War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0158 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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Hoomes, commissary agent, and also a letter from Mr. John S. Barbour, president Orange and Alexandria Railroad, to Major Ruffin, for your consideration and action. * I feel it my duty to state in this connection that, notwithstanding the most strenuous efforts, wheat enough is not being received to furnish flour for General Lee's army alone. I am informed by reliable authority that in ordinary years, with an average crop of wheat, up to this time there would be received in Richmond 800,000 to 1,000,000 bushels of wheat, whereas, notwithstanding the high price that it commands, and notwithstanding the aid which has been extended to the farmers by commissary agents throughout the country, there has not been received more than 250,000 to 300,000 bushels. This proves that there is a great scarcity of wheat. This year's crop, it is believed, throughout the State is not more than one-fourth and average one, and a considerable portion of the State we cannot draw from at all. Unless, therefore, something is done to afford transportation for all the wheat that can by procured, I do not see anything but failure and ruin to our Army. As much grain as is needed cannot be procured, it is feared, even if this transportation is afforded, and without that transportation is obtained in some way we must break down. I feel it my duty to urge this matter upon your attention. It cannot be considered too deeply, nor the remedy applied with too much promptness. The chances of procuring sufficient supplies are becoming every hour more and more doubtful, and the area of country drawn from smaller and smaller. I am powerless to remedy the evil, and can only lay before you the state of the case for your action. A sufficiency of bags is as great a necessity to secure a supply of flour as anything else. During the last summer the cotton mills throughout the country were written to with a view to secure an ample supply of bags, but this Bureau was requested not to purchase bags by Major Ferguson, of the Quartermaster's Department, who was engaged in the north and would procure them, it was said, for both the Commissary and Quartermaster's Bureaus. To avoid competition between two Government agents this was acquiesced in. Upon application now it seems that not one-tenth of the requisite quantity of bags can be obtained.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Commissary-General C. S. Army.


Richmond, November 3, 1862.

Colonel L. B. NORTHROP,

Commissary-General of Subsistence:

SIR: In response to your inquiry as to prospect of subsistence in meat of our armies for the next sixty days, I reply that General Lee's army is drawing very closely on the supplies of fresh beef, and at their present rate of consumption I do not think that there will be more than enough to last them until the 1st of January. The very severe drought of the past summer and early fall leaves the cattle so thin that the same number of bullocks does not go as far as it did last fall, and the scarcity of supply is drawing much younger beasts to


*Not found.