recommending T. B. Ferguson
for the post of Chief of Ordnance
for the First Corps of the Army of the Potomac
, with your endorsement, has been referred,’ etc. Besides, all the official papers sent by Generals Johnston
for months past to the War Department, or to the President
, had been headed ‘First’ or ‘Second Corps of the Army of the Potomac.’
It is natural to suppose, therefore, that the change in the President
's mind, which induced him to disapprove, at this late hour, of what he had tacitly—if not otherwise—consented to, had been brought about by reasons and influences having very little to do with the real question at issue.
The War Department acted on the theory that General Beauregard
was in command of the whole united army; but, that there being another officer present of equal grade and anterior commission, the latter was first in command of the whole, and General Beauregard
second in command of the whole.
The General represented to Mr. Davis
the evil consequences of this theory, as virtually throwing out of position several officers of the highest grades, upon the junction of their forces for some great object, and at the very time when their services, in command of their proper corps, were most needed; as in the event of General Lee
's army, in Northwestern Virginia
, and General Holmes
's, at Aquia Creek
, uniting with Generals Johnston
's and Beauregard
's. There would thus be a second and third commander of the whole army, which would result in all the generals, excepting the senior one— General Lee
—being out of service.
He brought forward and dwelt upon another reason, which was that, with such an organization, separate inferior commanders would not be so prompt to execute a junction at a critical moment.
This theory of the War Department was without precedent in military administration, and one of its many evils, depending on the possible deductions of the department, was the present withdrawal, from an entire army corps, of the services of a Chief of Ordnance
, on the ground that the army of the junior officer
was absorbed, and there existed no such legal organization as a ‘corps.’
The President also desired that divisions, as well as brigades, should be composed of troops from the same State.
had already thus organized his brigades on the 25th of July, but declared his judgment against extending the rule to divisions, because, in case a division thus organized were cut to