War of the Rebellion: Serial 027 Page 0090 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD,AND PA.

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should be made to feel that merit - that is to say, courage, good conduct, the knowledge and performance of the duties of their grade, and fitness to exercise those of a superior grade - will insure to them advancement in their profession, and can alone secure it for them. Measures should be adopted to secure the theoretical instruction of staff officers at least, who should, as far as possible, be selected from officers having a military education or who have seen actual service in the field. The number of cadets at the Military Academy should be at once increased to the greatest extent permitted by the capacity of the institution. The Regular Army should be increased and maintained complete in numbers and efficiency. A well-organized system of recruiting and of depots for instruction should be adopted in order to keep the ranks of the regiments full, and supply promptly losses arising from battle or disease. This is especially necessary for the artillery and cavalry arms of the service, which from the beginning of the war have rendered great services, and which have never been fully appreciated by any but their comrades. We need also large bodies of well-instructed engineer troops. In the arrangement and conduct of campaigns the direction should be left to professional soldiers. A statesman may perhaps be more competent that a soldier to determine the political objects and direction of a campaign; but those once decided upon, everything should be left to the responsible military head without interference from civilians. In no other manner is success probable. The meddling of individual members or committees of Congress with subjects which, from lack of experience, they are of course incapable of comprehending, and which they are too apt to view through the distorted medium of partisan or personal prejudice, can do no good, and is certain to produce incalculable mischief.

I cannot omit the expression of my thanks to the President for the constant evidence given me of his sincere personal regard, and his desire to sustain the military plans which my judgment led me to urge for adoption and execution. I cannot attribute his failure to adopt some of those plans, and to give that support to others which was necessary to their success, to any want of confidence in me; and it only remains for me to regret that other counsels came between the constitutional commander-in-chief and the general whom he had placed at the head of his armies - counsels which resulted in the failure of great campaigns.

If the nation possesses no generals in service competent to direct its military affairs without the aid or supervision of politicians, the sooner it finds them and places them in position the better will it be for its fortunes.

I may be pardoned for calling attention to the memorandum submitted by me to the President on the 4th of August, 1861, my letter to him of July 7, 1862, and other similar communications to him and to the Secretary of War. I have seen no reason to change, in any material regard, the views there expressed.

After a calm, impartial, and patient consideration of the subject - a subject which demands the closest thought on the part of every true lover of his country - I am convinced that, by the proper employment of our resources, it is entirely possible to bring this war to a successful military issue. I believe that a necessary preliminary to the re-establishment of the Union is the entire defeat or virtual destruction of the organized military power of the Confederates, and that such a result should be accompanied and followed by conciliatory measures, and that, by pursuing the political course I have always advised, it is possible to