regulation and instruction, which are used in the Army, and of all blank forms for muster-rolls, returns, &c., with the custody and correction of returns, enlistments, and muster-rolls, showing the strength and military history of every soldier, together with the numerous questions requiring patient and laborious examination, and voluminous correspondence touching all that relates to soldiers, such as answering inquiries form the accounting, pension, and pay offices, and from relatives; removing charge of desertion; settling claims for horses lost; discharge of minors, &c., the arrangement and care of old records collected from commands broken up, and the preparation, under a special act of Congress, of a register of every volunteer organization received into the U. S. service during the rebellion.
4. Bvt. Colonel H. C. Wood, assistant adjutant-general, is charged with the preparation of all orders issued on court- martial cases, and of all business relating to them after they are reported upon by the Bureau of Military Justice, and which supervision over military prisoners, wherever confined. Also with the examination and auditing of accounts of regimental, post, and company funds, and also with the proper filing and copying of battle reports.
But a faint idea is conveyed in the foregoing of the vast amount of business daily transacted in this office, which is so made up of details as to be incapable of minute description.
It is only due to the officers, clerks, and employes in every branch to say that in intelligence, patient fidelity, accuracy, and neatness in keeping their records, they cannot, as a body, be surpassed.
From various caused arising out of the unsettled state of the Army there was a large number of desertions at the close of the war. To check this evil recruiting officers were instructed to apprehend and send to military posts for trial all deserters who could be found in the vicinity of their stations, and lists were sent from companies, with a description of deserters, to facilitate their arrest. The number apprehended under this system from February 1, 1866, to October 1, 1866, is 1,029.
As an inducement to return to their duty the President published an offer of pardon to all who would report themselves at a military post by the 15th of August, 1866. There hundred and fourteen availed themselves of this act of clemency.
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I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. D. TOWNSEND,