QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL'S OFFICE, January 20, 1863.
The within copy of a letter and report from Colonel R. Ingalls, chief quartermaster, Army of the Potomac, as to the condition of the animals and equipments of that army, so far as depends upon the Quartermaster's Department, is respectfully communicated for the information of the General-in-Chief, Major-General Halleck. One hundred and eighty-six thousand men, 62,000 beasts, of which 18,000 are cavalry and 9,800 artillery horses, nearly 6,000 wagons, and 1,400 ambulances-will this army ever again be so strong, or so perfectly equipped? It grows more difficult to supply forage, and the waste of animals is now great. This Department is very much in debt, and prices are rising.
M. C. MEIGS,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, OFFICE OF CHIEF QUARTERMASTER, Camp near Falmouth, Va., January 15, 1863.
Brigadier General M. C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster-General, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit herewith a memorandum, taken from the reports just received from the different quartermasters, showing the number of men, horses, mules, wagons, and ambulances now present with this army. The figures in red ink show the number here now. The number of animals is much larger, probably, than you supposed. There have been great additions to the cavalry and artillery horses. The pontoon train has been much increased, in fact, created, since last report. Many mules have been received to convert the four-mule teams into six. The increase is thus accounted for mainly. Of course, there have been received an additional number of wagons, in order to equalize the transportation in the grand divisions, and to furnish ammunition trains. The means of transportation is in most excellent condition. No army in the world ever had so good as this now has. The cavalry and artillery horses are in fair condition, considering that the quality of the animals never was first-rate. First-class horses have never yet found their way into this army. Many of them have been "doctored up" by contractors and sold into our hands, and the first service has discovered their unfitness. They have received as much care and attention as animals generally do.
This army, as you know, has never been delayed a moment on account of want of preparations on the part of the Quartermaster's Department. I am aware that its outfit is most liberal and perfect, and that the cost of maintaining it is, and has been, enormous. When resting in camp the expenses are far greater than when in motion. The army is large, well organized, and powerful, but it will soon melt away as the terms of enlistments expire. It is able now to save our cause, however, if kept in motion and properly directed, as, doubtless, it will be.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Chief Quartermaster, Army of the Potomac.