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[Fwd: MIL: General McClellan's Order Against Straggling (Antietam #6)]

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  • Bill and Glenna Jo Christen
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 11, 2002
      > LOUISVILLE DAILY JOURNAL, September 20, 1862.
      > LOUISVILLE, SEPT. 19, 1862.
      > _General Order, no. 14_
      > The following general order of Major-General McClellan is published for
      > the instruction of the Army of Kentucky. It will be strictly enforced.
      > By command of Major-General Nelson.
      > J. E. STACEY, A. A. A. G.
      > - - - - - - - - -
      > CAMP NEAR ROCKVILLE, MD., SEPT 9, 1862.
      > _General Orders, No. 155._
      > The mischievous practice of straggling, it is observed, is again
      > instituted in this army, and this, in many cases, without the least apparent
      > concern on the part of officers of either the higher or lower grades.
      > Straggling is habitually associated with cowardice, marauding, and theft.
      > The straggler must now be taught to learn that he leaves the ranks without
      > authority, and skulks at the severest risk, even to that of death.
      > Commanders of regiments will see that the rolls of every company are
      > called before the regiment starts on the march, at every halt, and at the
      > close of the march. The absentees at these roll calls will be reported to
      > the Regimental Adjutant. Regimental Adjutants will retain lists of
      > absentees thus reported to them, and, if, upon the straggler joining his
      > company, he have not a good excuse for his absence, the word "straggled" and
      > the date and time absent will be set against the soldier's name on the next
      > muster roll. The judges of the validity of this excuse will be the three
      > senior officers of the regiment in session together. Loss of pay for the
      > time absent, as a matter of course, follows this entry, but Colonels of
      > regiments will see that stragglers are besides brought to punishment. Field
      > officers have now by law all the power that a regimental court martial had
      > for the punishment of offenders. In the absence of a field officer, an
      > acting field officer may exercise these powers. If the proffered excuse
      > exhibit laxity or neglect of duty on the part of company commanders, their
      > names will be reported for dismissal, or they may be brought to trial.
      > On the march, corps commanders should allow rest at proper intervals,
      > that the troops may have an opportunity to adjust their equipments, obey the
      > calls of nature, etc., etc. Except at these rests, no man should be allowed
      > to leave the ranks, save for some extraordinary cause, when the company
      > commander will give the soldier a written ticket of permission to leave the
      > ranks; these tickets should be prepared in blank beforehand. Every soldier
      > thus leaving the ranks will leave his musket, haversack, and knapsack with
      > the company, which the Captain will have carried by the soldiers of the
      > company till the soldier returns. If the soldier be sick and fall out, his
      > sickness will be no plea in his favor for escape from the penalties of
      > straggling, unless furnished with a written certificate of his sickness from
      > the Surgeon of the regiment. Sick men should, in all cases, be properly
      > taken charge of by the medical officers of the regiment, that they may not
      > be accused of straggling if really sick or wounded.
      > Each division should have a strong rear guard, behind which no
      > straggler, of whatever corps or regiment, should be permitted to remain,
      > unless the straggler's company is to the rear. If the divisions have any
      > cavalry with them, it will scout the country on the flanks, if not, then
      > infantry flankers of the rear guard must perform that office. The bayonet
      > must be used to force obedience to these orders.
      > The Inspector-General of corps should be specially active to see that
      > these instructions are executed.
      > Provost Marshals will send cavalry, when they have it, on all roads to
      > their rear to hurry up stragglers. No straggler should be permitted to halt
      > until he has joined his proper regiment.
      > On all forks of roads, corps commanders should leave mounted men, if
      > they have them, if not, then footmen, to remain during the passage of the
      > corps, and come up with the rear guards to show the way the troops have
      > marched. The Provost Marshals of corps or divisions should take measures to
      > occupy every dwelling in the vicinity of the line of march of the troops,
      > and prevent any intrusion on the part of officers or men. All damages to
      > fences or crops, all marauding and trespassing will be prevented as far as
      > possible. Marauders will be at once brought to [illegible -- trial?] by
      > division commanders, and the sentence will be executed, if awarded by the
      > court, with promptness, and as publicly as possible.
      > Any officer of any regiment or corps whatever is authorized to order
      > forward or arrest any straggler of any regiment in the army. Resistance to
      > such exercise of authority will be at the risk of death.
      > By order of MAJ-GEN. MCCLELLAN,
      > S. WILLIAMS, A. A. G.
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