War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0372 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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Richmond, January 26, 1863.


Secretary of War:

SIR: In connection with my communications of December 9 and January 8, replies to which have not been received, I deem it my duty to submit the following additional statements upon the subject of the transfer of the control and supervision of railroad transportation from the Quartermaster's Department to Colonel W. M. Wadley, assistant adjutant-general:

Nearly two months have elapsed since that transfer was made, during with time both the country and the Army have continued to look to this department to regulate the transportation of military supplies by railroads, and to fill with promptness not only the ordinary requisitions of the service, but to meet also the extraordinary demands resulting from unexpected emergencies. An instance of recent occurrence furnishes an example in point. On the evening of the 23d instant I read letters from General Lee to the President of the gravest importance. They contained strong representations of the scarcity of provisions in his command, and of great delay in the transportation of stores of every description which were essential to the Army of Northern Virginia, menaced, as it was, with the advance of the enemy. Regarding the case as of urgent necessity, I developed upon officers of this department the duty of sending forward these supplies with the utmost dispatch. The character of the service rendered will appear from the report of Captain Carrington, herewith inclosed. *

I respectfully submit that although the responsibility, and to no small extent the duties, of regulating the transportation by railroads are still devolved upon me, I am entirely uninformed what measures have been adopted by Colonel Wadley to secure the prompt transportation of army supplies. Notwithstanding the inseparable connection of the department with this subject, it is unadvised of the instructions given by him to the railroad authorities, and of the conditions and terms of such arrangements as he has made since he assumed the control of railroad transportation. I have, however, deemed it my duty to adopt such measures as were indispensably necessary to the public interests, and have therefore immediately provided by my orders for a continuance of transportation over the East Tennessee and Virginia road, interrupted by the destruction of the Holston and Watauga brigades. Thirty car-loads of much-needed supplies of subsistence stores and cloth were reported to me as detained at Charlotte, N. C., and I have also been advised of serious detention in the transportation of guns, ordnance stores, ammunition, &c. I brought these and other cases to the attention of Colonel Wadley, but I have not been informed by him whether the delay has been remedied, and am therefore unable to give satisfactory assurances on the subject when applied to by the officers to whom the information is important.

I beg to repeat, therefore, my earnest conviction that it is essential to the public service that the control of this important branch of military transportation should not be transferred from this department, and that at least the officer to whom its supervision is intrusted should be required to report with sufficient regularity to this office to enable


*Not found.