the United States in which an officer has occupied a position intermediate between that of a corps commander and the commanding general of the army, occurred in the Army of the Potomac, which by order of General Burnside was organized into what were termed grand divisions, consisting of two corps each; which grand divisions were commanded by the senior general officers present with the army. The order constituting these divisions specified the powers intrusted to their respective commanders. (General Orders, Numbers 184, headquarters Army of the Potomac, November 14, 1862.*)
After an experience of less than two months, General Hooker, then commanding the Army of the Potomac, discontinued this organization, announcing in paragraph I, General Orders, No. 6, headquarters Army of the Potomac, February 5, 1863:+
The division of the army into "grand divisions" impeding rather than facilitating the dispatch of its current business,and the character of the service it is liable to be called upon to perform being adverse to the movement and operations of heavy columns, it is discontinued, and the corps organization is adopted in it stead.
If the fact that the appointment of a commander to a position intermediate between that of a corps commander and the general commanding the army, he being authorized by the War Department to take final action on certain matters previously referred to the commanding general, had a tendency to "impede rather than facilitate business," I respectfully submit that the appointment of a commander to a similar position without authorizing him to take final action on any matters cannot tend very strongly to expedite current business.
But whatever may be thought of the expediency of the system of organizations of this character, it cannot be denied that, if adopted, it should be made general. As the matter now stands, although I am senior in rank and have served in the capacity of corps commander for a longer period than any officer in command of a corps in this army, yet, so far as communicating with the general commanding the army is concerned, I am in precisely the position held by a division commander of other corps.
If the general commanding does not fell authorized to make any change in the organization of the army, so as to place me in a position similar to that held by other corps commanders, I respectfully request that this communication may be forwarded, together with a copy of the letter from his Excellency to General Rosecrans, to which reference is made.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. SLOCUM,
Major-General of Volunteers, Commanding.
HEADQUARTERS ELEVENTH AND TWELFTH CORPS,
Lookout Valley, Tenn., February 3, 1864.
Respectfully forwarded, with the request that it be referred to the War Department.
At the time of my assignment to the command of the Eleventh and Twelfth Corps I was requested to consolidated the two corps into one, which at my suggestion was deferred until after the transfer of the
*See Series I, Vol. XIX, Part II, p. 583.
+See Series I, Vol. XXV, Part II, p. 51.