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Adjutant and Inspector General Reports
1863 ReportSTATE OF VERMONT Executive Department, Brattleboro, May 22d, 1863.
Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War, Washington, D. C.:
Sir, -- I have been thinking for sometime past that I would write you briefly expressing my individual conviction that it will be better for the Government to fill the old or three years' Vermont Regiments, than to consolidate them. I believe that none of our old Regiments are yet reduced in numbers to the point for consolidation; but they are liable to be so reduced before long. I have an impression that, as a general rule, it will be better to fill all old and well-proved Regiments in the United States' service, than to consolidate them.
Consolidation will dismiss in a somewhat rough and summary manner many valuable officers, at a time, too, when the Government needs the aid of all good men, and especially of all good military officers; and it will also create a good deal of unpleasant feeling in the army.
The Volunteers who early enlisted for three years, or the war, are, as a whole, characterized by more active and ardent patriotism than the same number of persons at home, who could go, but have not yet gone, into the service. The Veteran Regiments are worth more to the Government today, even when simmered down to not more than three hundred well disciplined, able bodied men, than any new and green Regiments of one thousand men each, that the Government can procure. The Veteran Regiments have borne the heat and burden of the war, all its trials, reverses, disappointments and discouragements; they still stand up firmly and nobly to their duties, desire to fight the war through to a successful termination, and should be permitted to preserve their organization and a continuous record during the war, or their period of service. I know that the old Vermont Regiments are worthy of all I now say. Their conduct and services in the recent battles of Fredericksburg prove it.
Tue, unworthy officers and worthless soldiers found their way more or less into all the old Regiments at the outset; but all such characters have been pretty generally sifted out, so that the remainder is now choice and reliable.
FIlling up the old Regiments, therefore, rather than consolidating them, will, as it appears to me, be as politic, as it will be just and generous, on the part of the Government.
Excuse me, Sir, for thus volunteering my opinion. I do it with due respect for the decisions of the Government, and with no thought but to cooperate energetically in such measures as the Government shall judge best to be adopted.I am, with high regard, You obedient servant, FREDERICK HOLBROOK, Governor of Vermont
Washington City, D. C.
May 25th, 1863
Dear Sir, -- I acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 22d inst. It is not the desire of this Department to consolidate the regiments except where it may be absolutely necessary. The design is to fill up the old Regiments by drafted men under the Enrollment Act. In regard to the importance of keeping up the old organizations, and thus retaining the services of experienced officers, I concur entirely in your opinion. I shall be very glad always to have your opinion upon any subject relative to the service, and will be ready promptly to accept any suggestions that occur to you. It will probably be found that not much difference of opinion will exist between us.Yours truly, (Signed,) EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War. His Excellency, Frederick Holbrook, Governor of Vermont Brattleboro.