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[19] active militia to a war footing, the present organization offers an easy and a good means. The present companies could be filled to their full complement of men, and the regiments to their full complement of companies; new regiments of infantry, new battalions of riflemen, new companies of artillery and cavalry, could be formed, with which to fill the several brigades, and make our present divisions five thousand men each, with proper apportionment of the several military arms. This, of course, would require a large outlay of money, which would doubtless be cheerfully met by our people, if their honor and the welfare of the country demand it of them.

The Adjutant-General then suggested, ‘that a board of officers be called, as provided in section one hundred and sixty-three, chapter thirteen, of the General Statutes, to consider and recommend such changes as their judgment shall approve, and their experience suggest.’—‘In the mean time,’ he said, ‘I would suggest, that a general order be issued, calling upon commanders of the active force to forward to Headquarters the names of the persons composing their commands, also their places of residence, so that a complete roll of each company may be on file in this department. The companies that have not their full quota of men should be filled by new enlistments to the number fixed by law; and, whenever new enlistments are made or discharges given, the names of the persons enlisted and discharged should be forwarded immediately to Headquarters, and placed on file.’

Governor Banks, to whom the report was addressed, retired from office four days after it was printed, and before any action could be taken upon the recommendations made. They looked to a greatly increased active militia force, and are the first suggestions that were made in an official form for strengthening the military force of the Commonwealth, and placing it upon a war footing.

Governor Andrew adopted these suggestions; and on the 16th of January, eleven days after his inauguration, directed the Adjutant-General to issue General Order No. 4, which created a great interest throughout the State, and especially among the active militia.

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Nathaniel P. Banks (1)
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