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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
points growing in value as well as in number, there should arise & necessity for an increase in the number of the officers whose ordinary and most important function is to provide the defences for these coasts, and, in addition, for a long line of land frontier facing the possessions of a powerful nation.
In my annual report for this year, (printed among the documents accompanying the President's message, I have stated this question quite at large, and beg now to refer to that report for my deliberate views on the subject; merely adding, here, that for such a supervision as the public interests require of the works of fortification and other operations assigned by law to the corps of engineers, there is required, to meet an absolute and positive want, an addition of thirty officers to its members, as speedily as it can properly be made.
It appears, then, that the augmentation of the corps of engineers proposed in the bill is in exact accordance, as to numbers, with the present measure of our need.
Considering the grades proposed to be added by the bill, the result will be two colonels, two lieutenant colonels, and eight majors, as the field officers of the corps. I submit, however, that two colonels, four lieutenant colonels, and eight majors, would be a juster apportionment of the field officers—lessening the number of officers below the grade of major by the number (2) added to the field officers, and leaving the total proposed addition (30) unchanged. With an addition to the cost, as proposed in the bill, of $1,667 50 per annum, every expense included, this would be an important gratification in the line of promotion; and, as I sincerely believe that encouragement, good heart, and esprit du corps maintained by such an organization would, as a mere matter of economy, be a material gain, I earnestly recommend this modification of the bill to the committee. And this arrangement will accord much better with the practice of nations of larger military experience than ourselves. In the English service there are in the engineers fourteen colonels, seventeen lieutenant colonels, and seventeen majors; and in the very perfect military organization of the French service, where there are no unnecessary officers or grades, there are twenty-nine colonels, fifty-six lieutenant colonels, and fiftythree majors of engineers.
I have several times asked that another company of engineer soldiers might be provided. The one we have is very useful, but its numbers will not allow of the detachments from it that are desirable. A large part of the existing company is required to aid in giving instruction in practical engineering to the cadets of the Military Academy. Allowing, for the care of the engineer trains, for guards, drills, sick, occasional small detachments for special objects; bearing in mind that & company can never be kept up to its legal organization, and that some of its members are themselves learners, it will be seen that few or none can be left to serve “in overseeing and aiding laborers upon fortifications, &c," and "in supervising finished fortifications," as is provided for by the law establishing the company. (See law of May 15, 1846, vol. IX, page 12, Little & Brown's edition.) Hence, another company is required, on the grounds of efficiency and economy, in this branch of the public service.
On the proposition to place a brigadier general at the head of the corps under the contemplated reorganization I have nothing to say.
I come now to the second clause of the third section, which proposes to discontinue the corps of topographical engineers, and to transfer its officers to the corps of engineers, or other corps or regiments, as the President may see fit.
The corps of topographical engineers was first regularly organized in 1838, prior to which time its officers were taken from the regiments of the army, by selecting just as those of the Adjutant General's, Quartermaster General's, and Commissary's departments are now supplied. Whether injustice or undue hardship would result to such officers by returning them to regimental positions is not for me to say. Nor have I any doubt that the duties now pertaining to the corps of topographical engineers are appropriate to the officers of my own corps, who are now liable, under laws or regulations, to do all such duty, and who actually perform such duty from time to time. If, therefore, the question were now presented to me, whether it would be advantageous—supposing that no corps of topographical engineers were now in existence in our army—to make such separate organization, I should say that it was uncalled for, and contrary to the practice of other nations.
But the two corps now exist; and the question whether they can, with propriety, be now blended into one, is of very different import.
My opinion clearly is that they cannot, with propriety, be so blended, and for the following reasons:
Congress has thought proper to declare, in the 63d article of war, that the functions of the engineers are generally confined to the most elevated branches of military science, and, in accordance with that declaration, the Academic Board of the Military Academy are required to recommend the graduates for promotion in the following order: 1st. Only a few at the head of the class for the engineers, and all other arms of service: a few classes have not afforded any with this recommendation for the engineers. 2d. Others (next below those recommended for the corps of engineers) are recommended for the topographical engineers, and all other arms excepting the engineers. The promotions are made in accordance with these designations by the Academic Board.
Now, I do not mean to say anything as to whether as large an amount of ability and acquirements are, or are not, desirable for the duties of a “topographical engineer” as for an engineer;' but I think it is plain that the best graduates of the academy do, as a matter of fact, under the foregoing system of promotion, go into the "engineers,” and that only the next best go into the topographical engineers. And the article of war referred to above states explicitly that the "engineers” belong to the most elevated branch of science in our army organization.
The actual class rank of the officers of the two corps is in accordance with the above. It will be seen by reference to the register of the graduates of the Military Academy, up to the year of publicationthat is, from 1819 to 1849—that the graduates appointed into the engineers varied from 1st to 7th, and that their average standing is expressed by 21, (nearly;) some classes, as before said, not furnishing any officers to that corps. The class rank of the graduates appointed to the corps of topographical engineers, in the same time, varied from 1st through 7, 9, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, to 25, and in one instance to 55, the average being 111. Surely, injustice to the one corps, if not injury to the public service, would result from the transfer proposed to be made into the corps of engineers.
But I have thus far examined only the entrance of the graduates into service. Most of our officers have served for years—5, 10, 20, 40 years. The knowledge of his profession, requisite to fit the officer of the corps of engineers for the discharge of his duties, is not to be acquired from books alone, though books have closely to be studied. It is experience, constant and varied, in the application of scientific or technical principles to the endless variety of circumstances, geographical, topographical, and climatic, which gradually raises him, step by step, in the labors and responsibilities of his corps. His studies, which must be unremitting to maintain proper command of the various branches of science that he must make tributary to his wants, must be especially so in those that are peculiar to his profession—those that are exclusively his—those which, of themselves, occupy the mind for life, and suffice, alone, to give historic reputation to such as succeed in them.
The word "engineer"—the title of one of the corps, and part of the title of the other—must not mislead. The "civil engineer,” the “steam engineer,” the engineer-ship-builder of the French, &c., all have a common basis of pure science with the “topographical engiDeer" and the "engineer" of the engineer corps; and there are certain applications of science that are common; but it is not more so with these than with the other branches of military science-as, for instance, the ordnance and artillery. And it may, in my opinion, be said with perfect truth, that there is no greater fitness in a topographical engineer for the duties of the corps of engineers—for those duties, I mean, that are peculiar to the latter body, constituting its most important functions and characteristics-duties for which it was specially created, has been maintained, and which have yielded its most important fruits—than there is in any other officer whose studies have had a scientific basis. Of course, I am understood in all this to mean nothing like a boast–certainly nothing of the nature of a reproach or slur, for no one has a higher admiration than I have for the services and achievements of the corps of topographical engineers, in which there are several officers that I am proud to reckon as my friends. I mean, simply, that even those officers whose studies have been most severe, and success most brilliant, in the topographical ,corps, have not included those particular studies, nor had those peculiar applications of science, which are indispensable to the education and experience of the officer of engineers. The great body of the topographical officers are, and for years past have generally been, employed in surveys, in running boundary lines, in the prosecution of intricate and delicate astronomical observations, in works of geology, topography, and hydrography—very important branches, it is true, of the multifarious art of the engineer, but having no affinity