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[427] Fort Independence, which, I understand, will hereafter be the rendezvous for recruits for old regiments. If we could only have some energetic person appointed at the head of the recruiting service, and have two-thirds of the officers now here, ostensibly on recruiting duty, sent back to their regiments, the service would be benefited. It is a great eyesore to me to see so many young officers here on “recruiting service,” but, in fact, doing nothing of the least use to the country or of advantage to themselves.

On the 2d of February, the Adjutant-General wrote a letter to Major-General Wool, commanding the Eastern Department, with headquarters at New York, calling his attention to the matters complained of in the extract given above. The letter sets forth that there were in Boston about thirty commissioned officers detailed from their regiments on recruiting service here, and twice that number of enlisted men acting as orderlies; all of whom, with the exception of half a dozen who were unfit for field service on account of wounds, he thought should be sent to their regiments. They were of no use here; they did not, on an average, recruit one man a day. Some of them, he feared, were not anxious on the subject.

I am sure, however, that a majority of the able-bodied officers are anxious to join their commands. They are weary of staying here doing nothing. They have asked to be relieved; but their request is denied them, and here they remain, although conscious they are doing no good whatever to their regiments or their country. I know of one first lieutenant, a smart, active, good officer, who has been here nearly six months recruiting for his regiment (the Thirtieth), stationed at New Orleans, who has not in that whole time sent a single recruit to the regiment, and has not one now to send to it. What, then, is the use of his staying here? His regiment is in want of officers: why not send him to it? He wants to go. His case is not an isolated one.

What was wanted, he said, was a concentrated, energetic system. Recruiting for the old regiments was done chiefly in Boston. There should be one general headquarters for recruiting in the city, and one officer at the head of it, ‘who knows our people, and whom our people know.’ He deprecated having so many officers here, each having his orderlies and paying rent for thirty different offices, when one man and one office

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Fort Independence (Massachusetts, United States) (1)

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E. Wool (1)
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