authority, or in any manner stopped or detained at Vicksburg, Miss., to my knowledge. And, having been in charge of river transportation at this post since the middle of August last, I certainly would have known if anything of the kind had been done. And since December 1, 1863, only about 7,000 or 8,000 bushels have been taken at this post, and that was when there was not a bushel of coal at the post, and was taken from fleets of coal-boats containing about 150,000 bushels.
I would further state that on the 2nd day of September last, there then being less than 20,000 bushels of coal at this post, I was ordered to send and did send 15,000 bushels of that amount to New Orleans for the use of the Department of the Gulf, and at the same time had no coal under way for us, and expected none, and have received none, excepting what we raised and reclaimed from barges that had been sunk last winter.
The tow-boat with which I sent the 15,000 bushels was stopped at Port Hudson, and 2,500 bushels taken out, for which i had trouble and long delay in obtaining receipts.
Very little forage has been stopped here to my knowledge, I think only when further transportation could not then conveniently be furnished, and I am certain that far less has been stopped here than has been reshipped from here to the Department of the Gulf.
Very large quantities have been forwarded from time to time of the supplies for the forces at this place. The undersigned would take the present occasion to respectfully state that Major-General McPherson, commanding the Seventeenth Army Corps, has always not only been careful to avoid delay in the transportation of supplies to the Department of the Gulf, but in his orders and by his personal attention has directed that they should be forwarded with all possible speed, which has been done.
Our own steamers have been employed for that purpose even when they were needed in this department. And when our steamers have been sent down with supplies to that department, officers at New Orleans board them as soon as they land, and demand and collect freight on all private shipments, and passenger money, and will not allow any private freight to be shipped, or private citizen to take passage, until the money has been paid to them; and, upon application to have this money paid over to this department, as was done through Colonel Bingham, chief quartermaster, Department of tennessee, in the case of the Clara Bell, payment or transfer was refused.
The steamers of this department have been largely engaged in transporting supplies to that department, and their steamers have been cheerfully fueled, supplied, loaded, and sent forward, and in all this General McPherson has manifested the most cheerful good feelings, and a desire to aid in forwarding supplies to the Department of the Gulf, the same as in any other service to the common cause in which all the armies of the Government are engaged.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
G. L. FORT,
Captain, and Assistant Quartermaster.
[Sub-Inclosure Numbers 3.]
HDQRS. 17TH ARMY CORPS, DEPT. OF THE TENNESSEE,
Vicksburg, Miss., November 16, 1863.
Captain A. R. EDDY, Assistant Quartermaster, Memphis, Tenn.:
CAPTAIN: I beg respectfully to call your attention to the fact that, since the 1st day of October, this command has been without a supply