It is believed that the practice of generals sending out agents to purchase for their commands in sections of country not occupied by their armies has had much to do with the present state of prices in the country.
Under the plan of General Polk, the army of one department might fare more plentifully, but those of many others starve. It is perhaps natural, and certainly usual, for a department commander to exhibit a desire to take charge of the subsistence of his army while in a country filled with supplies and but recently become the theater of war, and it is equally so for the same commander, when in a department desolated and destitute, to demand that the supplies collected by officers of the bureau in distant portions of the country be appropriated to his use. General Johnston while in Mississippi opposed the present system, but, transferred to Tennessee, declared that his army could not there be supported, and demanded help from abroad.
To make any military department self-sustaining is, in the opinion of this bureau, impossible, and it is respectfully submitted that it is in consequence of the present system, the most perfect for gleaning the whole country that can be devised, that the armies of Northern Virginia and of Tennessee are enabled to keep the field.
L. B. NORTHROP,
ENGINEER BUREAU, March 28, 1864.
Special authority was obtained more than a month since to construct the bridge over the Tombigbee River, near Demopolis, and Major Minor Meriwether placed in charge. Major M.'s reputation for skill and efficiency induces me to believe that everything will be done that can be to secure the prompt completion of the bridge.
Owing to the size of the river and the character of the freshest, however, the undertaking is one of such magnitude that in the present limited mechanical resources of the Confederacy it can scarcely be accomplished before midsummer.
A. L. RIVES,
Lieutenant-Colonel, & c.
CANTON, April 4, 1864.
Lieutenant-General POLK, Demopolis:
The expedition from Red River reported to have returned to Vicksburg on the 1st instant. Brigadier-General Parker [?], with command, left Vicksburg on 1st instant for up river to look after Forrest in Kentucky.
S. D. LEE,
OFFICE CHIEF PROVOST-MARSHAL, 2nd DIST. ALA.,
Tuscaloosa, Ala., April 4, 1864.
Major J. C. DENIS, Provost-Marshal-General:
MAJOR: Inclosed please find letter from Captain D. P. Walston, commanding rendezvous at Fayetteville, which will explain itself. The prisoner alluded to will reach this place to-night. I will keep him here until I see how his wound terminates.