previous next
[706] intrusted with the responsible duties which occupied my whole attention subsequently until the close of the war, and for some nine months longer.

By this time, November, 1862, the government had expended many millions of dollars, and the little army of twenty thousand men that we had when Sumter was fired upon had been increased to hundreds of thousands. The initial Confederate act of war not only forced upon us the gigantic work of transforming an industrial people into soldiers, but of arming and equipping them as well. This was the harder task of the two. Men there were by the hundred thousand, ready to take the field; but, to uniform them, cloth had to be woven, leather tanned, shoes, clothing, and caps manufactured. The canvas to shelter them had to be converted from the growing crop into fabrics. To arm them the warehouses and armories of Europe, as well as of this country, had to be ransacked. All considerations of business caution had to be subordinated to the imperious necessity for haste. If it was the golden hour of patriotism, so was it equally that of greed, and, as money was poured by the million, by the frugal, into the lap of the government, so was there a yellow Pactolus diverted by myriad streamlets into the pockets of scoundrels and robbers-official and otherwise. The public necessity was their opportunity, and they made use of it.

The rush of men to the front left the War Office no time to be nice over details; so that, as the volume of administrative business overflowed the bureau machinery for its supervision, things were, in a measure, suffered to take their course. An unhealthy tone pervaded everything; speculation was the rule-conservatism the exception. We floated, on a sea of paper, into a fool's paradise. Contractors, bloated with the profits on shoddy, rode in emblazoned carriages, which, a little while before, they would have been glad to drive as hirelings; and vulgar faces and grimy fingers were made more vulgar and coarse with the glare of great diamonds. Intrigue held the key to the kitchen-stairs of the White House, shaped legislation, sat cheek by jowl with Congressmen, and seduced commissioned officers from the strict path of duty. Our sailors were sent to sea in ships built of green timber, which were fitted with engines good only for the junkshop, and greased with “sperm” oil derived from mossbunkers and the fat of dead horses. For one pound of necessary metals, one yard of fabric, one gallon of liquid, the price of two was paid. Our soldiers were given guns that would not shoot, powder that would only half explode, shoes of which the

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Tunstall (Virginia, United States) (1)
Europe (1)
Charleston (South Carolina, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November, 1862 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: