Just such regulations as this bill imposes starved the British army with cold and hunger, while shipload of stores and of provisions lay till they perished in Balaklay Bay.
Every purchase, every order to purchase or deliver, if accepted, is a contract. These orders are sent by telegraph. Contracts are thus made with persons a thousand miles away. If we are to trammel every purchase with new condition of writing, of record, of affidavit, no human brain will be capable of conducting the business of the great supply departments of the Army.
The Quartermaster's Department contains many officers who are at this time of public extremity taxed to the limit of their energies in providing the means of moving the Army-wagons, horses, mules, forage, tools, tents, clothing for the thousands, who are actually suffering for want of it.
If in addition to these duties they are called upon to record in writing every verbal contract to put it upon a certain piece of printed paper of a certain shape, to go before a magistrate and take in every case a certain oath, delay, irresolution, and inefficiency will take the place of promptness and energy. Suffering, discontent, and defeat will attend your armies.
All expeditions which should be secret will be made known to the public and the life and strength of military operations will be gone.
As a protection against fraud, he who will steal will not hesitate to shield himself from detection by violating an oath made as common as a custom-house oath.
Some confidence must be reposed in human agents. The officers of the Government endeavor to do their duty. If a dishonest man finds a place among the number, mere forms and certificates of record will not prevent his stealing.
The greater the fraud the more perfect the papers. The law of 1861, chapter, 84, section 10, in regard to making contracts, contains all that is really needed to secure the public. More legislation will merely embarrass and delay the public service.
M. C. MEIGS,
DAVENPORT, IOWA, August 2, 1861
Honorable SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:
Captain Adel Schirmer, of Iowa City, offers through me a company of fifty Germans, nearly all of whom have been service, to form battery of two guns to be attached to one of the Iowa regiments. Will you accept them? Of the new requisitions two regiments rendezvous at Davenport and two at Dubuque. Can the fifth rendezvous at Iowa City?
S. J. KIRKWOOD,
Washington City, August 2, 1861
Governor E. D. MORGAN, Albany:
I recall my dispatch of the 27th July and will accept the guns you offer, viz, six 10-pounders and ten 20-pounders. Forward at once and advise by telegraph.
JAS. LESLEY, JR.,
Chief Clerk War Department.