The facts I have stated are sufficient, and I need scarcely refer to the difficulty in obtaining the material, of volunteers in active service making the purchases, the extortions and petty impositions which they were too frequently subjected to. With the increased prices, the impossibility of anticipating their clothing allowance of purchasing upon a credit, those who were dependent upon that allowance alone could hardly be kept in the field in a climate like that of Virginia and Tennessee during the winter months, certainly not without great suffering. Much, indeed, was to be expected from individual exertion and private liberality, and these expectations have not been disappointed. Companies and individual volunteers from the more wealthy counties have in many instances been amply provided for, and in response to the appeals which I have publicly and officially made large amounts of clothing have been forwarded me for general distribution; but the supplies thus obtained fall short of meeting the necessities of the large number of our troops in the service. It was with a view to these results that I determined to apply a portion of the State funds to the purchase of the material for clothing, a large portion of which I was assured would be gratuitously made up through the patriotic efforts of the female "aid societies" throughout the State. It was not my purpose to supply even the material for clothing all the volunteers from the State. The treasury would not have afforded the means. My object was simply to aid the volunteers to the extent of the ability of the State, in anticipation of the clothing allowance to which they were entitled, and out of which, when made under the existing laws of the Confederacy, the State could be reimbursed. There were, indeed, other considerations which were not without their influence. The clothing, the material of which was purchased in large quantities for cash, directly from the manuesale dealer, and made up, to a large extent, by gratuitous labor, could be supplied to the volunteers at prices greatly lower than they could obtain them in the usual course of trade, and the extortions and speculations on his necessities be avoided.
In the distribution of the clothing I regarded the troops in Virginia as first demanding my attention. The severity of the climate, the difficulty of obtaining supplies caused by the large number to be supplied, and the character of the service left no doubt on my mind that their wants were more pressing than those who were serving in the milder climate of the Gulf. The most necessitous were the first to be supplied. Richmond was selected as the principal depot for distribution, a warehouse rented in that city, distributing agents appointed, and a proper system of accountability established. The clothing made up under the direction of the State, as well as that received for general and special contribution, was forwarded by transportation agents, a class of agents rendered necessary by the dangers of loss, difficulties, and detention incident to a long route of railroad transportation, the roads crowded with freight to a much greater amount than was anticipated or prepared for. Great care was taken in the selection of these agents, who were instructed to deliver the special contributions intended for companies or individuals to the captains of the companies, or, when that was not practicable, as it was not in every instance, they were left in charge of an agent, to be delivered when opportunity made to the State without designating the objects of the bounty, those essential to the sick were forwarded for the use of the Alabama Hospital, established mainly by the exertions and liberality