SPECIAL ORDERS, CHATTANOOGA, Number -. February 13, 1863.
The special order, Number -, assigning Brigadier-General Chalmers to duty in the Department of Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana is hereby revoked. He will report to General Braxton Bragg for duty.
By command of General Johnston:
BENJ. S. EWELL,
WAR DEPARTMENT, Richmond, Va., February 14, 1863.
General JOSEPH E. Johnston,
Comdg., Chattanooga, Tenn.:
GENERAL: The Department refers to you complaints of the president and directors of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad Company upon the management of that railroad by quartermasters acting under the authority of orders of Lieutenant-General Pemberton. These complaints are exhibited in a letter from the superintendent of the railroad,* which is inclosed, and have vent also in an article published in the city papers of the city of Mobile. *
The Department addressed telegrams to Lieutenant-General Pemberton and to Quartermaster Mims on this subject. Lieutenant-General Pemberton replied:
I have forbidden the shipment of corn and meat to private parties in Mobile and elsewhere of the department, because I need it all for subsistence of troops and people of the State. Mobile must get supplies by Tombigbee and Alabama Rivers. Mississippi navigation is cut off from this place.
Quartermaster Mims telegraphs:
General Pemberton issued a circular on December 12, disallowing any railroad to transport forage beyond the limits of his department, or private parties within it, was required for the army. It was to secure it against the competition of speculators, especially on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, as well as to insure transportation, which before the order was continually complained of by quartermasters. No private party, upon a showing that his corn was for private use, has been denied transportation.
The order of General Pemberton has been in operation for above two months, and has been continued, notwithstanding the orders that have been given on the subject of transportation, in the appointment of Colonel [W. M.] Wadley, and other since that time. The assumption, you observe, appropriates the control over the railroad system of the State, and creates an embargo upon the domestic trade of an entire people. These are the highest powers of sovereignty, and are not to be justified unless upon an urgent and present necessity. The reasons assigned by General Pemberton are, however, recognized as very cogent, and their sufficiency must be judged by you.
The complaints of the conduct of the quartermaster in the department of Lieutenant-General Pemberton have been incessant. Imputations upon their integrity have come again and again to the Department. The subject is one of painful interest and importance, and is submitted to you for observation, and to take such measures to reconcile the apparently conflicting interests of the two communities and military departments as may be proper.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. A. SEDDON.
40 R R-VOL. XXIV, PT. III