property is left very generally whenever a forward movement is made, which could ordinarily be turned over to the post assistant quatermaster.
I have mentioned these items of waste that have come under my own notice merely to show what is too common in the army. I have named only a few of those I have seen, and I think my accounts will show a surplus of property saved, that had been left by those who could easily have turned it in at this post, but preferred to expend or account for it by sharp practice in making up accounts. To account for such losses of tentage and stores I have named will require it, but the accounts will be O. K. when they reach Washington, without doubt.
I very respectfully make the following suggestions: That there be an officer with rank enough to command respect and authority to command obedience, and that it be his specific duty to see that Government property is not wasted; that it be his duty to be with the army and go through the department often, and see that Government property is collected and turned over to post assistant quatermasters when a movement is made. He would probably need several subordinate assistants scattered through the department, each of whom should have sufficient rank to command respect. When an agent in charge of Government property understood that neglect on his part could not escape detection by a viligant eye, not at Washington, but present, the waste would in a great measure cease, and the evil be prevented instead of cured. I am certain that an energetic, active, sagacious officer, with a few good assistants, can save property of large value every month. It would not be a very desirable position; indeed, it would be quite undesirable, unless the aurthoriy was ample and the rank of the officer who had it in charge was such as to command both respect and obedience. I wish it to be distinctly understood that I make no charges against the general efficiency of the croops of assistant quatermasters in this department. I believe all, from the chief quatermaster down, are, as a class, completent, energetic, and faithful in the preformance of their usual duties. I think the waste I name is the result, too often, of fanicied exigencies and a lack of that strong incentive to save property which a person does not feel to be his own. I would be glad to have his report brought to the personal notice of the Quatermaster-General. I have no reply to make to the other paragraphs in the order, as I have had nothing to do with business named in them. I had designed sending my reports to September at this time, but they are not quite ready. My issues were for some time to nearly the whole Army of the Cumberland, and the issues and receipts were very heavy. I shall have my papers ready soon, up to September, and send them.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. WARREN CLARK,
[20 and 23.] Captain and Assistant Quatermaster.
HEADQUARTERS TWENTY-FIRST ARMY CORPS,
Chattanooga, September 29, 1863.
Brigadier-General VAN CLEVE,
Commanding Third Division:
The general commanding directs that as soon you have completed your abatis you lose no time in erecting a strong line of rifle-pits, to be