He tells Gen. David S. Stanley that he is proud the British Army is taking similar measures.
Garfield was a brigadier general during the Civil War, and served as Chief of Staff to Gen. William Rosecrans, who commanded the Army of the Cumberland. In 1863 he resigned his commission to take a seat in Congress. He immediately showed an ability to command the attention of the House of Representatives. According...
Garfield was a brigadier general during the Civil War, and served as Chief of Staff to Gen. William Rosecrans, who commanded the Army of the Cumberland. In 1863 he resigned his commission to take a seat in Congress. He immediately showed an ability to command the attention of the House of Representatives. According to a reporter, "…when he takes the floor, Garfield's voice is heard above all others. Every ear attends…his eloquent words move the heart, convince the reason, and tell the weak and wavering which way to go." He became a radical Republican, and was what we would call today a policy wonk, being fascinated by economic, financial and military policy. After the war he was chairman of the House Military Affairs Committee, and in that post dedicated himself to reorganizing the post-war United States Army. He called before him to testify heads of the different departments of the Army, such as Quartermaster General, Paymaster General, Surgeon General, and Adjutant General, as well as other knowledgeable military officers, and searched into and lit up every corner of the service from the generals on down. He tabulated the results, and having occupied himself for years with the problem of readjusting the armies of the Republic to a peace footing, in February 1869 made a complete report covering every aspect of the subject. There were even histories of every department of the army. This work brought Garfield's name to the forefront of the party.
Before the Civil War, Capt. David S. Stanley was a deputy quartermaster general, and considered an expert on the subject. Promoted to general when the war came, he gained fame participating in the Atlanta Campaign as a division commander, and was then promoted to corps commander by General Sherman when O.O. Howard took over command of the Army of the Tennessee. After this, Stanley was sent to Tennessee to fight against John Bell Hood’s army. There, at the Battle of Franklin, he saved part of Wagner’s division and for this received the Medal of Honor. After the war, Stanley was sent west to the Dakota Territory, where he commanded the 22nd US infantry. Dakota was then very much on the frontier, and conflicts with the Sioux Indians were not uncommon.
However, Stanley retained his interest in the affairs of the army and particularly the quartermaster's department. He was in touch with Garfield, who sent him a copy of the reorganization report; Stanley also wanted to be kept current on matters not only of the reorganization but of Indian affairs that bore directly on his present work. Garfield was glad to comply, and in so doing was proud to inform Stanley that many of Garfield's own ideas for the U.S. Army were also being adopted by the British Army.
Letter signed, Washington, DC, December 24, 1869, to General Stanley.
“Yours of the 12th inst. is received. I shall send you any documents that will interest you in regard to the Army and Indian matters. I believe I sent you my report on Army Organization which was presented to Congress last Spring. You will see that I there recommended a consolidation of several of the Staff Departments. I was delighted the next year to know that a report strikingly similar has been given to the House of Commons in regard to the British Army, and the British Government has just now adopted the principles of the report and are consolidating the quartermaster, commissary and pay departments into one and making several other staff consolidations. I feel greatly complimented that the same kind of measure as that recommended by me is prevailing and this country must follow. The British report was made before mine, but I never heard of it until a few weeks ago. Your account of Indian affairs is exceedingly satisfactory and I shall take the liberty to show your letter to the President. I am sure it will be gratifying to him. "
Garfield's technical expertise had a lot to do with his being nominated for president by the Republican Party in 1880. Unfortunately, the year of his election, his holding that exalted position cost him his life.
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