in the correspondence and inclosures might prove of service or at least of interest to you.*
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General Volunteers, Chief of Staff.
Please acknowledge .
Washington City, May 11, 1863.
Major General D. BUTTERFIELD,
Chief of Staff, Army of the Potomac:
MY DEAR GENERAL: I send you another copy of the circular of January 2, 1862, in regard to flying columns of troops.+ It is reported duration, carrying with it all necessary supplies, and yet with it no baggage trains. If this be literally true, it has
changed the whole character of the war on our side, and has done much for our cause. For the benefit of the service, I desire to have all the information I can collect upon the details of the outfit and equipments and the actual performance of the troops in this march.
* * * * *
I will be obliged to you for copies of any orders issued by the headquarters describing the equipments and arrangements for the march and any observation upon the actual performance of the men. How much and what did they carry? What did they throw away? Were they well fed to the end of the movement?
* * * * *
Yours, truly and respectfully,
M. C. MEIGS,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
May 13, 1863.
Brigadier General M. C. MEIGS,
SIR: Your favor of the 11th May received. In reply to the inquiries therein contained, the troops marched with eight days' rations, provided in this way: Three days' cooked rations in haversacks; in the knapsacks one change of underclothing, five days' hard-bread, sugar, coffee, and salt; and five days' fresh beef on the hoof accompanying the columuns. No wagons except the ammunition for the artillery, with supplies of forage, and a very few wagons with forage for officers' horses. The extra ammunition for the infantry was carried on pack-mules. Two pack-mules to each regiment were allowed, to carry rations and sheltertents for officers. There were no complaints of any lack of provisions, or scarcity. The eight days' rations, so far as any reports have been received, seem to have held out well; but when the troops came into action the knapsacks were invariably taken off, and in most instances abandoned and thrown away.
*See also Ingalls to Meigs, May 29, 1863, p.544.
+See Inclosure E, p.489.