tions, and for the direction of the ordinary operations of the sapper corps. I am the more pleased to be the means of communicating this offer to you now, because I learn from Professor Mahan, of West Point, that one branch of the Engineer Corps, the sappers, are "all away on service," and because the students of U. S. Military Academy are needed, as soon as competent, for drill officers. The services of the patriotic young engineers, whose wishes I represent, would seem indeed to be just those most needed in the present juncture. Awaiting your early reply,
I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
ALFRED S. KENNEDY,
WASHINGTON, D. C., May 13, 1861.
Hon. SIMON CAMERON,
Secretary of War:
MY DEAR SIR: At the suggestion of many whose opinions are entitled to consideration I have been considering the offer you made me.
The Rhode Island regiment is enlisted for three months, which only fits it for efficient service when the time expires. The second regiment from Rhode Island is now nearly ready. When that is in the field we shall have a force of, say, 2,000 infantry, two batteries of rifled cannon, equal to 2,000 men; in all, a force equal to 4,000 men. I think that if I were serving officially with these troops that I could re-enlist the first regiment at the expiration of their present term by again enlisting them for another three months, and so continue until the expiration of the war.
If therefore, you consider that the interest of the service would admit of your making me a major-general, and this without any remuneration from the Government, I will suggest the matter to our Legislature, soon to be in session, and have our law so altered as to admit of my acceptance.
The people of Rhode Island would not permit my wholly severing my connection with them, and they would likewise be averse to my holding it otherwise, I would as freely shoulder a musket as wear a sword. I am only anxious for the energetic prosecution of this war to an Honorable peace, which can only be obtained by a conflict of arms; and then, if God so wills it, I will resume my business avocations, in which lies my only ambition.
I think the cause might be strengthened and our enemies somewhat depressed by such an appointment. Of this you are the best judge. I am not obliged to sever my connection with our forces until about the 20th instant, at which time our Legislature will in session.
If you think favorably of this matter, the within memorandum will be sufficient to present to our Legislature for their action.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., May, 1861.
Governor Sprague is hereby tendered the position of major-general in the Army of the United States, and he is permitted to delay his acceptance until after the action thereon by the Legislature of his State.
13 R R-SERIES III, VOL I