Wednesday, September 7, 2011

September 7, 1861 (Sunday): Wasting Supplies

Manassas Junction
RICHMOND, September 7, 1861.

Lieutenant Colonel A. C. MYERS,
Acting Quartermaster-General, C. S. Army:
SIR: I have received from an official source information that the million of cartridges which reached Manassas a few days ago from Richmond are lying in piles on the ground, exposed to the rain, and must be damaged. If sent from Richmond without notice to the quartermaster at Mannasas to provide sheds, the blame is in Richmond. If this notice was given, the quartermaster at Manassas is to blame. Every one knows that the deficiency in store-houses at Manassas has existed from the time the army arrived, and this defect should have been remedied long ago. Quartermasters's stores of all kinds lie out in the rain for weeks. I have no patience while powder, &c., is exposed to damage and our plans exposed to failure by want of ordinary management. I do not mean to censure any one, for I know none of the heads of the department; but these facts should be made known in Richmond, and prompt steps taken to remove the evils. I regret to trouble you, and only do so in hopes that some good may be the result. It is only necessary for me to add that the subject demands immediate attention and the evils complained of prompt remedy.*


Secretary of War.

Official Records, Series I, Vol. 1, Part 1, Page 853

Wars are not won solely by battles, but also by supply and logistics.  Early in the war the Confederates had much better stores of supplies than they would as the war progressed, not possessing the industrial capacity of the North to replace what was consumed.  Much of the supplies in Virginia were going directly to their exposed position at Manassas.   As seen here, they were not prepared to receive them as there was not an adequate depot system in place.

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