By authority from the War Department, under date of September 10, you are authorized to raise six regiments in New England.
By a general order of the same Department, under date of September 16, "all persons having received authority from the War Department to raise volunteer regiments, batteries, or companies in the loyal States are,with their commands, hereby placed under the order of the Governors of those States, to whom they will immediately report the present condition of their respective organizations. These troops will be organized or reorganized and prepared for service by the Governors of the respective States in the manner they judge most advantageous for the interests of the General Government."
And the special application of this order to yourself is confirmed by a telegraphic dispatch from the Secretary of War to myself, which states that "General Butler has authority to concentrate a brigade for special service, all of which is to be organized under the several Governors of the Eastern States," and also by the reply of the Secretary of War to a letter from myself making inquiry concerning the orders and authority under which you are assuming to act, in reference to which the Secretary of War wrote:
It was the intention of this Department to leave to Your Excellency all questions concerning the organization of troops in your State, and the orders to which you refer were designed to be subject to the direction and control of the Executive of Massachusetts.
Conformably therewith, by my command, General Order, Numbers 23, was issued by the adjutant-general of Massachusetts, of which I inclose a copy,* prohibiting the formation of any new regiment or companies in this State without orders from these headquarters, for the reason that it was of the first importance that the eight regimetns of infantry, one of cavalry, and four batteries of artillery, which were then in process of organization in Massachusetts, should be completed without the delay which would be caused by additional competition.
I assigned to you the Twenty-sixth Regiment (Colonel Jones) and the Twenty-eighth Regiment (Colonel Thomas S. Murphy), as the fair proportion which Massachusetts should contributed to the brigade of six regiments which you desired to obtain from New England, and being desirous to help you to the utmost I even offered, so soon as such a time should elapse as would probably be sufficient to complete the recruiting of some of the nine regiments then in progress, to begin to organize a third regiment for you (being more than the proportion of Massachusetts of the six) and to offer its command to an experienced officer of the Topographical Engineers, who I had previously ascertained would have been willing to accept it. You declined this additional offer, and it is against my order that you have proceeded to collect men and undertake to organize them under military form. By this action you have retarded and confused the recruiting service throughout the Commonwealth, have deprived several Massachusetts regiments of participation in important military operations now in progress, and to which they had been preassigned, by diverting recruits, who might otherwise have filled their ranks, under promises of peculiar privilege as to pay; and, more than all, you have set an example of insubordination, especially lamentable in the instance of an officer of so high rank.
If the eighty-six men mentioned by you in your letter desire to enter the service as Massachusetts volunteers I will order them to be drafted into the Twenty-sixth Regiment, if there is yet room for them there, or
*See p. 817.