War of the Rebellion: Serial 031 Page 0878 OPERATIONS IN N.VA.,W.VA.,MD.,AND PA. Chapter XXXIII.

Search Civil War Official Records

these regiments to the maximum authorized, will require 153 officers and 4,864 men. I have to observe, however, of the number reported as absent, a very large proportion are the wounded, most of whom are so maimed and disabled that no expectation need be formed of their returning to active duty. I should, therefore, say, as an estimate, that to reorganize the command there would be required the appointment of over 200 officers and the enlistment of over 7,000 men.

This paper is forwarded to you, on the eve of my giving up the command of the division, to call your attention to the necessity of some measure being immediately adopted to increase the efficiency of this command. The plan of sending officers into the State to recruit has been on three separate occasions attempted, and proved in each case a signal failure. There remains, the, two courses to adopt. One is to consolidate the existing force into a number of regiments equal to the officers and men for duty. The objection to this plan is that it destroys the organization,and the prestige which the good conduct of the corps has acquired for it. Another plan would be to withdraw the command, temporarily, from the field, say, for a period of two or three months, and return them to Pennsylvania, where, it is believed, from the great reputation the corps has acquired, the pride the State takes in it, and the enthusiasm its return would create, that in a short time its ranks would be filled, after pruning them of all useless members.

Soon after the battle of Antietam, His Excellency the Governor of Pennsylvania proposed to the general commanding the Army of the Potomac to receive and reorganize by corps, and, it is believed, the proposition was favorably received by the commanding general, but the exigencies of the moment prevented its execution. The further reduction of the corps by the recent battle, where it lost over 1,700 officers and men, and the probability that its services might at this moment be spared, together with the earnest desire I have that the organization, which has contributed so largely to its success, may be preserved, are the considerations which induced me to suggest this plan to you and recommend its adoption.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

GEO. G. MEADE,

Major General of Vols., Commanding 3d. Div. and, pro tem., the 1st A. C.

[Indorsements.]

HEADQUARTERS FIRST ARMY CORPS, January 10, 1863.

I concur most heartily in the recommendation of General Meade, that the Reserve Corps be returned to some place in the State where it can be reorganized, and that the system of election in the appointment of officers, now in force by the State las of Pennsylvania, be changed so as to return it to the field in more than its original efficiency. It uselessness in its present state has been set forth in previous communications.

Respectfully forwarded.

JOHN F. REYNOLDS,

Major-General of Volunteers, Commanding.

HEADQUARTERS LEFT GRAND DIVISION, January 11, 1862.

This communication is respectfully referred to the commanding general, for his action. The Pennsylvania Reserve Corps has done excellent