Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24, 1863: The Diary of John B. Jones


Richmonders held their breath as General Lee makes his way north. Richmond has been left nearly defenseless, and there are rumors of a federal landing below the city on the James River.
June 24th.—We have nothing additional from Vicksburg or from the Potomac, but there is a rumor of fighting near Leesburg.

The first installment of Winchester prisoners reached the city yesterday, 1600 in number, and there are over 4000 more on the way. So much for Milroy’s 2000 or 3000!

To-day the President desired the Secretary of War to send him all the correspondence with Gen. Johnston, as he intends to write him a confidential letter touching reinforcements, and he wishes to inform him of the military situation of affairs everywhere.

This afternoon some excitement prevails in the city, caused by a notification of the Governor placarded at the corner of the streets, calling on the citizens to assemble at the Capitol Square at 7 o’clock p.m., and announcing that reliable information has been received of the landing of the enemy (how many is not stated) at Brandon, on the James River, and at the White House, on the York, some thirty-five miles below. There was also a meeting of the[Pg 360] clerks of the departments, and it was agreed that at the sounding of the tocsin they should assemble (day or night) with arms at their respective offices.

This may be another Pawnee alarm of the government, and it may be the wolf. If some 30,000 of the enemy’s troops make a dash at Richmond now, they may take it. But it will, of course, be defended with what means we have, to the last extremity.

Still, I think it nothing more than a strategical movement to save Washington or to embarrass Lee’s operations, and it will fail to retard his movement. We shall soon see what it is.

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