ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 188.
Richmond, August 10, 1864.
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XII. Colonel Alcibiades De Blanc, of the Invalid Corps, will report to General E. K. Smith, commanding, &c., for assignment to duty with the reserves of West Louisiana.
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By command of the Secretary of War;
SAML. W. MELTON,
OFFICE CHIEF INSPECTOR FIELD TRANSPORTATION,
Shreveport, La., August 10, 1864.
Lieutenant Colonel A. H. COLE,
Inspector-General Field Transportation, Richmond, Va.:
COLONEL: I have sent by Mr. James M. McLeod, agent field transportation department, as full reports of the quantity and condition of the transportation of the Fourth District as circumstances would permit. In former communications I stated that this district had been divided into four sub-districts, over each of which has been placed an officer with the rank of major. These districts are organized, and have been at work for some time fabricating and repairing means of transportation. I find my efforts seriously impeded by the want of money, iron, mules, and artillery horses. The planters have been so much impressed that the taking of any more animals from them would be a serious drawback to the raising of corps, therefore the mules required for this department, as well as those to be sent east of the Mississippi River, must be imported from mexico. Department headquarters requires all officers to purchase through the Cotton Bureau such articles as can be procured from Mexico. I have made a requisition upon that bureau for 1,000 single sets harness and 4,000 mules. Major Ed. A. Burk has made a contract for 2,000 mules. General E. K. Smith, commanding the department, has ordered Brigadier-General Slaughter to purchase 6,000 beeves, to be sold in Mexico and the proceeds to be invested in mules. One of the greatest drawbacks in supplying transportation is the immense demand for teams to carry cotton to mexico for the cotton bureau, over which I have no control. The supply of artillery horses has been greatly reduced in consequence of the immense amount of cavalry in this department, which has very naturally consumed a very large proportion of this class of horses. The few remaining in the country cannot be purchased, and the only alternative is impressment, which course can only be pursued with difficulty, as I have hereinbefore stated. The arrangements made and in progress to fabricate and repair means of transportation are amply sufficient for the department. The supply of iron in my shops is entirely exhausted; the iron bureau has not yet furnished any. An order transferring certain railroad iron in Arkansas to the ordnance department stops the shops at Washington, Ark., from making sixteen wagons per month. I am in hopes, however, of having this order so modified as to be able to get as least a portion of the iron. Red River is too low to obtain river transportation for the iron at Alexandria (railroad). After this iron shall have