DOCUMENT NO.11. Historical report of the operations of the Office of Acting Assistant-Provost-Marshall-General, Illinois.
OFFICE ACTG. ASST. PROV. March General, ILLINOIS, Springfield, August 9, 1865.
Brigadier General JAMES B. FRY,
Provost-Marshal-General, Washington, D. C.:
GENERAL: In compliance with the request contained in your communication of April 27, 1865, I have the honor to submit the following historical report of the operations of this office since it commenced business, with such remarks and suggestions as my experience and observation may seem to warrant.
Your better directing me to require similar historical reports from the several district provost-marshals in my jurisdiction was received May 5, 1865, and the necessary instructions in my jurisdiction was received May 5, 1865, and the necessary instructions were immediately issued. My own report has been delayed partly on account of the tardy return of the district reports, the reception of which was necessary to the completeness of my own. The last remaining district reports [Fifth and Tenth Districts] are only just received. The delay has been further caused by the necessity of temporarily transferring a portion of the clerical force of this department to that of the chief mustering and disbursing office, in order to meet the great pressure caused by the return of large numbers of detachments and regiments to Camp Butler for payment and final discharge, and also by the onerous duties connected with the muster out, &c., of batteries of artillery sent to the State for that purpose, men discharged from hospitals, paroled prisoners, &c. This demand upon my clerical force still continues, and is not likely to be diminished for some weeks to come.
It will be my aim to conform this report as closely as possible to the objects specified in your letter requiring it, and to keep steadily in view the great object of the Government in calling for these final statements, namely, that it may hereafter have the full benefit of the experience of your Bureau during the war.
Accordingly, I shall not dwell upon points of minor or casual interest, but endeavor to explain fully the organization and practical workings of the different business departments of these headquarters, giving special prominence to such features as are more difficult and intricate in their nature, a knowledge of which would be of particular value should operations ever be resumed.
In order that the body of the report may proceed continuously to the close, all tabular statements, consecutively arranged and numbered, will be found in the form of an appendix, to which reference will be made as occasion requires.
In obe this city as acting assistant provost- marshal-general for the State of Illinois and established my office April 27, 1863. As you are aware, the field was to me wholly new and untried, and I was obliged to feel my way along as circumstances required, perfecting myself in the requirements of my new position as rapidly as possible, and adapting means to ends with such skill and judgment as I could command.