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Sir:-By appointment of your Excellency, I entered on the office of Quarter-Master General of the State of Indiana on the 29th of April, 1861, and now report the transactions of the Department to the present date.
The Department had been organized by my predecessor, Gen. Thomas A. Morris, a few weeks previous, but the urgent demand for experienced officers, and your Excellency's correct appreciation of Gen. Morris' military qualities, called him into the field before he had had time to make any important arrangements for the clothing and equipment of our troops, except to advertise for proposals for clothing, and some other supplies. The business was assumed by myself at the point where Gen. Morris left it, and carried forward without interruption. The entire transactions of the Department from the beginning, are embraced to this date in the present report, as one administration, except that Gen. Morris has rendered his own account of the moneys placed in his hands, and his disbursement of the same.
In cominon with most other of the loyal States, we incurred some inconvenience from the want of experience, when suddenly called upon by the emergency of a rebellion, to organize a Department of varied and extensive details, and of grave pecuniary responsibility. I venture to hope, however, that by carefully treasuring the results of experience as the transactions have progressed, and by constant and rigid scrutiny into the various branches of the business, together with steady adherence to economy in all respects, the State has suffered no serious loss from the disadvantages named.
One of the first wants it was necessary to supply was that of room for the storing of military goods, and for the manufacture of ammunition. To rent suitable premises was found to be difficult and expensive, especially for the later purpose. To relieve this difficulty, a series of one-story buildings, inclosing a square of four hundred and thirty-four feet circumference, all of frame except one for moulding bullets, which is of brick, were erected in the month of June, 1861, on ground belonging to the State, north of the State House. In these buildings the business of the Orrl. nance Department was carried on comfortably and successfully, until the approach of cold weather, when it was found necessary to obtain other accommodations, the frame buildings not allowing the introduction of any heating facilities with salery. A building of suitable size and construction was fortunately obtained at a reasonable rent, to which all the business pertaining to ordnance was transferred, except moulding bullets and filling shells, which branches were capable of being carried on where first commenced. The small frame buildings have not been useless, but have served a valuable purpose for storing various kinds of materials. In the month of August, 1861, a fraine building of one story, one hundred and ninety feet long and thirty feet wide, was erected for the general purposes of this Departınent, on ground adjoining the buildings already spoken of. A portion of this was set apart as the Armorer's Shop, and has thus relieved the State of heavy rent, securing to the Department at the same time, much better facilities for business than those pessessed before.
The cost of these structures, together with that of il brick powder magazine, erected beyond the city liinits, will be found under the proper head, in the present report.
On the of , 1861, your Excellency issued your proclamation, calling upon the auditors of the several counties, to return to this Department all arms previously issued to them for the use of the militia. In addition to that call it was found necessary to send agents to several different parts of the State, to expedite that business.
The report of the Armorer, showing the quantity and kinds of arms so returned, is hereto appended, marked A.
The first six regiments (the numerical designation, for historical convenience, beginning with No. 6,) that were enlisted for three months, were clothed and equipped by this Department, as were also several of those afterward enlisted for the war; that is to say, up to No. 28, inclusive, which last is a cavalry regiment, and No. 45, also a cavalry regiment, together with the cavalry companies of Captains Bracken and Stewart, and also the artillery companies or batteries of Captains Frybarger, Rabb and Baer.
I submit herewith, marked B, an account of all purchases of clothing and blankets made by this Department, at the expense of the Siate, showing from whom purchased, at what prices, for what regiments or companies, and whether by public or private contract. The latter method of purchase, it will be seen, was sometimes resorted to, under the pressure of necessity for preparing troops for the field in the shortest time possible. But even in these cases, competition among the dealers and manufacturers has been invited, and the lowest offer, where the party was equally responsible, uni. formly accepted. In my judgment, such purchases, though made under the pressure of exigencies, have been on terms as favorable for the interests of the State as those made by advertisement and public contract, while the time gained by the course adopted has ofren been of vital importance. So far as I have been able to examine, I believe our purchases will compare very favorably with those of any other State, on the score of cheapness and economy.
The account herewith submitted, marked C, shows the purchases of camp equipage, and other particulars belonging thereto.
· In the month of August, 1861, the United States Quarter-Master General, in accordance with the desire of this department, and your own influence, established an Assistant United States Quarter-Master here, who, from that time, assumed the charge of clothing and equipping the remaining regiments to be raised by the State. This measure has saved the advance of large sums on the part of the State, and has secured the transaction of business in the mode prescribed by military authority. I have, at various times, turned over to that officer stores of various kinds, making such arrangements as secured to the contractors payment by him.
In the month of October, 1861, your Excellency issued a proclamation inviting the people to make and send to this Department contributions of clothing and blankets for the use of our troops in the field and in hospitals. This proclamation met with a most cordial response, and donations to the value of many thousand dollars were forwarded. The articles consisted, for the most part, of blankets, shirts, drawers, socks, and mittens, together with sheets, pillows, pads, bandages, lint, and dressing gowns for hospital use. So liberal were these contributions, that I deemed it necessary, in the latter part of the winter, to issue a circular to the effect that the supply was suflicient, except oi mittens and socks. That deficiency, too, was so far supplied that all subsequent applications for the articles, with the exception of only two or three, were filled. The generosity of our citizens, in this regard, has added very greatly to the comfort of our troops in the field and camp, and very probably has saved many valuable lives.
The course pursued in the reception and distribution of this class of goods has been, that where boxes, bundles, or articles, were marked to a particular address, whether of an individual or a company, they were forwarded as so directed, unopened. When marked for distribution where most needed, at the discretion of the
Quarter-Master, the packages were opened, the contents assorted,
225 boxes specially marked.
65 bundles for general distribution.
The blankets and hospital goods remaining on hand, when the Sanitary Committee of the City of Indianapolis was formed, were turned over to that organization, for the use of the sick and wounded Indiana soldiers in the various hospitals. Of a small stock retained for exigencies in the military hospitals, here or elsewhere, there reinain on hand:
150 pair woolen socks.
92 pair drill drawers.
The building known as the City Hospital has been occupied as a military hospital since the first rendezvousing of troops here, and is still used for that purpose, under the efficient superintendence of Doctors Kitchen and Jameson, hospital and camp surgeons. leave to those gentlemen to report to you the results of their official labors.
It is understood that the Common Council of the City of Indianapolis grant the use of the building free; the expense of subsisting the sick, with the exception of the pay of the surgeons, has been defrayed by the General Government, since the location of an Assistant United States Quarter-Master here.
On assuming the charge of this Department, and subsequently, I reccived the following sums of money:
April 29. Of T. A. Morris, late Quarter-Master General.. $1,662 03
1,000 00 6,000 00