You are right, he would not have had the authority, but I do think he would have referred it up the chain. I know it gets complicated when civilians are involved. But I know as a Commander, if oI have subordinates in dire straits, I would want to fix the problem and make sure it never happens again.
I would question why my garrison was not being supplied properly. I do not know of any records even if he did refer it higher. I am also wondering what others think about the salvage party being at great risk. I lean towards the theory they were in dire straits and needed the supplies. At the time of the sinking, the Post at Batesville had been their about a month. Northern Arkansas had been stripped by both Armies of food forage and basic supplies, and I am sure that supply functions were extremely slow at that time. I know in Iraq, It took six weeks one time to get ammo resupply and about the same amount of time to get mission essential oil filters and tires. I know at the time, we had to be creative and highly conservative to remain mission capable.