except in the article of beef cattle. Those on hand were driven ahead of the troops by my order; agents were also sent ahead in the direction of the intended march to engage and purchase every article of subsistence that could be procured. No pains were spared, no endeavors left unmade.
Without means of transportation, however, only those supplies could be procured which were immediately contiguous to the line of retreat; but I can safely say that there was nothing along that line which could be purchased which was not.
I furnished Major Hollans, acting commissary of subsistence to General Carroll's brigade, on the night of the 19th, and on simple memorandum, with $5,000, to enable him to procure at once everything that he might meet with, while my immediate agents were also ahead, and upon each side, for the same purpose and with full authority.
The army suffered much, notwithstanding all endeavors until it reached Obey River, on Thursday, January 23.
During the intervening time about 60 head of cattle, the same number of sheep, and perhaps 20 head of hogs, with what bacon, flour, meal, &c., could be procured along the route, were the main subsistence of the troops, so far as my utmost endeavors could effect.
About 6 miles west of Obey River I received a lot of 90 head of cattle which had been stopped there by my agents, and also in the same vicinity as large a supply of meal and flour as the limited transportation facilities of the various regiments would allow of being brought to camp. The freest latitude was given to regimental commissaries to purchase whatever was necessary, it being one of those exigencies where I felt at liberty to entirely overstep rules and formalities, and trust to the future liberty of the Department to sanction and approve my action.
The army spent Saturday, 25th, near Livingston. At that place I purchased in addition about 13,000 pounds net of fresh beef and 225 head of hogs, estimated at upwards of 39,000 pounds net; distributing to each regiment what it desired, together with all the bacon, meal, flour, potatoes, &c., that could be procured there, and alias a liberal supply of salt, and had the remainder of the cattle on hand (nearly 80 head of beef and all the hogs) driven with the army the next day towards New Columbus, 3 miles east of Ginesborough.
The head of the column arrived at New Columbus late on Sunday evening, January 26, and the rest of the army the next day. I fortunately found there a large supply of flour, rice, and molasses. Directions were at once given to the brigade commissaries to take from that store whatever they deemed sufficient and necessary, receipting for the same to a commissary sergeant placed temporarily in charge. The entire drove of cattle and hogs was at the same time turned over to them, with the advice to kill the later and salt down temporarily what was not at once issued. These directions were fully complied with, commissaries of all grades receiving at once, without formality of requisition or anything but a pencil memorandum or receipt, whatever they chose to demand.
On Tuesday, 28th January, the steamer Charter arrived at Gainesborough, with supplies of jowls, coffee, rye, sugar, candles, soap, salt, molasses, and winegar, Lieutenant Jackson having been, at my suggestion, detailed to take charge of these stores at the landing as post commissary. The next day the steamer Commerce arrived, with upwards of 600 barrels of flour, followed by the steamer Umpire, on the 1st instant, with a large supply of corn meal and mess beef.