doubt, provided the regulars could be provided in advance in such numbers as to produce the desired effect.
But if that theory had been relied upon in 1861, the ‘Confederate States
’ would have established their independence long before the regular army could be organized and made effective.
What was demanded by the necessities of the country in 1861 was the best large army that could be made in the shortest possible time, not a better small army to be made in a much longer time.
The United States government actually had at hand the means of creating in a very short time a far larger efficient army than the South
could possibly have raised in the same time.
This means had been provided, with great care and at great expense, through a long term of years, by the education of young men at the Military Academy, and their practical training in the small regular army in all kinds of actual service, including one foreign war and almost constant campaigns against the Indians.
Nowhere in the world could have been found a better corps of officers to organize, instruct, and discipline new troops.
Yet those officers were hardly employed at all in that service at first, when it was of supreme importance.
Some time later, when the necessity was not so great, a few officers of the army were permitted to accept commands in the volunteers.
Even then it often required great ‘influence’ to secure such ‘indulgences.’
Scores of young officers, qualified in every way to do such service in the first six months of the war, sought in vain for opportunities to render the valuable services for which the government had educated them, and were compelled to drag along four years in the discharge of duties several grades below their qualifications.
In the regular army in 1861 there were, exclusive of those who went South, at least 600 officers who, after graduating at West Point
, had served several years with their regiments, and were well qualified to drill a regiment