Discussion Summer 1864, CSA Supplies Short

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2nd Lieutenant
Mar 6, 2010
Charlotte, NC
While occasional shortages of supplies had been noted throughout the life of the Confederate Army, buy the summer of 1864, dealing with shortages had become a major consumer of the QM General's time and effort. The list below is derived from the Outgoing Letters Ledger of the QMG for that time (Commissary, Navy, Treasury, and some Ordnance shortages are not reflected in his letters or this list):

Wool -- for uniforms. Plans were being executed to ship wool from Shreveport to Mobile, but results have not been found
Hides -- for leather for shoes, saddles, harnesses, etc. Harnesses were being made of cotton, stuffed with corn husks because of the leather shortage
Horses -- though not a QM matter, the calls to transport horses by railroad to the ANV, when such transportation had never been allowed in the past, shows the great need
Iron -- Union raids had greatly reduced the supply of iron from western Virginia to Richmond and desperate orders were issued to get what was already smelted and at the mines transported east
Lead -- same problem as with iron, though significant amounts of lead were being imported
Men -- as the armies shrank in manpower, the necessity for a QM at the infantry regimental level had declined to the point that they were dispensed with. QMs were newly assigned to the Brigade level and surplus QMs reassigned or dropped from the rolls. No new QMs were being appointed
Corn -- QM corn was essential for the armies' horses and was a matter of constant concern as early as early 1862.
Fodder -- Baled long fodder (corn stalks and hay) was shipped in to provide the bulk for horses diets. This was so difficult to get to the field forces, that cotton mill offal was ordered to be fed to post (not field) horses, starting in August
Hospital tents -- the AOT called repeatedly for hospital tents, which the QMG could barely provide
Cotton -- needed in the capital area to keep the mills running in Richmond and Petersburg. Cotton had to fight with QM corn, ammunition, etc for space on the RRs. While the QMs in the supplying cities got guidance from Col. Sims and the QMG, they must have had a hard balancing act to decide how much of which item to ship on a particular train
Cotton cloth -- even though Confederate mills were being supplied with cotton, the demand was so great that many thousand yards of cloth had to be imported and assigned. Since the cloth was assigned to the armies, there must have been a system of sending the cloth to seamstresses supporting those armies --- and these women could not have been making the uniforms that were made and issued as uniform parts at the same time that the cloth was being issued

Clearly, even before Atlanta fell, the South's resources were at the breaking point.
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