Wednesday, January 22, 2014

January 22, 1864 (Wednesday): Short Rations In Lee's Army


January 22, 1864.
    The commanding general considers it due to the army to state that the temporary reduction of rations has been caused by circumstances beyond the control of those charged with its support. Its welfare and comfort are the objects of his constant and earnest solicitude, and no effort has been spared to provide for its wants. It is hoped that the exertions now being made will render the necessity of short duration, but the history of the army has shown that the country can require no sacrifice too great for its patriotic devotion.
     Soldiers! You tread with no unequal step the road by which your fathers marched through suffering, privations, and blood to independence. Continue to emulate in the future, as you have in the past, their valor in arms, their patient endurance of hardships, their high resolve to be free, which no trail could shake, no bride seduce, no danger appeal, and be assured that the just God who crowned their efforts with success will, His own good time, send down His blessing upon yours.

      R. E. LEE,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 33, Part 1, Page 1117.

Lee was worried about the very survival of the army itself.  The shortage in rations was not, as Lee maintained here, "beyond the control of those charged with its support".  Authorities in Richmond were not without blame for the shortage of rations, even if continued Union incursions made supply more difficult.  War weariness was growing in both north and south.

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