for the Army the whole crop of forage. I have yesterday and to- day seen Mr. Osborn, of the Illinois Central Railroad. He is there to bring to the knowledge and notice of the Government the great deficiency in the winter corn crop, which he estimates at $200,000,000 loss to the country, the greatest calamity we have had since the outbreak of the rebellion. The whole North and East is apparently notoriously and extravagantly prosperous. Importations are enormous; some of great importance and value to the country; machinery, tools, &c., which deficient labor prevents our making at home; but a large portion of the importation is of luxuries, and as the deficient grain crops leave us no grain for exportation, and as England has a most abundant crop of cereals we are likely to be called upon the pay for these luxuries in gold. European merchants in New York want gold as exchange for all their orders. They do not trust us and look for a period of great depression and financial distress. With all this the Quartermaster's Department has no direct connection. The Treasury and the merchants must apply to corrective and put as soon as possible and end to this extravagance; but I find that the appropriations for the service of the Quartermaster's Department have been very heavily drawn upon. There are still five months and a half of the fiscal year to run and about two-thirds of the last year's appropriations have been drawn out. With serious prospect of financial difficulty ahead it behooves, us, therefore, to make every effort to limit the extravagance of the requisitions and consumption of commanding officers, who have heretofore spent the money and the supplies of this department as though it possessed the purse of Fortunatus and the granaries of Egypt, in which seven years" crops were stored.
Mr. Osborn has lately ridden 700 miles over the Illinois railroad, and in all that distance he says he did not see a wagon loaded with corn offering it at the way stations of the road. In ordinary years forty to fifty wagons were always to be seen at each station. The farmers this year buy grain for their own use and transport it from Illinois. He says that on the Wabash there is a strip of country which the frost failed to injure, and that north of Dixon, Ill., and in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota the oat crop is large. He advices that corn purchases be made and that [illegible] need as far as possible before the price rises. Advertisements for a quantity to be delivered at several counties in these States, not large enough to show that the greater part of the crop is to be bought, but large enough to bring large offers, might be published, and the whole quantity offered, provided not excessive, might be taken.
The prospect is of greater prices, and if you can purchase largely at present prices and before any financial distress or depreciation of money and securities it may be a great economy.
I am, very truly and respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. C. MEIGS,
WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, January 15, 1865.
His Excellency the GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS,
Your telegram of yesterday does not state how many regiments of infantry you desire to raise, but you are hereby authorized by the