HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC.
Berkeley, July 15, 1862.
His Excellency Gov. E. D. MORGAN:
GOVERNOR: I am sure that in the present emergency you will pardon me for venturing upon a few suggestions as to the most useful manner of increasing the strength of this army.
The greatest benefit that can be conferred upon it would be to fill to the maximum the old regiments, which have so nobly sustained the honor of the Union and their State.
I would prefer 50,000 recruits for my old regiments to 100,000 men organized in new regiments, and I cannot too earnestly urge the imperative necessity of following this system.
By far the best arrangement would be to fill up all the old companies. If that cannot be done, the next best thing is to consolidate the old companies and add new ones to each regiment. We have the material for making excellent officers in the regiments. The men tried and proven in many hard-fought battles are infinitely to be preferred to any new appointments. More than that, they have won their promotion. Policy and gratitude alike demand that their claims should be recognized.
With the old regiments thus filled up the whole army would in a very few weeks be ready for any service. New regiments would require several months to fit them for service, and they would be brought into action with untried and in many cases unfit officers.
Again, I would earnestly impress upon you the great mistake of bringing men into the field for a less period than three years or the war. The contact of such troops with those enlisted for three years would soon breed dissatisfaction among the latter, while the term of service of the former would expire about the time they became valuable to the service. I would also urge the propriety-necessity rather-of sending recruits to the regiments as rapidly as enlisted . They will become soldiers here in one-tenth of the time they could in the home depots, and would have all the advantages of contact with the veterans who now compose this Army.
I have also to ask your attention to the many officers and me who are now in the North on sick leave, &c. Many thousands, of these are fit for duty, and should at once be made to join their regiments. May I ask the earnest efforts of Your Excellency to secure this very important end? I would also request that no officer who has resigned from this army be commissioned in another regiment unless furnished with a special recommendation to that effect from the commander of his division or army corps. I regret to say that many officers have resigned to avoid the consequence of cowardly conduct, inefficiency, &c. It is a melancholy fact that, while many noble exceptions are to be found, the officers of volunteers are, as a mass-perhaps I should say were (for the worst are sifted out)-greatly inferior to the men they command.
Trusting that you will pardon me for the liberty I have taken in making these suggestions, and that you will be good enough to give them your careful consideration, I have the honor to be, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN.