anticipated by arranging for the purchase of the animals and getting the salt to cure them. Furthermore, beeves must be provided for the coming spring. Cattle must be collected from Texas before the rains set in, and be herded in ranging grounds convenient to the Mississippi. I am arranging for these matters.
Though not-so far as packing and curing was involved-in accordance with the rules prescribed by the regulations for purchasing supplies, the War Department concurred in these views, and they have been prosecuted vigorously, to make use of the whole season and withdraw the products as soon as possible from the hostile front along which they have been prepared.
The abstract of contracts and the statement of Major Ruffin thereon, from the data which we had collected, exhibit the nature of the operation. The responsibility of recommending it and the expenditure of such large sums-the products being necessarily laid so near the enemy's lines-has been heavy and is the best guarantee that every plan of meeting the necessity that was on us had been carefully considered. There appeared no alternative. The existing establishments and the experts best adapted to securing the end had to be employed in the interests of the Government, or to be its antagonists. Among the agents there was one exceptional case, whose action having long ceased, and the entire results of it been taken off the hands of the Government before its extent was known, his name does not appear, but the correspondence is on file in the department. Serving without compensation, and not intended for any specific action, he was not appointed by the War Department as other agents are. The following is in relation to him: To begin operations in Kentucky I proposed to a gentleman of that State, of large fortune and above all suspicion, to make a tour and urge the farmers of Southern feelings to hold their hogs for the Government. On his making favorable reports I asked him to see about arrangements for a packing-house for receiving the hogs and curing the meat. On the 23d of October he reported that he had made a conditional contract for the packing establishment at Clarksville at a rent of $8,000. The alternative presented to me was to permit competition in an important position and lose results hoped for from Kentucky, or accept. The rent seemed extortionate, and I paused for information.
In the meantime Mr. R. T. Wilson, with whom contracts had been made to purchase and cure meat in Kentucky and Tennessee, came to Richmond shortly after this proposition was presented to me and agreed to go to Clarksville and hire the house himself, believing that it was important to secure it for his operations in Kentucky, accepting on the private account of himself and company the action of this preliminary agent.
It subsequently appeared that before this was done the conditional contract had been disputed and $10,000 absolutely demanded by the owners, and had been yielded. But the matter had passed from the hands of this department. Whether better could have been done or not thus becomes immaterial, but I must defend this disinterested agent. General A. S. Johnston seems to find the securing of that establishment and the packing arrangement of this department opportune, for he has directed the products at Clarksville to be transported to Bowling Green, and ordered the agents from Nashville to slaughter and cure from 5,000 to 8,000 hogs at the latter place as a reserve for his army.
I proceed to another subject. All subsistence stores that are allowed to the Army have to the fullest capacity of our country been obtained,