By the summer of 1863, the availability of beef and other provisions from Florida was crucial to Confederate forces east of the Mississippi. The fall of Vicksburg in July had barred access to western beef, and food stocks in the East were nearly depleted. In October, the situation was so critical that one Army of Tennessee supply officer pleaded with Florida’s commissary agent: “I cannot too strongly urge upon you the necessity, yes, the urgency, of sending forward cattle promptly. It appears that all other resources are exhausted.” The following day he added, “I assure you that nearly all now depends on you.“
Brown, Jr., Canter
"Tampa's James McKay and the Frustration of Confederate Cattle-Supply Operations in South Florida,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 70:
4, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol70/iss4/3