and of unceasing efforts to remedy. The Commissary-General, too, has been fully alive to the importance of the subject, and, I believe, has been strenuously exerting all the means of his bureau to obtain adequate supplies. We are ransacking every portion of the Confederacy, and, in addition, I have authorized enterprises and contracts of even an extraordinary character to procure supplies from abroad, even from the United States. I do not despair of these means proving successful, but it is not to be disguised that painful uncertainty rests upon the matter, and that the utmost prudence and economy in the use of the supplies we have are exacted by our circumstance.
In a recent letter to you, sent by Major [J. F.] Cummings, one of the most efficient commissaries of the bureau, I so fully dwelt upon the importance of husbanding, as far as practicable, the reserve supplies we have, that it is unnecessary to press that point further. Major Cummings thought, from his peculiar knowledge of the resources of Middle Tennessee, that he could, with your co-operation, mainly, if not entirely, support your army in that quarter from the resources of the adjacent country. I ventured to bespeak for him a fair trial and all the countenance and aid in your power to give. I have, on the receipt of your letter, conferred with the Commissary-General on the suggestions made in it. He still thinks, as long as the experienced packers engaged in the work think they can safely cure the beeves to which you allude, that it will be better policy to make that use of them, and so swell the stock of provisions capable of being kept, than to consume them fresh. He has, however, communicated, by my direction, with his packers, to warn them not to incur any risk of the meat spoiling, but, as soon as there is doubt, even, on that point, to have the animals driven to the army, and used fresh.
I have only, in conclusion, to recommend that all means that may be practicable should be used to force or tempt cattle and other provisions from Kentucky, and that even illicit trade should not be abstained from to obtain subsistence from that quarter.
With the highest esteem, most truly,
J. A. SEDDON.
WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., March 3, 1863.
General JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON,
I was much gratified and flattered by your kind reception of my late unofficial letter, and avail myself of the opportunity afforded by Captain Brown's return to address you again.
I appreciate the nobility of spirit which constrained you to be less explicit than I would have wished on the subject of what would be most agreeable to you in respect to the command in the West, but have, at the same time, not been able to escape some embarrassment and uncertainty, in deciding, in consequence, on what line of action I should direct my counsels and actions here. You think the armies in the West too remote and distinct in aims to be united, and yet, if I divine aright, your feeling-your generosity-will not allow you to assume command of either, to the temporary or permanent displacement of either of the generals commanding there. This would seem to leave no place for the employment there, on the most important field of our approaching struggles, of your high repute and distinguished ability. Now, such