commissioned officers or enlisted men on special or detached service," of the names of all deserters from their respective commands who have deserted since their last report. The first report is called the "Organization report," and is to give the desertions from the organization of the command till the day of rendering it, usually the end of any specified month. (Our organization reports were dated March 31, 1863.) This report must "be made in the form of a descriptive list, setting forth in the case of each deserter, his name, rank, regiment or company, description, place of birth, residence,occupation, place of enlistment, date of last payment, account of bounty due, date and place of desertion, and the place where he can probably be found, with such remarks as may be pertinent in the matter, or may aid in the arrest punishment of the offender." They will be made in triplicate, one copy to be forwarded direct to the Provost- Marshal-General with "deserters" indorsed under "official business" on the envelope, and one through the usual channels to the Adjutant-General, who remits them to the Provost-Marshal- General. In the case of surgeons, the duplicate will be sent through the Surgeon-General. The triplicate should be retained.
It has been found convenient to cause the men returned from desertion to entered on this report under a separate heading.
It is very difficult to obtain these reports, notifications to those who should render them being generally ineffectual. In case repeated orders are disregarded, a request to the Adjutant- General to stop the pay of the delinquent officers until all returns are made in usually successful in causing the reports to be sent.
When received these reports are first uniformly folded and the date of receipt marked on the lower edge, and then briefed, giving merely regiment, number of desertions, and number returned from desertion; and then the numbers in the brief are entered in a book kept for the purpose, where each command from which returns are due is allotted a separate space. This enables the number of report and deserters for any given month to be ascertained at a glance. The reports are then "districted," i.e., a note is made in a marginal column of the report giving the district in which each deserter is likely to be found. A special clerk must be employed on this work, as a directory is continually needed to ascertain in what district any place specified in the column "where probably to be found" is situated. A copy of the descriptive list of the man is then made out and forwarded to the provost-marshal of that district, and a consolidated copy of all descriptive lists sent to provost- marshals of a State or division to the acting assistant provost- marshal-general of that State or division. Finally,the regimental return is filed away (each command having a separate pigeonhole), systematically arranged by States and regiments, so that easy reference can be made to them.
Reports are sent tri-monthly by provost-marshals of the number of deserters arrested by them and the disposition made of them; and accompanying the third tri-monthly report is a monthly report giving the names, rank, company, regiment, date of arrest and by whom arrested, expenses, incurred, reward pair, date of disposal, and how disposed of. With this return is sent a receipt for each man turned over to the military and other authorities on a "descriptive list of deserters." The name of each deserter is recorded alphabetically in the "deserters-arrested" book, and then the reports are filed away by districts, so that the name of any man being given, the history of his arrest can at once be found,or the arrest by any provost-marshal at any date can be at once ascertained.