James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927). History of the Civil War, 1861–1865. 1917.

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  with grain, beef and mutton, but next year such commerce would have been stopped by Grant’s capture of Vicksburg and possession of the Mississippi river. While Virginia complained of scarcity, Sherman, in January, 1863, reported abundant supplies in Mississippi. “We found cattle and fat ones feeding quietly,” he wrote. “The country everywhere abounds with corn.” Grant’s cutting loose from his base in May, 1863, and living upon the country is a well-known episode; and during the autumn of 1864, Sherman’s army in Georgia revelled in plenty while Lee’s soldiers almost starved in Virginia. The whole difficulty was one of transportation.  6   In 1861 the railroads began to deteriorate, and as the years went on their condition got worse and worse. “The wear and tear” of a railroad is enormous and can be counteracted only by constant repair and renewal which in this case was impossible. In time of peace every article of railroad equipment had been purchased at the North. While freight cars were constructed at the South “every bolt and rod, every wheel and axle, every nail, spike and screw, every sheet of tin, every ounce of solder, every gallon of oil and every pound of paint” came from Northern workshops, and factories, as did likewise, for the most part, passenger cars and locomotives: if these last were sometimes made at the South, this concession to local patriotism or convenience cost much in money. At the same time with decay came increased business, one element in which was the transportation of food to great distances for the army and cities. In 1862 a good crop of Indian corn in southern Georgia and Florida and the poor one elsewhere east of Louisiana required equalization which the railroads were called upon to effect. They hauled a considerable amount of provisions and other freight but, in 1862 and the succeeding years,