Some weeks ago the President sent to this Department, for me to read and remark on, several reports relating to the subsistence of the Army of the Potomac. The above extract expresses the substance of a part of those reports, and implies similar censure, while it may be only an outside attempt to make me abandon the principles I have fixed upon to supply the army. It evinces the readiness of the writer to criticism the operations of this department without being acquainted with the facts or the plans on which they are based. My replies to the President were placed by him in your hands. They cover all that may be inferred from this paper and explode it. I therefore shall not reply further than to request you to reperuse those papers. I have studied the flour question, and resisted much outside pressure after I arrived here, determining not to buy until the marked opened, and then to fix prices on the new crop, as I was the only purchaser in the field. By firmness I held out to the last barrel, and have made ruling contracts in Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Lynchburg.
I will be glad if your correspondent will come forward and accept this proposition, viz: If flour of the same actual (but not inspected) quality can be bought at the end of the Manassas Gap Railroad at $4.25 per barrel, and laid down at Manassas at that price of thirty-three cents freight, which is the substance of the proposition stated in the figures to which my contract in Richmond will bring it, I will take it with pleasure, contracting with the party to furnish the whole Army of the Potomac. No such offer has been made to me from any source. Furthermore, I will contract to receive all the bacon he can deliver to Major Blair for two cents more than that I lately furnished the Army of the Potomac from this city.
I add that Major Blair, who has authority to purchase flour to any extent on the principles of this department, which are admitted by the entire community and the millers to be correct (while objecting to the rule), is now offering to the people of the valley forty-two cents more per barrel than your reliable correspondent says they are willing to take.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. B. NORTHROP,
Commissary-General of Subsistence.
CAMP NEAR HAWK'S NEST, VA.,
September 9, 1861-1.15 p. m.
Brigadier-General FLOYD, Commanding, &c.:
SIR: At 8.30 a. m. this morning I received your two notes, the one dated September 8, and the other September 9, 1861, at 1 a. m. The latter date and notation of the hour is obviously a mistake.
I regret exceedingly that any (if it shall be found that any) officer of my Legion should have seized upon a rifled brass 6 pounder or upon anything else belonging to your brigade a rifled brass 6 pounder or upon anything me the opportunity of correcting what may, and, I think will, turn out to be a mistake, upon the one side or the other, of the question to which brigade the gun belongs. For some time past I, too, received notice of a gun for my brigade, forwarded from Richmond, and have been in daily expectation of receiving it, to complete a battery for Captain Roemer's company of artillery, and he had orders to take charge of all artillery pieces which might be sent to my