This Week In 1865: Confederate Diary posts for March 1-3, 1865

Wednesday, March 1, 1865

J. B. Jones

John Beauchamp Jones (1810-1866) was a writer who worked in the Confederate War Department in Richmond during the war. His diary was published in 1866 as “A Rebel War Clerk’s Diary at the Confederate States Capital.”

“The enemy’s columns are approaching us from all directions. They say the rebellion will be crushed very soon.”

We have no news, except from the North, whence we learn Lieut. Beall, one of our Canada raiders, has been hung; that some little cotton and turpentine were burnt at Wilmington; and that the enemy’s columns are approaching us from all directions. They say the rebellion will be crushed very soon, and really seem to have speedy and accurate information from Richmond not only of all movements of our army, but of the intentions of the government.

Lieut.-Gen. Grant has directed Col. Mulford, Agent of Exchange, to say that some 200 prisoners escaped from us, when taken to Wilmington for exchange, and now in his lines, will be held as paroled, and credited in the general exchange. Moreover, all prisoners in transitu for any point of exchange, falling into their hands, will be held as paroled, and exchanged. He states also that all prisoners held by the United States, whether in close confinement, in-irons, or under sentence, are to be exchanged. Surely Gen. Grant is trying to please us in this matter. Yet Lieut. Beall was executed!

Emma Leconte

Emma Florence LeConte (1847-1932) lived in Columbia, SC and witnessed Sherman’s burning of the city.

“Heavens – have we not suffered enough?”

There was a rumor afloat yesterday that a negro regiment was marching from Branchville to garrison Columbia – Heavens – have we not suffered enough? I do not believe it but the very thought is enough to make one shudder.

Thursday, March 2, 1865

J. B. Jones

“Tobacco is being moved from the city with all possible expedition.”

The Negro bill still hangs fire in Congress.

Remains of a Locomotive of the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad

Remains of a Locomotive of the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad

The government is impressing horses in the streets, to collect the tobacco preparatory for its destruction in the event of the city falling into the hands of the enemy. This fact is already known in the North and published in the papers there.

I saw a paper to-day from Mr. Benjamin, saying it had been determined, in the event of burning the tobacco, to exempt that belonging to other governments-French and Austrian; but that belonging to foreign subjects is not to be spared. This he says is with the concurrence of the British Government. Tobacco is being moved from the city with all possible expedition.

 Friday, March 3, 1865

J. B. Jones

“We must have a victory soon, else Virginia is irretrievably lost.”

This morning there was another arrival of our prisoners on parole, and not yet exchanged. Many thousands have arrived this week, and many more are on the way. How shall we feed them? Will they compel the evacuation of the city? I hope not.

Our nominal income has been increased; amounting now to some $16,000 in paper — less than $300 in specie [gold]. But, for the next six months (if we can stay here), our rent will be only $75 per month — a little over one dollar [in gold]; and servant hire, $40-less than eighty cents [in gold].

It is rumored that Gen. Early has been beaten again at Waynesborough, and that the enemy have reached Charlottesville for the first time. Thus it seems our downward career continues. We must have a victory soon, else Virginia is irretrievably lost.

Ron Franklin

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About RonElFran

Ron Franklin is pastor of Covenant Community Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
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