reformation of abuses in local bureau management, were favorably received and acted upon.
By the time that six months had elapsed, I had examined some two hundred witnesses, taken two thousand folios of testimony, and all idea of my being relieved from this unwelcome, though necessary, duty had been abandoned.
The department threw upon me more and more responsibility, but, it must be confessed, accompanying it with a more than ample discretionary authority, thus affording me the highest proofs of the Secretary
's satisfaction, and stimulating me to deserve its continuance.
At the date of my second semi-annual report to the War Department, I had, in the preceding six months, made inspections in ten States; taken testimony in twenty-four cities and towns, beside camps and military posts; examined, with assistance, eight hundred and seventeen witnesses, written five hundred and fifty-three letters, and traveled over nineteen thousand miles.
With a department behind him whose chiefs approved his course, it was no very difficult affair for a non-partisan officer to effect reforms by the display of impartial severity.
Old standards had been departed from; they had to be re-established.
The old statutes of peace times were inadequate to meet new exigencies; new ones had to be enacted.
Politicians had saddled their dishonest parasites upon the country; it was for us to convict these of their crimes, and warn their patrons to nominate no more such.
And so it happened that, throughout the entire term of my Commissionership of the War Department, every reasonable suggestion that experience, in my particular department, warranted my making in the direction of reform, was unhesitatingly adopted by Mr. Stanton
, and the successive Assistant Secretaries
with whom I had the honor and pleasure to be brought into relation-Messrs. P. H. Watson
, C. A. Dana
, and Thomas T. Eckert
These suggestions covered the passage of laws by Congress, the reformation of standards for army-supply contracts, the suspension of contractors' vouchers and certificates, new regulations for the procurement of supplies, new methods of inspection, transportation, and chartering, the transfer and removal of influential officers, and other particulars which it is not necessary to specify.
At the East and North the army frauds were principally in manufactured articles; at the West and Southwest in animals, forage and transportation.
I had comparatively little to do with the Ordnance Bureau, and will, therefore, leave the curious reader to glean from the papers of the day, and the records of Congress, a comprehensive idea of the swindling, greater or less, that the necessities of