Subsistence Department. After their location on the reservation they were furnished by the Quartermaster's Department with farming implements, animals, &c., to assist then in opening farms.
Other large and small commands were put into the field against the Comanche, Kiowa, and other hostile tribes, and all well equipped and supplied with all that pertains to the Quartermaster's Department, and necessary for their efficiency.
Owing to the demand caused by the necessity of feeding corn and wheat to captured Indians on the reservation, the price of those articles increased very much, and it became necessary to reduce the grain rations to animals to six and seven pounds each per day. This resulted in the loss of a number of horses and mules, and the reduction in the efficiency of all public animals, but not to that extent as to interfere materially with the business of the departmethe main depot to the various posts being done under contract.
In addition to the posts mentioned above as having been located and undergoing repairs or being built, there are two others which were located this summer and are under construction at this time, viz: Fort McRae, about forty miles south of Fort Craig, N. Mex., six miles off the line from Santa Fe to El Paso, and on what is known as the "Jornada del Muerto," or dead man's journey, a desert in a bend of the Rio Grande, almost destitute, for eighty miles, of water; and Fort Selden, at the other end of the "Jornada," where the road comes down to the river. Each of these posts is for quartering two companies, one of cavalry and one of infantry, and they are very important.
The grain for the various posts has usually been purchased in open market at prices approved by the chief quartermaster, and until the last who or three years in sufficient quantities from the producers and merchants to answer all demands. For the last three years the drought and insects have destroyed so much grain that corn has had to be sent out from Fort Leavenworth, Kans. These causes, and the unprecedented rise in the Rio Grande, which has ruined almost all the corps on its banks, have this year reduced the amount raised in New Mexico to less than was ever known before.
Hay for the use of the animals is obtained in the vicinity of the posts, and by contract, at an average cost of about $45 per ton of 2,240 pounds. Some years the crop is short, but usually sufficient can be had to last the winters.
The Department of New Mexico embraced, for most of the time that I was chief quartermaster, the entire Territories of New Mexico and Arizona and a part of Northwestern Texas.
The sources of supplies for troops in the department were Saint Louis, Mo., Fort Leavenworth, Kans., and other points east of those.
From Fort Leavenworth the transportation of these supplies is by ox and mule wagons through the Indian country, a distance of 750 miles to the mainepartment at For There they are received and stored, and from thence distributed as required, by wagon transportation, to the various posts and commands. Their distribution as well as transportation from Fort Leavenworth to the depot (Fort Union) is done by contract, awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, after due public notice; that from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Union being given out by the depot various posts by the chief quartermaster Department of New Mexico. This course I consider the best for the United States.