regular and frequent reports of all passes issued, by promptly examining which the responsibility could be fixed upon the proper party, and so check irregularities. A copy of these rules and sundry others, which experience led me to think useful, I inclose herewith.*
The change was fully equal to my anticipations. At the end of the first month all reports were examined, and there was scarce an officer that was not notified that by the order of the assistant adjutant-general certain passers improperly granted were charged to him, amounting in the case of certain prominent officers to several hundred dollars.
By an arrangement with the railroad companies I obtained their consent to lose the amount of these errors for the first two months rather than make the loss fall upon these officers, and at the same time furnished then the rules enabling them to know when to receive or refuse orders for transportation. At that time General Halleck's department embraced nearly all the country west of the Alleghanies, and these rules when understood were very satisfactory to the railroad companies, and I believe also to army officers throughout the department. Since then we have seldom had improper passes presented. Accounts have been as easily adjusted and settled as ordinary railroad accounts. At an interview in Washington with Colonel McCallum, who has had great and varied experience, he expressed the opinion that some similar plan securing uniformity and greater safeguards would be of great benefit and should be adopted throughout the service. I do not see why this could not and should not be the case, or whey it is necessary to have as various forms and rules as there are officers furnishing transportation. I could give you instances frequently occurring by which the Government is greatly wronged, and which, I think, by some uniform plan could be prevented. I will only give a single case, which I know frequently occurs. A pass is given to John Smith and say forty men to Wheeling, Va. He takes the pass the railroad office and procures forty-one coupon tickets. Usually but a part go at all, say thirty. The other eleven tickets are sold, given away, or not used. Again, in other cases I have discovered the route has been changed, and not half the distance traveled over, yet the Government has paid for the entire number the entire distance.
To correct this I directed that passes should not be exchanged for coupon tickets, that separate passes should be issued for each and every road to be traveled over, requiring that each road should produce in settlement the separate pass issued for its service, duly certified, for only the men actually transported. The consequence is we have now great numbers of passes returned with less numbers certified to than the order covers. I will not detain you by giving the particular object of other rules; I have found them useful. With more leisure than I have to give the subject, other rules and changes might no doubt be adopted which would be of still greater benefit. I cannot see why the following changes could not be readily made with certainty of improvements, viz:
First. Have blank forms for all transportation papers of every kind adopted and regularly issued from Washington as in other cases of blanks.
Second. Select a blank form of pass, concise and simple, with blank receipt on the back similar to the one inclosed.*
Third. Let them be lithographed either with the Quartermaster- General's or some other name where my name now appears.