Surgeon-General, without the intimate acquaintance with the details of the administration, may at any time interfere and alter any plan, no matter however advisable, and the proper understanding of which necessarily rests with those who are immediately engaged upon the duty of providing supplies.
3. The purveyor at the principal depot, who has charge with what relates to movement of supplies, has but limited control of the other purveyors, and the superior right of interference of a third person cannot but lead to confusion and the want of that energetic action proceeding from the employment of one will and mind acquainted with and immediately employed upon the requirements of the particular service to be done.
The great and increasing scarcity of supplies of all kinds demands that the utmost facilities to be derived from efficient organization be accorded to those whose especial duty it is to provide these supplies. The fullest extent of power and consideration derived from military position is necessary to carry forward the great object of making adequate provision for the sick and wounded of the Army, and should be devolved upon those upon whom is imposed the perilous responsibility of such duty. It is not for a matter of mere distinction that rank and position should be accorded. These clothe the officer with power to do his duty, and any one conversant with military organization well knows a department not protected with these defenses is not respected, but set aside on all occasions by those who are clothed with prestige of power and rank.
A department which must disburse millions for the proper care of the sick and wounded fathers, sons, and brothers of the land should not be put in a position rendering it liable to be thus thrust aside. The duties of the purveying department being precisely of the same nature as those done by the Quartermaster's, Commissary, or other administrative departments of supply, the organization, rank, power, and position should be the same. The procuring of mnly a portion-by no means the largest portion-of the general suppliers. The purveying department should have charge of providing, first, the building and fitting up of hospitals; second, hospital and field bedding; third, hospital clothing; fourth, ambulances for transportation of the sick; fifth, wagons for transportation of supplies; sixth, hospital tents; seventy, the establishment and control of large chemical works so as to render us independent of foreign sources of supplies of chemicals, as no one can foresee how long the present war may last, as even after a peace unsettled questions may remain and others arise which from the animus of the two nations will probably result in wars; and as we have not now and cannot for many years hope to have a navy sufficiently powerful to keep the sea open to us, large chemical works and laboratories should be established on a scale to make us independent by developing the resources of the country; eighth, the purchasing of medical and surgical appliances; ninth, the providing all other supplies relating to the care of the sick while in service, considered as hors de combat from sickness, wounds, or disability.
In view of the benefits to be derived to the service and to have charge of the above duties it is believed that there should be added to the general staff of the Army of the Confederate States a Purveyor-General's Department, to consist of one Purveyor-General, with the rank of colonel, and one assistant purveyor, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Purveyors with the rank of major and purveyors with the rank of captain to be permanently attached to the regular service,