January 26, Tuesday. Stanton tells some curious matters of Jeff Davis, derived from Davis’s servant, who escaped from Richmond. The servant was a slave, born on Davis’s plantation. Mrs. Davis struck him three times in the face, and took him by the hair to beat his head against the wall. At night the slave fled and after some difficulty got within our lines. He is, Stanton says, very intelligent for a slave and gives an interesting inside view of Rebel trials and suffering. It should be taken, perhaps, with some allowance.
The court of inquiry in relation to the publication of the letter of Commodore Wilkes has been brought to a close. Although not as explicit and positive as it might have been, there is, and could be, no other conclusion than his guilt. When brought before the court and advised of the testimony, which showed the letter was in the hands of the newspaper folks twenty-four hours before it reached the Department, he declined to make any statement. I do not see how a court martial can be avoided. He is insubordinate, evasive, and untruthful; reckless of others’ rights, ambitious, and intensely avaricious.