cept when specially authorized to be made in small quantities at other points, have only been made at the three depots of New York, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati. At all others the articles manufactured have been made from material sent from one of the three last named, generally from Philadelphia.
The object for which these smaller depots were established seems to have been fully accomplished, and the department has been well and economically provided with good serviceable garments near the points at which they were wanted for issue.
The smaller depot above mentioned have, since the termination of hostilities in the field, been broken up, in compliance with orders from the Secretary of War, and the garments moved to the central depots of Saint Louis and Cincinnati.
Colonel W. W. McKim, in charge of the Schuylkill Arsenal, calls the attention of the department to the importance of substituting fireproof-buildings for the wooden structures now in use as store-houses at that depot.
The value of the property now stored there is about $20,000,000, and is in constant danger from fire. Locomotives pass along the entire length of the wall on the northern side many times every day and night. Colonel McKim reports that he has rearranged the stores, endeavoring to place the most valuable in the brick buildings; but much of it still remains in the wooden sheds, put up under pressing emergencies during the war.
I respectfully recommend that the brick buildings at present composing the permanent store-houses of the arsenal be enlarged and altered, so that they may be of sufficient dimensions to meet the increased wants of the service in this particular. No purchase of land would be necessary-simply the enlargement of the present buildings as they now stand, on ground owned by the Government.
It is not deemed necessary to submit details, unless the general plan shall be adopted. The matter, however, is one of much importance, and I hope it will meet with due consideration by the department.
The experience of the past war has developed the fact that exact uniformity of texture and quality of material and articles are in some respects not altogether practicable. The department will, however, from that experience, be enabled to arrive at exactly what the markets of the country can afford, and thereby determine such standards as are attainable by the majority of dealers, and at the same time equal to the requirements of the case. I recommend such modifications where they are necessary.
The quantity of clothing and equipage reported on hand June 30, 1865, being nearly the full supply preparatory to any demand that might possibly have been made during the past summer, is large in view of the much reduced forces. I am of the opinion, though, that were these articles forced upon the market for sale, being of that description for which there is no demand outside of the Army, the sacrifice would be greater than any loss that may result from damage while in store.
As to the material, much of it I believe might be sold to advantage, and I shall submit special reports recommending such disposition to be made of it.
The prices of clothing and equipage during the war were constantly advancing, and kept pace with the fluctuations of the Government