War of the Rebellion: Serial 109 Page 0713 Chapter LXIV. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

account of which I would respectfully refer to my report to the Secretary of War on the subject, a coppy of which is herewith transmitted.*

I conclude this branch of the subject by referring to the great movement of troops from Washington on the disbanding of the armies after the capture of Richmond. By reference to the report of Captain Benjamin Burton, assistant quartermaster, a copy ow which is herewith transmitted, it will be seen that during the months of June and July last, 233,300 troops, 27,000 horses and mules, and over 2,000 tons of baggage were dispatched northward, leaving Washington by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad alone. Of this number it will be seen by a report of Captain Hunt, assistant quartermaster, who was in immediate charge of the movement by river, a copy of which is herewith transmitted, that 96,796 of these troops and 9,896 animals, passing over the entire length of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, a distance of over 400 miles, were embarked on the Ohio River at Parkersburg, upon ninety-two boats, within twenty-eight days, and at a period of extreme low water, the river not averaging on the bars over twenty-six to thirty-four inches. Of these troops over 70,000 were transported by water from Parkersburg to Louisville, Ky., 440 miles; 7,000 to Saint Louis, Mo., 1,043 miles, and the remainder to Cincinnati, Ohio, or its immediate vicinity, 300 miles. It will be further seen from Captain Hunt's report that this large shipment was made without a single accident or loss of life, and that the estimated cost of the movement by water was $328,205, being an average cost of $3.40 for each soldier.

In the autumn of 1863, after the battle of Chattanooga, it being deemed necessary for the protection of East Tennessee, and for the transportation of supplies, that a number of boats should be immediately placed on the Upper Tennessee, and it being impracticable to procure them from the Ohio, owing to the impossibility of passing Muscle Shoals, Captain (now Bvt. Colonel) Arthur Edwards, assistant quartermaster, under your personal direction, opened a boat-yard in the woods near Bridgeport, below Chattanooga, and rapidly constructed thirteen boats, four of which were partially iron-clad, and which for lightness of draft and adaptability to the ends designed have, I am confident, been nowhere surpased during the war, and rendered most valuable and efficient service. When it is known that Colonel Edwards had neither mechanics nor material at hand, tat all the machinery and most of the other material had to be manufactured on the Ohio or at Saint Louis and be transported 600 to 800 miles over military roads, already greatly overtaxed, I think the construction of such a fleet in so short a time may well be regarded as worthy of record among the remarkable incidents of the war. For a particular account of this service, I would respectfully refer to the report of Colonel Edwards, a copy of which is herewith transmitted. O had hoped to be able to present herewith a statement of all boats and property destoroyed or lives lost upon the Western rivers during the last four years, but owing to the extent of the subject, the dixrepancy in statements, and the failure to receive necessary reports form officers charged with boats or property destoryed, I have not been able to satisfactorily complete the record, and must defer it to a future day for a supplementary report. Sufficient, however, has been ascertained to show that the destruction of life and property has, notwithstanding the war, been unprecedentedly small, the loss of Government property amounting to an extremely light percentage of insurance upon the large amount of stores transported. For the first three years of the war, while I was in charge of


* See VOL. XLVII, Part II, p 214.