Today in History:

13 Series I Volume V- Serial 5 - West Virginia


For convenience of reference the strength of the Army of the Potomac at subsequent periods is given:


For duty. Sick. In arrest or


Date. Offi- Men. Offi- Men. Offi- Men.

cers. cers. cers.

April 30. 4,725 104, 233 5,385 41 356


June 20. 4,065 101, 496 10,541 44 320


July 10. 3,834 85, 685 15,959 60 213



Present. Absent.

Grand aggre

Date. Aggregate. By Without gate pre-

authority. authority sent and


April 30. 115,350 11,037


* 126,387

June 20. 117,226 27,700 887 + 145,813

July 10. 106,466 34,638 3,782 ++ 144,886

*Including Franklin.

+Including McCall, not Dix.

++Including two brigades of Shields' division, absent, 5,354 men.

In organizing the Army of the Potomac and preparing it for the field, the first step taken was to organize the infantry into brigades of four regiments each, retaining the newly-arrived regiments on the Maryland side until their armament and equipment were issued and they had obtained some little elementary instruction before assigning them permanently to brigades. When the organization of the brigades was well established and the troops somewhat disciplined and instructed, divisions of three brigades each were gradually formed, as is elsewhere stated in this report. Although I was always in favor of the organization until the army had been for some little time in the field, in order to enable to general officers first to acquire the requisite experience as division commanders on active service and that I might be able to decide from actual trial who were best fitted to exercise these important commands. For a similar reason I carefully abstained from making any recommendations for the promotion of officers to the grade of major-general.

When new batteries of artillery arrived, they also were retained in Washington until their armament and equipment were completed and their instruction sufficiently advanced to justify their being assigned to divisions. The same course was pursued in regard to cavalry. I regret that circumstances have delayed the chief of cavalry, General George Stoneman, in furnishing his report upon the organization of that arm of service. It will, however, be forwarded as soon as completed, and will doubtless show that the difficult and important duties intrusted to him were efficiently performed. He encountered and overcame, as far as it was possible, continual and vexatious obstacles arising from the great deficiency of cavalry arms and equipments and the entire inefficiency of many of the regimental officers first appointed. This last difficulty was, to a considerable extent, overcome in the cavalry, as well as in the infantry and artillery, by the continual and prompt action of courts-martial and boards of examination.

As rapidly as circumstances permitted every cavalry soldier was armed with a saber and revolver, and at least two squadrons in every regiment with carbines.

It was intended to assign at least one regiment of cavalry to each division of the active army, besides forming a cavalry reserve of the regular regiments and some picked regiments of volunteer cavalry. Circumstances beyond my control rendered it impossible to carry out