probable that several heavy tugs and steamers now under pay might be discharged, and a considerable expense saved. We must have ice boats which can be sure to keep this river open all winter, else this army must go elsewhere very soon. This is a very important consideration.
We have men enough to do all necessary work at the depots. They are employed unloading transports, making landings, corduroy roads, &c.
I beg you to order the boats, and rest assured I will ask for no unnecessary article, nor engender a cent's unnecessary expense.
I am, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,
Chief Quartermaster, Army of the Potomac.
DECEMBER 31, 1862.
Let me see the dispatches. I believe that every effort was made to get the boats, and that from Philadelphia the reply was that there were none. What is the result in New York? Colonel Ingalls was authorized, at his own instance, as I remember, to provide forage for the Army of the Potomac, and this he undertook to do. Colonel Rucker was directed to contract for a supply independently, in order of supply this depot, and be able, in case of failure or disappointment, to spare some to assist Colonel Ingalls. Examine the correspondence on this point, as when any demand from the army fails of speedy supply there is apt to be much complaint and crimination. Let me have full information to answer this. There is a late letter from Colonel Ingalls, or else he assured the Quartermaster-General in a conversation, when in town quite lately, that he had ample provisions, and would not fail. I think it was both in writing and oral. Has he not been advised that the boats have been chartered?
M. C. MEIGS.
See memoranda within in reference to proceeding and orders in reference to supply of forage and boats. All that appears reasonable or possible appears to have been done.
Later, January 14, Colonel Ingalls telegraphs that the army is well off for forage. The difficulty of meeting the emergency, accomplished, has been great. It is difficult to supply an army of 150,000 men and 40,000 or 50,000 beasts in a stationary camp for winter, when they exhausted the country about them.
M. C. MEIGS.
Washington, December 25, 1862.
General Kelley is strong enough at present, if you require the Kanawha troops elsewhere.
H. W. HALLECK,
HDQRS. DETACHMENT FIFTIETH NEW YORK ENGINEERS,
Camp opposite Fredericksburg, Va., December 25, 1862.
Commanding Engineer Brigade:
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that my two trains of eighteen pontoons and four trestles each are complete and parked, except the