Official Records of the Rebellion

Official Records of the Rebellion

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[176] The success of the subsistence department of the Army of the Potomac is attributable to the following circumstances:

The department at Washington made ample previous provision for sending supplies to the Peninsula, and subsequently promptly complied with all the requisitions and requests made of it for this army during that and the Maryland and Virginia campaigns. It moreover gave its advice and countenance to the officers charged with its duties and reputation in the field, and those officers worked together in perfect harmony for the public good. From first to last the commanding general had entire confidence in the disposition and ability of the department to accomplish all that would be required of it.

The number and efficiency of the officers kept on depot duty and of the employees engaged, besides our dependence upon ourselves in all matters whether legitimately belonging to our department or not, materially conduced to our success. During the Peninsular Campaign we assumed control over all vessels laden with subsistence stores, and kept in reserve for emergencies several propellers so laden, using them besides for towing purposes when required. In very many cases the officers of the department superintended in person and gave all necessary orders for making up tows and changing the location of vessels from one depot to another. The valuable services rendered to this army by Col. Amos Beckwith, aide-de-camp and commissary of subsistence, U. Army, depot commissary at Washington, D. C., from the commencement of the war, cannot be estimated. He gave his advice and assistance in fitting out our expeditions, and subsequently forwarded most promptly beef cattle and other supplies for the army. He has been untiring in the performance of his arduous duties, and never once failed us.

The name of Capt. George Bell, commissary of subsistence, U. Army (now lieutenant-colonel), appears frequently in this report, and always connected with highly important duties. He was charged with establishing depots on the Peninsula and with their administration. Previous to leaving Washington in March of last year he provided a large force of clerks and employees, and otherwise fitted himself out with such admirable foresight that he was prepared for every emergency, and on the first occasion, and ever thereafter, accomplished much more necessary work than properly pertained to the department at the different depots. His duties were constant, of the greatest moment, and laborious; yet he ever performed them at the proper time and in the right way. The services of Capt. A. P. Porter, commissary of subsistence, U. Army (now lieutenant colonel), were highly important. For more than two months after the commencement of the Peninsular Campaign he was the only officer immediately assisting Captain Bell in his various duties, and ably did he sustain him. He gave his attention and assistance in constructing temporary wharves at the different points of landing, in establishing depots, discharging vessels, in supplying rations for the troops on the shortest possible notice, and on every occasion on which they were required or could be useful. While acting on his own responsibility during the Maryland campaign, he sustained, if he could not improve, his reputation as one of the best officers of the department.

It has already been noticed that in the establishment and administration of depots at advanced points on the line of railroad and otherwise on the Peninsula, during the Maryland campaign, and again in Virginia, Capt. Thomas Wilson, commissary of subsistence, U. Army [177] (not yet promoted), rendered highly valuable services. In the accomplishment of his duties he had many serious obstacles to overcome. His never-flagging energy and perseverance always enabled him to achieve the desired results. Besides the services of Capt. Brownell Granger, commissaryof subsistence, volunteer service, already referred to, he gave important assistance at the depot. He was alwaysready and willing, and ever discharged his duties with promptness, intelligence, and entire success.

Capt. W. H. Bell, commissary of subsistence, U. Army, successfully managed affairs at the Hagerstown subsistence depot.

The duties of Capt. J. Woodward, commissary of subsistence of volunteers, with the beef-cattle herds on the Peninsula, during the Maryland and Virginia campaigns, were laborious and highly important. He performed them to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. And Capt. R. Murphy, commissary of subsistence of volunteers, charged with like duties in the last two campaigns mentioned, was likewise successful in their performance.

Besides the officers already mentioned, Capts. R Holmes, J. C. Read, A. B. Mott, H. M. Swift, R. Stickney, J. Doyle. D. Wiley, G. Leland, J. Benedict, G. F. Thompson, commissaries of subsistence, volunteer service, at different times assisted at the depots and acquitted themselves with much credit.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Colonel, Aide-de-Camp, and Commissary of Subsistence.

Brig. Gen. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General Army of the Potomac.

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Official Records of the Rebellion: Volume Eleven, Chapter 23, Part 1: Peninsular Campaign: Reports, pp.176-177

web page Rickard, J (25 October 2006)


  1. Mauhn

    great all

  2. Drugi

    What words... super, an excellent phrase

  3. Kehn

    And how to understand it

  4. Elbert

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