April 2, 1864
---George Templeton Strong of New York City records in his journal his sense of the war news and high-placed gossip:
The war languishes and makes no progress. People naturally turn their thoughts, therefore, to questions of finance, taxation, and prices, and wonder whether gold will not soon be at 200 and butter a dollar a pound. I believe General Grant is working in his new place ohne hast, ohne Rast, purging the Army of the Potomac of disaffected McClellanists in high command and bringing its morale into training for hard work in its next campaign against “Lee’s Miserables.” Stanton seems trying to interfere and thwart the lieutenant-general. So people say. If he is doing so, I hope Grant will tender his resignation and tell the country the reason why.
---Red River Campaign: The last few days have been spent by Admiral David D. Porter in dragging his gunboats across the shoals at Alexandria, where the river is not rising enough to make comfortable passage. The river fleet finally gathers at Grand Ecore. Gen. Grant has written to Gen. Banks to remind Banks that he must part with A.J. Smith’s divisions by April 15. Banks writes in return to Grant, promising that he is “keeping in view the necessity of the co-operation of some of my troops east of the Mississippi, and losing no time in the campaign in which I am engaged.” And yet Banks is not moving with any kind of alacrity upriver.
---As the Federals enter the town of Natchitoches, Gen. Taylor leaves just ahead of the enemy, and directs his spread-out forces to gather at Pleasant Hill.
---Pres. and Mrs. Lincoln, accompanied by Mrs. Grant, attend a performance of Faust at Grover’s Theater tonight.
---John Beauchamp Jones, a Confederate War Department clerk in Richmond, writes with some despondency in his journal about dire conditions in the capital, including the dark shadow of illegal trade across enemy lines:
April 2d.—It rained furiously all night; wind northwest, and snowed to-day until 12 m. to a depth of several inches. It is still blowing a gale from the northwest.
To-day the clerks were paid in the new currency; but I see no abatement of prices from the scarcity of money, caused by funding. Shad are selling at $10 each, paper; or 50 cents, silver. Gold and silver are circulating—a little.
A letter from Liberty, Va., states that government bacon (tithe) is spoiling, in bulk, for want of attention.
From Washington County there are complaints that Gen. Longstreet’s impressing officers are taking all, except five bushels of grain and fifty pounds of bacon for each adult—a plenty, one would think, under the circumstances.
Senator Hunter has asked and obtained a detail for Mr. Daudridge (under eighteen) as quartermaster’s clerk. And Mr. Secretary Seddon has ordered the commissary to let Mrs. Michie have sugar and flour for her family, white and black.
Mr. Secretary Benjamin sent over, to-day, for passports to the Mississippi River for two “secret agents.” What for?
Gen. Lee has made regulations to prevent cotton, tobacco, etc. passing his lines into the enemy’s country, unless allowed by the government. But, then, several in authority will “allow” it without limit.
I set out sixty-eight early cabbage-plants yesterday. They are now under the snow!