Boston, December 17, 1861.
GENERAL: I am directed by His Excellency the Governor to state in reply to your note of this day that it was his intention at the proper time to appoint and commission suitable officers for the Fourth Battery, but that he was not advised of their intended removal from the Commonwealth, nor was any request made for such appointment,s either from the company or from the acting officers, or from any other source, until eight days after the whole company had been removed from Massachusetts, when the Governor was requested by Major Strong to commission certain persons as officers, on the ground that they had been elected by the company, as it was said. But the company was gone. None of its rolls having ben deposited in the office of the adjutant- general there were no means of identifying its men. at the time of Major Stron'gs request it was beyond the reach of any communication, nor was it easy to verify the qualifications of the persons suggested for officers, except in so far as they were within the general knowledge of persons at the State House. As to the person named for first lieutenant, the information received by the Governor is that his character is such as to render him unfit for appointment. As to the one proposed for fourth lieutenant, he is said to have remained at home dangerously sick, nor has the Governor any information to justify the belief that he is physically fitted for service, or likely within a reasonable time to become so.
The Governor, with these exceptions, is not conscious of having any objections to the other appointments suggested in that company if the opinions of those competent to judge confirm the alleged choice of the men, save that in his own judgment Mr. Salla is more competent to the captaincy than Mr. Manning. Being personally responsible to the company, to the people of the State and the country, and to the cause of us all, for the appointments he makes, he is unwilling to permit those who are to be commanded to suffer the infliction of poor officers, even though suggested by themselves, and he has had frequent occasion during the year to relieve men from officers whom they had recommended or chosen and whose incompetency or unfitness was found by them to be intolerable. Nor is this strange, for the volunteers, unlike our militia, are not enlisted under circumstances, whether as to mutual acquaintance or intimate knowledge of proposed officers, or the means of ascertaining and comparing the respective merits of accessible candidates favorable to the safe and successful selection of their officers, without much aid and protection against the practices of the designing and the ambitious.
The Governor is desirous of commissioning officers for the battery, and would be glad to receive the testimoniahich the claims of the persons in this instance proposed for appointment are founded.
I am directed in conclusion to suggest to you that the neglect to deposit in the office of the adjutant-general proper descriptive rolls of the battery is liable to cause much inconvenience and distress to the families of its members unless promptly remedied, for in administering the provisions of chapter 222 of the statutes enacted at the extra session of the Legislature of this Commonwealth in May last, it is the habit of the municipal authorities of the towns and cities to look to such rolls for prima facie evidence of the entry into service of those soldiers whose families apply to them for relief, and also the habit of the State auditor