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

by John Beauchamp Jones

            SEPTEMBER 10TH. —A Mr. J. C. Jones has addressed a letter to the President asking permission to run the blockade to confer with Mr. Bates, of President Lincoln’s cabinet, on terms of peace, with, I believe, authority to assure him that none of the Northwestern States, or any other free States, will be admitted into the Confederacy. Mr. J. says he has been on intimate terms with Mr. B., and has conceived the idea that the United States would cease the war, and acknowledge the independence of the South, if it were not for the apprehension of the Northwestern States seceding from the Union. If his request be not granted, he intends to enter the army immediately. He is a refugee from Missouri. He assures the President he is his friend, and that a “concentration of power” in his hands is essential, etc. The President refers this paper, with a gracious indorsement, to the Secretary of War, recommending him either to see Mr. Jones, or else to institute inquiries, etc.

            S. Wyatt, Augusta, Ga., writes in favor of appeals to the patriotism of the people to counteract what Mr. Toombs has done. What has he done? But he advises the President, to whom he professes to be very friendly, to order a discontinuance of seizures, etc.

            A. Cohen (Jew name), purser of the blockade-running steamer “Arabia” at Wilmington, has submitted a notable scheme to Gen. Winder, who submits it to the Secretary of War, establishing a police agency at Nassau. Gen. W. to send some of his detectives thither to examine persons coming into the Confederate States, and if found “all right,” to give them passports. It was only yesterday that a letter was received from Gen. Whiting, asking authority to send out a secret agent on the “Arabia,” to see what disposition would be made of her cargo, having strong suspicions of the loyalty of the owners and officers of that vessel.

            Gov. Z. B. Vance complains indignantly of Marylanders and Virginians appointed to office in that State, to the exclusion of natives; he says they have not yet been recalled, as he had a right to expect, after his recent interview with the President. He says he is disgusted with such treatment, both of his State and of himself. Alas! what is behind?

            Night before last some thirty of the enemy’s barges, filled with men, attempted to take the ruins of Sumter by assault. This had been anticipated by Beauregard, and every preparation had been made accordingly. So the batteries at Forts Moultrie, Bee, etc. opened terrifically with shell and grape the amount of execution by them is not ascertained: but a number of the barges reached the debris of Sumter, where a battalion of infantry awaited them, and where 115 of the Yankees, including more than a dozen officers, begged for quarters and were taken prisoners. No doubt the casualties on the side of the assailants must have been many, while the garrison sustained no loss. This is substantially the purport of a dispatch from Beauregard to Gen. Cooper, which, however, was published very, awkwardly—without any of the niceties of punctuation a fastidious general would have desired. Nevertheless, Beauregard’s name is on every tongue.

            The clerks in the departments were startled to-day by having read to them an order from Brig.-Gen. Custis Lee (son of Gen. R. E. Lee), an order to the captains of companies to imprison or otherwise punish all who failed to be present at the drills. These young gentlemen, not being removable, according to the Constitution, and exempted from conscription by an act of Congress, volunteered some months ago for “local defense and special service,” never supposing that regular drilling would be obligatory except when called into actual service by the direction of the President, in the terms of an act of Congress, which provided that such organizations were not to receive pay for military service, unless summoned to the field by the President in an emergency. They receive no pay now—but yet the impression prevails that this order has the approbation of the President, as Gen. G. W. Custis Lee is one of his special aids, with the rank and pay of a colonel of cavalry. As an aid of the President, he signs himself colonel; as commander of the city brigade, he signs himself brigadier-general, and has been so commissioned by the President. How it can be compatible to hold both positions and commissions, I do not understand—but perhaps the President does, as he is well versed in the rules and regulations of the service. Some of the clerks, it is said, regard the threat as unauthorized by law, and will resist what they deem a usurpation, at the hazard of suffering its penalties. I know not what the result will be, but I fear “no good will come of it.” They are all willing to fight, when the enemy comes (a probable thing); but they dislike being forced out to drill, under threats of “punishment.” This measure will not add to the popularity of Col. (or Gen.) Lee.

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