who had it in charge stated it was private coal, which to be sold in New Orleans at contract price, and he was desirous of leaving the whole of it here. The statements of Colonel Holabird and Captain Armstrong are not only reckless and unjust, but they are false in many particulars. When Colonel Holabird wrote his letter, not a pound of coal consigned to the Department of the Gulf had been stopped within the limits of my command; but, on the contrary, we had nearly stripped ourselves to sent to them.
Captain Armstrong says orders says orders have been issued at Vicksburg to stop all supplies, &c.; that we make no estimates, but leave others to do the work, and then practically take the supplies without to obtain them in a legitimate manner.
No such order was ever issued, or thought of being issued, and estimates have been made out and forwarded promptly, as the accompanying papers show.
Instead of trying to impede or throw obstacles in the way of supplies going down, I have always endeavored to expedite matters, and have ever been willing to divide with them anything I had. We have taken mules out of our trains to send them, and have sent beef-cattle, when we had to go out the next day and forage through the country to get a supply for our own command.
The reckless, unscrupulous assertions of Colonel Holabird and Captain Armstrong are but a poor recompense for what we have endeavored to do to assist them, but only what be expected from officers who look more to pomp and official dignity than the real interests of the service.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
JAS. B. McPHERSON,
[Sub-Inclosure Numbers 1.]
DEPARTMENT QUARTERMASTER'S OFFICE,
Vicksburg, Miss., January 20, 1864.
Major General J. B. McPHERSON,
Commanding Seventeenth Army Corps:
GENERAL: My attention has been called to a communication addressed to the Quartermaster-General at Washington by Colonel Holabird and Captain Armstrong, assistant quartermaster, New Orleans, in which they have made a complaint, accusing us of seizing quartermaster's stores consigned to them.
During the that I have discharged the duties of this office in the months of October, November, and December, 1863, the only seizures we have made are two consignments of grain, amounting to 1,081,558 pounds, and 8,660 bushels of coal.
To counterbalance the amount of grain taken, we have made two shipments to New Orleans, one of 5,111 sacks, amounting to 776,018 pounds, per steamer Pringle, and the other of 2,107 sacks, amounting to 305,540 pounds, per steamer Northerner.
No horses, mules, or any stores have been stopped here, with the exception of the above.
Stock arriving at this point consigned to New Orleans have invariably been out of forage, and we have always promptly furnished whatever amount was needed to sustain them to destination.
I would respectfully state that at the time the coal was seized the quartermasters at New Orleans had a large quantity on hand, whereas