supplying the rebel army while it lay at Murfreesborough; frequent interruptions by the breaking of the tract and by obstructions placed upon it by the rebels, reduced the means of transportation, even to Bridgeport, below what really was necessary to feed the army at Chattanooga alone.
General Rosecrans had established a boat yard at Bridgeport, in which a small steamer was under construction when I reached that place. Energetic measures were inaugurated to increase the facilities of this yard. Engines and boilers were bought on the Ohio and sent forward by rail. Mechanics were brought from the North, and some were obtained by details from the troops, and a fleet of steam-boats was constructed under the energetic and intelligent superintendence of Captain Arthur Edwards, assistant quartermaster of volunteers, in time to have an important bearing upon the subsequent events of the campaign.
At the time General Grant took command of the Middle Military Division [Military Division of the Mississippi], and, repairing to Chattanooga, assumed personal command of the troop, the tenure of Chattanooga by the United States was by the merest thread. Starvation had destroyed the animals to such an extent that the Army of the Cumberland could not so horse a battery as to take it into action. Having met the Secretary of War and General Grant at Louisville, I returned with the general to Chattanooga.
At this juncture Brigadier-General Allen, U. S. Volunteers, senior quartermaster, in the Valley of the Mississippi, whose headquarters had been at Saint Louis, while the line of most important operations was the Mississippi River, was ordered to make his headquarters at Louisville, Ky., as most convenient to control the means for supply of the army concentrating on the Tennessee River.
Bvt. Lieu. Colonel J. L. Donaldson, quartermaster, U. S. Army, was relieved from charge of the depot of Baltimore, and order to take post at Nashville, the advanced base of operations; and Major L. C. Easton was relieved from the charge of the depot at Fort Leavenworth, and assigned to duty as chief quartermaster of the active Army of the Cumberland in the field near Chattanooga.
Lieutenant Colonel J. Condit Smith, U. S. Volunteers, chief quartermaster of General Sherman's corps d"armee, accompanied that army in its extraordinary march overland from Memphis to Chattanooga, and brought it up amply provided with subsistence, forage, and means of transportation; the animals of the train in fine condition, showing that an active, intelligent, and energetic commander, when assisted by intelligent and faithful staff officers, can march an army for long distances inland, away from railroads and navigable waters, and yet keep it well supplied and in good condition.
The march of a portion of this corps, with additions from the Army of the Cumberland, was subsequently extended to Knoxville, and back again to the line of the Nashville and Decatur Railroad, probably the longest continuous land march of the war.
In the march from Chattanooga to Knoxville, and back to Chattanooga, the trains were left behind, and the troops lived almost entirely upon the produce of the country through which they so rapidly passed.
By your authority a general superintendent of military railroads in the military division of the Mississippi was appointed, with the view of placing all the operations for repair, improvement, and operation of these railroads under one fficiency and energy in their management.