Monday, May 13, 2013

May 14, 1863 (Thursday): Intrique in Richmond

A Wartime Letter Written by Jefferson Davis

President of the United States, Washington, D. C.:
     The following is a copy of an original letter of Jefferson Davis in my possession.

     Major-General and Chief of Staff.


May 1, 1863-Sunday a.m.
     MY DEAR SIR: Inclosed I send you a telegram from Isaac, as requested by him. Our news from Mississippi is not definite beyond the fact that [John S.] Bowen, after engaging the enemy south of Port Gibson, had, under cover of night, fallen back across the Bayou Pierre, and that Loring was moving to his support from Vicksburg. The enemy landed in large force near Bruinsburg and have made cavalry raids as far as the New Orleans and Jackson Railroad. General Pemberton, as you are aware, is very deficient in cavalry, and is greatly outnumbered in infantry. We are looking, with intense anxiety to the operations of your army, and I have made earnest though not very successful efforts to give it prompt re-enforcements.
     With best wishes, I am, as ever, your friend.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 25, Part 2, Page 480.

How is it Butterfield (Hooker's Chief of Staff) came into possession of a recently signed letter from the Confederacy's President?  It hints of intrigue, coupled with the recent presence near Richmond of Union cavalry.  Perhaps a messenger was captured with the memo, but then again it would not have been the first time Davis' office was spied upon.  In 1861 a slave serving in the rebel White House crossed into Union lines and recounted very clearly conversations had there by Davis.  Perhaps there were still spies in Richmond.


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