the execution of the acts of Congress against fraud and malfeasance, and in a measure combine the duties and powers of the Judge Advocate
and Inspector General
For this was what my own office had grown into, and there was more work than a dozen officers could thoroughly accomplish.
“It is a curious anomaly,” I said, in one of my reports to the department, “that a government disbursing one billion of dollars annually, has no organized system for the prevention and punishment of frauds, its effects in this direction having been entirely spasmodic and irregular.
I am firmly convinced that a bill containing provisions calculated to remedy this evil would meet with the cordial support of the whole people, without regard to political party.”
What was true in 1864 is equally so in 1878, and to-day the creation of a respectable and responsible inspection bureau, clothed with large discretionary powers, would, in the hands of an honorable and courageous commissioned officer, do incalculable good.
set a bright example of patriotic devotion during the war, and poured out her resources in unstinted measure for her country's salvation, yet it is true that vast frauds were perpetrated in that city.
These extended to tents and other canvas goods, clothing, shoes, and stores of various kinds.
In the two years preceding my inspection of the Schuylkill Arsenal
the disbursements of the quartermaster had exceeded two hundred million dollars, and at that time were running on at the rate of from seventy million dollars to eighty million dollars annually.
To inquire into so vast a business I was obliged to take it up by divisions; so, as nearly as practicable, I took testimony and inspected, seriatim
, canvas goods (including tents, paulins, wagon-covers, knapsacks, and haversacks), leather and manufactures of leather, cloth, and clothing, and miscellaneous articles
The same old results ensued; inspectors, contractors, manufacturers, and middlemen, were arrested, commissioned officers displaced; trials were followed by convictions, fines, and assessed damages; new inspectors were appointed, new standards established, and abuses were reformed.
The close of the war found me with this work only half completed, and so some great culprits, military and civilian, escaped the just punishment of their offenses, to figure as noisy politicians and be looked up to as successful men of affairs The archives of the War Department have many an ugly secret smothered in its pigeon-holes, and, heaven knows!
it will not be myself who will disturb them; there is stench enough in the air without this carrion.