Advantage was taken of this latter steamer going to Nashville with the sick, and having taken from her nearly half her corn meal, and placed on board about 200 barrels of flour and 130 barrels of molasses, port, and winegar, when was sent, by order of General Crittenden, first to Carthage, to land her stores there, as a depot for the troops in their future camps between Chestnut Mound and that place.
The steamer Charter, on her arrival, was ordered to New Columbus too unload, but only partially did so, the entire absence of any unoccupied shed there and the rapid rise of the river rendering such unloading wasteful and dangerous, while the removal of the army from New Columbus, on the east side of Roaring River, to Gainesborough and its vicinity, on its west side, on Wednesday and Thursday, January 29 and 30th, rendered it unnecessary.
The further fact that constant working parties had to be detailed at both landings to reroll stores up endangers by the rapid rise of the water will show the difficulty and hazard that an immediate landing of the stores would have caused.
At Gainesborough, situated more than a mile back from the river, it was impossible to procure a store-house. The only one ont used by the sick was occupied by the quartermaster, while the division commissary was glad to occupy, for such portions of his stores as were light and most perishable, a portion of a small log cabin, used for hospital stores, and a small smoke-house of a private citizen. Every building, house, and cabin seemed to be filled with the sick and wounded.
The warehouse at the landing had been taken possession of and filled with stores by my direction, and the steamers having been detained, by order of General Crittenden, to furnish transportation for the sick to Nashville, advantage was taken of their presence, and they were made temporary depots and store-houses for issuance of supplied to the troops. In the mean time and immediately requisitions for stores, and instructions given simultaneously to Lieutenant Jackson, in charge of the Gainesborough depot, and to Sergeant Landers, in charge of the New Columbus depot, to deliver and issue, without formality, anything asked for upon simple receipt of brigade or regimental commissaries.
These instructions were carried out in their full spirit and with great zeal and fidelity by those officers. Unsheltered and almost unfed, in rain and mud, without the means of making the transaction of business pleasant or even comfortable, they perforce their duty, and, I believe and understand, to the entire satisfaction of every officer and man with whom they came in contact.
With regard to the single article of sugar there may have been some delay in issuance, but the fault does not ire at the door of this office or its agents. Without weights, scales, or measure, I could only issue in bulk, and had to request brigade commissaries to take their sugar by the hogshead and divide it afterwards by flour-barrels full among the regiments. There were no means, no room, no shelter to do otherwise. It may be possible that for a day or two some one or more regiments may not have obtained their proper share of that article; but I hold the full receipts of brigade and regimental commissaries for what ever they asked for in the articles of flour, rice, salt, and molasses, besides fresh beef and pork, on the 27th and 28th January (Monday and Tuesday), and for those articles and all the other stores brought by the steamer Commerce from the 29th, inclusive, onwards.
As soon as possible after the arrival of the army at Gainesborough I