and General B. has attempted to regulate matters which he had not the right to do and not acquired the requisite information for doing. If these principles of organization and the orders of the War Department in respect to commissariat matters had been respected strictly cases of conflicting authority would never have arisen.
General Beauregard wants a chief commissary of his department of a rank proper to be his organ of communication with the State commissaries. The circular of April 15, 1863, to which he refers, makes no reference to the rank of the army commissary, and no organ of communication with the State commissaries is required, because, assigned to special duty by the Secretary of War which may require confidential and direct conference with the generals whose departments include their respective States and as chiefs of the Bureau in those States, they are not under the supervision of any other staff bureau. The chief army commissary specially assigned exercises deputed powers independent of his rank; others of senior date of higher grade may be found attached to brigades or division. If the chief does not answer another may be assigned to relieve him by order of the Secretary of War.
Either these principles must obtain or the alternative presents itself of inefficient officers remaining or a needless advancement of rank becomes necessary when another officer is to be tried. The Secretary of War owes it to the Department and to this Bureau and to the interests of the service that the unwarrantable orders of General Beauregard be annulled so as to prevent repetition. General Beauregard speaks of a recent signal instance of conflicting authority. A recent one was that the brigade commissary of Colquitt's brigade, stationed in South Carolina, being on leave of absence at Columbus, Ga., discovered some pickled beef destined for Johnston's army, and applied for some. This being refused, he obtained from General Beauregard an order for some to be transferred to him, which was refused by the chief commissary of Georgia, Major Locke. Another has occurred to which particular attention is called. Both are unwarrantable on the part of the commanding general and in conflict with the War Department. That set forth in paper C should be considered in connection with the case of the whisky belonging to Benbow and Gilmer, and impressed by the Government. This impressment was adjudged by the Secretary of War as legal; part was consumed. General Beauregard, in disregard of law, ordered its restoration in kind, and now requires Major Guerin to procure more to meet a call of the medical department, which ha both the power of impressment and the legal permit to distill, which the commissary department has in vain asked for in the State.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. B. NORTHROP,
Commissary-General of Subsistence.
ROYALL'S HOUSE, February 6, 1864.
Chief of Staff:
Colonel Simonton reports a two-mast gun-boat came up Stono to-day about 2 o'clock and threw one shell in direction of the reserve picket. She went back immediately. A working party of the