From the Richmond Enquirer, 2/19/1864


It will be remembered that, at an early day in the session of Congress, the Hon. Mr. Foote read a letter from Capt. Warner, Quartermaster, charged with the feeding of the prisoners, alleging a deficit of beef rations, and charging that the Commissary Department was responsible. The matter was referred to a committee for investigation and report.

Some of the papers that were exhibited before that committee we have seen and desire to call public attention to one of them, particularly to the statement of F.C. Brauer, Capt. Warner’s butcher. He says:

"Before the war, I was worth $8,000, invested in my house, and about $12,000 in money. Besides my contract, I have speculated a good deal in bacon, hogs, cattle and gold. Made from gold $30,000; from hogs $25,000, and $6,000 by sale of houses. Have made and invested in real property $270,000, and in funds $30,000 cash capital in my business, amounting to $300,000. I furnished Chimborazo Hospital also with a large amount of beef - about 200,000 lbs - first at current rates, than by contract at same rates. I made at least $160,000 by sales of beef to Warner. I trusted him to weigh, and kept no accounts. Cannot tell how much I have sold him. Told him every month what I would have to charge him, and let him look out elsewhere if he chose. He has never paid me money in advance for beef, except what was impressed by Major Noland. Then he owed me money for other beef, and I considered he owed me the money he paid. Do not know if he owed me quite so much. We used to settle up every month. Never speculated in partnership with him in anything, but have lent him money at various times in sums of ten to twenty thousand dollars. He never paid, nor I charged interest for that money, and I never took security upon his notes, which were merely due bills. - Made him presents, as follows: buggy and harness, and two cows and calves, at different times; and a good suit of clothes, that were No. 1. Sold him his beef for his own use at market rates, and he always paid for it at the end of every few days. Warner came, as far as I can learn from Natchez, but I have heard he formerly lived in Indiana. Know nothing of him before he came into authority at the prisons. Have heard him say he was dissatisfied with that arrangement because he could not get ample provisions. I suppose I have sold him 1,000,000 pounds of beef for prisoners, but am confident I have sold more at my stall than to the prisoners and hospitals combined. Bought the seventy-five Carson cattle for Gen. Winder, under special authority to Capt. Warner to buy cattle when he could not get beef from the Commissary Department. The beef from them was sold to Capt. Warner at 8-cents nett.

"Gen. Winder had orders to purchase protected. The cattle could not, in my judgment, have been bought for less. The hides and tallow of these cattle was my compensation for killing, and was worth five or six thousand dollars. I always sold the prisoners good beef; but cannot say that I sold them the average; rather think I kept the best for my stall."

The committee assert the complaint that the prisoners suffered from being deprived of a sufficiency of food is entirely without foundation, "and fully warranted in making the statement that if the meat ration for prisoners of war was at any time short, or wholly unsupplied, the fact is attributable rather to the relentless and unchristian mode of warfare adopted by our enemies in the wholesale pillage of private property, and the reckless and indiscriminate destruction of all supplies wherever found by them in the hands of loyal citizens of the Confederate States, than to any culpable neglect upon the part of those charged with the duty of subsisting them."

Having published the charge against the Commissary Department when it was made, we take great pleasure in calling attention the complete exoneration of that department by the committee in the following concluding paragraphs of the report:

"Your committee are not prepared to censure either of the officers connected with the care, custody and subsistence of prisoners of war under the obligations imposed by the regulations upon the Quartermaster Department; nor is your committee able to perceive in what respect the Commissary General has failed in the performance of any duty devolved upon him under the agreement entered into between the Quartermaster General and Commissary General."


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