it was impossible for them to convey it out of the valley, for want of teams and laborers that had been by the enemy. The mills above Winchester were set to work upon the same terms, and supplies of flour were accumulated in the vicinity of Woodstock and Harrisonburg in the event of operations higher up the valley. You must understand that the above price was paid at the mills or points where the flour was received, without any expense to the proprietors, except in the cases where bags or barrels were furnished by the Government, when 40 cents per barrel was deducted. No flour necessary for private consumption was taken, and, in many cases, when convenient, wheat was hauled to the mills by the wagons of the army, and in some instances was thrashed from the straw. I heard of no dissatisfaction until recently, when a higher price was paid for flour at Staunton by some of the agents of the Commissary Department not attached to this army. Major A. H. Johnston, commissary of subsistence, was sent to Harrisonburg to secure the flour in that vicinity for the army. Major J[ohnston] has dealt with only ten mills in Rockingham, being about two-thirds of the number of mills in that county. In only one case that has been reported to me has he been obliged to resort to compulsion, and that was at the mill of Mr. Josiah Rollins, on North River, near Mount Crawford, where he placed a guard upon receiving information that speculators were removing the flour from the mill at from $10 to $12 per barrel, the object of the guard being to prevent the flour being carried beyond the reach of the Commissary Department. Harrisborough is 20 miles below Staunton, to which point the flour will have to be transported in wagons for shipment by railroad. If you prefer to supply the army with flour from Richmond, I will direct the chief commissary of the army to cease purchasing it, or to pay for it whatever price you may designate. The army must be subsisted, and if millers or owners will not sell their flour at a fixed rate, we are obliged to take it. The question will be whether they will take a fair price for their flour, or leave it to be seized by the enemy after the army is withdrawn.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
NOVEMBER 11, 1862.
Inclose copy to Hon. J. B. Baldwin. Staunton, and refer to Commissary-General for opinion on the question propounded by General Lee.
G. W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War.
BUREAU OF SUBSISTENCE, Richmond, Va., November 13, 1862.
Hon. GEORGE W. RANDOLPH,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to report that it never has been my intention to supply the army of General Lee with either flour or any other supplies from Richmond, so long as they could possible be subsisted from the country in which they are operating. The policy of this bureau in regard to flour has been this, to wit: Being early conscious of the great inferiority and smallness of the last wheat crop, I adopted what I regarded as the wisest course to procure all the wheat that I possibly could. The mills in the region of country in which General Lee's army was operating were, therefore, left to furnish that army, and a system