by John Beauchamp Jones
AUGUST 21ST.—Cloudy and pleasant; no rain last night, but the earth is saturated. No additional news from the army. It is said Gen. Bragg prevents news, good or bad, from expanding—believing that any intelligence whatever in the newspapers affords information to the enemy; and he is right. All the mysteries will be solved in a few days, and we shall have all the news, good, bad, and indifferent. I heard cannon last evening; also this morning. Our casualties could not have been large, else the ambulance train would have been in motion. That is certain. It may be that Grant’s army is crumbling,—I hope so; and it may possibly be that negotiations are in progress. There must be an end of this; for the people of both sections are tired of it.
So far Grant has unquestionably failed in his enterprises againstRichmond, and his present reduced strength certainly renders it unlikely that he can prevail against us hereafter. His new levies, if he gets any, will not be fit for the field this year; and all his veterans will soon be gone,—killed, or home,—never to return. Thank God, the prospect of peace is “bright and brightening,” and a dark cloud is above the horizon in the North. Lincoln and his party are now environed with dangers rushing upon them from every direction.
No doubt Lee’s army is weakened by detachments sent to Early; but then the local troops have been sent home, which is at least a favorable augury. The following order is published:
“GENERAL ORDER No. 65.
“It having been represented to the War Department that there are numbers of foreigners entrapped by artifice and fraud into the military and naval service of the United States, who would gladly withdraw from further participation in the inhuman warfare waged against a people who have never given them a pretext for hostility; and that there are many inhabitants of the United States now retained in that service against their will, who are averse to aiding in the unjust war now being prosecuted against the Confederate States; and it being also known that these men are prevented from abandoning such compulsory service by the difficulty they experience in escaping therefrom, it is ordered that all such persons coming within the lines of the Confederate armies shall be received, protected, and supplied with means of subsistence, until such of them as desire it can be forwarded to the most convenient points on the border, where all facilities will be afforded them to return to their homes.
“(Signed) S. COOPER,
A. and I. General.”
My turnips have not come up yet, and I fear the hot sun has destroyed the vitality of the seed. It is said the enemy still hold theWeldon Road; if so, then I fear our flour will be delayed, if not lost.
What if Grant now had the 140,000 more—lost in this campaign? Or ifLincoln should succeed in getting into the field the 500,000 men now called for?
The next two months will be the most interesting period of the war; everything depends upon the result of the Presidential election in theUnited States. We rely some little upon the success of the peace party.
The order from the Adjutant-General’s office was first suggested by Gen. Beauregard, discountenanced by Mr. Secretary Seddon, approved by the President, and slightly modified by Gen. Lee. It remains to be seen what will be its effect. Deserters are certainly coming over in large numbers; so much so, that it is proposed to establish a depot for them in Georgia. Gen. Winder writes that it is not his province to be charged with them as well as with the prisoners. He is miserable; his rogues and cut-throats have mostly remained behind, preferring a city residence; and the Bureau of Conscription will not, it seems, conscribe Marylanders, most of whom have grown rich here. Will the President and the Secretary of War yield to Assistant Secretary Campbell, and the “Bureau,” and Judge Halliburton,—or will they execute the act of Congress, enrolling all “residents” for the common defense? Nous verrons.
One meets no beggars yet, although we have been suffering a famine for more than a year.
The State Government is now selling a little rice—one and a half pounds per month to each member of a family—at 50 cents per pound, the ordinary price being about $2. And the City Council has employed a butcher to sell fresh meat at about $3.50 per pound. The State will also distribute cotton cloth and yarn, at something less than the usual prices. There would be quite enough of everything necessary, if it were equally distributed.