In this letter, dated Culpeper Court House, August 2, 1863, Peter Wellington Alexander reports on a significant shoe situation. No, not the one you're thinking of. Apparently, prior to the Gettysburg campaign, a large number of substandard shoes were issued to the Army of Northern Virginia. Does anyone know which brigades might have been the unlucky recipients of the second-rate shoes?
"...The rest here has been of much service to men and animals. We came out of Maryland with nearly ten thousand barefooted men, and all had suffered more or less in the wear and tear of clothing. These wants have been pretty well supplied by the quartermasters, who have displayed commendable zeal in the matter, and by some of the State authorities. The German shoes furnished the men just before they started to Pennsylvania were of a very inferior description. They were low quartered russets, light and thin, and the leather very poor. Such shoes would never answer the purpose of a vine dresser, a gardner [sic] or an artisan, who had but little walking to do, but are totally unfit for a soldier; whose marches are long and frequently over rough roads and through drenching rains. They last from three days to six weeks, generally not longer than a week or two, especially if the weather is wet or a river is forded; for, the leather being inferior, the soles spread when they get wet, and soon become part of the uppers, as it were, from which they separate when they get dry again...."
Source: The Rome Weekly Courier (Rome, Ga.), August 21, 1863, page 1.
*This is an excerpt of a letter, written by correspondent "P.W.A." is dated Culpeper C. H., Va., August 2, 1863; sent back home to the Savannah Republican and reprinted in The Rome Weekly Courier. Peter Wellington Alexander was the now well-known war correspondent who always signed his submissions "P.W.A." Alexander had previously served as editor of the Savannah Republican. In 2002, a guy named William B. Styple discovered Alexander’s letters and manuscripts at the Columbia University Rare Book & Manuscript Library and edited/published some of them in Writing & Fighting the Confederate War: The Letters of Peter Wellington Alexander, Confederate War Correspondent. EDIT TO ADD: I haven't read Styple's book so don't know if this particular letter is included in that book.