If I am furnished immediately with $100,000 in gold, to pay for horses now under contract to be delivered from beyond our lines, and $3,000,000 in Treasury notes, to pay for animals to be obtained in Virginia and North Carolina, I feel confident that 2,500 of the number named above can be gotten by impressment and by purchase, provided I am permitted to pay for them at local appraisement. Seven hundred additional will be returned to service from our infirmaries by the 1st of April. For the balance my only hope is from the plan and through our efforts in the Trans-Mississippi. The condition of our military affairs in South Carolina and Georgia has added news responsibilities and embarrassments to my department; 2,650 animals are called for there immediately. I have but faint hope of being able to procure anything approaching that number within these States by purchase or by impressment for immediate emergencies. I ask for authority to make temporary impressments of animals needed in agriculture; and to do anything whatever, I must be furnished with $3,000,000 in Treasury notes at once, and be allowed to pay local appraisement.
I deem it proper to add, that the animals expected to be gotten with gold are to come from the enemy's lines, and cannot be had with our money.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. H. COLE,
Major and Inspector-General of Field Transportation.
February 14, 1865.
General R. E. LEE,
GENERAL: Recent developments of the enemy's designs seem to indicate an early concentration of his armies against Richmond. This, of course, must involve a like concentration on our part or the abandonment of our capital. The latter emergency would, I think, be almost fatal-possibly quite so, after our recent reverses. To concentrate here in time to meet the movements of the enemy, we shall be obliged to use the little of our southern railroad that is left to us in transporting our troops, so that we cannot haul provisions over that route. I fear, therefore, that we shall not be able to feed our troops unless we adopt extraordinary measures and efforts. I think that there is enough of the necessaries of life left in Virginia and North Carolina to help us through our troubles, if we can only reach them. Impressing officer, however, nor collectors of tax in kind, nor any other plan heretofore employed are likely to get these supplies in time or in quantities to meet our necessities. The citizens will not give their supplies up and permit their families and servants to suffer for the necessaries of life without some strong inducement, for each one may naturally think that the little he would supply be denying himself and family will go but a little way where so much is needed. He does not want Confederate money, for his meat and bread will buy him clothes, &c., for his family more readily and in much larger quantities than the money that the Government would pay.
The only thing, then, that will insure our rations and our national existence is gold. Send out the gold through Virginia and North Carolina and pay liberal prices, and my conviction is that we shall have no more distress for want of food. The winter is about over now,
78 R R-VOL XLVI, PT II