The system has not, in my belief, worked well and has become so complicated and embarrassing in operation that I must again make an effort to induce a modification for the sake of harmony, to which I am encouraged by so much of the circular of the chief of the Bureau of Subsistence, dated April 15, 1863, and approved by the honorable Secretary of War (see second paragraph, last page), as provides for a chief commissary of each army as part of the plan of supply therein inaugurated.
I have no chief commissary to make the requisitions upon the State commissaries provided for an appointed in the circular of the 15th April. Those very State commissaries, Major Locke, in Georgia, and Major Guerin, in South Carolina, act in double capacities--that is, continue to communicate directly with the commissaries on duty with my troops, as their immediate department chiefs, in the same manner as before their appointment under that circular, and remain on my rolls as part of my command, never having been detached therefrom by any order of the Adjutant and Inspector General's Office; in other words, they remain precisely as I found them, and yet have at the same time the other duties involved by the appointment as State commissaries, by virtue of the approved circular of the 15th April, a state of affairs which must inevitably lead to conflict of authority, as indeed it has done in one recent and signal instance.
It is the recurrence of such things, to the prejudice of the public interests, which I sincerely desire to avoid. I have no wish to change any of the arrangements made by the circular in question, which I doubt not, if properly carried out, will be efficient and develop the full resources of the country. But I desire, in order that that system should go into full effect in my department, that those State commissaries should be confined to the duties prescribed in that circular, and that a chief commissary be assigned to me, of proper rank, to be the organ of communication and requisition with them for my command, and that these double and conflicting functions in the same persons should cease. I have no strong preference among officers of the Subsistence Department known to me, but if consulted as to the person, I would be pleased to have either Major J. F. Cummings or Major F. Molloy; the former on duty at Atlanta and the latter of Charleston.
I inclose herewith a copy of an order which I would issue if approved by the War Department.
Were events to force me to concentrate and take the field I should, under the present arrangement, be without a chief commissary, and his duties, as hitherto, would have to be performed in the office of my headquarters, which is the source of constant annoyance.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. T. BEAUREGARD,
JANUARY 29, 1864.
Respectfully referred to Commissary-General for this views before submitting this letter to the Secretary of War.
Adjutant and Inspector General.