War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0934 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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of men capable of bearing arms, whom it was intended to supply, was at least, 1,439,127. From that day to this there has been no further legislation on this subject affecting this amount, and while to-day the number of men in the loyal States capable of bearing arms, and for whose arming especially at this time the most liberal provision should be made, is about 4,800,000, no purchases on this account can be made except from the small appropriation of $200,000. If the principle which led to the passage of this law in 1808 was a correct one then, it certainly is equally so now; and the experience through which the country has passed during the last two years has illustrated more forcibly than ever before the imperative necessity of a well- organized and well-armed militia to act as a reserve force. This being the case, if $200,000 was considered by Congress as a proper sum to appropriate for this object in 1808, then, taking merely the increase of population as an argument, $1,000,000 is the proportionate amount now. But if we consider the fact that our very existence as a nation is now the question at issue, threatened as we are with dangers on all sides, I do not think an appropriation of $2,000,000 for this object any too much at this time. Already, in view of extraordinary exigencies which have arisen there have been issued, by your direction, to certain of the loyal States arms and accouterments of a value far in excess of the appropriation, and I earnestly recommend that the attention of Congress be called to this fact, in order that, while legislating on the subject, at least $1,000,000 may be applied to meet this excess and cover the cost of a sufficient number of arms and accouterments, to enable this department to distribute to the remaining loyal States the same proportionate quantity as have already been issued to those before mentioned, to whom a distribution has already been made.*

I beg leave most earnestly to bring to your notice the necessity of an increase in the number and rank of the officers of the Ordnance Department, and to recommend it to your favorable consideration. Organized upon a different basis from the corps constituting the line of the Army, and with varied duties involving high responsibilities, an increase of rank is essential to give proper influence to chiefs of ordnance to armies in the field, and as an act of justice to the commandants of the more important armories and arsenals.

By the tenth section of the act of Congress of July 17, 1862, one assistant adjutant-general, one quartermaster, one commissary of subsistence, and one assistant inspector-general, who shall have, respectively, the rank of lieutenant-colonel, constitute the staff of commanders of army corps, whilst no such additional rank is conferred on the ordnance officer representing his department at the same headquarters, and whose functions are not of less importance to the Army-a distinction manifestly invidious and without just reason. The duties and responsibilities pertaining to the commanders of armories and the larger arsenals are, as you are aware, without limitation, involving the control of a very large amount of public money, and embracing in their general operations the supervision of almost every department of the mechanic arts. The present limited and, indeed, inadequate organization of the department has devolved upon its officers an amount of labor which nothing short of untiring zeal and devotion to the interests of the service could have accomplished, and which I should be wanting in justice to them not to bring to your special notice. Their intelligent co-operation has


*Portion of report (here omitted) relates to establishment of a large arsenal and depot in vicinity of New York City.