Under the act of Congress approved July 28, 1866, the payment of these claims, and all others that may hereafter be acted upon by like commissions, must be deferred until the final reports of all the commissions for the several States shall have been received.
For further details upon this subject, and also for an account of the money received and disbursed, attention is respectfully invited to the report of Bvt. Lieutenant Colonel A. F. Rockwell, disbursing officer for the Bureau, which is herewith, marked A.*
To my assistants, Bvt. Lieutenant Colonel F. W. Taggard and Bvt. Lieutenant Colonel A. F. Rockwell, and also to the clerical force employed in the office, I desire here to make due acknowledgments for able and efficient assistance cheerfully rendered and for constant and assiduous application to duty.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. W. FOSTER,
Assistant Adjutant-General, U. S. Volunteers.
Washington City, November 14, 1866.
Mr. PRESIDENT: Disbandment of the volunteer forces in service at the time the rebel armies surrendered; collecting the arms, ordnance, and military stores scattered over the vast theater of war; the sale and disposition of unserviceable material; storing in arsenals, magazines, and depots that which might be used; settling and adjusting war claims; recruiting and organizing the Regular Army under the recent act; the establishment of posts and garrisons on the frontier and in the Indian county; testing the various improvements of breech-loading small-arms and supplying them to the Army; practical experiments to determine the destructive power of projectiles and the comparative resisting qualities of materials; completing seaboard defenses and providing them with armaments; planning and carrying on harbor and river improvements-these, with the administration of the laws relating to refugees, freedmen, and abandoned lands, have constituted the chief operations of the War Department during the past year.
The entire number of volunteer troops to be mustered out was, on May 1, 1865, 1,034,064, and my last annul report recounted the operation of disbanding this force until November 15, 1865, when 800,963 troops had been transported, mustered out, and paid. The work was actively continued after that date, and on January 20, 1866, 918,722 volunteers had been mustered out; February 15, 952,452; March 10,967,887; May 1, 986,782; June 30, 1,010,670; November 1, 1,023,021-leaving in service 11,043 volunteers, white and colored. The aggregate reduction of the colored troops during the year has been 75,024, and at this date one regiment of artillery and thirteen of infantry, numbering about 100,000 officers and enlisted men, remain in the service. Commenced in May, 1865, the work of discharging and returning to other homes 1,034,064 volunteers would have been completed within three months but for the necessity of retaining in service part of that force. Past experience shows that, should any national emergency require a larger force than is provided by the peace establishment, armies could be swiftly organized to at least the full strength of a million of men.