The accounts which have been acted upon are therefore in the care of that officer, and I have addressed to him a letter requesting a report of the total sum paid so far as the accounts have been acted upon. I have also directed an examination of the accounts in transitu through this office. This examination will take some time. When completed, further report will be made.
Executive Document, No. 79, Thirty-seventh Congress, third session, contains a report from this office, embodying a statement from the Third Auditor's Office, in answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 19th February, 1863, in relation to this same subject. To that report I respectfully refer the committee. I have been informed, however, since that report was printed that an error has crept into the statement (B) on page 5, which is given as received from the Auditor's office. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company has asserted that of the sum reported as paid to it a large portion was for services on their main stem west of the Relay House, and therefore properly chargeable to transportation between New York and Washington.
The resolution of the committee calls for all facts in possession of the War Department having a bearing upon the transmission of mails, troops, Government freight, &c., between New York and Washington, and the facilities for such transmission since the present rebellion, and what difficulties and delays have existed. It is not possible to report all the facts embraced within the scope of this general inquiry. Most of these roads have done,it is believed, all that was in their power to transact the Government business promptly, and they, except the Baltimore and Ohio road, at an early date agreed to do the work of the Government at uniform rates, much below their ordinary charges to the public, and they have made great exertions at various times, when the military necessities were urgent, to aid the department by placing their material at the disposal of the Government.
During the blockade of the Potomac by the rebels the army then here was supplied almost entirely by these roads. All supplies received for weeks, with the exception of a small quantity brought up in vessels which ran the blockade, came into this city by the Washington Branch Railroad.
The sums received by these roads have been very large. The sums paid, according to the accounts which had been received up to the 26th Feb$3,000,000. During the eleven months which have since elapsed there have been further and large payments.
During the late blockade of the Potomac by ice the attempt has been made again to bring all supplies to this city by rail. Very large quantities of forage was purchased in New York, but the railroads have been unable to move it. On the 16th of January, after the blockade had continued for nearly a week, the chief quartermaster of the Washington depot reported that he had received by railroad to that date less than twenty car-loads of forage. The army now requires daily a supply of 74 car-loads of grain and 375 car-loads of hay. Letters were addressed by the Secretary of War and by the officers of this department to the several railroad companies, requesting them to use every effort to forward forage, but the result demonstrated the inability of the railroads to meet any such sudden and extraordinary demand. I have been informed that the earlier shipments by rail from New York were stopped at Camden, at the crossing of the Delaware, it being impossible to ferry so many cars across that river while obstructed by ice. The Susquehanna ferry presented a