lavishness with which, in the early days of the war, positions of rank were distributed, sometimes without regard to qualification, increased the difficulties of the task. It was necessary to recommend a reduction of rank in some cased, in others candidates were found disqualified to enter the corps. There were few prominent positions provided by the law;the aspirants were numerous, and the claims of each, in his own estimation, eminent. The qualifications, record of serv of each applicant were the basis on which to fix his standing. In this task of decision the Board has proceeded with patience, kind consideration, and impartiality. The result of their action will be to render justice in the lists they present, in so far as is possible with human judgment. On July 17, 1863, orders issued from the War Department for the formation of other boards in the different military departments, with a view to the examination of the officers there serving, and to expedite the organization of the corps. The constant moving of the great armies, with which the officers are in the field engaged, in battles, marches, and sieges, have rendered it impossible to collect the reports of these boards rapidly, or for the boards to continue in permanent sessions. Their meetings have been in tents, and, in case of the Board, assembled on Morris Island, its sessions were held during the siege of Fort Wagneer and nearly within the range of the enemy's artillery. The reports from the departments of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Gulf are now complete. Those from the Departments of the Tennessee and of the Cumberland, though partially rendered, are not yet finished.
Boards for the examination of non-commissioned officers and of enlisted men have also been convened in each military department. Their recommendations for sergeants and privates of the different classes are received. These boards retain their organization for the examination, under the law, of such enlisted men as may be enlisted in or transferred to the corps. On August 1, 1863, in accordance with authority from the War Department, a board convened at the Camp of Instruction, in Georgetown, D. C., for the examination, for admission to the corps, of such candidates (coming either from military or civil life) as might be properly brought before it. It has been the rule of this officer, as it has been the understood wish of the War Department, to throw open these examinations for the widest and fairest competition; to refuse to no respectable citizen of the United States permission to appear before the Board, and to be guided solely by the decision of the Board as to the recommendation of his appointment. The action of this Board, on which no influences are brought to bear, is impartial. The wide field for selection affords opportunity to obtain the best material. The qualifications of the applicants who have thus entered the corps have warranted the plan pursued. It is proper that the precedent thus established should be followed hereafter.
The organization has proceeded slowly, and with the difficulties necessary in such times as now. The papers, returns, and reports have had to be, some of them, devised and all of them systematized. It has been necessary to impress upon the officers scattered throughout the United States the fact of their accountability and the necessity of rendering such reports and papers as the usages of the service requires. An acting organization of equipped officers and men has had to be kept everywhere in the field ready for service, and detachments of it moved from point to point, as, in the immense campaigns (including those of all the armies), new contingencies developed