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494 Series III Volume V- Serial 126 - Union Letters, Orders, Reports

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Page 494 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

departments and other commanders, who so resolutely and effectively availed themselves of its simple but potent machinery; to the National Legislatures, which, recognizing its continuance as indispensable during the war, have confirmed and increased its jurisdiction; and to the intelligence and good sense of the people at large, who, disregarding the shallow and disloyal clamors raised against it, have appreciated its service to the country, that this brief testimony to its value as an arm of the military administration, evidenced alike by the fairness of its judgments and by its enlightened and vigorous action, should be publicly and formally borne by this Bureau.

J. HOLT,

Judge-Advocate-General.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington City, November 22, 1865.

Mr. PRESIDENT:

The military appropriations by the last Congress amounted to the sum of $516,240,131.70. The military estimates for the next fiscal year, after careful revision, amount to $33,814,461.83. The national military force on May 1, 1865, numbered 1,000,516 men.* It is proposed to reduce the military establishment to 50,000 troops, and over 800,000 have already been mustered out of service. What has occasioned this reduction of force and expenditure in the War Department it is the purpose of this report to explain.

At the commencement of the last session of Congress much had been accomplished toward suppressing the rebellion and restoring Federal authority over the insurgent States. But the rebels still held Richmond as the capital of their so-called Confederate Government, and the semblance of State government existed in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas, while a strong military force occupied a considerable portion of Arkansas and Louisiana. Their principal army, under its favorite commander, General Lee, defended with undaunted front impregnable positions around Petersburg and Richmond. Another army, under General Hood, was moving north, with purpose to invade Tennessee and Kentucky. West of the Mississippi a large force, under General Kirby Smith, threatened Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri. The chief sea-ports of the rebel States-Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, and Mobile- were strongly garrisoned and fortified, and our blockading squadrons were unable to prevent trade and supplies reaching the enemy. Pirate steamers, built in foreign ports for rebel cruisers, armed, manned, equipped, and supplied by foreign capital, roamed the high seas, burning our ships and destroying our commerce. Marauders, hired by the rebel Government and harbored on our northern frontier, were setting on foot piratical expeditions against our commerce on the lakes, planning to burn and plunder our towns and cities, and were plotting murder against the President and Vice-President of the United States, in hopes of overthrowing our Government by anarchy. Faith in their final success and hope of open recognition by foreign governments still animated leading traitors.

But now the approaching session of Congress will find the authority of the Federal Government effectually and peacefully exercised over

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*But see a later official compilation, Vol. IV, this series, p. 1283, showing an aggregate of 1,052,038.

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Page 494 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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