James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
private property for public use and authorized substantially, within certain limits, any officer of the army to seize any property anywhere in the Confederacy in order to accumulate supplies or for the good of the service.
The outcry against the operation of this law was bitter, widely extended and prolonged; and the evils of impressment were thoroughly appreciated by the War Department. Some attempt, which was probably futile, was made to correct the abuses; its operation was conceded to be harsh, unequal and odious but inexorable necessity had led to the adoption of the policy and would require its continuance.
High taxation, loans and the purchase of food at the market price was suggested as a policy in lieu of impressment: all had become impracticable. In 1863 the currency in which the taxes were received was redundant and steadily depreciating; in 1864 it was scarce but worth still less than in 1863. All sorts of bond issues were tried and as large an amount of loans was floated as the market would take. That the amount of bonds was smaller in proportion to the amount of Treasury notes than one would expect was not due to financial mismanagement but to the paucity of savings available at the South for such a permanent investment. The surplus capital, as is well known, had been constantly laid out in land and negroes. By January 1, 1863, it became apparent that primitive methods must supplant the modern mechanism of business operations. The South had practically no specie, or, in other words, no basis for a modern fiscal system, consisting of a redeemable currency and bonds. She had no credit. At the outbreak of the war she was in debt to the North and to Europe. With the closing of her ports by the blockade, her chance of getting any credits in the marts of the world was gone. One has only to look over many schedules of