It is well known that the old Army of the Potomac returned with an abundant supply of clothing. Before leaving Harrison's Landing the troops turned in their knapsacks and extra clothing for transportation in barges and schooners to Alexandria and Washington. This clothing was held in the accountability of the brigade and other quartermasters, and never came back into the depot. I had an abundant supply outside of this, which was transferred, on your order, to the clothing depot in Washington. Before the army left the vicinity of Washington on this campaign, near the beginning of September last, I issued orders to all quartermasters to prepare for the march, and to see that their commands were properly supplied. The army finally marched quite well supplied with all necessary clothing and transportation. I took a train laden with clothing on the march, very little of which was called for. The situation of the army was such that it was a difficult matter to decide how many stores should be deposited at the different depots. It was not expected to make such use of Hagerstown or Frederick. It was, and even now is, doubtful about Harper's Ferry. If the army had kept in motion we should have been beyond the reach of two, if not of the three, depots just mentioned. Before any requisitions were made at all for clothing, I ordered more than 2,000 suits to Frederick and the same to Hagerstown. Generals F. J. Porterf, Reynolds, and Franklin gave me lists on the 7th of what they required. The clothing was shipped that very day and the following, but did not arrive at Hagerstown until after Stuart's last raid; a part arrived as late as the 18th, and meanwhile their wants had multiplied. The fault, as you must know, was not with our department. There have been failures on that road to this day. Captain Weeks reports that his forage does not arrive promptly. In consequence of these failures, and the daily expected movements of the troops in that neighborhood, General McClellan wished no more clothing to be sent to Hagerstown. It was decided to make Harper's Ferry the depot for the present. Without waiting for requisitions, I established the depot under suitable officers, and ordered forward supplies of all necessary stores, forage, clothing, quartermaster's property, subsistence, ordnance, &c., have been sent forward as rapidly as possible. About 200 tons of hay and 10,000 bushels of grain, for instance, are received and issued each day. Large quantities of clothing are constantly arriving by railroad and wagons, and will come by canal, too, now it is in repair. I inclose a list, marked A, which will give you an idea of the clothing already received and issued. It was not expected by any one that the whole army would, under any circumstances, require a complete outfit at once, so soon after the opening of the present campaign. My orders for supplies have far exceeded any requisitions on me.
Orders are given now for an abundance of clothing, but it must arrive and be issued gradually. I foresee no embarrassment. There has, doubtless, been some suffering in particular commands, and there will always be with such as are described in Paragraph III of General Orders, Numbers 167, herewith, marked B, which I beg you will read. Such commands make no effort to help themselves in the proper way, but content themselves with suffering and grumbling. From the list referred to, it will be observed that the receipts and issues have been very heavy, considering the circumstances. Every possible precaution has been, and will be, taken by me to provide all needful supplies. I have seen no real suffering for want of clothing, and do not believe there has been any, only where it can be laid directly to the charge of regimental and brigade commanders and their quartermasters, and I have labored, I hope with some effect, in trying to instruct them. I have frequently remarked that an army will never move if it waits until all the different