COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, EXECUTIVE DEP'T
Council Chamber, Boston, April 30, 1861.
GENERAL: The propeller Cambridge, Captain S. H. Matthews, owned and fitted jointly by the State of Massachusetts and the underwriters of boston, is loading as a transport for the purpose of taking out supplies for the massachusetts troops (of which a memorandum will be hereto appended), provided at the expense of the State, and intended to be charged to the General Government, which charge will be allowed or not, as the General Government may decide.
You will note that in addition to the ordinary rations we have added a few articles which may be necessary for the comfort of the troops, for officers' use, or for hospital purposes. The largest item among these is preserved meats in tin, which ought to be carefully used as a reserve. They will keep for years, are already cooked, and being the most concentrated form of carrying food, may be useful for camp service. I learn this morning that Colonel Jones' Sixth Massachusetts Regiment is in great need of these at Washington and the vegetables now put on board. We have added a small quantity of pipes and tobacco.
The ship will probably have fifty to eighty men to fill up Colonel Packard's regiment at Fort Monroe, and a small quantity of supplies for our troops there. After landing there she is ordered to proceed to Annapolis, and there land her stores and the company sent to guard them, subject to your orders, and immediately to return here. She can bring any sick or discharged soldiers. Should any change of circumstances arise, Captain matthews will be directed to use his discretion, and to give weight to any recommendation from you. It is possible that there may be a prospect of opening the Potomac route for transporting stores and troops. Upon hearing from you to that effect at Forth Monroe, Captain Matthews will either await further advice there or land his stores and men there, subject to your orders.
It is desirable to have him back early, as we have more troops getting ready, and wish, if possible, to send them by water. In about five days we shall probably dispatch a small iron propeller, well armed, with further stores, with the contributions that are pouring in for the men of clothing and other things.
The Cambridge has two 8-inch guns forward on main deck and two light guns for her hurricane deck; has a full crew, including thirteen marines, with a good supply of small-arms, and can take care of himself against any pirates on her way back. She will have coal enough on board to get her back here. She ought to reach Fort Monroe some time Friday, if she gets off to-morrow; the doubt being as to delay in getting her big guns from the navy-yard. She will be considered in the transport service until she reaches Boston on her return.
When sending Colonel Wardrop's regiment by the propeller Spaulding we put on board an invoice of provisions, estimated sufficient for eight hundred men for thirty days, with orders to use as a reserve. If the United States supply the troops at the fort or your troops with rations, it will only be necessary to have these reserve stores taken care of. They have been carefully bought, and will be worth just about what they cost.
The Cambridge has a quantity of private baggage and contributions for the troops at Fort Monroe, and probably some of your troops, in charge of a special agent. From present appearances there will be much more. It is your present plan to keep two armed propellers (Cambridge, of eight hundred and sixty, and the Pembroke, of two hundred and sixty