HEADQUARTERS ARMIES CONFEDERATE STATES, Richmond, March 22, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General:
GENERAL: In regard to this whole matter, probably the less that is said the better. If General Beauregard desires a chief commissary he has only to assign any officer of that department under his command to that duty.
The assignment of the chief commissaries of the States of South Carolina and Georgia by the War Department relieved them from duty under General Beauregard's command. Any order from him direct to them was therefore irregular and could not be obeyed without bringing them in conflict with the War Department. This announcement it is hoped will prevent any further collision of authority and renders unnecessary further action.
Very respectfully, general, your obedient servant,
SUBSISTENCE BUREAU, Richmond, February 6, 1864.
General S. COOPER,
Adjt. and Insp. General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: In request to the letter of General Beauregard of the 5th instant [25th ultimo] and the orders* he submits for approval, referred by you to this Bureau, I have to make the following remarks: On February 4, 1863, General Beauregard applied for a department chief of subsistence. He now renews the application, appearing to suppose that the army commissary referred to in the circular of April 15, 1863, from this Bureau,and approved by the Secretary of War, contemplated an officer whose functions were the same as the chief commissary of the department, now applied for by him.
The circular contemplated the existing fact that an army, operating in the field, confronting an enemy, should have a chief commissary. General Beauregard's letter and the order he submits, if approved, would confer on the chief commissary of an army the functions of a chief commissary of the department, for which there is no law, and which the War Department did not intend. He thinks the office he asks to be filled would prevent conflict of authority, to which the existing conditions of things "inevitably leads." He is mistaken. If there had been such a functionary and he had assumed to give the orders in which conflicting authority has appeared in that department, these orders must have been opposed, because they were antagonistic to the general principles on which the Bureaus of the War Department are organized and, under the Secretary of War, managed. The system of collecting and issuing supplies in the States composing General Beauregard's department is appropriate to the organization in this department, which is not that of an army in the field, but of subdivisions occupying separate districts. So soon as the troops of that department are concentrated in one army for active operations a chief of subsistence for said army can be appointed, and the full system contemplated in circular of April 15, 1863, will be in operation.