War of the Rebellion: Serial 109 Page 0705 Chapter LXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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with the approval of General Allen I made temporary contracts by the 100 pounds or by the piece for Government transportation, and discharged all boats from charter, with the multitude of employes connected therewith. The result was that half the boats were at once out of service and lying idle at the levee, while Government transportation was not only performed at a less cost, but in a much more prompt and satisfactory manner. Subsequently, by athority of General Halleck, upon whose staff I had been placed, and whose command then extended over almost the entire country west of the Alleghany Mountains, I prepared a few concise rules and regulations producing checks, introducing responsibility, and giving information as to the duties of officers connected with transportation. The change was immediate and favorable beyond my own expectations. Order soon arose out of confusion. Officers who had been improperly furnishing transportation were made accountable. Railroads which, in their anxiety to serve the country, had honored thousands of orders, ignorant as to their propriety, or whether compensation would be made therefor, were highly gratified, and the service greatly improved in all respects. Soon after, I made formal contracts by the piece, or 100 pounds, for all Government transportation required on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. So far as our authority extended and as our armies opened new territory like contracts were made, until the Government transportation between nearly all points under our control was performed in the same manner with continued improvement and satisfaction both to Government officers and the steam-boat interests. The latter became satisfied with the change, inasmuch as under the former system boats were paid alike, whether faithful in their service or not, while under the new mode the energetic and industrious secured the advantages to which they were justly entitled.

When, upon my report of December, 1863, you issued General Orders, Numbers 22 1/2, December 9, 1863, placing the Cumberland and Ohio Rivers under my control, I determined immediately to abandon the charter system, which up to that time had prevailed on those rivers, and though there was a general combination of the steam-boat interests of the Ohio against me, I succeeded, after much labor and perplexity, in the reform, the result of which was, if possible, more satisfactory than it had been on the Mississippi, and instead of 123 steamers reported as in service on the Cumberland in supplying General Rosecrans' army in the winter of 1862-63, only 66 were reported as required in supplying in a more satisfactory manner the same army, combined with the large armies of Generals Grant and Sherman, during the winter of 1863-64. As illustrative, I would state that one of the largest Government contractors, who for two years furnished most of the forage for the Army of the Cumberland, and amounting to millions of bushels annually, subsequently informed me that the same boats he had loaded the year before as chartered boats carried more than double the cargo, and received, transported, and discharged it in half the time. To the same point, I would respectfully refer to the following extract from the report of Bvt. Major General J. L. Donaldson, supervising quartermaster of the Department of the Cumberland, viz:

Colonel L. B. Parsons, in charge of Western river transportation, Saint Louis, Mo., having become satisfied that the charter system was a vicious one generally, abrogated it and made contracts for the delivery of supplies at Nashville by the 100 pounds at an average of about 50 cents per 100. He experienced great opposition in changing the system, as the per diem paid well, and whether boats were working or lying up, delaying along the river, or hurruing back and forward as they should