War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0288 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI

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only to a department commander, or to a general commanding an army in the field. Each appeared to be in a great measure acting independently of the other. To some considerable extent this seemed to be necessary under the existing circumstances. Major-General Van Dorn was in the immediate command of the army at Holly Springs, and it naturally engaged most of his attention. General Bragg, to whose department the geographical districts (just organized into a separate department) had been attached, was too far removed to permit him to give his personal supervision. It resulted almost necessarily from this state of things that but little attention had been given to the accumulation of supplies. No depots of importance existed within the limits of the department, nor had any measures been taken to establish them. Much of the season best suited to the collection of stores from the Trans-Mississippi had gone by. They were undoubtedly abundant there, but my command did not embrace that district of country. I had no control over the steamboats in Red River. It was one thing to purchase supplies, but another to transport them. Most of the boats were engaged in carrying sugar, molasses, and salt either for private parties or for the Government. There was great opposition on the part of owners at every attempt to divert them from these purposes. The Government was appealed to against what was styled the violation of the rights of the citizen by the military authorities. It required time to ascertain what was needed to be done, and time to acquire the means of its accomplishment.

On October 25, the necessary orders were issued to procure and transport supplies from the parishes of Pointe Coupee, Concordia, and Tensas. Major [R. H.] Cuney, then chief commissary, was directed to confer with Lieutenant Colonel [W. A.] Broadwell, agent of the Commissary-General, then in the Trans-Mississippi Department, but to make arrangements for supplying this department without relying upon him. Major [Edward] Dillon, commissary of the army with Major-General Van Dorn, was directed to use every effort to subsist it from the northern and northwestern counties. For several months after I entered upon duty in the department, there was not water enough to admit of the passage into the Mississippi of the larger boats, which had been run up the Yazoo or Red River for safety.

As early as the latter part of October, I authorized the opening of the raft in the Yazoo, that the smaller boats might pass out. Notwithstanding the violent opposition of private parties, very many of them were immediately taken either into the permanent employ of the Government or chartered as supplies could be obtained. The transportation of sugar and molasses, owned by the Government and by speculators, interfered materially with the rapid accumulation of other supplies. When, however, about January 1, the larger boats were able to enter the Mississippi, a sufficient number was at once put into requisition for Government transportation, and a large amount of corn and bacon was thrown into Vicksburg and Port Hudson from the Trans-Mississippi Department. I regret, however, to say that from want of proper care and energy upon the part of those responsible for its safe-keeping, a large quantity of corn which had been landed on the shore was removed so slowly, and so little precaution used to secure it from the effects of the heavy rains of the season, that much was destroyed by that cause, and much was carried off by the rapid rise of the river. It happened that just at this time about January 10, I made an official visit to Port Hudson, and was myself a witness of the consequences of this neglect at that point.

On January 14, I addressed the following letter to Lieutenant-Colonel