The squadron large increase of the Army in May last induced the Acting Surgeon-General to call the attention of this Department to the necessity of some modification of the system of organization connected with the supervision of the hygiene and the comfort of the troops. A commission of inquiry and advice was accordingly instituted with the object of acting in co- operation with the Medical Bureau. The following gentlemen have consented, to serve without compensation upon this commission: Henry W. Bellows, D. D.; Prof. A. D. Bache, LL. D; Prof. Jeffries Wyman; Prof. Wolcott Gibbs, M. D.; W. H. Van Buren, M. D.; Samuel G. Howe, M. D.; R. C. Wood, surgeon, U. S. Army; George W. Cullum, U. S. Army, and Alexander E. Shiras, U. S. Army. They are now directing special inquiries in regard to the careful inspection of recruits and enlisted men, the best means of guarding and restoring their health and of securing the general comfort and efficiency of the troops, the proper provisions of hospitals, nurses, cooks, &c. The high character and well-known attainments of these distinguished gentlemen afford every assurance that they will bring to bear upon the subjects of their investigation the ripest teachings of sanitary science in its application to the details of military life.
The organization of military hospitals and the method of obtaining and regulating whatever appertains to the cure, relief, or care of the disabled, as also the regulations and routine through which the services of patriotic women are rendered available as nurses, was at an early period of the present struggle instructed to the charge of Miss D. L. Dix, who volunteered her services, and is now, without remuneration, devoting her whole time to this important subject.
The arms and ordnance supplied from our national armories under the able superintendence of the Ordnance Bureau compare most favorably with the very best manufactured for foreign Government. The celebrated Enfield rifle, so called, is a simple copy of the regular arm manufactured for many years at the Springfield Armory.
Previous to the early part of last year the Government had a supply of arms and munitions of war sufficient for any emergency. Through the bad faith of those instructed with their guardianship they were taken from their proper depositories and distributed through portions of the country expected to take part in the contemplated rebellion. In consequence of the serious loss thus sustained there was available at the commencement of the outbreak a much less supply than usual of all kinds, but through zeal and activity of the Ordnance Bureau the embarrassment thus created has been in a great measure overcome. As the capacity of the Government armories was not equal to the supply needed, even after having doubled the force at the Springfield Armory, the Department found it absolutely necessary to procure arms to some extent from private manufacturers. It is believed that from these sources they can be obtained equal in quality and notcost than those made in the national workshops. It would, therefore, appear a wise policy on the part of the Government to encourage domestic industry by supplying our troops in part from private factories of our own country insterchases from abroad. As rifled cannon are in point of effectiveness far superior to smooth-bored, arrangements have been made to rifle a large portion of the guns on hand, and the work is still in progress.
Some patriotic American citizens resident in Europe, fearing that the country might not have a sufficient supply, purchased, on their own responsibility, through co-operation with the U. S. ministers to England and France, a number of improved cannon and muskets, and at your instance this Department accepted the drafts drawn to defray