your office, but to my chief commissary of subsistence, sent direct by the Commissary-General, can stop this mode also I shall be compelled to report that it will be impossible to feed the troops. I will hear from the Department before I cease impressing.
I know the great difficulties the Commissary-General has to encounter in feeding the armies, and nothing could induce me to interpose an illegal or factious obstacle. At the same time I must remark that under the great pressure for supplies this department has been stripped from every direction, and our requisitions have not been filled. At this moment my cavalry horses, and even many of the artillery horses, are gleaning forage in the rear, while immense quantities of it have been sent out of the department for troops elsewhere.
I would respectfully suggest that the troops of a department should be first supplied out of its resources; and accordingly if the purchasing-agent system developed in the circular of July 15, 1863, is to be regarded as exhausting the whole field, that the purchasing agent and the post commissaries should be required first to fill my reasonable requisitions and then send the surplus, if any, out of the department.
I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE,
HEADQUARTERS, April 18, 1864.
His Excellency JEFFERSON DAVIS,
President Confederate States:
MR. PRESIDENT: Recent information from scouts reconcile many discrepancies of former reports. Lieutenant-Colonel Mosby, upon closer examination, finds that the troops sent back to Alexandria from the Rappahannock consisted of some furloughed regiments which had re-enlisted, invalids, sick, sutlers, retainers, &c. The artillery and wagons were the disabled pieces, carriages, &c.,that had been replaced by others. I think no new corps has joined General Meade. He has been re-enforced by recruits, detachments, and the troops from about Washington, &c., but no corps or divisions have been detached from him. I do not think his army will exceed 75,000 men, though they claim to have 100,000. I believe that two corps have been transferred from the West to Annapolis, the Ninth and probably the Eleventh and Twelfth consolidated. All accounts agree that two corps have passed over the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad east. As to the numbers of the corps reports vary. A scout just from the valley reports that Averell left Martinsburg last Tuesday, and moved up the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, taking with him all the cavalry that could be spared from that region, leaving only a garrison at Martinsburg. There is now no force at Harper's Ferry. A physician of his acquaintance went into Martinsburg and learned that two corps had passed down the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad toward Baltimore; did not know whence they came. Same information comes from other sources. I think it probable that Averell will move upon the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, or Staunton or some point west, at the time of the general movement upon Richmond, from some point beyond the North Mountain. I think, too, General Grant will rely upon his flank movement upon Richmond to draw this army back. If that movement can be suc-