The amount received and deposited on this account up to November 1, 1864, was $121,800.
The officers and employs of the Bureau have been active during the year in the arrest of deserters. The results are as follows:
The number of deserters arrested between October 1, 1863, and September 30, 1864, was 39,392.
The total number arrested from the time this branch of the Bureau went into operation, May 1, 1863, to September 30, 1864, is 60,760, being an average of 3,574 per month; from which it may be inferred that not may who remain in the country escape arrest.
Deserters who have fled to Canada, and who are prevented from coming back by the fear of arrest and punishment, have expressed a desire to return to duty, on condition of being pardoned. The services of this class of men do not seem to be required, and, as they have knowingly and voluntarily deserted their flag and country, I have not recommended to you a compliance with their wishes.
By section 13 of the act approved March 3, 1863, "rafted men who fail to report as notified are deemed deserters." In many instances failure to report has occurred on account of circumstances which they could not control, or through misunderstanding, ignorance, or bad counsel. It has been the practice of the Bureau to give liberal consideration to the mitigating circumstances attending such cases, and to prosecute such persons only as have deliberately and willfully violated the law.
THE VETERAN RESERVE CORPS.
The above name has been given to the force, organized under this Bureau, which in my last annulled the Invalid Corps. The principles originally prescribed for the organization have been adhered to. Officers desiring admission are required to produce recommendations from the superior officers under whom they served in the field and to pass a through examination as to their fitness, in all respects, for the positions which they sack.
On the 1st of October the corps consisted of 768,738 enlisted men, organized as follows: First, twenty-four complete infantry regiments, each regiment containing ten companies of the first class - that is, those men of the highest degree of physical ability; second, 155 unassigned infantry companies, composed of men of less physical ability than those in the regiments. The corps is doing duty which would otherwise have to be performed by an equal number of able-bodied troops detached from the armies in the field, and it is yet inadequate in numbers to fill the demands made upon it.
The unassigned companies are mainly ion duty as guards, attendants, &c., at the general hospitals. The regiments are performing garrison duty in Washington and its defensive works, at the various depots of prisoners of war, at the general depots for recruits and drafted men at the provost-marshal's rendezvous, escorting recruits to the field, &c.
The discipline and instruction are good; and, though no longer able to take the field and seek the enemy, these troops are ready and willing to meet him in battle, as demonstrated during the formidable rebel raid into Maryland in July last.
Many of the officers, including some detached from their regiments for special service, are filling ability and usefulness positions of honor and responsibility.