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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 4, vol 3, Part 1 (Blockade Runners)
Page 116 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

one gallon in the rest. As the correspondence shows, General Johnston e with me and thought it advisable in certain contingencies to increase the supply of whisky to the army to content them with a deficiency of meat, which was then creating great dissatisfaction. I thereupon addressed my letter of 18th to Governor Brown. After receiving his reply of 28th I sent my letter of February 1, simply with a desire to know whether he (or the State of Georgia) would interfere with the distillation of grain belonging to the Government. This letter brought out his extraordinary communication of February 6. My first impulse was to reply in the same tone and spirit in which it was evidently conceived and written. A sense of duty, however, to my position dictated my reply of the 12th, and here the correspondence now rests.

I wish now to state a few facts for your consideration. When the President was here some months since Governor Brown urged upon his aide, General Lee, the propriety of declaring all North Georgia impracticable, i. e., unable to furnish the tax in kind, or any other supplies, without distressing the inhabitants. Consent was given after some debate that certain counties should be so declared. Since he prospect of occupation by the enemy, and especially since the orders, authorizing me to pay the market price for supplies, the patriotic citizens of these counties have astonished me with their hidden treasures which they wish to sell or exchange for the same king in the lower portion of the State. To be sure, the quantity is utterly inadequate to the supply of the army, but enough to satisfy my mind that when soldiers' families suffer for bread it is solely because the soldier's pay of $11 per month is not sufficient to pay the prices which these patriotic farmers have fixed upon their provisions. Below here thousands upon thousands of bushels of corn belonging to the Government will be lost for want of transportation unless it can be distilled and the slops used in feeding hogs and cattle. The weevil proved our friend last year in forcing the farmern to market. This year it is proving our bane. Thousands of bushels collected from the tax in kind have come to this place weevil eaten and only fit for making whisky. The corn was supposed to be of the last crop. On it arrival it has proved to be corn grown the previous year, evidently hoarded and then substituted for just dues to the Government. From this stuff what can we expect to obtain except whisky, and what can we expect from the tithings of another year, unless those of the present are collected promptly and disposed of? In God's name, say I, give the army and the people all the bread they want, but let not the surplus be wasted and lost, and let enough be converted into whisky to supply the actual wants of the army.

I say nothing more of the part I have taken in this matter except that I have tried to do my duty. In common with other departments I have experienced unlooked-for opposition from the State authorities. They seem bent on subordinating the best interests and success of the Confederacy to their self-conceived notions of justice and patriotism, and an insane desire to preserve the material interests and welfare of all citizens. My report of persons employed by me you will receive in a few days through Major Locke.

Very respectfully, &c.,

J. F. CUMMINGS,

Major and Commissary of Subsistence.


Page 116 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 4, vol 3, Part 1 (Blockade Runners)
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