Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 39.djvu/68

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56 Southern Historical Society Papers.

under the effects of hunger and nakedness. Confident that I desire no more power than is necessary to discharge the oner- ous and responsible duties imposed upon me, I would be obliged by a free expression of your views as to the limits which define that power.

Permit me to trespass further on your time, and to express in decided terms, the opinion that the business of the Q'r M'r Dept., within the limits of your command, can never be con- ducted in a satisfactory manner so long as Maj. Barbour is at the head of it. I have earnestly desired to confer with you on this subject, and the present occasion seems to open the door.

Major Barbour has never settled his accounts fully for a single quarter during his long service in the Army of Northern Virginia; though he had abundant opportunity for doing so during the many months while you were retired from active service by a disabling wound. And the reputation for loose management and utter disregard of the public interest, which he has left in Richmond and throughout the country that consti- tuted the field of his operations, is such as attaches, to no other disbursing officer in the broad limits of the Confederacy who wields like power, and necessarily destroys confidence in his present and future efficiency as public officer. And the records of this' office show that this impression is not made by mere "public clamor."

Nor has the official conduct of Maj. Barbour in the South West been such as to improve the character he had established for looseness and inefficiency. His transactions and correspond- ence with this Bureau are more unsatisfactory than those of any other officer of this Dept. holding a position of the least con- sequence, and though he has received twenty millions of money since April last, he has rendered no accounts to this Bureau. The complaints from disbursing officers who are entitled to re- ceive funds from him are equal to all the others in the Con- federacy put together; and his "estimates" furnish no such in- formation and details as enable this Dept. to form any just no- tion of his necessities. He has now sent in one for Sept. &