at Harrison's Bar. The tug-boats Maryland and New Haven, which, though not regular ferry-boats, can be used as such, were sent the same day. The only other ferry-boats at the disposal of the Quartermaster's Department were the Star and the Eagle, both of which were being repaired in Baltimore, and orders were given to the quartermaster at that post to hasten their repairs and dispatch them as soon as possible. One of them is, I understand, just ready for service, and will be forwarded. The Assistant Secretary of War, Mr. John Tucker, goes this afternoon to Philadelphia and New York to see whether he can obtain three or four more ferry-boats. If he can, they will be dispatched.
As these boats are not fit for sea voyages except in the most moderate weather, it is doubtful, even if he can obtain them, whether they can reach you in time to be of any use. Such boats can only be obtained by taking them off the ferries in which they find constant employment, and, as their removal is very inconvenient to the public, it is difficult to get them. Had your dispatch named the exact number of boats you needed or the number of troops it was necessary to carry at once I should have had some quide; but a general requisition for ferry-boats leaves me in the dark.
I thought in sending you at once four boats and ordering two more to be dispatched as soon as their repairs could be completed that I was fully meeting your request. There is a large number of steamers on the river at Harrison's Bar; some thirty were there on the 25th ultimo, with a large fleet of vessels and barges, which, towed by the steamers, could move a very large number of troops.
I estimate the total capacity of the steamers alone at Harrison's Landing at nearly 24,000 men per trip. At Fort Monroe are many more.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. C. MEIGS,
OFFICE COMMISSARY OF SUBSISTENCE, ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Camp near Harrison's Landing, Va., August 4, 1862.
Brigadier General S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Hdqrs. Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: In reply to the circular of this date from headquarters, relative to the number of day's rations on hand at this place, I have the honor to state that the entire command has in its possession, exclusive of to-day, not less than four days' rations, except Hooker's division, which has three days' rations on hand.
As nearly as we can estimate there are now nine days' rations of most of the principal articles of the ration on shore at the western depot, except of hard bread and flour, of which there are two days' supply on shore.
In addition to the above, there are over fifty days' rations for this army on board of transports in this harbor.
Steamers with beef cattle are arriving every day or two; there are seven or eight days' [rations] of that article now on hand.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. F. CLARKE,
Colonel, Aide-de-Camp, and Chief of Staff.