sought to introduce some degree of system in the issuance of supplies. At Gainesborough, at different times between January 29 and February 5, I issued rations to both brigades up to and inclusive of February 10, neither requiring nor receiving, however, regular requisitions or formal receipts; contenting myself in the exigency of the case with undergoing the trouble, labor, and responsibility of putting things in shape afterwards. An honest and an ardent desire to feed the army, and a willingness to overlook formalities in the attempt, must be my justification, or rather excuse.
On the 7th instant (February) I shipped on board steamer Commerce supplies for that portion of General Crittenden's division en route for Chestnut Mound, which were landed in good order at the mouth of Caney Fork River. The army is stationed within from 2 to 6 miles of that point. These stores, with those at Carthage will be fully adequate to support the army to March 10, with the exception of some few articles, for which I have to-day drawn on Captain Shaaff, at Nashville, and with the exception also of the articles of fresh beef and corn meal, for the purchase of which and all other necessaries I have ample funds.
I left at Gainesborough on the 8th instant, by order of General Critenden, rations for the two regiments stationed there for thirty days, with the exception of the articles of fresh beef, bacon, and meal, for the purchase of which, on the requisition of Colonel Murray, commanding, and at his suggestion, I handed over to the commissaries of those regiments the sum of $5,000, Colonel Murray representing that those articles could be purchased there more cheaply than they could be sent there, and that the sum mentioned would be entirely sufficient.
In what I have done I feel that I have worked with an honest heart and an open and active hand for the substance of this command. Nor have I left undone aught, either myself or through any agencies, I could procure that would have been for its benefit. The only fear I have had is that the Government would-hold me to too rigid an accountability for matters of unavoidable waste, expenditure, or spoliation arising from the entire absences of any facility to transact business with its accustomed and rightful formalities. Without office appliances, blanks, stationery, or forms, I have supposed that the necessity of the case had to carve out its own rules; nor have i been willing to allow the slightest of the wants of the soldiers of their country.
I have never heard in the army of the slightest complaint made of any failure to issue supplies on hand, nor do I believe there was any such failure. There was in some cases an entire absence from their posts of commissaries. This may have caused some delay in regiments or companies receiving their supplies; but even of this no word has come to my ears, while I am confident there has not been one hour's delay on the part of this office or any of its agents in filling any requisitions, however informal, or in filling any order without a requisition from any one representing them; taking simply the receipt of the party applying. A greater liberality in doing business, besides further exposing myself to censure, would have also exposed the government to sill greater loss. I should not have been so minute in this report or embarrassed it with circumstantial details, but I have learned from Captain Claiborne, inspector-general, that vague reports had reached Bowling Green of an unnecessary delay in the issuance of stores received.