great number of skeleton regiments that form part of the corps is large enough to demoralize the conscripts that enter it, but not good enough to make them soldiers.
The stigma of the corps attaches to all. New men enter it with reluctance, and remain in it from compulsion, with dejection and indifference; it is a fate which they must bear, but under which they break. These facts can be abundantly proved.
I see no remedy for the salvation of the material of this corps, but the breaking up of the organization, its name and symbol cast into oblivion, the consolidation of its regiments into other corps, and pretty general dismissal of officers now or hereafter, as they shall, under other influences, prove themselves still worthless.
My own command is already affected, and I desire to remove them. I am identified with the Twelfth Corps. My own brigade is there-the one upon which the Twelfth Corps was based; the one I have commanded had not sickness compelled me to absent myself. This brigade contains my old regiment, the Second Massachusetts. I am anxious to return to this corps with my division, for there I am well known by all. General Slocum, commanding the same, has expressed a desire that I should return.
In plainly expressing my views of this corps, I do not attribute blame to any one in particular. I think it has had such unfortunate commanders that not even the ability of its present chief, nor any other, can remove the opprobrium that attaches to being a member of the Eleventh Corps, Army of the Potomac.
I am, general, very truly, your obedient servant,
GEO. H. GORDON,
Brig. General, Comdg. First Div., Eleventh Corps.
HEADQUARTERS SECOND DIVISION, ELEVENTH CORPS,
Near Warrenton Junction, Va., July 29, 1863.
Major General O. O. HOWARD,
Commanding Eleventh Corps:
GENERAL: As it is reported that some changes in the organization of this army are under advisement, which may affect the future position of our corps, and particularly of my division, I respectfully submit to your consideration my own views and those of my subordinate commanders.
At the battle of Chancellorsville our corps was exposed in an isolated position to the overwhelming attack of the enemy, and was compelled to retire with great loss. The press of the country has in consequence thereof thrown the whole blame of the loss of said battle upon this corps, and by persistent efforts succeeded in creating prejudice against it, not only on the part of the people, but also on the part of the other corps of this army.
The officers and men of my division, although fully aware of the great injustice of this prejudice (particularly so far as they themselves are concerned), yet feel its weight. Their consolidation with another corps, against which no such unfounded prejudice exist, seems, therefore, to me desirable and likely to affect them favorably. They have, moreover, the experience that even their gallant conduct at Gettysburg did not protect them against the repetition of these