intended to mount troops in West Virginia have been sent to you, notwithstanding the earnest protestations of the authorities there. But you ask for authority to go into loyal States and seize horses which the owners will not sell, or to purchase them at any price and in any manner. I do not precisely understand why you so often urge me to give you authority to violate the law. If you wish to violate the law, you certainly should not throw upon me the responsibility of your illegal acts. That certainly would be very unfair, to say the least. I have never found it necessary to do anything contrary to what I deemed the law authorized name to do. If I shall ever find it necessary to do what I consider an illegal act, I shall expect to assume the responsibility myself. But you will say that you want the especial authority of the Government. The Government gives you, and has given you,all the authority in its power. It cannot violate a law of Congress in regard to purchases, nor can it authorize any officer to violate such a law. The authorities here have done all in their power to supply your wants, and I venture to say that for no other army has greater care and solicitation been felt or given. Indeed, I think the returns will show that you now have a larger number of animals in proportion to your forces than any other general in the field.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK.
Washington City, April 28, 1863.
Commanding Army of the Cumberland, Murfreesborough, Tenn.:
Lieutenant Colonel J. W. Taylor, assistant quartermaster, has called on Colonel [Osborn] Cross, quartermaster, Pittsburgh, to send 400,000 bushels of coal to Nashville, over 10,000 tons. The river will soon fall. Can so much coal be needed? It is difficult to keep the Mississippi fleet supplied, and so many coal-boats and tow-boats have been taken by the Government that there is a coal famine throughout the West. Advise what is absolutely needed. No more than this should be ordered.
M. C. MEIGS,
MURFREESBOROUGH, April 28, 1863-4.35 p.m.
(Received April 29-10.45 p.m.)
M. C. MEIGS:
Our consumption of coal for boats, hospitals, and shops will be near 500 bushels per day, and we must expect none by river after the water falls before next January. We want to insure a needful supply. The Government can judge from this.
W. S. ROSECRANS.
Washington City, April 28, 1863
Major General AMBROSE E. BURNSIDE:
Commanding Department of the Ohio, Cincinnati:
You can retain Captain Dickerson as your chief quartermaster if you desire to do so. Colonel [Thomas E.] Bramlette has been appointed