Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/496

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

of the commander and having no reference to the necessities of a command. The staff allowed is excessive in number and rank in many instances and entirely inadequate in others. A law providing a general staff on such a basis as is assumed in this bill cannot, from its very nature, be executed according to its terms. The labor required of the staff connected with a brigade, division, or corps depends on the fact of its being part of an army or a separate command as well as on the number of men; the extent of the country over which operations are to be conducted; the abundance or scarcity of supplies in the district; the existence or absence of railroad, river, or other transportation; the concentration or dispersion of the troops, and the many other circumstances which control military movements in time of war. It is impossible to apply a rigid, unbending rule to such diverse cases. An organization into corps meets all these difficulties by providing for assignment of the proper number of officers to different commands according to the needs of each.

V. The number and rank of aids-de-camp allowed by the bill are believed to be greatly in excess of those allowed by other governments and quite unsuited to the nature of ours. They would rather impede than improve the service. They would encourage love of ostentation and feed a fondness for vain display, which should rather be discouraged than fostered. The experience of this war has demonstrated that the most efficient commanders, those who have most attracted the respect, gratitude, and admiration of their country, have avoided the large retinue of personal staff which this bill would seem to sanction as proper or desirable.

VI. The objection to the enormous increase in the number of officers and expenditure that would result from the passage of such a bill becomes a matter of serious concern when no corresponding increase of efficiency is secured; of still graver importance when the opposite result is to be feared.

According to the bill as passed the staff would embrace an addition of about 400 officers, involving an increased annual expenditure for pay, rations, forage, and allowance amounting to $1,138,728 above the present staff as organized by general orders under existing legislation.

If generals are to be allowed to change the staff of each army to