The Old Story of the Sick Lion
"AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF 1865," wrote Confederate Assistant Secretary of War John Archibald Campbell, "there was no connection between the government in Richmond and the Trans-Mississippi Department; the defeat of the Army [of Tennessee] at Nashville had opened the West and the Southwest to invasion in every part; Sherman's army had devastated Georgia and all the railroad communication in the South and South-west. The war was on the part of the Confederates limited to the defense of Richmond and its dependencies."1 Campbell's postwar assessment paints a justifiably bleak picture. Though Confederate forces still controlled sections of Virginia and the Carolinas, the port city of Mobile, Alabama, and considerable portions of the Trans-Mississippi, this dominance meant little. Union forces were concentrating for decisive onslaughts against rebel armies in all theaters.
The Confederate war machine against which the Union offensives were to be launched faced serious logistical and manpower problems. In January 1865 Confederate Commissary General Lucius B. Northrop reported to Adjutant General Samuel Cooper: "The feeding 'from hand to mouth' is our permanent condition with a ravaged country, broken-down teams, and R. Rd. transportation not sufficient for bringing