From the above statement it will be seen that but a small number of the accounts for disbursement by officers by this department during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1863, have at this date passed the official examination required by law prior to transmission to the Treasury for final examination and settlement. Four thousand eight hundred and eighty-four accounts remain on hand to be examined, containing disbursements amounting to $193,289,247.14, of which number 35 pertain to periods prior, and 4,849 to the fiscal year ending June 30, 1863; add to which the number yet due and to be received, the number of accounts unexamined for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1863, will not fall for short of 6,000.
Since the last annual report 2,342 accounts, containing disbursements amounting to $118,463,312.03, have been examined and sent to the Treasury for final settlement, of which number 1,358 pertained to the fiscal year ending June 30, 1862, and 984 to the fiscal year ending June 30, 1863.
The number of officers making returns to this office is very large. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1863, they numbered 4,178, 1,802 being disbursing officers, and the remainder, 2,376, regimental and acting assistant quartermasters who were accountable for property only. Among the former are comprised the quartermasters and assistant quartermasters of the Regular and Volunteer Army, who are acting as chief disbursing officers to armies, corps, divisions, and brigades in the field, or in charge of the important depots for the purchase and manufacture of supplies. Many of them are charged with the expenditure of large sums of money, and their accounts are necessarily very voluminous.
These officers were also accountable for clothing, camp and garrison equipage received and issued, and are required to render monthly returns for the same to this office.
In addition to this every officer commanding a company in the Regular or Volunteer Army is required to account monthly for all clothing received by him for issue, as well as for all quartermaster's stores for which he may be responsible. These returns are registered and examined prior to transmission to the Treasury for final settlement.
Five thousand eight hundred and thirty-three accounts for disbursement of money and 15,106 for property received and issued have been received in the Quartermaster's Department proper during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1863.
In an army of 1,000,000 men there will be not less than 10,000 company commanders, from whom there should be 120,000 returns received during the year.
The correspondence with the officers who fail to render their returns within the time required by the regulations as well as with those whose returns are incorrect or imperfect, involves much labor. Officers appointed in the Quartermaster's Department too frequently do not attach sufficient importance to the office. They are in many instances entirely unacquainted with its duties, and from their previous occupations, unqualified to perform them. None but good accountants and persons who have been engaged in business of a mercantile character, or who have had experience as regimental quartermasters and proved their fitness for the office, should be appointed assistant quartermasters.
The regiment quartermasters, who are necessarily intrusted with a large amount of property, are in some cases not only unacquainted
71 R R-SERIES III, VOL III