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

by John Beauchamp Jones

            AUGUST 21ST, FRIDAY.—This is a day appointed by the President for humiliation, fasting, and prayer. Yet the Marylanders in possession of the passport office report the following in the Dispatch of this date:

            Passports.—The passport office was besieged yesterday and last night by large crowds of persons soliciting permission to leave the city, in order that some relaxation might be had from its busy scenes. Among those who obtained them were His Excellency Jefferson Davis and his Honor Joseph Mayo, both designing to pay a short visit to the neighboring County of Chesterfield.”

            We fast, certainly—and feel greatly humiliated at the loss of New Orleans and Vicksburg—and we pray, daily.

            Yesterday FortSumter suffered much from the enemy’s batteries, and much apprehension is felt for its fate.

            Gen. Lee, it is said, is not permitted to follow Meade, who is retrograding, being weakened by detachments. A few weeks hence the fall campaign will open in Virginia, when the very earth may tremble again with the thunders of war, and the rivulets may again spout human blood.

            There were no letters to-day, for the reason that last night the clerks in the post-office resigned, their salaries not being sufficient to support them. I hope a force will be detailed, to-morrow, to distribute the letters.

            I met Prof. A. T. Bledsoe to-day as he was ambling toward the passport office. He said he was just about to start for London, where he intended publishing his book—on slavery, I believe. He has a free passage on one of the government steamers, to sail from Wilmington. He asked me if I fasted to-day; I answered yes, as usual! He then bid me good-by, and at parting I told him I hoped he would not find us all hanged when he returned. I think it probable he has a mission from the President, as well as his book to publish.

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