Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/493

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461
Second Congress.

of the Commander in Chief in the discharge of any of the duties of his office, and looking only to the effect of such a system, it plainly creates in this branch of the service as many independent executives as there are generals commanding armies in the field, and thus destroys that unity of design and concert of action which are indispensable elements of success in war. The generals commanding armies would be by this section vested with the right to derange the organization of their commands as settled by the Commander in Chief by removing from their appropriate functions the commanders of corps, divisions, and brigades, whom the Executive had selected and the Senate had approved as specially fitted to lead the troops in battle.

That the general commanding the Army has, under the terms of this section, the right of assigning general officers under his command to the duties of the general staff without reference to the authority of the Executive is plain from the other sections, which declare that the President is to appoint, with the advice of the Senate, the staffs of all general officers other than those who command armies.

Nor does this section restrict the commanding general in relation to the branch of service or the grade of the officers whom he is permitted to assign to commissary and ordnance duties of the general staff. It is only necessary that they be below the rank of brigadier general. The commanding general would have the power, therefore, to assign a captain commissary to be chief of ordnance, or a lieutenant of infantry to be chief commissary, without check or control from the President or Senate, while the President would be without power to appoint subordinates to the officers thus selected by the general of the Army without submitting their nominations for the approval of the Senate. Not only, therefore, is all order of authority introverted by these provisions, but the officers assigned to duty by the commanding generals, not being permanent members of the general staff, would be independent of its chief, and inextricable confusion would necessarily result.

This section, so far from responding to the title of the bill by providing a general staff, in reality breaks up that which now exists, subdivides it into a number of small bodies, irresponsible to the head of the department, and destroys the possibility of any regular, consistent, and intelligent coöperation in the action of our