Quartermaster Meigs agrees with my orders for no travel on the railroads to Chattanooga other than supplies. We have the supplies we need at Nashville. Effort must be made to forward them to the front. Meigs is concerned about wagons due to shortage of horses and mules. He suggests that we use shelter rather than tents to reduce or trains. I have encouraged my commands to travel with as little baggage as possible.
Quartermaster-General’s Office, Washington, D. C., April 20, 1864
Major General W. T. Sherman, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi, Nashville, Tennessee
I have received your letter of 9th with copies of Orders, No. 6. Colonel McCallum has been sick, but is now on his way to Nashville.
By use of all the steam-boats from Bridgeport to Chattanooga, and by running the heavy trains over the easier grades and better rails of the Decatur route, I doubt not you can accelerate the accumulation of stores at the front. Mr. Anderson will do what is possible to further your views, and Colonel McCallum, on his arrival, you will find possessed of great capacity.
Resist the pressure of civilians and private donations and supplies, march your troops, and devote the cars solely to transportation of military necessities, and you will accomplish much. Many civilians can give charitable, patriotic, benevolent, and religious reasons to be allowed to go to the front; the reasons are so good that nothing but an absolute and unchangeable prohibition of all such travel will do any good.
I understand that one engine per day is being sent forward to Nashville, and that fifteen cars per day are also added to the stock. We have had to quietly but firmly impress the locomotive manufactories; that is, notify them that the engines must be made and delivered for the United States in bar of all other customers or contractors. You have grain for 50,000 animals to 1st January next at Nashville, your base, and rations for 200,000 men for four months. All the energy heretofore directed to forwarding supplies to Nashville should now be devoted to getting them in advance Of that point, and the purchase and forwarding to Nashville should be stopped. Will you see to this ? Money is needed for all purposes and should not be spent upon accumulating a surplus in Nashville.
You will be obliged, I think, to move with smaller trains than Rosecrans had last year. The broken-down animals of the last campaign in East Tennessee and Georgia have not recovered yet; the sad cannot be replaced. We are short of mules east and west, and I find great difficulty in procuring cavalry horses needed here The Cavalry Bureau, charged specially with mounting the cavalry, is also in difficulties. They find the supply of horses deficient.
To a marching column of 35,000 men here General Grant has assigned 600 wagons for all purposes.
Captain Poe, in charge of your engineer depot at Nashville, has, I am told, charge of the photographic establishment. Some very interesting photographs or the scenery about Nashville and Knoxville, I am told, have been taken. I nave seen a set of Chattanooga views, which are interesting and beautiful. Can you not send me two sets of each, one for my office and one for myself ? I should prefer them sent on thin paper, to be mounted here. They are less injured in the mail.
I am, very truly, yours,
M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General.
General Smith (W. S.), chief of cavalry, has I learn, called for 30,000 horses for the cavalry of your military division. These cannot be obtained in time for the opening of the campaign. I learn unofficially that an order has issued to dismount mounted infantry and transfer their horses to cavalry. The nominal cavalry force is too large.
Quartermaster-General’s Office, Washington, D.C, April 20, 1864
Major General W. T. Sherman, Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi, Nashville
I have your letter, and agreeing with you entirely I have requested the Adjutant-General to issue an order nearly in the
words you suggest.
I hope that General Allen will be able, by the large control he will have of the resources of the Quartermaster s Department, to aid you materially in your operations.
I have applied to the Secretary, having some time since consulted General Grant, for orders to accompany the headquarters of the lieutenant-general commanding during the approaching campaign, believing that during the active operations I can be more useful there than in this Bureau. During the time of preparations this was undoubtedly my place, but our preparations are completed.
To one thing let me call your attention: the burdensome tentage of your armies. Requisitions are still referred here, asking, in violation of general orders, for Sibley tents, wall-tents, A-tents, &c. We make no more Sibley tents. The eastern armies are fitted out with shelter-tents entirely.
Burnside’s command turned in the other day a complete outfit of A-tents, which they had received while encamped at Annapolis, and yesterday they marched through Washington, every man with shelter-tent rolled up on his knapsack, all contented. I rode out to meet them on Sunday evening, and I saw a division go into camp. In half an hour after stacking arms, without waiting for wagons, every man had his shelter-tent up and all were housed. The shelter-tent is more healthy than the A, or wall, or Sibley, and the difference in mobility of an army thus sheltered and an army with the other tents is enormous.
To Burnside’s column, intended to be 35,000 strong (infantry, cavalry, and artillery), were assigned, on the estimates tor his outfit. 600 wagons and 180 ambulances. If any difference in strength is made the outfit will be changed. Of these wagons, five go to 1,000 men for ammunition, three only for baggage; provisions and forage take up the rest.
Wishing you all success, I am, very truly, your friend,
M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster- General,
There is a difference between the Eastern and Western columns, which excites dissensions and should be corrected. I inclose a copy of the General Orders from Headquarters of the Army, which is the rule and should be enforced.