The difficulty of transportation, and the drafts on the militia in the wheat-growing sections of Texas, where there is little negro labor, have not permitted us to procure as much flour as we desired. That which has been delivered, a large portion of which was ground from tithe wheat, has been a very inferior article, and is not more acceptable to the troops than corn-meal.
The amount of funds, as shown by the reports of officers on file in my office, with the exception of Majors Blair and Maclin, exhibit the sum of $3,384,752.98. Thais amount I deem sufficient to subsist the department for the first and second quarters.
I will conclude by saying that while the reports of officers do not show large quantities of supplies in depots other than those enumerated above, they are in the country, and can be made available whenever the wants of the army require them.
I have the honor to be, major, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. H. THOMAS,
Major and Chief Commissary of Subsistence, Trans-Mississippi Dept.
ORDNANCE BUREAU, TRANS-MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT,
Marshall, Tex., January 15, 1864.
Major J. P. JOHNSON,
MAJOR: As requested by you, I have the honor to submit the following report:
In the early part of last year I was ordered to proceed to this department, to give such advice and assistance as my enlarged experience enabled me to do, and for this purpose I would report to Lieutenant-General Smith, &c.
On my arrival at General Smith's headquarters. Vicksburg and Port Hudson had fallen, and we were in a great measure isolated from the rest of the Confederacy. General Smith issued a general order, announcing me as the chief of the bureau of ordnance for this department, and directing all the returns and reports, heretofore made to Richmond, to be made to me. The officers of the Niter and Mining Corps also to report to me.
I made a tour of inspection through the country, visiting the different establishments for manufacturing ordnance supplies, and on my return, with the approval of General Smith, I established the office of the bureau at this place, where the returns from the different arsenals and the troops are sent.
These returns are recorded and examined in my office, corrections required when necessary, and then filed, to be transmitted to Richmond for settlement at the Treasury, when opportunity may offer. As the department placed no funds under my control, and the officers procuring supplies wanted money, not advice, I could render no assistance.
The only arsenal under my control is the Texas Arsenal, San Antonio, commanded by Colonel P. Stockton. All the other establishments and all contracts for supplies are under the control of the acting chief of ordnance and artillery. I know nothing of their proceedings until they render their accounts to this office, when I have only to see that the expenditures have been properly and legally made. The intention of the War Department seems to be to distribute the funds through me (which would give me control of the expenditures), as the Chief of Ordnance