months. The estimate for this depot, it appears, was made by Lieutenant G. C. Smith, acting depot commissary, October 31, 1863, and for 65,000 rations, less amount on hand January 1, 1864, which made the amount required to be supplied 12,000 rations of pork, 50,000 rations of fresh beef, 54,091 rations of flour, &c.
This estimate, as I understand, was consolidated with others for the District of Arizona, and embraced in the one which left here on January 5, 1864.
The condition of the supplies here may, I think, be attributed to three causes: First, an unexpected issue thereof to transient troops and trains; second, delay in the transmission and approval of estimates; and, third, neglect in anticipating the wants of the service, and want of experience in the duties of depot quartermaster and commissary. It was unfortunate that Lieutenant Toole was relieved as depot quartermaster and commissary here, and kept away so long. The difficulties of procuring supplies for the Government at this place are due mainly to the following-named causes, to wit: The want of coin for disbursements, which is the currency on the Pacific coast, and in Sonora particularly, whence supplies mostly come which are purchased; the scarcity of supplies of all description, caused by drought, Indian ravages, and failure to cultivate the soil by the people for fear of Indian depredations; an increased demand for supplies, caused by people who have come and are coming to Arizona to work the mines or the settle in the country. Add to the above the great distance supplies have to be hauled, and the few responsible persons here who can furnish them to the United States. Prices are high and are increasing. The crop the past year was a short one. Cattle in Sonora and Southern California are reported very poor, and dying in large numbers from the drought.
With an imperfect knowledge of what has been done to secure supplies for this district, and having been placed by your instructions and the request of Colonel Bowie in a situation of much responsibility, and finding myself surrounded by circumstances which were not anticipated by you, and which materially complicate this responsibility, I shall do what I think the necessities of the case and the interests of the public service require, and in which I believe I am sustained by your written and verbal instructions to me and by existing department orders away; the latter, I take it, is not desired by you or contemplated. It therefore is resolved into the question of procuring adequate supplies in seasonable time and the best means to secure this end.
It is reported there was but little flour and but one-half barrel of pork on hand at Fort Yuma, from which it seems the supply there was less than Captain Kellogg supposed. My letters to Colonel Coult and Lieutenant Toole, copies of which are herewith inclosed, will explain my action for supplying the immediate wants here for grain. Trains on the road must have grain. Lieutenant Toole makes a contract for twelve months' fresh beef, delivered on the bloc, 13 1/2 cents per pound, the contractor paying the excess of price paid by the commissary above the contract until he can commence filling the same. He will also relieve Lieutenant Smith as post quartermaster and commissary. Flour can be had for 13 1/2 cents per pound, but it is not superfine and has bran in it; or 14 cents for superfine, taking 15,000 pounds per month for six months.