Mr. Anderson should have had on hand at that time at least double the number of engines and cars. The number he now has in barely sufficient to keep this depot supplied with the necessary forage and commissary stores for the troops of the Army of the Cumberland. You will perceive by reading my letter to Mr. Anderson (dated January 18) that I have stated to him what I considered the least number of locomotives and cars which should be employed on this and connecting roads.
This letter was addressed to him at his request that I would order him to supply and stock the road over and above what he then had on hand. I informed him at the time that he had full authority from the Secretary of War to purchase what he needed to put the road in the most efficient condition, but that if he wished ot be fortified by my suggestion that I would willingly give it; but by the terms of the Secretary's letter of appointment I had no authority to give him orders. But his rolling-stock was in no way adequate to the demands which had already been made on him for transportation, and as those demands would be increased threefold by the time the season for active operations would commence, that he ought to take the proper measures to procure the necessary appliances at once.
I wish, moreover, to state that as yet the proper organization of the repairing parties has not been made, so far as I can learn, but the soldier are still engaged in cutting cross-ties, wood, and doing other work on the road from which they should have been relieved by the 1st of the month. I endeavored to impress upon Mr. Anderson, when I saw him last, that in cases of emergency my shore army was at his service to repair or protect the road, but when once in order he must have on hand the necessary force to keep it in repair. That he could not depend on the soldiers as laborers on any other occasions. I inclose herewith copies of letters addressed by me to Major-General Grant and Mr. Anderson on the stocking and management of this road, which I believe covers the principal points of complaint. It is right and just to state that, so far as I am at present informed, the road was in very bad condition when Mr. Anderson took charge of it in October last, and it is possible he amy have done all that was possible to get it in its present condition; but unless he takes very prompt measures at once we shall be very seriously embarrassed in the spring for want of the necessary means of transporting supplies to this army and the Army of the Ohio, now in East Tennessee.
I am, colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. THOMAS,
Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, Memphis, January 27, 1864.
Brigadier General R. P. BUCKLAND,
Commanding District of Memphis:
DEAR GENERAL: As I am about to leave and you are to remain, I desire to express to you personally the confidence I have in your integrity, judgment, and good sense. You know how much stress I have put on honesty in the character of an U. S. officer. Merchants naturally make gains; it is their calling; but an officer has