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[60]

The exact nature of the duties assigned to the commission may be learned from the letter of the Secretary of War, the essential parts of which are as follows:--

War Department, Washington, April 2, 1855.
gentlemen:--You have been selected to form a commission to visit Europe, for the purpose of obtaining in formation with regard to the military service in general, and especially the practical working of the changes which have been introduced of late years into the military systems of the principal nations of Europe.

Some of the subjects to which it is peculiarly desirable to direct your attention may be indicated as follows:--

The organization of armies and of the departments for furnishing supplies of all kinds to the troops, especially in field-service. The manner of distributing supplies.

The fitting up of vessels for transporting men and horses, and the arrangements for embarking and disembarking them.

The medical and hospital arrangements, both in permanent hospitals and in the field. The kind of ambulances, or other means, used for transporting the sick and wounded.

The kind of clothing and camp equipage used for service in the field.

The kind of arms, ammunition, and accoutrements used in equipping troops for the various branches of service, and their adaptation to the purposes intended. In this respect, the arms and equipments of cavalry of all kinds will claim your particular attention.

The practical advantages and disadvantages attending the use of the various kinds of rifle arms which have been lately introduced extensively in European warfare.

The nature and efficiency of ordnance and ammunition employed for field and siege operations, and the


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