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The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies

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OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 2 (Antietam)
Page 647 Chapter XXXI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.

faith. The meritorious officers of artillery that I have been obliged to relieve from duty I recommend should be retained in their present grades, and, if necessary, that they be commissioned in the Provisional Army as ordnance or artillery officers.

I am, with high respect, your obedient servant,

R. E. LEE,

General.

[Inclosure Numbers 1.]


HEADQUARTERS ARTILLERY CORPS,
Near Winchester, Va., October 2, 1862.

General R. E. LEE, Commanding, &c.:

GENERAL: In obedience to your instructions, I have diligently examined into the condition of our numerous batteries, with a view to reducing the number and yet increasing the efficiency of artillery organizations, and I have now the honor to submit the following report:

It is clear that our service is now encumbered by too many artillery companies, of which some have never been strong enough, some are commanded by inadequate officers, and some, though well officered and entitled to honor for excellent service, are so reduced in men and horses as scarcely to leave room for a hope of their restoration to efficiency. It becomes, therefore, an imperative duty to relieve the service and the Confederacy of this burden so expensive every way, but especially in justly effected. The only practicable mode of accomplishing the object is to determine by the fairest standard that can be selected what companies should be dispensed with, to relieve from duty the officers of such, and to assign the men and equipments to other companies retained. In endeavoring to reach right conclusions in the premises, I have sought with great care the actual merit and condition of the several batteries connected with this army; and though it were vainly presumptuous to suppose that I had escaped error, I feel assured there is as little mistake at the complexity of the case and the limited time for investigation fairly admit.

having thus sought for the data on which to proceed, I found it requisite to apply to them certain principles toward reaching a right judgment. These three seemed to me to cover the ground: First, services rendered; second, efficiency of officers thus and otherwise evidenced; third, existing condition and prospects of the battery.

1st. Laudable service undoubtedly entitles a company to honorable continuance, provided it be nor forbidden under one or both of the other conditions.

2d. Officers thoroughly efficient have a prior claim. Good service for a season, under special circumstances, amy have been rendered where some essential requisites for maintaining a battery through protracted difficulties are lacking. To pass upon such characteristics is delicate, yet, under existing responsibilities, essential.

3d. Where the two preceding conditions concur it is probably best to invigorate a battery to the utmost practicable; but if either fails, in case of a company much reduced below the service standard, it would seem right to merge it in some others.

Acting upon the data before me, under the guidance of these principles, I submit, which deference, the following recommendations:

1st. That the four companies of the Louisiana Washington Artillery be consolidated into two, to constitute two six-gun batteries, instead of the four-gun batteries which they now comprise. For these reasons,


Page 647 Chapter XXXI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-CONFEDERATE.
OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, vol 19, Part 2 (Antietam)
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