August 29, 1862, The Charleston Mercury
A very general feeling of uneasiness prevails throughout the country in regard to the supply of shoes and blankets for our soldiers during the approaching winter. The matter is a very serious one and should at once engage the attention of the Government. Last year, when our armies in the field were favored by Providence with a winter of unexampled mildness, and when the measures of the Confederate Government were backed by the strenuous exertions of the States, and by such an outpouring of the contributions of individual patriotism as the world has seldom sees, it is well known that the supplies of clothing were still insufficient for the comfort and health of our troops. If the suffering endured by our soldiers during last winter should again be felt during the next, it would probably be upon a scale of increased and appalling magnitude. But the army and the people look to the Government to prevent it.
There is nothing to hinder the Government from making preparations adequate to the emergency. In the English and French markets, shoes, blankets, and everything needful for the bodily comfort of soldiers can be bought, of good quality and in any quantity. It is only necessary that the Government should buy, and assume the risk of importation. Everybody knows that the risks of the blockade are freely taken by individuals, and that scarcely a week passes that a steamer does not dash into some Southern port. But the cargos of these steamers, instead of being set apart for the use of the army, are pounced upon by war speculators and sharpers, and are of little real benefit either to the people or their defenders. If the Government hopes to clothe its soldiers, it must obtain the clothes abroad in sufficient quantities and import them on its own account.
The subject is too important to be left to the enterprise of private individuals, however exalted their patriotism, or however plethoric their pockets. It is the plain duty of the Government to undertake the ventures; upon a scale commensurate with its wants, and making a liberal allowance for the chances of partial loss. Whatever measures are taken should be taken at once, and no expense should be spared to render them effectual. There is no price that the Confederate States cannot afford to pay, rather than that the health and strength of their soldiers should suffer.