serious affected by the war consumption. There were 6,000,000 of horses in the United States in 1860.
As I have learned that General McClellan was of opinion that many horses could be purchased quickly in the country which he now occupies, I have authorized Colonel Ingalls, chief quartermaster of the army under his command, to purchase 2,000 horses in that neighborhood. Several thousands are ordered here from more distant markets.
General McClellan's letter blames the Quartermaster's Department, of which I am the head. In reply, I have sought only to show that the department has endeavored to supply all the wants of his army, as far as known, and have stated the measures taken for that end, and my opinion, from the investigations made, that the greater part if not all the clothing required is within the lines of his army, and needs only to be distributed by the force under his command.
The department had the supplies on hand, sent them forward, and will send forward others to replace them if advised of any being lost or captured. There was no intention in my letter of 14th instant to make accusations against any one. The statement made you that only 150 horses had been issued weekly to the Army of the Potomac, including that in front of Washington, was a mistake which I was obliged to correct when the dispatch was referred to me. It is the duty of this department to provide for the wants of the army, and it is my desire to do so efficiently, promptly, and abundantly.
I regret that any officer in high command should think that the department under my direction has failed to do its whole duty; but, while I cannot admit that the is right in this opinion, I shall gladly avail myself of any suggestions which he or you may have to offer tending to improve so much depends upon it.
There should be no controversy or misunderstanding between the generals and this department, and there shall be none if I can prevent it. Whether the efforts the department are recognized or not, they will be continued.
The letter of General McClellan is returned herewith.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. C. MEIGS,
OCTOBER 22, 1862- 20 p. m.
P. S.- Since writing the above, I have seen a telegraphic requisition, received to-day from headquarters, for a large quantity of clothing, shoes, shelter-tents, $c. Most of the articles called for will be supplied immediately from this depot; the rest I order by telegraph from Philadelphia and New York, directing special agents to be sent with each shipment
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. C. MEIGS,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
October 24, 1862-10 p. m. (Received October 24, 1862.)
General M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General:
Your dispatch is received. On the 21st instant 20,000 pairs of bootees arrived at the Harper's Ferry depot. Over 7,000 pairs are now on hand, but are sizes higher than No. 9. I asked that the extraordinary