War of the Rebellion: Serial 099 Page 0180 OPERATIONS IN N. C. S., C., S. GA., AND E. Chapter LIX.

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QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

Washington City, January 31, 1865.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Savannah, Ga.:

GENERAL: The arrival of your army on the Atlantic coast increases very considerably the water transportation required of this department, and in view of this fact I beg to suggest that your Chief quartermaster be reminded of the importance of ordering to New York all sea steamers at the earliest moment they can be spared. I am satisfied that vessels are detained at different points, unloading and from other causes, longer than they should be. I would also respectfully call your attention to the great saving that could be made on freights if a reasonable notice could be given to the department of the stores required to be shipped. The commissary department should give thirty days' notice of the amount of subsistence stores required for your Army, when they could be sent in sailing vessels at half the expense. At present nearly every requisition is accompanied by an urgent request that the stores or troops be sent forward with the utmost dispatch, when, of course, steamers have to be employed. Very large coastwise movements of troops during the past month and at the present time absorb nearly every sea-going steamer of the Northern ports. No sooner is a steamer built by private enterprise for a particular line than, under urgent demand, it is taken up by the Quartermaster's Department.

As an instance of the great expenditures arising from these sudden movements I refer to the steamer Monterey, which was ordered to the Department of the South with cargo of commissary stores. She is of 1,030 tons burden, and was absent over fifty days at an expense of about $25,000, besides the cost of the coal she consumed. She lay may days idle in the harbors and rivers of the coast of South Carolina and Georgia, made one or two trips from Savannah to Beaufort with wagons and ambulances, and cost the United States for her service some $25,000. Every idle day cost $463.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. C. MEIGS,

Quartermaster and Brevet Major-General.

HDQRS. MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI,

In the Field, January 31, 1865.

General HOWARD:

General Slocum has not yet reported. I don't see how any of the enemy can be to your rear. If so, they should be caught; for there is no escape for them except into swamps, where our men can follow on foot. The commanding officer at Coosawhatchie says negroes just from Barnwell report that our troops engaged the enemy over about Lawtonville and were driving them rapidly beyond. We will start to-morrow, anyhow.

Yours,

W. T. SHERMAN,

Major-General, Commanding.

HDQRS. DEPARTMENT AND ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE,

In the Field, January 31, 1865.

Major General W. T. SHERMAN, Commanding Mil. Div. of the Mississippi:

GENERAL: General Force has been continuing a reconnaissance with two regiments to my right rear, along the Salkehatchie. By cutting