Friday, July 31, 1863

Camp on the Big Black River Near Fox’s, East of Vicksburg, Mississippi

We have returned from Jackson and the troops have a well deserved rest. We have routine drills to keep the men fit and trim. Many soldiers are gone on leave. I have received mail and newspapers to be current on events.

I am appalled by Vallandigham and his Peace Party. The South does not want peace. It is not possible to divide the disputed territory of the Mississippi River Valley in a suitable manner. It can only be won by battle. The West must have access to the ports and the South will not quit the territory without a fight.

War existed before Sumpter was fired on. The seizure of our Forts & arsenals by armed bodies led by Governors & Commissioned officers preceded the attack on Sumpter. It was the seizure of the Forts & mails of Louisiana, more especially the arsenal at Baton Rouge with its small Garrison by a force of volunteers, led by Governor Moore & Colonel (now General) Bragg, then my most intimate friends, that made me declare it “high Treason’ and I quit the State, before as in your case malignant men had wrought up public feeling to a maddened state. Were every negro freed & every male in the South capable of bearing arms Killed outright by the U.S., the insult to our nation would not be more than avenged for the Studied insults in those cases.

The talk of Peace by Vallandigham & men of his school is the veriest nonsense. They are cowards and try to cover up their Cowardice by a plea of Peace. I have seen such men in battle. When bursting shells & hissing bullets made things uncomfortable they would discover suddenly that they were sick, or had left something back in Camp.

Thank God the Southern men, sunk as they are in crime, are yet too proud to admit Vallandigham as an associate. They are willing to use him as a Stink pot, but not as an associate. Today I declare I have more sympathy with the misled but brave man who shoots at my heart when I come within the range of his gun, than of the miscreant, who tries to deceive a People by calling his Cowardice patriotism. Take the bold ground. Disenfranchise all who will not help their Country, yea fight for it in this its hour of trial. All true & brave & worthy Americans will cry aloud, Amen.

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