The particular attention of the Quartermaster-General is called to the importance of substituting fire-proof storage accommodations at the Schuylkil Arsenal for the wooden structures now used.
There are about twenty-five wooden sheds and buildings scattered throughout the yard within the walls, and forty-two sheds in the rows and joining the walls on the south side.
The clothing and equipage on hand has cost the Quartermaster's Department not less than $20,000,000, and is in continual peril from fire.
Locomotives pass along the entire line of the wall on the northerly side many times each day and night.
I have had the storage of goods rearranged, and endeavored to place the more valuable property in the brick buildings but they are inadequate, and have been for many years, for this purpose. It is therefore necessary to keep large quantities of valuable property in wooden sheds having gravel and tar roofing.
The fire apparatus is kept in good order, and great care is taken to guard against incendiary or accidental fires. Notwithstanding these precautions the risk is imminent and causes constant anxiety.
I respectfully recommend that the irregular clothing and material on hand at the arsenal be sold or removed as soon as practicable, as it has been kept loose, and unless sold or property packed for shipment or permanent storage, soon will be likely to engender months, from which damage will ensue to other property.
The importance of proper and uniform standards of clothing and equipage was alluded to in a special report of clothing and equipage transactions transmitted to the Quartermaster-General the 11th instant.
It having been reported to the Quartermaster-General that the specifications for dark-blue cloth and sky-blue kersey recommended from this office in March, 1864, were an imposition, and believing that it is impracticable to conform to them, and impossible to obtain sufficient material of that strength to equip a large army, I respectfully refer to my suggestions upon that subject, and beg to add that whenever the question is to be considered it should not be determined what standard to adopt upon limited and local information, nor until after thorough investigation and careful inquiry of the manufactures and practical men throughout the country.
The depots at Cincinnati and Philadelphia were reorganized by me to conform to the act of Congress of July 4, 1864, and the duties were distributed among the officers serving with me, in accordance with that law.
I respectfully commend to the consideration of the Quartermaster- General the several officers of the Quartermaster's Department who have served under my orders at Cincinnati and at this depot, for the energetic and faithful manner in which they have discharged the duties assigned them.
The business with which I have been intrusted during the period covered by this report has completely occupied my time and thoughts, and I have endeavored to do my duty to the best of my ability.
I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. W. McKIM,
Colonel and Chief Quartermaster Philadelphia Depot.