War of the Rebellion: Serial 128 Page 0261 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

the rank of captain; one sergeant-major, and one quartermaster-sergeant.

As the conscription has taken into the Army the citizens of the country between the ages of eighteen and forty, it will be necessary in forming the engineer companies to select the men from the troops now in service. Unless this be authorized it will require so long a time to organize the number of companies needed that much injury will result to the service. The term of service in the engineer companies for the men selected from the line should be equal to the remainder of the period for which they are already bound. An intelligent class of officers to serve with the engineer troops can be selected, I doubt not, from the lieutenants, sergeants, corporals, and privates now in the line of the Army, and I think one of the greatest merits of the plan proposed is that promotion is thrown open at once to the meritorious men in the ranks or lower grades of our Army. The selections for service in the engineers, should be made from the particular army or army corps with which they are intended to serve. This will guarantee a fair distribution of the promotions throughout the service and greater certainly of advancement for merit alone. I propose that two of the ten companies composing each regiment be assigned to serve as pontoniers, each to be provided with a pontoon train complete; making eight trains for the engineer organization; that the colonel of engineers in charge of the Engineer Bureau, subject to the approval of the Secretary of War, shall prescribe the number, quantity, forms, dimensions, &c., of the necessary wagons, pontoons, tools, implements, and other necessaries for each train. To supply the requisite number of officers of engineers to serve with the engineer troops, I propose that there be added to the Corps of Engineers, Provisional Army, four colonels, four lieutenant-colonels, four majors, and forty captains, with the same pay and allowances as now fixed by law. I propose the following as the monthly pay of engineer troops: That of sergeant-major, quartermaster-sergeant, and sergeant or master workman, $40; that of corporal or overseer, $30; privates of the first class or artificers, $23; musicians, $20; and privates of the second class or laborers, $18, with the same allowances as to other troops. I would under existing circumstances assign the four regiments of engineers as follows, viz: One regiment to the Army of Northern Virginia, now under the command of General Lee; one to Eastern and Middle Tennessee; one to the Valley of the Mississippi, including the Trans-Mississippi and the Gulf Coast; and the fourth to Charleston, Savannah, Wilmington, the eastern part of North Carolina, and as far north as Petersburg, Va. These troops will add vastly to the efficiency of the engineer service and facilitate the movements of our armies in the field. Measures have been already taken by this Bureau to commence the construction of pontoon trains, and the work will be pressed forward as rapidly as the limited resources of the country will admit of. Authority has been given also to the senior engineer officer serving with the armies in Tennessee to prepare a train for immediate use in the Western Department, where one is much wanted. Every effort has been made by this Bureau to press forward the defensive works of the country, both of the coast and inland, and it is believed, even with our limited means, that enough has been or will be done at the most important points to give comparative security. The policy of defending all the inlets of our coast has been wisely abandoned and our strength concentrated at the great military and commercial points. In fact, such concentration, both for coast and inland defense, is an necessity, and