Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

by John Beauchamp Jones

            MARCH 1ST.—Dark and raining.

            As the morning progressed, the city was a little startled by the sound of artillery in a northern direction, and not very distant. Couriers and horsemen from the country announced the approach of the enemy within the outer fortifications; a column of 5000 cavalry. Then Hon. James Lyons came in, reporting that the enemy were shelling his house, one and a half miles from the city. And Gen. Elzey (in command) said, at the department, that a fight was in progress; and that Brig.-Gen. Custis Lee was directing it in person. But an hour or so after the report of artillery ceased, and the excitement died away. Yet the local troops and militia are marching out as I write; and a caisson that came in an hour ago has just passed our door, returning to the field. Of course the city is full of rumors, and no one yet knows what has occurred. I presume it was only distant shelling, as no wounded men have been brought in.

            It is reported that the enemy captured Mr. Seddon’s family twenty-five miles distant,—also Gen. Wise’s. To-morrow we shall know more; but no uneasiness is felt as to the result. In a few hours we can muster men enough to defend the city against 25,000.

            A letter from Gen. Whiting suggests that martial law be proclaimed in North Carolina, as a Judge Pearson—a traitor, he thinks—is discharging men who have in conscripts as substitutes, on the ground that the act of Congress is unconstitutional. The President suggest a General Order, etc., complying with Gen. W.’s request.

            Col. A. C. Myers, late Quartermaster-General, writes again, indignantly resenting the President’s indorsement, etc. as unfounded and injurious, etc.

            The President indorses this letter as follows: “Unless this letter is designed to ask whether Col. M. is still in the army, or discharged by the appointment of a successor, I find nothing which changes the case since my indorsement referred to, as causing resentment and calling for vindication. Your orders were certainly official communications. Not having seen them, I can express no opinion upon their terms.—JEFFERSON DAVIS.”

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