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Section No. 5. Not knowing the duties that are to be exacted from the new brigadier generals, or the causes inducing a change in the departments of the Quartermaster General and the Commissary Genral of Subsistence, I refrain from remark, other than an expression of surprise at the proposal to transfer the duties of the Clothing Bureau from the former to the latter.
Section No. 6 refers to matters that will engage the attention of officers of those departments to which they appertain, and who will be able to review them with a better knowledge than I possess.
Section No. 7. Whilst there is a perfect propriety in the selection for general officers, I see no reason for the departure from the longestablished rule of promotion to the grade of colonel, in the ordnance department. After a service of more than thirty years in one department, it is to be supposed that an officer would be more useful by continuance therein than by a removal to a new sphere of duties. With regard to vacancies, I have to refer to my remarks on the composition of the corps, under section No. 4, and reiterate the opinion that vacancies in the department should be filled from officers of all the regiments, who may have graduated at the Military Academy above No. 21.
Section No. 8. The Executive already possesses and exercises the power of prescribing the armament of the troops. No legislation seems necessary.
Section No. 9 is understood to aim at the negation of brevet rank in all cases except when assignment is made by the President on mixed commands. This, in my opinion, will be a wholesome law. The latter clause of the section is, I think, unjust to certain officers, and will prove to be injurious to the service. I would propose the following substitute: “Officers of the pay and medical departments will not command commissioned officers of other corps, or departments; nor will they be commanded except by the commanding commissioned officer of the troops with whom they serve.”
Section No. 10 is approved.
Section No. 11 is approved, except the restriction of pay and allowances to officers on furlough. This restriction will be unfavorable to officers serving on distant stations, while those in the Atlantic States will not be much affected. Those having power to grant furloughs should see that the indulgence is not abused. The closing paragraph of this section seems to me to be uncalled for, the pay of the general officers having been considered with that of the others in section No. 11.
Sections Nos. 12, 13, and 14. Nothing is seen to be objected to, in these sections. I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient,
H. K. CRAIG,
Colonel of Ordnance. Hon. C. J. FAULKNER,
Chairman Military Committee, Ho. of Reps.
BUREAU OF TOPOGRAPHICAL ENGINEERS,
Washington, January 22, 1855. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge your direction to report upon House of Representatives bill No. 615, entitled “A bill for the increase and better organization of the army, and for other purposes."
Your letter directs me to make a full and careful examination of the provisions of the bill, and to give an expression of my views, in writing, relative thereto.
It is also stated, that the report should be ready for the committee by its meeting on Tuesday next.
In order to comply with your direction, each provision of the bill will be taken up in order, and the reflections and opinions which occur to me will be stated as briefly as practicable.
Many parts of the bill refer more to other branches of the army than that to which I belong, and will, without doubt, be reported upon by other officers with better knowledge in reference to those branches than I possess; but I will endeavor as far as in my power, and as well as the time for the answer will admit, to fulfil your directions.
Section 1 increases the army by two regiments of infantry, and two regiments of cavalry, which, with the change, in the 2d section, of the mounted rifles into a regiment of cavalry, will make in the whole five regiments of cavalry, four regiments of artillery, ten regiments of infantry—in all, nineteen regiments.
The increase of the army is so necessary, and so desirable, that objections can, to my mode of thinking, be alleged only against the form or kind of troops. I do not perceive the necessity of the two additional regiments of cavalry, but would prefer, as more efficient and less costly, five regiments of infantry. Five regiments of infantry would cost about the same as the two regiments of infantry and the two regiments of cavalry proposed, and would, to my judgment, be more efficient and of more general utility. The change of the mounted rifles to a regiment of cavalry, (section 2,) would furnish as much of that kind of force as could be well employed. Three regiments of cavalry will give three thousand men, exclusive of non-commissioned and commissioned officers. Infantry can much sooner be made serviceable than cavalry, the latter requiring a drill and discipline of both man and horse.
And in reference to the protection of our frontier, for which it is said cavalry is particularly desirable, there is with me no doubt that such protection would be more effectually rendered by a cordon of posts, in which infantry could be stationed, and by cavalry patroles between each of these. For these last purposes, the three regiments of cavalry would, I think, be adequate, and to prevent marauding parties of Indians, and to protect travellers. Such marauding parties are usually small, and can be best pursued and with more rapidity by small parties.
A passion for riding gives, in our country, to cavalry force much of its popularity. The necessity of drilling the horse, of taking care of him and of his equipment, does not so generally enter into the reasoning
Five regiments of cavalry will be full in reference to officers, but
rarely more than half full in reference to privates. Three regiments carefully kept up full will, therefore, be equally efficient, and much less costly.
The yearly maintenance of cavalry is very costly-forage, &c., farriers, blacksmiths, death of horses--so that it will take time to have small bodies of this arm ready for use, and great vigilance and care to keep them in good order.
Section 2 changes the mounted rifles into a regiment of cavalry; from which fact it may be reasonably inferred that experience has not sustained the supposed efficiency of mounted riflemen.
Also, in this section, in order to furnish details for general staff duties, there are to be added for staff duties, to each regiment, four captains and four first lieutenants.
As there will be nineteen regiments by this bill, the addition for staff duties will be 76 captains and 76 first lieutenants, in all 152 officers, which I think will increase the staff much beyond its present organization-add much to its cost, but not to its efficiency.
The same section also provides for the increase of the cavalry from 64 to 100 privates, as the President may direct; the artillery the same; and each company of infantry may be increased 26 privates. The increase of non-commissioned officers proportional. But the increase herein authorized of privates will add
1,600 privates to the cavalry.
to the artillery.
to the infantry. In all 5,640 privates. Therefore, at the pleasure of the Executive, the army can be enlarged by 5,640 privates, and consequent expenses.
It appears to me that so serious an increase in our army, by Executive will, is rather a new feature in our mode of military legislation, and will be of serious injury to the army, by making it more the creation of the Executive, and less the creation of law. The whole section appears to me rather indefinite, involving too much of the idea just above stated.
Moreover, this great addition of officers for staff duties is proof that officers are required for those duties. The choice is between a regular organization as now exists, and temporary details, and I am disposed to think that the cost of the plan as proposed will much exceed the one in being, and be far less efficient, because of the subdued qualifications and less devotion of the temporary details.
Section 3 adds to the corps of engineers 1 brigadier general, 1 colonel, 4 majors, 8 captains, 8 first lieutenants, and 8 second lieutenants; and from what follows, it leaves it to be supposed (but is not so directed) that these additions (except the brigadier generals) will be taken from the corps of topographical engineers, which is discontinued by this section, but such is not a direction of the bill ; and as the bill is silent in reference to the period when it shall take effect, this period is supposed to be on the final passage of the bill into a law. According to this view, the word “discontinued” is equivalent to the word “disbanded.” Also, the transfer to other corps is not made obliga
tory; and as it will require some time to consummate arrangements, there will, therefore, be a period when, according to my understanding of the bill, the corps of topographical engineers will be positively disbanded, without pay or employment.
This corps now consists (including brevet second lieutenant graduates) of 42 officers. If the number as named above are put into the corps of engineers, it will leave 13 for other regiments or corps.
Section 4. This section reduces the ordnance corps to 11 officers; it now consists (including graduates as second lieutenants) of 38; there will, therefore, be 27 of the officers of this corps to be transferred to other corps and regiments. It appears to me no more than just to suppose that this corps has not been raised to its present numbers, without reason, or without necessity and propriety. To suppose the spare numbers to be so transferred will be assigned to similar duties as those on which they are now engaged, is to suppose a labored legislation, merely to change names. An ordnance corps has been found necessary with the army organizations of all countries. I do not perceive how it can be dispensed with in ours, without serious injury to the public service, as now organized. It may be said that it is not dispensed with, but reduced; while it may be said of the corps of topographical engineers that it is dispensed with. But with both of these corps (taking it for granted that it is not the intention to disband either) no time is specified about the transfers, or as to what is to become of officers while these measures are being digested ; it is therefore suggested that the following addition be affixed to the bill :
“ That the officers of the several corps and departments referred to in this law be retained in service, as now organized, until the several transfers, as directed and as authorized to other regiments and corps, shall have been made."
The phraseology of the bill in reference to these two corps is seriously different. In one case it positively directs the transfers to be made; in the other it leaves them in doubt. But in neither is there any provision for the time occupied in making and digesting the transfer arrangements.
Section 5 provides for nine brigadier generals; reduces the officers of the Commissary General, while it increases his duties in giving to his care the clothing department; and provides for one judge advocate. I do not comprehend this, as it is not possible for one judge advocate to attend to all the army general courts-martial. He should be a person of law knowledge, and be able to employ a deputy of law knowledge, if required, for each general court-martial.
Section 6. All commissioned officers to be appointed by the President and Senate, but appointments in the staff (as enumerated) to be appointed by the President. The staff, in its staff appointments, are not, then, commissioned officers. This section evidently contemplates a system of changes from staff to line duties, and from line to staff duties. I do not think such a system will work well. Either the duties of staff officers are excessively simple, (not a general impression,) or some time will be required in becoming acquainted with them. But the detail not being permanent, the officer so detailed foresees no advantage in it, (but mere matter of convenience) or induce
ments to the study and devotion which staff duties require. While occupied on these he loses by disuse much of his line-duty knowledge, and
goes back to the line a worse line-officer than when he left, and was no great staff officer when on that duty.
The present law authorizing commissions in the staff for certain parts, as enumerated, are repealed, and officers "now holding commissions in the staff shall be arranged to places in the army, regard as far as practicable being had to rank.”
It seems to me that regard must be had to rank, or the officer will be reduced.
The section is long, complicated, and ambiguous; admitting, to my reading, of various interpretations.
Section 7. 1. “General officers shall be appointed by selection, the engineer brigadier general of engineers from the corps, and the ordnance colonel by selection from the corps.
2. “In all other cases promotions shall be made by seniority to the grade of colonel, except in cases of disability or incompetency,” and throughout the different arms of service.
3. is Vacancies in the grade of major of ordnance shall be supplied by selection from the artillery.”
The higher the professional grade, the greater the necessity of professional knowledge, because the more extensive the influence, and the evils of a want of that knowledge; therefore I think promotions and appointments to all grades of the army should be by seniority.
Moreover, the great evil under which the army suffers, and which is the most general subject of complaint, is the slowness of promotion. This evil would be much remedied and much reduced by promotion to all grades by seniority. One promotion from colonel to brigadier, promotes a lieutenant colonel, a major, a captain, a first lieutenant, a second lieutenant, and a brevet second lieutenant, which, with his own, makes seven promotions.
But promotions to the rank of colonel (according to arm of service) are to be by seniority, except in case of disability or incompetency. Í think this exception highly proper. The defect (and I think it a serious defect) is in the absence of any authorized mode for ascertaining the “ disability and incompetency.”
The selections in the two cases of the engineers and the ordnance, it is supposed to be from an admitted necessity that officers of such elevated rank in these corps require professional knowledge. The requirement does not appear to me less necessary in other cases.
Majors of ordnance to be filled by selections from the artillery. This gives to the artillery the advantage of promotion into two corps.
It also appears to me singularly unjust that an officer detached on a duty as a captain, no matter how well informed he may be, or how well acquainted with the duties of the corps, (unless of the artillery,) is forever debarred from promotion in the corps.
Section 8. I do not understand this section. The bill creates cavalry, artillery, and infantry. The arming and equipping of these several arms is a matter well understood, and has direct reference to the arm of service. But if they can be armed and equipped ad libitum, I see no use in these distinctive appellations, or in the change of the