urgent wants of those people, white and colored, who have, by the events of the war, been reduced to a suffering condition; to whom it has been deemed an act of charity, due from the Government, to make limited issues of food.
I have the honor to report that under your orders of June 29, 1865, directing the discontinuance of the whisky ration, and the sale of the whisky on hand, the issue of that articles was at once stopped. The sale has already taken place at many points, and will soon be completed.
During the past year, as in the previous years of the war, a very considerable income has been derived from the sale of the hides, tallow, and other parts of beef cattle not issuable as beef to the troops. The total amount of such sales has not been ascertained. At the Washington and Alexandria depots alone they amount to $344,468.98 1/2 for the year ending 30th of September, 1865, and to $1,377,875.93 during the four years ending at that date.
Under the able and judicious management of Bvt. Brigadier General William Hoffman, U. S. Army, Commissary-General of Prisoners, the prisoners of war, held under his charge at thirty- two forts, prison barracks, camps, and hospitals, have been well and humanely subsisted, having received as sufficient portion and variety of the ration to insure health, leaving in the hands of the several issuing commissaries, as 'savings" that portion of the ration not deemed necessary for persons living in entire idleness. The pecuniary value of these 'savings" has constituted a prison fund, available, under the instructions of the Commissary-General of Prisoners, for the purchase of articles necessary for the prison barracks and hospitals, and for meeting other necessary expenses of the prisoners. General Hoffman has already, under your instructions, transferred to the subsistence Department a 'savings" credit of the amount of $1,597,359.01, and reports that there remains yet to be transferred an amount not less than $337,766.98, making a total amount of $1,845,125.99.
The discharge of volunteer forces, and the consequent reduction of the expenses of this department, will enable it to meet all demands without exhausting the appropriation for the current fiscal year.
The current work of this Bureau is, habitually, up to date. The examination of the money and property accounts is nearly as close up to date as it is practicable to have it. It would, however, facilitate the prompt examination of the money and property accounts of the officers of the Subsistence Department if the law permitted the former, as well as the latter, to be sent, by the officers rendering them, direct to this Bureau for its administrative action before going to the accounting officers of the Treasury. I do not doubt that the Third Auditor is of the same opinion.
Under section 3 of the act of July 4, 1864, authorizing the claims of loyal citizens in States not in rebellion, for subsistence actually furnished to the Army of the United States, and receipted for by the proper officer receiving the same, or which may have been taken by such officers without giving such receipt, to be submitted to the Commissary-General of Subsistence, and making it his duty to cause each claim to be examined, there have been submitted as follows:
Whole number..................................... 1,470
Approved for payment............................. 50
Awaiting explanations, &c........................ 650
Awaiting examination............................. 357