Sub. Dept. Richmond
Decem 10, 1864
Your communication of 30 Ult has been recd. You have been already informed of the necessities of the occasion dependant on want of funds & sufficient transportation, together with a number of minor impediments. You are reminded of my taking you to the Sec. of War many weeks ago, of what passed, & the ground taken by me in respect to the Bread ration.
I have been under the impression that Gen Lee has been acquainted with the condition of affairs above stated, hence my surprise that he should expect an increase of the Bread ration at this time, as he guards the connections south.
If I had not put the Ration at One pound five months ago, not one pound would now be in Richmond, or Petersburg.
You are aware of my answer to the Secry of War on that point. The enemy, who felt their way to their present system of desolating all districts occupied by them, have presented, to the rough reasoning of common men, temptations to desert, & go to their ruined homes, and care for their females & children.
It is not improbable that other men, without families, or ties of nativity on the approach of winter, may have yielded to offers from the enemy, analogous to the inducements presented to their men by us.
I do not think that the Ration of Bread is the most obvious, or most probable cause of the desertion to which you refer.
The Bread Ration cannot now be increased. I shall think ourselves fortunate if we can maintain it, which is doubtful, as you know.
Yr Obt. Svt
L. B. Northrop
Source: Frank G. Ruffin Papers, Mss1 R8386a 20, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 May 6