The requisitions now in are only intended to make a supply of 100 rounds per man to each regiment. In the cartridges issued to this command the quantity of powder has been short in nearly half the 69-caliber rifled-musket ammunition, its place being supplied by paper. The quantity is so deficient as not to send a ball through an inch pine board at 200 yards in numerous instances.
The Second Virginia Cavalry are partly supplied with pistols, carbines, and partly with Enfield rifles; the latter, though short, being a muzzle-loading weapon, is not suited for mounted service. It is hoped Sharps carbines may be obtained for the whole regiment.
Schambeck's company of Illinois cavalry, at Gauley Bridge, need about 40 horses to mount the troops. Requisitions have been made for them some time since.
We are quite short of tents in the whole command. About half the regiments have Sibley tents; the rest are almost wholly without. There are some 400 common tents in store at Gauley Bridge, but the number of these requisite to supply a company takes two wagons to haul them. The Sibleys will also be very heavy for our mountain roads. The French bell-tent has been found to unite most shelter with least weight in our experience, but those issued last year were of such poor material that the campaign used them up completely.
After careful experimenting during the winter past our best quartermasters here are satisfied that the large army wagons are too heavy for our work, and that the most economy will result from the use of the two-horse wagon drawn by four mules. I would respectfully suggest the issue of future supplies on this line in accordance with above testimony.
I have had constructed and in use this winter on the upper part of the river light bateaux or keel-boats, and they have proven to be a most valuable auxiliary in our river navigation. They can run at all times from the head of steamboat navigation to the Kanawha Falls (1 1/2 miles below Gauley Bridge). They are built 60 feet long by 8 feet beam, quite sharp, and in shape like a canoe. This is the only form and size found practicable here. They carry 8 tons, and are pushed by poles, 5 men being the crew. I have two running between Loup Creek and the Kanawha Falls, and two more are nearly completed. As the water decreases and steamboats have to stop at lower points on the river the use for these boats will increase, and I am satisfied that fifteen or twenty of them would be needed during the summer, and prove a most valuable auxiliary to the land transportation. Those which I have had built cost $250 apiece. A dozen of them could be procured at Cincinnati is as many days. I inclose drawings of the boats, made by Captain Levering, assistant quartermaster at Gauley Bridge. The transportation from the changeable head of steamboat navigation to Kanawha Falls has been the most difficult to manage properly, and these keel-boats answer a better purpose than anything we have used. For the same amount of transportation they are cheaper than wagons, use fewer men, save wear and tear of teams and harness, and make less exposure of goods to theft and loss.
This command is very much in need of more help in the medical department. The medical director at Wheeling is, however, fully advised of the necessities of the division and the prospective wants at hospitals, &c., in case of active operations, and I believe he has been making every proper effort to provide for all contingencies.
I believe the statements herein given, with the telegraphic report made last week, will give a tolerably accurate view of the condition of