OR, Series 1, Vol. 24, Part 3, Page 1068

Office Post Quartermaster
Meridian, Miss.
February 14, 1863
Maj. R. W. Mimminger
Asst. Adjt. Gen.
   I telegraphed you to-day concerning the apparently conflicting orders of Lieutenant-General Pemberton, of December 12 (by telegraph from Maj. L. Mims), and December 18 (written also from Major Mims), and decisions recently made at Richmond.
   From the first promulgation of these orders, there has been, on the part of the management of the Mobile & Ohio road, a spirit of discontent and ungracious obedience amounting almost to resistance. Parties to whom I have given permits to transport corn down the road for domestic consumption, have been told by the superintendent of the road that such permits were worthless; that the management of the road was vested in the owners and directors of it, not in General Pemberton; and that when not fully occupied with Government transportation, transportation for corn and such supplies would be furnished to private parties without as readily as with these authorized permits from the commander of this department.
   A recent communication from J. J. McRae, and another dispatch (which has been published in the Mississippian successively), of which I have no copy, has led the superintendent and managers of the road to believe that they are fully warranted in so acting, by decisions of the War Department. Under this conviction, they were transporting corn to Mobile for a private party, which has been stopped here, and awaits your orders. No application has been made to me for transportation of stores, bought by quartermasters or their agents, but I have reason to believe that supplies of corn are being bought and shipped to Mobile, by order and for the use of General Buckner's command. My orders from Major Mims extend only to the "refusal of transportation" in such cases. Is it the design and order of General Pemberton that I shall intervene and prevent these stores also from going out of his department, even with transportation furnished by General Buckner's quartermaster? I think you will allow, major, that my orders in doing so should be distinct and unequivocal. They will be promptly obeyed, whatever they are.
   I have to report, also, that a limited quantity of supplies for the "free market" of Mobile, consisting of corn, lard, soap, peas, and a small quantity of meat, was this morning, after consultation with Major Mangum, commandant of the post, allowed to pass on its way. In doing so, after investigation to satisfy me that its ostensible destination was the genuine one, I believed I was acting in accordance with the spirit of the letter of instructions of Major Mires of December 15, authorizing me to "make exceptional cases in favor of private parties who would necessarily suffer by being cut off in the transportation of corn." I would be glad to know if my doing so is approved.
   If Lieutenant General Pemberton's order has been revoked or abrogated from Richmond, and the Mobile & Ohio road licensed to drain this department of its supply of corn for the supply of Mobile, it will be unfortunate. I have reason to believe, and do believe, that there is in Alabama, contiguous to the Alabama River, and along the lines of her railroads, an ample supply of corn for the uses of the military forces within her limits. No such wise forecast, however, as that which has had control in this State having been exerted, it is held at such high prices that the suffering people turn to this department, not so much because there are no supplies elsewhere within their reach, but because, through this much clamored-against order, the price has been kept within living range. This barrier to extortion broken down, supplies and prices will be as scarce and high in Mississippi as in Alabama.
All of which is respectfully submitted for consideration and the orders of the general commanding.
J. M. McMahon
Major and Quartermaster