Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/403

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
373
First Congress.

the commission should be thereby vacated. Where it results from capture by the enemy, which under their barbarous refusal to exchange prisoners of war may be regarded as absence for an indefinite time, there is a necessity to supply their places in their respective commands. This might be done by temporary appointments to endure only until the return of the officers regularly commissioned. Where it results from permanent disability incurred in the line of their duty, it would be proper to retire them and fill the vacancies according to established mode. I would also suggest the organization of an invalid corps, and that the retired officers be transferred to it. Such a corps, it is thought, could be made useful in various employments for which efficient officers and troops are now detached.

An organization of the general staff of the Army would be highly conducive to the efficiency of that most important branch of the service. The plan adopted for the military establishment furnishes a model for the staff of the Provisional Army, if it be deemed advisable to retain the distinction; but I recommend to your consideration the propriety of abolishing it and providing for the organization of the several staff corps in such number and with such rank as will meet all the wants of the service. To secure the requisite ability for the more important positions, it will be necessary to provide for officers of higher rank than is now authorized for these corps. To give to officers the proper relation and cointelligence in their respective corps, and to preserve in the chief of each the influence and control over his subordinates, there should be no gradation on the basis of the rank of the general with whom they might be serving by appointment. To the personal staff of a general it would seem proper to give a grade corresponding with his rank, and the number might be fixed to correspond with his command. To avoid the consequence of discharge upon a change of duty the variable portion of the personal staff might be taken from the line of the Army and allowed to retain their line commissions.

The disordered condition of the currency, to which I have already alluded, has imposed on the Government a system of supplying the wants of the Army which is so unequal in its operation, vexatious to the producer, injurious to the industrial interest, and productive of such discontent among the people as only to