War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0406 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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have from time to time made with your approval, as also of the hundreds, thousands, tons of stores, and the hundred thousands of troops we have moved long distances. There has never during this time, so far as I am aware, been any accident to any boat causing the loss of life to a single soldier transported under my orders, though we have often encountered great dangers. The loss of property has been but nominal, except in the cases of the Sky Lark captured by guerrillas and the recent loss by the burning of the Majestic. How much this success may be justly attributed to my efforts and those connected with me is not for me to judge. All I can say is that no will or effort has ben wanting to do the best service I was capable of. No ulterior objects have for a moment led me aside. No motive beyond that of a desire to serve my country in its perils and secure so far as consistent therewith an Honorable reputation, has prompted my action. Not one dollexpended by me for any object which I did not deem important for the good of the country, and a no less rigid economy has been exerted than in private business transactions; of this much I feel conscious. This department of duty has been extremely laborious, responsible, and at times odious and thankless. If everything went well, it occasioned no comment. If anything went ill, complaints were sure to come. I have often desired other service, but have worked on in the hope of seeing an end to the war or some agreeable change. While the labor and responsibility of the Quartermaster's Department are, I think, greater than in any other branch of the service, the opportunities for Honorable advancement seem well nigh closed. Last year I requested of General Halleck, and also of General Meigs, to be transferred to the line, but was at that time refused as my services were deemed important here. That period has now passed, others have become familiar with the duties of my position and can discharge them as well, and it seems to me that the request could now be properly granted, and that after nearly two years of such labor as I have had it is not unreasonable or improper for me to respectfully solicit that I may be transferred to the line and permitted to see something of actual service in the field. With a brief opportunity I feel assured I can acquire the knowledge essential to the proper performance of my duties. The service I saw last winter leads me to this conclusion. I beg, therefore, that you will present my urgent request to the Quartermaster-General that such transfer may be made so soon as I can get my accounts in order, which will be in a very few weeks.

Very respectfully,

LEWIS B. PARSONS,

Colonel and Assistant Quartermaster.

QUARTERMASTER'S DEPT., OFFICE OF TRANSPORTATION,

Saint Louis, June 23, 1863.

Brigadier General ROBERT ALLEN,

Chief Quartermaster:

GENERAL: I have examined with care the letter of the Quartermaster-General to you of May 23, with the inclosed copies of letters from Colonel Swords and Captains Schmidt, Jenkins, and Ferry. The reasons assigned for the extraordinary expense of transportation on the Ohio are, I have no doubt, in the main correct, and many of the suggestions for an improvement are, I think, good. The radical