HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
OFFICE OF CHIEF QUARTERMASTER,
Camp at Rockville, Md., September 10, 1862.
General S. WILLIAMS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Army:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the letter of General Meigs to General McClellan, of the 9th instant, referred to me to-day from your office.
It is true there exists much confusion in the trains belonging to the Army of Virginia, but none in the Army of the Potomac. Our wagons are but just being disembarked and coming up. Some 70 of General Sumner's, for instance, arrived to-day. All the wagons of the old Army of the Potomac are in possession of officers of the quartermaster's department, and will be present with their commands at the earliest moment. The whole number is not far from 2,400. But I have tried in vain, so far, to learn the number and location of very many of the wagons with Banks', Burnside's, Sigel's, and McDowell's corps. I have issued positive orders, by direction of the general commanding, to all quartermasters to report the number of wagons, and how employed. Colonels Myers, Holabird, and some others have replied that they do not know, but will soon report in detail. Colonel Clary did not know how many he had, or rather how many were lost on the retreat. It does not appear that the commander of the Army of Virginia ever knew how many wagons there were, nor what quartermasters were on duty. I have made constant attempts to ascertain by actual inspection, but as the trains are scattered, going and coming with supplies, I have failed to arrive at any satisfactory result.
Before I left Washington it was ordered that all surplus wagons in the whole army should be turned in to the depot quartermaster. Many have actually been turned in, but the order has been evaded, to the public detriment. I have no knowledge of the number turned in, since Colonel Rucker has, so far, furnished me no information on that or other subjects. It is known that many regiments in the Army of Virginia have an unauthorized number of teams and quantity of baggage.
I have, I repeat, exerted all my power, backed by the order of the general commanding, without complete success, though the supplies are really coming forward quite abundantly, and I hope soon to reduce the transportation to a uniform and efficient system. To compel the bringing about of this result at once, I respectfully ask that the general commanding will issue a most positive order again to all commanders that they shall have full reports made by their chief quartermasters to me of their means of transportation on hand, and the names of officers acting in the quartermaster's department in their commands; and that the allowance of wagons to a regiment, to a brigade and division headquarters, to a battery, and squadron shall not exceed that established for the Army of the Potomac. Let the commanders be held responsible, and arrested and tried for delay or disobedience. This information should be furnished as accurately and promptly as a field return of men. I desire that the order shall embrace every commander under the orders of the general commanding.
In conclusion, I would further recommend that Lieutenant Colonel C. G. Sawtelle, assistant quartermaster, now on duty in this army, be made the depot quartermaster for this army at Washington and Alexandria, leaving Colonel Rucker and his general depot to be under the exclusive control of the Quartermaster-General, for general purposes. This arrangement would prevent any conflict of duties, and would leave each depot