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

by John Beauchamp Jones

            AUGUST 11TH.—After all the applications of the railroad companies when Gen. Lee was in Pennsylvania, and the enemy had withdrawn from this side of the Potomac, it appears that the fine iron on the road from Fredericksburg to Aquia Creek was not removed! Mr. Seddon’s subordinates must answer for this. The iron was wanted more than anything else but men. The want of men cannot be alleged for not securing it, because the railroad companies would have procured negroes enough for its removal.

            Well, the first of August has passed, and the grand scheme of the War Office at Washington of a general servile insurrection did not take place. On the contrary, a large army of slaves might be organized to fight for their masters.

            To-day, it must be confessed, I saw some of the booty (if, indeed, it was not fairly bought) of the recent invasion of the North. A number of boxes of fine stationery, brought from Carlisle, Chambersburg, etc., were opened at the War Department.

            There is a controversy between the Secretary of War, Assistant Secretary, and Attorney-General on one side, and the Commissary-General, Col. L. B. Northrop, on the other. It appears that one of the assistant commissaries exchanged sugar for flour and rice in Alabama with a merchant or speculator, and then, after the lapse of a month or so, impressed the sugar. The party got the Attorney-General’s opinion in his behalf, which was approved by the Assistant Secretary of War, and the Secretary issued an order for the release of the sugar. In response to this, Col. N. rebuts the arguments of the whole three (lawyers) by saying it is not good sense to exempt anything, under any circumstances, from impressment, when needed to carry on the war; and that the way to success is to do justice to the whole country—and not to please the people. A palpable hit at the politicians. He says if the Secretary insists on the sugar being released, it will be done against his (N.’s) judgment.

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