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[487] the government insisted upon taking the ship. Other vessels were built, and paid for by the credit of the private parties, and by receipts of cotton from those successively put on the line; and the enterprise went on, but with results far below the necessities of the country.

During the whole period of the efforts to put the question of meat supply from abroad upon what the bureau of subsistence deemed a proper footing, the meat in the limits of the Confederacy was being constantly reduced in amount, though under constantly increasing efforts to get it for the army.

The well-known effects of a depreciating currency in causing supplies to be hoarded, rendered it necessary to impress them. This mode was legalized by acts of Congress, which failed, however, to enforce it by any penalty, and rendered it nugatory in many instances by requiring that in all cases the impressment should be accompanied by a proffer of the money. In some States the feeling against it had rendered it almost inoperative, and the judiciary, gubernatorial or legislative action of several had practically nullified the law. As a substitute, to last until the currency could have been amended, it might have answered; but experience showed that, as a permanent system, it would be resisted and evaded to such an extent as to render it of little avail in drawing out a sufficiency, when to furnish it even for the army was to produce privation at home. Under the rapid depreciation of our currency, which was now thought by many to have reached a point of hopeless bankruptcy, and when the prices under the schedule fixed by the Commissioners of Appraisement in the various States were merely nominal, it was regarded by the people as an unjust and tyrannical tax, to be resisted to the point of compelling its abandonment as a mode of supply.

It will thus be seen, on a general survey of the whole subsistence policy of the Confederate government-its practical rejection of trade with the enemy, its feeble and mismanaged efforts in running the blockade, and the small yield of impressments — that there could be but one result and that a constant diminution of supplies to the point of starvation. It was a policy of blunders; it lacked some steady and deliberate system; and it finally, as we shall see, in the close of the year 1864, got to that point where the whole system of Confederate defence was bound to break down by the want of subsistence, even without a catastrophe of arms!

It is astonishing what silly devices were hit upon in Richmond to meet the coming necessity, and how the empirical remedies of shallow brains aggravated the disorder. One of these so-called remedies proved one of the vilest curses that was ever fastened upon the Confederacy. On the 6th November, 1863, an order was issued by the Secretary of War, that no supplies held by a party for his own consumption, or that of his employees or slaves, should be impressed, and that “no officer should at any ”

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