General Allen stripped the depots at Camp Nelson, Louisville, and Saint Louis, and pushed forward what afterwards proved to be an adequate supply. So also in the matter of artillery horses I was not far behind, but in cavalry horses I had scarcely a respectable show. To do what I could here, at the last hour, April 26, I procured an order for a general impressment of all horses at Nashville and within twenty miles around at all fit for cavalry purposes, and thus was enabled to mount 1,000 more men than I should otherwise have done. Still I was largely short of cavalry horses, and have been until recently, though of late they have been coming forward quite freely. I suppose the stock of cavalry horses throughout the North has been pretty well diminished, and that it is difficult to secure all that are required. Thus by May 1 I was prepared here for the opening of the campaign, but with all my exertions, and the best efforts of the railroad department, I was still unable to accumulate at Chattanooga. For months I had watched the railroads to the front daily, holding them sternly in hand almost to the utter exclusion of citizens and private freight, thanks to the earnest support of the major-general commanding. (See General Orders, Numbers 6, Headquarters Military Division Mississippi, current series, a copy of which is herewith attached, marked C.)* Colonel D. C. McCallum and his subordinate officers, Mr. A. Anderson, general superintendent U. S. Military Railroads, Division Mississippi; Mr. W. J. Stevens, general superintendent Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad, and others, I am persuaded, seconded my efforts to the utmost. Early in the winter Colonel McCallum had gone North, and, armed with an order from the Secretary of War, had everywhere seized locomotives and cars and hurried them on to Nashville, and yet after all our exertions, extending over long and weary months, so straitened were our affairs here that even down to May 1 Chattanooga reported only about seven days' subsistence, and, say one of grain, on hand. This was certainly not a very gratifying exhibit, yet I did not feel disheartened, for our supplies at least were here, and our roads were daily increasing, both in equipment and efficiency.
On the 6th of May General Sherman, with his three armies concentrated, moved out from Chattanooga, and from that hour to this we have followed him day by day forward and into Atlanta. From the best data in my possession I conclude that since General Sherman began his movement I have never had less than 60,000 animals and 125,000 men to provide for south of the Tennessee River, besides at least 15,000 animals and 40,000 men (including quartermaster's employes) north of it. Nevertheless I am persuaded from the most gratifying telegrams and letters from the major-general commanding to myself, as well as his published telegrams, that the army, from the outset of his great campaign, has never suffered for anything--rations, clothing, quartermaster's stores, medical stores, ordnance stores, forage. All have reached him regularly from time to time as he needed them, and it is the proudest joy of my life, now for over twenty-eight years devoted to the service, that in this illustrious campaign, so big with the destinies of the Republic, I have been so well able to sustain the army, and thus contribute somewhat to the national success and victory. The last words of General Sherman to me on leaving here last spring were, "I have no orders to give; only supply my army or I will eat your mules." From the bottom of my heart I thank God that I have been able to supply it, and that to-day the Quartermaster's Department, too,
*See VOL. XXXII, Part III, p. 279.