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[102] that we must rely wholy upon the South for our supplies, and recommending that Captain Welford be sent to Georgia to expedite matters, and that the Secretary of War give precedence in transportation to supplies for this department while the emergency existed. Captain Welford proceeded to Georgia, and the activity that succeeded his efforts in that State can be viewed in the large movement of grain towards Augusta, which seems to have been “swallowed up” somewhere betwen that point and Richmond, for we have but little trace of it.

On the 9th instant I advised you that all the corn arriving here was waybilled to Major Maynard, and was being appropriated by the Quartermaster Department without regard to the marks which indicated that it was destined for the Subsistence Department, there being no other method under existing regulations of distinguishing it, and on the same date (9th January) urging that it was of vital importance that there should be an immediate reduction in the number of passenger trains, so that the railroads could give their full capacity to the movement of freight trains, which, if not increased, it seemed to me impossible that our armies in this State could be fed.

I have been thus particular in giving a partial review of the operations of this department in relation to the collection of breadstuffs, that it might be seen that the difficulties of collecting grain were fully appreciated, and could not be removed while our railroads failed to transport Government supplies in preference to increasing their receipts by running two passenger trains per day.

The wants of the department in this State have been fully made known to Major A. M. Allen, C. S., at Columbus, Georgia, who replied that the amount of corn required, 75,000 bushels per month, could be furnished by him; and nothing remained in the way of our success but the obstacle of “transportation,” which, if the proper steps be taken, I feel assured that our condition can be immeasurably improved.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


S. B. French, Major and C. S.
P. S.--Since writing the foregoing, a report has been received from the Chief Commissary of Alabama, dated January 4th, 1864, in which the supply of corn and peas is stated to be “abundant.”


Richmond, January 17th, 1864.
Only 1,000 bushels of the corn referred to has arrived to this date, and the receipts at this place compared with the invoices from Columbus, Georgia, show a deficit of between eighty and ninety thousand bushels, 50,000 bushels of this quantity having been shipped since December 1st, 1863.


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