War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 0956 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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this office have not always been those which seemed wise to the Department, and for the plans proposed from it there have sometimes been substituted those suggested by others. The perplexities have been numerous; there has been little time for consideration, and a necessity of constant action. The officer serving in the different military departments have had their embarrassments. They have been perplexed about the formation of boards and the examinations to be passed. Persons illy disposed have annoyed them by discorveraging reports as to the organization of the corps. There have been the uncertainties, the little collisions, dissatisfactions, and hampering to be expected in any incomplete organization.

By this review there is offered to the War Department an opportunity of estimating the difficulties under which the operations of the corps have progressed. The general tone of feeling among the officers has been commendable. The acting organizations have maintained and tried to perfect themselves in every department. The records of the campaigns show that they have not been idle. Everything has been made to give way to active service in the field. Very few, if any, of the corps have stopped to consider how it might their chances of appointment to have the lists hurried into the Department when there has been an opportunity anywhere to show by their deeds that such appointments would be for the interests of the service and that they were deserved. I recommend that no detriment be allowed to happen to any officer or man on the lists thus delayed. The necessary papers, lists, &c., are now so nearly complete that the corps can be put on a permanent working organization in a very few days after the receipt of the reports from the Departments of he Tennessee and the Cumberland. The recruiting service is organized and proceeds satisfactorily.


By the legislation of last session Congress provided for two clerks of class in the office oicer. With the aese clerks, the office assumed a permanent organization. This office has been, since soon after the beginning of the war, an office for records; for the issuing of orders; a purchasing and disbursing office; an office for the issuing of supplies to officers, and for the auditing of their accounts; the headquarters of the corps, and virtually a bureau office. The records of the corps are now complete. Since April 1, 1861, the office has issued all necessary supplies to each chief signal officer in the several military departments of the United States.

The property accounts of signal officers, with one or two exceptions, have been rendered and examined to September 30, and are, to the number of 1,000, in the hands of the Second Auditor. When the difficulties peculiar to duties of such varied kinds, with as new army in time of war, and an organization made up of volunteers, are considered, a result of this character is cause for satisfaction. The credit for the systematic arrangements and the precision which have made it possible is due to Messrs. White and Ashley, the appointed clerks, upon whom has devolved the real labor, and to the energy and care of Captain Cushing Hepburn, Spencer, and Talft, who have been on duty at different times since the establishment of the office. The office organization is now complete for any possible extension of its duties.


A number of plans or devices having reference to aerial and electric telegraphy have been, during the past year, submitted to this