So much of these remarks as relates to the superintendence and management of the railroads by Colonel McCallum has been approved by the Secretary, but the question of the propriety and necessity of employing soldiers upon the roads to a greater extent than heretofore is a matter which must be left to your own judgment and discretion, and in a great measure be governed by the course of events as the campaign progresses.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ED. R. S. CANBY,
Brigadier-General and Assistant Adjutant-General.
QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL'S OFFICE, Washington, D. C., February 12, 1864.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, by reference of the War Department, of a letter from Major General George H. Thomas, dated Chattanooga, Tenn., January 27, 1864, to the Adjutant-General, reporting upon the condition of the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, and transmitting copies of his letters to Major-General Grant and Colonel J. B. Anderson, military manager, upon the subject.
After reading these papers and the report of Colonel McCallum, on which I lately reported to the Secretary of War, I am of opinion that it is best to put Colonel McCallum in general charge. If Mr. Anderson objects to acting under his direction, or does not act efficiently and to the satisfaction of Colonel McCallum and of General Grant, a change should be made.
From my very small intercourse with him I judge him to be an efficient man, understanding his business, rather too easily disturbed by questions touching his authority or position, but earnest.
Colonel McCallum's great experience in the management of railways, improved by special experience in time of war of the wants of an army, gives him peculiar qualifications.
The railroad is reported open to-day to Loudon, so that we have railroad communications with Knoxville, interrupted only by a single ferry, which is at Loudon, where a bridge some 1,800 feet long across the Holston has not yet been rebuilt.
Two hundred and ten cars reached Chattanooga in the last three days, average of seventy per day. This average cannot be kept up, however, with the additional run from Chattanooga to Loudon.
Four steam-boats are now in running order between Bridgeport and Loudon. Two more are launched and being fitted with engines. One, the Dunbar, has been wrecked.
All the miliary commanders are liable to fail to do justice to the ability and efforts of those who manage the railroads. If their soldiers want bread or their animals want forage, that fact is before them, but they do not see the efforts made, nor can they realize the wretched condition of the railroad which for 150 miles, when taken charge of by the United States, needed almost entire rebuilding, nor do they see the difficulty of procuring the large equipment of rolling-stock needed to supply an army. The ordinary equipment of a railroad in time of peace is the gradual growth of years. The Quartermaster's Department is expected to provide in a few weeks for military necessities a larger equipment than the railroad has