quartermaster than a commanding general with capacity for such a command as yours, and the field of selection is smaller. General Robert Allen has powers and duties extending over the military division of the Mississippi Valley. He is of all officers of this department probably most fitted to meet your requirements, but I am in doubt whether he could conduct his immense office business, the distribution of money, and the providing and forwarding supplies to all the Western armies as sufficiently if ordered to your headquarters as he does while stationed on the Ohio River, your base of operations. If he can arrange this difficulty, however, I shall not object to his joining you. I request you to communicate with him on this subject and to advise me of your conclusions. Colonel Donaldson is probably next in ability and efficiency to General Allen. He has not had such an extensive field, but has done all well. But if he is taken from the Tennessee River from Decatur to Knoxville, I do not know how to supply his place. Being at Nashville, you are able to see how important his present duty is and how indispensable to your success is a man of capacity in charge of the depot of Nashville.
I incline to think that were I in your place I should call General Allen to headquarters on all important occasions, keeping constantly with me some confidential officers in good relations with commanding general and senior quartermaster. The latter, during all preparations for a campaign, which is the greater part of the year, is most effective at the base, providing and sending forward supplies. The telegraph, it is to be remembered, affords instant and constant communication, and on important occasions by resorting to the telegraph office conversation can be carried on. When the commanding general takes the field in person the chief quartermaster should be called to this headquarters.
General Allen will be ready to serve wherever most useful, and in this matter I shall be guided by your decision after you have consulted him.
M. C. MEIGS,
April 7, 1864.
Quartermaster-General, Washington, D. C.:
Your dispatch is this moment received, and is fully satisfactory. I have had much conversation with General Allen, and think I can arrange to have him and yet to fill the place I deem necessary. If announced as my chief quartermaster he would not feel the delicacy he ow expresses to make orders or give instructions affecting officers now not clearly under him. I will confer with him further and advise you of the result. All is working well now. By marching troops, forbidding all railroad business but pure military freight, we have much enlarged our work.
W. T. SHERMAN,