previous next

[231] of the 15th of April last, has received and has now in service under that call, in round numbers, at least eighty thousand.

Under your second proclamation of the 4th of May last, calling for volunteers to serve during the war, there have been accepted up to this date 208 regiments. A number of other regiments have been accepted, but on condition of being ready to be mustered into the service within a specified time, the limitation of which has, in some instances, not expired. It is not possible to state how many of these may be ready before the meeting of Congress. Of the regiments accepted, all are infantry and riflemen, with the exception of two battalions of artillery and four regiments of cavalry. A number of regiments mustered as infantry have, however, attached to them one or more artillery companies, and there are also some regiments partly made up of companies of cavalry. Of the 208 regiments accepted for three years, there are now 153 in active service, and the remaining fifty-five are mostly ready, and all of them will be in the field within the next twenty days.

The total force now in the field may be computed as follows:--

Regulars and volunteers for three months and for the war, 225,000
Add to this fifty-five regiments of volunteers for the war, accepted, and not yet in service,50,000 
Add new regiments of regular army,25,000 
Total force now at command of Government, 310,000
Deduct the three months volunteers, 80,000
Force for service after the withdrawal of the three months men, 230,000

It will thus be perceived that after the discharge of the three months troops, there will be still an available force of volunteers amounting to 188,000, which, added to the regular army, will constitute a total force of 230,000 officers and men. It will be for Congress to determine whether this army shall, at this time, be increased by the addition of a still larger volunteer force.

The extraordinary exigencies which have called this great army into being have rendered necessary also a very considerable augmentation of the regular arm of the service. The demoralization of the regular army, caused by the treasonable conduct of many of its commanding officers, the distant posts at which the greater part of the troops were stationed, and the unexampled rapidity of the spread of the rebellion, convinced those high in command of the service, as well as this department, that an increase of the regular army was indispensable. The subject was accordingly brought to your attention, and after careful examination an increase was authorized by your proclamation issued on the 4th of May last.

This increase consists of one regiment of cavalry, of twelve companies, numbering, in the maximum aggregate, 1,189 officers and men; one regiment of artillery of twelve batteries, of six pieces each, numbering, in the maximum aggregate, 1,909 officers and men; nine regiments of infantry, each regiment containing three battalions of eight companies each, numbering, in the maximum aggregate, 2,452 officers and men, making a maximum increase of infantry of 22,068 officers and men.

In the enlistment of men to fill the additional regiments of the regular army, I would recommend that the term of enlistment be made three years, to correspond with the call of May 4, for volunteers; and that to all who shall receive an honorable discharge at the close of their term of service a bounty of one hundred dollars shall be given.

The mounted troops of the old army consist of five regiments, with a maximum aggregate of 4,400 men. Not more than one-fourth of these troops are available for service at the seat of war. At least two regiments of artillery are unavailable, being stationed on the western coast and in the Florida forts.

The increase of infantry is comparatively large, but this arm of the service is that which the General-in-Chief recommended as being most efficient.

The organization of the increased force, it will be noticed, is different from that of the old army. This question was fully considered by officers of the army connected with this department, and after much deliberation it was concluded to adopt the French regimental system, of three battalions to a regiment. Each battalion is commanded by a major, with a colonel and lieutenant-colonel for the general command of the regiment. This, it is believed, is the best organization now existing. The number of officers is less than under the old plan, and therefore much less expensive. Whether this organization may not advantageously be extended to the old army, after the passage of a law providing for a retired list, is a question which may properly engage the attention of Congress.

In making the selection of officers for the new regiments two courses seemed to be open, viz.: to make the appointments from the regular service by seniority or by selection. The first appeared liable to the objection that old, and in some instances inefficient men, would be promoted to places which ought to be filled by younger and more vigorous officers. The second was liable to the grave objection that favoritism might prejudice the claims of worthy officers. After the fullest consideration, it was determined, under the advice of the General-in-Chief, to appoint one-half of them from the regular army and the other half from civil life. Of the civilians appointed as regimental commanders, all except one are either graduates of

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May 4th (3)
208 AD (1)
April 15th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: