strength. All these men are credited to the States, charged to the army, paid by the Government, and only do immense harm, by filling up the hospitals, requiring the time of surgeons and officers and of well men to take care of them and get them out of the army again, to say nothing of the immense drain upon the Treasury without any equivalent. I am most firmly convinced that not two-thirds of the conscripts and substitutes ever reached the army, and I think a thorough investigation would show that not half of those who did were ever available as soldiers for the field. If such is the fact will it not occur again? I do not doubt that the Provost-Marshal-General and the War Department have worked honestly to bring about the best results. The trouble has its origin, in my judgment, in the appointment, as provost-marshals, examining surgeons (probably through the influence of members of Congress) of men who are village politicians and who wish to stand well with their neighbors. If I could do so I would appoint for provost-marshal in my district a man who was a noon-resident and had no friends to please or enemies to punish. It is too late, I suppose, to reorganize now, but could not something be gained by transferring officers from one district to another? Another evil has been the long time men are detained at the rendezvous after being accepted and mustered. I have known men so detained for three and four months, boarded and clothed and paid at the public expense. Another evil, many old and sick have been sent here who never were examined at all, as they say, but some well man was obtained to personate them and pass the examination, and then the sick man to sent to camp, or else the officers whose duty it was to attend to it were guilty of the grossest fraud on the Government. Could not a system of inspection be adopted by which these evils could be stopped? I think so. I am perfectly well aware that the Departments have not the time to listen to or read every suggestion made to them, nor have you. Still my great anxiety for success i the cause and that the peace Democracy may not prevail have prompted me to address you this. It is entirely unofficial, and should there be any point in it which shall do good I shall be glad.
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.
HEADQUARTERS NINTH ARMY CORPS, July 22, 1864.
General S. WILLIAMS:
I have the honor to report all was quiet on my line during the night. New abatis was put out. There was the usual amount of firing.
A. E. BURNSIDE,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, July 22, 1864-6 p. m.
What is the sharp musketry I hear on you front?
GEO. G. MEADE,