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

by John Beauchamp Jones

            OCTOBER 18TH. —No authentic information of a battle near Manassas has been received at the War Department, although it is certain there has been some heavy skirmishing on the Rappahannock. We have several brigadier-generals wounded, and lost five guns; but, being reinforced, continued the pursuit of the enemy, picking up many prisoners—they say 1500. The pursuit was retarded by the swelling of the streams.

            A letter from Major-Gen. Jones, at Dublin Depot, Va., Oct. 14th, leads me to think danger is apprehended in that quarter, the objective point being the Salt Works; and it may be inferred, from the fact that Burnside is still there, that Rosecrans is considered safe, by reason of the heavy reinforcements sent from other quarters.

            While I write, the government is having the tocsin sounded for volunteers from the militia to go to the rescue of the Salt Works, which is absurd, as the enemy will either have them before aid can be received from Richmond, or else he will have been driven off by the local troops near that vicinity.

            Captain Warner took me in his buggy this morning to the military prisons. He did not lead me into the crowded rooms above, where he said I would be in danger of vermin, but exhibited his cooking apparatus, etc.—which was ample and cleanly. Everywhere I saw the captives peeping through the bars ; they occupy quite a number of large buildings—warehouses—and some exhibited vengeful countenances. They have half a pound of beef per day, and plenty of good bread and water—besides vegetables and other matters furnished by themselves. Several new furnaces are in process of erection, and most of the laborers are Federal prisoners, who agree to work (for their own convenience) and are paid for it the usual wages. There are baths to the prisons ; and the conduits for venting, etc. have cost some $10,000. To-day the weather is as warm as summer, and no doubt the prisoners sigh for the open air (although all the buildings are well ventilated), and their distant homes in the West—most of them being from the field of Chickamauga.

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