WAR AND NAVY DEPARTMENTS.
The War Department needs a larger and fireproof building, the present one being so small that many of the bureaus are compelled to rent private houses. It is on the west side of the President's square, and is similar to the Department of State. On the first floor are the Major- General, Quartermaster-General, Adjutant-General, and Second Auditor of the Treasury; on the second, at the east end, the Secretary of War and his clerks, and at the west end, the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.
The flags taken in the War of the Revolution, in that of 1812 with Great Britain, and many trophies recently won from Mexico, are carefully preserved in this department. There are the flags taken at Saratoga, the Cowpens and York; those under which Scott and Jesup and their brave companions fought and conquered are literally riddled through by the enemy's balls; and here is also the flag, with an eagle wrought in silk, presented to General Pike by the ladies of Philadelphia and many others of great interest.
The Engineer Bureau is in the building on the north-west corner of Pennsylvania avenue and Seventeenth street diagonally, opposite to the War Department.
The Bureau of Topographical Engineers is on the first floor of the double tenement of brick on Seventeenth street, opposite to the War Department. The Ordnance Bureau has the third floor, and the Subsistence Bureau the second of the same building.
The Paymaster General is on the second and third floors of the building just south of the one above mentioned.
The Medical Bureau is in a building on the north side of G street, a short distance west of the War Department.
THE NAVY BUILDING is south of the War Department, which it resembles and is of the same dimensions. On the first floor at the east end, is the Fourth Auditor of the Treasury; and at
the west end the Bureau of Construction, Equipment and Repairs, and the Bureau of Provisions and Clothing. On the second floor, east end, is the Secretary of the Navy and his clerks; at the west end and center, the Bureau of Ordnance and Hydrography, and the Bureau of Medicine.
Between thirty and forty national flags, trophies of battle, stuck to "a bit of striped bunting," decorate one of the rooms of the Navy Commissioners. They are well arranged and labeled, showing the names of the vessels to which they once belonged, Some of them bear evidence of the strife before they were struck to the stars and stripes of the Union.
This as well as the State and War Departments, is inconvenient from its small size for the growing necessities of the nation.
-United States Magazine, Vol. IV, May, 1857 No. 5