These wagons I directed to be immediately assembled and parked by divisions, and officers of the department directed to remain in close proximity to the trains. In the corps, acting quartermasters were found performing most of the duties pertaining to the regularly appointed officers of the department, and when found incompetent were relieved as rapidly as efficient officers could be obtained to fill their places. A portion of the troops were indifferently supplied with clothing, especially the Third (colored) Division; this deficiency arose from inefficiency on the part of the acting quartermaster of the division, and not from want of supplies at the main depot at City Point. When the proper system of obtaining and distributing supplies to the troops was fully understood no difficulty was found in supplying their wants.
During the time the Eighteenth Corps lay in front of Petersburg the transportation was parked within a short distance of the rear of the troops. The position was selected from necessity and not from choice, the location of trains being such that they were under fire of the rebel batteries; however, but small loss of life or destruction of transportation occurred.
For the purpose of receiving and issuing supplies to the Eighteenth Army Corps a depot had been established at the terminus of the military railroad leading from City Point. At this depot a number of officers had been stationed to conduct the business of the depot. I found that a large quantity of stores and a number of unserviceable horses had been allowed to accumulate at this place, and that there was also a large force of employes in attendance for whom there was not sufficient work. To remedy these evils I deemed it best to break up the depot, turn in all unserviceable property, discharge or transfer employes, and relieve the officers, assigning them to active and useful service.
July 27, by Special Orders, Numbers 204, headquarters Department of as assigned to duty as chief quartermaster Army of the James. This army consisted of the Tenth, Eighteenth, and a portion of the Nineteenth Corps, one division of cavalry, and a large engineer and medical department.
The position occupied by the Army of the James was to the right of the Army of the Potomac, the right resting on the James River, extending to the Appomattox, the line crossing the latter stream; the left holding position directly in front of Petersburg, and connecting with the right of the Ninth Corps of the Army of the Potomac.
The depots for the supply of the Army of the James were established, at Smith's Station, on the line of the City Point Railroad; at Jones" and Sherman's Landings, on the James River, and Broadway and Point of Rocks Landing, on the Appomattox, with the principal depot at Bermuda Hundred. By order of the chief quartermaster of Armies operating against Richmond, City Point had been declared the main depot for the armies. In view of this, two of the depots of the Army of the James were at once broken up, and the others reduced in size, but retained merely to supply the current requirements of the troops. During this time operations were in progress on Dutch Gap Canal, an extensive work that required the employment of a large amount of material and labor. So far as the Quartermaster's Department was concerned, no embarrassment or delay retarded operations.
August 27, General Ord being in temporary command of the department, at my request I was relieved as acting chief quartermaster Army of the James, and directed to report to the commanding officer of the Eighteenth Army Corps.