At Nashville, the headquarters of military railroads in the division, extensive arrangements were made to repair locomotives and cars, and do such other indispensable work as could not with safety be trusted to other hands or sent to other places. Owing to the crowded state of the city it was necessary to erect quarters for the employes collected there, numbering several thousand, and to provide hospital accommodations for them. The table on page 17  contains list of the buildings erected for these purposes.
Large provision was made also at Chattanooga for similar objects. The general aim was to make Nashville and Chattanooga the points at which all operations should center, where necessary supplies of all kinds could be procured, repairs of all kinds made, and in case of destruction to the communications between the two places, operations could be conducted with equal facility from either in any direction.
Where buildings and machinery would probably remain permanent in the event of peace, they were well constructed, in order that they might be sold to advantage; where they would only be used during the war, they were built as cheaply as possible.
The transportation performed during the year it is impossible to state with any accuracy. Supplies were forwarded to the front, or wherever the armies were operating or troops stationed, upon the requisition of proper officers, and the quantities thus forwarded can be approximately stated. It was the duty of this department to do the transportation only; the cars were loaded and unloaded by employes of the quartermaster's or other staff department to which their contents belonged.
Of the great number of troops, of sick and wounded, of contrabands, refugees, prisoners, and released rebels, it is impossible to form an estimate at all approaching correctness. Whole corps, and even armies, were sometimes moved hundreds of miles in cases of emergency, and in immediate presence of the enemy, upon the verbal order of the general-in-chief, and no note taken of numbers of men, horses, artillery, or other loading. The design and aim was to make the railroad a transportation machine to aid in working out the combinations of the commander of the military division, and it was held at all times in readiness for that single object.
No record was kept of the contrabands, refugees, and rebel deserters that poured back in a steady, continuous stream from the front during the period of active operations. General Sherman ordered all sent to the rear who could not feed themselves, and they were placed upon the first train going in that direction by post commanders and turned adrift on reaching Nashville.
No less than 1,000 per day must have thus traveled for a time, and it is certainly within bounds to estimate the whole movement, exclusive of troops, sick and wounded, and persons traveling with official transportation, at 150,000 persons during the year.
Among the great movements may be mentioned that of the Fourth Corps from Dalton, Ga., to Athens, Ala.; of the Army of the Ohio from Dalton to Pulaski, Tenn.; of the Fourth Corps from Athens to Carter's Station, 352 miles, and from Carter's Station to Nashville, 373 miles. The latter movement employed 1,498 cars.
Two and sometimes three hospital trains were kept running continually from the extreme front through to Louisville, Ky., the cars and motive power being furnished by this department for the entire distance.