5. When several corps are united into an army, a chief quartermaster, with the rank of colonel, is designated.
Each of these officers exercises a general supervision over the conduct of the officers and agents subordinate to him and within his command. Each takes his orders and instructions from the commander of the body of troops to which he is attached, and also from his immediate superior in the Quartermaster's Department.
Funds for the necessary expenditures of the operations of the Quartermaster's Department, with troops in campaign, are furnished on the requisition of the chief quartermaster, who is the senior officer of the Quartermaster's Department present with any army or separate corps; and being placed to his credit, they are by him disbursed or transferred to the corps, division, or brigade quartermasters, to enable them to pay for approved expenditures.
The efficiency of this organization is shown in the great marches which have been made by the Army of the Potomac and by that of General Sherman, during which there has been very little loss of material of the trains, and little loss of draft animals, except that resulting from the bad state of the roads, in which many mules and artillery horses give out, and the loss of animals killed in battle when necessarily under fire.
To direct and control the procuring, safe-keeping, forwarding, transportation, and distribution of the clothing, forage, fuel, and other supplies, which it is the duty of the Quartermaster's Department to provide-and the list includes everything necessary to an army in the field or in garrison, except arms, ammunition, subsistence, and medical supplies, and all these are transported and stored by the Quartermaster's Department-officers are assigned as chief quartermasters of military departments, or of principal depots, the latter not exceeding ten in number, with the rank of colonel.
These officers, assisted by officers detailed to their aid from among the captains who are assistant quartermasters, and with occasionally the assignment of lieutenants of the line to serve as acting assistant quartermasters, make, under the direction of the Quartermaster-General's Office, contracts and purchases for all needed supplies, provide for their inspection, storage, safe- keeping, and transportation from the principal depots in the loyal States to the subordinate or advanced depots which are established on the border, or at the points which have been from the enemy, fortified and constituted advanced depots or bases of operations.
In addition to the principal depots, posts are established at important points, garrisoned by troops, at which the regimental quartermaster attached to the garrisons act as post quartermasters, or officers are specially assigned for this duty.
All these officers are held responsible to their immediate commanders and report to the Quartermaster-General's Office in Washington, to which place their returns of property and accounts for disbursements are finally sent, and in which they receive a careful examination before being transmitted to the Treasury for final examination and settlement by the proper auditors and comptroller.
The business of the Quartermaster-General's Office is distributed among nine divisions, each of which is charged with the supervision of its appropriate portion of the work of the department as prescribed by law.
The general control and supervision of the whole rests with the Quartermaster-General, who receives his orders and instructions from the Secretary of War, and reports to him direct.