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[278] and Secretary of War to delegate to the commanding general so much of the discretionary power vested in them by law as the exigencies of the service shall require.

The Navy.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy gives in detail the operations of that department since January last, embracing information of the disposition and employment of the vessels, officers, and men, and the construction of vessels at Richmond, Wilmington, Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, Selma, and on the rivers Roanoke, Neuse, Pedee, Chattahoochee, and Tombigbee; the accumulation of ship-timber and supplies; and the manufacture of ordnance, ordnance stores, and equipments. The foundries and workshops have been greatly improved, and their capacity to supply all demands for heavy ordnance for coast and harbor defences is only limited by our deficiency in the requisite skilled labor. The want of such labor and of seamen seriously affects the operations of the department.

The skill, courage, and activity of our cruisers at sea cannot be too highly commended. They have inflicted heavy losses on the enemy, without suffering a single disaster, and have seriously damaged the shipping interests of the United States by compelling their foreign commerce to seek the protection of neutral flags.

Your attention is invited to the suggestions of the report on the subject of supplying seamen for the service, and of the provisions of the law in relation to the volunteer navy.

The post-office.

The Postmaster-General reports the receipts of that department for the fiscal year ending the thirtieth June last, to have been three million three hundred and thirty-seven thousand eight hundred and fifty-three dollars and one cent, and the expenditures for the same period two million six hundred and sixty-two thousand eight hundred and four dollars and sixty-seven cents. The statement thus exhibits an excess of receipts amounting to six hundred and seventy-five thousand forty-eight dollars and forty-four cents, instead of a deficiency of more than a million of dollars, as was the case in the preceding fiscal year. It is gratifying to perceive that the department has thus been made self-sustaining, in accordance with sound principle, and with the express requirements of the Constitution, that its expenses should be paid out of its own revenues after the first March, 1863.

The report gives a full and satisfactory account of the operations of the Post-Office department for the last year, and explains the measures adopted for giving more certainty and regularity to the service in the States beyond the Mississippi, and on which reliance is placed for obviating the difficulties heretofore encountered in that service.

The settlement of the accounts of the department is greatly delayed by reason of the inability of the First Auditor to perform all the duties now imposed on him by law. The accounts of the departments of State, of the Treasury, of the Navy, and of Justice, are all supervised by that officer, and more than suffice to occupy his whole time. The necessity for a Third Auditor, to examine and settle the accounts of a department so extensive as that of the Post Office, appears urgent, and his recommendation on that subject meets my concurrence.

Conduct of the enemy.

I cannot close this message without again adverting to the savage ferocity which still marks the conduct of the enemy in the prosecution of the war. After their repulse from the defences before Charleston, they first sought revenge by an abortive attempt to destroy the city with an incendiary composition, thrown by improved artillery from a distance of four miles. Failing in this, they changed their missiles, but fortunately have thus far succeeded only in killing two women in the city. Their commanders, Butler, McNeil, and Turchin, whose horrible barbarities have made their names widely notorious and everywhere execrable, are still honored and cherished by the authorities at Washington. The first-named, after having been withdrawn from the scenes of his cruelties against women and prisoners of war, (in reluctant concession to the demands of outraged humanity in Europe,) has just been put in a new command at Norfolk, where helpless women and children are again placed at his mercy.

Nor has less unrelenting warfare been waged by these pretended friends of human rights and liberties against the unfortunate negroes. Wherever the enemy have been able to gain access, they have forced into the ranks of their army every able-bodied man that they could seize, and have either left the aged, the women, and the children to perish by starvation, or have gathered them into camps, where they have been wasted by a frightful mortality. Without clothing or shelter, often without food, incapable, without supervision, of taking the most ordinary precaution against disease, these helpless dependents, accustomed to have their wants supplied by the foresight of their masters, are being rapidly exterminated wherever brought in contact with the invaders. By the Northern man, on whose deep-rooted prejudices no kindly restraining influence is exercised, they are treated with aversion and neglect. There is little hazard in predicting that, in all localities where the enemy have gained a temporary foothold, the negroes, who under our care increased six fold in number since their importation into the colonies of Great Britain, will have been reduced by mortality during the war to not more than one half their previous number.

Information on this subject is derived not only from our own observation and from the reports of the negroes who succeeded in escaping from the enemy, but full confirmation is afforded by statements published in the Northern journals, by humane persons engaged in making appeals

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