MASONSBOROUGH, January 18, 1865.
Colonel ARCHER ANDERSON,
The companies ordered to Fort Anderson started at 2 o'clock.
T. J. LIPSCOMB,
headquarters ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA,
January 19, 1865.
Honorable SECRETARY OF WAR,
SIR: There is great suffering in the Army for want of soap. The neglect of personal cleanliness has occasioned cutaneous diseases to a great extent in many commands. The Commissary Department has been applied to, but the supply received from it is entirely inadequate. Soap is an article of home manufacture in every family almost. The materials for making it are found in every household, and the art is familiar to all well-trained domestics. I cannot but think that by proper efforts a plan might be devised to meet this want of our soldiers. All that is necessary, I think, is to employ or contract with some intelligent and practical business men in the different States to insure a supply. I do not suppose that agents or officers of the Commissary of Subsistence Department can succeed as well as private individuals, of it be made to the interest of the latter to procure what we need. I beg that you will endeavor to make some arrangements by which the suffering of the men in this particular can be relieved.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. E. LEE,
JANUARY 26, 1865.
For prompt attention and compliance with General Lee's suggestion.
Certainly soap, manufactured as it is in almost every country house-hold, can be obtained in adequate quantities for the reasonable supply of the armies.
J. A. SEDDON,
Secretary of War.
BUREAU OF SUBSISTENCE,
Richmond, January 28, 1865.
Respectfully to chief commissary of subsistence for South Carolina for remarks.
If, after paying debts and purchasing bread and meat, there is a surplus of money, and men can be found for the work, let the money be applied as suggested.
By order of Commissary-General of Subsistence:
T. U. DUDLEY, JR.,
Major and Commissary of Subsistence.