Major Belger has been written to, with an urgent request for him to forward immediately to this place 200,000 gallons, and as we shall leave here the very first favorable moment, the post quartermaster will have sealed instructions for the water transports, directing to what point they shall proceed.
The resources of Fort Monroe are not at our disposal, even if they had more water than they want themselves.
Will you please to instruct Major Belger to promptly send forward the water asked for? The weather is such that Commodore DuPont decides it yet unsafe for our fleet to put to sea.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
T. W. SHERMAN,
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF VIRGINIA,
Fort Monroe, October 28, 1861.
Honorable SIMON CAMERON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: By special messenger I would inform you that the expedition under the command of Brigadier-General Sherman is still in Hampton Roads. Brigadier-General Sherman has been here since Tuesday last. On his arrival, in order to hasten his departure, I gave him a large amount of supplies, among others 350,000 rounds of cartridges. It appears that his ammunition was stored at the bottom of his ships, and could not be got at short of four days. To prevent this delay I granted him the ammunition, which leaves me less than 100 rounds to each man of my command, which I earnestly request that you will have increased to the number delivered to Brigadier-General Sherman with as little delay as practicable. When I have the ammunition I was under the impression that the expedition would leave immediately. It is now nearly seven days since the general received the ammunition, and the fleet is still in port, and when it will sail is more than I can tell. I am now furnishing ten days' rations for the soldiers, and for the same reasons assigned for the ammunition furnished, that their rations are stowed where they cannot be got at without several days' delay. I will venture to assert that a worse-managed expedition could not well be contrived. Every opportunity has been given the rebels to be prepared to meet them at any point on the coast. Among other opportunities a deserter from the fleet, a petty officer (the party referred to I find upon inquiry to be Mr. Hale, a young officer connected with the Navy, and, I believe, a relative of Secretary Welles, a native of Virginia), carried with him the signal book, and, as he said, a knowledge of the destination of the expedition.
My object, however, in making this communication is to hasten a supply of ammunition for small-arms. In supplying Brigadier-General Sherman's command, I have not now 100 rounds for each man remaining in store. I would again call your attention to the garrison of Fort Monroe. I am deficient in artillerists, both in officers and men. I could not man more than ten guns. I made a special report on this subject to Lieutenant-General Scott, 26th instant.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JOHN E. WOOL,