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I herewith give a table of the attendance at the inspections:

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CONCLUSION.

Although the policy of this country is peace, to be prepared for war is the most effective means of preserving it. Many of the states have their militia based upon, and governed by, a much more complete system than ours, and the reports lately received from the Adjutant or Quartermaster Generals of other states, show they are zealously contending for a well armed and well disciplined force of militia, though it may not be so very large in numbers. We have in the offices and ranks much of our best material, and have many fine organizations, which with some changes, a more stringent law, and a little more financial aid from the State, would place us in the front ranks of the National Guard organizations of the country.

Gen. Benét, Chief of Ordnance, U. S. A., in his last report, says:

“Recent events have conclusively proved that an armed force, well organized and disciplined, is as powerful to maintain law and order, as it has been to gain our independence and preserve our Union. Until our militia is by statute organized, disciplined, and well armed and equipped, as was evidently intended by the Constitution, our dependence in times of disorder and disturbance must be in our small standing army. In the light of the recent past, I know of no subject so fraught with interest, and so pregnant with vital issues to the country at large in its future far and near, nor one that should arrest the attention of Congress more strongly, or more earnestly invite its patient consideration. Not only should the permanent annual appropriation for arming and equipping the militia be increased to one million of dollars, but there should be some positive legislation fixing the responsibility and prescribing the method of accountability for these arms and equipments.”

The latter part of the above extract, no doubt, is intended to refer to the loss, and disposal by sale, of arms by some states, and U. S. Attorney General Williams in 1874, gave his opinion upon the subject to the Secretary of War, viz.: "that the States do not by the existing laws have the right of property in the arms issued for arming the militia, if an absolute right of property is there meant; and that they derive no authority under those laws to sell or dispose of such arms at their pleasure.” Again Gen. Benét says,

“The rifle issued to the army and the militia compares favorably with the best breech-loader, either here or abroad, as was conclusively shown recently in

the inter-state military match at Creedmoor, when the California team from Gen. McComb's brigade made a score never equaled in a military team match."

“What fifteen years ago was deemed a perfect musket, is now classed as obsolete, with hardly å marketable value, and that marvel of mechanism of to-day, the breech-loading rifle, must soon make room for a still greater marvel in simplicity and effectiveness. In our preparation, we must keep abreast of the progress of the age; get the best of to-day, with a certainty that it must yield to the best of to-morrow.”

The rapid advancement in the science of arms assisted by the inventive genius of the mechanic, is every year presenting new features to the soldier; the guns of the light artillery of to-day, are being partially supplanted by the machine guns of Gatling, Gardner, and Hotchkiss; the sabre of the cavalry has become obsolete, and will probably soon be discarded for the magazine carbine, and the bayonet of the infantry may possibly be partially, if not wholly dispensed with. In view of these facts or probabilities, I have drawn from the Ordnance Department, only what will barely suffice our present needs, and expect to make yet more changes for effectiveness.

The amount in value of the annual appropriation, under the law of 1808, for arming the militia of the States," is $200,000—less about $12,000 for expenses in making the distribution-and is apportioned to the several States of the Union, under the law of 1855, “according to the number of their Representatives and Senators in Congress, respectively,” making the allowance for this State annually 356, equal in value to $1,919.14.

The subject of rifle practice, during the past year, has received considerable attention, but not as much as its importance demands; and only a few companies prepare themselves by the aiming drill in the armory, previous to the annual field practice. With the new rifles furnished the organized teams, it is to be hoped Rhode Island will be represented this year in the inter-state military matches.

The history of the two bronze field pieces in the hands of the Warren Artillery having been the subject of considerable speculation, I made endeavors to ascertain from the archives of the artillery of the war office at Paris, France, if any authentic information concerning them

could be given. The correspondence relating thereto baving been recently published in the Providence Journal, I will not repeat it here. Still further efforts are being made to gain information concerning them.

I avail myself of this opportunity to thank the officers of the militia for their many courtesies during the past year, and also to testify to the ability of my assistant, Major F. S. Arnold, and his attention to any duties to which he has been assigned. Respectfully submitted,

C. R. DENNIS,

Quartermaster General.

APPENDIX.

A.-Inventory of arms, equipments, &c., in hands of the Militia.
B.- Inventory of arms, equipments, &c., received into the storehouse,

from United States Ordnance Department, and Militia. C.-Inventory of property issued from storehonse to Militia. D.-Inventory of ordnance, small arms, accoutrements, &c., turned

over to the United States Government Ordnance Department. E.-Issues of ammunition for artillery. F.-Inventory of the whole of the arms, equipments, ammunition,

clothing, &c., owned by the State in hands of Militia, in storehouse, &c.

G.–List of armories, where located, how owned or leased, with the

amount of rent paid by the Militia, and the amount allowed by

the State. H.- List of bills certified by this Department to State Auditor during

the year 1877.

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