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

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  his army which were due mainly to the “insufficiency of food and non-payment of the troops.” 1 Even the Confederate paper money was not to be had, although this was fast losing value. Sixty dollars of it were needed to buy one dollar in gold. Beef sold for $6 a pound and flour for $1000 a barrel. The weather was cold and fuel scarce. Jones makes a record of the mercury at zero and wood selling at $5 a stick. 2 In the midst of this distress came the news that Fort Fisher had fallen. 3 This closed Wilmington, North Carolina, the last open port of the Confederacy. Blockade-running was now at an end. The trade with Europe of cotton and tobacco for needed supplies, on which the South had lived and carried on the war, must now cease. As the existence of the Confederacy depended on Lee’s army, the most serious feature of a very grave situation was the lack of food for his soldiers. Sherman’s march had cut off the supplies from Georgia, but meat and corn could be obtained from southwest Virginia and the Carolinas. The permanent way, however, of the Richmond and Danville Railroad, on which the transportation of this food depended, had not been kept up; the locomotives, cars and machinery generally were out of repair so that the daily wants of the commissariat could hardly be met. Lee reported that the whole country within reach of his army had been “swept clear.” The Commissary-General wrote that for several months the Army of Northern Virginia had been “living literally from hand to mouth.” 4 The overpowering difficulty was the lack of money. In North Carolina producers refused to sell, as they feared the Government would not pay. In a number
Note 1. Jan. 27, O. R., XLVI, Pt. 2, 1143. [back]
Note 2. Jan. 11, 13, 14, 27. Jones, II, 383, 384, 386, 400. [back]
Note 3. Jan. 16. [back]
Note 4. Jan. 11, Feb. 9, O. R., XLVI, Pt. 2, 1035, 1211. [back]