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1864 February 6: A Few Facts About the Conditions of the Confederacy

February 8, 2014

An article from the St. Paul Press, quoting a Confederate newspaper—the Richmond Whig—and reprinted in The Polk County Press of February 6, 1864, listed the deficiencies to be found in the Confederacy.

“A Few Facts.”

Under this  head the Richmond Whig of a recent date presents the following facts illustrative of the rebel condition :—Three thousand men in Longstreet’s corps are bare-foot ;  Johnson’s [sic: Joseph E. Johnston] army is suffering terribly for want of blankets and clothing ;  Lee’s [Robert E. Lee] soldiers are destitute of socks and other necessary clothing ;  and the whole energies of the Confederacy are summoned to supply the demand ;  the prospect for clothing next year is dark and gloomy ;  it cannot be got through the blockade, and there are no materials in the home market.  The sources both of leather and wool are diminishing every day ;  the supply of food is equally scant ;  very little bacon is left ;  beef is going and mutton will not feed great armies, even could it be  had ;  the crops are failing, and prices constantly going up ;  besides, there is no labor, without which there can be no production ;  the conscription is taking to the ranks all the whites, and the negro will not work.  Even if the would, he could not prevent famine, which would bring insurrection with it.  Then, without crops, horses cannot be fed, and an army without horses is a man without limbs.  Even now, horses sufficient to serve the purposes of the existing army are obtained with the greatest difficulty, so that it is utterly impossible to double the army and increase the trains, as some extravagantly talk of doing ;  still further, besides wagons and trains, muskets, cannon and ammunition must be had, and these it is not possible to procure.  There is now only a bare sufficiency of muskets and cannon to supply present needs, and as to ammunition, since Charleston and Wilmington have been closed, and the nitre beds of Tennessee torn from the rebel grasp, the supply can never be more than equal to the demands of the present army.

What a showing is this for the rebellion which started with such great expectations !  “An army poorly clad”—we used the language of the Whig “scantily fed, indifferently equipped, badly mounted, with insufficient trains, with barely enough ammunition,” and with nothing but want, suffering and defeat before it—this is the dependence, and the only dependence of the rebel leaders, who, three years ago, promised to water their horses in the Delaware river and flaunt their banner from the Capitol of the nation.—St. Paul Press.

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