rebel sources in time to send those on shipboard intended for Georgetown to him. By having a good supply on hand for the troops in the Department of the South they could always supply Sherman for a few days until more could reach him.
U. S. GRANT,
(Copy furnished by Halleck to Quartermaster-General, Commissary-General, and Ordnance Department.)
CONFIDENTIAL.] QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, D. C., February 16, 1865.
Chief of Staff:
GENERAL: On the 30th December and 2nd January last, General Easton, chief quartermaster of General Sherman's army, addressed to this office letters, of which I inclose copies*, asking that sixty days grain for 35,000 animals, sixty days' rations for 70,000 men, and six light-draft steamers, clothing, and other stores, should be shipped on as light vessels as possible to Savannah and Hilton Head for the use of General Sherman's army. He also asked for six light-draft steamers. The wants of General Sherman had been anticipated and most of the supplies asked for had been ordered and were on the coast or on the way to Savannah when he reached that city. During his halt at Savannah, however, he consumed the forage and rations, and daily shipments replaced the stores thus consumed. While in Savannah about the middle of January I saw General Sherman, General Easton, his chief quartermaster, and General Beckwith, chief commissary, and discussed the mode of supply. General Sherman made me acquainted with his general plan of campaign, and appeared to dwell upon the possibility of being strongly opposed at the Santee River. He several times remarked that if disappointed in crossing this river he might be obliged to make for the coast near its mouth, and said he wished the navy to keep a careful lookout about Georgetown. General Easton and General Beckwith, acting under orders of General Sherman expected to remain at Savannah and to take charge of the supplies and forward them to whatever point on the coast General Sherman should ultimately order. General Easton on 4th February sends me a letter with requisitions for clothing to be sent to Savannah for General Sherman's army, and for the large re-enforcement which that army s to receive under command of General Schofield. To-day I have, however, requests from General Schofield to send 400,000 rations of forage and 20,000 pairs of shoes to Beaufort for General Sherman's army. The shoes I have ordered there. They will be useful in North Carolina, even if not needed by General Sherman. Whether to stop sending forage to be held under General Easton at Port Royal and Savannah, and to turn the shipments into Beaufort, or no, I am now doubtful. It is of so much importance that there be no confusion as to the means and route of supplies for General Sherman that I desire to have definite information. General Schofield, I presume, has his orders under which he asks this forage. General Easton's action is in conformity with all that I have heard from him and from General Sherman himself at Savannah up to the 19th of January, the day I left there. Whenever the rebel papers of their
*See Vol. XLIV, p. 837, and p. 8, ante.