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[88] of sufficient transportation, or suitable employees, could not be relied on to fulfil their obligations.

This bureau system requires agents who are zealous, indefatigable, physically enduring, intelligent; acquainted with the laws and regulations of the bureau, and possessing tact. They must have a personal interest in doing well, such as the alternative of serving advantageously, or being conscribed. Cripples and feeble men cannot be made to work beyond what their feelings prompt, and exempts, with the requisite qualifications, can do much better for themselves in the employment of individuals, and, if they stay in the service, will not be controlled.

This bureau and its officers have been harassed, and their time (and that of the Secretary of War) consumed in vain in correspondence with the enrolling officers for necessary detailed employees, and in the consideration of applications of captains of companies for the return of their men so detailed.

If the chief of the bureau cannot be trusted to do all in his power to put men in the field consistently with his duty of feeding the army, then he had better be substituted by some one who can.

The ravages of the enemy destroying the fruits of the earth, the appliances for production and stock animals, persisted in by them in order to starve us, and to exclude us from all territory entered by them, is an impediment to subsistence, which I have (from their first experiment to test our endurance on this point) represented to be fatal, if permitted; but which can always be stopped by that side, when the necessity to check it becomes stronger than the stimulus to the atrocity.

The worst feature of the condition here is the deficiency of bread stuff, which is due to the failure of the War Department to enforce firmly a suggestion often made by me, for two years past, to stop all travel and private freight, and continue that expedient until our supplies were forwarded.

This was promised by the Secretary in January, 1864, but not tried until March, when it was eminently successful. Had this been fully carried out, an accumulation of corn in Georgia, ready for shipment, could have been stored here. Repeatedly has this been urged in vain, until now, the connection being broke by Sherman, places that supply beyond our reach. From the beginning of the war this bureau has had a policy in reference to the main principles necessary to effect the objects for which it was created.

1st. It has limited the number of officers to its actual needs. As an officer of the Provisional Army holds his appointment only while his services are needed, this bureau has claimed that when an officer proved to be unsuitable, he should be declared “relieved from all duty,” and thereby out of commission. In this way only can so vast and complex a machinery be managed with the same economy and advantage as the business of a private individual.

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