Hill, chief commissary of subsistence District of Arkansas, and Major Pendleton, chief commissary of subsistence on General Magruder's staff, Texas, but are usually incomplete, from the fact that subordinate officers do not report to them. Major Phillips, chief commissary of subsistence District of West Louisiana, has not furnished this office with the report asked for. I am, therefore, unable to give you the information I could myself desire.
The articles in depot most abundant are sugar, molasses, salt, and corn. The sugar is estimated at 3,500 hogsheads; molasses, 2,200 barrels; salt, 45,000 bushels. The facilities for procuring large quantities of corn, and its abundance in almost every part of the department, has not justified me in laying in a still greater supply. The main depots, where most of these supplies are collected, are in localities considered as secure from raids of the enemy, and convenient to troops considered as securer from raids of the enemy, and convenient to troops in the field.
In the early part of the season I contracted with responsible parties for curing and packing salt meats. One of the parities has erected, at his own expense extensive buildings and machinery at Jefferson, Tex. The contract required them to kill and pack 4,000 beeves and 10,000 hogs. Owing to the failure of G. W. White, general agent for the purchase of beef, to furnish them promptly in the early part of the season, the number of beeves killed will not exceed 3,000; and by the failures of the officers in Arkansas to procurer hogs, the number of hogs will not exceed 6,000; 5,000 of this number I have procured from the swamps and exposed position in front, in thais State. They have been penned and fattened on corn, and, notwithstanding a very heavy loss, say 15 per cent., from cholera and other causes, their cost, when made into bacon, will be 50 per cent, less than the schedule price fixed by the commissioners of this State. The beef, when slaughtered (with the exception of the hind quarters or hams), will be packed into barrels. That which has been delivered has been examined by experts and pronounced a prime article. This article cost the Government 15 cents on delivery. The hams will be (with the bone extracted) cured and smoked.
In addition to the bacon that will be packed at Jefferson, 3,000 hogs will be killed and packed at Bonham and Tyler, Tex., and Fulton, Ark. While I am not officially informed of the fact, I have understood that 5,000 would be killed and made into bacon on the Trinity and Brazos Rivers. The large quantities of bacon made by the farmers in the country now in our possession induces me to think that if one-half the tithe is collected, in addition to what has been made on Government account, there can be issued of that article for 50,000 troops two days in seven for the present year, without resorting to further purchases or impressment.
If an opportunity should offer to cross salt meat to the east side of the Mississippi, I would deem it my duty to urge the commanding general of this department to ship every pound that would be in depots accessible to transportation, and rely upon the bacon that would be left in the hands of the farmers, which would be a surplus sufficient to subsist the troops on this side on this side of the river until next season. I will state in thais connection that my policy in making bacon for the army was only to make use of the hogs that were in exposed localities, and leave hogs in sections not subject to raids of the enemy in the hands of the farmers, and encourage them to make them into bacon. This has been done by them to a great extent in some parts of the department, particularly in Louisiana and some sections of Eastern Texas. The great attention given by them to the raising of hogs induces me to think that the stock next season will be 50 per cent. greater.