James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
of Virginia counties along the Potomac the people, who had formerly held that patriotism required them to take Confederate money and refuse greenbacks, would now sell their cattle and hogs only for United States currency, cotton or gold. In Virginia generally gold or greenbacks were necessary to obtain horses. The value of the paper currency of a nation is a symptom of the nations stability, and men had it thus brought home to them in the common operations of life, that the financial system of the Confederacy had broken down while the enemys money was eagerly sought for within its borders. A natural step in reasoning led to a distrust of the whole Southern enterprise. Traffic across the lines with country under control of the Union forces was an important source of supply for Lees army. This traffic, which consisted in the exchange of cotton for subsistence stores, was carried on largely by agents of the Confederate government.
Despondency and discontent filled the public mind. President Davis was discontented with his Congress and Congress was equally discontented with him; and many people were dissatisfied with both. The General Assembly of Virginia by a unanimous vote expressed the opinion that Lees appointment to the command of all the armies would promote their efficiency and reanimate the spirit of both soldiers and people. This was communicated deferentially and in confidence to Davis who, with ready sympathy, replied that he fully agreed with the Assembly; shortly afterwards he appointed Lee General-in-chief.1 It is significant that all men, no matter how they might differ in other respects, turned with one accord to Lee as their saviour if indeed salvation were to be had. His personal influence is illustrated by a circumstance occurring at this time. Heavy