War of the Rebellion: Serial 028 Page 0395 Chapter XXXI. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC. - UNION.

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object, will be approved. I think myself that shooting them while in the act of straggling from their commands is the only effective remedy that can be applied. If you apply the remedy, you will be sustained here.

We are making every possible effort to fill up the old regiments, but not much can be done at present. As soon as volunteering is over, we hope to fill them by draft. It is the only means of doing it. I have had an interview with Governor Morgan, of New York, to-day, and he will draft for that purpose in his State. As soon as this is done, volunteer officers will be detailed from the several New York regiments to bring on these drafted men, in squads of several hundred, for distribution to old companies.

But you cannot delay the operations of the army for these drafts. It must move, and the old regiments must remain in their crippled condition. The convalescents, however, will help a little. The country is becoming very impatient at the want of activity of your army, and we must push it on.

I am satisfied that the enemy are falling back toward Richmond. We must follow them and seek to punish them. There is a decided want of legs in our troops. They have too much immobility, and we must try to remedy the defect. A reduction of baggage and baggage trains will effect something; but the real difficulty is, they are not sufficiently exercised in marching; they lie still in camp too long.

After a hard march, one day is time enough to rest. Lying still beyond that time does not rest the men. If we compare the average distances marched per month by our troops for the last year with that of the rebels, or with European armies in the field, we will see why our troops march no better. They are not sufficiently exercised to make them good and efficient soldiers.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, October 7, 1862-11.35 p.m.


I have issued the following order, on your proclamation:



No. 163. Camp near Sharpsburg, Md., October 7, 1862.

The attention of the officers and soldiers of the Army of the Potomac is called to General Orders, No. 139, War Department, September 24, 1862, publishing to the army the President's proclamation of September 22.*

A proclamation of such grave moment to the nation, officially communicated to the army, affords to the general commanding an opportunity of defining specifically to the officers and soldiers under his command the relation borne by all persons in the military service of the United States toward the civil authorities of the Government.

The Constitution confides to the civil authorities-legislative, judicial, and executive-and power and duty of making, expounding, and executing the Federal laws. Armed forces are raised and supported simply to sustain the civil authorities, and are to be held in strict subordination thereto in all respects. This fundamental rule of our political system is essential to the security of our republican institutions, and should be thoroughly understood and observed by every soldier. The principle upon which, and the object for which, armies shall be employed in suppressing rebellion, must be determined and declared by the civil authorities, and the Chief Executive, who is charged with the administration of the national affairs, is the proper and only source through which the needs and orders of the Government can be made known to the armies of the nation.


*See Series III.