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 Food supplies were very scarce in Richmond, and became enormously high in Confederate currency, and during the very severe last winter of the war all the female operatives who filled cartridges with powder, left the arsenal and struck for higher wages. These were trained operatives, and the demand for ammunition was too great to afford time to train others even if they could have been secured. An increase in money wages would not relieve the difficulty. I remember once being, early in the morning, on the island in James river, with the ice and frost everywhere, surrounded by a number of thinly-clad, shivering women, and, mounting a flour barrel, I attempted to pursuade them by appeals to their loyalty and patriotism to continue at their work until better arrangements could be made. But patriotic appeals had no effect on shivering, starving women. Very fortunately at this juncture a vessel with a cargo for the Ordnance Department ran the blockade at Wilmington, N. C., laden, not with rifles and powder, but with bacon and syrup and articles for food and clothing, these being of extreme value. An ordinance store was immediately established, and food and clothing sold to the employees of the arsenal at one-fourth the market price. This fortunate cargo made all happy and relieved the impending difficulty. I submit herewith a statement of the principal issues from the arsenal made up to January 1, 1865. This can be relied on as accurate, having been copied from the official reports preserved at the arsenal, consolidating all issues. The report was prepared by my order, furnished the Richmond Enquirer, and published the day of the evacuation of Richmond. A copy was published in the New Eclectic Magazine, April, 1869, from which this extract is taken.
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