CHARLESTON, January 12, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
Troops on James Island have been several days without meat of any kind. Major Guerin says does not know when they can be supplied. Several other rations are insufficient. Major Guerin is utterly unsuited for chief commissary of this State. A man of foresight, energy, activity, and system is indispensable for that position. Unless one is furnished great distress and dissatisfaction must ensue.
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
ADJUTANT AND INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE,
January 15, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded to the Commissary-General.
By command of Secretary of War:
H. L. CLAY,
OFFICE CHIEF COMMISSARY OF SUBSISTENCE,
January 16, 1864.
Respectfully referred to the Secretary of War, through the Adjutant-General.
A glance at the map, a year ago exhibiting the most fruitful parts of the Confederacy (in subsistence stores) as cut off, desolated, or occupied by the enemy, with the knowledge that every cotton State drew most of its agricultural animals and much of its meat and flour from the north and west, would have satisfied an inquiring observer that privation was before us. Attention to the other influences of a less palpable character would produce gratification that the point of severe privations to our troops had been postponed so long.
South Carolina, especially before the war, was largely dependent on external sources. Supplies for the troops of meat and breadstuff have been drawn from beyond her borders, while corn has been sent from that State by the quartermaster department in Virginia.
Georgia and Florida have since the loss of Middle Tennessee been obliged to divert immense quantities, previously disposable for the troops in General Beauregard's department, for the Army of Tennessee, whose position as to climate and exposure require more than those south. General Beauregard's writings and orders which have reached this Bureau indicate a want of information respecting the existing condition of the country, and the effect of the feelings and fears of the people for food, the influence of the laws and orders, the currency and limitation of prices for public purchases, and the condition of the railroad, all of which causes have much restricted the efforts of the commissariat in all the States, managed by men of "foresight, energy, activity, and system," well fitted for the place, as Major Guerin is.
Had General Beauregard's orders respecting the management of the commissariat been observed, it would have been impossible to keep up the supply of beeves from Florida as long as has been done,