Today in History:

36 Series I Volume XLVIII-II Serial 102 - Powder River Expedition Part II


HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF THE PAINE, Denver, Colo. Ter., April 5, 1865.

Major J. W. BARNES,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Department of the Missouri:

SIR: I returned on the 3rd instant from Fort Kearny and am very glad that I made the trip, as it placed me in possession of much reliable information. I regret to say that I found but very little discipline among the troops and but little regard paid to economy, or care given to public property. Although affairs are badly mixed up at present, I hope soon to have them in different shape and trust that the major-general commanding will have patience with me for a short time. I do not approve of the plans of fortifications laid out by the district commanders who have preceded me. If completed they will cost large sums of money. If this business is left with me I will guard the road as effectively and with less expensive works. I will do everything in my power to expedite the expedition north, but supplies are coming in very slowly from the river, and it will take a longer time than you probably anticipate to get it in motion. I am not well posted in regard to what has been done at the river, not yet having time to communicate with the officers in charge. I trust that supplies will be forwarded as rapidly as possible, particularly so as I am expected to supply General Sully's command. I have received Major-General Dodge's telegrams directing that neither contracts nor purchases be made without first obtaining his approval or that of the chief quartermaster of the department. In consequence of the peculiar condition of affairs in Utah, I have deemed it necessary to purchase in open market fuel, forage, and other articles required and of which we were short. I request authority to continue said system in Utah until contracts are left for the ensuing fiscal year; also to make from time to time purchases of such small articles as may be required for immediate use. I have always made economy in use of public property and careful disbursements of public funds my first duty.

I have the honor to forward, indorsed, copies of requisitions for ordnance and ordnance stores and quartermaster's stores for Utah, with the request that the same be filled in every particular. The originals were forwarded to headquarters Department of the Pacific, but for fear they may miscarry I send duplicates. The requisitions for subsistence stores for Utah have been forwarded to the Commissary-General by Major-General McDowell commanding Department of the Pacific. I have also the honor to inclose the resignation of Major Presley Talbot. I required him to tender his resignation on account of his very bad conduct. I expect that I will be compelled to east the same action from others, in order to bring the service in this district up to the proper standard, and in doing so trust I will be sustained by the major-general commanding. It is absolutely necessary that officers here be required to reflect credit and honor on the service. Failing to do so, that they may be compelled to leave it. Will forward by next mail a communication on Utah affairs. I have not received any communication, excepting telegrams, from department headquarters.

I am, sir very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, Commanding.