the amount that could be got early in the war had been obtained. In the packing season of 1860-'61 upward of 3,000,000 head of hogs were packed at the various porkeries of the United States, besides those packed by farmers at home; of which less than 20,000 were packed at regular establishments south of the lines of our armies. Of this whole number experts estimate that the product of about 1,200,000 hogs was imported in the early part of the last year from beyond our present lines into what is now the Southern Confederacy. This was accomplished, and to the extent of a bountiful supply, by the action of State authorities in some cases, by the enterprise of private parties, and by this department through agencies of its own. Of this number it is estimated that about 300,000 hogs, in their bacon equivalent, have been consumed by our State and Confederate armies since the commencement of hostilities.
Tennessee then became the main reliance for a supply for the future use of the Army, which, together with the accessible portions of Kentucky, had been so ravaged by hog cholera and injured by short corn crops for three years preceding the year just closed that the number slaughtered at the porkeries had dwindled from 200,000 head to less than 20,000. It was into this field, just recovering from these disasters, and almost the sole resource of the Army, the planters, and the inhabitants of cities, that this department had to enter as a purchaser-dubious of a sufficiency, but assured of a heavy and active competition. If, when the price of hogs was only 6 to 7 cents per pound gross in the South, it had been the custom of many planters to buy the live-stock from the drovers and put up their own supplies, drovers would of course take hogs to them when the price was double, and supplies thus diverted could never come into army consumption. But besides this loss, what would have gone into commercial hands would also have been open to the planters' bids, and must have been lost to the Government or secured at exorbitant prices. Now, if the usual mode had been adopted of obtaining supplies by bid and contract, it is obvious that, as each speculator or packer could operate most profitably on a theater of scant supply, and contracts under that system could not have been awarded to all, those who failed to get contracts would have made as much, if not more money, by speculating against the Government than by working for it. This state of things would have wrought the double effect to raising prices upon the Government and preventing its full supply, and the latter would have been disaster, if not ruin. To prevent this it was necessary to combine all the packers in the interest of the Government, and to accomplish that it was necessary to offer them a fair and liberal compensation, placing all upon one footing. Such compensation, it was clear, they would have at any rate, and in most cases without the outlay of capital in buildings and fixtures which their undertaking for the Government would require. This compensation, though liberal, was not exorbitant, and in view of the uncertainties of the times was not more than ought to have been offered. It was paid in kind and in a class of products perishable in their nature, for which the Government had no use, and by the sale of which, on a large scale, it could have made little or nothing. It will be fully understood by reference to the contract with Wilson & Armstrong, herewith inclosed, marked C,* and given as a sample of all contracts on the same subject-matter.