are necessary and proper," beg leave to report, that after the passage of the resolution they called upon the Secretary of War and obtained his zealous co-operation, and, provided with letters from him, they visited the departments referred to, the principal army corps and posts, hospitals, and depots, every facility being afforded them by the officers in charge for the favorable prosecution of their inquiries.
The resolution comprises all that relates to the supply and transportation of troops in the field or in camp, or that tends to promote the health and comfort of the soldier-it embraces the administration of the civil polity of the Army, as distinguished from its command.
The labors of these departments penetrate the entire military establishment, breathe life into the Army, nurture its growth, give it strength and efficiency in the field, maintaining its health and facilitating its movements; vigilant, prepared, and present, it moves unnoticed amid the stirring events of the field, and obscured by the dust and smoke of the combat it remains unobserved even while collecting the fruits of victory.
To insure success in a military enterprise, its civil administration should be harmonious with and subordinate to its command. The inefficiency of a quartermaster or commissary may effectually check the progress of an army, and the demands of an officer may destroy the most perfect administration, through his inability to comprehend the difficulties or even the facilities for procuring subsistence or transportation.
That the immense Army now in the service of the Confederacy, suddenly collected-men and officers generally inexperienced in camp life and military duty-should be clothed, fed, armed, and moved with the facility of a permanent organization, was not to be expected, and in guarding against abuses or suggesting changes, it is with a view to present emergencies, temporary in their character, rather than to subvert a system of regulations simple in their construction, yet comprehensive enough when properly administrated to achieve the objects intended.
The Quartermaster's Department is expected to give effect to the movements and operations of the Army, prepare quarters, hospitals, camp and garrison equiPAGE, transportation, and all military stores, provisions, ordnance, and ordnance stores, furnish storage for all military supplies; provide fuel, forage, and straw; supply blankets, shoes, and clothing; procure cavalry and artillery horses, purchase and have the custody of all horses, mules, and oxen, harness, wagons, carts, boats, and other means of transportation; contract for and regulate the transportation of troops and supplies upon railroads and steam-boats. It is responsible for the prompt and safe transmission of all supplies; for the payment of the troops when in service or discharged, and in general contract and pay for such services as are not specially designated in the duties of any other department.
The committee was greatly assisted in its investigations by the system of entries and analysis of estimates and disbursements in the office of the Quartermaster-General at Richmond, by which it is enabled to determine not only the supplies and transportation on hand and where located, but also the exact state of the account of every officer attached to that department throughout the Army.
These returns and entries show that clothing, camp and garrison equiPAGEare accumulated at depots situated in Richmond, New Orleans, Memphis, Charleston, Savannah, San Antonio, and Fort Smith, to be distributed, upon requisition, to the troops in their vicinity. These supplies, together with shoes and blankets, are on hand, or have been distributed in such quantities as, with the aid given by the contributions of States and individuals, to place our troops beyond the danger of suffering during the present winter; while the experience of the past, the knowledge of the resources of the country, and the power to husband, systematize, and render them available, furnishes an encouraging prospect for the future.
Clothing and commutation. -It is the duty of the Confederacy to have the Army well clothed and, to attain this end, no commutation in money should be allowed until it appears that the volunteer has supply of clothing at least equal to the amount allowed by the regulations. If furnished from private resources with the principal articles, the commutation money due might be paid to the captains to be expended, first in procuring such articles as are necessary to make up the deficiency, and the balance given to the volunteer.
Depots for supplies. -The number and extent of the depots for arms, ordnance, clothing, and stores for the consumption of the Army should be greatly increased and established at secure places near the fields of operation.
Railroad transportation. -The amount of transportation required demands that every legitimate means should be used to increase the capacity of that branch of