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[128] upheld him, as he was wont to do all personal friends of his. This is corroborated by the following extract from a significant letter of the Hon. Wm. P. Miles to General Beauregard, bearing date of Richmond, August 6th, 1861.

Dear General,—I received your despatch to-day, suggesting Colonel R. B. Lee as the “best man for Commissary-General, and Colonel J. L. Kemper as Assistant Quartermaster-General.” The President has not the remotest idea of removing Colonel Northrop. On the contrary, he is under the impression that he has done everything in his power in his department. You can readily see that there is, therefore, no possibility of the radical reform you suggest in this department. In the other case it would require a reorganization of the general staff, so far as the Quartermaster Department is concerned.

* * * * * * * * *

Very sincerely yours,

Colonel Miles's opinion was more than confirmed by events. Not only was the Commissary-General maintained in his position, but his influence with the administration appeared to increase, as did, most undoubtedly, his well-known and already proverbial inefficiency. Mr. Davis's book is replete with words of praise and commendation for him. Mr. Davis has not, even to this day, forgiven those who complained, not of the motives of Colonel Northrop—who was known to be a man of character and education—but of his fearful shortcomings, so detrimental to the good of the service.

Mr. Davis says that it affords him the greatest pleasure to speak as he does of Colonel Northrop, ‘because those less informed of all he did, and skilfully tried to do, have been profuse of criticism, and sparing indeed of the meed justly his due.’1 In another part of his book he uses the following language: ‘To direct the production, preservation, collection, and distribution of food for the army, required a man of rare capacity and character at the head of the subsistence department. It was our good fortune to have such a one in Colonel L. B. Northrop, who was appointed Commissary-General at the organization of the bureaus of the executive department of the Confederate government.’2 These remarks of Mr. Davis are made in defiance of the opinion of the whole South, as entertained and openly expressed throughout the war. The disposition to defend a friend and to protect his

1 ‘Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government,’ vol. i. p. 315.

2 Ibid. vol. i. p. 303.

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