Tuesday, February 25, 2014

January 28, 1864 (Tuesday):Preserving Farms

January 28, 1864.
     In order to afford every facility and encouragement to the farmers to prepare for planting the coming season, the general commanding directs that particular attention be given to the preservation of the fencing and the closing of roads through fields which the owners may desire to cultivate. The gaps in the inclosures of such fields which have been made by the army will be closed by the nearest command, and passage across them by persons mounted or on foot and by vehicles will be strictly prohibited. Travel will be confined to the regular roads of the country as far as practicable.
Corps and division commanders will see to the strict enforcement of this order, and give to farmers in their vicinity all the assistance in their power.
     The general commanding is confident that it is only necessary to remind the army of the importance of a supply of provisions for its use, and that of the people, to insure a cheerful compliance by all.

     R. E. LEE,

Official Records, Series I., Vol. 33, Part 1, Page 1126.

Armies occupied vast amounts of rich farm land.  In the case of the Army of Northern Virginia, that farm land had been occupied and reoccupied for the duration of what was now a long, hard war.  Lee was here making sure that the farmers who provided the crops which fed his army had the best chance of being productive, even if that meant his soldiers had to take the long way around to get from point to point. 

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