War of the Rebellion: Serial 033 Page 0596 MO.,ARK.,KANS.,IND.T.,AND DEPT.N.W. Chapter XXXIV.

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additional aide-de-camp, Captain S. C. Benham, commissary of subsistence, and Captain R. A. Howard, U. S. Volunteer Cavalry.

This special inspection was ordered because of reports continually received from various sources, both official and unofficial, of the existence of gross frauds and corruption in the administration of the staff departments in those districts, and of general demoralization among the troops. My attention was first officially called to these "irregularities" and abuses through the Headquarters of the Army, soon after my assignment to this command. I endeavored to correct them by placing restrictions upon the staff officers serving in those districts, assigning competent and reliable officers to the general control of the quartermaster's and commissary departments in all that portion of this department which is supplied from Fort Leavenworth, and ordering that no contracts be made except with the approval of the chief quartermaster and commissary of the department. I have every reason to believe that these measures have been as successful as could have been expected; but at it manifest that the gross abuses which are shown to exist in the field in the District of the Frontier, as well as the general demoralization and lack of efficiency shown by this inspection to exist among the troops, can only be remedied by the commanding officer present with the troops in the field. I deem it useless to attempt any further reform in that district, and impossible for me to restore that command to a state of efficiency, and to protect the interests of the Government while the district remains under its present commander, Major-General Blunt. I have, therefore, determined to relieve General Blunt from his command, and also to relieve from duty some of his staff officers, who appear to have been implicated in frauds upon the Government, or who have failed to protect the Government interests intrusted to them. I have informed the General-in-Chief by telegraph of my intention to relieve General Blunt, and asked him to send me a general officer to take his place or that of General McNeil, whom I have thought of as General Blunt's successor. In reply, the General-in-Chief has informed me that a general officer has been ordered to report to me for duty. It is proper for me to state that my decision to relieve General Blunt is not based upon any knowledge of his direct complicity in the frauds upon the Government which have been perpetrated in the district under his command. I have not the means of ascertaining the truth or falsity of the reports concerning this matter. My aim is to reclaim the troops of that command from the disgraceful condition in which they now are, to bring them to a proper state of efficiency, and to protect the interests of the Government in future. This manifestly cannot be done so long as the troops remain under the commander who has brought them, or permitted them to be brought while under his immediate command, into their present condition, and under whose immediate eye the interests of the Government have been so shamefully sacrificed. I will, as soon as practicable, make to the General-in-Chief such recommendations relative to the Indian bridge and other matters referred to in the inclosed inspection reports as upon full consideration shall seem to be for the good of the service. The inspection reports also show serious irregularities and misconduct among the officers and men in the District of the Border, under the command of Brigadier-General Ewing. It is due to this officers, however, to state that he has been in command of that district but a comparatively short time, and has labored under peculiar difficulties, resulting in a great measure from the bad condition existing in the district, and the demoralized condition of a portion of his troops at the time we was placed in command. I have confidence in General Ewing's