War of the Rebellion: Serial 126 Page 0806 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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are as complete and as well adapted to the prompt and thorough transaction of the public business as the nature of the case and the clerical force and number of officers at my disposal will admit. The present arrangement is as follows:

1. General and miscellaneous business.

2. Accounts.

3. Deserters.

4. Enrollment quotas and credits.

5. Returns and reports.

6. Veteran Reserve Corps.

7. Medical branch.

A brief account of the mode of conducting each of these departments, and of the character and extent of theach, is hereto subjoined:

1. General and miscellaneous business.-At the opening of the office this department was the only one, and, of course, comprehended all the business. As the work became systematized, and separate departments were organized, the general or unclassified business of the office naturally fell to this branch. Its relation to the whole work was of a very intimate and important character, and the duties devolving on the chief clerk in charge of it were onerous and responsible, requiring much discrimination and good judgment. In the distribution of the mail matter received at the office, all such miscellaneous correspondence and documents as did not properly fall within the province of any other desk was sent, by the officer in charge of mails received, to the chief clerk of the general department, and by him examined and disposed of as each case required. Such papers as demanded my personal attention were placed by themselves and sent to my room, others to the co-ordinate clerks of the department, with the necessary memorandum indicating the tenor of the replies to be made, or other proper disposition thereof, while such as seemed to require a more careful investigation and guarded answer received the attention of the chief clerk himself. Most of the general correspondence with the office of the Provost-Marshal-General, special reports, &c., were also in charge of that clerk, who was expected to keep himself familiar with the general progress of the business of this branch of the office in all its relations, and to be prepared to furnish such information and data as I might from time to time require, and to refer promptly to any letters or other records of the office that I might wish to consult.

A reference to the amount of labor performed in this department may not be out of place. In the month of July, 1864, there were sent from this desk 710 letters and 215 indorsements, amounting to 925 documents, or an average of over 34 for each working day. The number of papers received was about the same, making an aggregate of over 1,800 communications and other papers, or nearly 70 for each working day, which were canvassed and properly disposed of at this desk alone. The record of business at this desk for the month of January, 1865, which may be taken as about an average month in the amount of labor required, shows that 308 letters were received, and 228 letters and 443 indorsements were sent from this department, the indorsements covering 266 pages, medium, making a total of 671 communications acted on in that month, or about 25 per day. If to the above estimate 14 circulars are added, of which an average of 14 copies each were made, it gives an aggregate of 867, or more than 32 per day for the working days in that month.