equiPAGEshould always consist, or the precise kind and quality of clothing to be furnished, or the exact amount and kind of transportation to be allowed for each regiment, is it not obvious that these details depend so entirely on time, place, and circumstances, and are so essentially variable in their character, that the uniform compliance with such laws would be practically impossible? Suppose Congress should establish by law the precise proportion of infantry, cavalry, and artillery to be attached to each body of troops in service. This would not be a rule for the government of the Army, but an attempt at a statutory administration of it which could not but be found impolitic, even if it were practicable.
Now, the act in question presents precisely the same objectionable features. It establishes a rule over which there is no discretionary power under any circumstances whatsoever by ng general, in the face of superior numbers and with his capacity for defense taxed to the utmost, may find his forces still further reduced by the action of his subordinates, not only against his consent, but without his knowledge, and in ignorance of his necessities and the purposes of their Government. No more striking example could be afforded of the impolicy of such a law than is presented by our condition at this time. Our armies are in force inferior to the enemy at the two points most vital to the defense of the country. The enlistment of the twelve-moths' men is soon to expire, and in order to secure their entry for a further term into the service you have directed that furloughs be granted to them as far as compatible with the safety of the respective commands. If the bill in question becomes a law it will at once be necessary to diminish the number of furloughs, which might otherwise be granted as inducement to re-enlistments, and to that extent the attainment of this most desirable object must be obstructed. From the west and from the south, from many and important points urgent calls for re-enforcements are received by the Department of War which it is not possible to satisfy. At this crisis, without any check or control by commanding generals, 5 per cent. of their effective forces would be withdrawn under the provisions of this bill. With conflicts impending against an enemy greatly our superior in numbers our safety is dependent on keeping in the field every effective man that can be furnished with a weapon; this bill, therefore, it seems to me, is most inopportunely presented.
If from these general objections we turn to the details of the bill, other considerations are presented which would alone prevent my giving it approval. This may be stated briefly as follows, viz:
First. The furlough for disability is to be granted upon the surgeon's certificate, not of the vital necessity for leave of absence, but of the surgeon's opinion that the patient's "health would improved by a temporary sojourn at home. " It is plain that every man in the Army, to whose health camp life was thus believed to be detrimental, could at once demand a furlough under this provision.
Second. The colonel's power to grant a furlough on such certificate as is above mentioned is without the check or control of higher authority, and is unlimited as to time and to number of cases.
Third. Any soldier that can get the certificate of any hospital surgeon can be sent home on furlough or discharged without the knowledge or consent of any of his officers, either company of regimental. The surgeon has only to certify that the soldier "is too remote from