prove serious, if not disastrous, especially should the present season prove as unfavorable as the last.
Your country, therefore, appeals to you to lay aside all thought of gain, and to devote yourselves to securing your liberties, without which those gains would be valueless. It is true that the wheat harvest in the more southern States, which will be gathered next month, promises an abundant yield; but even if this promise be fulfilled, the difficulty of transportation, enhanced as it has been by an unusually rainy winter, will cause embarrassments in military operations and suffering among the people, should the crops in the middle and northern portions of the Confederacy prove deficient. But no uneasiness need be felt in regard to a mere supply of bread for man. It is for the large amount of corn and forage required for the raising of live stock and for the supply of the animals used in military operations that your aid is specially required. These articles are too bulky for distant transportation, and in them the deficiency in the last harvest was most felt. Let fields be devoted exclusively to the production of corn, oats, beans, peas, potatoes, and other food for man and beast; let corn be sown broadcast for fodder in immediate proximity to railroads, rivers, and canals, and let all your efforts be directed to the prompt supply of these articles in the districts where our armies are operating. You will thus add greatly to their efficiency and furnish the means without which it is impracticable to make those prompt and active movements which have hitherto stricken terror into our enemies and secured our most brilliant triumphs.
Having thus placed before you, my countrymen, the reasons for the call made on you for aid in supplying the wants of the coming year, I add a few words of appeal in behalf of the brave soldiers now confronting your enemies, and to whom your Government is unable to furnish all the comforts they so richly merit. The supply of meat for the Army is deficient. This deficiency is only temporary, for measures have been adopted which will, it is believed, soon enable us to restore the full ration. But that ration is now reduced at times to one-half the usual quantity in some of our armies. It is known that the supply of meat throughout the country is sufficient for the support of all, but the distances are so great, the condition of the roads has been so bad during the five months of winter weather through which we have just passed.