This body to consist at first of four regiments, and the number to be increased if necessary to eight or ten regiments. One company of cavalry to every regiment of infantry, and the latter to be drilled both as infantry and artillery.
I propose that this force, except the daily guard detail, should be permitted to attend to their every-day civil duties, except, say, two hours each day, and these two hours to be devoted exclusively to military duty. Should their service for the defense of the District be required at any time they will be here on the spot, to either increase the defensive force of Washington or can occupy the works near the city, and thus relieve an equal number of men for active operations in the field.
My long residence here will enable me to recommend with confidence such field and company officers as are both loyal and competent.
I would like to command such brigade or division; am a West Point graduate, and have served some years in the Army as an officer of artillery.
Convinced that this proposition has true loyalty and devotion to our country as its motive, that I can soon collect the adequate force, and that the plan recommends itself as an actual necessity,
I am, Mr. President, your obedient servant,
GEORGE C. THOMAS,
Major-General Militia of District of Columbia.
NOVEMBER 19, 1861.
Referred by the President to the War Department.
JNO. G. NICOLAY,
November 25, 1861.
Respectfully referred to the commanding general for his views.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
November 26, 1861.
Respectfully returned to the Honorable Secretary of War. Ample provision will be made for the protection of Washington without the services of the proposed home guard, which, from the nature of its organization, could not be fully depended upon. Could this corps be raised without expense to the Government, there would be no objection to it, as it might under certain circumstances be of use.
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
November 11, 1861.
Honorable SOLOMON FOOT,
U. S. Senator, Rutland, Vt.:
SIR: Your communication of 6th instant referring to the regiment of cavalry organized in your State, has been received. Governor Holbrook has been directed to forward them to Washington, with orders to report to Major-General McClellan.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully,
THOMAS A. SCOTT,
Assistant Secretary of War.