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[518] devoted exclusively to the production of corn, oats, beans, peas, potatoes, and other food for man and beast. Let corn be sowed broadcast, for fodder, in immediate proximity to railroads, rivers, and canals; and let all your efforts be directed to the prompt supply of these articles in the districts where our armies are operating. You will thus add greatly to their efficiency, and furnish the means without which it is impracticable to make those prompt and active movements which have hitherto stricken terror into our enemies, and secured our most brilliant triumphs.

Having thus placed before you, my countrymen, the reasons for the call made on you for aid in supplying the wants of the coming year, I add a few words of appeal in behalf of the brave soldiers now confronting your enemies, and to whom your government is unable to furnish all the comforts they so richly merit. The supply of meal for the army is deficient. This deficiency is only temporary, for measures have been adopted which will, it is believed, soon enable us to restore the full rations; but that ration is now reduced at times to one half the usual quantity in some of our armies. It is known that the supply of meat throughout the country is sufficient for the support of all; but the distances are so great, the condition of the roads has been so bad during the five months of winter weather through which we have just passed, and the attempt of grovelling speculators to forestall the market and make money out of the lifeblood of our defenders, have so much influenced the withdrawal from sale of the surplus in the hands of the producers, that the government has been unable to gather full supplies.

The Secretary of War has prepared a plan, which is appended to this address, by the aid of which, or some similar means to be adopted by yourselves, you can assist the officers of the government in the purchase of the corn, the bacon, the pork, and the beef known to exist in large quantities in different parts of the country. Even if the surplus be less than believed, is it not a bitter and humiliating reflection that those who remain at home, secure from hardship, and protected from danger, should be in the enjoyment of abundance, and that their slaves also should have a full supply of food, while their sons, brothers, husbands and fathers, are stinted in the rations on which their health and efficiency depend?

Entertaining no fear that you will either misconstrue the motives of this address, or fail to respond to the call of patriotism, I have placed the facts fully and frankly before you. Let us all unite in the performance of our duty, each in his sphere, and with concerted, persistent, and well-directed effort, there seems little reason to doubt that, under the blessings of Him to whom we look for guidance, and who has been to us our shield and strength, we shall maintain the sovereignty and independence of the confederate States, and transmit to our posterity the heritage bequeathed to us by our fathers.

Plan suggested by the rebel Secretary of war.

1. Let the people in each county, parish, or ward, select at a public meeting, as early as convenient, a committee of three or more discreet citizens, charged with the duties hereinafter mentioned.

2. Let it be the duty of this committee to ascertain from each citizen in the county or parish what amount of surplus corn and meat, whether bacon, pork, or beef, he can spare for the use of the army, after reserving a supply for his family and those dependent on him for food.

Let this committee fix a price which is deemed by them a just compensation for the articles furnished, and inform the citizens what this price is, so that each may know, before delivery, what price is to be paid for the articles furnished.

Let this committee make arrangements for the transportation of the supplies to some convenient depot, after consultation with the officer who is to receive them.

Let the committee make delivery of the supplies on receiving payment of the price, and assume the duty of paying it over to the citizens who have furnished the supplies.

3. Where the duty of the committee is performed in any town or city at which there may be a quartermaster or commissary, no further duty need be required of them than to deliver to the officer a list of the names of the citizens and of the supplies which each is ready to furnish, and the price fixed; whereupon the officer will himself gather the supplies and make payment.

4. Where the supplies are furnished in the country, the cost of transportation to the depot will be paid by the government, in addition to the price fixed by the committee.

5. As this appeal is made to the people for the benefit of our brave defenders now in the army, the department relies with confidence on the patriotism of the people, that no more than just compensation would be fixed by the committees, nor accepted by those whose chief motive will be to aid their country, and not to make undue gains out of the needs of our noble soldiers.

James A. Seddon, Secretary of War.

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