no effective service, as it is impossible, for them to keep up with the column in a march over frozen ground. There are a large number of men who have not a single blanket. There are some without a particle of under-clothing, having neither shirts, drawers, nor socks; while overcoats, from their rarity, are objects of curiosity.
Aside from all feeling in considering this matter, regarded merely in the light of military strength, this is a condition of affairs that demands on the part of all who desire the success of our cause, and especially those having at heart the reputation of Louisiana at least, some tremendous effort for its amelioration.
The Fifth Regiment is unable to drill for want of shoes. The Eighth Regiment will soon be unfit for duty from the same cause;and, indeed, when shoes are supplied, the men will be unable to wear them for a long while, such is the horrible condition of their feet from long exposure.
This destitution in the way of clothing, it must be remembered, is not compensated by close shelter and abundant food, for the troops have no tents, are almost totally unprovided with cooking utensils for the petty rations they receive.
I do not write this as a complaint against the Government or its administrative officers, for I am satisfied that everything is done that can be to supply the wants of the army. It is, rather, to lay the matter before you, with the hope that you may be able to devise some plan, depending upon individual or State action for its execution, by which the suffering of our man may be alleviated.
Troops from other States are supplied, in a great degree, by individual contributions from their homes, while we of Louisiana have received nothing whatever since the fall of New Orleans, with the exception, I believe, of a company in the Ninth Regiment. It is conceded there are difficulties respecting transportation. There are difficulties, turn which way you will, in this war, and if one does not move for fear of meeting an obstacle, one might as well be an oyster.
If our Representatives could see for themselves the pitiful situation of their military constituents out here, I am satisfied they would devote their energies day and night to devising and carrying into effect some scheme to relieve us from our distresses.
I trust you will understand appeal to you; for, really, it is so sickening to move among our men in discharge of my duties as brigade inspector in preparing my official report, and see the agony they endure in this bitter cold weather, that I can refrain no longer from trying any and every expedient that holds out, however faint, a promise of bringing relief.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN H. NEW,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Hays' Brigade.
Are the statements of this letter true? If so, what is the explanation? You have reported all requisitions met. The fault must, the en, be in the army. Find out where the fault is, and let me know, for such complaints, if causeless, must be stopped; if well founded, must, if possible, be remedied.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.