I found the general condition of trenches, sinks, arms, accouterments, and clothing of General H.'s brigade good. This brigade deserves special mention. It was in all respects most creditable. General H. bivouacs in the trenches with his men, and is active and vigilant in all that is promotive of the comfort and efficiency of his command. Attention is called to report of brigade inspector for the strength of the brigade and the number of officers absent, by what authority, &c. There is a large proportion of absent disabled officers in this brigade. I would respectfully suggest that they be made to appear before an examining board for discharge or retirement. The same thing should be required of absent officers in all the brigades. Hundreds, if not thousands, of meritorious young officers in all the brigades. Hundreds, if not thousands, of meritorious young officers are denied all hopes of promotion, because wounded officers long disabled, some for more than two years (see the accompanying lists*), still keep their names upon the rolls. It is an injury to the service and a special wrong inflicted upon those brave men who have so long borne the perils and responsibilities of command without the corresponding rank. The prompt remedy of this evil will remove a feeling of discontent that now prevails to a greater or less extent in every brigade of the army. Attention is called to Major Harrison's remarks on the subject of increased desertion in this division. It will be seen that the reports of this division, according to instructions, page 3, are also incomplete. Hereafter the form shall be strictly complied with.
Field's division (Major Masters, inspector): Not having been able to make a personal inspection of this division, attention is called to report of Major Masters. He reports health good; the sick and wounded to have had most excellent attention. Clothing and shoes are reported needed, but are being rapidly supplied; discipline is relaxed and the command in need of drilling and other military instruction. Damages committed are said to have been duly assessed (I fear that the facts now being investigated will prove Major Masters to have been mistaken in this last assertion). Complaints have been made by different parties against this division, the truthfulness of which will be determined and reported in my next monthly report. The long absence of this division from the Army of Northern Virginia prevents my speaking from personal knowledge of its general condition.
Third Corps, Lieutenant General A. P. Hill (Major R. J. Wingate, inspector).
This corps is stationed in the trenches in front of Petersburg, composing the right of our infantry line. During the month of August Major Wingate, assistant inspector-general of the corps, was absent on sick leave; Captain Adams, signal officer on General Hill's staff, acted in his place. Captain A. has made no report, but has sent the accompanying note,* stating his inability to make any personal inspections. I do not consider his reasons for not inspecting are sufficient; with proper energy and diligence two if not three of the divisions could have been inspected. Captain A. in inexperienced in the duties of the office, and has rendered me but little assistance. There has been great delay in transmitting reports, all of which had to be returned on account of the errors they contained. (They were returned to-day, 23rd of September.) Major Wingate having returned to duty, I hope there will be no occasion for complaint in future.
Between the 9th and 13th of August I inspected in the trenches under arms Heth's division. General Heth had but recently occupied the line,