occasionally existed, it has not been due to causes over which the officers of this department had control.
The reduction of the ration by the act of June 20, 1864, to the ration as it existed before the act of August 3, 1861, is proved to be a measure of economy, whilst it provides the soldier with a sufficient quantity of food. Some officers familiar with the subject are of opinion that the ration may be improved without adding materially to its cost, in which opinion I incline to concur.
In addition to the troops, subsistence has been furnished to all prisoners of war, to large numbers of contrabands, and to suffering Union families found by our armies in the rebel States.
As a general thing those persons who have entered into obligations to supply this department have met their engagements with commendable promptness and fidelity; whilst the thoroughness of the inspections made by all the principal purchasing officers has rendered it nearly impossible that bad supplies could be issued to the troops.
Salt fish in considerable quantity has recently been issued, and, as is believed, has conduced to the health and satisfacps.
The officers of this department, regulars and volunteers, have, with but few exceptions, performed their duty with credit to themselves and with advantage to the public service.
The very important and responsible duty of purchasing and forwarding the subsistence stores required for the several armies has been accomplished with complete success, and deserves appropriate commendation.
The depot and field services of those officers of the department who have had the principal charge of receiving and distributing supplies to the various armies in the field have been performed with zeal and success, and entitles the officers performing them to special and favorable notice.
During the fiscal year ending June 30 there were examined in this Bureau, and referred to the Third Auditor for final settlement, 52,582 quarterly or monthly accounts relating to funds, subsistence stores, or other property.
On recently taking charge of this Bureau I found the current work of the office fully up to the day, and the examination of money accounts not more than one month, and thana of the provision returns and property accounts not more than three months, behind. These facts, together with the general good condition and management of the affairs of this Bureau during the past year, are a credit to the officers having chief control of its principal office and the general managartment. While the officers of this department mourn the loss of their late chief, Brigadier General Joseph P. Taylor, they are thankful that, like his predecessor in office, Bvt. Major General George Gibson, he was a faithful officer and an honest man.
With great respect, your most obedient servant,
A. B. EATON,
Commissary-General of Subsistence.
GENERAL ORDERS, WAR DEPT., ADJT. GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 271.
Washington, October 15, 1864.
The following will be substituted for paragraph IV, of General Orders, Numbers 127, dated March 29, 1864, from this office, in relation to hospitals for officers:
IV. When an officer is not provided with money, and is unable to obtain it, he will give a certificate of indebtedness, in triplicate, to