Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/402

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

no time be sufficient to leave the company with a less number than is required to enable it to retain its organization. The difficulty of obtaining recruits from certain localities and the large number of exemptions from military service granted by different laws have prevented sufficient accessions in many of the companies to preserve their organizations after the discharge of the original members. The advantage of retaining tried and well-approved officers and of mingling recruits with experienced soldiers is so obvious and the policy of such a course is so clearly indicated that it is not deemed necessary to point out the evil consequences which would result from the destruction of the old organizations, or to dwell upon the benefits to be secured from filling up the veteran companies as long before the discharge of the earlier members as may be possible. In the cases where it may be found impracticable to maintain regiments in sufficient strength as to justify the retention of the present organization, economy and efficiency would be promoted by consolidation and reorganization. This would involve the necessity of disbanding a part of the officers and making regulations for securing the most judicious selection of those who are retained, while least wounding the feelings of those who are discharged.

Experience has shown the necessity for further legislation in relation to the horses of the cavalry. Many men lose their horses by casualties of service which are not included in the provisions made to compensate the owner for the loss, and it may thus not unfrequently happen that the most efficient troopers, without fault of their own — indeed, it may be because of their zeal and activity — are lost to the cavalry service.

It would also seem proper that the Government should have complete control over every horse mustered into service, with the limitation that the owner should not be deprived of his horse except upon due compensation being made therefor. Otherwise mounted men may not keep horses fit for the service, and the question whether they should serve mounted or on foot would depend not upon the qualifications of the men, but upon the fact of their having horses.

Some provision is deemed requisite to correct the evils arising from the long-continued absence of commissioned officers. Where it is without sufficient cause, it would seem but just that