B. Royall, Fifth U. S. Cavalry, was on duty at Louisville for a time by General Burnside's order, and I believe introduced some reforms. I have procured orders assigning him to this duty, from which he had been withdrawn.
The law requires contracts and public competition. They must be let to the lowest responsible bidder. The care is only in the personal supervision of the inspection by a trusty officer. I have none to spare for that purpose, and have always asked assistance from cavalry and artillery officers, and seldom gained it. There must be some officers, good judges of horses, honest men, with professional pride enough to do this duty well, and yet suffering from wounds or disability, who would gladly undertake the duty, and if no disabled officers can be found, there is no duty which you could assign such an officer in which he could render greater aid to the efficiency of your operations. If the inspection is rigid the dishonest contractors will break; if the inspection is careless or dishonest no price will improve the stock. The quartermaster at Louisville has had orders to supply you; and if the price is too low, it is due to the fact that contractors have offered at such prices and it was impossible to award contracts at higher prices. Inspection by faithful cavalry officers is the only remedy I can find, unless General Burnside will, under martial law, hang one or two bogus and bribing contractors. That would improve the stock, I think.
M. C. MEIGS,
HDQRS. THIRD DIVISION, FOURTEENTH ARMY CORPS.
Triune, April 24, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel GEORGE E. FLYNT,
Chief of Staff, 14th Army Corps, Murfreesborough, Tenn.:
COLONEL: I have the honor to report, for the information of the major-general commanding, the results of a reconnoitering and foraging expedition, from which I returned this evening.
I went forward this morning with a brigade of infantry, one battery, and some cavalry as far as College Grove and thence with the main force westward and southwestward about 3 miles. A regiment of infantry was left at College Grove, and a force of cavalry sent down the pike as far as Jordan's from which place it drove the enemy's pickets and scouted the surrounding country, remaining in that vicinity until about 3 p.m. A small body of cavalry was also sent from the main force toward Bethesda. No enemy was met in this direction. About 500 rebel cavalry had passed through the day before, taking off all the horses, they could find. A Union man was found near Bethesda, who had just returned from Spring Hill. He stated that all the sick and convalescents had been sent from that place to the rear, and that Van Dorn and Wheeler were certainly preparing for some important move. It was reported in camp that they had been ordered to some place in Alabama, but it seemed to be believed by the soldiers and by my informer that they were about to advance. The soldiers were sure of a "big fight", very soon. In the afternoon I went as far down on the Chapel Hill pike as the position held by my cavalry, and returned to camp with the command at sunset this evening. We obtained 130 wagon-loads of good forage.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. M. SCHOFIELD,