Today in History:

1269 Series I Volume XLII-III Serial 89 - Richmond-Fort Fisher Part III


sented to the chief quartermaster of the army, and by him to the department at Richmond.' Your communication of the 10th was the first intimation received to this effect, and the only one, save the requisition referred to, which followed. This is only mentioned to show that more timely information as to your actual wants might have avoided trouble. There has not been a time within the two months prior to your call when, upon short notice, the army could not have been fairly supplied with every article except overcoats, which are not made up, nor is there now any difficulty sa be as to jackets and pants, and that occasioned by the fact that recent movements in Georgia have absorbed the production of one manufacturing depot, that at Augusta, and cut us off from another, the largest in the Confederacy, the one at Columbus, Ga. Some of the requisitions indicate a want of shirts, drawers, and socks. As to these there has never been any difficulty, every depot being stocked. Of shoes the department for four months past has had an ample supply, and of blankets a fair supply, at this point, and large numbers stored elsewhere. The latter, as already stated, are now reaching here. Major Bentley has been directed to send you 10,000 blankets, besides the recent shipments, and I feel that I can safely say you may call upon him for whatever you may need, either in the way of shoes or blankets, between now and the end of the quarter to make the army comfortable, and he will be able to forward the same promptly. To meet the present deficiency of pants and jackets it has been arranged to put up the production at this point to 1,000 suits a day; all of which will go to you until you are supplied. Some thousands of flannel shirts have recently been sent to you and others will be forwarded as they may arrive. The 5,000 overcoats then on hand were placed at your disposal some six weeks ago, and it is hoped that some 10,000 or 12,000 more may be received from abroad in a short time, the bulk of which will go to you.

The great aim of the department has been to economize supplies for the benefit of the troops in the field. To that end issues to furloughed men have been suspended, and issues to detailed men and men in hospitals greatly diminished. For the Army of Norther Virginia it has felt especial concern, and it is now confident that in a short time it will be able to meet all fair demands in its behalf. In this connection, however, it is suggested that immediate and efficient steps be taken to check the waste of soldiers' clothing by sale and barter. It is an evil greatly on the increase, and with the facilities that soldiers have in Petersburg and Richmond for disposing of what is sent to them, it will be impossible with the amplest supply to keep the army clad, unless this abuse is stopped. The department has suffered, too, from the absence of its detailed operatives. The bulk of the shoemakers detailed from the army in the field on the ground that they could be more advantageously employed at their trade as experts, have been in the trenches for three months past, and are still there. I would suggest, further, that next spring the soldiers be required to turn in their blankets. They will then be more available for reissue, and the department will be able to look ahead. The requisitions referred to are returned with this communication, as they may be of service in the distribution of the supplies now going forward.