frequently happened that men have been elected to military offices, because the y were of a jovial, indulgent indolent disposition: men who would exercise no authority but suffer every one to do as he please. The bad effects of carelessness & inattention respecting the qualifications of those who have been selected to command is now apparent, but the misfortune is that when authority has been acquired in this way it carrot be taken from the incompe- tent.
I had proposed in this letter making some observations on the qualifica- tions & duty of officers, but since writing my last a little book has come to my possession entitled "A hand book for infantry" in which this subject is treated so much to my satisfaction that I beg leave to refer you to the work particularly the third chapter.
The Hand Book is in my judgment superior to any work of the kind which I have seen & will certainly be valuable to the military profession at this per- iod. The author begins at the foundation and proceeds in a clear, distinct & scientific manner to unfold the principles of a good dicipline. The illus- trations are so hapily & minutely perceived that to understand, it is scracely necessary to read.
Obvious improvement have been introduced & erroneous principles exploded. Would not Congress render an essential service to the U.S. by revising the militia law & substituting the Baron Stuben by the Hand Book.
There are such strong p ejudices against the regular service, generally & particularly in the western country that I am afraid recruiting will not yet progress so rapidly as could be desired. Many are disposed to enter the service who cannot reconcile it to their feelings to be associated with those who (as it is generally believed) are gathered from the dregs of society. The volunteer corps witness, young men of wealth & the first respectability in the camp men who would think themselves disgraced by inlisting
That government may avail itself of the services of patriotic young men I would with great difference propose a place for the organization of a corps which would in effect be equal to regular troops. Raise a volunteer corps to serve during the war to be officered & organized in the same manner, to re- ceive the same clothing, equipments, pay and emoluments of every kind, bounty excepted, as the regular troops and in addit ion to the monthly pay each non commissioned officer, musician & private to receive at the expiration of the war three hundred & twenty acres of land Those who would prefer engageing for twenty months should receive one hundred and sixty acres of land in addition to their monthly pay. In this case the time of service to commence in the spring so that two summer campaigns could be made.
Men of military talents, who are well kiiown to the people could be commissioned in every section of the country some time before the corps was to be raised. The platoon officers should each know to what company he be- longed, each could bhen have a roll which could be subscribed by those who wished to enter the service, this would be equivalent to enlistment. Let each pursue his occupation until the company would be filled -- when they could rendezvous on a certain day receive their cloathing & equipments & all commence the service together.
Should you not consider my communications as a tax on your patience and feelings I shall hereafter take the liberty of adding something more in ill- ustration of this plan.
I have the honor to be with great respect your most obt & very humble servt.
W. A. Timble
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