Pay Department, but a want of money in the Treasury. There will be a charge of the head in a few days, but whether that will help us any remains to be seen.
Officers and members of Congress have suggested that the money be given to the Pay Department in preference to the Quartermaster's, Commissary's, and other supply departments. You will readily perceive by doing this we would necessarily cut off the supplies of our army. I understand that the Quartermaster's Department is already some $180,000 in debt, and that until a part, at least, of this is paid it will be almost impossible to purchase and transport supplies. The manufacturers cannot furnish cloth, or the tailors make clothes, or the shoemakers make shoes, or the railroads transport troops and supplies, much longer, unless paid a part, at least, of their claims. Some of the Western roads cannot pay their employes, and threaten to stop running their trains if they cannot be paid what the Government owes them. Serious difficulties also exist with the New York Central, Hudson River, Harlem, and other roads.
What is here said of the Quartermaster's Department also applies to the Commissary, Medical, Ordnance, and other departments.
If we pay the troops to the exclusion of the other creditors of the Government supplies must stop, and our armies will be left without food, clothing, or ammunition. We must equalize and distribute the Government indebtedness in such a way as to keep the wheels going. I give you these views as the result of various consultations with the heads of departments. What we want is some more great victories to give more confidence in our currency and to convince financial men that the war is near its close. In money matters there are the darkest days we have yet had during the war, but I hope that relief is not very distant.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
Major-General and Chief of Staff.
CITY POINT, February 15, 1865.
Colonel GEORGE D. RUGGLES,
Will you please inform me where General Benham now is?
T. S. BOWERS.
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
February 15, 1865.
Lieutenant Colonel T. S. BOWERS,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Armies of the United States:
General Benham is due at City Point to-day.
GEO. D. RUGGLES,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, Numbers 7.
February 15, 1865.
A compliance with so much of General Orders, Numbers 52, of 1863, from these headquarters, as requires the cooking for enlisted men of this army of be done by company, and not by squads or by individuals,