CLAIMS FOR ANIMALS.
Under the law of July 4, 1864, 4,174 claims for animals have been filed in the First Division of the Quartermaster-General's Office; of these 2,792 have been acted on, leaving 1,382 not acted on. This business in increasing rapidly.
General Ekin states, succinctly, some of the difficulties attending just decision upon these claims. Generally when the animals have been taken by official of this department, reference to the official records shows that they have been properly reported and accounted for.
But when officers" papers have been captured by the enemy or destroyed, and when the seizure has been made by officers not of the Quartermaster's Department, as many of the officers have been discharged from the service, it is difficult to communicate with them by letter, and to ascertain whether the signatures and memorandum receipt offered in evidence are true or forged. To arrive at certain conclusions upon evidence entirely ex parte, and without cross-examination, is impossible, and this department will be unable to arrive at that conviction necessary to enable it to report many claims some of them no doubt just, without some further action. It may, after a time, become expedient to create boards of officers to visit the localities in which most of these claims originate, and there take testimony as to the facts, the truth of the documentary evidence presented, and especially as to the loyalty of the claimants and witnesses. Judging from the papers presented with these claims, there are persons unable to present certificates of loyalty.
Copies of the more important orders regulating the mode of purchasing and disposing of public animals accompany this report.
They are the result of the experience gained during a great war, in which the consumption of horses and mules has been very large. The specifications have been amended from time to time as experience has shown defects.
Under the system which these orders and regulations set forth the Army has been well supplied with animals adapted to the military service. The order, regularity, and abundance of supply, the correctness and clearness of the record of this branch of the service, since the organization of the First Division of this office, are most creditable to Bvt. Brigadier General James A. Ekin, who has been at its head.
CLOTHING AND EQUIPAGE.
The clothing and equipage of the Army are provided by contract by purchase, and by manufacture at the several principal depots, which during the fiscal year have been:
new York depot, under charge of Bvt. Brigadier General D. h. Vinton, Quartermaster's Department.
Philadelphia depot, under charge, successively of Bvt. Brigadier General and Colonel W. W. McKim, who is till in charge.
Cincinnati depot, under charge of Bvt. Brigadier General Thomas Swords, Colonel C. W. Moulton, Colonel W. W. McKim, who, on his transfer to Philadelphia, was received by Colonel C. W. Moulton.
Saint Louis depot, under charge of Bvt. Brigadier General William Myers, Quartermaster's Department.
There are several branch depots established at points at which the war had collected many destitute women, either of the families of refugees