OFFICE INSPECTOR-GENERAL FIELD TRANSPORTATION,
Richmond, Va., February 1, 1865.
General A. R. LAWTON,
Quartermaster-General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: The urgent request of General Lee, made to me in person and through his chief quartermaster, to be prepared to equip his army with animals for artillery and transportation purposes, added to the calls made on me for the same supplies to be furnished for the armies south, induces me to address you this communication, in which I desire to recapitulate what I have before, at various times, in writing and verbally, had the honor to submit to you on the subject of the number of animals needed to equip our armies for the spring campaign, and the source from which such supplies are to be obtained. Inasmuch as I am looked to as the officer charged with this providing of horses and mules for the Army of the Confederate States, I feel it to be due to myself that I should be prepared to show that I have taken all necessary steps to perform my duty, to ascertain the resources of the country, and to suggest plans by which any ascertained deficiency may be supplied, and that, should the demands made on me not be met, any damage resulting from such failure, I may be exculpated from blame by reference to my official communication.
The inability of the Confederate States east of the Mississippi to sustain the draft which must be made for horses and mules from the coming campaign was discussed by me in May last, when I was procuring such supplies for General Johnston's army. The number estimated by me at that time to be necessary must be largely increased by reason of the losses sustained in General Hood's campaign in Tennessee. In August I addressed you a communication suggesting the plan since adopted and sought to be executed of procuring animals from Mexico. Owing to the delays in procuring the funds, and from the fact that no one has yet been selected to proceed to Texas in charge of the operations to be undertaken, we cannot receive the first installment from Mexico under three or four months; and even should General E. K. Smith consent to furnish us any out of his supply, which I have asked him, for we cannot receive them before the first of May, and to obtain any at all, even within the periods named, a proper officer must be sent to Texas to conduct the collection and transfers. I have also proposed to you that I shall be provided with necessary means and authority to procure supplies of animals from the enemy's lines, which I have every reason to feel assured can be done to a great extent. I am informed by my officers, who are entirely reliable, that horses can be obtained in Mississippi on the following terms, viz, first-class artillery horses at 600 pounds cotton; second-class, 500 pounds; third-class, $60. The number that can be had in Mississippi in a space of two or three months is put at 3,000; the number to be had in Virginia in the same time is placed at 2,000.
I have before informed you that, according to my information, there will be needed for the army of the Confederate States at least 6,000 horses and 4,000 mules. The number to be procured in the Confederate States by impressment depends on the decision which may be made as to the quantity of animals the farmers will be allowed to keep as essential to their labors. I estimate the supply to be obtained from all sources not to exceed 5,000 this side of the Mississippi River. This leaves a deficit of 5,500 to be filled.
If the horses are not supplied, the military operations are checked and may be frustrated. If the farmers are stripped of a portion of the