Lee was at that time engaged with General Stuart, but he supposed would be through shortly. General Chilton asked me when I intended to return. I told him when I had seen General Lee and completed the arrangement which I had been ordered to effect. After some two hours' delay, I was informed by General Chilton that General Lee declined seeing me, and that in regard to the cavalry which were requested, that he could afford none, but that General Stuart had, at this time, some cavalry in the Valley of Virginia, who would be instructed to report to the commissaries who might be employed in procuring this wheat, wherever their operations would be endangered by the enemy. I stated to General Chilton that the great difficulty of procuring this wheat consisted in the want of transportation, and that, previous to my being sent by the Commissary-General to see General Lee on the subject, I had seen Colonel Cole, the superintendent of field transportation, who informed me that the only difficultly in the way of supplying this Bureau with a sufficient number of wagons was on order which he had received from General Lee, directing him to fit out, as fast as possible, all the wagons that he could, and send them all to Captain White, assistant quartermaster, for the use of the Army of Northern Virginia, and that under this under he had already delivered Captain White over 200 wagons, and that one of the principal objects of my mission was to see General Lee, and know if any more wagons were needed from Colonel Cole, and in view of the absolute and pressing want of transportation by the Subsistence Bureau for the purpose indicated, whether General Lee would not permit Colonel Cole to let this Bureau have some wagons, and what number he could thus spare for that purpose.
I also said to General Chilton that it had occurred to me that possibly active operations of our army would be suspended for some time, and, if so, that it would be absolutely necessary that a very large number of the wagons of the army should be sent to some other section of country, in order that the horses might be fed; and that the section of country in which the said wheat could be obtained was very well adapted for that purpose, and in this way the wheat could be obtained and the wagons returned to the army, whenever active operations should be resumed, with the horses much improved in condition; and that I had been sent to General Lee in regard to this matter.
I urged upon General Chilton the absolute necessity of procuring this wheat, in view of the very small stock of flour now on hand, and in view of the information which I had been able to collect of the supply of wheat in the State; and that if this wheat was not procured, I did not know where a sufficiency of breadstuffs for the absolute wants of the army could be procured elsewhere, and that this was the more important as General Lee had prohibited the transportation of any more wheat over the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad,and, when doing so, had directed that Captain White, assistant quartermaster, should transport such wheat to the Hanover Junction, to be transported on the Central Railroad to Richmond; but that I had been since informed by the commissary agent in that section that Captain White had altogether suspended the transportation of wheat.
I further informed General Chilton that some two months ago I had ordered 1,000 barrels of flour to be sent from Clarkswille, Mecklenburg Country, to Charleston, S. C., which are were absolutely needed there then; and that, from information which I had lately received, I did not believe that flour had as yet gotten as far as Raleigh, N. C.; and that I did not see how, under such a state of things, our army could possibly
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