Sunday, February 26, 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.”
“There is much alarm on the streets. Orders have been given to prepare all the tobacco and cotton, which cannot be removed immediately, for destruction by fire.”
Mr. Hunter is now reproached by the slaveowners, whom he thought to please, for defeating the Negro bill. They say his vote will make Virginia a free State, inasmuch as Gen. Lee must evacuate it for the want of negro troops.
There is much alarm on the streets. Orders have been given to prepare all the tobacco and cotton, which cannot be removed immediately, for destruction by fire. And it is generally believed that Lieut.-Gen. A. P. Hill’s corps has marched away to North Carolina, This would leave some 25,000 men to defend Richmond and Petersburg, against, probably, 60,000.
If Richmond be evacuated, most of the population will remain, not knowing whither to go.
Emma Florence LeConte (1847-1932) lived in Columbia, SC and witnessed Sherman’s burning of the city.
“Every night the entire horizon was illuminated by burning houses! Poor Carolina!”
Father describes Sherman’s track up there as the same it was in the lower part of the State – desolation and ruin. Every night the entire horizon was illuminated by burning houses! Poor Carolina! And the burning of Columbia was the most diabolical act of all the barbarous war. Father grits his teeth every time he sees the ruins or speaks of the horrors of that night.
As far as I can see the people are undemoralized and more determined than ever. The Yankee officers while here they paid the tribute to the women of this State of saying they were the most firm, obstinate and ultra rebel set of women they had encountered – if the men only prove equally so!
Father and I went to church this morning. We had a mournful looking congregation. Dr. Howe officiated, reading the first Chapter of Lamentations.
Monday, February 27, 1865
J. B. Jones
“Grant is said to be massing his troops on our right, to precipitate them upon the South Side Railroad.”
The Virginia Assembly has passed resolutions instructing the Senators to vote for the negro troops bill-so Mr. Hunter must obey or resign.
Grant is said to be massing his troops on our right, to precipitate them upon the South Side Railroad. Has Hill marched his corps away to North Carolina? If so, Richmond is in very great danger.
I saw Col. Northrop, late Commissary-General, to-day. He looks down, dark, and dissatisfied. Lee’s army eats without him.
I saw Admiral Buchanan to-day, limping a little. He says the enemy tried to shoot away his legs to keep him from dancing at his granddaughter’s wedding, but won’t succeed.
The President and Gen. Lee were out at Camp Lee to-day, urging the returned soldiers (from captivity) to forego the usual furlough and enter upon the spring campaign now about to begin. The other day, when the President made a speech to them, he was often interrupted by cries of “furlough!”
The ladies in the Treasury Department are ordered to Lynchburg, whither the process of manufacturing Confederate States notes is to be transferred.
A committee of the Virginia Assembly waited on the President on Saturday, who told them it was no part of his intention to evacuate Richmond. But some construed his words as equivocal. Tobacco, cotton, etc. are leaving the city daily. The city is in danger.
Joseph Addison Waddell (1823-1914) lived in Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia. Before the war he was owner and editor of the “Staunton Spectator” newspaper. Waddell, who remained at home during the war, was anti-secession, but pro-Confederate.
“Every body feels that we are in the crisis of our fate.”
There was a rumor yesterday of a battle in which Beauregard was mortally wounded, but it is disbelieved. We have no intelligence. A battle, however, is expected and may take place any day.
Some public stores have been removed from Richmond to Lynchburg. Rumors of a large force assembling at Winchester, to move this way. Every body feels that we are in the crisis of our fate.
Much speechifying in the Courthouse to-day and in answer to an appeal from Richmond. A large amount of flour and bacon was contributed for the sustenance of the army; In addition many persons contributed Confederate States Bonds, several as much as $10,000 cash.
The Government is now paying $400 per barrel for flour -I have no idea what individuals have to pay for it, if it can be bought for currency. Kate gave ($800) eight hundred dollars a few days ago for an alpaca dress!