Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Memorandum Respecting Reduction of the Regular Army [1]

[c. April 13, 1865?]

At the close of the last British war,---in 1815---the Regular army was reduced and fixed at 14,000, which was about one soldier to 602 souls. In 1821 the army was again reduced to 10,000, which was about one soldier to 963 souls. It is proposed that at the endPage  409 of this struggle, the Regular Army shall be reduced to, and fixed at, one soldier to 1000 souls---the reduction to be in the regiments now created, all privates, thus discharged, to receive half pay from their discharge to the end of their several terms of enlistment; all officers thus discharged, who were taken from civil life, to receive one years full pay after discharge; and all who were taken from the old regular Army, to receive pay for life, according to their several ranks, at the time of their discharge, and without promotion, Congress to provide a mode of designating what officers, and what privates, are to be discharged at the time of the reduction.


[1]   AD, DLC-RTL. This memorandum is cataloged in the Lincoln Papers with a supplied date ``[1864].'' It seems more likely, however, to have been written in April, 1865, following Lee's surrender. On April 13, Stanton issued his order to stop drafting and recruiting, to curtail purchases, to reduce the number of general and staff officers, and to remove all military restrictions. By summer, demobilization was well under way, but the organization of the postwar Regular Army, with a maximum force of 76,000 men, was not established until the Act of July 28, 1866.