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

by John Beauchamp Jones

            JANUARY 27TH.—Last night, the weather being very pleasant, the President’s house was pretty well filled with gentlemen and ladies. I cannot imagine how they continue to dress so magnificently, unless it be their old finery, which looks well amid the general aspect of shabby mendicity. But the statures of the men, and the beauty and grace of the ladies, surpass any I have seen elsewhere, in America or Europe. There is high character in almost every face, and fixed resolve in every eye.

            The President was very courteous, saying to each, “I am glad to meet you here to-night ” He questioned me so much in regard to my health, that I told him I was not very well; and if his lady (to whom he introduced us all) had not been so close (at his elbow), I might have assigned the cause. When we parted, he said, “We have met before.” Mrs. Davis was in black—for her father. And many of the ladies were in mourning for those slain in battle.

            Gen. Lee has published the following to his army:

“January 22d, 1864.


            “The Commanding General considers it due to the army to state that the temporary reduction of rations has been caused by circumstances beyond the control of those charged with its support. Its welfare and comfort are the objects of his constant and earnest solicitude; and no effort has been spared to provide for its wants. It is hoped that the exertions now being made will render the necessity but of short duration: but the history of the army has shown that the country can require no sacrifice too great for its patriotic devotion.

            “Soldiers! you tread, with no unequal steps, the road by which your fathers marched through suffering, privation, and blood to independence!

            “Continue to emulate in the future, as you have in the past, their valor in arms, their patient endurance of hardships, their high resolve to be free, which no trial could shake, no bribe seduce, no danger appal: and be assured that the just God, who crowned their efforts with success, will, in His own good time, send down His blessings upon yours.

            “(Signed)                                             R. E. LEE, General.

            An eloquent and stirring appeal!

            It is rumored that the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended —as the President has been allowed to suspend it—by Congress, in secret session. But Congress passed a resolution, yesterday, that after it adjourns on the 18th February, it will assemble again on the first Monday in May.

            Mr. Lyons, chairman of the Committee on Increased Compensation to the civil officers, had an interview with the Secretary of War yesterday. The Secretary told him, it is said, that unless Congress voted the increase, he would take the responsibility of ordering them rations, etc. etc. And Mr. Smith, of North Carolina, told me, to-day, that something would be done. He it was who moved to lay the bill on the table. He said it would have been defeated, if the vote had been taken on the bill.

            Gov. Smith sent to the Legislature a message, yesterday, rebuking the members for doing so little, and urging the passage of a bill putting into the State service all between the ages of sixteen and eighteen and over forty-five. The Legislature considered his lecture an insult, and the House of Delegates contemptuously laid it on the table by an almost unanimous vote. So he has war with the Legislature, while the President is in conflict with the Confederate States Senate.

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