The disturbance in the means of communication, the desertion of some officers, the capture of others by the rebels, the great increase of business caused by the sudden raising, organizing, and equipping of the large army brought into the field in the early part of the year 1861 have much increased the amount of money charged as in the hands of officers of the department at the end of the fiscal year. No doubt is entertained that those who remain loyal to their Government will fully account, as heretofore, for the money intrusted to them.
I assumed charge of this department on the 13th of June, just before the end of the fiscal year; and while regretting the loss of the services of many valuable officers, who have been promoted to higher rank, and I hope, though I doubt it, to higher usefulness in the organization of the vast force of regulars and volunteers called into the service, I desire to bear testimony to the zeal, fidelity, and intelligence with which its loyal officers have executed the trusts committed to them. Their intelligence and efficiency have caused them to be sought by the Government of this Union and by the State governments to take command of brigades and regiments, to act as inspectors-general, and in other positions of rank, until the department finds itself seriously embarrassed for want of officers of experience and knowledge.
The business of the department is very large and complicated; upon its faithful execution the health, efficiency, and mobility of all armies very much depend. I trust that some mode may be devised by which those officers who, from a feeling of devotion and patriotism, have continued to discharge its most laborious and important duties, may receive such increase of rank and emolument as will place them more nearly on a level with their late companions who have accepted promotion and ben transferred to positions of higher rank, but whose duties are less laborious and difficult.
The clerical force of the department is not large enough for the speedy examination of the accounts and reports of the various officers, and the rooms in which the office is now located are too small to admit at present of a greater force. A larger office and great increase in the number of its clerks are absolutely necessary to the quick dispatch of business and to the proper filing and preservation of its records.
The business of the office has increased twenty fold. An army of over 500,000 men, engaged in active operation over so wide a field, is to be supplied by the office which was scarcely adequate in its force and accommodations to the supply of the old Army of less than 20,000.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. C. MEIGS,
Washington, D. C., November 29, 1861.
Honorable WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State:
SIR: I have to acknowledge the receipt of a copy of dispatch of 11th and 12th of November from the Honorable William L. Dayton, U. S. minister at Paris, with receipts and other papers inclosed therein.
Please communicate to Mr. Dayton the thanks of this Department for the manner in which he has served the country by his action in this business.