RICHMOND, VA., January 4, 1864.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:
GENERAL: Your letter of 2nd received. The Commissary-General of Subsistence has ordered some 90,000 pounds of salt meat from Wilmington for your army. He has no knowledge of the drovest of cattle referred to. The emergency justifies impressment from stock on hand for year's consumption by private parties and corporations of so much as is required for immediate use of army. This should be done so as to be most equal and least odious. The progress on the boats of the Neuse and Roanoke is slow and too uncertain to fix a date for completion. Your suggestion is approved, but who can and will execute it? You could give it form, which would insure success, but without your personal attention I fear such failures as have elsewhere been suffered. It would be well to send the brigade, and if circumstances permit, you had better do down; otherwise, I will go myself, though it could only be for a very few days, Congress being in session.
Very respectfully and truly, yours,
WILMINGTON, January 4, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
Can you send me another brigade? I need troops very much. The enemy are soungin Shallotte and Lockwood's Folly. A brigade in that vicinity and two light batteries are absolutely necessary.
W. H. C. WHITING,
SECRETARY OF WAR;
Would it not be well to execute the order to send Clingman's brigade to Goldsborough? It would then be in position to act promptly either for the defense of the railroad or Wilmington.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
January 5, 1864.
Colonel L. B. NORTHROP,
Commissary-General, Richmond, Va.:
COLONEL: Your letter of the 7th ultimate reached here during my absence in Richmond, and I have not been able to reply to it since my return until now.
I regret very much to learn that the supply of beef for the Army is so nearly exhausted. I have endeavored since first taking command to collect for its use all the provisions I could, and am still making every effort in my power to gather subsistence in front of our line of operations. No beef has been issued to the Cavalry Corps by the chief commissary, that I am aware of, for eighteen months.
During that time it has supplied itself, and has now, I understand, sufficient to last it until the middle of February.