WASHINGTON, December 24, 1864.
Applications are made by Government of States to raise new regiments of volunteers under the recent call for 300,000 men. Although it is easier to raise the men by new regiments, the desire of the Department has been, so far as practicable, to secure new recruits for old regiments, and thus keep up their organization. Before any authorizations to raise new regiments are given, the Secretary of War desires your views on the subject. Please reply fully by telegraph.
THOMAS M. VINCENT,
(Same to Major General G. G. Meade.)
CITY POINT, VA., December 24, 1864-9 p.m.
Honorable E. M. STANTON:
I would much prefer seeing the 300,000 men called for go in to fill up old organizations than to see them come out as new regiments. It will be much more economical, and the men will be more effective under tried officers and alongside disciplined men. Unless there will be a great saving of time in getting men into the field by accepting regiments, I would not recommenced receiving new organizations.
U. S. GRANT,
HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE POTOMAC,
December 24, 1864-9 p.m. (Sent 9.30 p.m.)
Major THOMAS M. VINCENT,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Washington:
This army now contains 2,490 company organizations, divided into 316 regiments and a number of battalions, and is deficient in enlisted men to fill these organizations to the maximum over 84,000 men. I am unhesitatingly of the opinion that the efficiency of this army will be more speedily effected by filling up existing organizations, rather than adding new regiments. The latter may be more speedily raised, but the former will be the soonest efficient, as new regiments require considerable time to be broken in. Many of the regiments and battalions are now consolidated into fewer companies than a full organization. There would be no objection, in my judgment, in such cases in adding new companies, and if it is finally determined that new organizations are to be raised, I would then suggest the immediate consolidation of the several skeleton regiments and battalions from each State into full and efficient regiments, the surplus officers to be transferred to the new organizations.
GEO. G. MEADE,