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January 1st, 1876.
General I. M. St. John. Late Commissary-General Confederate States:
Dear Sir — I have read your report of July 14th, 1873, to Hon. Jefferson Davis, giving an account of the operations of the Confederate States commissary service, with great interest, and am confident of its correctness and accuracy in every essential particular. While you filled the office of Commissary-General, and during your predecessor's administration of that Department, I was president and in charge of the Richmond and Danville railroad and the Piedmont railroad, and conversant (except for a short interval) with many matters connected with the commissariat at Richmond. My relations with two of the Secretaries of War and with Colonel Northrup, as well as the principal officers of his Department, were numerous, and frequently confidential. I had official as well as personal relations with them at all times, and their views and actions on the subject of transportation were frequently communicated to me. I was familiar with the wants of the Government, and when the city of Richmond was selected as the Capital of the Confederacy, I was consulted as to the best plan for systematising the transportation over all the railroad lines within its limits; and being president of the Richmond and Danville and Piedmont railroads, some times the only ones open to the city of Richmond, great responsibility was devolved on me. The difficulties of obtaining supplies were very great, particularly when the roads under my charge were cut and transportation suspended on them, which was the case upon one or two occasions for several weeks. Engines and cars and machinery generally on these roads were insufficient and inadequate from wear and tear, to accomplish the amount of transportation required by the Government, barely sufficient to meet the daily wants. Every other route for obtaining supplies outside of the State of Virginia was closed long before the surrender, but after you entered on the discharge of the duties of Commissary-General, the Richmond and Danville and Piedmont railroads were kept open, and about that time we added largely to its rolling stock, by procuring engines and cars from the different roads on the route of the Virginia and Tennessee railroad west. Starvation had stared the Army of Northern Virginia in the face; and the Commissary Department organized an appeal to the people on the line of the Richmond and Danville railroad for voluntary contributions of supplies, and a number of gentlemen of influence, character and

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I. M. Saint John (1)
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