With your approval it is proposed to ascertain and exhibit in a tabular form the total quantity of each article of subsistence stores purchased for use of the Army during each year of the war, from 1861 to 1865, inclusive. Such a statement would from an interesting addition to the mercantile statistics of the country.
Under the act of March 3, 1865, for the better organization of the Subsistence Department, authorizing, during the continuance of the rebellion, the selection and assignment of commissaries of subsistence of the volunteer and regular service to geographical military divisions, to separate armies in the field, to military departments, to principal subsistence deports, and to the office of the Commissary-General of Subsistence as assistants, with the rank, pay, and emoluments of a colonel of the Subsistence Department, there have been so selected and assigned nine commissaries of subsistence; one from the regular service and eight from the volunteer service. There have also been selected and assigned, under authority of the same act, to inspection or other special duty, two commissaries of subsistence with the rank of lieutenant-colonel; one from the volunteer and the other from the regular service. Also, to divisions, two commissaries of subsistence with the rank of major; both from the volunteer service.
During the past year two vacancies have occurred in the regular service of the Subsistence Department; one by the brief sickness and death, after much zealous and efficient field service, of Major John Kellogg, and the other by resignation of Captain Edward R. Hopkins, a valuable officer. Both of these vacancies were filled by selections and appointments from the volunteer branch of the Subsistence Department.
The Subsistence Department at the commencement of the war contained but twelve officers of all grades. It has reached this number by small additions, authorized by law, from time to time, as the Army was increased and the territory occupied by it extended; the several additions subsequent to the act of April 14, 1818, by which a commissary-general of subsistence was originally authorized, being as follows: By the act of March 2, 1820, two commissaries; by the act of July 5, 1838, five commissaries; by the act of September 20, 1850, four commissaries; by the act of February 9, 1863, five commissaries, making a total of twenty-nine officers of all grades. A further increase is not recommended until it shall be made to appear that the present number of officers is inadequate to the service required of the department.
The officers of this department, regulars and volunteers, have, with but few exceptions, performed their duties with signal fidelity and success. Some of them have been held from serving with troops in the field, much against their choice and ambition.
To the able senior assistant commissary-general of subsistence, and to the other officers on duty in this Bureau, is largely due the credit of the general good condition of the affairs of the Subsistence Department which I am enabled to report.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. B. EATON,
Commissary-General of Subsistence.