from the first to the present time, has always been well prepared with stores and employes.
In the mean time officers were acquiring the requisite experience, and by the 1st of July the army possessed very many well trained and efficient quartermasters, so that at Harrison's Landing, for instance, I was relieved of an onerous load of duty by officers whom I had selected on account of their great merit. I made the following assignment at this depot, holding the general superintendence myself, viz:
Captain C. G. Sawtelle (now lieutenant-colonel and chief quartermaster Cavalry Bureau), in special charge of water transportation and other branches; Captain L. H. Peirce, in charge of land transportation; Capts. C. B. Wagner and A. Bliss, in charge of clothing; Captain P. P. Pitkin, in charge of employes; and Captain J. B. Winslow, in charge of forage. In twenty-four hours after the establishment of this depot, every duty was performed with great punctuality and accuracy. All issues were made on prescribed requisitions and necessary supplies called for.
A record of all arrivals and departures of vessels was kept by the harbor-master. Regular mail and freight boats were put on the route to Fortress Monroe, and vessels were constantly plying between the depot and the principal seaport cities.
I will here remark that I must refer you to the detailed reports of my subordinate officers, who have been in charge of special branches of our department, for information called for under the second, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth paragraphs of your order. These reports will serve to remind you of a portion of the stupendous operations of our department during the past fiscal year, conducted under your orders.
On the 10th of July, by the voluntary retirement of General Van Vliet, I was announced the chief quartermaster of the Army of the Potomac, a position which I have had the honor to hold to the present time, and which has confined me generally to headquarters. My duties since that period have been supervisory and administrative. I have continued to provide for the wants of the army on all its campaigns, and have established the depots and lines of supply in all instances, but have placed suitable officers at the different points to execute the instructions given by me to meet the wishes of the general commanding. You will receive the reports of these officers.
It is due to my predecessor to record my regret at his leaving an army to which he was devotedly attached, and for which he had labored so assiduously and with such great talent.
It must be borne in mind that war on a scale inaugurated by this rebellion was decidedly new to us, if not to the civilized world.
Easy as it may seem now, after the lapse of two years, to organize the transportation of a great army, and provide its supplies with the known means we now have, there were few men at that day in the republic who could have accomplished the task sooner than it was. It required the united abilities and exertions of our whole department, aided by the loyal producers and manufacturers of the country, to meet the public wants; and, if there were temporary failures, the department should stand excused, for its labors have been unparalleled and gigantic. Perhaps the failures in our department have been fewer than in fighting the troops.
I had no data left me to show what means of transportation and other quartermaster's property were still with the army after its severe battles and change of base. Inspections were immediately made throughout. It was found that there were in the service, about the last of July,