Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/266

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

tains numerous suggestions for the legislation deemed desirable in order to add to the efficiency of the service. I invite your favorable consideration especially to those recommendations which are intended to secure the proper execution of the conscript law, and the consolidation of companies, battalions, and regiments when so reduced in strength as to impair that uniformity of organization which is necessary in the Army, while an undue burden is imposed on the Treasury. The necessity for some legislation for controlling military transportation on the railroads and improving their present defective condition forces itself upon the attention of the Government, and I trust you will be able to devise satisfactory measures for attaining this purpose. The legislation on the subject of general officers involves the service in some difficulties, which are pointed out by the Secretary, and for which the remedy suggested by him seems appropriate.

In connection with this subject, I am of opinion that prudence dictates some provision for the increase of the Army in the event of emergencies not now anticipated. The very large increase of forces recently called into the field by the President of the United States may render it necessary hereafter to extend the provisions of the conscript law so as to embrace persons between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five years. The vigor and efficiency of our present forces, their condition, and the skill and ability which distinguish their leaders inspire the belief that no further enrollment will be necessary, but a wise foresight requires that if a necessity should be suddenly developed during the recess of Congress requiring increased forces for our defense, means should exist for calling such forces into the field without awaiting the reassembling of the legislative department of the Government.

In the election and appointment of officers for the Provisional Army it was to be anticipated that mistakes would be made and incompetent officers of all grades introduced into the service. In the absence of experience, and with no reliable guide for selection, executive appointments as well as elections have been sometimes unfortunate. The good of the service, the interests of our country, require that some means be devised for withdrawing the commissions of officers who are incompetent for the duties required by their position, and I trust you will find means for re-