In the other counties I am informed that the wheat crop equaled half an average of the best quality of grain. Besides this there was a large amount of old wheat not reached in collecting last year. I do not know how much of this wheat crop, new and old, has been taken by the enemy, but unless they have done more than I apprehend I believe that from 5,000 to 8,000 barrels of flour can be got our of this district and the contiguous counties. The most abundant yield will be from lower Hawkins and Greene, and from Jefferson, Cocke, and Grainger. I have sent agents to Hancock County to reconnoiter, who reported that a large amount of old wheat, some new, 600 to 800 head of cattle, 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of bacon, besides corn, &c., could be got from there. This county had not been greatly foraged over by either side, and was the place of deposit for supplies stolen from Hawkins, &c. A considerable number of cattle can be got yet out of Washington, Greene, &c.
The crops of corn and potatoes are said to be unusually great. I believe that the greater part of 1,000,000 bushels corn can be got out of this district and the near counties named, besides potatoes, vinegar, and hospital stores The chief difficulty in collecting these supplies has of course been the presence of the enemy, regular and guerrilla. But an obstacle nearly as great has been, and is now, the want of adequate transportation. The railroad runs through the whole length of the district, and if repaired will greatly aid any operations in it, but all or nearly all the hauling to points on the railroad must be done by the Government. The country has been stripped by both armied of draft animals. I have no transportation under my control, and have been unwilling to buy more supplies than I was sure of being able to secure. I have had a very few wagons lent me by Major Crutchfield from the field transportation, but he was obliged to take these away at the time I had first an opportunity of using them. I respectfully urge that it is ly and promptly as possible all these supplies while the roads are good, and to place their safety and the question on the subsistence of the army of this department beyond all danger from our failure to hold East Tennessee. It is of moment to secure them for our own use and to keep them out of the enemy's hands, and to remove one very storing inducement for him to strive for possession of the country. so much of these supplies as the general commanding department deemed necessary for the wants of the department could and will be retained and placed in the hands of the department officers. The surplus only, if any, can be used elsewhere. I have agents ample in number and efficiency for the work, and need only protection and transportation. I respectfully and earnestly ask that at least 150 wagons (more can be employed if the whole of those counties be opened) be placed at my disposal under a quartermaster in charge. Captain Bryan, assistant quartermaster in charge of field transportation, can probably make the needful arrangements. The wagons can be returned so soon as the work is done. I also as for an order for such details as may be needed for guarding trains and driving cattle. I also ask specially for a force of 150 or 200 men for ten days, to enable me to scour Hancock County and to get out whatever surplus supplies are there before they are removed and before the roads become difficult.
I respectfully refer you to Captain Isaac Shelby, assistant commissary of subsistence, and Major McMahon, chief quartermaster, for further information.
JNO M. ORR,
Captain and Asst. Commissary of Subsistence, First Dist. of Tenn.