re-embraked within sixteen hours, was then transported more than 300 miles, again landed, fought a successful battle under the gallant McClerland, captured a strong fortification with 7,000 prisoners, destroyed the enemy's elaborate works, dispatched its prisoners northward, re-embarked within five days after its landing, returned more than 300 miles south, and commenced the siege of Vicksburg. An army corps of 10,000 men has, on scarce an hour's notice, left Central Kentucky, passed through a part of Ohio, acorss Indiana, a large part of Illinois, and within forty-eight hours from starting been embraked on transports, and within three days more re-enforced an army 1,000 miles from the starting point.
Boats could easily be gathered at Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Saint Joseph, and Saint Louis which could within a week precipitate 200,000 troops, with all necessary munitions and supplies, upon Cairo or Memphis. Hence it is easy to see the vast importance of the best possible management of our railroad and river transportation, in order to a successful and economical war, especially when the theater of war is so expanded as the present; and yet I think the importance of this branch of the service has to some extent overlooked, and has at times not only been wanting in officers adapted by experience and capacity to this peculiar duty, but has lacked that through general organization and systematic management essential to complete success and easily adapted to our extensive river and railroad transportation. At present every quatermaster is independent and makes his own rules, regulations, and contracts in reference to transportation, without regard to others or any general system. Some are very good, some very bad; some producing order and proper safeguards against fruad and injustice, others leaving a wide opportunity for both, which is certainly and frequently improved, and of which I will give a single example often occurring in railroad transportation. A quatermaster makes a requisition on a railroad for transportation for an officer and sixty men from Saint Louis to Washington City. The order is presented, and sixty-one coupon tickets are obtained. On an average on such an order not beyond fifty or fifty-five would leave Saint Louis, yet the remaining tickets are paid for and lost to the Government. Again, it frequently occurs that troops transportation not received, the unnecessary loss thus arising amounting in the aggregate to a large sum. These, with other similar defects, pointed out more in detail in my former report, might, I think, by some general system, be easily corrected. Again, under existing reports are only made to Washington, where, owing to the pressure of business, a year or more elapses before anay examination of them can be had, by which a quatermaster's errors, through ignorance or intention, are not ascertained till much wrong has been committed and mney wasted, which by a more prompt examination might have been avoided. I have adopted from time to time, within the limits of my authority, as suggested by experience, sundry rules which I have found of essential service, and which I inclose herewith. If, as suggested in my former reports, orders and transportation passes, uniform to the whole country, could be adopted and issued from Washington to some siutable and experienced officer in each department, who should be charged with the same, as corresponding railroads charge each other with coupon tickets, such officer to issue the same only to proper officers through his department, charging them in like manner, and requiring monthly reports, showing to whom, for what destination, and for what reason each pass was granted, these reports to be promptly examined by such officer and the errors corrected, I feel