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[127] exempt from all military duty, for if called out in an emergency, when the Purveyor is called on to fill requisitions for the wounded, it is evident that suffering must ensue in consequence of their absence. Medical supplies can only be prepared and put up by skilled druggists.

For the supply of alcoholic stimulants, the Department has been until recently dependent upon contracts with individuals. It. was ascertained that this mode of supply was susceptible of gross fraud, for although expressly forbidden by the terms of. the contract, the contractors not only manufactured an excess over the quantity called for by the contract, but frequently manufactured so indifferent and spurious an article that the Department was obliged to reject it, thus leaving large quantities of whisky in their hands, which they readily disposed of at prices largely in advance of Government rates. At the suggestion of this bureau. Congress at its last session granted authority to the Surgeon-General to establish distilleries for the manufacture of alcoholic stimulants. Accordingly they have been established at Salisbury, North Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, Macon, Georgia, and in Wilcox county, Alabama. The distilleries at Salisbury and Columbia are manufacturing from two to five hundred gallons each of whisky and alcohol per day. Those at Macon and in Wilcox county, Alabama, will be ready to commence operations in two or three months, when all contracts for stimulants throughout the country will be cancelled.

A large portion of the grain consumed by these distilleries is rendered useless for other purposes, being damaged in transportation or from insecure storage, and turned over by the Quartermasters to this Department. Thousands of bushels of grain are thus saved to the Government and made available for army purposes. Arrangements have been perfected with the Quartermaster's Department to supply the distillery at Salisbury with grain, thus avoiding competition between the agents of the two Departments in the market. It is contemplated to make similar arrangements with the Quartermaster-General to supply the distilleries in Georgia and Alabama, so soon as they are ready to commence operations, and it is recommended that instructions be given that officer to furnish the necessary grain when notified by the Surgeon-General that he is ready to receive it.

The late Secretary of War gave orders to the Quartermaster's department to furnish all the bureaux of the War Department with cotton goods sufficient to supply their wants. Estimates were accordingly forwarded to the Quartermaster-General by this bureau, but as yet not a yard has been furnished, and there seems to be no probability of obtaining a supply from this source. Arrangements are now being perfected with a company in South Carolina to sell to the Medical Department, on liberal terms, the entire product of their factory.

There is another subject of great importance, to which the attention

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