The importance of securinf the highest available order and at least an average degree of integrity for the position of surgeon to boards of enrollment can hardly be overestimated. The opportunities of bribery and fraud enjoyed by those officers in time of draft [and improved by not a few] are innumerable, and of such a character as to defy detection, although the moral evidence of guilt may be most conclusive. I would therefore further recommend that no district surgeons be hereafter commissioned except upon examination and award duly made by a commission of surgeons of approved honor and ability, to be designated and appointed by the Government for that purpose. I have no Utopian expectation that such a change would be a radical cure of the evil, but I am sure that it would greatly lessen it, and throw some additional safeguards about the interests of the Government and of the people.
12. Railroads and war.-Most of the railway companies in this State have manifested a praiseworthy disposition not only to carry out their covenants with the Government in good faith relative to the transportation of troops, military stores, and munitions of war, but have also shown a spirit of generous co- operation and patriotism, cheerfully submitting to temporary interruptions of their regular business and to all the annoyances and losses incident to a state of war. I regret that there should have been any exceptions to the above statements, but there have been such exceptions, and of so marked a character as to require a notice in this report. During the most active period of recruiting my provost-marshals on the lines of some of the roads have frequently been unable to induce the companies to halt their trains at the points and hours necessary for the proper accommodation of detachments of recruits that were waiting to be forwarded to general rendezvous, thus adding to the expense of subsisting and lodging, or compelling the shipment of the men at an hour that would bring them to the rendezvous in the night. The same evil has also occurred during the progress of the draft, resulting in the escape and desertion of many drafted men and substitutes.
It is true that in most cases the officers of the roads have promptly repudiated the acts of their subordinates when informed thereof, and directed them to afford all necessary facilities to provost-marshals for the transportation of their men; but great inconvenience and detriment to the service nevertheless occurred during the interval between the reception at this office of the provost-marshal's report of the difficulty and my reference of the matter to the proper railroad authorities. In a few cases no active measures were taken to remedy the evil, and no disposition was manifested to co-operate with the officers of the Government in their efforts to push forward troops to the front.
I have also to report instances of needless and shameless inhumanity on the part of some companies in the character of the accommodations furnished to soldiers. Brave men, including many sick and wounded, have been crowded into common box-cars in the dead of winter, without fires, or fuel, or lights, or any other conveniences that had been enjoyed by the cattle that occupied the cars before them, and in this condition the poor fellows were compelled to make journeys of hundreds of miles. In other instances the same class of cars were used in the hottest weather, and without having been cleansed of the fifth left by the cattle, hogs, and other stock. Many deaths have occurred from diseases caused by the cold, suffocation, and stench endured in those trains, while a few were not able to hold out to the end of the route, and were taken out dead.