Rebel War Clerk

OCTOBER 2D.—News from the North indicate that in Europe all expectation of a restoration of the Union is at an end; and the probability is that we shall soon be recognized, to be followed, possibly, by intervention. Nevertheless, we must rely upon our own strong arms, and the favor of God. It is said, however, an iron steamer is being openly constructed in the Mersey (Liverpool), for the avowed purpose of opening the blockade of Charleston harbor.

Yesterday in both Houses of Congress resolutions were introduced for the purpose of retaliating upon the North the barbarities contemplated in Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

The Abolitionists of the North want McClellan removed—I hope they may have their will. The reason assigned by his friends for his not advancing farther into Virginia, is that he has not troops enough, and the Secretary of War has them not to send him. I hope this may be so. Still, I think he must fight soon if he remains near Martinsburg.

The yellow fever is worse at Wilmington. I trust it will not make its appearance here.

A resolution was adopted yesterday in the Senate, to the effect that martial law does not apply to civilians. But it has been applied to them here, and both Gen. Winder and his Provost Marshal threatened to apply it to me.

Among the few measures that may be attributed to the present Secretary of War, is the introduction of the telegraph wires into his office. It may possibly be the idea of another; but it is not exactly original; and it has not been productive of good. It has now been in operation several weeks, all the way to Warrenton; and yet a few days ago the enemy’s cavalry found that section of country undefended, and took Warrenton itself, capturing in that vicinity some 2000 wounded Confederates, in spite of the Secretary’s expensive vigilance. Could a Yankee have been the inventor of the Secretary’s plaything? One amused himself telegraphing the Secretary from Warrenton, that all was quiet there; and that the Yankees had not made their appearance in that neighborhood, as had been rumored! If we had imbeciles in the field, our subjugation would be only pastime for the enemy. It is well, perhaps, that Gen. Lee has razed the department down to a second-class bureau, of which the President himself is the chief.

I see by a correspondence of the British diplomatic agents, that their government have decided no reclamation can be made on us for burning cotton and tobacco belonging to British subjects, where there is danger that they may fall into the hands of the enemy. Thus the British government do not even claim to have their subjects in the South favored above the Southern people. But Mr. Benjamin is more liberal, and he directed the Provost Marshal to save the tobacco bought on foreign account. So far, however, the grand speculation has failed.


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

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