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regiment an additional battalion of eight companies, and we convert our peace establishment of six thousand men into a division twentyfour thousand strong, with the certainty of imparting to the whole, in less than two months' time, the discipline and efficiency of veteran troops. With such a foundation, we might prepare for the field, in six months, an army of a hundred thousand men; not mere recruits in uniform, but well instructed soldiers, partaking, in a great degree, of the character and efficiency of the original base of six thousand. To effect this important object, nothing more would be necessary than to establish, in convenient situations, fifteen or twenty depots of instruction throughout the country, and attach to each a well instructed field officer, one or two captains, and three or four subalterns. The instruction at those depots should not be confined to the regular army alone, but might be extended to all the militia officers, and to all the volunteer companies in the country. There are those, I am aware, who, in opposition to the facts of history, and the convictions of experience, deny the necessity of previous instruction and of practical military knowledge to the military commander: with such gentlemen it would be useless to reason; but it is proper to remark of them, that their own practice, in the most ordinary concerns of life, is in direct opposition to the principles they profess, and the opinions they hold ; for, whilst they declaim against the necessity of professional knowledge and experience in those to whom the important duty of defending the country is confided, they require both, even in the laborers and domestics whom they employ. Not one of them would engage a carpenter to make his coat, or a tailor to build his house; and he would think the man insane who would ask a lawyer to set a broken limb, or a physician to conduct a suit at law; and yet there would be as much propriety in either, as to expect a farmer, a merchant, a lawyer, or any other citizen, without previous study, careful preparation, and experience in the practice of service, to become an able and accomplished officer.
Without referring to other countries, we have only to turn over the pages of our own history, to be satisfied of the deplorable consequences resulting from a want of timely preparation, as well in the personnel as the materiel of the army. We had, previously to the late war, submitted to outrages upon our commerce and our citizens, until forbearance had ceased to be a virtue. The voice of the whole country was for war, and we plunged into it without a proper organization of the army, or any of those preparations which it was our duty to make, and which an ordinary degree of foresight must have demonstrated to be necessary; and having committed the blunder, we neglected the only means by which the disastrous results of our measures could have been averted. In place of calling forth the intelligent and well instructed officers of the old corps, and employing them where their talents and acquirements would have been useful to the country, the higher ranks of the army were, for the most part, filled by men, selected rather for their political influence than their military fitness. The consequence was, we had no discipline or subordination in our corps, no accountability in the administrative departments, no well digested plan of operations, no combination or concert in the move
ment of the different armies ; but the strength and resources of the country were wasted in puny and unsuccessful efforts, without use or object, on extensive and distant frontiers, and we presented the singular spectacle of a powerful nation with more than a million of men capable of bearing arms, with resources vastly exceeding those of any other nation of equal population, with two hundred thousand men actually under arms, invaded and defeated at all points, several of our posts captured and held by the enemy, our capital taken, our credit destroyed; and all this effected, too, by a petty province, aided at no time by more than twenty-five thousand men from the mother country, including the whole force that assailed us on every frontier. This is a picture, it must be acknowledged, by no means flattering to our national pride; but it is a true picture; and the time and the occasion require that the truth be told.
One great moral advantage certainly was gained by the war; and it is, perhaps, full compensation for all our misfortunes. We demonstrated, that we have, among the body of the people, men with capacity for every exigency; and we settled the question in regard to the permanency of our institutions, by proving that they were strong enough for war. But what, let me ask, would have been the character of the country, under its accumulated defeats, but for the victories on the ocean, achieved by officers who were masters of their profession, and those gained on land, either by men who had forced their way forward from the old corps, or who had been formed during the war, partly in the militia, and partly in the regular service, and had qualified themselves to lead to victory by the practice of two campaigns.
Had there been the requisite military information in our councils at the commencement of the war, that policy which pressed like a nightmare on the nation, and paralyzed all its energies, had been avoided; and, in place of being compelled to close the war, not only without having gained a single object for which it had been declared, but by conceding to the enemy the right of retaining a part of his conquests, to which he asserted a claim, and of making stipulations in favor of the Indians within our territories, whom he had chosen to designate as his allies, we had been able to dictate the terms of peace. History was open before us, and we had only to profit by its lessons to strike our enemy in the most vital point. The statesman, or the military man, accustomed to trace the current of human events through the history of the preceding century, could not but have observed the astonishing rise of the French naval power, and its rapid decline; and, if in the habit of tracing effects back to their causes, he must have perceived that this power rose with the possession, and declined with the loss, of the northeastern coast of this continent, and the islands adjacent to it. That coast, and those islands, are as important to Great Britain as they were to France; they formed, when war was declared, as they form now, the principal pillar of British naval power; they were within our grasp; we could have reached the more important parts of them without naval force; and had timely preparations been made for war, and the national energies been properly exerted, the first campaign must have placed them in our possession, with as little difficulty as a single campaign has placed Algiers in the posses
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sion of France. It is hardly possible to estimate the effects of so important an acquisition on the character and events of the war, or its influence on the negotiations for peace,
The length to which this paper has run admonishes me that it should be brought to a close; but I deem it due to myself to add, that, although I deprecate the reduction of the officers of the army proper as a measure fraught with the most injurious consequences to the national interests, I am not to be understood as including my own case. I leave it to others to determine the importance to the public of the station which I hold, as well as the value of the services which I perform; for I could not, consistently with a proper self-respect, be induced, on this or any other occasion, to offer a single argument as to the necessity for any office on which my official existence may depend. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
TH. S. JESUP,
Brig. General, and Quartermaster General. Hon. J. H. EATON,
Secretary of War, Washington City.
Table of the organization proposed for the peace establishment, with a view of its practicable extension in the event of war.
• The principles upon which this extension is made are: Ist. To double the rank and file of companies. 2d. Add a battalion consisting of eight companies to the regiment, with an addi-
1 regiment light artillery.