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REPORT OF THE QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL.

17 W

R E P ( RT

OF

THE QUART E R MASTER-GENERAL.

WAR DEPARTMENT,
QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL'S OFFICE,

October 9th, 1878. SIR: I have the honor to submit the annual report of operations of the Quartermaster's Department during the fiscal year ending 30th June, 1878: The balance on the 1st of July, 1877, in the Treasury to the credit of the Quartermaster's Department was, as by last report...

$1, 274, 191 59 l'he sum-total of appropriations, re-appropriations, and balances of oldl

appropriations which have been to the credit of the Quartermaster's Department during the fiscal year is.......

14,321, 699 23 Remittances to disbursing-otticers have amounted to.. $11, 0:26, 950 26 Requisitions to pay settlements made by the Treasury.. 988, 704 99 War transfer warrant, under act 3d March, 1875...

30, 198 81 ('arried to surplus fund, act 20th June, 1874 .....

746, 749 30

Total

12, 792, 603 36

Balance in Treasury undrawn at end of 30th June, 1878 ...

1, 529, 095 92 A table accompanying this report gives the amounts of the various items of appropriations, remittances, &c., in detail.

The appropriations made during the year and for service of the Quartermaster's Department during the fiscal year were, in gross, $11,178,277.64. For deticiencies, fiscal year 1876–77, $1,200,000.

The Quartermaster's Department is charged with the duty of providing the means of transportation by land and water for all troops and all material of war. It furnishes the horses of the artillery and cavalry, and horses and mules for the trains. It provides and distributes clothing, tents, camp and garrison equipage, forage, lumber, and all material for camps and for shelter of troops and stores. It builds barracks, storehouses, hospitals; provides wagons and ambulances, and harness, except for cavalry and artillery horses; builds or charters ships, steamers, and boats, docks and wharfs; constructs and repairs roads, railways, and bridges; clears out obstructions in rivers and harbors, when necessary for military purposes; provides, by hire or purchase, grounds for military encampments and buildings; pays generally all expenses of military operations not by law assigned to some other department; and, finally, it provides and maintains military cemeteries, in which the dead of the Army are buried.

Food, arms, ammunition, medical and hospital stores are purchased and issued by other departments, but the Quartermaster's Department transports them to the place of issue, and provides storehouses for their preservation until consumed.

The corps of officers upon whom all these duties fall has been reduced until it is not able to fill well every post at which an officer of activity and ability is needed.

Many officers of the line, finding themselves charged with heavy responsibility as acting assistant quartermasters, and having insufficient assistance at frontier posts, ask that the enlistment of post quartermastersergeants may be allowed by law. Such non-commissioned officers, selected for experience and fidelity shown in actual service, would be very useful. They would remain at posts in charge of the property when the garrison changed, and thus would preserve knowledge and responsibility, now often lost through the frequent change of officers. Such officers also ask that some compensation may be granted them for the risk which they incur in the disbursement of public money, and for the responsibility involved in the care of large amounts of public property.

I have the honor to renew the recommendation heretofore made, that an allowance of $10 per month be made in addition to the pay of every line officer who is detailed by proper authority as acting assistant quartermaster of a military post, when such detail is properly reported to and approved by the War Department. Such an allowance is only just, and it would relieve the service from the feeling that heavy duties are imposed by such detail without any recognition or compensation. Such duties are important, and they should be sought by good officers, not imposed upon the slothful or unwilling.

DUTIES OF OFFICERS.

Col. Stewart Van Vliet has been on duty in this office in charge of the inspection branch and as inspector. Lieut. Col. J. D. Bingham has had charge of the finance branch and of the examination of accounts and returns of officers preparatory to their being transmitted to the Treasury for settlement, and of the supply and distribution and manufacture of clothing, and camp and garrison equipage.

Lieut. Col. H. C. Hodges has had charge of the transportation and regular supply branches of the office.

Maj. R. N. Batchelder has had charge of the claims branch and of all matters relating to the construction and maintenance of military buildings.

Capt. A. F. Rockwell has had charge of the maintenance and improve. ment of the national military cemeteries, and has also done the duty of depot quartermaster at this station.

Other principal regular stations have been occupied as follows:

Col. D. H. Rucker, assistant quartermaster-general, has been in charge of the Philadelphia general depot of the Quartermaster's Department, the principal depot for purchase and manufacture of clothing for the Army.

Col. Rufus Ingalls, assistant quartermaster-general, chief quartermaster Military Division of the Pacific and of the Department of California, San Francisco, Cal. Transferred on the 6th April, 1878, to Chicago as chief quartermaster of the Division of the Missouri.

Col. L. C. Easton, assistant quartermaster-general, chief quartermaster Division of the Atlantic, New York city.

Lieut. Col. S. B. Holabird, deputy quartermaster-general, chief quartermaster Division of the Missouri at Chicago until May 6, 1878, when he was ordered to relieve Colonel Ingalls at San Francisco and assume the duties of chief quartermaster Division of the Pacific and Department of California.

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