War of the Rebellion: Serial 012 Page 0165 Chapter XXIII. GENERAL REPORTS.

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depots of supply, first at Fortress Monroe, afterwards at Cheeseman's Creck, Yorktown, Wormley's, and Queen's Creeks, Franklin's Landing, opposite West Point, Eltham, Cumberland, and White House, on the York and Pamunkey Rivers, and Harrison's Landing, on the James.

It is presumed that my predecessor's report will explain the methods and principles on which the quartermaster's department was organized. Operations so extensive and important as the rapid and successful embarkation of such an army, with all its vast equipments, its transfer to the Peninsula, and its supply while there, under its many vicissitudes, had scarcely any parallel in history, certainly no precedent in our country. Several of our depots had to be established under many embarrassments. At Cheeseman's Creek the harbor was exceedingly small, the channel was narrow, and the water at low tide was very shallow. The roads leading to Yorktown were fearfully muddy and full of quicksand. Still the army was mainly supplied from that point until the evacuation of Yorktown. Wharves were constructed of canal-boats and barges, vessels towed in and out at flood tides, the roads were corduroyed, and the depot was made quite equal to meet all requirements. The depot at White House was made very perfect and efficient. Ten or twelve barge wharves were constructed for use of the various staff departments. The railroad was put in thorough repair, and the army on the Chickahominy was kept well supplied.

On the 28th of June, in execution of orders previously given by General McClellan, instructing me what to do in certain contingencies, I abandoned the White House depot, leaving no public property behind of any value or use. At the moment of departure the rebels had possession of our railroad, had cut our communications with the army, and were in march to the Pamunkey. I succeeded in removing all the transports [over four hundred] from that narrow and tortuous river without accident or delay, and conducted them immediately to Fortress Monroe, thence up James River, to meet the army on its arrival. I reached Haxall's on the evening of the 30th, some two hours before the general commanding, to whom I reported my arrival with the supplies. It was decided to take up a position on the left bank of the James a short distance below the mouth of the Appomattox, consequently on the 1st of July I established the depot at Harrison's Landing. It seems almost a miracle, our successful escape from White House. Had our vessels got entangled on the bar at Cumberland, had the enemy interrupted our passage at some of the narrow bends, the consequences to the army would have been fatal. My safe exit from York and prompt arrival on James River was most singularly opportune and providential, and I count these days of service from the 28th June to the 1st July, 1862, as the most important and valuable of my life.

On the 10th of July following I was announced the chief quartermaster in place of General Van Vliet, who retired at his own request, and who while with this army rendered arduous and responsible service, and from whom I parted with sincere regret. The battles before Richmond during the latter part of June rendered a reorganization of the quartermaster's department necessary. Inspection were immediately made, and reports obtained of all means of transportation, clothing, and forage on hand with the troops, and prompt measures were adopted at once to supply all deficiencies and necessary wants. It appears from my records that on the 20th following there were present with the army about 3,100 wagons for baggage and supplies, 350 ambulances, 7,000 cavalry, 5,000 artillery, and 5,000 team horses and 8,000 mules. Upon the river was a large fleet of transports, having on board an abundance