mules, &c; Captain Charles Goodman, assistant quartermaster, in charge of Camp Douglas, Camp Fry, and disbursements appertaining thereto; Captain L. W. Shepherd, assistant quartermaster, miscellaneous business; Captain I. C. Barbour, assistant quartermaster, transportation on passes.
The annual reports of these officers will show the amounts and extent of their operations, and would have been sent wit this, but as I was relieved early in January, 1865, and ordered to Fort Leavenworth, Kans., they have not been sent to me. I assumed the duties of this depot, Fort Leavenworth, February 1, 1865, relieving Captain Henry C. Hodges, assistant quartermaster, U. S. Army, and on the 10th of February was directed by Special Orders, Numbers 41, headquarters Department of the Missouri, to assume the duties of chief quartermaster of the district of country embraced in the late Department of Kansas. These duties and those of depot quartermaster I have continued to discharge up to the present time.
Upon my arrival here I found a state of affairs existing of which I had no previous conception. Major-General Curtis was in command, with Captain M. H. Insley as chief quartermaster of the department, who was also the depot quartermaster at Fort Scott. For some reason all the certified accounts of the departments were being paid by Captain Hodges, the depot quartermaster, instead of the chief quartermaster, to whom such payments properly belonged. Stories of immense frauds were rife, and it was with the utmost care that any fixed data could be found to determine the status of a large number of vouchers afloat and settle upon the mode and manner of payment. Great complaints had been made that certain parties and districts had been deprived of their fair proportion of the funds sent out for the purpose of settling the indebtedness. I adopted the rule of paying a certain percentage to all claimants, until each specified amount furnished was exhausted. This plan seemed to work equal justice to all the parties interested, and soon, by the timely remittances from Washington, the greater part of this floating indebtedness was liquidated. Many of these vouchers were informal and issued by officers temporarily placed on duty as acting assistant quartermasters, and a just and fair discrimination has been exercised, to the best of my ability, to pay none but legitimate expenditures. The disbursements have been large, as will be seen by the statements.
The matter of transportation has been a subject of much study on my part, as all the supplies for the vast region of country from Utah, on the northern route, and Santa Fe, on the southern route, with all intermediate posts, have to be supplied form this depot.
From all the information I have been able to collect, from observation and other sources, I am compelled to say that I think the system of contracting freight is erroneous; that the delays, damages, &c., arising from the careless mode of shipment and want of proper care will be in a great measure avoided by using nothing but Government trains. It is not a sufficient compensation to the Government thaty for the articles lost or damaged in transit, for if often happens that the articles most needed for immediate service are wanting. In scarcely any instance have any articles been missing from our own trains. Time, also being an important element in the shipment of supplies, is saved by the greater