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

by John Beauchamp Jones

            MARCH 3D.—Bright and frosty. Confused accounts of the raid in the morning papers.

            During the day it was reported that Col. Johnson’s forces had been cut up this morning by superior numbers, and that Butler was advancing up the Peninsula with 15,000 men. The tocsin was sounded in the afternoon, and the militia called out; every available man being summoned to the field for the defense of the city. The opinion prevails that the plan to liberate the prisoners and capture Richmond is not fully developed yet, nor abandoned. My only apprehension is that while our troops may be engaged in one direction, a detachment of the enemy may rush in from the opposite quarter. But the attempt must fail. There is much excitement, but no alarm. It is rather eagerness to meet the foe, and a desire that he may come.

            The Department Battalion returned at 2 P.M. to attend the funeral of Capt. Ellery, and expect to be marched out again this evening toward Bottom’s Bridge, where the enemy is said to be in considerable force.

            Custis, though detailed to duty in the department, threw down his pen to-day, and said he would go out and be in the next fight. And so he left me suddenly. The Secretary, to whom I communicated this, said it was right and proper for him to go—even without orders. He goes without a blanket, preferring not to sleep, to carrying one. At night he will sit by a fire in the field.

            Some of the clerks would shoot Mr. Memminger cheerfully. He will not pay them their salaries, on some trivial informality in the certificates; and while they are fighting and bleeding in his defense, their wives and children are threatened to be turned out of doors by the boarding-house keepers.

Previous post:

Next post: