Washington, D. C., April 20, 1864.
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Mil. Div. of the Mississippi, Nashville, Tenn.:
GENERAL: I have received your letter of 9th with copies of Orders, Numbers 6. Colonel McCallum has been sick, but is now on his way to Nashville.
By use of all the steam-boats from Bridgeport to Chattanooga and by running the heavy trains over the easier grades and better rails of the Decatur route, I doubt not you can accelerate the accumulation of stores at the front. Mr. Anderson will do what is possible to further your views, and Colonel McCallum, on his arrival, you will find possessed of great capacity.
Resist the pressure of civilians and private donations and supplies, march your troops, and devote the cars solely to transportation of military necessities, and you will accomplish much. Many civilians can give charitable, patriotic, benevolent, and religious reasons to be allowed to go to the front; the reasons are so good that nothing but an absolute and unchangeable prohibition of all such travel will do any good.
I understand that one engine per day is being sent forward to Nashville, and that fifteen cars per day are also added to the stock. We have had to quietly but firmly impress the locomotive manufactories; that is, notify them that the engines must be made and delivered for the United States in bar of all other customers or contractors. You have grain for 50,000 animals to 1st January next at Nashville, your base, and rations for 200,000 men for four months. All the energy heretofore directed to forwarding supplies to Nashville should now be devoted to getting them in advance of that point, and the purchase and forwarding to Nashville should be stopped. Will you see to this? Money is needed for all purposes and should not be spent upon accumulating a surplus in Nashville.
You will be obliged, I think, to move with smaller trains than Rosecrans had last year. The broken-down animals of the last campaign in East Tennessee and Georgia have not recovered yet; the dead cannot be replaced. We are short of mules east and west, and I find great difficulty in procuring cavalry horses needed here. The Cavalry Bureau, charged specially with mounting the cavalry, is also in difficulties. They find the supply of horses deficient.
To a marching column of 35,000 men here General Grant has assigned 600 wagons for all purposes.
Captain Poe, in charge of your engineer depot at Nashville, has, I am told, charge of the photographic establishment. Some very interesting photographs of the scenery about Nashville and Knoxville, I am told,have been taken. I have seen a set of Chattanooga views, which are interesting and beautiful. Can you not send me two sets of each, one for my office and one for myself? I should prefer them sent on thin paper, to be mounted here. They are less injured in the mail.
I am, very truly, yours,
M. C. MEIGS,