WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 154.
Washington, April 7, 1864.
Brigadier General James H. Wilson, U. S. Volunteers, is hereby relieved as Chief of the Cavalry Bureau of the War Department, and will report to Lieutenant-General Grant for assignment to duty.
By order of the Secretary of War:
E. D. TOWNSEND,
WAR DEPARTMENT, OFFICE MILITARY DIRECTOR AND SUPERINTENDENT RAILROADS OF UNITED STATES,
Washington, April 8, 1864.
Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Having learned that doubts have been expressed as to the necessity for purchasing the large equipment recently contracted for, to be used in working the railroads in the Military Division of the Mississippi, I beg to call your attention to the following extract from my report to you, under date of January 9, 1864:
When the Northwestern Railroad and the line from Chattanooga to Knoxville are completed, the following lines will be in operation:
Northwestern Railroad, from -
Nashville to the Tennessee River......................... 72
Nashville to Chattanooga................................. 151
Nashville to Stevenson via Decatur....................... 185
Chattanooga to Knoxville................................. 111
Whole distance........................................... 519
To work there lines I am informed that there is on hand, or will soon be, 70 locomotives and 600 freight cars. This supply is entirely inadequate. i may say her that on certain emergencies we had in use between Washington and Culpeper 60 locomotives and 800 cars, a distance of 70 miles. It is true, this was an extreme case, but one not unlikely to occur on all military railroads.
The railroad from Aquia Creek to Falmouth, distance 14 miles, required at times 14 locomotives and 165 cars.
The ordinary supply of rolling-stock in use upon the various railroads in this country will average 1 locomotives and 12 freight cars to every 2 miles in length of road in use, and on many lines the supply is even greater.
Thus, according to the above statement, the 70 locomotives will be barely sufficient to stock 140 miles, and 600 cars sufficient only to stock 100 miles of railroad. Add to this the liability to destructions by raids, and the necessity of being prepared, if possible, for sudden and rapid movements, it is apparent that with the present equipment no advance of the army can be made, if I am correct in assuming that it must depend upon railroads for supplies. There should be on hand in this department not less than 200 locomotives and 3,000 cars, which should be added to as the army advances southward from Knoxville.
It may be said, in answer to the above, that while many miles are to be operated, the actual tonnage hauled is less than upon lines operated by and belonging to private corporations. This is undoubtedly true, but the difficulties surrounding the operating of all military railroads much more than compensate for the difference in tonnage, the necessity of being at all times prepared to make rapid and large movements, both in advance and retreat, to save not only the supplies, but the rolling-stock itself, which, even under the most careful management, is sometimes destroyed to save if from the enemy, and is