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

by John Beauchamp Jones

            OCTOBER 24TH.—To-day we have a cold northwest storm of wind and rain, and we have our first fire in the parlor.

            The elections in Ohio and Pennsylvania have gone for the Republican (War) candidates. We rely on ourselves, under God, for independence. It is said Gen. Lee learned that 15,000 Republican voters were sent from Meade’s army into Pennsylvania to vote, and hence he advanced and drove back the Federal army. Yet he says that Meade’s army is more numerous than his. It is not known what our losses have been, but the following dispatch from Lee gives an accurate account of the enemy’s loss in prisoners.

“October 23d, 1863.  

     “GEN. S. COOPER, A. and I. General.

            “Gen. Imboden, on the 18th, attacked the garrison at Charlestown, Shenandoah Valley, captured 434 prisoners, with their arms, transportation, and stores. To these, add prisoners already forwarded, makes 2462.

“(Signed)         R. E. LEE.

“Official : JOHN WITHERS, A. A. General.”

            And Capt. Warner says he is now feeding them.

            Gen. Lee writes on the 19th inst., that it is doubtful whether Gen. Meade will remain where he is, behind his fortifications along Bull Run, or make another movement on Richmond. A few days will decide this matter. He says Meade has superior numbers. If he remains, Gen. Lee will advance again, provided he can get quartermaster supplies for his army. But at present, thousands of his men are barefooted, without overcoats, blankets, etc. He says it was the sublimest spectacle of the war to see men in such condition move forward with such cheerfulness and alacrity, in the recent pursuit of the enemy. He deprecates sending any of his regiments to West Virginia and East Tennessee, and thinks Gen. Sam Jones has not evinced sufficient energy and judgment in that quarter. He says it would be better to send reinforcements to Chattanooga, where it is practicable to conduct a winter campaign. He could drive the enemy from the Peninsula, Gloucester Point, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, but to keep them away Lee would have to station an army there. If North Carolina be menaced, he advises that the troops at Richmond and Petersburg be sent thither, and he will replace them with troops from his army. He thinks it the best policy not to disperse troops in Virginia.

            From this letter it is easy to perceive that the Secretary of War, in the absence of the President, has been making suggestions to Gen. Lee, none of which does he deem it good policy to adopt, the Secretary not being versed in military matters.

            A private note from Gen. Lee, dated the 13th inst., which I saw to-day, informs the Secretary of War that much of the benefits he anticipated from his movement, then in progress, must be lost, from the fact that the enemy had been informed of his purposes. This it was the duty of the government to prevent, but Mr. Seddon, like his predecessors, cannot be convinced that the rogues and cut-throats employed by Gen. Winder as detectives, have it in their power to inflict injury on the cause and the country. The cleaning of the Augean stables here is the work which should engage the attention of the Secretary of War, rather than directing the movements of armies in the field, of which matter he knows nothing whatever.

            The Secretary of War wrote a long and rather rebuking letter to-day to Mr. Sheffey, chairman of the Committee on Confederate Relations, of the General Assembly, who communicated a report , and resolutions of the House of Delegates, in relation to details of conscripts, and the employment in civil offices of robust young men capable of military service, and urging the department to appoint men over forty-five years of age to perform such services, and to impress free negroes to do the labor that soldiers are detailed for. The Secretary thinks the Confederate Government knows its duties, and ought not to be meddled with by State Governments. It touched Mr. Seddon nearly.

            By the last Northern papers I see President Lincoln has issued a proclamation calling for 300,000 more volunteers, and if they “do not come when he calls for them,” that number will be drafted in January. This is very significant either the draft has already failed, or else about a million of men per annum are concerned in the work of suppressing this ” rebellion.” We find, just at the time fixed for the subjugation of the South, Rosecrans is defeated, and Meade is driven back upon Washington!

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