priation granted for that purpose at the last session of Congress a telegraphic bureau was established, and has been found of the greatest service in our military operations. Eight hundred and fifty-seven miles of telegraphic line have been already built and put in operation, with an efficient corps of operators, and a large extension is now in process of construction.
Congress at its late session made an appropriation for the reconstruction of the Long Bridge across the Potomac, which in its then dilapidated condition was unsafe for military purposes. The work, which has been carried on without, interruption to trade or travel, is rapidly approaching completion, and when finished will be a substantial structure.
On the 1st of the present month* Lieutenant General Winfield Scott voluntarily relinquished his high command as General-in- Chief of the American Army. He had faithfully and gallantry served his country for upward of half a century, and the glory of his achievements has given additional luster to the brightest pages of our national annals. The affection of a grateful people followed him into his retirement. The President immediately conferred the command of the Army upon the officer next in rank. Fortunately for the country, Major-General McCellan had proved himself equal to every situation in which his great talents had been called in exercise. His brilliant achievements in Western Virginia, the untiring energy and consummate ability he has displayed in the organization and discipline of an entirely new army, have justly won for him the confidence and applause of the troops of the nation.
Extraordinary labor, energy, and talent have been required of the various bureaus of this Department to provide for the wants of our immense Army. While errors may have been occasionally committed by subordinates, and while extravagant prices have undoubtedly in some cases, controlled by haste and the pressure of rapid events, been paid for supplies, it is with great gratification that I refer to the economical administration of affairs displayed in the various branches of the service. Our forces had not only been armed, clothed, and fed, but had to be suddenly provided with means of transportation to an extent heretofore unparalleled. While I believe that there is no army in the world better provided for in every respect than our regular and volunteer, I candidly think that no force so large and so we equipped was ever put in the field info short a space of time at so small an expense. While it is my intention to preserve the strictest economy and accountability. I think the last dollar should be expended and last man should be armed to bring this unholy rebellion to a speedy and permanent close.
The geographical position of the metropolis of the nation, menaced by the rebels and required to be defended by thousands of our troops, induces me to suggest for consideration the propriety and expediency of a reconstruction of the boundaries of the States of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Wisdom and true statesmanship would dictate that the seat of the National Government, for all time to come, should be placed beyond reasonable danger of seizure by enemies within as well as from capture be foes from without. By agreement between the Stator similar purposes by Michigan and Ohio and by Missouri and Ohio, their boundaries could be so changed as to render the capital more remote than at present from the influence
*It was November 1.