War of the Rebellion: Serial 124 Page 1137 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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in general hospitals June 30, 1863, was 9.1 per cent, and inthe field 4.4 per cent of the Army, of whom 11 per cent. were sick and 2.5 per cent. wounded. The corps of medical inspectors, by the system of inspections established, has added materially to the efficiency of the medical and hospital service, and a marked improvement in all matters of sanitary precaution and police is exhibited. Companies of the Second Battalion, Invalid Corps, have in many instances been advantageously substituted for contract nurses, attendants, and cooks in the general hospitals. Appropriations are asked for the payment of washing in those hospitals and on transports, where a sufficient number of matrons cannot be employed, for the collection and preservation of pathological specimens in the Army Medical Museum, and for the preparation and examination of drugs in connection with the purveying depots. The health of the troops has been good and the mortality less than the preceding year.

The Signal Corps was organized under an act of the last Congress. The average number of officers on duty is reported as 198. The full capacity of this branch of service has not yet been developed, and different, opinions as to its value seem to be entertained by commanding officers. In combined land and naval operations it has been considered useful, and commanding officers of Western armies have commended it with favor. The continuance of the corps is recommenced by this Department, with proper restrictions upon the number of officers, and limiting them to their proper scope of duties.

The military telegraph, under the general direction of Colonel Stager, and Major Eckert, has been of inestimable value to the service, and no corps has surpassed-few have equaled-the telegraph operators in diligence and devotion to their duties.

From the superintendent's report it appears that the military telegraph lines required by the Government have been constructed over an extensive and scattered territory, embracing the District of Columbia, parts of the States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, and the Indian Territory.

Under the immediate direction of Major Eckert, assistant superintendent of the Department of the Potomac, 300 miles have been constructed during the year. Under the direction of Captain Smith, assistant superintendent of the Department, of the Missouri 548 miles have been constructed during the year, one mile of which was submarine. Under the direction of Captain Bruch, assistant superintendent of the Departments, of the Ohio, Cumberland, and Mississippi, 510 miles have been constructed during the year. Under the direction of Captain David, assistant superintendent of the Department of Western Virginia, 97 miles have been constructed during the same period. Under the direction of Captain Bulkley, assistant superintendent of the Department of the Gulf, 300 miles have been built, one mile of which was submarine. On the 1st day of July, 1862, there were 3,571 miles of land and submarine lines in working order. During the fiscal year 1,755 miles of land and submarine line were constructed, making the total number of miles of land and submarine military telegraph lines in operation during the year 5,326 being length of line sufficient to girdle more than one-fifth of the circumference of the globe. By a close estimate it appears that at least 1,200,000 telegrams have been sent and received over the military

72 R R-SERIES III, VOL III