regiment was sent to the Department of the Gulf, and served out the time of its enlistment in the defences at New Orleans.
On the twenty-second day of July, 1861, Congress, in extra session, passed an act authorizing the President
to accept the services of five hundred thousand volunteers; in which it was provided, that ‘the President
shall, from time to time, issue his proclamation, stating the number desired, and the States from which they are to be furnished, having reference in any such requisition to the number then in service from the several States, and to the exigencies of the service at the time, and equalizing, as far as practicable, the number furnished by the several States, according to the federal population.’
This act also provided, that the volunteer regiments and companies should be recruited and organized, and the officers commissioned, by the Governors
of the several States.
Under this authority given by Congress, requisitions continued to be made upon Massachusetts
, as upon other States, during the year 1861, and regiments were organized, formed, and sent to the front, in the order stated in the preceding chapter.
It was the desire of the Governor
to have the regiments commanded by the best educated and most experienced officers he could find.
In the selection of company officers, the same care was taken.
Political influences to obtain appointments had no effect upon him; as he frequently declared, that the lives of the soldiers, their health and discipline, depended in a great degree upon the officers who commanded them, and that mere political opinions, and the mere political services of applicants for commissions, properly had no connection with these matters.
It was his desire to have as many of the three months men enlist in the three years regiments as possible; and, as an encouragement to this end, he telegraphed, on the twenty-second day of June, to Colonel Ritchie
, who was then in Washington
, ‘Wouldn't it be expedient for the Massachusetts
militia-men now in the service to be discharged, who will enlist in our new volunteer regiments?
Many of the Eighth Regiment, I am told, would enlist, if this opportunity were given.’
He also telegraphed to the Secretary of War
, asking that