War of the Rebellion: Serial 059 Page 0717 Chapter XLIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - CONFEDERATE.

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to all the armies. When General Johnston specifies any reason why that sentence should not have been used to the chief commissary of his army, I will respond to what he may set forth, or admit the justice of his objection. As General Bragg does not know my reasons, he cannot judge of the appropriateness of my remark. This, however, is unimportant with what follows. General Johnston substantially seems to say that he would advance but cannot, because, first, the country over which his limited authority extends can furnish neither draft animals nor food, and the officers of the quartermaster and subsistence departments, upon whom he depends for food and forage and the means of transporting them, receive their orders from Richmond. He must therefore depend on the chiefs of those two departments for the means of crossing the Tennessee and marching to a productive country. It is because of the present system, which General Johnston has assailed, that his army has been subsisted. In the fall of 1862, when all of East Tennessee was open to him, he had to call on the supplies of this Bureau, because the previous system could not suffice. If the Secretary of War concurs in the above reading, he owes it to his Department and to the officers under him to require of General Johnston to states how long it is since he wanted to advance and was prevented as aforesaid; second, in what way the fact that the operations of the officers who collect in other States and turn over the supplies to his army can be benefited by other than the existing arrangements; third, in what way can his army be subsisted and kept ready to march if the previous arrangements were reinstituted as they were before the present system, and if that change would enable him to advance?

I think it important that each of these questions should be fully answered. I accept the issue. General Johnston's army has been subsisted precisely because of the present system. He never could have subsisted it otherwise. He has not been unable to move for want of subsistence since an advance was practicable, for the same subsistence which has so long sustained his army stationary could have sufficed to feed it moving. I furnish copy of Major Cummings' letter of February 13, 1864:

OFFICE CHIEF DISTRICT COMMISSARY,

Atlanta, Ga., February 13, 1864 - 8 p. m.

Colonel L. B. NORTHROP,

Commissary-General of Subsistence, Richmond, Va.:

COLONEL: Since writing to you this morning by Major Steele it has occurred to me that I have neglected for some days past to advise you of the promising condition of the commissariat. Major Moore, chief of subsistence for the Army of Tennessee, advises me that no complaints now reach him in reference to quality and quantity of rations. With the prospects now before me, none shall. I can assure you that an immense weight of care has been lifted from my shoulders. If no interference takes place in changing my sources of supplies and taking from me the efficient men of my organization, I can safely promise ample provisions for the Army of Tennessee for some time to come. They now have ten days' reserve at Dalton. I am meeting regularly the daily demand, and I have advised General Johnston that I can furnish him thirty days' supplies, should he at any time desire to make a movement.

Very respectfully,

J. F. CUMMINGS,

Major and Commissary of Subsistence.