Sunday, June 26, 1864

Colonel Forth Kentucky.
HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISS., Numbers 29. 
In the Field, near Kenesaw Mountain, Ga., June 26, 1864
I. The question of supplies to an army of this size is one of the greatest possible importance, and calls for a most rigid economy. By comparing issues by the commissary department and the reports of army commanders of effective strength for duty, which embraces officers as well as men, it is found that a quantity of provisions is issued daily equal to from 50 to 75 per cent, over the effective strength. This proportion is entirely too large in our present situation, and either the quantity must be reduced or the number of non-effectives be brought within reasonable limits by sending servants and others to the rear.

Twenty- five per cent, is deemed a large and reasonable limit, and the chief commissary of the army in the field, as well as of all the garrisons and detachments dependent of the railroads south of Nashville, will see that issues are limited to that figure. The chief commissaries will be furnished with field reports from superior headquarters, and will call the attention of the proper commanding officers when requisitions exceed the number of men and officers for duty with 25 per cent, added.

II. When, from interruption to railroads or any other cause, supplies cannot be had equal to this standard, the commissaries will make issues as near as possible for each ten days in advance, and must scale their issues so that all parts of the army receive a fair proportion of each article. When deficiencies occur in the bread or small rations, the commissary may increase the allowance of fresh beef, if on hand and the commanding general will approve the abstract of issues made in compliance with this order of substitution.

III. The effective strength of a brigade, division, corps, or army will be constructed to mean officers and men present for duty, sick in quarters, extra-duty men that are armed, and “in arrest or confinement.” Sick in hospital, unless there be a prospect of early recovery, should be sent to a port in the rear.

IV. Unarmed cooks, teamsters, pioneers, and laborers are the only proper non-effectives with the army. All other persons dependent on our supplies are useless mouths which we cannot afford to feed, and should be sent north of Nashville. Twenty-five per cent, is the maximum allowance for this class of non-effective but useful laborers specified, and even these should be armed; the teamsters especially should have muskets in strong loops to their wagons within easy reach, and cooks also might be armed. All details for actual duty will be made on the basis of “effective strength,” greater than he can immediately parade for battle, his report, return, or requisition for stores and provisions will be deemed a false report under the Articles of War.

By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON, Aide- de- Camp

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