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NP: July 21, 1864 Richmond Examiner: Rotten Tobacco

To the Editor of the Examiner:

I desire, through your paper, to call the attention of the authorities to the quality of the tobacco rations now being issued to the army.  It is absolutely rotten, and is what was called, before the war, “the negro tobacco.”

We desire to know whose business it is to procure this tobacco.  There must be some complicity between the persons whose duty it is to furnish it and those whose duty it is to issue it.  In the name of the soldiers, humanity and justice, I ask how long are we to be the victims of dishonest quartermasters and commissaries?  We are willing for the cause in which we are engaged, if necessity requires, cheerfully to submit to short allowance of other rations, because we appreciate such a necessity.  But we cannot understand why we are thus imposed upon in regard to the article of tobacco.  To prove to you that I am speaking truthfully in this matter, I forward to you a sample of the tobacco drawn by us on yesterday.  I hope you will publish this communication in order that the officials may see what an imposition is practiced upon soldiers and apply the remedy.

Very respectfully,


[NOTE.—The sample of tobacco alluded to above is in our possession.  It is very rotten, and soaked in liquorice, mean liquor, sugar, &c, to hide its true character; but to smell it, even with all this doctoring, is enough to sicken the stomach of the most hardy soldier.  This is the second or third time we have called attention to the rotten tobacco drawn by our soldiers.  Why is it not remedied?  Are quartermasters interested in the matter?]1

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  1. No title. Richmond Examiner. July 20, 1864, p. 1 col. 6
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