WAR DEPARTMENT, C. S. A.,
Richmond, Va., August 23, 1864.
General R. E. LEE,
Commanding Army of Northern Virginia:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge your letter of yesterday, and hear, with regret, that the enemy have effected a permanent lodgment on the Weldon railroad. I appreciate the consequences likely to follow in diminishing the conduits of supply and increasing the facilities of attack on our only remaining southern line, the Danville railroad. Every effort must be made to defend and maintain that road, and the Department will enjoin enhanced vigilance on the officers charged with that duty. We may be subjected to serious embarrassments in procuring supplies, but I entertain sanguine confidence that we shall not be compelled to evacuate your positions for want of subsistence for men or animals. There have been of late, as you are aware, interruptions from raids of the enemy on the southern roads, and, in consequence of this, and of the fact that the support of both armies, yours and that of General Hood, has been thrown on the same district of country, there has been greatly diminished supplies coming forward. The breads have all been repaired, or nearly so, and, as I am pleased to learn, there is no real deficiency of supplies existing in the south, there should be soon a decided increase in the quantity forwarded. Since the breaks occurred some of the most efficient officers in the employment of the Department have been sent south, and especially assigned to the duty of collecting and forwarding these supplies. There shall be no want of aid to the Danville railroad to transport all that can be brought to its terminus. At the same time all the efforts which my earnest injunctions can induce shall be made by the officers of the quartermaster's and subsistence bureaus to obtain supplies of wheat and oats in this State. Of corn, I regret to say, there is literally none until the new crop comes in, and the scarcity of it, with the prospects of a bad crop, diminishes largely the quantity of wheat which can be spared from the wants of the people. The late reduction, too, in the schedule of prices, notwithstanding the outcry which was raised against the previous extravagant rates is, i fear, operating very seriously to prevent deliveries. I do not disguise from you or myself that there may be very serious strain within the next two months in providing adequate supplies. Still, I believe it can and will be done, and certainly no exertion shall be spared on my part to accomplish it.
Very respectfully, yours,
JAMES A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
August 23, 1864.
Honorable SECRETARY OR WAR,
SIR: The subject of recruiting the ranks of our army is growing in importance and has occupied much of my attention. Unless some measures can be devised to replace our losses, the consequences may be disastrous. I think that there must be more men in the country liable to military duty than the small number of received would seem to indicate. it has been several months since the passage of the last conscript law, and a large number of able-bodied men and officers are engaged in enforcing it. They should by this time, if they have not