War of the Rebellion: Serial 109 Page 0684 SW. VA., KY., TENN., MISS., ALA., W. FLA., &. N. GA. Chapter LXIV.

Search Civil War Official Records

the depot, containing a vast amount of subsistence stores, would also hae gone. Captain Wainwright, assistant quzrtermasdter in charge, fortunately had his office detached from the building, and his books and papers escaped uninjured. The closest scrutiny of the case compels me to acquit him of any charge of criminality of neglect. On the same day two forage sheds at Chattanooga were destroyed by fire, the principal loss being some 2,000,000 pounds of hay. An explosion at the arsenal was the cause of the fire. Total loss estimated at $47,814. Here, as at Nashville, the Government fire engines were promptly on hand and rendered good service.

Fire department.-An efficient fire department ina crowded city is absolutely necessary of safety. The department of Nashville in the fall of 1863 was wholly inadequate to the purpose, and I organized one and ladder company, the whole under Bvt. Colonel (then Captain) Charles H. Irvin, assistant quartermaster. A like organization was effected at Chattanooga and Knoxville, and the services these organizations rendered at various times, and particularly at the great fire of the 9th of June in Nashville, amply paid for their expense. I am satisfied that it is true economy to always have a steamer on hand at points where great amounts of public stores are accumulated.

Hospitals, quarters, and store-houses.-Buildings for hospitals for the quartering of troops and employes and for the storage of quartermaster's, hospital, ordnance, and subsistence stores were extensively erected in the department during the year, and were eminently necessary for the work then in hand. Having fulfilled the purpose for whch they were erected, they can now be dispensed with and sold for a considerable portion of the cost of building them; but even if they sell for nothing at all they have amplyt p aid for their expense in the comforts they have afforded our armies and the security and protection they have given the public stores.

Work-shops.-The repairs of trains and material and a vast amount of building necessitated the erection of work-shops at various points in the department, but chiefly at Nashville and Chattanooga. A large amount of repaired transportation was kept constantly on hand at the former point, and the expediency of doing so was illustrated in the battle of the 15th and 16th of December, 1864, when General Thomas' army, having concentrated at Nashville, deficited for the most part of transportation, was refitted from the depot, and was thus enabled to fight the battle and to pursue the enemy to the Tennessee River.

Gun-boats and transports on the Upper Tennessee.-On the 1st of July, 1864, there were four gun-boats and thirteen transports on the Upper Tennessee, constructed chiefly at Bridgeport, Ala., under the supervision of Bvt. Colonel (then Captain) Arthur Edwards, assistant quartermaster, an officer of decided ability in that branch of the service. The gun-boats were transferred to the Navy August, 1864, cost $76,000, and rendered valuable services in patrolling the river between Chattanooga and Decatur. The transports were useful in supplying the army and moving troops and material to various points on the river.

Employes.-In March, 1864, the number of employes at the depot of Nashville was 15,715, of which, 4,510 were employed on military railroads. Aril 30, 1865, the number of employes was 12,972, and June 30, 1864, 5,901, the number diminishing with the importance of operations. In making reduictions officers were instructed to rtain old soldiers, refugees, and contrabands in preference to Northern labor, as this last was the most costly of all, and at the same time in the general reductions could better take care of itself.