Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/492

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

no other than inspecting duties must frequently be unemployed, even in war, while in peace their duties will occupy but very little time. Next, it is to be observed that where the adjutants and inspectors form one corps the duties of the adjutant make him familiar with the details of the service where reform and discipline are most needed, and thus render him more competent to effective inspection when assigned to that duty than he could be if exclusively employed as inspector. Lastly, the duties of an inspector are such as not to render the officer who performs them acceptable to his brother officers, if his duty be properly performed. It is not to be wondered at that an officer whose duties may not be inappropriately described as those of a detective should, if his duty be rigidly performed, incur somewhat of the odium of an informer; and when these duties constitute the sole service of an officer permanently attached to an army, he must become either so lax in their performance as to render him useless, or his professional pride and self-respect are wounded and his relations with his brother officers unfavorably affected by the distrust and dislike resulting from his official reports. When, however, an assistant adjutant and inspector general is from time to time assigned to the making of necessary inspections at various points, this temporary discharge of an unpleasant duty becomes but an incident in his professional career, and does not affect his relations with his brother officers.

Having stated these as the general principles which in my judgment should govern legislation on the subject, the objections to the bill passed at the last session can be more easily understood, and I proceed to state them briefly:

I. The first section of the bill authorizes a general commanding armies, or a separate army, to assign to duty one of the general officers under his command as chief of staff, one of the brigadier generals under his command as inspector general, and one other brigadier as chief quartermaster, one officer below the rank of brigadier as chief commissary, and one as chief of ordnance.

This power of assignment is given without reference to or consultation with the War Department or the Executive, and might be exercised in contravention of the views and judgment of both. Leaving out of view the question whether it is in accordance with the Constitution to make the commander of an army independent