War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 1136 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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The department charged with the disbursement of the funds for surveys for military defenses has in addition to its current duties, prepared for military purposes (to which their distribution is necessarily restricted) an aggregate of 8,841 maps, of which 6,927 were engraved and lithographed and 1,914 were photographed.

The clothing and equipment of troops, their shelter and transportation; the purchase of wagons, horses, and mules; the supply of forage; the construction, repair, and working of military roads, and the supply of boats for transportation by water, constitute important duties of the Quartermaster-General's Department. The detail of these operations, so far as is proper for public information, is contained in the Acting Quartermasters-General's report, and need not here be recapitulated.* The adequate supply of mules and horses, and their subsistence, are among the most arduous duties of the service. To systematize this branch of service, with adequate supervision and proper economy, so far as practicable, a cavalry bureau was established a few months ago, and is now in operation at Giesborough. It is believed that by this means much improvement may be made, with proper diligence and fidelity on the part of the officers intrusted with this important duty.

The Quartermaster-General has for some months been making a careful personal inspection of his branch of service in the different military departments, but his report has not yet been received.

The report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence shows that the subsistence for the Army, with the exception of fresh beef and flour, has in great part been procured by advertising for bids, and selecting the lowest for suitable articles, in the cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Louisville and Saint Louis. Flour has, when possible, been procured in the same manner at points nearer to our armies. Fresh beef has been obtained in general by contract, sometimes on the hoof and at other times from the block. On the coast of the Carolinas, and the Gulf, and for a large portion of the year at New Orleans, beef has been forwarded on the hoof from New York. It is believed that at every point the troops have been supplied with abundance of good wholesome food, and that if in movements of our armies a temporary want has been felt, it has not been due to any cause over which the officer of this department, had control. In addition to the troops, subsistence has been furnished to all prisoners, whether political or war to large numbers of contrabands, and to suffering Union families found by our armies in the rebel States. Great improvement has taken place in the rendering of accounts by volunteer officers, although cases of neglect still exist. The few regular officers of this branch of the service have had heavy labors and responsibilities imposed upon them, and have exhibited intelligence, integrity and zeal.

The Paymaster-General reports, that except where payments have been postponed by commanding generals on account of pending operations, the various armies in the field are substantially paid to the 31st of October, 1863, the latest period allowable by law and regulation, and that funds have been provided and placed in the proper hands for full payment of all troops in service up to the date mentioned.

By the report of the Acting Surgeon-General the Department is informed that the latest reports received give 182 general hospitals, with a capacity of 84,472 beds. The number of patients remaining

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*See p. 1118.

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