How to make the army Strong.
In a late speech in the House of Representatives Mr. Holcombe
stated that there are five hundred thousand men on the muster rolls of the army, a force which, we are confident, is fully as large as any effective invading force the Yankees
can bring into our territories.
If a large portion of this force is absent it can be brought back by proper measures to its place, and thereby avoid the most imminent of our perils — the reduction of the number of producers in the country.
also referred to the fact that the most sweeping conscriptions of Napoleon
never brought men over thirty into the field.
We need at this time the first intellects of the country in Congress.
We need the highest wisdom and moderation, combined with the greatest energy.
And, in any system of measures which looks to the removal of the great evils of straggling and desertion, the officers of the army, and especially the officers of companies, can do more than can be accomplished by the most stringent legislation.
Whilst discipline should be sternly enforced upon bad men, kindness and sympathy should be universally shown to the private soldiers.
It is natural enough that, after so long service as they have rendered, and such privations and perils as they have endured, they should long for a return to home and its dear ones.
A judicious system of furloughs, such as our commanding Generals
have established, and a systematic regard for the feelings of the men at all times, will go farther than any other means to prevent straggling and desertion.
The officer who avails himself of his petty rank to inflict unnecessary burthens upon those in the ranks, or who undertakes to make them feel by his conduct that they are inferior beings, is a worse enemy of his country than the Yankees
The superior officers should look carefully into the manner in which subordinates exercise their authority.
Our army is not a standing army; our men are not the mercenary rank and file whom the Yankees
buy up at five hundred dollars a head, and cuff and kick about like galley slaves.
On the contrary, they are the equals in all that constitutes good manhood of the officers who command them, and, whilst obedience is strictly enforced, should no more be permitted to forget that they are gentlemen than that they are soldiers.--Every officer of a company should consider himself the head of a family, and study the wants and respect the feelings of those under him as he would his own children.