visiting Middle Alabama, to still further prosecute my inquiry. Should you need me, a telegram will reach me at Selma, Ala.
A. D. BANKS,
[Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.]
CHATTANOOGA, TENN., March 15, 1863.
Colonel B. S. EWELL,
Assistant Adjutant-General and Chief of Staff:
COLONEL: Under instructions from General Johnston, I have recently visited the range of counties contiguous to Montgomery, Ala., to ascertain the probable amount of surplus supplies that might be obtained for the use of the army. Though gleaned in some localities of all expect barely enough to sustain the local population, I find
in others considerable quantities of subsistence that might be collected with proper exertions. In conversing with the planters, I found the class of persons employed by commissaries and quartermasters as agents in great disrepute, and presenting a serious obstacle to the successful accomplishment of the work of procuring supplies. The planters allege that it is a habit with these people to buy from them for the use of the army at one price and then in turn themselves become the sellers at a high advanced figure on the actual cost, sharing, it is charged, the profit with the purchasing officer. Whether these allegations be true or false, they have the effect of preventing the army from obtaining provisions that might be otherwise procured. The planters allege that to such an extent has this fraudulent speculation been carried, they have determined to make no sales except to a regularly commissioned officer of the Government.
I would recommend that a commissioned commissary, of active and industrious habits, be assigned to duty in the vicinity of Montgomery, with instructions to canvass the counties of Lowndes, Macon, and Montgomery in person. If this is done, and the large planters of that section are personally conferred with, I am satisfied that a very considerable amount of supplies can be obtained.
I have the honor to be, colonel, yours, most respectfully,
A. D. BANKS,
Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.
CHAPEL HILL, March 15, 1863-5 a.m.
Lieutenant General LEONIDAS POLK,
Commanding at Shelbyville:
GENERAL: Nothing more from the front. My scouts continue to send in news of the enemy falling back to Murfreesborough, &c. I report everything in front in same position as last night.
Yours of 8 p.m. yesterday just received; came in nine hours. My couriers have been relieved, and sent in by General Wharton, or Colonel Hagan, from Unionville to Shelbyville. Between here and Unionville the roads are in very bad condition, making it very difficult to do fast riding. I will, however, do my best to have them go through promptly.
P. D. RODDEY,