the skill of its leaders our army has proved more than a match for the enemy. But the best-appointed army cannot maintain its position without support at home. The people should never suffer it to be said that they valued their cattle and hogs, their corn and money, more than their liberties and honor, and that they had to be compelled to support an army they had sent to battle in their defense. We hope it will not become necessary to resort to impressments among a people fighting for their existence and in defense of their homes and country and institutions. We prefer rather to appeal to them by every motive of duty and honor, by the love they bear their wives and daughters, by the memory of the heroic dead, and the future glory and independence of their country, to come to its rescue in this darkest hour of its peril.
A country which can afford to send forth in its defense the flower of its youth and the best of its manhood can afford, and is in honor bound, to sustain them at any cost and sacrifice of money and property. They have sacrificed home and ease and suffered untold hardships, and with their lives are now defending everything we hold most sacred.
Florida has done nobly in this contest. Her sons have achieved the highest character for their State and won imperishable honors for themselves. These brave men are now suffering for want of food. Not only the men from Florida, but the whole army of the South are in this condition. Our honor as a people demands that we do our duty to them. They must be fed. The following extracts from official letters in my possession do but partly represent the present condition of the armies of Generals Bragg and Beauregard, and their gloomy prospects for future supplies:
Major J. F. Cummings, who supplies General Bragg's army, writes:
It is absolutely and vitally important that all the cattle that can possibly be brought here shall be brought as promptly as possible.
And again, on the 5th of October, he says:
I cannot too strongly urge upon the necessity-yes, the urgent necessity, of sending forward cattle promptly. It appears that all other resources are exhausted, and that we are now dependent upon your State for beef for the very large army of General Bragg. I know you will leave no stone unturned, and I must say all is now dependent on your exertions, so far as beef is concerned. In regard to bacon, the stock is about exhausted, hence beef is our only hope. I know the prospect is very discouraging, and it only remains with those of us having charge of this most important work do all we can to exhaust our resources, and when we have done this, our country cannot complain of us. If we fail to do all that can be done, and our cause shall fail, upon us will rest the responsibility; therefore let us employ every means at our command.
Again, on the 6th, he says:
Major [Allen] can explain to you the great and absolute necessity for prompt action in the matter, for, major, I assure you that nearly all now depends on you.
And on the 19th October, he says:
Captain Townsend, assistant commissary of subsistence, having a leave of absence for thirty days from the Army of Tennessee, I have prevailed on him to see you and explain to you my straightened condition and the imminent danger of our army suffering for the want of beef.
And on the 20th October, he wrote:
The army is to-day on half rations of beef, and I fear within a few days will have nothing but bread to eat. This is truly a dark hour with us, and I cannot see what is to be done. All that is left for us to do is to do all we can, and then we will have a clear conscience, no matter what the world may say.