place before the order to suspend further shipment here was received. The remainder of the 2,000 were delivered at Harrisburg.
I have been thus particular in relation to this contract, inasmuch as the opening of railroad communication after it was made, by materially changing the state of affairs, caused it to be a very profitable one to the contractors, and because of a report that after such communications were opened the whole 10,000 head were received. Such was not the case. New contracts for beef cattle have been since made, and at low rates, by the usual method of advertising and receiving bids; but the exigencies existing at the time the first contract was made precluded delay.
The large army collected at this place has been principally supplied with subsistence, and of excellent quality, by advertising when time would permit, from the markets of New York and Baltimore. This course was resorted to not only from the large choice those markets afford, but also to prevent the blocking up of the railroads leading to this city.
For the latter reason, as well as for others which will readily suggest themselves, the flour for this army has been principally procured, by advertisement, from the mills of Georgetown and its vicinity.
Ovens have been erected, under the orders of the department, and the army supplied with fresh bread of excellent quality. It is believed that no army of equal size was ever so well provided with subsistence.
I regret to say that the information in the possession of this office does not permit me to speak as fully in relation to other armies. From the want of full reports much is unknown.
In the Department of the West the stores have been principally procured in Saint Louis in the same manner as in New York. A contract was made, under the direction of General Fremont, for all the beef to be supplied in that department, but which, not meeting the approbation of this office, was annulled, the commissary at Saint Louis being directed to issue proposals for several dif in that department. The action under these instructions has not yet reached this office.
The troops at Cairo and its vicinity appear to have been well supplied.
But little is known of the state of the department in Western Virginia, except that at one period they were badly provided with subsistence. That army should have received supplies from Cincinnati. Through some mistake in instructions as to the proper depot, and the difficulty of transportation over the mountain roads, provisions with it were scarce. It is hoped and believed that this difficulty has now been remedied.
The troops in Kentucky are being furnished with subsistence, by advertisement, through the malle and Cincinnati. A contract for a supply of fresh beef for them has been made at a low rate.
Some confusion has prevailed in the operations of the department from the total ignorance of their duties by many of the brigade commissaries appointed from civil life, and many irregularities in their accounts have and will continue to occur until experience has given them knowledge.
Great irregularity in this department has also occurred in the raising of volunteers, but less than should have been expected when the sudden uplifting of such a force in so short a time is considered.
The few regular officers of the corps have had a very responsible and laborious course of duties imposed upon them, and have performed