[Inclosure No. 1.]
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Tullahoma, February 24, 1863.
Colonel B. S. EWELL,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Chattanooga:
I inclose, for the information of the commanding general, a letter from Major J. J. Walker, chief commissary of this army, a prudent, discreet, and able officer in his department. The result to which he looks is really alarming, and I see but one remedy-to re-enforce the armies in this region and wrest from the enemy a portion of our provision-producing country. But for my much-abused campaign in Kentucky and Tennessee, we should all now be in a starving condition.
For fear of the consequence of imprudent publication, I make no record of this, and suggest it is better to regard it confidential.
Yours, very respectfully and truly,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF TENNESSEE, Tullahoma, February 23, 1863.
General BRAXTON BRAGG,
Commanding Army of Tennessee:
GENERAL: I desire to call attention to a matter of the gravest import:
Since the commencement of our revolution I have never entertained but a single doubt of its successful issue, and that doubt rested on the question of subsistence. On this subject I confess that I have been continually haunted with the terrifying thought of a noble and conquering army demoralized, and possibly disbanded, for want of food. This danger, I have now to announce to you, is imminent, fearfully near, and apparently unavoidable.
Within the last few days I have received certain information that the entire stock of salt meats held by the Government does not exceed 10,000,000 pounds, nearly the whole of which has been collected out of Middle and Northern Tennessee since those portions of the State were reclaimed by you from the enemy. Consider then: Lee's army in Virginia, Beauregard's on the Atlantic, the forces on the Gulf, and Pemberton's army in Mississippi are at the present moment entirely dependent on this Government reserve stock for their supply of salt meat. Your own army here is compelled already to draw in part from the same source, owing to the exhaustion of the country by the withdrawal of the supplies which constitute the reserve stock, and in thirty days more, supposing our position remains unchanged, the last remnant of both salt and fresh meat within our lines will have been gathered and consumed; and in that time, too, the limited supply of cattle for fresh meat to be found elsewhere will most probably have disappeared. So that by the 15th of March it may be safely assumed that the entire Confederate rations on the Government reserve stock in Georgia, and that stock, at the highest estimate before it was touched, did not exceed 10,000,000 pounds, less than sixty days' supply for 350,000 men at a half pound to the ration.
By the 1st of June, then, at farthest the catastrophe may be upon us and the terrible truth made public: "No meat for the armies of the