War of the Rebellion: Serial 049 Page 0844 OPERATIONS IN N. C., VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA. Chapter XLI.

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hands of the generals commanding. The troops will be in want before the tithe meat comes in sufficient (if it ever will be) to meet that want.

There exists an urgent difficulty. Last winter I stated to you that this was impending, and the generals in the field alone have the legal and actual power to combat it, and using the organization of this bureau in their respetive departments enables them to shift the burden from their immediate proximity and expand it over the whole of their departments respectively.

Furthermore, such action will rouse the nation to a sense of tis real condition, brought on or allowed by the timidity of the political leaders in Congress and the Legislatures. The first class appreciated the emergency, but failed to sanction the law by adequate penalties; the second class failed to sustain the principle of the joint appraisers; therefore, no holder would exchange his commodities for an inflating, depreciating currency so long as he is not obliged to sell. Permit me to suggest that you re-examine General Orders, Numbers 37, with the law, and reconsider my proposition, which is of importance.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Commissary-General of Subsistence.


November 23, 1863.

Colonel L. B. NORTHROP,

Commissary-General, Richmond, Va..

COLONEL: Your letter of the 17th instant is received. I understand the power of impressment conferred upon commanding generals, to which you refer, to be designed to provide against emergencies and exigencies in the service, such as the case of an army cut off from its base of supplies, and the like. I do not think Congress intended it as a means for accumulating stores for the use of the army, as other provisions were made for that purpose by law.

I am also of opinion that if I possess the power you suppose, its exercise would be attended with evil consequences. It would, of necessity, be partial in its application, and therefore unjust and oppressive. I think that the system of impressment, if we must resort to it, should be by some uniform regulation, applicable not only to all the States, but to every part of each State. I prefer this arrangement to the one proposed by you, conceding that you views as to the meaning of the law are correct.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,



November 24, 1863.

Brigadier General J. D. IMBODEN, Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: Inclosed please find lists,* Nos. 1 and 3, of deserters from this army, serving with your command, furnished by Lieutenant Colonel Edward Murray, one of the inspectors of this army. Those of


*Not found.