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for duty at the parade on the occasion of the reception of President Hayes. The law limits the number of men in the division to 1800, (without including the companies not attached to the line, which have an aggregate of 350.) I recommend that the limit be placed at 1600 instead of 1800, which would give us a reliable force of about 1200. This number should then be properly equipped and maintained. Without going into a detailed description of the desired arrangement of companies and battalions, I will merely say that I would recommend but one brigade, that the infantry be assigned to battalions or regiments of six or eight companies each, (for many reasons I think a six company battalion for militia purposes is better than a larger one,) that the cavalry be consolidated into one company, and that one of the light batteries be supplied with Gatling Guns in exchange for the sixpounders now in use by them, and thereby largely reduce the expenses of maintenance and organize a more thoroughly effective battery for service in time of civil disturbance. Such a change in the law at this time would result in less confusion in the line, from the fact that the term for which field officers were elected expires in May next.
The following extract from the Army and Navy Journal, dated June 28th, 1877, is equally applicable to our State:
"A further fault in the militia system is found in the niggardly policy of the States to their forces, and in the attempt to secure a large show of numbers at small cost. Such a policy to-day sends out regiments in New York State without overcoats, blankets, haversacks, or canteens, sends the Philadelphia troops to Pittsburg without food, the 238 Brooklyn to Hornellsville with only one day's rations, and shows the United States, after all the journalistic braggadocio that has been spent on our supposed strength in veterans of the late war,' that those veterans have almost departed, and that we are as thoroughly unmilitary and defencless in 1877 as we were in 1861.”
Fortunately our militia were not called into active service; had their services been required, they could not have been supplied from the resources at our command with knapsacks, haversacks, canteens, overcoats, blankets, tents, or any of the absolutely necessary articles required for such duty. The statement of this fact suggests its own comment.
For the six years ending February 1874, there was expended on the militia an annual average of nearly $33,000. If we are to have an effective force, well equipped and disciplined, at least this amount will be required. The gross amount was largely appropriated in two years and generally in sums large or small, according to the modesty of the petitioners or the legislative influence of their friends. Had it been a regular annual allowance expended through the proper military departments, I firmly believe that the State would have far more to show for it than it now has.
The discussion of this branch of the subject leads me to speak of the “National Guards” of the State of Connecticut, which as a whole is now recognized as superior to the militia of any other State. I think the prime reason (after the fact of their being organized as one brigade of four eight and ten-company regiments,) lies in this; that the military anthorities have a regular annual fund at their disposal of about $70,000, which is expended on about 2600 men. This sum is not appropriated by the Legislature but is raised by a military per capita tax of $2.00 on all citizens subject to military duty. This system has been in operation several years, has been found to work well, the tax is not felt, and as the money is not annually appropriated from the general treasury by the Legislature, the action is not spasmodically liberal or parsimonious. As a result of this the military could be made immediately effective for riot or other duty, and the expense amply provided for, as was shown in their ability to place their whole force in camp at the Centennial for a week, fully supplied with camp equipage, with the expenses of transportation, rations and pay of the command provided for without tax upon the men, by a suspension of one of the annual encampments. It would be good policy to try a similar system in our State.
From the facts above enumerated a revision of the law commends itself to the Assembly, and the present appears a favorable time for its consideration.
AUTHORITY OF THE PRESIDENT TO ORDER THE MILITIA.
The controversy consequent upon the Presidential Election contests of 1876—7, and the Railroad Riots in July, brought into prominence the question of what power was vested in the President to order the militia. It may not be out of place to state briefly the law regarding it. For most of these facts I am indebted to the Army and Navy Journal, of November 25th, 1876.
Section 8, of the Constitution of the United States says:
· Congress shall have power to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, to suppress insurrections and repel invasion.”
By virtue of this power, Congress passed an act in 1795, which has been revised at various times, but virtually remains the same as when enacted, to read as follows, viz:
Section 1642, Revised Statutes. “Whenever the United States are invaded, or in imminent danger of invasion from any foreign nation or Indian tribe, or of rebellion against the authority of the government of the United States, it shall be lawful for the President to call forth such number of the militia of the State or States most convenient to the place of danger or scene of action, as he may deem necessary to repel such invasion or to suppress such rebellion, and to issue his orders for that purpose to such officers of the militia as he may think proper."
This authority was questioned by a New York militia-man many years since, and the case was decided against him by the Supreme Court of that State; it was then carried to the Supreme Court of the United States, which sustained the decision, (Martin vs. Mott, reported in 12 Wheaton, 19.) In its opinion the court maintained that the action of a Court Martial in such a case would be binding, notwithstanding that actual war was not then existing. The authority therefore is indisputable, that the President, in time of danger, may issue his orders to such officers of the militia as he may think proper.
RECEPTION OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.-MUSTER.
President Rutherford B. Hayes having accepted an invitation from the General Assembly to visit this State, on the occasion of the reunion of several of the army societies, it was decided to parade all the uniformed militia for review in his honor, and to order the Annual Muster (usually occurring in October) for the 29th of June. Upon the arrival of the President in the City of Providence, on the 28th of June, he was received by the First Battalion of Infantry, (First Light Infantry Regiment) Col. R. H. I. Goddard, commanding, and was escorted to the Executive Mansion (provided for the time being) on Benefit street, a large body of Veteran Soldiers of the late war, under command of Major General Burnside, joining in the escort. On the 29th, the President, with members of his Cabinet and Gov. Van Zandt and Staff were escorted to the “Dexter Training Ground” by the Newport Artillery Company and the First Battalion of Infantry, under command of Col. John Hare Powell, to witness the review. The escort was placed in line and at 12 M., all the militia, under Major General William R. Walker, commanding the Division, were reviewed by the President.
The occasion was one long to be remembered, the magnificent weather, the fresh and beautiful foliage, the great multitude of spectators, the general good order that prevailed, the brilliant uniforms and the unexceptionable review combined to produce an effect seldom excelled. I have witnessed a great many reviews but have not seen a finer one.
After the review, the president was escorted by the whole command under Major General Walker, through the principal streets of Providence to the “ Executive Mansion,” where the Division was dismissed, and the special escort, awaiting the convenience of the President, accompanied him to the Newport boat. Further escort duty was performed by the Newport Artillery Company, in Newport, until the departure of the President for New York, at 10 P. M.
It is to be regretted that the customary Fall Muster could not have been held in addition to this parade or ceremony. The occasions for assembling the militia are too rare; if they could be brought together more frequently or for a longer time, their efficiency would be much increased.
The annual inspections by Brig. Gen. Charles R. Dennis, Quartermaster General, have been conducted in November and December) in the usual manner. The commands voluntarily parade for this inspection, and General Dennis reports them for the most part in very good condition.
Occasions such as “Musters,” “Inspections" and the like, are a great incentive to improvement in drill, discipline and general appearance; but for them the militia generally would fall into a state of lethargy. In view of the unusually early period at which the “Muster” was held this year, the occurrence of these inspections at this time proves of more than usual value.
THE EXAMINING BOARD.
The biennial election of line officers occurred in May; this in addition to elections to fill vacancies caused by resignations, brought quite a number of officers before the Examining Board, of which Brig. Gen. Frederick Miller is President. The reports from the board to this office show that much greater attention is given by the newly elected officers to a proper knowledge of their duties, and that the results are decidedly advantageous to the service.
A still higher standard of attainment is needed, and the system now inaugurated will serve to produce a better drilled corps of officers than formerly.
Three years of duty have been performed since the present system went into operation, and the current expenses have been somewhat under $17,000 per annum. As the average expenditure for the militia for six years previous was nearly double this amount, the expectations of the advocates of the law are fully realized that its results would be, increased efficiency and greater economy. If the organization, which I have herein recommended, should be adopted on the same basis of pay as is now allowed, it would no doubt produce a more effective body with less expense; still a more desirable and satisfactory military establishment requires a larger, judicious appropriation.
Anticipating a modification of the law at some early day, it was nevertheless expected to remain without change for a longer period than it has; the events of the past year, however, show that no effort should be spared to bring our militia to its highest attainable point of efficiency. It therefore seems advisable to ask another revision.