War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0870 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

collected for the use of the Army, and the names of the agents employed for the purpose of purchasing and preparing said provisions, specifying the localities where each agent is employed and what instructions have been given said agents as to prices to be paid to be paid for the same.

This report, together with the accompanying exhibits, show more fully even than is called for by the resolution the manner in which the contracts for the Army supplies have been made and their result. They demonstrate the gratifying fact that the supplies have been provided with such foresight, energy, and prudence as to have cost the Government far less than could reasonably have been expected, and far less than they would now cost if the contracts had not been made.

I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of War.



Richmond, Va., January 18, 1862.


Secretary of War Confederate States of America:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt from you of a copy of the resolution of Congress dated 11th of January, 1862, to wit. *

The current indispensable business of this office and the comprehensive nature of the resolution has caused delay. The papers herewith submitted, being "Abstract of purchases and returns of provisions,"+ "Abstract of engagements of salt beef and bacon," marked B; copy "Contract of Wilson & Armstrong," marked C; ++ copy "Contract of Haxall, Crenshaw & Co.," marked D; ++ and Major F. G. Ruffin's report, marked E, will, as far as practicable, fulfill its requirements. This Bureau has been conducted on the principle that the essential duties of its chief are to ascertain and to anticipate the present and future wants of the commissariat in general and particular; thereon to apply to the Secretary of War for the means, and to appoint the agents deemed most competent to accomplish these objects; then to effect them. On commencing the organization in Montgomery it was known that supplies, especially of salt meats, could not be obtained to an adequate extent except in the enemy's country. Accordingly appropriate steps were taken to reach them. The stores of bacon and pork thus acquired, at a cost to the Government of much less than one-half the current rates, are still being issued. In considering the question of a future supply of salt meats the inapplicability of the rules of purchasing prescribed by the Army Regulations was as obvious as the difference between peace and extensive fields of supply on the one hand and revolution on the other. Under existing circumstances an absolute deficiency of pork in the Confederacy added to the contrast. To meet this vital necessity and the competition that was inevitable only one way was open; that was to anticipate its operations and contend with its development. This was determined on, and arrangements were initiated early in July. In the middle of August certain papers were sent to me with directions to return them with my remarks in relation to their respective contents. After disposing of the subjects included I closed my communication with this paragraph:

The real evil is ahead. There are not hogs in the Confederacy sufficient for the Army and the larger force of plantation negroes. Hence competition must be


*Embodied in Benjamin's letter, next ante.

+Not found.