War of the Rebellion: Serial 040 Page 0161 Chapter XXXVII. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

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Washington, D. C., March 28, 1863.


Chief Engineer Military Railroads of Virginia:

SIR: You will take measures to have everything in readiness to meet the wishes and second the movements of the commander of the Army of the Potomac, sparing no labor or necessary expense to secure the most effective action when called upon, and to provide the materials and men necessary for the purpose.

You will have a well-organized force of skilled men, complete in its appointments, and fully provided with every means and appliance to facilitate the work it may have to do. You will apply to the commander of the army for such details of soldiers as you may want and to the chief quartermaster for transportation of all kinds and forage for animals.

While endeavoring to consult a judicious economy in expenditures, avoid that false economy which is purchased at the expense of efficiency. When active forward operations are resumed, the all-important object will be to secure the reconstruction of roads and bridges and the reopening of communications in the shortest possible time.

You must necessarily keep in service a sufficient number of skilled and reliable foremen and mechanics to perform the duties required in the period of active operations which we soon anticipate, but it is desirable to have them at all times fully employed, and, when work is not sufficient in the department of construction, they may assist in transportation, or aid the quartermasters, commissaries, or military engineers in any way in which they may be useful. In the construction of block-houses for the protection of bridges, their services may be particularly valuable. When not otherwise employed, the oxen could be used to haul wood and ties, and the men can be exercised in the construction of board and trestle bridges.

Very respectfully,


Chief of Construction and Transportation, U. S. Mil. R. R.



Numbers 31.

Camp near Falmouth, Va., March 28, 1863.

I. The major-general commanding has learned that soldiers are frequently discharged from this army and furnished with a discharge only, and directed to report to the Adjutant-General's Office, Washington, through which they are informed their final statements will be sent to them.

It also appears that soldiers discharged for disability in many cases receive with their discharge the surgeon's duplicate certificates.

The papers to which a discharged soldier is entitled have been clearly set forth in the general orders which have from time to time been published to this army, and no neglect of any officer whose duty it may be to furnish such papers to supply them will, in the future, be overlooked.

II. Every discharged soldier, whether his discharge be honorable or otherwise, is entitled to have a discharge and final statements in duplicate of his pay and clothing accounts; these are to be furnished by