|Source: US Army Center Of Military History (2006)|
I send on this sheet a recommendation in the case of a brother of Vogdes of the 1st Art. for commission in the army. It is brought out by the report we have lately received that ten more regiments are to be organized.
In the beginning of the winter several (I think three) recommendations of the same sort were sent to Washington by the officers of Voltigeurs -- of DePew Maguire & FitzHugh -- for this regiment. I have just signed directed to the adjt. Genl. for Sergt. John R. Neidy, also fr Brevet or commission in this Regiment. The men abovenamed [sic] are not only superior to a large majority of the appointments in "the ten" regts. but have the advantage of instruction experience & trial. FitzHugh, too, is a Marylander, I think of Hagerstown, of a highly respectable family, that is to say well educated. The four named in this paragraph I am very anxious to get into the Voltigeurs. If you can do any thing to forward it I beg you not to omit it -- (either commissions or brevets) the latter will interfere with nothing else -- a friend of FitzHugh has promised to send this by an early opportunity.
We have lately received the report of the sec: of War -- As you may discuss the matter of the force to be retained here, it may be well for you to know the difference between the reports of the two adjt genls, Mr. Marcy's & Genl Scott's, the former sets down our force on this line at 32,000. The latter told me yesterday that the effective force in this valley is about 12000 & there are stationed on the road to Vera Cruz, including that garrison, perhaps 4000, or 5000. The 10 regts. organized nearly a year ago have never mustered more than 4000 effectives. Our army now is far less efficient than that which Genl Scott marched from Puebla in August. The great loss off officers of the old army has had great effect upon the character of the old regts. We are in no condition to make detachment, except in the neighborhood. If we are to cover the country you must adopt the European system. Send us soldiers instead of recruits. You know the effect of discipline on the health of troops. Genl Butler's volunteers for instance, have now, after entering the country in the healthy season & no service but an easy march of 250 miles, at least a third of their number in hospital. Keep 1/3 of each regt at home in depot for recruiting & instruction.
Baltimore is so wretchedly represented in the Voltigeurs that I look upon it as the duty of her representatives to obtain the appts above named.
You say that I shall be brevetted, If so make [it] valuable by procuring the president's assignment to di[?] accordingly.
As ever J. E. Johnston
[Joseph Eggleston Johnston (1807-1891)
Robert Milligan McLane (1815-1898)
Vogdes = Captain Israel Vogdes (1816-1889), West Point Class of 1837.
DePew = William R. Depew
Maguire = Glassop (aka Glossop) McGuire (aka McQuire)
FitzHugh = William H. Fitzhugh
John R. Neidy = died 1874
Mr. Marcy = William Learned Marcy (1786-1857)
Genl Scott = Winfield Scott (1786-1866)
Genl Butler = William Orlando Butler (1791-1880)
President = James Knox Polk (1795-1849)]
[Many thanks to William Myers, Mary Davy, Sally Young and Susan Davis for their ongoing research collaboration.]