portion of the left wing, which are obtained from Fort Monroe. The only difficulties have arisen from the character of the country, which is nearly level and covered with a dense growth of pines. The surface of the country is sandy, resting on quicksand, and during rainy weather the roads are soon rendered impassable, empty wagons even sinking to their beds. Nearly every foot of the roads have been corduroyed; a great many of these roads have been badly made and are exceedingly rough, and the consequence is that the wear and tear of our transportation have been very great. Large working parties are now on them, and, if we should have any more good weather, they will soon be very much improved.
I find that mules are the only animals fit for this rough service. Our horses teams suffer severely, and I would recommend that hereafter no more horse teams be provided for our armies, no matter in what part of the country they be serving, as mules are far more serviceable and economical.
Our main depots are at Fort Monroe, Cheeseman's Creek, and Ship Point. I have placed Captain Sawtelle in charge of the depot at the fort, assisted by Captain Thomas, and Colonel Ingalls in charge of that at Cheeseman's Creek, assisted by Captain Rankin, acting assistant quartermaster, Captain Pinner, brigade quartermaster, and Captain Wagner, brigade quartermaster. The latter is in charge of the clothing and camp and garrison equipage. The bulk of the clothing,&c., is kept at Old Point, as I do not desire to accumulate any great amount of stores here, as it would embarrass our movements when we advance.
Ship Point is at the mouth of Poquosin River, and is used exclusively as the depot for subsistence stores. Cheeseman's Creek depot is about 1 mile to the west of Ship Point, at the junction of Cheeseman's and Goose Creeks, and is used for forage, quartermaster stores, and camp and garrison equipage. This depot is about 4 miles from headquarters, and the supplies from it have to be transported a distance of 3 1/2 to 7 miles.
There is a small depot on Back Creek, from which General F. J. Porter's division is supplied, the distance of land transportation being about the same as from Cheeseman's Creek.
There is another small creek (Wormley's) which empties into the York River about 2 1/2 miles below Yorktown. This creek has 4 1/2 feet of water, and heavy ordnance is sent into it in barges. It is, however, under the fire of the enemy's guns, and can only be used at night. Yesterday one of our barges, loaded with 400 13-inch shells, was delayed until daylight, when the enemy opened fire on it and burst a 100-pound shell in it and sunk it. The shells will be saved. I send you a map of the scene of our operations, with the roads plainly delineated.*
I beg here to state that I have received the most cordial and efficient assistance from the officers of our department in charge of the depots at Fort Monroe and Cheeseman's Creek, and that Colonel Crosman and Major Belger, as well as Colonel Rucker, have filled all my requisitions with the greatest promptness. I feel under many obligations to them for it.
I forward your herewith a copy of a circular which I have issued to the officers of our department on duty with this army.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
STEWART VAN VLIET,
Brigadier-General and Quartermaster.