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