We met with delay everywhere, and I sometimes feel as though the great end the staff departments have in view now-a-days is "how not to do it."
When a requisition goes forward the chances are nine out of ten that it will be sent back for not conforming, in some trifling particular, with some "form" which has probably been gotten up within the last few days, and which is known only to the authors themselves. This is especially and peculiarly the case with the ordnance department, though the others are bad enough.
In one case I was receiving wagons from Camp Nelson, and directed my quartermaster to request the quartermaster at that place, rather than send the wagons empty and thus lose valuable time, to load them with forage; instead of doing so, however, and at once, and thus putting his shoulder to the common wheel, he telegraphed to know "whether we wanted the forage for animals or for men."
Again, I made requisition for seventy-five or one hundred wagons, and was informed that the wagons were at Camp Nelson, but that General Allen had directed that we receive no more. The result was that we could not supply our animals without falling back to this place.
Again, I made an estimate for funds on the chief quartermaster, Cincinnati, sent my quartermaster for them, but instead of getting them and done with it, he was referred to Captain Hall at Camp Nelson, and Captain Hall said he had no funds for this command.
Again, I made a requisition for 3,500 horses to complete the mounting of my men; the requisition goes to the chief quartermaster at Cincinnati (just where it ought to have gone), and in the course of time he (my quartermaster) is informed that by a new arrangement requisition for horses will have to be made on the Cavalry Bureau at Washington.
Then is it possible to accomplish anything in this way? Longstreet will not be apt to wait for all this circumlocution, but will rather be disposed to take advantage of it himself. When the departments knew this force was coming here, had they placed the proper stores at my disposal we should have been ready for service now, and there would have been no trouble at all about getting their receipts.
You are sending two more regiments and a battalion to be equipped. Now, the necessary stores should start for this place when the troops do. Just see what valuable time might be saved. Instead, however, nothing can be done until the troops arrive; then requisitions will be made out and forwarded, and (if some new form should be adopted in the mean time) will probably be returned for informality, & c., and there is no telling when they may be ready for the field. I do not write this with any hope that it will be in your power to remedy these evils, but simply that you may be enabled to appreciate the embarrassments under which I am compelled to labor, and the reason why we are not now ready for effective service. If the enemy enter Kentucky in force (and I fear he has done so already) he will not probably have less than 6,000 or 7,000 infantry, mounted, and artillery. To meet this force I have but about 3,000 mounted men and some 2,000 foot men, all in course of equipping, and not one piece of artillery. To be sure, I am not charged with the defense of Kentucky, and it might be said, therefore, that it is no affair of mine. That would all be true, yet I am anxious about it, and propose to do what I can to keep him out or worst him when he appears.