War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0110 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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SPECIAL ORDERS,

ADJT. AND INSP. GENERAL'S OFFICE, No. 234.

Richmond, October 7, 1862.

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XXII. After date no application will be received for examination by the board of officers appointed under General Orders, No. 68, current series, for appointment of officers for artillery to be assigned to ordnance duty, except from officers and privates now in service, or from officers and privates now out of service by reason of wounds received in battle.

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By command of the Secretary of War:

JNO. WITHERS,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

EXECUTIVE OFFICE,

Richmond, October 8, 1862.

The SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA:

The near approach of the day fixed for your adjournment induces me to renew, certain recommendations made at the commencement of the session, and for which legislation has not yet provided. The subject of the efficiency of the Army is one of paramount importance, and the letter of the Secretary of War herewith submitted has been elicited by correspondence with the generals of our armies in the field, whose practical experience of the evils resulting from the defects in our present system entitles their opinion to great weight. *

An army without discipline and instruction cannot be relied on for purposes of defense, still less for operation sin an enemy's country. It is in vain to add men and munitions, unless we can the same time give to the aggregated mass the character and capacity of soldiers. The discipline and instruction required for its efficiency cannot be imparted without competent officers. No power now exists by law for securing such officers to fill vacancies when elections and promotions fail to accomplish the object.

Extreme cases ought not to furnish a rule, yet some provision should be made to meet evils, even exceptional, in a matter os vitally affecting the safety of our troops. Tender consideration for worthless and incompetent officers is but another name for cruelty toward the brave men who fall sacrifices to these defects of their leaders. It is not difficult to devise a proper mode of obviating this evil. The law authorizes the refusal to promote officers who are found incompetent to fill vacancies, and the promotion of their juniors in their stead; but instances occur in which no officer remaining in a regiment is fit to be promoted to the grade of colonel, and no officer remaining in a company is competent to command it as captain. Legislation providing for the selection in such cases of competent officers from other regim State affords a ready remedy for this evil, as well as for the case when officers elected are found unfit for the positions to which they may be chosen. This selection can be made in such manner as may seem to Congress most advisable; but this or some other remedy is indispensable for filling numerous vacancies now existing.

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*See October 4, p. 109.

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