our armies, and to the fact that the most productive districts have been overrun by the enemy. It has been shown that our resources for the support of our Army, now larger than we had in the field in the winter of 1861-`62 and the following spring, are not half of the resources available for feeding that Army.
The present meat resources lie in Virginia to a small extent, in North Carolina to about an equal extent, but mainly in the supplies accumulated and unaccumulated in Tennessee, a large part of them having been transferred to Georgia for safe-keeping.
Before General Bragg's army moved into Kentucky, Major Cummings was appointed and ordered to collect supplies in Tennessee as a resource for general use. All the hogs that could be collected were to be converted into bacon, and old bacon to be bought. Major Cummings, who is without doubt a man of extraordinary efficiency, and was most capable of estimating the hogs and the bacon which he had bought, there was still unappropriated by him cattle and old bacon enough left to subsist General Bragg's army in Middle Tennessee.
The supplies obtained by him up to December 2, 1862, as detailed by him in letter of that date, recite, among other things, 100,000 hogs, 15,000 beeves, and over 2,000,000 pounds of bacon. Of those supplies a large quantity, probably all the old bacon, most of the beeves, and a large number of hogs, have been used by General Bragg's army, so much being thus abstracted from the accumulations of this Bureau. By telegram from Major Cummings I am informed that no more of his hogs will be allowed to be shipped to him out of Tennessee; hence the comparatively small number secured for baconing will be still further reduced. General Bragg having fallen back, Middle Tennessee is lost. The annual high water of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers being at hand, there is but small chance of driving the enemy back; consequently want of meat rations seems certainly impending over General Bragg's army and the Army of Virginia.
Texas is the only point where meat is yet available, but beeves cannot be driven well at this season on the other side of the Mississippi, and if they could be and could cross the Mississippi in large numbers they could not be brought to either Virginia or Tennessee. It was arranged to make the attempt last winter on the opening of spring, and it failed of success on account of deficient grass on the route.
The comparatively small district of East Tennessee now afford a greater relative amount of subsistence for General Bragg's army than do Virginolina for the armies that are in those States, respectively. I therefore earnestly recommend that General Bragg be instructed to subsist his army from the resources of the country he defenses, and be forbidden to stop the passage of hogs to Major Cummings, who has made arrangements for converting them into bacon; and, second, that this Bureau have authority to make arrangements for obtaining supplies of meat from without the limits of the Southern Confederacy, and especially to enter into contract with parties who have already proposed to furnish large amounts of bacon to the Bureau in exchange for cotton.
This latter point has been elaborately argued by this Bureau on prior occasions, and nothing can be added to what was then said except that renewed inquiries have strengthened the conviction then expressed that without such an arrangements the aries cannot be fed.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
L. B. NORTHROP,