War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 1068 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

Search Civil War Official Records

MARSHALL, TEX., April 16, 1862.

[Hon. G. W. RANDOLPH:]

MY DEAR SIR: It is a subject of general remark among intelligent men that if for the next six months the War Department of the Confederate Government is managed as it has been for the past six the country is irretrievably ruined. Although advised that the enemy were raising an additional number of men to the amount of half a million, and that $400,000 [sic] had been voted to put the machinery in motion for our subjugation, and with a full knowledge that one Southern raw recruit was worth two raw recruits from the North, yet the War Department was content to lie idle and supinely wait the stupendous preparations of the enemy. (2) The inefficient Army we have had in the field has been rendered comparatively worthless by the character of officers that have commanded it, and the want of moral courage in the War Department to hold them to a proper accountability. Attention has been called to the notorious drunkenness and inefficiency of officers, and their names given, and the next news that instead of these men being court-martialed or dismissed, they have been promoted. (3) The fall of Fort Donelson and the occupancy of Nashville exhibited the lamentable condition of our defenses. The people felt-and justly felt-deceived and betrayed. Never has there been congregated on the earth's so united, so patriotic, and so unselfish a people. All they require is a Government that will stand by them. Let me beseech you to learn wisdom from the errors of your predecessor, or, if you do not know yourself to be competent, to give the place to some one who is. After the fall of Fort Donelson it was hoped that the day of errors had passed. But what is the result? We behold the same weak, vacillating policy continued which brought us to the verge of ruin then. I can only judge by what I see in this State. Here various commissions were given to Tom, Dick, and Harry to raise regiments of twelve-months's volunteers, and the most of them cavalry. Scarcely one man of the whole number was fit for the position assigned him. Some were brainless upstarts and others notorious drunkards, while there was scarcely an isolated instance of an aspirant who could properly drill a company. Many of them were not only without qualifications, but character. It seemed as if any man, no matter how worthless, could go on to Richmond and get a colonel's commission. The people of Texas had to volunteer with these men or not go to the Army at all. They therefore went to work and organized about 20,000 or 25,000 men, when lo, there comes an order from the War Department virtually disbanding these twelve-months' volunteers and calling for troops for the war. Cavalry in no case is to be received. The next intelligence received is that the War Department is receiving particular regiments of twelve-months' men. What is the matter? Have you all gone crazy about Richmond? Is Texas to be kept out of the struggle now concentrating and soon to commence? You ought to take a firm position and keep it. If twelve-months' volunteers are not desirable, say so, and be uniform in your course. Do not make fish of one regiment and flesh of another, but treat all alike. Above all things, have the moral courage to do your duty, and to get rid of incompetent, inefficient, and drunken officers and worthless surgeons, who in many instances are brutes and a discharge to the Army. Just think of it! Texas has 20,000 men under arms anxious to serve their country whenever and whenever they can. Many of them have been in camps for months at an expense to the Government. If they had been sent