The next step in the direction of organization was the formation of Army Corps
; but in this matter McClellan
moved slowly, not deeming it best to form them until his division commanders had, by experience in the field, shown which of them, if any, had the ability to handle so large a body of troops as a corps.
This certainly seemed good judgment.
The Confederate authorities appear to have been governed by this principle, for they did not adopt the system of army corps until after the battle of Antietam
, in September, 1862.
But months had elapsed since Bull Run
. Eighteen hundred and sixty-two had dawned.
“All quiet along the Potomac
” had come to be used as a by-word and reproach.
That powerful moving force, Public Sentiment, was again crystallizing along its old lines, and making itself felt, and “Why don't the army move?”
was the oftre-peated question which gave to the propounder no satisfactory answer, because to him, with the public pulse again at fever-beat, no answer could be satisfactory.
Meanwhile all these forces propelled their energies and persuasions in one and the same direction, the White House
; and President Lincoln
, goaded to desperation by their persistence and insistence, issued a War Order March 8, 1862, requiring McClellan
to organize his command into five Army Corps
. So far, well enough; but the order went further, and specified who the corps commanders should be, thus depriving him of doing that for which he had waited, and giving him officers in those positions not, in his opinion, the best, in all respects, that could have been selected.
But my story is not of the commanders, nor of McClellan
, but of the corps, and what I have said will show how they were composed.
Let us review for a moment: first, the regiments
, each of which, when full, contained one thousand and forty-six men; four
of these composed a brigade; three brigades
were taken to form a division
, and three divisions
constituted a corps
. This system was not always rigidly adhered to. Sometimes a corps had a fourth