War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0789 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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service 140 regiments, including all arms, with a total strength of 101,950, divided as follows, viz:

12 regiments of artillery (heavy) ......................... 12,226

8 batteries of artillery (light) .......................... 883

6 regiments of cavalry .................................... 5,605

121 regiments of infantry ................................. 83,286

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Total .....................................................101,950

Increase in the number of regiments since October 31, 1863, 82; increase in the number of officers and men since October 31, 1863, 63,243.

This branch of the service has lost by battle, disease, discharge, and desertion, from the commencement of its organization to the present time, 33,139.

There have been transferred to the Navy and other branches of the public service 1,624. Add to this number the number now in service, and it gives a total, officers and menn, connected with the colored troops, from date of first organization to the present time, of 136,713.

There have been enlisted and mustered into service at the several rendezvous established in the rebel States, in pursuance of act of Congress approved July 4, 1864, up to October 15, 1864, 2,510 colored recruits. These have been assigned to old regiments.

By direction of the Secretary of War, the designation of the regiments composing the corps d"Afrique, in the Department of the Gulf, has been changed to U. S. Colored Troops, and the enlisted men of five of said regiments, viz, Seventy-ninth, Eighty-third, Eighty-eighth, Eighty-ninth, and Ninetieth, distributed among the remaining twenty-three regiments of that corps. The supernumerary officers have been mustered out of service, subject, however, to examination, with a view to their reappointment in other colored regiments, under regulations established by Major-General Canby, subject to the approval of the Secretary of War.

This measure was absolutely demanded by the interests of the service, the colored regiments in that department, with but one or two exceptions, never having had a minimum number of enlisted men, as prescribed by law, while, as a general rule, they had the full number of officers allowed a maximum organization. A further consolidation of these regiments is now under consideration by Major-General Canby, whose action in the matter will be brought to the notice of the Department at the proper time.

The excellence and utility of the system of competitive examinations of candidates for appointment as officers of colored troops, which was established by the Department a short time prior to my assignment to this Bureau, is further demonstrated by the experience of the past year.

Two thousand five hundred and sixty-eight candidates for appointment have during the year been examined, 978 of whom were rejected.

There have been appointed during the year 1,599 officers of all grades, not including a large number of provisional appointments made in the Southwest by department commanders and others, to whom authority to appoint officers has been delegated. In no instance of which I am informed have the officers of any regiment appointed from those examined behaved in the face of the enemy in any other than a creditable manner, and their commands are so far advanced in discipline and instruction as can reasonably be expected from their length of service.