The inducements held out were:
First. A furlough of at least thirty days to both officers and men of the organizations re-enlisting for three years. Where a large proportion re-enlisted the regiment was sent home in a body at Government expense, and during its stay reorganized and recruited its ranks.
Second. A bounty of $400, anticipated from the communication fund and payable in installments, was authorized for every soldier re-enlisting under this plan. His accounts arising from the first enlistment were closed up and payment of dues made. The second enlistment was to take effect at its date, and thus shorten the first enlistment by so much as had not yet expired. It was stipulated that, if the Government did not require these troops for the full period of three years, they should, nevertheless, when honorably mustered out that account, be entitled to the whole amount of bounty remaining unpaid. The rank of the officers was made continuous from the date of their original muster into service.
Third. The force thus reorganized was termed "veteran volunteers," and, as an Honorable distinction, 'service chevrons" were authorized for it by the War Department.
This plan was not carried into effect until late in the fall of 1863, when the great campaigns of that year had closed, and the troops, resting from their labors and looking forward to a season of comparative inactivity, were most anxious to visit their homes. That privilege was guaranteed to them by our general order of November 21, 1863, a and eminent success in their reorganization promptly followed.
By this expedient over 136,000 tried soldiers, whose services would otherwise have been lost, were secured, and capable and experienced officers continued in command. The exact value of the services rendered by any particular part of the military forces may not be ascertained, but it may safely be asserted that the veterans thus reorganized and retained performed, in the closely contested campaigns subsequent to their re-enlistment, a part essential to the final success which attended our arms. In his official report of 1864 the Secretary of War says in relation to this subject, "I know of no operation connected with the recruitment of the Army which has resulted in more advantage to the service than the one referred to."
The patriotic determination of these troops who had taken a prominent part in the war to continue it until brought to a satisfactory close was the foundation of the success which attended this enterprise. Its advantages were not only those resulting from the actual military force thus retained. It produced a favorable effect on the recruiting service generally, and was as encouraging to the friends of the Government as discouraging to the insurgents.
Explanation of difference between men called for and men raised.
In estimating the number of troops called into service it has been the rule of the department to take into account the whole number of men mustered, without regard to the fact that the same persons may have been previously discharged after having been accepted and credited on previous calls.
Under the different calls volunteers have been accepted for various terms of service, viz, three, six, and nine months, and one, two, and three years, respectively, and a large number of persons who had served under one call have subsequently enlisted under another.
a See Appendix, Doc. 25, Art. 2.