General Smith (W. S.) chief of cavalry, has, I learn, called for 30,000 horses for the cavalry of your military division. These cannot be obtained in time for the opening of the campaign. I learn unofficially that an order has issued to dismount mounted infantry and transfer their horses to cavalry. The nominal cavalry force is too large.
Washington, D. C., April 20, 1864
Major General W. T. SHERMAN,
Commanding Military Division of the Mississippi, Nashville:
GENERAL: I have your letter, and agreeing with you entirely I have requested the Adjutant-General to issue an order nearly in the words you suggest.
I hope that General Allen will be able, by the large control he will have of the resources of the Quartermaster's Department, to aid you materially in your operations.
I have applied to the Secretary, having some time since consulted General Grant, for orders to accompany the headquarters of the lieutenant-general commanding during the approaching campaign, believing that during the active operations I can be more useful there than in this Bureau. During the time of preparations this was undoubtedly my place, but our preparations are completed.
To one thing let me call your attention-the burdensome ten tag of your armies. Requisitions are still referred here, asking, in violation of general orders, for Sibley tents wall-tents. A-tents, &c. We make no more Sibley tents. The eastern armies are fitted out with shelter-tents entirely.
Burnside's command turned in the other day a complete outfit of A-tents, which they had received while encamped at Annapolis, and yesterday they marched through Washington, every man with a shelter-tent rolled up on his knapsack, all contended. I rode out to meet them on Sunday evening, and I saw a division go into camp. In half an hour after stacking arms, without waiting for wagons, every man had his shelter-tent up and all were housed. The sheltertent is more healthy than the A, or wall, or Sibley, and the difference in mobility of an army thus sheltered and an army with the other tents is enormous.
To Burnside's column, intended to be 35,000 strong (infantry, cavalry, and artillery), were assigned on the estimates for his outfit, 600 wagons and 180 ambulances. If any difference in strength is made the outfit will be changed. Of these wagons, five go to 1,000 men for ammunition, three only for baggage; provisions and forage take up the rest.
Wishing you all success, I am, very truly, your friend,
M. C. MEIGS,
There is a difference between the Eastern and Western columns, which excites dissensions and should be corrected. I inclose a copy of General Orders, Numbers -, from Headquarters of the Army, which is the rule and should be enforced.*
*Order not found as an inclosure.