Lieuts. G. Bell, First Artillery, and James Curtis, Fifteenth Infantry, intended for Colonel Heintzelman's and General Tyler's divisions, respectively, would not reach the Army in season, and I was directed to distribute the subsistence in the train present as equally as possible amongst the several division. Fourteen wagons, containing about 17,000 rations, were sent, in charge of Lieutenant Hawkins, to the Fifth Division; the remaining wagons were directed to immediately proceed to Centreville, and I had made the best arrangements in my power to distribute the provisions they contained amongst the other three divisions.
Shortly after our arrival at Centreville I was officially informed that the train with sixty-five head of beef cattle, in charge of Lieutenant Curtis, was int he vicinity, and the train with seventy head of beef cattle, in charge of Lieutenant Bell, was at Fairfax Court-House. I then directed the first of these trains to come forward to Centreville and encamp for the night, and the second to come forward with as little delay as possible, and myself conducted the remaining wagons of Lieutenant Little's train, and turned them over to the officer (Lieutenant Lithe) directed by General Tyler to receive and distribute to the First Division the subsistence stores they contained.
I endeavored to distribute the subsistence store equally amongst the several divisions according to the strength of each; but in consequence of the necessity of breaking up the train in charge of Lieutenant Hawkins which was intended for the divisions of Colonels Miles and Hunter, and the late arrival of the others, difficulties arose, and I may not have succeeded in my object.
Making due allowance for all losses on the march, according to the reports of the officers conducting the trains and my own observation at least 160,000 complete rations were received by the Army at and in the vicinity of Centreville; sufficient for its subsistence for five days.
In a circular from department headquarters, dated at Centreville, July 20, 1861, commanders of division of the subsistence stores on hand might be made immediately to the different companies in their respective commands, so that they should be provided with the same number of days' subsistence, and that the same be cooked and put into the haversacks of the men; and they were informed that the subsistence stores then in possession of each division, with the fresh beef that could be drawn from the chief commissary, must last to include the 23rd instant. The three days' subsistence it was directed the troops should have in their haversacks by 3 p. m. on the 16th of July should have lasted them to ten afternoon of the 19th. After the distribution made in compliance with the circular above referred to, I know of several instances in which subsistence stores remained in possession of division and brigade commissaries, and of others in which provisions were left on the ground of the encampments on the morning of the 21st of July.
From personal observation on the march on the morning of the 21st of July, I know that generally the haversacks of the me were filled-whether properly or not I do not know. Regimental officers should be held accountable for that. During the battle and following it I noticed many filled haversacks, canteens, blankets, and other property lying on the ground, their owners having doubtless thrown them away to get rid of the labor of carrying them on so hot a day and under such trying circumstances.
I beg leave to call you attention to the reports of Lieutenants Bell, Hawkins, and Curtis. The duties they performed were highly important,
22 R R-VOL II