Point, near the mouth of the Poquosin River, which was done on the 6th of April.
I beg here to submit a copy of a letter to the Quartermaster-General [marked A], which will show the positions of these points and the difficulties which had to be overcome in supplying the army.
These depots remained unchanged during the siege of Yorktown, but when the enemy evacuated that place they were immediately broken up and everything transferred by water at once to Yorktown. As the army advanced up the Peninsula our depots were successively changed from Yorktown to the south bank of York River, opposite West Point, thence to Cumberland, on the Pamunkey, and finally, on the 20th May, they were established at White House, the point where the railroad from West Point to Richmond crosses the Pamunkey River, 23 miles from Richmond.
Extensive wharves were at once constructed by throwing our barges and canal-boats ashore at high water and bridging them over. The railroad bridge across the Pamunkey had been burned by the enemy, and the rolling stock of the road removed. From a reconnaissance in front the railroad was found to be uninjured, with the exception of two or three small bridges, which had been burned. In anticipation of moving along this road toward Richmond rolling stock for the road had been purchased, and a competent force employed to work it. Working parties were immediately put on the road and the engines and cars landed, and in a few days the road was again in running order, and cars loaded with supplies were constantly running to the front. The real troubles in supplying the army commenced at this point, owing to the condition of the roads, rendered almost impassable by frequent and long-continued storms. In reference to this I beg to submit copies of three reports, marked B, C, and D, made to the Quartermaster-General. At this point our large depot remained until the battle of Gaines' Mill, the 27th of June. During this time the army was in front of Richmond, from 15 to 20 miles in advance, and all of its immense supplies were thrown forward by the railroad and the large supply trains of the army. The frequent and heavy rains, by injuring the railroad and impairing the wagon roads, rendered it a matter of great difficulty at times to transport the large amount of necessary material and supplies, but in no instance, I believe, did our department fail in discharging the duty devolving upon it. Of forage and subsistence alone over 500 tons were daily required by the army. Adding to this the other necessary supplies swelled this amount to over 600 tons, which, rain or shine, had to be handled at the depots each day and forwarded to our lines. The difficulties of supplying an army of 100,000 men are not not generally comprehended. Each man consumes 3 pounds of provisions per day, and every horse 26 pounds of forage. One hundred thousand men would therefore eat up 150 wagon loads of subsistence daily, and it can therefore be readily seen that an army of this size could leave its depots but a short distance in the rear in marching through a country destitute of supplies and depending on carrying everything with it.
The affair of Gaines' Mill occurred on the 27th June. Several days previous to that date the indications were that a decisive battle would be fought, and the general commanding directed me to take the necessary steps to prevent the immense supplies at our depot at White House from falling into the hands of the enemy, and to have a certain amount of forage and supplies transferred to James River for the use of the army should it be found necessary to move it from the Chickahominy to that river. On the 23rd of June I telegraphed to Colonel