Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/351

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First Congress.

1. The organization of artillery into regiments is subject to great inconvenience and impairs the efficiency of that important arm of the service.

Both in the Regular and in the Provisional Army, the organization of the artillery is a corps composed of batteries, the commander of a battery being a captain, and the men being formed into companies. This organization applies to both heavy or siege and field artillery, and experience has shown it to be more efficient than the organization into regiments.

Under the law, as it now exists, the exact number of batteries required at any point can be ordered there, and an officer of such rank as is appropriate to the number of guns is assigned to their command. It is thus in the power of commanders to assign officers to the duties for which they are most competent, some having greater merit in heavy, and others in light artillery. The system has worked exceedingly well, and I should greatly regret to see it changed or impaired by exceptions. If the organization by regiments be better, it ought to be adopted for the whole artillery service. If not, why should the exceptions to a good system be increased in number?

Where the organization is uniform throughout the service, the troops are better satisfied, and the administration of the Army is much more easy and efficient. Where there are exceptions, there is constant effort on the part of the men to change from one organization to another, discontent is engendered, and embarrassments arise in administration.

It rarely occurs that the service of artillery is required at one point to the number of ten or twelve companies. The exigencies of the service will require that these regiments (if organized as contemplated in the bill now returned to you) shall be broken into detachments, and the field officers, in such event, would be in command of fractions not proportional to their rank.

The First Regiment of South Carolina Artillery was organized by the State before the formation of the Confederacy, and, when it was transferred to this Government, it was necessarily accepted with the existing organization; but that organization was exceptional and objectionable for the reasons already stated. It has been retained in Fort Sumter, which is one of the points where such an organization is least detrimental to the service, but no

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