as would be safe or practicable, the load up the pack trains with boxes of ammunition and the necessary forage, and push them right after the troops, with orders to follow them everywhere. Each division should have its own train, and this train, if not unduly loaded, would be able to follow its division through woods and morasses wherever troops are capable of marching.
Holding these views, I cordially recommend the retention of the pack-mule system, provided it can have its own independent organization; otherwise the sooner it is abolished the better for the service.
Submitting the above as the best I can thus hastily give you, I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. F. RUSLING,
Captain, and Acting Chief Quartermaster.
HEADQUARTERS FIFTH ARMY CORPS, May 25, 1863.
Brigadier General R. INGALLS,
Chief Quartermaster Army of the Potomac:
GENERAL: In compliance with your letter, 22nd instant, directing me to furnish information on the following points, I have the honor to report:
That the whole number of baggage wagons with the marching column of our troops was 19; ambulances, 18; spring wagons, 10; total, 47; and were loaded with forage and officers' rations. The whole number of pack-mules was 325, hauling forage and ammunition. The average weight carried in the wagons was 2,500 pounds, and by the mules 250 pounds each.
The number of days' subsistence carried in wagons was five days, and the number of rounds ammunition 2,300,000, and on pack-mules about 365,000 rounds. The men carried eight days' rations and 60 rounds of ammunition. It is impossible to furnish any reliable estimate of the amount of clothing carried by the men. The average weight carried by each man was 45 pounds.
The amount of knapsacks, &c., thrown away is as follows:
Command. Knapsacks. Haversacks. Canteens. Sheltertents.
First 752 107 78 107
Second 4,272 1,574 799 2,502
Third 357 -- -- 1,282
Total. 5,381 1,681 877 3,891
In a fatiguing march of the character as the last, it is a disadvantage to have the men carry knapsacks. It would be better for the men to carry only haversacks, canteens, blankets, and shelter-tents.
The pack-mule system is of advantage so far as the transportation of small-stores from the trains to the commands and on short marches, but will not be of any great benefit, and will render useless many animals now doing good service.
JOHN F. CASLOW,
Captain, and Acting Chief Quartermaster Fifth Army Corps.