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Question. State more in detail the views which caused you to differ from the Secretary of War as to the expediency of reducing the regiments of artillery.
Answer. In the conversation which I had with the Secretary, I regretted the proposed reduction of two regiments of artillery. We conversed freely on the subject, and differed; but finally, we so far approximated that he paid me the compliment to say that he had more confidence in my opinion, with reference to artillery, than he had in
In this connexion, let me say that the Secretary was bred in the infantry and cavalry, and was indeed an excellent officer in both. I was bred an artillerist, and on that account, I suppose, he deferred to my judgment on this point.
Our country has now nearly finished an excellent system of defence on the Atlantic and Gulf seaboard by fortifications, on which a great amount of money has been expended, which all military men have become more persuaded are necessary. Each of these fortifications requires small garrisons in time of peace, to keep them in order and save them from dilapidation. The artillery should garrison these fortifications, but we have been obliged to withdraw and send the artillery into the Indian countries.
The artillery has made, in the field, excellent infantry and light infantry. Willing, then, as they have ever been, to do any duty, in peace and in war, which has been assigned them, why should they be deprived of the name in which they have gained distinction ?
The cadets who excelled in artillery duty at West Point are made officers in the artillery, and are adapted to that duty, and also make excellent infantry. Seven-eighths of them are now engaged as infantry. In Mexico I often had occasion to witness their excellent conduct with both arms.
Its members have never said, when required to face Mexicans or Indians, “We cannot fight with muskets--we are artillerists.'
The chance of returning to their position as artillerists in our permanent forts, so long as their name remains unchanged, cheers them wherever they are—in the swamps of Florida or wilds of Texas.
Mr. Thomas M. Howe, a member of the committee, called the attention of General Scott to that clause of the bill reducing the officers of the ordnance corps, and asked if it would not be doing injustice to those officers, who would, by virtue of a special act of Congress, be entitled to a captaincy after fourteen years' continuous service in that corps, and who, if this bill passed, by being transferred to other regiments, would lose their right to promotion under that act, and by that means be placed some ways behindhand in the line of promotion?
General Scott said: That promotion in the army was effected, more or less, by the stations of the different regiments or corps; that promotion was of course quicker in regiments which were posted at remote, exposed, and uncomfortable stations, where the mortality was greater. As an example in point, officers in the 6th infantry who graduated three or four years after officers in the 4th infantry, are now ahead of the latter in the line of promotion, for the reason that the 4th infantry had generally had pleasant stations, whilst the 6th were for the same time in distant and uncomfortable posts, resulting
in more deaths and resignations. The one made up in pleasantness of service, what the other gained by promotion in service of roughness and hardship.
It is true that, on account of stagnant promotion in the staff corps, Congress recently passed an act giving captaincies to lieutenants therein for fourteen years' service. There was the error, and not in this bill, rendering some of the staff officers liable to be transferred. That provision should have been general. If there was a necessity for it, its provisions, in fairness, should have been extended to the regiments. The officers of staff corps have very generally been engaged on the most pleasant duties, with higher pay and emoluments; while the captains and lieutenants of regiments have generally been at remote, uncomfortable, and unhealthy stations, thus gaining, by mortality and resignations, a quicker promotion.
Reverse the positions of these officers, and no doubt the captains and lieutenants of the staff corps would have performed every duty of the line as cheerfully, gallantly, and efficiently as their brothers. I know them well. They also are capable of braving every hardship and every danger; but those hardships and those dangers have, in fact, and from the circumstances, been actually and more generally met and overcome by the captains and lieutenants of the marching regiments.
WASHINGTON CITY, January 2, 1855. SIR: I have been requested by the Secretary of War to present directly to you, as the chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs of the House of Representatives, my views in relation to the several provisions of the bill reported by you on the 4th instant, for the increase and better organization, &c., of the army; and understanding that it is in accordance with your own wishes that I should do so, I most respectfully present the following remarks :
In relation to the 1st section of the bill, it is proper to observe that our army, spread, as it is, in small detachments over a territory embracing twenty-four degrees of latitude and fifty-seven degrees of longitude, is totally inadequate to the duties devolved upon it; it is in the actual performance of duties equal to those performed by any fifty thousand men in any other service in the world. Long, rapid, and expensive movements have continually to be made to make up for the want of numbers. Every man, therefore, proposed to be added by this section of the bill, will be required for the defence of our extensive frontiers; and in the event of serious Indian difficulties, a volun teer force will often be necessary in aid of the army even with that increase.
I ascribe all the Indian wars which have taken place, since the conclusion of peace with Great Britain at Ghent, to the reduction of the army in 1821. When the difficulties first occurred in relation to our northeastern boundary, Mr. Adams was obliged to withdraw the greater part of two regiments from Florida and the Creek country. Had the force then withdrawn remained among, or near to, the southern Indians, we would, I believe, have avoided the Creek and Seminole wars, with all the heavy expenses attending them, and every Indian of those tribes have been long since west of the Mississippi.
As relates to the 2d section of the bill, the title of "cavalry” is the proper designation for all mounted corps; but in place of the four captains and four first lieutenants to each company of cavalry, artillery, and infantry, I would recommend that a first lieutenant be added to each company of cavalry and infantry, (there are now two first lieutenants to each company of artillery,) and that all the subordinate staff officers of every branch of the service be appointed from first lieutenants to serve in the staff for four years, unless removed by the President, or promoted to a captaincy, in which latter event the officer promoted should join his company. In what further relates to the organization of the companies, the only remark I would make is, to recommend that one of the two farriers, authorized to each company of cavalry, be a competent veterinary surgeon, and have additional pay as such.
In relation to the 3d section, I believe the service would be benefited by uniting the two corps of engineers; but I doubt whether the number of officers should be reduced. The labors of these corps have no relation to the number of the troops composing the army; but as our country, unlike the great States of Europe, whose measures of preparation and works of defence have been completed, has hardly yet begun to put itself in armor, or to make the surveys required for war, the officers of engineers should be numerous—fully as much so in peace as in war; for it is in peace only that permanent and durable works can be erected, or that scientific surveys can be faithfully made. But if the two corps be blended, and the proposed reduction be made, inasmuch as the officers of both corps have received equal advantages of education, and the officers of the topographical engineers are certainly equal in every respect to those of the engineers of construction, it is a matter of sheer justice that the officers be selected from both corps, and that the inefficient of both, if there are any such, be transferred to other corps of the army. More engineer soldiers are necessary. We will require at least sixty forts for the defence of our extensive maritime frontier in time of war; and those forts can be more cheaply kept in repair by the engineer soldiers, under the direction of engineer officers, than in any other mode that could be devised.
In relation to the 4th section, I would remark, that the labors of the ordnance, like those of the two corps of engineers, are as extensive and arduous in peace as in war; it is then that arms must be fabricated and every munition prepared, and that ordnance depots should be established on all the great avenues leading to the frontiers. As to the reduction of the officers of the corps I would prefer to say nothing; but as this is the only corps in which it is proposed to add a considerable number of field officers, the artillery and the staff should share in the promotion, or, what would be more just, officers of the staff, holding the rank provided for, should be transferred to that corps with their field rank.
As to the 5th section, I have to remark, that so far as regards the first class of officers, having a personal interest in the matter, I can
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say not a word; that the eight quartermasters will be sufficient, with the assistants provided for in other sections of the bill, for the service of the Quartermaster's department, in peace or in Indian operations, and that they should be taken from the lieutenant colonels and majors of the army; and that as to the supply of clothing, it might well be provided by the Commissary's department; but that the accountability should be with the Pay department, and the clothing accounts of the soldier should be settled every pay-day. There are paymasters enough in the army to do this duty; it can only be done efficiently by them; and if it were so done, many thousand dollars now lost would be saved to the public.
As to section 6, I have only to say that the appointments on the staff should be for four years, unless for cause they should be sooner terminated by the President; and that the officers holding commissions in the staff, particularly those who served through the Indian wars to the south, and the war with Mexico, having faithfully earned their rank, should, as a matter of absolute justice, be arranged to places in the army with the rank they actually hold. If there are not places for them all in the regiments, I recommend that they be attached as supernumeraries until vacancies occur; and that the field officers and captains be attached to the corps from which they were originally taken. One of the lieutenant colonels of the Quartermaster's department was originally in the ordnance.
The 7th and 8th sections could not be changed for the better; and as to the 9th section, it relieves the service from three absurd articles of war, which have produced more difficulty in the service than all other causes combined ; and the second paragraph of the section establishes the only correct military rule for the exercise of command. In a territory so extensive as ours, there should be no doubtful authority in the military body; rank implies command, and the senior officer present, no matter of what corps, should always exercise it, and be held responsible for the service. As to the 3d paragraph of the section, I would remark that brevet commissions should not have effect either for rank or pay, unless there be other troops serving besides the regular army at the station where the brevet officer is the senior. The nation should only pay the army according to its organization, unless officers be called on to command troops not of the army, in addition to their regular command. Should the section in regard to increased pay become law, there will not be a plausible reason for the allowance of brevet pay.
The last paragraph, relating to the pay and medical officers, would be improved by allowing them, as commissioned officers, to command all non-commissioned officers and privates in the absence of other commissioned officers; and to sit on military boards, courts-martial, and courts of inquiry, according to their special or assimilated rank.
Section 10 is as it should be; and as to section 11, having a personal interest in its provisions, I can say nothing in regard to it.
As to section 12, the members of all military boards organized under its provisions should act under the solemnities of an oath, as members of courts-martial and courts of inquiry are required to act. Of the remaining sections of the bill, I have only to say, that they seem to me to contain all the provisions and limitations required.
For my views generally in regard to the organization of the army, I respectfully refer you to a report which I made more than twentyfour years ago, which will be found in House Document No. 61, of the 2d session of the 21st Congress.—[See Appendix.] I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient servant,
TH. S. JESUP, But. Maj. General, and Quartermaster General. Hon. CHARLES J. FAULKNER,
Chairman Com. on Military Affairs, Ho. of Reps.
Washington, January 22, 1855. Sir: In compliance with the wish of the Committee on Military Affairs, communicated to me by the Hon. Secretary of War, that I should express my views, in writing, in relation to the provisions of the bill reported by the committee " for the increase and better organization of the army, and for other purposes,” I have the honor to present the following remarks:
Sections 1 and 2. On these sections I have no remarks to make. The necessity for an increase of the regular military force of the country seems to be generally acknowledged, and I do not know that I can make any suggestions of value, either as to the extent of augmentation or the particulars of organization proposed in these sections.
Section 3. My relation to the corps of engineers requires of me, in replying frankly to the call with which I have been honored, to remark at some length on this section.
It contains two classes. The first proposes to add to the corps of engineers, as the exigencies of the service may require, thirty officers and one company of soldiers.
The second proposes to discontinue the corps of topographical engineers, and to transfer its officers to the corps of engineers, or other corps or regiments.
On the first clause of this section, I have to state that for several years past I have felt it to be my duty to urge upon the War Department, and the appropriate committees of Congress, the necessity of an increase of the corps of engineers, on the following grounds mainly, viz : that the actual and proper military duties of its officers were becoming too numerous for them to bestow due personal presence and supervision; that this necessitated in trusting these duties, to a greater extent than is consistent with the public interest, to assistants hired, temporarily, from civil life-persons who, for want of requisite professional education and experience, are much less competent than engineer officers to discharge these duties intelligently and correctly; and that the expense of this unavoidable alternative is in fact greater, and sometimes considerably greater, than all the authorized allowances would be to officers substituted in their places. It is not strange that, with a seacoast doubled in extent within a few years, its exposed