Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/491

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459
Second Congress.

have connected them with generals less distinguished. Promotion thus becomes with the staff a matter of hazard, dependent not on the merit of the officer himself, but of the general with whom he serves, and heartburnings, jealousy, and discontent are the natural results of so false a system.

Again, if the general staff is not formed into corps, there will not be the "esprit" necessary in all military organizations, and there cannot be the cointelligence among the officers thereof which secures the certain and rapid communication of all information through the different parts of an army. There will also be embarrassment in their tenure of office and assignment to duty, as when a general officer dies or is relieved from his command there remain no duties to be performed by the staff which has been authorized for him especially. However valuable or meritorious the officers may be, they are displaced by the staff chosen by the successor of their commander. Nothing remains but to deprive them of their commissions, without fault of their own, or to keep them in service as supernumeraries, and thus to add to the number of officers already in excess of the wants of the Army.

Again, an organization of a general staff should possess flexibility, so that the proper number and class of staff officers can be sent where needed. If an inflexible rule of assignment be fixed by legislation, some commands will be cumbered with unnecessary officers, while others will be deficient in the number indispensable to perform the necessary duties. Legislation would surely be considered unwise if it allotted by inflexible rule the number of troops to be used in each military department; yet it would be scarcely more objectionable than the assignment of the same specified number of staff officers to each commander, according to his grade, thus applying a general rule to a series of cases each requiring special treatment.

The inspecting duties in an army ought not, in my judgment, to be separated from those of the adjutants. The erroneous impression prevails that an inspecting department, independent of the general staff, is established in most of the armies of Europe. The reverse is the fact, and the duties of inspection are so intimately connected with the other duties of the general staff that they can be properly performed by it alone. The objections to the separation are manifold. In the first place, officers having