indicated a general want of discipline, aggravated by the demoralizing influences of the recent disaster at Bull Run
, July 21, 1861.
The task of the commanding officer
was one of no common magnitude.
He had the materials for an army,--and excellent materials, too, but still only materials.
ie had no more than the block out of which an army was to be carved.
There were courage, patriotism, intelligence, physical energy, in abundance; and to these invaluable qualities were to be added discipline, the instinct of obedience, precision of movement, and the power of combination.
A tumultuary military assemblage was to be organized into brigades, divisions, and corps, and brought into proper relations with their commanders.
An adequate artillery establishment was to be created, and a sufficient force of engineers and topographical engineers was to be provided.
The medical department, the quartermaster's, the subsistence, the ordnance, the provost-marshal
's departments, were all to be set in movement.
A signal corps was to be formed, and instructed in the use of flags by day and lights by night; and, to keep pace with the march of scientific improvement, a body of telegraphic operators could not be forgotten.
To these gigantic labors General McClellan
addressed himself with unwearied diligence; and he was ably seconded by a most efficient staff, with numbers increased from time to time as necessity required.
The new levies of infantry, upon arriving in Washington
, were formed into provisional