War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 1133 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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Government. Their necessities have to some extent been supplied by the order of this Department, but a general and permanent system for their protection and support should be speedily adopted by Congress. Even if they are to be regarded as in some degree a burden upon the Government they are a greater loss to the enemy. Every woman and child, from nine years, old to sixty, has to the rebel planter a high market value. Their labor in the cotton-field is a source of profit to him. Is it not better that we should feed them than that they should support the rebel master who is in arms against us?

The reports of the several chiefs of bureaus in this Department exhibit fully their respective operations during the last year.

The Adjutant-General reports that the business of his office has greatly increased during the past year by the creation of the Provost-Marshal-General's Bureau and the Bureau for the Organization of Colored Troops. He recommends:

First. That the term of enlistment in the regular service be fixed at three years instead of five, in accordance with the act of July 29, 1861, which expired by limitation on the 1st of January, 1863.

Second. That the law regulating the payment of chaplains be amended so as to allow half pay and rations during absence on leave occasioned by other cause than wounds or sickness, and to full pay without rations when absent for those causes.

A serious evil arising from the absence of officers from duty has in the past year been in great part remedied. Two boards are in session-one at Annapolis, the other at Cincinnati- before one of which all officers who have left their commands in consequence of ill-health are ordered to appear as soon as they are able to travel. They undergo an examination by the Board and are recommended, according to their condition, for light duty, for further leave of absence, or for medical treatment, in a general hospital of the city where the Board is in session. But if found fit for duty the president of the Board orders them forthwith to their regiments. The reports of the boards are a guide to the Adjutant-General in making details for mustering, recruiting, or other light duty, and in recommendations for leave of absence or discharge, where the nature of the disability requires. The reports of the boards, taken in connection with regimental reports of absent officers, and the surgeons" certificates from such officers, form a complete system of accountability for absence from duty.

The specific duty of the Ordnance Department is to supply arms and munitions of war for sea-coast and frontier fortifications, and for the forces in the field.

The expenditures for these purposes during the last fiscal year amount to $42,313,630.21.

The cannon, small-arms, accouterments, and equipments for men and horses, and ammunition obtained during the last fiscal year, by purchase and manufacture, were as follows:

Field, siege, and sea-coast cannon, with carriages,

caissons, and other implements......................... 1,577

Muskets and rifles for foot soldiers...................1,082,841

Carbiness and pistols for mounted troops................ 282,389

Cannon-balls and shells.................................1,251,995

Lead and lead bullets.................... pounds.......48,719,862

Cartridges for artillery............................... 1,435,046

Cartridges for small-arms.............................259,022,216

Percussion-caps.......................................347,276,400

Friction-primers...................................... 3,925,369