Battles within Battles
ON June 28, Lincoln had asked state governments for 300,000 additional troops: 501,663 were reported "present" with the army before Washington, but this number was plainly inflated; 49,990 recruits went to the Army of the Potomac. The Sanitary Commission proposed that recruits be distributed among veterans. Within three months experienced fighters could bring the new levy to good discipline by example. If 300,000 augmented the already formed regiments without creating new ones, the country would save "thousands of lives and millions of dollars." The Sanitary stand won general approval, thus obliging the government to accept some of its proposals. The commission also called for stricter standards of examination. Washington's intentions hardly inspired much confidence, thought the commissioners. Three hundred thousand fresh recruits did not cut the root of the difficulty, when reinforcements should have been sent to regiments depleted by battle and disease. Had training camps been set up over the country, pleas for more troops would have been unnecessary; had trained reserves been marching to the front, the devices of drawing lots and money payment to attract soldiers would have been pointless.
Public interest shifted to the Army of Virginia under General John Pope. His 77,799 men plunged into active campaigning before they could be organized properly for teamwork. To take care of ambulances in time of action Dr.