the Department at Richmond, and for particulars of said report I refer you to the original, which is now on file in the office of the Commissary-General. The substance of this report was that I found the commissaries of that army working with a great deal of energy, and I am encouraged to believe that their success will be such (since the transportation and roads are improving) that the necessity for drawing on the reserves will not be so great as it has been heretofore (during the winter months). I do not hesitate to state that I think the commissaries of the Army of Tennessee are now doing all that it is possible to do in the way of collecting supplies. The most of the subsistence that they are now collecting is being obtained from near and within the enemy's lines; indeed, some of my agents are operating in the rear of the Federal lines, and with much success. Their success, however, is to a great extent attributable to my having furnished them with bank-notes, which were drawing supplies that could not be reached with Confederate Treasury notes, for the reason that the people near and within the enemy's lines cannot use Confederate Treasury notes to any advantage.
Although the people of Middle Tennessee are as loyal and devotedly attached to the South as any people within the Confederacy (indeed, their sacrifices for our cause have been great and heavy, as much as any other section, and in fact much more than many other sections) at the same time those people feel that they have other obligations upon them- those of providing for their families. They are willing to give all their subsistence provided they are paid in currency that will procure subsistence for their wives and children if our armies should meet with a reverse, and we again be compelled to leave that devoted and loyal people to the mercies of the foul invader. Under these circumstances I did think, and still think, this policy would largely increase our stock of subsistence, which is more valuable to us than even gold or precious jewels. I felt it was a duty we owed that people (having given up as they have the principal part of their subsistence at comparatively low prices) to leave with them a circulation that would obtain for them the necessaries of life if we should be compelled to vacate the country. Unfortunately, as it appears to me, the Secretary of War has a different view of the case and has given an order that bank-notes shall not be used in Tennessee, but may be used in Kentucky. I cannot see why the discrimination should be made against the people of Tennessee, who are nominally in the Federal lines. At any rate, I am satisfied that the refusal of the use of bank-notes in that section of Middle Tennessee that is near or within the enemy's lines will seriously interfere with the collection of supplies. My opinion on this question is, that if bank-notes will procure more subsistence than Treasury notes (in this time of great want), we should use the bank-notes, and if bank-notes will not obtain the supplies and gold will, then we should use the gold.
It is evident to all in authority (those who have investigated the question of subsistence) that our battle against want and starvation is greater than against our enemies; hence I think no stone should be left upturned in this great struggle for subsistence, for, without subsistence, all must admit our Government to be a failure. I think that (although mortifying and humiliating) we are justified in resorting to any and all conceivable modes of obtaining supplies, even, if needs, be to exchange cotton with the enemy for bacon. "Cotton will not answer for subsistence," and I think if we can conceive any plan by which we can exchange cotton for supplies, we should be all means do so. As much as I regret to say it, the necessity is upon us, and requires prompt and energetic action; therefore I respectfully submit for the consideration of the