as bad as the former, the system of barter will result in much of the staples of the country being taken out of it without obtaining anything in return but payment of the forfeited bonds. While this payment will prevent pecuniary loss to the Government, it effectually defeats the object of the system which it is desired to inaugurate. I would suggest that the safest plan, and one that can be carried out with least difficulty and liability to abuse, would be to offer the articles referred to-cotton and tobacco, &c. -with permission to remove them, to any person who will deliver provisions at a price to be agreed upon. A limit might be put upon he amount of provisions to be furnished in exchange by individuals to prevent too great a multiplication of permits. For instance, no exchange might be entered into with any individual for less than 500 pounds or any others quantity. Persons desiring to take these contracts would find means, wither by purchase from our own citizens or by bringing the provisions from abroad, to obtain enough to exchange for cotton, tobacco, &c., and the Government would be relieved from the risk of transportation. I think it will be found it proper agents be sent to suitable localities with authority to contract to deliver the staple articles, with permits to those who will give provisions for them, much would be obtained from our own citizens that cannot now be reached by purchase or impressment. those who sell on such terms can readily procure what they require for their own use or even additional supplies to continue the traffic. At the same time it would encourage our people to produce more, as it would afford them a profitable market. I have deemed it proper to make these suggestions in order that the system may have as full a trial as possible and in the hope that it may afford us considerable relief.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
OFFICE CHIEF COM. OF SUBSISTENCE FOR VIRGINIA,
Richmond, April 15, 1864.
Respectfully referred through the Commissary-General to the Honorable Secretary of War for his consideration, and with the suggestion that formal regulations in regard to overland commerce be adopted, or at least that all Confederate officers be charged with the duty of preventing (under the fourth section of the law) the unlawful transportation of the prohibited articles. Undoubtedly very large quantities of these articles are being now forwarded to the border by parties who have not even proposed to operate for the Government, and doubtless with the view of an illegal traffic. If the Government can keep the control of this trade, and thus make the demand for these necessary articles entirely tributary to army supplies, a very large amount of meat will undoubtedly be secured.
B. P. NOLAND,
Major and Chief Commissary of Subsistence for Virginia.
APRIL 15, 1864.
A general order regulating or prohibiting the transfer of tobacco, &c., to points contiguous to the enemy's lines without permit had