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Our Army Wasting Away

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Correapondence ol the New York W'udd. In Camp, Army op the Potomac, ) January 10, 1863. 5 We have hailed Roseeran's victory in Teunessee witli ringing shouts of joy and gladness. Doomed to repeated defeats and a waste of heroiu efforts and priceless blood, tliis anny yét t:ikes heart at tlie success of their Western brothers-iu-arms, coundöiit that the time will come wheu gloriout, resulta shall follow u rer.ewed ëihibitioD of their valor and endurance. We reioioe over the vietory, uot because it is a vietory of great importanee at this time, but becanse the timo wheiei sueh victories must be gained is passing rapidly away, and because the foree wbieh is to aeliieve them is growiug less and lesa every day. Officcrs and soldiers whu count the days and weeks and tuoutbs of their term of service, are conseious of what the people are not, viz, that the whole brilliant army of six huudred thousand men whieh marelied into the field at the outbreak of the rebeüion, is, on the average, uow on the last half of its term of service, and that at least iifty of its regiments, (two yeurs' uien), will mareh homeward before the first of next June. We figure eight hundred thousand men - ou paper. But the morning re ports of' the armies Lelie ihe statement. We speak of our brigades, and divisious, and corps, and uumber. tlieir thousands by the number of regimeuts; but the men to make them are not there. The ouly place where eight huudred thousaud uien cmi be found is ou the pjy-rolls. - And the governiuent is to day payiiig more men out of the anny, in hospital, on authonzed and unauthonzed leave of abse.iee, and on special or unauthorized detached service, tlutu it is men in the ranks, doing regular duty. Half of every regiment i paid on descriptive list-, procured by men in hospital and elsa where from their oompany officers, aud forwardcd to their pnymnsters. I would not write aught that may give aid and comfort to the eueuiy, or produce unuecessary depressiou amoug our own friends. But it is du; to the euuse that all the facts which bear upon the impor tant matter should be early knowu and fully appreciated. Without givitig auy clue to our real streugth, let me say that auy regiment which went out with Mc Clellan to the i'euinsula, and which can tstill number three huudred uien tor duty has mare, thau the average strength of those regimeuts. And the new regiments which joiued the army in Marylaud and Virginia duriug the past three months, are rnelting away with a rapidity that makes oue siek at heart wheu he cousiders the work before thein fhough mauy have suiFered severely in battle, yet not one fourth part of the depletion is thus incurred The real and great cause, or curse, I may say, of depletion, is the irresponsibüity of the medi cal Service. Let rue say that iu thie I do not allude to the service in the ño ld, the atteution and care of sick in field hospitals, or the atteution to the woundcd after battle, but to abominable system which takes men from regimental hospitals, transfers them to distaut poiuts, and tliere, through management and mismau agement, corruption, and illegitimate influenoes, at leasl two-thirds of them are nevcr heard of iu tlie service again. It has become the regular hábit of regimeutal offieers to look upon a man transferred to a distant hospital as dead to the ser vice ; and the records of many regiments show more than half their original strength inarked "sent to hospital," and never heard from save fhrougn an application for a " descriptive list " for obtainiug pay. It may be that the medical service of the army, outsüle of the arm;;, is as well managed as it can be, but ï do not believe it If it is, then it is almost useless to raise au army, for tho hospitals eau render it power!e::s sooner than the enemy. As matters stand now, three fifths of the maguificent armies raised since the war began are no longer in tlie field,, and that iucludes all the latest levies, too', for the new regiments have been put in the field without the seasonmg and hurd#uing whicli the first levies had, and the sickuess ia their ranks is correspoudingly greater. It does not nood niueh figuring' to teil where we shull be in this respect when the time of the nine months' men shall have expired. And so, uuless some bet ter uaeans is devised of returuing absent, convalescent and deserting men to the ranks, we shall look in vain for our army. Whatever the hospitals and their managers may do witli the uien sent to them, it is certain that thuy return very few of them to their regiments I give a case which may ilústrate: A Colonel had occasion to go to Philudelphia a few days ago to look after some men of his regiment reported iu hospital there. Consulting the hospital records t li re, thev were reported convalescent, and marked " returued to duty. ' But tliey had nev er been heard from ia the field. Upon furthor investigation, however, ho ioui;d them doing provost guard duty in finiadelphiu! And this is oníy a sample. It is uext to impossib'e to get men baek to their regiments from eitlier the hospitals or the convalescent camp, for the system of red tape to be gone througil with is so perplexing aiid requires so much time that no officer can get leave of absence long enough to get through with it. This matter is a great and ii crying evil. Every officer in the army having the welfare of his cominand and his country at heart feels it deeply. Cannot .some system be devised which shall render the service more secure in its strength ? that strength without which our victories are thia air, and tioasou is triumphant. Private soldiers are not suppnaed to have much more option as to their own movemeuts than havo the horses of a quartermaster Why not eompel the .surgeons and medical directora at dutant liüspitals to properly account for tLem, just as a quartermaster accounts for bis property, and let every default be punished ? Let bonds be required fur the faithful performance of this duty, also, for property can be replaced, but men not so easily. Let facilities be given to the men to return to their regiments, many of whom would prefer it to the miseries of any parolad or convaleseent camp, whure be only imbibes a further disgust of the service. With most men, next to the home they have left, their regiment in the home most tbought of. Abusos ramify through every branch of our service, but there is uoue fraught with so much injury to the service as this of which I speak. Caunot Congrcss take huid of it ? It is au emhiently practical matter, which may djsplaco scme of their tbeorizings, anu, if speedily atteuded to, will be of great service to the army and country. A ppropos of Congreag, we observe the introduotion of a pruject to consolídate the old regimc'its, and, in fact, reorganizo the army. It is now too late to fully repair the terrible blunders cominitled by the state Governors in sendins; out so many uew regiments instead of filling up the old. But if consulidation be attempted, let the new rogiments - whose name and iiumber are yet without famo or much record - be Consolidated with the old, and the and tiumber of' those regiments be preserved. No matter about having iheui fully a thousaud strong. tíix, seven, or eight hundred ia a better ftghtïng weight for most Colonels to handle than a thouand. Let one old regiment of two hundred or three huiidred men be Consolidated with a new one of fron, four to six hundred. The old rogiments have, in comparison, almost as few ofBeers as men. Already many of the new regiments are short of officers. Not much ïuuüteriug out would thercfore be requirod ; not more, perhaps, thaii is necessary in any event. This would mitígate, in a great measure, the disappoiutinent whicii inustfollow the eradicatiou of the name and fume of many régimen ts who have won the highest houors in the field and whose n)emo;y, as a mere matter of justice, deserves to be perpetuated.


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Michigan Argus