War of the Rebellion: Serial 122 Page 0825 UNION AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,

Boston, October 5, 1861-9.30 p. m.

Major-General BUTLER:

MY DEAR SIR: I have just received and read your note of to-day's date, on my tern from visiting our cavalry camp at Readville, and I beg leave to say at once, in reply to your remark relating to some supposed promise of mine, that I did not at any time say that while we were already raising so many regiments in Massachusetts I could consent to an embarrassment of the service by additional competition for recruits. But while I assured you of my willingness, so far as it lay in my power, to assign to you, out of regiments in progress, our fair proportion, or more than that, of the six regiments you told me you wished to raise in New England, I have constantly declared that I could not concur in a policy which, by crowding the competition of regiments, would be fatal or very dangerous to successful recruiting. And I apprehend that we have been already of late overdoing the business by attempting to raise one cavalry and eight infantry regiments and three battery corps at the same time. I am convinced that four of these infantry regiments should first be filled before beginning upon more regiments. The length of time we have already spent in recruiting these bodies now in process, to which fact your note alludes, is a circumstance confirmatory of this opinion. The Twenty-second Regiment will march on Tuesday; the Twenty-third, Twenty-fifth, and Twenty- seventh will be filled, doubtless, by Monday week, if not disturbed by more competitors; and since all the regiments in New England are ordered to report to yourself and there will be no difficulty in getting the troops needed for your own column, I need feel no anxiety in that respect. Please, however, send me a roster of company officers under whom you wish a new regiment enlisted, if you have any offering of whom you think favorably, and I will authorize a new regiment to begin in a week from On day next, under Captain Henry L. Abbot (of Massachusetts), of the U. S. Topographical Engineers, for colonel, and Charles Everett, late colonel of District of Columbia Volunteers, formerly serving in Mexico, or Major Francis Brinley, for lieutenant-colonel-the major to be selected seasonably. I cannot authorize any earlier movement, especially in view of your proposal to advance half a moth's pay to the new regiment to the exclusion of the other regiments now recruiting; nor can I consent to the organization of any regiment, at any time, upon such a plan of favoritism. If gentleman, out of their own purses, choose to offer bounties to secure enlistments, I know not that I can interpose to prevent it. But I do not approve of its being done, nor have I ever known an instance of the kind. If, however, any person employed in the general recruiting service, or any other agent of the Commonwealth, has ever in one instance taken money as a consideration for anything done or left undone in relation to the duty or service touching which his employment gave him any power or function, I will be obliged to you, or to any other person, for the evidence of such fact. I should regard such conduct as a grave offense, which should not be suffered, and which should not be allowed to pass without full pursuit. And since you suggest that recruiting officers have sold men for a price to regimental or company commanders, I rely on your zeal for the public good and your sense of what is due to justice both to the public service and to individuals that the guilty shall be specified and all the means of proof made known to me, in order that the most speedy and vigilant measures for suppression and rebuke may be instituted.

Since I began this note permit me to add that the first instance of the offering of private bounty has come to my knowledge, requiring