War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0382 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

report on the Orange and Alexandria Railroad, where sidings and platforms were made for the prompt distribution of supplies to the different commands. This road saved much wear and tear of the wagon, trains, and enabled the lieutenant-general to concentrate troops rapidly at any desirable point. After the surrender of Lee, this road-the new portion-was dismantled and the material placed in depot, to be disposed of in proper time.

The great field hospital at City Point has been described another reports. It was a very perfect one for the purpose. The medical officers in charge exercised great taste and judgment in its management. There was a somewhat similar field hospital for the Army of the James at Point of Rocks, on the Appomattox. The medical department of each army had its own wharves, store- houses, transports, and hospitals, under the control of its medical officers. The ordnance and subsistence departments had special wharves and store-houses; so also had General Abbot, who had charge of siege guns and material for the entire line-all constructed by the Quartermaster's Department.

Colonel Strang and the other depot officer showed great energy, assiduity, and good judgment in the management of these heavy duties.

On the first of the fiscal year the organization of the quartermaster's department in the "Armies operating against Richmond" was complete, and never for a moment has it failed during the year to meet the orders and expectations of the lieutenant-general and the principal commanders in the field, so far as I have had opportunity of being informed.

It is undeniable that the officers of the Quartermaster's Department, both in the field and at our depots, have been charged with most important and responsible duties during the rebellion. had they failed at any time we had no general who could have moved an army. I submit that more consideration is due to a department upon which so much is devolved, and higher grades should be created in order that the chief officers may have a rank that corresponds more nearly with that held by those who fight the troops. It is a noticeable fact that no quartermaster who had served as such during the war has risen by substantial promotion above the old grade. And still there are quartermasters who have done the Army and Republic as great service as any brigadier-general, and, with very few exceptions, any major- general. Officers of the department who are old, too infirm, inert, or otherwise disqualified to take their tours of hard work in the field and on frontier station should at least be retired, in order that the service during the war may have the rank due the positions they have occupied.

I beg to suggest you will deem it expedient to recommend an increase of the Quartermaster's Department in your annual report to the Honorable Secretary of War-such an increase as will meet the wants of a peace establishment. There have been 400 or 500 volunteer quartermasters appointed during the war. According to the statutes the last of these will go out of service in one year after the termination of the war, which is not yet, however, proclaimed at an end. The increase which I would suggest, and which would be satisfactory, in my opinion, to the principal officers of the department, and would be sufficiently large for the Army as its will probably stand in a year's time, is as follows:

One Quartermaster-General U. S. Army, rank of major-general.