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As to the irregular force that may be called out, I have no information, and can therefore make no estimate for them.

I have said nothing here about horses for the train, supposing that either horses, mules, or oxen may be purchased in Texas, or obtained from New Orleans without much delay. Nor do I feel warranted in making any suggestion for the purchase of train horses, without conferring with General Taylor.

T. CROSS,

Assistant Quartermaster General. Colonel HENRY STANTON,

Washington.

WASHINGTON, September 10, 1845. COLONEL: In keeping up our trains in Texas, it will be indispensable to have the means of repairing our wagons as they become injured; and, with that view, I would suggest that we should be provided, as early as practicable, with at least three good wheelwrights and three blacksmiths, together with a supply of seasoned spokes, fellies, and hounds in the rough state-say 1,000 spokes of each kind, 500 fellies, 50 pair bounds, and 50 tongues. It would be advisable, also, to send out from Philadelphia, at the same time, a complete set of smiths' and wheelwrights' tools, as it may be difficult to procure them in New Orleans.

T. CROSS,

Assistant Quartermaster General. Colonel HENRY STANTON,

Washington.

CORPUS CHRISTI, October 10, 1845. Sir: I have to report my arrival here last evening, and that I shall enter on duty to-morrow.

I shall have no time, before the sailing of the Alabama, to acquaint myself fully with the state of the affairs of the department, and therefore cannot enter into any details. I may say, however, on the information obtained, that there is much to be done before an adequate train can be formed to enable the army to move to the Rio Grande, should anything occur to make that necessary.

I have ordered Lieutenant Colonel Hunt to push forward to this place all the wagons ordered from Cincinnati and Philadelphia, so soon as they arrive at New Orleans; and we are gathering animals -borses, mules, and oxen-from the surrounding country.

T. CROSS,

Assistant Quartermaster Ger Colonel HENRY STANTON,

Washington.

[Extract.)

CAMP AT CORPUS CHRISTI,

October 15, 1845. Sir: The steamer “Monmouth” being deemed unseaworthy, I have, with the sanction of the commanding general, ordered her to New Orleans for repairs. She has suffered much, since she was purchased, by the operation of' unloading vessels at sea; frequently, in rough weather, exposing her to heavy jars while lying alongside of ships.

Before I arrived, or any intelligence was received of the arrangement to bring out the « Colonel Long,” a small boat called the “White Wing” was purchased by Captain Crosman, under the orders of General Taylor, to assist the “Neva” in bringing forward the troops and supplies from Saint Joseph's. I cannot say at present whether we shall be able to dispense with one of our small boats. The Colonel Long has not yet arrived.

The means of land transportation now here consist of 92 wagons, 259 mules, 75 horses, and 226 oxen, which would barely make up a complement for the baggage of the army, leaving nothing for a supply train. The requisite number of wagons are on the way here, and I am making arrangements to collect additional animals; but the number is so large that I fear we shall have some difficulty in obtaining what we want.

T. CROSS,

Assistant Quartermaster General. Colonel HENRY STANTON,

Washington

[Extract.]

CAMP AT CORPUS CHRISTI,

November 3, 1845. Sır: I have the honor to inform you that the steamer “ Colonel Long” arrived here on the 26th ultimo, and is now employed between this place and the St. Joseph's depot.

I have laid up the “White Wing,and discharged her crew, after filling up some vacancies in that of the “Neva.” If she were at New Orleans I would order her to be sold; but I was obliged to withdraw the engineer and some of the hands, who could not be replaced here, and it is doubtful whether she could reach that place at this season, even if her crew were complete. She will therefore remain where she is for the present.

T. CROSS,

Assistant Quartermaster General. The QUARTERMASTER GENERAL,

Washington.

CAMP AT CORPUS CHRISTI,

November 13, 1845. Sir: The commanding general of this army has made strong representations to the government of the necessity for a despatch boat, to keep up a regular communication with New Orleans.

I do not know that any thing that I can say will add to the force of his representations; but I should not stand excused in my own judgment if I did not urge upon the department the immediate establishment of such a communication, as necessary to insure the maintenance of the army. For want of it, we are now dependent upon the slow and very precarious means furnished by the ordinary supply vessels for the transmission of requisitions, and all other communications, however important; and we have no assurance when the most urgent calls for the most vital supplies will reach their destination, committed as they are to the hands of men who cannot be made to appreciate the importance of such matters, and some of whom will not trouble themselves on the subject.

In some instances my requisitions on New Orleans have been from sixteen to eighteen days reaching their destination, by what are called the "active schooners,” while a good steamer would go and return in about eight days, bringing back with her the supplies required, which it might be of vital importance to the army to receive thus early; and on the passage hither with supplies, some of these same vessels have been as much as twenty-three days in coming from New Orleans to Aransas bay. It is not, however, for the transportation of the heavy articles that I would resort to a steamer." The primary object would be to keep up a regular communication, and to bring out promptly the various light stores constantly required, and which no forecast can provide in season with our present means.

If the “Monmouth” were a good sea boat I would not hesitate, in the face of all that has been said about the employment of steamers, to purchase the "Augusta" for a lighter at St. Joseph's island, and make the former a despatch boat to New Orleans, after she returns hither; but she is not well adapted to that service, and will therefore have to be retained as a lighter, for which she answers well enough.

We are here with four thousand men and some eighteen hundred animals, six hundre miles in advance of the nearest source of supply, from which even the smallest articles must be drawn, and I submit whether we should be left dependent upon a communication so precarious as that we are now obliged to rely on. of the responsibility that might otherwise attach to my position, I repeat that it involves even the maintenance of the army.

T. CROSS,

Assistant Quartermaster General. The QUARTERMASTER GENERAL,

Washington.

In view

[Extract.]

CAMP AT CORPUS CHRISTI,

November 21, 1845. SIR: On the 16th ultimo Captain Ketchum was sent to the country bordering on the Brazos and Colorado to purchase three hundred oxen, but he has not yet returned. From a report received by an express a few days since, however, I am in expectation of his arrival within a week from this time.

A failure to procure mules and horses in this country to the extent anticipated has made it necessary to rely much upon oxen, which involves the necessity of altering a large number of the horse wagons sent out. That operation is now in progress, after sending sixty miles by land for poles to make tongues suited for the pur

pose of effecting the alteration. I will add in this connexion, as a i specimen of the facility of procuring supplies from New Orleans,

(the nearest point at which a gimlet can be bought,) that out of fifty ox-wagons, called for on the 31st of August, only fourteen have yet been received, though I have advices that the others would soon be finished and shipped. I make no complaint, however, on 'the subject, as Lieutenant Colonel Hunt informs me he was compelled to have them made after the requisition was received.

For a short time, mules, though of an inferior quality, came in quite briskly from the Mexican frontier beyond the Rio Grande; but of late the trade has been checked, and I have serious fears that we shall not succeed, within any reasonable time, in obtaining what we want from that quarter.

T. CROSS, Colonel and Assistant Quartermaster General. The QUARTERMASTER GENERAL,

Washington.

CAMP AT CORPUS CHRISTI,

November 23, 1845. Sır: Among the many defects in our system, none is more evident to me than the want of an organized wagon train, and the de; ficiency is quite as apparent in what may be called the personnel as in the materiel of such an establishment.

It would undoubtedly be of great advantage to have in constant readiness for service a train of three or four hundred wagons, all made by an established pattern, and with the precise uniformity of a gun carriage, where the parts of one would fit another so perfectly that one complete wagon might be readily made out of two or three crippled ones; but no less advantage I'conceive would result from having an efficient corps of enlisted train drivers, ready for service at all times when the army goes into the field. If any doubt should be entertained on those points, a review of the events

of the last few months ought, I think, to bring conviction to the minds of the most skeptical.

An army of several thousand men has hastened hither from remote points in August and September, under the most exciting circumstances, and landed upon a desert coast, for active operations, without bringing with them, for the most part, any means of field transportation whatever. Three thousand out of the four were sent here wholly destitute, and the residue were but partially provided; nor had the government any means in readiness to send. It is known to you that the wagons had to be made in haste, in Philadelpiha and Cincinnati-I may almost say taken from the stump after the troops were ordered to the field; and the consequence is, that down to the present date a sufficient number has not arrived here to enable the army to move with its necessary supplies, even if the other essential elements of a field train were at hand. Happily, however, the commanding general has not desired to move, though he knows not how soon the contingency may occur that would call the army to the Rio Grande.

But, besides the gathering of the requisite number of animals, amounting to at least twelve hundred, which, if not drawn by stealth from Mexico, with whom we were supposed to be in conflict, must be obtained from some other quarter more remote-for mules are not to be got in Texas-a corps of three hundred drivers were to be collected and organized in a country where, advanced as we are beyond the meagre frontier settlements, a common laborer can scarcely be obtained at any price..

Now, I know not how all this may be regarded by others, but I consider it by far a more difficult operation than raising a regiment; yet it would seem that it is expected to be accomplished in the brief space of a few weeks, and in the midst of manifold labors connected with the procurement and issue of all kinds of supplies for the most improvident army in the world, which has come to the field without even an adequate supply of spades, axes, and camp kettles.

But even when all these means, so difficult to obtain, shall have been collected from abroad and brought to the scene of action, the army may still be paralyzed at the most critical moment under the present system; for its movements depend upon the train, and that is dependant upon the caprice of a corps of hired drivers, who may quit us at their pleasure, or extort their own price by a general strike for higher wages, as has already happened at the beginning of the present month with every driver in this camp, where, being entirely without any other resource here, we were compelled to submit to their terms.

It must be evident to all that such a system, if it deserve the name, cannot succeed. On the contrary, it must inevitably fail whenever it is tried, if any thing like promptness is necessary to effect the object in view. I repeat, then, that among the most needful provisions for the service are an organized wagon train, and a corps of enlisted drivers. Without these, an army sent into the field can never go prepared for active operations. It must in

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