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

by John Beauchamp Jones

            SEPTEMBER 4TH.—There is a rumor that Gen. Lee (who is still here) is to take the most of his army out of Virginia, to recapture the Southern territory lost by Loring, Pemberton, and Bragg. I doubt this for it might involve the loss of Richmond, and indeed of the whole State of Virginia. It would be a sad blow to the extortionate farmers, it is true but we cannot afford to lose the whole country, and sacrifice the cause, to punish the speculators. It may be, however, that this is a ruse, and if so, Lee is preparing for another northern campaign.

            The project of the Hon. Mr. Boteler to place Rains’s subterra shells under the Orange and Alexandria Railroad used by the enemy, was referred by the Secretary to Col. J. Gorgas, the Northern Chief of Ordnance, who says he can furnish the shells, but advises against the use of them, as they will “only irritate the enemy, and not intimidate them.” For this presumptuous advice, which was entirely gratuitous, I do not learn that the Secretary has rebuked him.

            Letters from Western North Carolina show that the defection is spreading. In WilkesCounty, Gideon Smoot is the commander of the insurgents, and has raised the United States flag. I have not learned, yet, whether Lieut.-Col. Lay, of the Bureau of Conscription, reached that far; and I was amazed when the good nature of Col. Preston yielded to his solicitations to go thither. What possible good could he, a Virginian, and formerly an aid of Gen. Scott, effect in that quarter?

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