weeks since several executions for desertion occurred in Mouton's brigade, and I believe one or more in this very Crescent Regiment, and it is painful to reflect that the effect of these examples, which a stern sense of duty induced me to sanction, has more than probably been destroyed. There are a number of men now undergoing trail for desertion, and there are doubtless men belonging to the same organizations in some of General Allen's camps, and it may very well happen that some of the first will be sentenced and shot at the same moment that some of the latter are returning, not only without fear of punishment, but the certainty of unusual privileges. It is difficult to my mind to reconcile the two modes of procedure, occurring in the same army, and mayhap in the same regiment, and I most earnestly invite the attention of the lieutenant-general commanding to the subject, and ask for instructions.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALEXANDRIA, LA., January 21, 1864.,
Brigadier-General BOGGS, Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: The question of subsistence and supplies for the troops under my command assumes an importance to require prompt action, and I respectfully invite the attention of the lieutenant-general commanding to the subject. The incursion of the enemy in this region of the country, occurring at the most critical period of the growing corn crop, diminished largely the yield. More corn was made than we could have expected, but the supply has been at last exhausted, and the condition of the river prevents the transportation from above. This deficiency is artificially increased by the schedule of prices fixed for this portion of the district. Corn readily sells for $3 per barrel, while the price allowed by the Government is only about half that amount. To avoid loss planters declare they have no more corn than is necessary for their own use, and the Government is now compelled to resort to impressment even for bread corn. This practice alienates the affections of the people, debauches the troops, and ultimately destroys its own capacity to produce results. The planters will hide much of their produce or remove it beyond our reach, and will assuredly in future plant no more than they themselves require.
These remarks regarding the effect of the schedule of prices fixed by orders apply to other necessary articles, notably so to leather. By the exertions of Major Brent a considerable supply of leather has been obtained and a small work-shop established. Without this there would not be a single battery in the field. The price paid for the leather as fixed by the schedule was less than half the market value, and the tanners declare that they will put no more sides in vat, as their leather is liable to seizure by the Government, and I know of no law to compel a man to tan against his will. Much relief would be afforded by abrogating at once the schedule of prices and letting the Government pay in the market the full current value of its purchases. My experience here but confirms my experience of the past.
The effort to force a depreciated currency on an unwilling people had never succeeded, and I hope the whole system will be abrogated. Although our hopes were excited by the glowing accounts of the