This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
‘  for each of us. That will do for the present.’1 Doubtless the clothing was supplied, but the need of recruits for any particular regiment brought up some new problems not quite so easy to solve. There is no subject on which criticism has been more constant than on the mistaken policy pursued in some of the States, and especially in Massachusetts, in respect to recruiting. Mr. J. C. Ropes, who is undoubtedly our ablest military critic, thinks that the greater part of the Northern States ‘blindly and recklessly threw away’ the ‘army's capital,’ as he calls it, of long service and experience, by forming new regiments instead of filling up the old ones. ‘It is difficult to speak with patience,’ he says, ‘of this wretched business.’ In this respect he thinks that ‘the Federal army of the West,’ under Sherman, had immensely the advantage, through ‘the wiser and more military policy which the Western States generally adopted in the matter of recruiting their contingents.’2 ‘The Union army,’ says an able Massachusetts colonel, ‘was probably the only army in modern civilized warfare which as a rule was recruited by the addition of new regiments instead of by filling up the old organizations.’3 So the Comte de Paris says: ‘In order to procure a rapid supply of men it was necessary constantly to create new regiments. These regiments brought with them all the inexperience which had cost so dear to their predecessors, without deriving any profit from the experience acquired by the latter.’4 Granting all that is said by these critics, there is a point which they rarely recognize, namely, that this mode of procedure was not mainly matter of choice but of necessity. There were occasions when the army must be filled up in this way or not at all. Brevet Brigadier-General Walcott himself, who was for a time Governor Andrew's military secretary, describes vividly a scene between the governor and a local selectman, who in 1864 offered a company from his town for a new regiment if the officers called for by the men could be commissioned. The governor vehemently opposed this, but was met by the selectman with the simple statement that not a man could be raised in his town for an old regiment. ‘Since new regiments were better than none, and quotas must be filled, Governor Andrew had to ’
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.