by John Beauchamp Jones
MARCH 25TH.—Raining moderately.
Yesterday Mr. Miles, member of Congress from South Carolina, received a dispatch from Charleston, signed by many of the leading citizens, protesting against the removal of 52 companies of cavalry from that department to Virginia. They say so few will be left that the railroads, plantations, and even the City of Charleston will be exposed to the easy capture of the enemy; and this is “approved” and signed by T. Jordan, Chief of Staff. It was given to the Secretary of War, who sent it to Gen. Bragg, assuring him that the citizens signing it were the most influential in the State, etc.
Gen. Bragg sent it back with an indignant note. He says the President gave the order, and it was a proper one. These companies of cavalry have not shared the hardships of the war, and have done no fighting; more cavalry has been held by Gen. Beauregard, in proportion to the number of his army, than by any other general; that skeleton regiments, which have gone through fire and blood, ought to be allowed to relieve them; and when recruited, would be ample for the defense of the coast, etc. Gen. Bragg concluded by saying that the offense of having the military orders of the commander-in-chief, etc. exposed to civilians, to be criticised and protested against—and “approved” by the Chief of Staff—at such a time as this, and in a matter of such grave importance—ought not to be suffered to pass without a merited rebuke. And I am sure poor Beauregard will get the rebuke; for all the military and civil functionaries near the government partake of something of a dislike of him.
And yet Beauregard was wrong to make any stir about it; and the President himself only acted in accordance with Gen. Lee’s suggestions, noted at the time in this Diary.
Gen. Polk writes from Dunapolis that he will have communications with Jackson restored in a few days, and that the injury to the railroads was not so great as the enemy represented.
Mr. Memminger, the Secretary of the Treasury, is in a black Dutch fury. It appears that his agent, C. C. Thayer, with $15,000,000 Treasury notes for disbursement in Texas, arrived at the mouth of the Rio Grande in December, when the enemy had possession of Brownsville, and when Matamoras was in revolution. He then conferred with Mr. Benjamin’s friend (and Confederate States secret agent) Mr. Quintero, and Quartermaster Russell, who advised him to deposit the treasure with P. Milmo & Co.—a house with which our agents have had large transactions, and Mr. M. being son-in-law to Gov. Vidurri—to be shipped to Eagle Pass via Monterey to San Antonio, etc.
But alas! and alas! P. Milmo & Co., upon being informed that fifteen millions were in their custody, notified our agents that they would seize it all, and hold it all, until certain alleged claims they held against the Confederate States Government were paid. Mr. Quintero, who sends this precious intelligence, says he thinks the money will soon be released—and so do I, when it is ascertained that it will be of no value to any of the parties there.
Mr. Memminger, however, wants Quartermaster Russell cashiered, and court-martialed, and, moreover, decapitated!