STATE OF VERMONT, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
Brattleborough, May 22, 1863.
Honorable E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.,:
SIR: I have been thinking for some time past that I would write you briefly expressing my individual conviction that it will be better for the Government to fill the old or three-years" Vermont regiments than to consolidate them. I believe that none of our old regiments are yet reduced in numbers to the point for consolidation; but they are liable to be so reduced before long. I have an impression, that, as a general rule it will be better to fill all old and well-proved regiments in the U. S. service than to consolidate them.
Consolidation will dismiss in a somewhat rough and summary manner many valuable officers, at a time too, when the Government needs the aid of all good men, and especially of all good military officers; and it will also create a great deal of unpleasant feeling in the Army.
The volunteers who early enlisted for three years or the war are, as a whole, characterized by more active and ardent patriotism than the same number of persons at home who could go but have not yet gone into the service. The veteran regiments are worth more to the Government to-day, even when simmered down to not more than 300 well disciplined, able-bodied men, than any new and green regiments of 1,000 men each that the Government can procure. The veteran regiments have borne the heat and burden of the war, all its trials, reverses, disappointments and discouragements; they still stand up firmly and nobly to their duties, desire to fight the war through to a successful termination, and should be permitted to preserve their organization and a continuous during the war, or their period of service. I know that the old Vermont regiments, are worthy of all I now say. Their conduct and services in the recent battles at Fredericksburg prove it.
True, unworthy officers and worthless soldiers found their way more or less into all the old regiments at the outset; but all such characters have been pretty generally sifted out, so that the remainder is now choice and reliable.
Filling up the old regiments, therefore, rather than consolidating them will, as it appears to me, be as politic as it will be just and generous on the part of the Government.
Excuse me, sir, for thus volunteering my opinions. I do it with due respect for the decisions of the Government, and with no thought but to co-operate energetically in such measures as the Government shall judge best to the adopted.
I am, with high regard, your obedient servant,
Governor of Vermont.
WAR DEPT., PROV. March GENERAL'S OFFICE, Numbers 9.
Washington, D. C. May 23, 1863.
I. The following rules, in connection with the circular from this office of the 22nd instant, concerning cavalry recruits, are furnished for the guidance of provost-marshals, and must be strictly adhered to:
1. The recruits having been examined by the Board of Enrollment and found fitted for the duty of soldiers, will, previous to being sent to the general rendezvous, be enlisted by the provost-marshal of the district.