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6 Series I Volume XII-I Serial 15 - Second Manassas Part I

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Page 6 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD.

Ferry,m and from that point report. As, however, up to the 12th of April it had failed to reach harper's Ferry, I telegraphed a request that it be ordered to move by the most direct and shooters road to Moorefield, this arrangement suiting best my plans as up to the time developed. Brigadier-General Rosecrans, who in the mean time had been placed in temporary command to conduct the division, was accordingly instructed to the above effect.

Next to the want of troops within my department in numbers sufficient or available for extended operations had been, as it continued to be,m the absolute and pressing need of transportation. As early as the beginning of April no less than five batteries in the field were found to be without horses, and the case represented to the War Department. From lack of horses also to get forward guns at least one opportunity had been lost in the cheat Mountain District to pursue and capture a retreating rebel force. The Sixth Ohio Cavalry, an excellent regiment, eager for service, was kept unmounted, and by consequence inactive, for the sole reason that animals could not be obtain to supply it. Requisitions reported made by my predecessor in command as early as February for cavalry and artillery horses, mules, wagons, &c., had not been met. Requisitions made direct by myself, under special permission, lingered inn known channels, and that which wa asked for was but partially obtained. My earnest and repeated requests for authority to order the purchase of animals needed without delay and in the open market were not acceded to. It was replied that the mode of supply through requisitions in the ordinary form, was "sufficing for all purposes, and the only mode consistent with a proper regard for public expenditure." Delays suffered were certainly remarkable, inasmuch as the secretary of War constantly and kiddy assured me that transportation had been or would be speedily ordered through the proper department. The frequent and earnest dispatches of General Rosecrans also showed that the troops ordered to re-enforce my department were even worse off than my own, and difficulties in the way of rapid and efficient operations, at a distance from main points of supply, were increased instead of being dimished. Over forty horses were demanded by General Rosecrans to ge the batteries of the Blenker division out of Mrainsburg. Thirty-six ambulances and teams were also called for. Forage was scare, and animals already on had were reported 'starving." in addition, it appeared, as late as April 19, that so illy provided in other respects were the coming re-enforcements that thirty-eight days had been passed by them without tenth or other shelter, and this during the inclemencies of a spring seldom paralleled from severity in the history of the Virginia Valley. To obviate a delay in payments and an issue of clothing expected to be made I directed the troops as fast as cared for the be sent forward by regiments or other sufficient bodies Moorefield.

After much correspondence I had begun to think the difficulties of the Blenker division at length removed, and was looking for their immediate appearance in the department, when finally I was informed that the men were too badly in want of shoes to march. With things at this ebb, a dispatch from the Secretary of War, bearing date of April 21, stated the desire of the President to know at what time I purposed moving against knoxville and by what route.* In reply i had the honor to submit for consideration, through my chief of staff, dispatched to Washington for the purpose, the two separate plans which are set out in the following letter:

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*See "Correspondence, etc.' Part III, p. 96.

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Page 6 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., AND MD.

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