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four years old, and still sound and toothsome, and would evidently remain so much longer.
What has been done can be done again. Should there be a demand for long-keeping cheese, its successful manufacture is beyond a question, and in a short time it could be produced by the hundred tons.
Governor Seymour has offered a premium for a form and quality of cheese which will be best fitted for the use of the Army, to be exhibited at the fair to be held in Utica during the present month.
Should it be found that a cheese of good quality which will keep a sufficient length of time for ordinary issue to the Army can be made and sold at a reasonable price, I am of the opinion that it will be advisable to add cheese to the components of the Army ration for ordinary issue.
By General Orders No. 117, Headquarters of the Army, Adjutant-General's Office, December 20, 1877, a board of officers was appointed upon the joint recommendation of the Surgeon-General and Commissary-General, to make experiments in Army cooking and prepare a manual for Army cooks.
I am informed that the board has completed the experiments and is now engaged in preparing the manual, which shonld be printed and distributed to the Army as soon after its completion as practicable.
BREAD-MAKING AND OVEN-BUILDING.
With a view of having a manual of bread-making and oven-building printed for distribution to the Army, Maj. George Bell, C. S., has, under my instructions, during the past year, prepared notes on bread-making, and has made considerable progress in preparing notes on oven-building. It is proposed to proceed with the preparation and printing of the manual as soon as the notes are completed.
GARDENS AT FORTS CUSTER AND KEOGH.
Great loss in vegetables sent to posts on the Yellowstone during the past two years having occurred through freezing, and the cost of transportation being considerable, I authorized the post-commissaries at Forts Custer and Keogh to procure seed, and employ men in the cultivation of gardens in the vicinity of those posts; the products to be sold to officers and enlisted men at the estimated cost to the government (these not being authorized articles of the ration). From reports received at this office, it appears that the experiment has resulted successfully. The acting assistant commissary of subsistence, O. B. Reed, first lieutenant Eleventh Infantry, at Fort Custer, Mont., reports as follows:
I have under cultivation about 13 acres of land which is of excellent quality; about 9 acres are planted with potatoes, one with onions, and the rest with various vegetables, most of them in small quantities simply as an experiment. These include beets, turnips, cabbage, cauliflowers, corn, pumpkins, summer and winter squash, tomatoes, parsnips, beans, cucumbers, carrots, &c., all of which are doing remarkably well. About 14 acres sowed broadcast with turnips promises to yield as many as can be nsed by this garrison next winter. Beets do exceedingly well and yield a remarkably large crop with very little trouble or expense, while they are particularly desirable as an article of food, both as an early and late vegetable, and I would recommend their cultivation on a large scale another year.
I am of the opinion that it would be in the interest of economy to pursue this plan at all frontier posts where suitable ground can be procured
and vegetables cannot be purchased at reasonable prices, and shall, with your approval, give instructions to that effect.
I urgently recommend that there be added to the number of civilian clerks and employés now authorized for this bureau one clerk of class four, one clerk of class three, one of class two, one at $1,000 per year, and that an additional laborer be authorized. This will not maké the authorized number equal to that of those now employed, there being, in addition to the force specifically authorized by law for this bureau, five enlisted (general-service) men, and one messenger from the War Department, employed as clerks, and one laborer from the War Department, employed in that capacity. With these it has not been practicable to properly perform the clerical work of this office, but the failure to perform it has to a considerable extent been due to the fact that the enlisted men are not permanent, six of those temporarily on duty having been promoted to other bureaus within the year, as their services were becoming valuable to this, and new men enlisted in their places who were, as a general rule, unacquainted with the duties they had to perform.
With the employés organized as recommended in my annual estimate for the next fiscal year a skilled force would be kept employed, and I am of the opinion that the clerical work of the office would be better performed than heretofore, and at but a slight increase of cost to the government.
I am of the opinion that no enlisted men should be employed in this bureau; the cost to the government is nearly if not quite as much as if the same number of one-thousand-dollar clerks were employed ; morever, while the appropriation for the clerical force of this bureau is diminished the expenses of the Army are increased by the employment of enlisted men, and the strength of the Army for its legitimate duties reduced by the number of men so employed.
The number of enlisted men detailed as clerks in the various bureaus of the War Department largely increases the expenses of this department, as all receive from 75 cents to $1 per day commutation of rations, instead of drawing a ration in kind, the average cost of which would not exceed 22 cents.
RENT OF BUILDINGS.
I would respectfully invite your attention to that portion of the act of March 3, 1877, making appropriations to supply deficiencies in the appropriations for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1877, and prior years, which provides : “That no contract shall be made for the rent of any building, or part of any building, to be used for the purposes of the government, in the District of Columbia, until an appropriation therefor shall be made in terms by Congress, and that this clause be regarded as notice to all contractors or lessees of any such building or any part of building," and suggest that it would be conducive to the public interest if this law were modified so as to provide that buildings in lieu of those for the rent of which "an appropriation has been made in terms by Congress” may be rented, provided the rental does not exceed that which is paid for the buildings for which "an appropriation has been made in terms.” The many objections to this law will be apparent upon careful consideration of its effect. The modification proposed, while it cannot involve the government in additional expense, might enable the depart
ments to rent buildings more suitable for the purposes required than those they may be occupying, and probably at a largely reduced rental.
CHANNELS OF OFFICIAL CORRESPONDENCE.
I am of the opinion that the business of this bureau would be more expeditiously performed, and a great saving of expense in the employment of clerks made, were communications with reference to the affairs of the Subsistence Department, not connected with its personnel, sent directly to this office, instead of being sent to the Adjutant-General of the Army, and in many cases through unnecessary channels, in violation of that portion of General Orders No. 127, War Department, AdjutantGeneral's Office, series of 1870, which states that
In order to reduce unnecessary expenditures of time, labor, postage, &c., in the transaction of public business, paragraphs 438 and 451 of the existing Army Regulations will not hereafter be interpreted as including matters of which interinediate commanders can have no knowledge, over which they are expected to exert no control, and upon which they need express no opinion.
The Commissary-General, and not the Adjutant-General, is the officer who, under the direction of the Secretary of War, is charged with the administration of affairs relating to the subsistence of the Army; therefore, to him should be transmitted all papers connected therewith, and he should communicate directly with the Secretary of War and the General of the Army, and not through the chief of a co-ordinate bureau.
The effect of the present system is to cause papers to be sent to the Adjutant-General of the Army for no other apparent reason than that they may be recorded in his office; he has no power to act upon them, and either has to refer them to the Secretary of War, the General of the Army, or the Commissary-General, thus involving unnecessary labor and delay in the transaction of business.
The office of the Commissary-General is as much an office of record as that of the Adjutant-General, and all communications relating to the subsistence of the Army, requiring the action of the President, Secretary of War, or Commissary-General, should be sent directly to this office, and be by the Commissary-General acted upon or referred to the proper superiors, and their action, when not involving the personnel of the Army, be promulgated by the Commissary-General.
A similar system should, in my opinion, be pursued at military division and department headquarters. Chiefs of the several staff departments should communicate directly with their commanding officers and not through an adjutant-general, who only in time of peace has time to act as a medium of communication between the commanding officer and his subordinates upon all matters. In time of war the chief of each department is expected and generally required to give instructions with reference to his own department, and communicate directly with the commanding officer, and not through his subordinates—the duties of the adjutant-general being then limited to the personnel—the matériel of the Army being, as a rule, controlled by the commanding general through the chiefs of the respective supply departments. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commissary-General of Subsistence. Hon. GEO. W. MOCRARY,
Secretary of War.