My success in past campaigns is worth nothing if I cannot get what I need for the coming campaign. I am convinced that the railroads as run are inefficient. By changing their operation, I intend to bring enough supplies to the front for this army and to have surplus to carry us past any interruptions:
Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi, Nashville, Tennessee, April 9, 1864
M.C. Meigs, Quartermaster-General, Washington, D. C:
I take the liberty to inclose you copies of my General Orders. No. 6. They were submitted to and modified by Colonel Donaldson and Mr. Anderson. We act in perfect concert and have in view exactly the same end, viz, the transportation of army supplies. I want two more changes: that the collecting of even a cent by way of passage money by a railroad hand or conductor be a death matter; and that the cars should run on a circuit, carrying the heavy cars down to Stevenson via Decatur and bringing back over the old and bad road the empty cars. This would make collisions unlikely, but these railroad men are so accustomed to time-tables that I believe they would run on a single track if a double one lay side by side If a conductor can collect pocket-money, by the way, the cars will be gradually used to that end instead of carrying munitions of war and provisions.
I have begun, and as soon as Mr. McCallum comes I will let him work out the balance of the problem. I am convinced by making all these changes we can supply, with the use of the boats completed and in progress, 100,000 men operating from our base, viz, Chattanooga to Decatur.
McCallum can’t get his increased stock of cars here in time to contribute to our operations this spring. We should have an accumulation of stores at the front rather than an increased means of transportation. I take it for granted, as we collect our troops for action, our roads will be frequently interrupted.
I want accumulations at Chattanooga, Bridgeport, and Huntsville by May 1.
I am, with respect,
W. T. SHERMAN, Major-General