If corn is allowed to go up in this manner there is no reason to doubt it will go up to $4 and $5 per bushel, which many anticipate. The consequence is, first, that we are in great danger of being cut off from regular supplies; second, that although Major Hirsch and myself have engaged, under written agreements to sell by planters, 160,000 to 170,000 bushels, and a bonus has been paid, planters often refuse to deliver on a market that rises so rapidly. In confirmation of this I beg to refer you to the accompanying extract of a letter from Captain Stow, acting commissary of subsistence, to Captain M. B. Miller, acting commissary of subsistence.
The Government is constantly subjected to embarrassments of every kind and needless expense, but would not be if a check was put to speculation, as $1 per bushel is a high and satisfactory price, and a part of our contract is to send bags to the plantations for the corn.
I know of no way to remedy this evil but to imitate the example of Generals Bragg and Kirby Smith in Tennessee by preventing the departure of trains having corn for speculators.
I am reluctantly compelled to request more details, in relation to which I beg you to read the accompanying letter explanatory from Captain Miller.
We have done all we could not to interfere with your command, and have now no longer fortification negroes at work. I hope you will acquiesce in these details, and as the fortifications are soon expected to be finished, it is presumed that so many detailed men will be remanded to their companies that the details now asked for will not be sensibly felt.
Most respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. L. LOCKE,
Major and Commissary.
(Forwarded by General Beauregard to Secretary of War.)
Extract from Captain Stow's letter of November 15, 1862.
I bought of Mr. Vickers' overseer, a few miles from Drew's Mill. 7,000 bushels; sent him sacks. On Wednesday I saw Mr. Vickers, He said he did not know anything about it, but he would see his overseer and let me know. The next day I saw him again; he said his overseer did not sell me his corn. Mr. Drew was present, also Mr. Crawford. Mr. Crawford was present when Vickers told me what his overseer had said, and confirmed my statement. Vickers then said he had been offered $1.25 by a merchant in Milledgeville, and could not let me have the corn.
Jeremiah Watson, 2 miles from Albany, has 2,000 bushels; he will not sell under $2 per bushel. John Jones has 10,000 bushels; he asks the same price. The people of Albany are very anxious that it should be seized. Some course must be pursued or the Army will suffer for bread. You have no idea the number of corn-buyers in Southwestern Georgia, mostly on speculation. This must be stopped in some way or our Army will suffer. Major Locke and Major Hirsch must do all they can. I expect we shall be forced to haul our corn or go without.