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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 25, Part 2 (Chancellorsville)

cavalry division, into Hardy County, for the purpose of collecting beef-cattle, &c. General Jones was also directed to send parties into the counties west for the same purpose. Major Johnson has returned from his expedition, and reports that he obtained in Hardy County 500 beef-cattle, 200 sheep, and 4,200 pounds of bacon. He also obtained from Loudoun and Culpeper a 200 head of cattle, and from Rockingham 3,000 pounds of bacon. I have not yet learned what amount of subsistence the parties sent by General Jones obtained. I have endeavored during the past campaign to draw subsistence from the country occupied by the troops, wherever it was possible, and I believe by that means much relief has been afforded to the Commissary Department. At this time but few supplies can be procured from the country we now occupy.

General Longstreet has been directed to employ the troops south of James River, when not required for military operations, to collect supplied in that quarter, and penetrate, if practicable, the district held by the enemy. The troops of this portion of the army have for some time been confined the reduced rations, consisting of 18 ounces of flour, 4 ounces of bacon of indifferent quality, with occasionally supplies of rice, sugar, or molasses. The men are cheerful, and I receive but few complaints; still, I do not think it is enough to continue them in health and vigor, and I fear they will be unable to endure the hardships of the approaching campaign. Symptoms of scurvy are appearing among them, and to supply the place of vegetables each regiment is directed to send a daily detail to gather sassafras buds, wild onions, garlic, lamb's quarter, and poke sprouts, but for so large an army the supply obtained is very small. I have understood, I do not know with what truth, that the Army of the West and that in the Department of South Carolina and Georgia are more bountiful supplied with provisions. I have also heard that the troops in North Carolina receive one-half pound of bacon per day. I think this army deserves as much consideration as either of those named, and, if it can be supplied, respectfully ask that it be similarly provided.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,



Referred to Commissary-General for consideration and report.


Secretary of War.


April 1, 1863.

The reduction of the meat ration in General Lee's army was due mainly to local causes, that of transportation being chief, as will appear by the following indorsement on a letter received from J. H. Claiborne, commissary of subsistence:


March 28, 1863.

Letter of Major J. H. Claiborne, relating to lack of transportation, accompanied by one from Mr. Hottel, on same subject.


March 28, 1863.

Respectfully referred to the Secretary of War, with a statement of Mr. Hottel, my transportation agent. This paper I had directed to be prepared for the purpose of showing the inadequacy of the transportation for bringing on even the rough articles of meat, the suger on hand and to hand since the 13th December having been used

OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 25, Part 2 (Chancellorsville)
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