September 23, 2012

Quartermaster's Report of 1864

General Mieg's report from the OR on Novemeber 3, 1864 has some interesting information about the Aquia Line of 1864,

QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL'S OFFICE,Washington, D. C., November 3, 1864.Honorable EDWIN M. STANTON,Secretary of War:SIR: I have the honor to submit the usual annual report of the operations of the Quartermaster's Department during the fiscal year ending the 30th of June, 1864:On the 30th of June, 1863, the termination of the preceding fiscal year, the balances in the hands of officers (after deducting the disbursements ascertained from accounts which had passed the required administrative examination of this office) amounted, as stated in the last annual report to  $256,632,970.24
RAILROAD TRANSPORTATION.The arrangement made early in the war with the railroad companies of the United States, assembled at your request in convention in this city, by which a uniform rate of transportation for troops and munitions of war was established, on terms greatly below those charged to private individuals, has continued. The revenue laws have authorized the addition to the agreed rates of the amount of the taxes since imposed; otherwise, the arrangement remains uncharged.
Some few roads have made application for higher rates; but the great majority of railroads, notwithstanding the general advance in prices, and the great increase in the business which crowds upon them, patriotically supporting the Government, have expressed their willingness to continue the tariff then established, and have continued to perform with alacrity and dispatch all service required of them by the Government.
MILITARY RAILROADS.The general management of the military railroads of the United States- that is, of those which the public exigencies have compelled the War Department to take into its own hands-has been under the direction of Colonel (now Bvt. Brigadier General) D. C. McCallum, U. S. Volunteers. Of his services in connection with the campaign in the West I have spoken in another part of this report.He had recommended himself for that duty by the order, system, and efficiency which he had established in the management of the railroads in the East.
The roads worked as military railroads are such as, having been captured from the rebels, being located in the rebellious districts, have been of necessity take possession of by the military commanders, and have been repaired, stocked, and operated by the War Department as avenues of supply to our advancing armies. It has not been found necessary to interfere by military power wight any of the railroads in the loyal States. Though, under the special act give ing the President authority to take military possession of them, a general order was issued taking technically such military possession, yet they have practically continued under the control of their directors and managers, who have cheerfully met every demand.
Some of the military railroads have been repeatedly interrupted; some have at times been abandoned by our troops, and afterward reoccupied and repaired again and again.
The Aquia Creek Railroads, from Aquia Creek, on the Potomac, to Falmouth, opposite Fredericksburg, has been several time reoccupied and repaired. The last time this was done was during the campaign of this spiring, when, with extraordinary energy, it was repaired, including the rebuilding of the Potomac Creek bridge, 414 feet in length and 82 feet in height, which was accomplished in the short space of forty hours. The road itself, thirteen miles in length, was opened within five days after the order to commence work upon it was given.
The movements of the Army of the Potomac and its change of base caused the abandonment of the road almost immediately after it was opened; but the cost of construction was repaid by the removals of men wounded in the battles of the Wilderness, who without the aid of this road must have been abandoned in the hospital improvised in Fredericksburg. All the machinery rolling stock so quickly placed upon the road was brought off without loss. The bridges were left to their fate.
The rebel armies have no construction corps organized under a general system and capable of accomplishing such results. To the rapidity of the reconstruction of the railroads behind General Sherman's army is due much of the success of his movements, which surprised the enemy, who supposed that the work of repair, which was never five days behind the army, would have detained it for weeks.
The expense of these operations has been great; but without it the campaign would have been impossible, and failure would have been m(ost probable).

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