These three companies have three lieutenants detached to take care of recruits (referred to hereinafter), and these now have but four company officers present for duty with these 600 men. In additional to this, there is now another company of 150 recruits sent to this regiment, but it has not a single company officer for or belonging to it. The Fiftieth New York Volunteer Engineers, of twelve companies of 150 men each, is full and has been so for some time past, and still there have been sent here by officers at Elmira, N. Y., and at Washington, about 943 men for the Fiftieth New York Regiment. And with these men there are, as I am informed, three persons having commissions to the Fiftieth Regiment, which at the time of issue at least, if not now, was in excess of the organization, and three other persons only who have not yet, but expect commissions. The facts in brief, therefore, are that there now are seven companies of 150 men and 43 surplus men here, or about 1,100 men in all who have not a single commissioned officer properly belonging to them to care for their discipline, clothing, or other requirements; and if these extra men were transferred to the Fifteenth Regiment as authorized by the lieutenant-general, there will then be required for these, twenty-eight company and two medical officers, a colonel, lieutenant-colonel, and two majors,in al thirty-four officers, to duly care for these men. Now in the anticipation of this state of things, I have made repeated efforts, which I am gratified to feel have been sanctioned by the commanding general for the past four or five weeks,to have some of these officers provided for and commissioned by the Governor of the State of New York. On the 13th of September I forwarded a letter through yourself to Lieutenant-General Grant on this subject, recommending such officers as I thought worthy of promotion. This I have understood was at once recommended and forwarded by the lieutenant-general. On the 21st of September I made a statement of the case, which I have reason to believe was laid before Governor Seymour by an officer of this regiment. On the 24th I addressed another letter, with recommendations, to General Meade, which I understood was approved and forwarded, through the Adjutant-General's Office, at Washington, to the Governor; and on the 27th, on my addressing a letter to General Barnard, he wrote one to the lieutenant-general commanding the colonel and lieutenant-colonel proposed by me, which letter I understood was favorably indorsed and forwarded to Governor Seymour, and still since, the last application of nearly three weeks ago, no official response has reached here from the Governor of the State of New York. In this state of things I would respectfully ask of the lieutenant-general such action as he may deem proper and fitting under the circumstances, aware as he will be of the great importance for the early efficiency of these men, that their proper officers should be at once appointed for the care of their personal and public property, discipline, &c.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. W. BENHAM,
HEADQUARTERS SECOND ARMY CORPS,
October 15, 1864-9 a.m.
During the past night the enemy have been working on their lines in my front. They have perfected a line near the Crater a little in rear