War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0158 THE PENINSULAR CAMPAIGN, VA. Chapter XXIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

quartermaster to the troops on the south bank of the Potomac, was ordered to report to Mr. Tucker, for the purpose of taking the immediate charge of the transports chartered, and to superintend the embarkation of the troops. As the Potomac was still closed by the guns of the enemy, arrangements were made for embarking the troops at Annapolis and Baltimore. I had the wharves at the former place enlarged, and the transports had commenced to arrive when the movements of the army opened the Potomac. Orders were immediately issued for the transports to rendezvous at Alexandria, and arrangements were pushed forward rapidly to embark the troops at that point. Everything was ready for a movement as regards the troops, but the transports, many of which were sailing vessels, could not reach Alexandria in sufficient numbers to move a division until the middle of March. On the 9th of March had rendezvoused at Annapolis ten side-wheel steamers and five propellers.

On the evening of March 16th or morning of the 17th the troops commenced embarking at Alexandria, and in about twelve days the bulk of the Army of the Potomac, with its vast material, was transferred to the Peninsula. I had previously ordered Captain Sawtelle to break up his depot at Perryville, and to transfer the wagons, ambulances, animals, &c., to Fortress Monroe. Some two or three months previous to this I had ordered a large amount of forage to be purchased and stored in the city of New York. This had been put afloat just before the embarkation of the troops, and the vessels directed to repair to Fortress Monroe and keep their cargoes on board until further orders. In the mean time I had ordered Captain C. W. Thomas, assistant quartermaster, to France Monroe to take charge of the depot to be established there for the army.

As soon as everything was embarked at Alexandria I proceeded to Fortress Monroe and rejoined the general commanding, who had preceded me to that place. The magnitude of the movement can scarcely by understood except by those who participated in it. Each division took with it its own transportation as far as it war practicable, and the remainder, together with the supply trains, were pushed forward as rapdidly as possible.

When the campaign of the Peninsula commenced the Army of the Potomac had with it 3,600 wagons and 700 ambulances and spring wagons, and this transportation remained complete until the army arrived on the banks of the James River, with the exception of ordinary losses and the loss of a few wagons by the raids of the enemy and on the march to the James River. In transferring the army and its material, and furnishing it with supplies during the campaign, the following number of vessels were employed, viz: 71 sied-wheel steamers, 29,071 tons; 57 propellers, 9,824 tons; 187 schooners, brigs, and barks, 36,634 tons, and 90 barges, 10,749 tons, making in all 405 vessels, of a tonnage of 86,278 tons. Many of these vessels were discharged after the army was transferred to the Peninsula, but it was necessary to retain the greater number of them, as our supplies were obliged to be kept afloat to follow the advance of the army. Though Fortress Monroe was our main depot, the nature of the country and the condition of the roads rendered it impossible to haul our supplies by wagons from that point. As soon as the leading divisions of the army landed at Fortress Monroe they were pushed forward, and the enemy retiring behind their lines, stretching from the James River to Yorktown, opened to us the York River and its tributaries as far as Yorktown, enabling us thereby to establish our depot at the mouth of Cheeseman's Creek and at Ship