Thursday, May 8, 2014

May 8, 1864: The Diary of John B. Jones

May 8th.—Bright and hot.

The tocsin sounded again this morning. I learned upon inquiry that it was merely for the militia again (they were dismissed yesterday after being called together), perhaps to relieve the local battalions near the city.

The Secretary of War received a dispatch to-day from Gen. Lee, stating that there was no fighting yesterday, only slight skirmishing. Grant remained where he had been driven, in the “Wilderness,” behind his breastworks, completely checked in his “On to Richmond.” He may be badly hurt, and perhaps his men object to being led to the slaughter again.

There has been no fighting below, between this and Petersburg, and we breathe freer, for Beauregard, we know, has made the best use of time. It is said another of the enemy’s gun-boats has been destroyed by boarding and burning. We have three iron-clads and rams here above the obstructions, which will probably be of no use at this trying time.

A few days more will tell the story of this combined and most formidable attempt to take Richmond; and if it be the old song of failure, we may look for a speedy termination of the war.  So mote it be!

Meantime my vegetables are growing finely, except the corn and lima beans (Yankee), Col. Gorgas’s importation, which have not come up.

A cow and calf now sells for $2500. My friend, Dr. Powell, has just sold one for a great price, he would not tell me what. But I told him that the greed for gain was the worst feature in our people, and made me sometimes tremble for the cause. I fear a just retribution may entail ruin on the farmers, who seem to think more of their cattle than of their sons in the field.

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