confident it would speedily result in a great improvement. It would also, I think, furnish an additional and important safeguard against wrong if all transportation vouchers were to be paid or audited only by such department quatermasters of transportation. Some general system, embracing these among other regulations, would, I think, not only diminish expenditure, but reduce labor and be more satisfactory to Government officers and the public.
As connected with railroad transportation, I would also suggest the great importance of prompt attention to some plan for securing a constant supply of railroad machinery for the use of roads acquired as our armies advance. A neglect of this can, I think, be cearly shown to have cost us serious delays and large expenditures. It seems clear to me that we required arsenals of railroad machinery almost as much as arsenals of arms. After the capture of Corinth a requisition was made on this office cars and engines to equip the road from Columbus, Ky., to Corinth, and to be procured with the utmost haste, as that must soon be the channel of all re enforcements and supplies. To obtain this machinery it was necessary to deprive some road of rolling stock required for its own effective operation and then await the slow process of changing the gauge, as while to roads south of the Ohio are of a uniform gauge those north are of a different one. Again, after the capture of Memphis another like sudeen and pressing requisition for a large, amount of machinery was made, and subsequently two more, while one of perhaps still more pressing importance and greater magnitude has recently been made by General Rosecrans. In either of these cases I am cafe in saying that, had the demand been anticipated by having on hand an ample supply, we should not only have secured good machinery instead, as has in some cases been the result, of that which was almost valueless, and secured it at much less ultimate cost-not only should we have avoided annoyance and loss to railroads in depriving them of their rolling-sotck, but we should have saved ten times all its cost in preventing delays in the movements of our armies and supplies and in enbling them more rapidly to recover from a reverse or follow up and reap the fruits of victory. I am confident I do not overstimate the importance of this subject in urging that prompt measures be taken to secure at some central point East and West a censtant supply of machinery for all emergencies-say at least twenty engines and 300 cars at each depot. The expense would be less than $1,000,000, which might be saved many times over in any sudden emergency, and the machinery not required disposed of with little loss on the termination of the war. As illustrative, I would state that after several suggestions on this point Captain Parsons, assistant quatermaster, obtained permission last spring to contract for 100 surplus cars, which have been constructed during the summer at a large reduction on present rates, and were nearly completed when the urgent demand came from General Rosecrans during the last month for more machinery, and by which means the general obtained a most important addition to his security so soon as these cars, all ready for service, could be transported from Saint Louis to Louisville, while in order to comply with his requisition for engines we are now shipping them at large expense and delay from Memphis to Cairo, thence by land to Louisville, with orders at the same time to obtain others and send them to Memphis to replace tose so taken.
In regard to the water transportation of the Mississippi and its tributaries, I think the propriety and necessity of changes in its management is still more obvious, and that the loss to the Government,