JACKSON, MISS., M December 23, 1862.
Honorable JAMES A. SEDDON:
There is immediate and urgent necessity for heavy guns and long range field pieces at Vicksburg.
VICKSBURG, MISS., December 23, 1862.
Commanding, &c., Vicksburg:
DEAR SIR: Major Theodore Johnson, commissary of subsistence at Jackson, has called on me to ship him 20,000 bushels corn as soon as possible, for the use of the troops above and below that place; he desires as much of his as can be spared in meal. He say he can have the corn ground at Jackson if the meal cannot be sent. Under your order I am now using every effort to accumulate fire mounts' supplies at this post, which I construe to mean that fire months' supplies must be stored here to rely upon and render the troops independent entirely of any outside resources after hostilities shall commenced, and that there must be a sufficient supply for the daily current demands of the intendment of the amount stored.
Under date of November 20, 1862, Lieutenant-General Pemberton orders that rations be kept on hand for 10,000 men for five months; this order was sent me thought Major John G. Devereux, who indorsed on it, "The 10,000 men are addition to these now here," as the number of men at that time was about 7,500. I at once made an estimate of the rations that would be required for 10,000 more men, allowing for one month's supplies additional, which would be consumed from day to day previous to commencement of hostilities; thus I estimate for at least 15,000 men for six months. Major-Jonson informs me that the orders are to provide for 10,000 men for five months, and for that reason wants to get any surplus we may have now or may yet receive. Another difficulty in the way of answering his demand is the scarcity of sacks. We now need 10,000 more that we have, and if the few we have are sent away from the post it may be several weeks before we can again secure the use of them. He sent a telegram on yesterday morning ordering 200 bushels of salt to be commissary at Port Hudson. We have not much more that two months' supply on hand, and as we will need much of this article in order to put beef and port I will wait orders from you before doing anything in the premises. We have secured by extreme exertion a small amount of bacon and flour, and as these articles (as well as salt) are scarce, and if sent from here I might not be able to replace them, I would like to receive your instructions in regard to my course when I may be called on to ship them to other places. Please inform me on all these points, and what answer I shall make to Major Johnson especially in regard to the corn and salt.
I inclose statement of stores on hand, besides which have about 30,000 bushels of corn, which are now on the levee and in machine-shops.
You can see by comparing these items with inclosed estimate of stores required what our condition is, and what be sent away.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. B. REED.
Please return inclosed statement, as I need them for reference.