War of the Rebellion: Serial 089 Page 1216 Chapter LIV. OPERATIONS IN SE. VA. AND N. C.

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The considerations in reply to both of these objections seem to me to be really decisive. First, as to the necessity of the case, although we have artillery battalions formed under orders of the commanding general, sanctioned by the Department, and although this organization has proved one of the most efficient instrumentalities in our great struggle, the result is attained at the cost of very serious injustice to a large class of most deserving officers; is attended by inconveniences which experience satisfies us ought to be obviated and is liable to depreciation in the future if remedial measures be not adopted. The injustice of which I speak results partly from the fact that the status of artillery officers as now determined by number of guns, eighty for a brigadier, forty for a colonel, twenty-four for a lieutenant-colonel, and sixteen for a major, is entirely disproportionate to their merit and services. A single case may illustrate: The chief of artillery of one of our army corps, although his command in extent, importance, and responsibility greatly exceeds that of any infantry brigadier, must remain a colonel because our roll already has three brigadiers of artillery and we have not four times eighty guns. In like manner, battalion commanders whose commands, admirably managed, in difficulty and importance far surpass ordinary infantry regiments, must remain lieutenant-colonels or majors because we have not a sufficient number of times forty or twenty-four guns to allow of their being rewarded with another grade. In truth, my dear sir, there ought to be more scope for promotion in this arm. Officers painfully feel that they are not fairly estimated, that in spite of noblest service they are often left needlessly far behind their brethren of other arms. This might indeed be remedied in part by reducing the number of guns required for the several grades. But this is not the whole case-our artillery field officers feel that on the present plan they occupy rather a false position; it seems to regard them somewhat as exceptional and almost superfluous, instead of as an essential element of the structure and efficiency of the army. Their arm they know to be of eminent value. Its power they are equally satisfied is greatly enhanced by combination; the significance of its extensive organization they have seen fully proved, and to leave them nearly unrecognized by legal sanction appears to them something like a degradation of their branch of service. There are, besides, others on whom the present plan operates hardly. Every regiment of infantry or cavalry has its own non-commissioned staff provided by law; our artillery battalions as now existing, though imperatively needing such officers, are not allowed them except by temporary detail, without recognized authority. The service cannot but suffer from these things, and especially from the insufficient number of field officers. It not unfrequently now occurs that instead of two field officers to a battalion we cannot under the casualties of service get one; and if, as is sometimes the case, the eldest captain be not efficient for larger command, hazard may ensue which ought not to be permitted.

These, my dear sir, let me assure you, are not matters of speculation or fancy; they are realities seriously felt by some of the best men we have in service, and they seem conclusively to show that some such legislation as that proposed is really called for in justice to our arm and with a view to the best interests of the service. With regard, in the second place, to embarrassments involved in applying law to this organization, first, that the general cannot arrange detachments as readily as he may wish, the breaking of batteries has rarely been found necessary during the past two years, nor could there be difficulty in doing it if necessary were batteries fully legalized. The same great