WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., February 20, 1865.
General R. E. LEE:
GENERAL: In answer to your letter of the 19th instant,* I have the honor to state that directions have been given to the proper officers to employ the utmost energy in the collection of supplies. I believe that under existing laws and orders commanding officers are required to remove or destroy whatever can aid the enemy; but I hope you will repeat the orders to the generals in the field, if you deem it necessary.
In reference to the possible necessity of abandoning our cities, I would be gratified to have your views in regard to the point upon which we should retire and remove stores, &c., in the event, for example, of the evacuation of Richmond.
I am not sure whether you desire that General J. E. Johnston shall be ordered to report to you at present, or in the event of the failure of General Beauregard's health. If you desire his services, and will make application for them, it shall be brought at once to the notice of the President.
Every effort will continue to be made, as suggested by you, to bring out all those who owe military service in every State.
I am, general, with great respect, your obedient servant,
J. C. BRECKINRIDGE,
Secretary of War.
OFFICE INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF FIELD TRANSPORTATION,
Richmond, February 20, 1865.
Chief Quartermaster, Army of the Northern Virginia:
COLONEL: I deem it proper for me to tell you, in order that you may inform General Lee, that I am getting no animals for the equipment of his artillery or transportation, and it is due mainly to the want of money. The people refuse to deliver their animals unless they are paid for. I have exhausted every means in my power to procure funds for this purpose and have not been able to get a dollar. If you can aid me in any way to get money I will endeavor to get you the animals. Perhaps the general might help me by putting in a word.
I am, very truly, your obedient servant,
A. H. COLE,
Major, Inspector-General Transportation.
FEBRUARY 27, 1865.
Respectfully forwarded to General Lee.
JAS. L. CORLEY,
Chief Quartermaster, Army of the Northern Virginia.
HEADQUARTERS C. S. ARMIES,
February 28, 1865.
Respectfully forwarded to the honorable Secretary of War for his information.
I think the only practicable plan is to convert our cotton and tobacco into money (gold) wherewith to buy supplies of all kinds. the facts
*See Vol. XLVII, Part I.