WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington City, March 1, 1865.
Mr. PRESIDENT: I have the honor herewith to submit the annual reports of the several bureaus of this Department. They were designed to accompany my annual report, which, by your permission, has been delayed until the lieutenant-general should furnish his summary of the military operations of the past year. His report has not yet been received, as the activity of the campaign in progress demands his unceasing attention. but the accompanying documents are now submitted in order that, so far as can be done without injury to the service, they may be printed with the public documents of the present session of Congress.
The military events of the past year have been officially published by this Department from time to time as they transpired, and are fully known in every branch of this Government and throughout the civilized world. They constitute a series of successful marches, sieges, and battles, attesting the endurance and courage of the soldiers of the United States and the gallantry and military skill of their commanders unrivaled in the history of nations.
The campaign of the Army of the Potomac and the operations on the James River, the Appomattox, and around Richmond and Petersburg; the masterly operations of our army in Georgia, resulting in the capture of Atlanta, Savannah, and other important military posts in that State; the reduction of the forts in the harbor of Mobile; the hard-fought battles at Franklin and around Nashville, resulting in the rout of the rebel army in Tennessee; the succession of brilliant victories won by the Army of the Schenandoah; the successful storming of Fort Fisher; the capture of Wilmington, Columbia, and Charleston, and other achievements of less note, all contributing to the triumph of the Union cause and the suppression of the rebellion, will be more appropriately detailed upon the coming in of the report of the lieutenant- general.
That the administrative operations of the several bureaus of this Department have not failed to contribute to the success of our armies is shown by the official reports of their respective chiefs.
The Adjutant-General reports the difficulties springing from a sudden and vast increase of business measurably overcome in his Bureau, clerks instructed, and work systematized. Credit is justly due to both the officers and clerks for their fidelity.*
Despite superior advantages for recruiting volunteers, grater success has been reached in the regular service than was anticipated. There are two depots for collection of recruits for the Army at large--one for infantry, at Fort Columbus, N. Y., and one for mounted service, at Carlisle, Pa. There are also further depots for particular regiments established in different sections of the county. Sick and wounded officers have generally been employed on recruiting service, and when recovered they have been sent to replace others in the field who require relief.
Twenty-one depots are established in the principal States for collecting and forwarding to regiments volunteers and substitutes and also drafted men. The Veteran Reserve Corps has been of much service in guarding these depots and escorting detachments to their
*For report of the Adjutant-General see p. 807.