Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 22, 1863: News from Chickamauga reaches Richmond

General Braxton Bragg, C.S. Army
More details of the Battle of Chickamauga arrived in Richmond, Virginia. Confederate war clerk John B. Jones recorded the news in his diary.
September 22d.—Another dispatch from Bragg, received at a late hour last night, says the victory is complete. This announcement has lifted a heavy load from the spirits of our people; and as successive dispatches come from Gov. Harris and others on the battle-field to-day, there is a great change in the recent elongated faces of many we meet in the streets. So far we learn that the enemy has been beaten back and pursued some eleven miles; that we have from 5000 to 6000 prisoners, some 40 guns, besides small arms and stores in vast quantities. But Gen. Hood, whom I saw at the department but a fortnight ago, is said to be dead! and some half dozen of our brigadier-generals have been killed and wounded. The loss of the enemy, however, has been still greater than ours. At last accounts (this morning) the battle was still raging—the enemy having made a stand (temporarily, I presume)[Pg 50] on a ridge, to protect their retreat. They burnt many commissary stores, which they may need soon. Yet, this is from the West.

The effects of this great victory will be electrical. The whole South will be filled again with patriotic fervor, and in the North there will be a corresponding depression. Rosecrans’s position is now one of great peril; for his army, being away from the protection of gun-boats, may be utterly destroyed, and then Tennessee and Southern Kentucky may fall into our hands again. To-morrow the papers will be filled with accounts from the field of battle, and we shall have a more distinct knowledge of the magnitude of it. There must have been at least 150,000 men engaged; and no doubt the killed and wounded on both sides amounted to tens of thousands!

Surely the Government of the United States must now see the impossibility of subjugating the Southern people, spread over such a vast extent of territory; and the European governments ought now to interpose to put an end to this cruel waste of blood and treasure.

My little garden has been a great comfort to me, and has afforded vegetables every day for a month past. My potatoes, however, which occupied about half the ground, did not turn out well. There were not more than a dozen quarts—worth $10, though—in consequence of the drought in June and July; but I have abundance of tomatoes, and every week several quarts of the speckled lima bean, which I trailed up the plank fence and on the side of the wood-house—just seven hills in all. I do not think I planted more than a gill of beans; and yet I must have already pulled some ten quarts, and will get nearly as many more, which will make a yield of more than 300-fold! I shall save some of the seed. The cabbages do not head, but we use them freely when we get a little bacon. The okra flourishes finely, and gives a flavor to the soup, when we succeed in getting a shin-bone. The red peppers are flourishing luxuriantly, and the bright red pods are really beautiful. The parsnips look well, but I have not yet pulled any. I shall sow turnip seed, where the potatoes failed, for spring salad. On the whole, the little garden has compensated me for my labor in substantial returns, as well as in distraction from painful meditations during a season of calamity.

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