MILITARY DIVISION OF WEST MISSISSIPPI,
OFFICE OF CHIEF QUARTERMASTER,
Fort Gaines, Ala., March 22, 1865.
General P. J. OSTERHAUS,
Chief of Staff, & c.:
GENERAL: I have just received the instructions of the major-general commanding to forward commissary stores and forage at once to Dannelly's Mills for the army. I have the honor to report that last evening orders were given to load the Tamaulipas with commissary stores for Fish River and the Jenny Rogers with 1,000 sacks forage. The Tamaulipas will be loaded and will start about 2 o'clock to-day. The Jenny Rogers was blown ashore in the norther now blowing and disabled, with 600 sacks grain on board, 96,000 pounds (both of her chimneys off). The Tarascon has just started for Navy Cove to load 1,000 sacks of oats and wagons and ambulances for the Sixteenth Corps. I will continue to send forage forward as rapidly as possible. The steamer Swaim left here last night for Cedar Point, having on board enough commissary stores for Colonel Moore's brigade, now there, to last until the 31st instant. The A. G. Brown was also sent last night to Cedar Point, and the two tin-clads go this morning. These, with the Swaim, will entirely finish transporting Colonel Moore's brigade to Fish River. There are still remaining here sixteen pieces of artillery with their animals belonging to General A. J. Smith's command. I am now loading the Lockwood for Fish River with as much of this artillery as she can take and some baggage of the Sixteenth Army Corps. The White Cloud Numbers 2 is badly ashore in Grant's Pass with men and means of transportation for the Sixteenth Army Corps from New Orleans. I shall send to her relief the first suitable steamer I can spare. A mail has just arrived from New Orleans by the Alabama, which I send you under charge of Captain Mellville, aide-de-camp. I respectfully represent that owing to the fact that quartermasters have not made the returns and reports which they have been called upon to furnish daily, and for the reason that the number of animals sent to the front have gone in detachments at different times and supplied up to different dates (some by vessels from Navy Cove, of which I have as yet no record), it is impossible for me to know the exact or even approximate amount of forage taken by the different portions of this army, or the amount required to comply with the instructions to-day received from the commanding general to send a sufficient supply to last until the 31st instant. I would respectfully request that commanding generals of corps be directed to cause to be sent to me daily, or as often as opportunity offers, an exact or approximate statement of the number of animals with their respective commands at the front, and a statement of the amount of forage on hand. Until more accurate data is received by me I shall continue to send forward as much forage as the means at my command will permit, as the orders of the commanding general seem urgent, and Captain Mellville represents that forage is greatly needed. The Starlight has just reported from Dannelly's Mills and I have directed that she be loaded at once with 1,000 sacks of grain (about 160,000 pounds) and 50 bales of hay, and that she take no other load, to avoid delay and to diminish as much as possible her chances of getting aground. The matters belonging to headquarters that could not go on the Mustang I have put on board the Starlight.
I am, general, hurriedly, but very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. G. SAWTELLE,
Lieutenant Colonel and Chief Quartermaster, Mil. Div. of West Mississippi.