Potomac. Under the instructions of the Honorable C. A. Dana, Assistant Secreary of War, I left this city on the 11th ultimo to take the general supervision of the movement. Anxious, if possible, to comply with the wishes of the Department and those of the lieutenanti-general in making it to Parkersburg by water, yet knowing by experience the extreme uncertainties of winter navigastion upon the Ohio, I telegraphed on my departure to several trustworthy gentlemen intimately connected with the management of Western railroads, who met me while en route to Louisville, and with whom I aranged for a quiet concentration of machinery, so that if necessary there could be, on twelve to twenty-four hours' notice, at either Cairo, Evansville, Louisville, orConcinnati, sufficne tto move the corps as it should arrive at either of those points, and yet in such manner as not to prove detrimental to the interests of the different roads in case the machinery was not required.
Arrangements were also made through the commissary department, by which the comfort of the troops should be cared for by supplying, as often as once in each hundred miles of railroad transportation, in addition to their rations an abundance of hot coffee.
On arriving at Louisville and noit finding dispatches from Generals Thomas or Schofield, as was anticipated, advising me as to the amount of transportation required, or the time when the troops would be ready to move, on consultation with General Allen it was deemed best to order without delay the assembling at Paducah, the mouth of the Tennessee River, o transports amply sufficient to make the required movement. This being doe by telegraph, I left Louisville the same evening (14th) and reached Paducah the following night, where learning that Major-General Schofield had but a few hgours previously passed down the river I proceeded at once to Cairo, and the next day learning from him by telegraph that only transportation for 10,000 men would be required, in addition to the boats already up the river, I returned to Paducah that night, ordered the boats, with convoy, to be in readiness as soon as possible, and started the next morning at daylight up the Tennessee.
At about 5 o'clock the same evening (17th) meeting General McLean with a division of the Twenty-third Army Corps coming down on transports greatly overloaded, on communication with him it was demed best that I should return to Paducah, sending up the river the transports accompanying me, under care of Captain Arthur Edwards, assistant quartermaster.
After largely increasing at Paducah the transportation for General McLean's command, rendering the condition of the troops entirely comfortable for a long trip, this portion of the corps proceeded up the Ohio on the following morning (18th) and on the evening of the same day, having completed all necessary arrangements for the remainder of the troops as they should reach that place, I left via Cairo for Louisville by rail, and arrived there on the morning o the 29th in advance of any of the transports.
During the previous night the weather suddenly changed from the mild and genial tempeerature with which we had hitherto been favored, and the morning brought the coldst weather as yet experienced during the winter, so that on arriving at the Ohio I found the river so full of floating ice as to give serious apprehensions of ou ability to proceed by boats even to Cincinnati.
On consultation, however, with Major-General Schofield, General Allen, and the best advised river men, I ordered forward the boats to