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OR XL P1 #3: Report of Brigadier General Rufus Ingalls June 12-30, 1864

No. 3. Report of Brigadier General Rufus Ingalls, U. S. Army, Chief Quartermaster of Armies operating against Richmond.1

City Point, Va., August 28, 1864.


On the 12th [June] the army began another flank movement, to cross the Chickahominy at Long and Jones’ Bridges, over pontoons laid by our engineers, and the James, at Fort Powhatan, another pontoon bridge and to advance rapidly on Petersburg. The trains were conducted by Tunstall’s Station on roads to White House and New Kent, thence by Slatersville, Barhamsville, and Diascond, to Cole’s Ferry,


*For portion of report (here omitted) covering operations from May 4 to June 12, 1864, see Vol. XXXVI, Part I, p. 276.


where they crossed the Chickahominy over a pontoon bridge, constructed by the engineers, of more than 2,000 feet in length. They were then conducted to Charles City and down the neck to Douthat’s, opposite Fort Powhatan, where they crossed the James over the pontoon bridge at that place, commencing at 2 p.m. on the 15th and closing at 7 a.m. on the 17th. This movement was very complicated, difficult, and arduous. It was one of the most important on record; but it was conducted with a skill and vigor by Captain Pierce that crowned it with magnificent success.

On reaching the James and coming in contact with the command of Major-General Butler, I was announced on the 16th as chief quartermaster of “armies operating against Richmond,” and immediately took post at City Point, which had been indicated the principal depot by Generals Grant and Meade.

After crossing the James over the pontoon bridge and by the ferries, the troops pressed forward into positions in front of Petersburg. The trains were placed in parks between the depot and those positions convenient to the railroad. Improvements were commenced at once to make the depot efficient and ample. Wharves and store-houses were constructed; the railroad to Petersburg was put in working order up to our lines; and supplies were brought to the depot in the required quantities, and issued. A uniform system of supply was put in force in both armies.

Such was the posture of affairs on the 30th of June, 1864.

My money accountability for the fiscal year is correctly stated below:


According to the report of Mr. E. L. Wentz, chief engineer and superintendent of railroads, 57 miles of railroads have been constructed and repaired, as follows: 20 miles of the Orange and Alexandria Railroad relaid with new track: 15 miles of the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad repaired; 4 miles of the Richmond and York River Railroad relaid with new track, and 13 miles repaired (13 miles of the Richmond and York River Railroad was afterward taken up and the iron removed to Alexandria); 5 miles of the City Point and Petersburg Road was relaid with new track; all making a total as follows:


On one railroad large construction parties have been constantly employed making repairs.

It is reported that about 345 miles of telegraph lines have been constructed,though it is difficult to obtain an accurate statement. As a rule, our headquarters have been in telegraphic communication with headquarters of each corps, with our depots, and Washington. Constantly changing positions has rendered it necessary to construct an unusual extent of telegraph lines.

I have during the year frequently reported my views to the best and proper means of transportation for an army. I do not think that the kind and amount now furnished and allowed these armies can be improved upon. The common six-mule wagon has proved to be the most economical and durable for years past of any ever tested. Pack trains should be provided as prescribed in the order herewith, marked A.  A special wagon or caisson should be furnished to carry all ammunition, small-arm as well as artillery. I forwarded a sketch of the carriage, with an explanatory letter of General Hunt, with my report of last year. The mules should be hitched to this wagon as they are to the common army wagon,with one driver, and not as in the artillery service.

Our troops are undoubtedly loaded down on marches too heavily even for the road, not to speak of battle. I have witnessed great loss of knapsacks and articles of clothing on the routes taken by our troops at the commencement of campaigns. In my report of the Chancellorsville campaign I showed you that the loss of knapsacks of those actually engaged was at least twenty-five per cent. I am in favor of putting the lightest possible weight on the soldier, consistent with his wants and the character of the service. I do not think the knapsacks should be dispensed with altogether, for it should, ordinarily, form a part of the equipment, but on short campaigns, and on the eve of battle and when near the supply trains, a blanket rolled up and swung over the shoulder and looped up under the arm, is sufficient without knapsack or overcoat. The soldier can carry three days’ cooked food in his haversack. If necessary, he can carry two or three days’ bread and some underclothes in his blanket. Our men are generally overloaded, fed, and clad, which detracts from their marching capacity, and induces straggling. I do not propose any modification, however, as our commanders understand these matters better than I do, probably; at any rate, they know what they want, and have the power to make such changes as they may deem proper.

The reports referred to in paragraphs 2, 3, 5, and 7 of your orders will be furnished you in detail by the officers who have served under me.

I desire to remind you of my profound obligations for the very prompt, cheerful, and powerful support you have uniformly extended to me. My warmest thanks are also due to General Rucker and his depot officers, who have always responded to my requisitions.

To the soldierly and accomplished quartermasters serving with the armies I owe the deepest gratitude. They have performed their laborious and responsible duties, without exception, with unexampled zeal, energy, and intelligence. You have been good enough to cause many of them to be promoted.

In the closing paragraph of my last report I called your attention to the merits of Captains Ferguson and Stoddard, then on duty at Alexandria. I am pained to know now that both of us were deceived, and that our confidence was misplaced.

There has been no instance of embezzlement or misappropriation of public moneys or property on the part of any quartermaster serving with these armies during the past fiscal year, so far as I have the means of being informed.

I am, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

Brigadier-General and Chief Quartermaster of Armies operating against Richmond.

Bvt. Major General M. C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster-General U. S. Army.


Special orders by Lieutenant-General Grant prescribing allowance of transportation and camp and garrison equipage.

ORDERS, No. 8,
City Point, Va., June 29, 1864.

The following special orders, issued by the lieutenant-general commanding Armies of the United States, are printed for distribution to officers of the quartermaster’s department on duty with the “Armies operating against Richmond:”

City Point, Va., June 28, 1864.

I. The following orders, prescribing the means the means of transportation, camp and garrison equipage, for the armies in the field operating against Richmond are published:

1. For the headquarters of the lieutenant-general commanding the Armies of the United States, in the field, and major-generals commanding separate armies, such wagons, light spring-carriages, saddle-horses, and camp equipage as may be deemed necessary from time to time, to be assigned by the chief quartermaster at general headquarters.

2. For the headquarters of an army corps, two wagons or eight pack-mules for baggage, &c., one two-horse wagon, one two-horse spring-wagon, and ten extra saddle-horses for contingent wants; two wall-tents for the personal use and office of the commanding general; one wall-tent for every two officers of his staff.

3. For the headquarters of a division, one wagon or five pack-mules for baggage, &c., one two-horse spring-wagon, one two-horse wagon, and five extra saddle-horses for contingent wants; one wall-tent for the personal use and office of the commanding general; one wall-tent for every two officers of his staff.

4. For the headquarters of a brigade, one wagon or five pack-mules for baggage, one two-horse spring- wagon, and extra saddle-horses for contingent wants; one wall-tent for the personal use and office of the commanding general; one wall-tent for every two officers of his staff.

5. The allowance of wagons and pack-mules to officers detached; to every three company officer when detached or serving without wagons, one pack-mule; to every staff officers when not attached to any headquarters, one pack-mule; to every ten staff officers when serving similarly, one wagon or four pack-mules.

6. These wagons and pack-mules will include transportation for all personal baggage, mess-chests, cooking utensils, desks, papers, &c. The weight of officers’ baggage in the field, specified by army regulations, will be reduced so as to bring it within the foregoing schedule.

All excess of transportation camp and garrison equipage, now with the army corps, divisions, brigades, regiments, or batteries, over the allowance herein prescribed, will be immediately turned into the quartermaster’s department, at the general depot at City Point.

7. Commissary stores and forage will be transported in the supply trains. When they are not convenient of access, and when troops act in detachments, the quartermaster’s department will assign wagons or pack-mules for that purpose, but the baggage of officers or troops, or camp equipage, will not be carried in the wagons or on the animals so assigned.

8. For each regiment of infantry, cavalry, or battalion of heavy artillery: for baggage, camp equipage, &c., two wagons; three wall-tents for field and staff; one shelter-tent for every other commissioned officer; one shelter-tent for every two non-commissioned officers, soldiers, servants, and camp followers.

9. For each battery: for personal baggage, mess-chest, cooking utensils, desks, papers, &c., one wagon; two wall-tents for officers; shelter-tents, same allowance as for infantry and cavalry regiments.

10. For the artillery and small-arm ammunition train; the number of 12-pounder guns multiplied by 122 and divided by 112; the number of rifled guns multiplied by 50 and divided by 140; the number of 20-pounder guns multiplied by 2, and the number of 4 1/2-inch guns multiplied by 2 1/2, will give the number of wagons allowed.

The number of guns in horse batteries, multiplied by 100 and divided by 140, will give the wagons allowed.

For the reserve artillery ammunition of twenty rounds to each gun in the armies, the number of wagons allowed will be obtained as follows; multiply the number of 12-pounders by 20 and divide by 112, and the number of rifled guns by 20 and divide by 140.  For every 1,000 men present, armed and equipped for duty, of cavalry, infantry, and heavy artillery, for small-arm ammunition, three wagons.  For carrying fuses, powder, and primers, with the reserve artillery ammunition train, two wagons.

11. For the general supply train: to each 1,000 men, cavalry, infantry, and heavy artillery, for forage, subsistence, &c., seven wagons, sufficient to carry eight days’ supply; to each cavalry division, exclusively for forage, fifty wagons; to each battery, for its proportion of subsistence, forage, &c., four wagons; to each horse battery, for the same purpose, four wagons; to every twenty-five wagons of artillery ammunition train, five wagons additional for the forage of the animals of the ammunition and additional wagons, baggage, camp equipage and subsistence of wagon-masters and teamsters. Ammunition trains will be loaded with ammunition exclusively, so far as practicable. The baggage of the drivers will be carried in the additional wagons allowed for that purpose.

To each brigade of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, of not less than 1,500 men, for hospital supplies, three wagons; for every 1,000 men additional, one wagon.

To each army corps, except the cavalry, for intrenching tools, eight wagons.

To each army corps headquarters, for subsistence, forage, and other stores not provided for herein, three wagons.

To each division headquarters, for similar purposes, two wagons.

To each brigade headquarters, for similar purposes, one wagon.

To each brigade of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, for commissary stores for sale to officers, one wagon.

For the ambulance train of each division, two wagons; for the ambulance train of an independent command less than a division, batteries excepted one wagon.  To each division of cavalry and infantry, for armorers’ tools, parts of muskets, extra arms, and accouterments, one wagon.  It is expected that each ambulance and wagon, except those of the artillery ammunition train, will carry the necessary forage for its own team.

12. The unit of organization for the supply trains of subsistence, ordnance, and forage will be by division. Division quartermasters will be responsible for them. Brigade quartermasters will be responsible for the brigade baggage trains. Regimental quartermasters will be responsible for the regimental public property and baggage.  Quartermasters will attend in person to the drawing of necessary supplies at depots, and will habitually accompany their trains on marches.

13. If corps, divisions, or brigade commanders take their guards or escort from command already furnished with the full allowance of transportation a corresponding amount should be taken by them to headquarters; but if they have not been provided for at all then a proper number of wagons will be transferred by the depot quartermaster, on the requisition of the chief quartermaster, certified to and approved by the commanding general.

14. As a rule, quartermaster and commissary sergeants will not be allowed to ride public horses, nor will citizen or soldier clerks, except on the written order of a corps or other independent commander setting forth the necessity.

15. It has been shown by experience that the advantage of keeping up regularly organized pack trains is not commensurate with the expense.  Two hundred pack-saddles will be carried in the wagon train of each corps. Whenever it becomes necessary to pack officers’ baggage, provisions, or ammunition for short distances, over rough roads and broken country, pack trains will be made up temporarily by taking mules from the wagons, not to exceed two to any one wagon. There will be allowed to each corps fifty extra mules to supply losses on the march and for use in packing.

16. In the armies operating against Richmond the maximum allowance of forage per day will be, for horses ten pounds hay and fourteen pounds grain; for mules ten pounds hay and eleven pounds grain; and when short forage only can be provided the allowance will be, for horses fifteen pounds, for mules thirteen. On a march, however, the forage ration will be only ten pounds grain.

17. A report of all property captured from the enemy or seized for the public service will be made monthly to the chief of the department at these headquarters to which it appertains.

* * * * * *

By command of Lieutenant-General Grant:

Assistant Adjutant-General.

Chief quartermasters of corps and other independent commands will at once take measures to have these orders complied with, so far as in the power of the quartermaster’s department.

Brigadier-General and Chief Quartermaster of
Armies operating against Richmond.

City Point, Va., September 1, 1864.

GENERAL: I desire to add to my annual report, just rendered, that I have always co-operated to the fullest degree with the medical directors and other medical officers of the Army of the Potomac and that of General Butler’s. They have very frequently conferred with me as to what assistance I could give them, and I have invariably found them prepared for any emergency, able to meet all demands upon their resources, very moderate and reasonable in their requisitions upon the quartermaster’s department, and most officer-like in their communications with me. We were thrown much in contact with each other, and at times when our energies were heavily taxed, I have never known the medical department wanting in anything that human labor, skill, and perseverance could overcome.

The hospital system in the field is as complete as it would seem possible to make it.

The ambulance trains work admirably, and the sick and wounded are as promptly and carefully taken care of as those in a city or town, and probably much better.

The large field hospital at this place is well located and perfectly watered by steam power, with reservoirs, pipes, &c., and is large enough for all requirements.

The medical department have many transports at their service for the transportation of the sick and wounded. When these are not sufficient, ordinary vessels are temporarily place on such duty.

I have the honor to ask that this may be filed with my last report.

I am, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

Brigadier-General and Chief Quartermaster of
Armies operating against Richmond.

Bvt. Major General M. C. MEIGS,
Quartermaster-General U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.


  1. The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Volume XL, Part 1 (Serial Number 80), pages 37-42
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