Washington City, December 31, 1864.
Honorable . M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
SIR: I am informed by Brevet Brigadier-General Easton, chief quartermaster of General Sherman's army, that the transportation of that army is now in better condition than he has ever seen it; "in fact, it is in first-rate order. " The animals, of which there are about 35,000 with the army, of which 12,000 are horses, eat rice straw, and will not suffer for long forage. He asks that shipments of grain continue while the army remains at Savannah, and that a small shipment of hay be also continued. I have ordered the daily shipment of hay to be reduced one-half, i. e., to 100 tons. I inclose a copy of a letter* from General Sherman, which is interesting as giving some results of his late experience, and which also bears testimony to the services of the Quartermaster Department, by which he says all his "armies have been admirably supplied. " General Sherman states that his experience shows that every part of the Southern country will support the animals of an army moving through it, if a judicious system of foraging is adopted, and that more animals are lost wide tied to wagons of the trains of armies at rest than in the long and seemingly hard marches into the interior. His own army is fully supplied with horses and mules, and he is of opinion that he can continue to supply it in the South with all the animals needed during contemplated operations. He may possibly, in the course of the spring, need some heavy artillery horses, but has a full supply at present.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster-General U. S. Army, Brevet Major-General.
HDQRS. MIL. DIV. OF THE MISSISSIPPI,
In the Field, Savannah, GA.,
December 31, 1864.
I. The work of constructing the fortifications of Savannah will commence at once, under the supervision of Captain Poe, chief engineer, and the line will be divided into two divisions, the Ogeechee road being the dividing line, and he is authorized to call upon army commanders for such details for labor as he may require.
II. Major-General Slocum, commanding Left Wing, will furnish details to Captain Poe for that part of the work north of and between the Ogeechee roach and Savannah River, and Major-General Howard, commanding Right Wing, will furnish details for the work south of the Ogeechee road.
* * * * *
By order of Major General W. T. Sherman:
L. M. DAYTON,
*See Sherman to Meigs, December 25, p. 807.