WASHINGTON, D. C.,
February 18, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War:
SIR: Within the last few weeks large numbers of applications of officers for leaves of absence have been referred to me by the War Department. These applications are, mostly based on 'sickness in family" or "urgent private business." Many of them are supported by pressing solicitations of high officers of the Government and prominent citizens of their own section of country. I have considered it my duty, on account of the enormous number of absentees from our armies in the field, to approve such applications only in a very few cases, where a refusal would cause great hardship.
I beg leave to refer to a few acts in justification of this course. By the latest returns the entire force of the Army of the Potomac is 238,464, of which 2,935 officers and 82, 188 enlisted men, or an aggregate of 85,123, are reported absent. This does not include those present sick or unfit for duty. The same ration applied to our entire military force of 790,197 would give 9,692 officers and 272,379 enlisted men, or an aggregate of 282,071, absent from duty.
While more than one-third of the officers and men of our armies are absent from their commands, the granting of leaves of absence and furloughs should, in my opinion, be limited to cases of the most surgent necessity, and that all other applications, no matter by whom recommended or urgent, should be rejected.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. HALLECK,
WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 48.
Washington, February 25, 1863.
The following regulations are established in regard to musters into and out of the service of the United States of officers and enlisted men of volunteers in the field:
I. Only officers of the Regular Army (including additional aides- de-camp appointed by the President, under the act approved August 5, 1861) will be detailed to muster into and out of the service of the United States, and no officer will make these musters unless detailed to do so by competent authority.
II. Officers, as aforesaid, will be detailed (under paragraph 1) by the corps or department commander as follows:
For each corps or department, one officer, to be called the commissary of musters for that corps or department, and two enlisted men for clerks in his office, at corps or department headquarters. All rolls and communications sent to and from the officers detailed on this service in any corps or department will be through the commissary of musters for that corps, who will exercise a supervision over the whole subject of musters for the corps or department to which he belongs.
For each division, one officer, to be called an assistant commissary of muskets for that division, who will make all musters into and out of the service of the United States for his division, and see that all officers of his division are properly mustered into or out of the service of the United States, as the circumstances of the case require; he will also be prepared to give such information on the subject of muster