conveyed at Government risk, nor does it provide locks or fastenings for the cars.
I have never known of such an arrangement before. All the Government agents along the road have been put on the alert, but the loss is increasing. If the railroad agents will take no care of the safety of the Government freight, Government agents had better be sent with each train of provisions.
Last year I recollect there was some depredation of subsistence stores on the Richmond and Fredericksburg Railroad, and as well as I remember it was ascertained to have been committed by some of the railroad employes between Hanover Junction and Fredericksburg. Upon their dismissal the depredations ceased. But if there is so great a loss sustained in the transportation of meat from Richmond to Orange, I have feared it might exist on the roads south of Richmond, and it was on this account, as well as in the hope of having that referred to corrected, that I have ventured to bring the matter to the notice of Your Excellency.
I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
Commissary -General of Subsistence, for consideration and remarks.
OFFICE COMMISSARY-GENERAL OF SUBSISTENCE,
March 6, 1864.
This subject has long been observed and efforts to correct it been made. A list of deficiencies in amounts at this single post for one year is presented. From the beginning of the war to the present constant representations and suggestions have been made in respect to transportation. These evils have been aggravating.
For the last sixteen or eighteen months they have been threatening fatal results, which have received every attention possible from this bureau. The War Department has been duly informed of what is to be expected. Troops in Virginia depend on corn from Georgia for bread. For months we have been living from hand to mouth, and if the last reserve of flour at Lynchburg had not been used for the army destitution must have ensued. That condition is now impending, with no apparent remedy. Over 100,000 bushels of corn demand transportation; not over one-third of what is already on the road has arrived. Unless all passenger trains are stopped the consequences may be fatal. In addition, transportation for bacon is needed from Georgia.
I again renew a suggestion repeatedly made, that nothing should be allowed as a sufficient reason to delay an immediate accumulation of supplies of food at this point. And I again repeat that conscript officers should be prohibited from breaking in on the organization of the employes of this bureau, which is, as far as possible, endeavoring to conform to the requirements of law.
Respectfully returned to His Excellency the President.
L. B. NORTHROP,
Commissary-General of Subsistence.