and to command it in battle.
A large proportion of them were fitted to command brigades, and some of them divisions, and even army corps.
The three years volunteers first called out could have been fully supplied with brigade, division, and corps commanders from graduates of West Point
who were thoroughly qualified by theoretical education and established character, and many of them by practical experience in the Mexican
war and Indian campaigns, for the instruction, discipline, and command of troops, still leaving a sufficient number with the regulars for efficient service.
The old sergeants of the army in 1861 were relatively competent company commanders.
One commissioned officer to four companies of those veteran Indian-fighters made as reliable a battalion as any general could wish for in the conditions then existing.
Experience demonstrated that a volunteer regiment could in a very few weeks be converted into an efficient and thoroughly reliable force in battle by a single young officer of the regular army.
In other words, by a judicious use of the small body of officers whom the country had educated at so great expense, a fine army of 500,000 men, or more, could have been called into service, organized, disciplined, and put into the field by August 1, 1861; and that without interfering in any way with the three months militia called out to meet the first emergency, which militia ought, of course, to have acted strictly on the defensive until the more permanent force could take the field.
In a few months more, certainly by the spring of 1862, the instruction, discipline, and field experience of the first levy would have given good officers enough to organize and command a million more men. It required, in short, only a wise use of the national resources to overwhelm the South
before the spring of 1863.
The supply of arms, it is true, was deplorably deficient in 1861.
But the South
was only a little better off than the North
in that regard.
Besides, the National Government