The road passed down the river from Fort Dodge for some eight or ten miles, there divides-one part, of 100 miles in length, following the river, with plenty of water; the other passing over the ridge, without water in dry seasons, cutting off some thirty miles and uniting with the river route at Fort Larned, on Pawnee Fork. Fuel on these two roads is scarce, and trains are almost entirely dependent for it on the dried excrement of buffalo and the cattle of trains, familiarly known as "buffalo chips." The grass is good.
Fort Larned is a post of four companies, some sixty-five miles by the ridge road and 100 miles by the river road, below Fort Dodge. It was built in 1858, 1859, and 1860, of logs set endwise in the ground and roofed with earth. It is on the Pawnee Fork, but too far from the road, is surrounded by an abundance of fuel, water, and good grazing. Hay can be cut within a few miles of the post at a cost, I should think, of about $20 per ton, delivered. It is a proper place for a military post and should be the depot of supplies for any troops acting against Indians on that line. The grain for this post comes from Forts Riley and Leavenworth. It can and should come from the country around Council Grove and Fort Riley, and thus save at least transporting it 100 miles.
At Fort Larned the road again divides, one part, a new route, by way of Fort Riley, Kans. There are troops on this route at Fort Ellsworth, where the road crossed the Smoky Hill Fork of the Kansas River, at Fort Riley and at Topeka. The other route (the old Santa Fe trail) continues down the Arkansas River some fifty miles, crosses Walnut, Cow, and Little Arkansas Creeks, to Council Grove, at all of which points are troops; thence via Burlingame and Lawrence to Fort Leavenworth, Kans.
For any further information with regard to distance, &c., I would respectfully refer you to the accompanying journal of my last trip across the plains.*
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. C. McFERRAN,
Major and Quartermaster.
WASHINGTON, D. C., July 26, 1865.
Bvt. Major General M. C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster-General, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: In obedience to your verbal instructions of yesterday, and without other data than such as my memory furnishes, I proceed to give you a synopsis of my services as chief quartermaster Department of New Mexico from the 1st of October, 1862, to the present time.
On the 1st of October, 1862, I relieved Bvt. Lieutenant Colonel James L. Donaldson, quartermaster, U. S. Army, as chief quartermaster of the department. Colonel Donaldson transferred to me a list of the estimated indebtedness of the quartermaster's department which had accrued under him as chief quartermaster of the Department of New Mexico, amounting to over $425,000. I afterward found the indebtedness to be about $100,000 more. The credit of the department was very low and certified vouchers selling at a ruinous discount. Almost all the supplies at Albuquerque, a subsistence depot, and at Santa Fe, the headquarters of the department, had been destroyed by the officers in charge of them to prevent their falling into the hands of the
*Omitted; but see pp.746-748, of Executive Document No. 1, referred to in foot-note (*), p.249.