[JULY 15, 1862.-For Colonel W. P. Johnston's report of inspections in Department Number 2, see Series I, Vol. X, Part I, pp.780-793.]
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT Number 2,
Tupelo, Miss., July 16, 1862.
General S. COOPER,
Adjutant and Inspector General, Richmond, Va.:
GENERAL: I have the honor to submit herewith, for the consideration of the War Department, the inclosed papers,* which exhibit in part the endless perplexities and difficulties growing out of the existing laws and regulations touching army organization when enforce. I can see indeed no hope of completing the organization of the regiments of this army under the requirements of present laws and orders. As yet not half the vacancies created have been filled. Elections are followed often by rejections by boards, rejections by new elections, and in many instances persons elected have declined, while in some companies and regiments there is a want of adequate and proper material for officers. In the mean time confusion and demoralization have resulted, which would appear farcical in some instances were it not for the serious consequences impending. All acting appointments made by my predecessor and myself, as you are aware, have been directed to be vacated as soon as the places can be filled by election or promotion; with what effects may be seen too clearly and truly in the clamor of division, brigade, and regimental commands. Unless some material relaxation of these orders is soon authorized much that had been done to restore the tone of this army and fit it for a reputable campaign will have been utterly in vain.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE MISSISSIPPI, Number 31. Tupelo, Miss., July 16, 1862.
All vacancies now existing or that may hereafter occur among company or regimental officers of this army will be filled by promotion according to seniority, according to rank, except a vacancy in the lowest grade of commissioned rank, which will be filled by election. When a vacancy occurs the brigade commanders will announce in orders the promotion of the officer next in rank, and forward a copy of the order for the approval of the Secretary of War, except when there are reasonable grounds to doubt the qualification or fitness for commission of the officer elected or to be promoted, when his brigade commander, if there be one, or if not, then his division commander, will assemble a board of nettles than three commissioned officers of equal or superior rank to the officer elected or promoted, who shall inquire into his qualifications and fitness for commission, and shall report for the information of the War Department the facts of the case and their own opinion of the qualification and fitness of the officer. In such case the vacancy will not be filled pending the decision of the Department. All positions held by appointed officers will be considered vacancies, and the officers holding such will be returned to their former positions as soon as these vacancies can be regularly filled. But appointed officers accounted for on the muster-rolls as officers shall be entitled while acting as such to