March 30th.—Raining rapidly, and warm.
Again the sudden change of weather may be an interposition of Providence to defeat the effort of the enemy to destroy Gen. Lee’s communications with his Southern depots of supplies. I hope so, for faith in man is growing weaker.
Our loss in the affair of the 25th instant was heavy, and is now admitted to be a disaster; and Lee himself was there! It amounted, probably, to 3000 men. Grant says over 2000 prisoners were registered by his Provost Marshal. It is believed the President advised the desperate undertaking; be that as it may, many such blows cannot follow in quick succession without producing the most deplorable results. The government would soon make its escape—if it could. Mrs. Davis, however, soonest informed of our condition, got away in time.
Dispatches from Generalissimo Lee inform the Secretary that large expeditions are on foot in Alabama, Mississippi, etc., and that Thomas’s army is rapidly advancing upon Virginia from East Tennessee, while no general has yet been designated to command our troops.
The papers say nothing of the flank movement commenced yesterday by Grant. This reticence cannot be for the purpose of keeping the enemy in ignorance of it!
I am convalescent, but too weak to walk to the department today. The deathly “sick man,” as the Emperor of Russia used to designate the Sultan of Turkey, is our President. His mind has never yet comprehended the magnitude of the crisis.
Custis says letters still flow in asking authority to raise negro troops.
In the North the evacuation of Richmond is looked for between the 1st and 25th of April. They may be fooled. But if we lose the Danville Road, it will only be a question of time. Yet there will remain too great a breadth of territory for subjugation—if the people choose to hold out, and soldiers can be made of negroes.
It is reported (believed) that several determined assaults were made on our lines yesterday evening and last night at Petersburg, and repulsed with slaughter; and that the attack has been renewed to-day. Very heavy firing has been heard in that direction. Gen. Lee announces no result yet.
We have 2,000,000 bread rations in the depots in North Carolina.