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Washington, 1). C., November 1, 1881. SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith, for the honorable the Secretary of War, the report of operations of the Quartermaster's Department during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1881.
A synopsis of the report was forwarded to the War Department on the 26th ultimo. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
M. C. MEIGS, Quartermaster-General, But. Major-General, U. S. A. To the ADJUTANT-GENERAL OF THE ARMY.
Washington, November 2, 1881. Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War.
R. C. DRUM,
Washington, October 24, 1881. SIR: I have the honor to submit the annual report of operations of the Quartermaster's Department during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1881. The balance at end of June 30, 1880, in Treasury to credit of the Quartermaster's Department was, as by last report...
$1, 027, 815 68 The appropriations made for the service of the Quartermaster's Department during the fiscal year were, in gross..
11, 498, 758 19 The appropriations for deficiency for 1880 and prior years..
215, 466 41 Appropriations for 50 per centum to land-grant railroads.
575, 000 00 Amounts deposited to credit of appropriations and received from sales to officers of public property.
540, 147 29 Total.......
13, 857, 187 57 Remittances to disbursing officers have amounted to... $11, 203, 536 03 Requisitions to pay settlements made by the Treasury. .718, 205 13 Carried to surplus fund, act 30th June, 1874..
230, 123 62 Error in credit to clothing appropriation, 1879, now dropped
12, 151, 891 53 Balance in Treasury undrawn at end of June 30, 1881.
1,705, 296 04
A table accompanying this report gives the amount of the various items of appropriations, remittances, &c., in detail.
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 now provides lights for all military posts and buildings. 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 wharves; 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.
About three hundred officers of the line, in each fiscal year, are placed on duty as acting assistant quartermasters, and are charged with the responsibility for public property, and many of them with the disbursement of public funds. A list of those to whom money has been remitted, or who have acted as assistant quartermasters during the fiscal year, is with this report.
For the responsibility thus involved, and the labor attending these duties, it seems to be just that they should be allowed by the government the same moderate monthly compensation which is allowed to acting commissaries of subsistence for duties somewhat similar, viz, $10
The want of post quartermaster sergeants still continues to be felt, and I am requested by officers who have the good of the service at heart to again recommend that their appointment be provided for.
The acting assistant quatermaster who is in charge of the military property of the Quartermaster's Department at any military post, as a rule, leaves the post whenever the garrison is exchanged or removed, and the sudden transfer of property, often of great value, is attended with risk of loss to the officers.
A post quartermaster sergeant, who would remain at the post, would be able to save officers and the government loss which results from such sudden and frequent changes. This care of supplies would prevent useless transportation and wastage.
The value of the service of ordnance and commissary sergeants is well established by experience, but the Quartermaster's Department, whose property at military posts generally exceeds in value all others combined, is without these useful non-commissioned officers.
DUTIES OF OFFICERS. Col. Stewart Van Vliet, assistant quartermaster-general, was on duty in this office in charge of the inspection branch and as inspector to January 22, 1881, when retired from active service.
Col. S. B. Holabird, assistant quartermaster-general, 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 settle