This Week in the Civil War - #1014
By January 1865 manpower and material shortages were a way of life in the Confederacy. On Friday, January 27, 1865 General Lee wrote the Confederate War Department, noting “the alarming desertion from this army.” Lee complained that the “ration is too small for men who have to undergo as much exposure and labor as ours” and expressed the belief that the Confederate Commissary Department could do a better job of supplying his army with desperately needed essentials. In truth, many Confederates were simply giving up on the war effort and returning home rather than going over to the enemy. However, deserters took rations and weapons with them when they departed; the loss of materials was as severe a blow to Lee’s forces as the loss of the men themselves.