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and safely to operate so large a force as one hundred and fifty thousand—I assume the active, moving, striking force here to be that—in thirteen divisions, under thirteen different commanders. They must be massed. They should be organized into corps-de-armiée. These corps ought to be from three to four divisions each, with a staff proportioned to such a command. There should be a head of the transportation department, a quartermaster, a head of the commissary department, a head of the ordnance department, a head of the medical department, and, of course, a head of the department of orders and correspondence, which we call an assistant adjutant general. There should be a sufficiency of aides-de-camp for such a command; and there should be something by which military laws should be enforced. There should be a power to order and create courts-martial. These army corps should each be an army of itself, for thirty thousand men are quite enough for an army.
By Mr. Chandler: Question. Has the general-in-chief the power to organize these army corps, or does it require legislation ?
Answer. It would require legislation to perfect it. He has the power to begin it, and I have always understood it to be his intention to so organize the army When General Scott was here, General McClellan said he could not do it, because General Scott was opposed to it. That was only two months since.
By the chairman :
Answer. I do not know. I have not spoken to him for some time about it. I said to him when I went to Upton's Hill that I was a little nervous about army corps; I wanted to see them started. When he first came on here, and my command was taken from me and I was put down to eight regiments, I asked him if that was a permanent or only a temporary arrangement. He said it was purely temporary, and also promised me an army corps if the army should be so organized; that would be given to me because my rank gives it to me.
Question. Do you consider this indispensable before you make a movement upon
enemy? Answer. Certainly I do. I am personally interested in this, I will frankly say to you, because it will affect my position, and I want you to understand that it will do so, that you may understand how much of personal bias there may be in my opinion upon the matter. Suppose we have three divisions to a corps. Take my proposed movement, if you please, and suppose the army to have advanced as I have suggested. Suppose there are three divisions near Vienna, three at Fairfax C. H., three down on the railroad, and three at Occoquan. Suppose that some trouble takes place. The general-in-chief may be in Alexandria, or in Washington, or at some other place. You must have sufficient force and sufficient power in one man to hold in command at least 30,000 men near him, if he has against him so large a body of the enemy. I have apprehensions of going out all divided up in this way, each equal with his neighbor. As I said to the general, “The reasons that cause you to want time to perfect the organization of your whole army are to a certain extent the same with us, because you expect to have army corps, and we want to know what the corps are to be, so that we may get the staff ready, and get the machinery around us so as to properly control and govern this amount of men.” And why it is not done, if it is to be done, or why, if it is not to be done, it is not to be done, I do not know. I have always looked upon it, and he himself has looked upon it, as indispensable.
We ought to have cach department at the head of the army fully orgánized. Each commander of division should have a quartermaster, and not have everything go up to headquarters. You might as well have the Supreme Court of the United States act upon every $20 case, as to expect the quartermaster general to decide every unimportant matter in his department.
Question. In regard to these aides-de-camp: how many do you think it is necessary for the
general-in-chief to have ? Answer. It depends upon what he is going to do. If he is going to play Supreme Court, and district court, and county court, and everything, all the way through, he will want an immense number of them, and cannot do it then.
Question. Suppose the army is organized as you propose, how many would be necessary for him then ?
Answer. I should think from ten to twelve would do.
Question. Is it indispensable that they should be military men, or would intelligent, well-read men do?
Answer. One great defect is, that we have taken our best combatants and put them into non-combatant corps. Look over the army list, and you will find that our best artillery officers, for instance, are assistant quartermasters or commissaries of subsistence, &c. It is very necessary to have competent, responsible men to spend our hundreds of millions of dollars a year. But I do think you might have got good forwarding transportation merchants or express merchants, men of character, for such positions, and not taken these good men away from us. The position of aide-de-camp on my staff is going begging. I have not the highest reputation in the world, but I have some character, and I know very well that so far as I am personally concerned they would not object to going on my staff. They say so. But they say that they command batteries, or are commissaries of subsistence, where they are captains, while I only propose to make them lieutenants. Some say, also, that it is too expensive to go on the staff; that they must buy horses, and go to other expenses which do not come upon them in other positions.
They should be men of military intelligence. Take this case, for instance : Suppose I send an aide-de-camp to General Tyler to beg him to do a certain thing. He goes to General Tyler and tells him. General Tyler says, “I do not know about that; what does he mean by pressing an attack, to go on the other side of the river ?" or, whatever the movement may be, “Does he want me to do this, or to do that?” The aide-de-camp ought to know sufficiently about military matters to understand my order, and be able to say, “Yes, he does mean that you should push your infantry across, and do so and so." An aide-de-camp should have sufficient scope of mind and understanding to be able to understand and to say what should be done at once, for five minutes is everything sometimes; and time lost, all is lost, in many situations.
WASHINGTON, D. C., December 26, 1861. General JAMES S. WaDSWORTH sworn and examined.
By the chairman :
Answer. Brigadier general, in command of a brigade of four regiments in General McDowell's division. I was appointed about the first of August last.
Question. What do you know in regard to the plan of the campaign, or the military operations that are to be carried into effect?
Answer. I do not know anything whatever. You mean as to the plans of the commander-in-chief, I suppose.
Question. Yes, sir.
Rep. Com. 108—10
rumors, which seem to come from good authority, at various times, that there was to be some onward movement. But to say "I know,” I know nothing.
Question. Has there been any council of the general-in-chief with his generals that you know oi ?
Answer. Not that I ever heard of.
Question. Are there any complaints over your way that high officers in the army are not consulted ?
Answer. Yes, sir; there are. But I think the fact is not generally known. I think many officers of a subordinate rank—of less rank than commanders of divisions—do not know that commanders of divisions have not been consulted. I have got that impression from conversing with some of them. I have mentioned the fact to brother officers of the same rank as myself, and they were very much surprised, and could hardly credit it. I stated that it was my impression that the division commanders had not been consulted, from what I had heard from three or four of them.
Question. What is the condition of your brigade with regard to the health and the efficiency of the men at this time?
Answer. I think it is in excellent condition. And my brigade, I hope, is neither better nor worse than those about me. I think it is in very excellent health and very efficient condition, and in as good a state of discipline as volunteers can be brought to in the time.
Question. Is it your opinion that to drill them in camps until the spring would improve their condition?
Answer. I think it would not, but would rather impair it.
Answer. The roads are remarkably good for the season. Perhaps not once in twenty years have the roads at Christmas been in as good condition as they are now. Having had this long period of dry weather, with but one rain, the roads are very good. They are very easily affected by rains. Even the rain of the other day had a great deal of effect upon
them. Question. Although not an old army officer, you have no doubt turned your attention a great deal to the study of military affairs. Is your army organized now according to the approved mode of organizing a great army to take the field ?
Answer. It would be difficult for me to separate my own opinion from those I have heard expressed by officers of higher rank. But it does not appear to me that it would be possible to handle this army in the field, with its present organization, in so many distinct divisions.
Question. In your judgment, how should it be organized ?
Answer. Into army corps of from 20,000 to 40,000 men each. That would be as many as could well be handled in an army corps. The present organization into divisions may be made to work with the assistance of the electric telegraph, with the commander-in-chief always in reach. Take our position upon Upton's Hill to-day, in front. If General McDowell should be attacked by the enemy, he has General Porter within a mile and a half on one side, and General Blenker within two miles on the other side, with their divisions. General McDowell could not order them up to support him, nor tell them how to do it. He could only say to them, “I am attacked and need assistance;" and leave it to them to do as they thought best. His course would be to telegraph to General McClellan, and then General McClellan would telegraph back to General Porter and General Blenker, and tell them what to do. And that loss of time, even where you have the telegraph, might be very serious; and where you have not the telegraph, it might be fatal. European armies, and all great armies that I have ever read of, are organized under separate commands of from 20,000 to 40,000 troops each, according to the size of the army. You find them seldom over 20,000 to 30,000; perhaps sometimes 60,000.
Question. Have you any knowledge, or any means of obtaining it, of the strength of the army of the enemy in front of us.
Answer. The sources of supply that were open to us, until within a very few days, were these: runaway negroes coming in our lines, deserters coming in, and prisoners taken from the enemy; likewise the information collected by scouts, who go out, but do not go exactly within the lines of the enemy-or not very much within their lines—very slightly. From those sources information is vague; generally reliable as far as it goes, but it is not full. It is difficult to get at full information. I have scouts who go out, for instance, to Fairfax Court-House; there are a number of Union men near Fairfax Court-House with whom these scouts communicate, and also some intelligent negroes. From these various sources a great deal of information is obtained. It is reliable as far as it goes, but it is not definite enough. The way in which we get at the numbers of the enemy from such sources is by endeavoring to ascertain the number of their camps, the number of their regiments, and then we multiply that by what we suppose to be the average force of their regiments. We have several times had parties come in who would tell us how many camps there were, for instance, at Fairfax Court-House; how many at Centreville; and, not so definitely, but approximately, the number at Manassas. In that way we have had some materials for getting an estimate of their strength. But latterly an order has been issued prohibiting the commanders in front from examining these parties as they came in. We are now obliged to send them to headquarters. That order took effect two or three weeks ago, and we now send them in without examination to any great extent. I know that General McDowell told me it would not be a breach of the order to examine them sufficiently for us to know whether the enemy were going to attack us at once. Then there have been restrictions placed upon
the movements of these scouts. There is difficulty in getting passes through the lines; so that within two or three weeks we have not had so much information as previously. I do not know the object of it.
Question. Can they not trust their generals there?
Answer. It is possible that in some instances there has been carelessness in allowing the information thus collected to find its way into the public press. That is the only reasonable explanation that has occurred to me. I do not know of any case where that has occurred, but it may have been the case. I do not know any other explanation of the order. It is simply an order that we shall not examine these persons, but send them in to headquarters.
Question. Do you know of any preparation that is being made for an advance, or for your going into winter quarters ?
Answer. I have no information on that subject. Of course it is well known that the commander-in-chief has been accumulating troops and transportation here, but how much transportation I do not know. I have seen nothing within the last month which indicated an early advance. Troops, horses, transportation, cavalry, artillery, &c., have been arriving here, but I do not see any other indication of an advance.
By Mr. Julian : Question. They have been arriving all the time? Answer. Yes, sir; and we suppose they are brought here for some purpose.
By the chairman. Question. And your opinion is that this new organization must take place before a movement can well be made ?
Answer. I should think so. That is a subject, however, upon which the opinion of General McDowell would be a thousand times more valuable than mnine. I only judge from the condition of things where we are. If we were attacked to-day, General McDowell could not call upon General Porter to come
to his assistance except by this circuitous route. And the troops are very much concentrated here now, as much so, probably, as they would be if we should move on. They are now in a very compact form.
Question. Now, in regard to cavalry, what is your opinion in regard to that? How many can he used to advantage in this army over the river ?
Answer. A very small number in that country. The country is very poorly adapted to the use of cavalry. It is a wooded country, full of defiles. It is a coutry of the worst character for cavalry. The roads are narrow, running through thick, second growth pines, which is almost impervious to horsemen. It is difficult to move even infantry through it.
Question. Is it your opinion that 10,000 cavalry would be sufficient?
Answer. I do not think that anything like that number could be used to advantage. I can hardly conceive of any contingency in which cavalry could be used in any numbers, except in case of a complete rout of the enemy, after they had become completely disorganized. In this country they could be used in no other manner. A small number could be used for patrolling, carriers, &c. Each brigade commander has a few for such purposes, and I believe that is the opinion of cavalry officers generally. Several of them have expressed the opinion to me that cavalry could not be used in this country; and the face of the country is the same, I understand, until you get beyond the Rappahannock, and indeed mostly of that character until you get to Richmond. It is a little more open beyond the Rappahannock, perhaps ; but there are defiles on the road between here and Fairfax, half a mile in length, which are as difficult for cavalry as any mountain pass would be, where they could be cut off with the greatest ease.
Question. Do you suppose a campaign at this time of the year, in the winter, could be had against the enemy's lines?
Answer. Yes, sir; a slow and cautious movement could be had. It must necessarily be slow, on account of transportation. The men would also be exposed to considerable suffering; but the wooded nature of the country is favorable to a winter campaign. The men, with a little care on the part of their officers, could be preserved from perishing, although they might suffer a little. In thick woods, like those in front of us, and in fact all over the seaboard of the United States, you could move an army into the thick pines, and the men could make themselves comfortable, unless in the case of a long driving rainstorm.
Question. Suppose that in point of numbers our forces and those of the enemy have remained the same as they were six weeks ago, have we gained anything by waiting until this time for an advance?
Answer. I think not. The troops are a little improved in drill, that is in marching and the manual, and the officers are a little more familiar with the tactics than they were. There has been a little improvement in that respect in the army, but not of a very marked character.
Question. Not enough to overbalance the difficulties arising from the increased inclemency of the weather ?
Answer. I should think not, by any means. The troops are still in very good spirits. They have not abandoned the idea of active service this winter; but I think if it should become generally understood in the army that we are not to have any active service this winter, it would be almost impossible to keep the volunteers here. The volunteers, as I know to be the case with those from New York, embrace a great many men of intelligence and property. Many have left their families under circumstances of a great deal of anxiety, and have come here from patriotic motives. If it was understood that they were going into winter quarters, it would be almost impossible to keep them here at all. The applications for furloughs are now ten times what they were in the summer. The men want to go home and see their families, as they are doing