successful in providing for the wants of large and constantly increasing armies, posted at great distances from each other over our extensive territory, and while it is admitted that there has been a deficiency in certain articles of the rations, owing to the cessation of foreign commerce, it is undoubtedly true that there has not been since the commencement of the war any deficiency in our supplies of food for the troops; that rations of coffee were regularly served to the soldier in the field long after it had ceased to be attainable to the citizen; that large stores of all that is necessary for the maintenance of our Army for months to come are accumulated in our magazines; and that if adequate transportation can be commanded no apprehension whatever need by entertained of our ability to feed any number of men that we may think proper to keep under arms from our own home resources. The foresight and sagacity, the energy and integrity with which the business of furnishing food to such large numbers of troops over so extensive a country has been conducted are eminently creditable to the chief of the commissariat. It is indeed most satisfactory to be able to give the assurance that while occasional instances of dishonesty and peculation have undoubtedly occurred among the large number of officials whom it has been necessary to employ, with scarce any means of scrutinizing character in advance, the business of the different bureaus has been conducted with a fidelity eminently honorable to our people and in striking contrast with the enormous frauds prevalent among the officials of our enemies and published to the world in their Congressional proceedings.
The Army of the Confederacy in shown by the annexed tabular statement* to amount at present to about 435 regiments, of which about 400 are infantry and the remainder cavalry and artillery. This statement does not include the regiments called for from the different States under 8th of January, 1862, and now in rapid progress. It is impossible at any given moment to state with entire accuracy the number of regiments in our service, owing to the tardiness of officers in making returns of muster-rolls. Regiments are sometimes in service two or three months before their rolls can be obtained; others are organized on the distant frontiers of Texas and Arkansas, and weeks elapse before the fact can be known in Richmond. Again, by the legislation of Congress in March last the time of service of volunteers was restricted to one year; it was not until May that authority was given to receive troops for the war. As short terms are naturally more attractive, it was at first very difficult to induce volunteers to enlist for a longer term than that previously fixed for their friends and neighbors. The terms of the twelve-months' regiments will expire by degrees within the next six or seven months, and as the process of re-enlistment progresses in armies so widely separated as ours it is impracticable to obtain returns with such punctuality as to be able to state the number of men re-enlisted at any given time. Enough, however, is known by the Department in its payments of bounty to re-enlisted men and in its voluminous correspondence to justify the statement that more than four-fifths of the volunteers for twelve months will re-enlist for the war. Our recent reverses have had the effect of stimulating the re-enlistment in a remarkable degree, and the instances have been by no means rare where our noble defenders have offered to renounce the furlough which enabled them to revisit their
*Not found as an inclosure, but see tabular statement of March 1, 1862, p. 962.