John Beauchamp Jones (American National Biography)

Joseph G. Dawson, "Jones, John Beauchamp," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
Totaling nearly nine hundred printed pages in two volumes, Jones's Diary touches on a kaleidoscope of issues, events, and people. Recounting a purported conversation with Jefferson Davis, Jones claimed that Davis doubted northerners' ability to wage a hard and costly war. Having resided among northerners, Jones wrote, "I know them better. And it will be found that they will learn how to fight and will not be afraid to fight." This entry, among others, could have been added after the war to give an impression of Jones's foresight and analytical ability. Some modern critics have suspected that Jones may have doctored passages in his journal before publication, such as anticipating success for General Thomas J. Jackson, a little-known professor at the Virginia Military Institute. Even if Jones made such changes, A Rebel War Clerk's Diary remains one of the best published primary accounts of the Confederacy written by a civilian, standing alongside such works as Mary Boykin Chesnut's famous Diary from Dixie and Inside the Confederate Government: The Diary of Robert Garlick Hill Kean.

Although an ardent supporter of southern rights, Jones returned to Burlington, New Jersey, after the Civil War, where he died before the publication of his noteworthy diary.
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