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194

CONDITION OF THE ARMY.

[SECT. VIII.

of the main army in the East, it was expected, would mutually assist each other by diminishing the resistance to be encountered by each.

Subordinate move

General McClellan also advised a movement from Kansas and Nebraska, through the Indian Ter ments suggested. ritory, upon Red River and Western Texas, for the purpose of protecting and developing the Union sentiment known to exist in those regions. He likewise suggested that permission should be obtained from the Mexican government for the use of certain of their roads, and hinted that it perhaps might be desirable to take into service, and employ in these operations, Mexican soldiers.

He proposed with his main force not only to drive the enemy out of Virginia and occupy Richmond, but also Charleston, Savannah, Montgomery, Pensacola, Mobile, and New Orleans.

Condition of the

Toward the latter part of October, in consequence of the anxiety of the President for the speedy army in October. employment of the employment of the army, General McClellan reported to the Secretary of War its condition at that time. "While I regret that it has not been thought expedient, or perhaps possible, to concentrate the forces of the nation near Washington (remaining on the defensive elsewhere), keeping the attention and efforts of the gov ernment fixed upon that as the vital point where the issue of the great contest is to be decided, it may still be that, by introducing unity of action and design among the va rious armies of the land, by determining the courses to be pursued by the various commanders under one general plan, transferring from the other armies their superfluous strength, and thus re-enforcing this main army, whose destiny it is to decide the controversy, we may yet be able to move with a reasonable prospect of success before the winter is fairly upon us." "The advance should not be

CHAP. XLIV.]

195

postponed beyond the 25th of November, if possible to avoid it."

The strength of the Potomac Army, on the morning of October 27th, had risen to 168,318 officers and men of all grades and all arms. This included the sick, the absent, troops at Baltimore, Annapolis, and on the Upper and Lower Potomac. The force present for duty was 147,695, but of these 13,410 were unarmed or unequipped. The infantry regiments, to a considerable extent, were armed with unserviceable weapons. The general farther stated that quite a large number of good arms, which had been intended for this army, had been ordered elsewhere, leaving the Army of the Potomac insufficiently, and, in some instances, badly armed. On September 30th there were with the army 228 field guns.

The strength of the army increased until the followIts subsequent ing February, as shown in the subjoined

strength.

table:

STRENGTH OF THE ARMY.

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These numbers represent the total, present and absent. The troops in Maryland and Delaware are included.

infantry,

In consolidating this army and preparing it for the Organization of the field, the first step taken was to organize the infantry into brigades of four regiments each, retaining the newly-arrived regiments on the Maryland side until their armament and equipments were issued, and they had obtained some little elementary instruction, before assigning them permanently to brigades. When the organization of the brigades was well established, and the troops somewhat disciplined and instructed, divisions of three brigades each were gradually formed. It was

196

[SECT. VIII.

intended eventually to introduce a higher unit-the army corps.

ORGANIZATION OF THE ARMY.

When new batteries of artillery arrived, they also were retained in Washington until their armament and equipment were completed, and their instruction sufficiently advanced to justify their being assigned to divisions. The same course was pursued with regard to the and of the cavalry, cavalry. As rapidly as circumstances permitted, every cavalry soldier was armed with a sabre and revolver, and at least two squadrons in every regiment with carbines. It was intended to assign at least one regiment of cavalry to each division of the active army, besides forming a cavalry reserve of the regular regiments and some picked regiments of volunteer cavalry. It was determined to collect the regular infantry to form the nucleus of a reserve.

With respect to the artillery, the following principles were observed in its organization:

The artillery should be in the proportion and of the artillery. of 2 pieces to 1000 men, to be expanded, if possible, to 3 pieces. Each field battery was to have, if possible, six guns, none less than four, and in all cases the guns to be of uniform calibre. The field batteries were to be assigned to divisions, not to brigades, four to each division. In the event of several divisions constituting an army corps, at least one half of the divisional artillery was to constitute the reserve artillery of the corps. The reserve artillery of the whole army was to be one hundred guns. The ammunition to accompany field batteries was not to be less than four hundred rounds per gun. The siege train to be of fifty pieces. This was subsequently expanded at the siege of Yorktown to very nearly one hundred pieces, and comprised the unusual calibres and heavy weight of metal of two 200-pounders, five 100-pounders, and ten 13-inch sea-coast mortars.

CHAP. XLIV.]

ORGANIZATION OF THE ARMY.

197

in the artillery.

In March, 1862, the artillery of the Army of the PoImmense increase tomac had risen from the 30 guns, 650 men, and 400 horses which had composed it in the preceding July, to 520 guns, 12,500 men, and 11,000 horses, fully equipped, and in readiness for active field service. During the short period of seven months all this immense amount of material had been issued by the Ordnance Department, and placed in the hands of the artillery troops after their arrival in Washington.

d'armée.

On the 8th of March, 1862, the President directed the Formation of corps organization of the active portion of the Army of the Potomac into four army corps, and the formation of a fifth from the divisions of Banks and Shields.

The entire system of defenses for the protection of Organization of oth- Washington was carried into execution, ener departments. gineer and bridge trains were organized, the latter upon the French model, the topographical, medical, quartermaster's, subsistence, ordnance, provost-marshal's departments were established, signal and telegraphic corps were instituted; the latter of which had constructed upward of 1200 miles of telegraphic line before the close of 1862. The air-balloon was not infrequently used, and often furnished very valuable information.

Considering the military condition of the nation when General McClellan undertook the formation and organization of the great Army of the Potomac, the time consumed in bringing that force into a satisfactory condition was far from being too long. The preceding paragraphs show how much was necessary to be done and how much was actually ac complished. From the resources furnished without stint by Congress McClellan created that army. Events showed that his mental constitution was such that he could. not use it on the battle-field.

The time consumed in these preparatious.

198

THE POTOMAC AND WESTERN ARMIES.

[SECT. VIII.

Events also showed that McClellan's solution of the Problem of the Form of the War was incorrect. He did not recognize the importance of the Mississippi Valley, and looked upon military operations there as of secondary importance. Though the force he had accumulated was already unmanageable in his hands, he unceasingly importuned the government to strip the Western armies of whatever they could for the sake of adding to his already unwieldy There probably never was an army the Potomac army. in the world so lavishly supplied as that of the Potomac before the Peninsular expedition. General McDowell, who knew the state of things well, declared, in his testimony before the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War, "There never was an army in the world supplied as well as ours. I believe a French army of half the size could be supplied with what we waste."

Lavish provision for mass.

McClellan's ideas as to the Form of the War.

While these things were lavished on the Army of the East, no superfluities were given to the Army of the West. In his examination before the same Congressional Committee, General Pope testified that the Western army had labored under a great many disadvantages, but it had always pursued an aggressive policy from the beginning. So far as material was concerned, it was indifferently supplied compared with the Army of the East: he added, "We had nothing, you might say; I have seen men go into action. there with the locks of their muskets tied on with strings. I have seen them wearing overcoats to hide their nakedness, as they had no pantaloons. When I left there there were some troops that had been there over a year, and yet had but two or three ambulances to a regiment of a thousand men." To the question, " Was it all appropri ated for the Army of the Potomac ?" he replied, "I do not

Imperfect provision for the Western armies.

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