War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0226 Chapter XXXI. OPERATIONS IN N. VA., W. VA., MD., AND PA.

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I beg that you will at once give such orders to Colonel Ingalls as will enable him to reform this abuse. No one is more able or more zealous. It requires full authority, as corps and division commanders, as well as subordinate officers, dislike to reduce their means of wagon transportation.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

M. C. MEIGS,

Quartermaster-General.

[Indorsement.]

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

September 10, 1862.

Respectfully referred to Colonel Ingalls, who is desired to take such measures as will insure a compliance with the wishes of the Quartermaster-General, as presented in this communication.

By order of Major-General McClellan:

S. WILLIAMS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

GENERAL ORDERS,

Numbers 155.

HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,

Camp near Rockville, Md., September 9, 1862.

The mischievous practice of straggling, it is observed, is again instituted in this army, and this, in many cases, without the least apparent concern on the part of commanding officers of either the higher or lower grade. Straggling is habitually associated with cowardice, marauding, and theft. The straggler must now be taught that he leaves the ranks without authority and skulks at the severest risk, even that of death. Commanders of regiments will see that the rolls of every company are called before the regiment starts on the march, at every halt, and at the close of the march. The absentees at these roll-calls will be reported to the regimental adjutant. Regimental adjutants will retain lists of absentees thus reported to them, and if, upon the straggler's joining his company, he have not a good excuse for his absence, the word "straggler," and the date, and time absent, will be set against the soldier's name on the next muster-roll. The judges of the validity of this excuse will be the three senior officers of the regiment, in session together. Loss of pay for the time absent, as a matter of course, follows this entry; but colonels of regiments will see that stragglers are, besides, brought to punishment. Field officers have now, by law, all the power that a regimental court-martial had for the punishment of offenders. In the absence of a field officer, and acting field officer may exercise these powers. If the proffered excuse exhibit laxity or neglect of duty on the part of company commanders, their names will be reported for dismissal, or they may be brought to trial.

On the march, corps commanders should allow rest at proper intervals, that the troops may have an opportunity t adjust their equipments, obey the calls of nature, &c. Except at these rests, no man should be allowed to leave the ranks, save for some extraordinary cause, when the company commanders will give the soldier a written ticket of permission to leave the ranks. These tickets should be prepared in blank beforehand. Every soldier thus leaving the ranks will leave his musket, haversack, and knapsack with the company, which the captain will have carried by soldiers of the company till the soldier returns. If the soldier be sick and fall out, his sickness will be no plea in his favor