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( To T>«.» inserted in the volinrie. For exyjlanat ion see Gen^ritl
Index volume, Serial N"o. t, page XX VIII.,)


The Hon. ELIHTJ ROOT, Secretary of War,


Chief Of Hie Record And Pension Office, \v.\u Department,



Mr. JOHN S. noODKV, llidexer.


J. 9 0 2 .


Pajje 241. Seward to Welles, third line, for attacked read ?ureckcd.


Insert all words and figures in italics ami strikeout all in [brackets].

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The work of preparing the records of the war for public use was begun under the resolution of Congress of May 19, 1864, by Adjt. Gen. E. D. Townsentl, U. S. Army, who caused copies to be made of reports of battles on file in his office and steps to be taken to collect missing records.

Under the provisions of joint resolution No. 91, of 1806, Hon. Peter H. Watson was appointed to supervise the preparation and formulate a plan for the publication of the records, but lie did no work and drew no pay under this appointment, which expired July 27, 1808, by limitation of the resolution. This resolution also repealed the former one and work ceased.

The first decisive step taken in this work was the act of June 23, 1874, providing the necessary means "to enable the Secretary of War to begin the publication of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, both of the Union and Confederate Annies," and directing him "to have copied for the Public Printer all reports, letters, telegrams, and general orders, not heretofore copied or printed, and properly arranged in chronological order.'' Appropriations have been made from time to time for continuing such preparation. Under this ac t the preliminary work was resumed by General Townsend, who first outlined the plan on which the records are printed, though it appears that originally he contemplated publishing to the world only the more important military reports.

Subsequently, under meager appropriations, it was prosecuted in a somewhat desultory manner by various subordinates of the War Department until December 14, 1877, when the Secretary of War, perceiving that the undertaking needed the undivided attention of a single head, detailed Lieut. Col. Robert N. Scott, 1'. S. Army, to take, charge of the bureau and devote himself exclusively to the work.

The act of June 23, 1874, greatly eularged upon the first crude scheme of publication. On this more comprehensive basis it was determined that the volumes should include not only the battle reports, but also "all official documents that can be obtained by the compiler, and that appear to be of any historical value.'' Colonel Scott systematized the work and the plan and presented the records in the following order of arrangement, which has been adhered to by his successors:

The first series will embrace the formal reports, both Union and Confederate, of the first seizures of United States property in the Southern States, and of all military operations in the field, with the correspondence, orders, and returns relat intf sprciall v thereto, and, as proposed, is to foe accompanied by an Atlas.


In this series the reports will he arranged according to the campaigns and several theaters of operations (in the chronological order of the events), and the Union reports of any event will, as a rule, be immediately followed by the Confederate accounts. The correspoudence, etc., not embraced in the "reports" proper will follow (first Union and next Confederate) in chronological order.

The second series will contain the correspondence, orders, reports, and returns, Union and Confederate, relating to prisoners of war, and (so far as the military authorities were concerned) to State or political prisoners.

The third series will contain the correspondence, orders, reports, and returns of the Union authorities (embracing their correspondence with the Confederate officials) not relating specially to the subjects of the tirst and second series. It will set forth the annual and special reports of the Secretary of War, of the Generalin-Chief, and of the chiefs of the several start' corps and departments; the calls for troops, and the correspondence between the National and the several State authorities.

The fourth series will exhibit the correspondence, orders, reports, and returns of the Confederate authorities, similar to that indicated for the Union officials, as of the third series, but excluding the correspondence between the Union and Confederate authorities given in that series.

The first volume of the records was issued in the early fall of 1880. The act approved June Hi, 1880, provided "for the printing and binding, under direction of the Secretary of War, of 10,000 copies of a compilation of the Official Records (Union and Confederate) of the War of the Rebellion, so far as the same may be ready for publication, during the fiscal year;" and that " of said number 7,000 copies shall be for the use of the LTouse of Representatives, 2,000 copies for the use of the Senate, and 1,000 copies for the use of the Executive Departments.*' Under this act Colonel Scott proceeded to publish the first five volumes of the records.*

All subsequent volumes have been distributed under the act approved August 7, 18S2, which provides that:

"The volumes of the Official Records of the "War of the Rebellion shall be distributed as follows: One thousand copies to the Executive Departments, as now provided by law. One thousand copies for distribution by the Secretary of War among officers of the Army and contributors to the work. Eight thousand three hundred copies shall lie sent by the Secretary of War to such libraries, organizations, anil individuals as may be designated by the Senators, Representatives, and Delegates of the Forty-seventh Congress. Each Senator shall designate not exceeding twenty-six, and each Representative and Delegate not exceeding t wenty-one, of such addresses, and the volumes shall be sent thereto from time to time as they are published, until the publication is completed. Senators, Representatives, and Delegates shall inform the Secretary of War in each case how many volumes of those heretofore published they have forwarded to such addresses. The remaining copies of the eleven thousand to be published, and all sets that may not be ordered to be distributed as provided herein, shall be sold by the Secretary of War for cost of publication with ten per cent, added thereto, and the proceeds of such sale shall bo covered into the Treasury. If two or more sets of said volumes are ordered to the same address, the Secretary of War shall inform the Senators, Representatives, or Delegates who have designated the same, who thereupon may designate other libraries, organizations, or individuals. The Secretary of War shall report to the tirst session of the Forty-eighth Congress what volumes of the series heretofore published have not been furnished to such libraries, organizations, and individuals, lie shall also inform distributees at whose instance the volumes are sent."

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