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On the 1st instant, the new detail of superintendents and recruiting officers for the ensuing two years assumed their duties. Inspections will soon be made to instruct the new officers and correct any matters of detail by which the service can be improved.
The recommendation contained in the last annual report that additional legislation be had by Congress authorizing the enlistment of boys, to learn music, under the age of sixteen years—the limit now established-is renewed, its necessity being more forcibly demonstrated by the lapse of time and experience. Besides, under the new system established for the organization of post-schools, increased facilities are provided to enable them to secure a sufficient education to fit them for future spheres of usefulness.
For further information in regard to the Army, its stations, casualties, &c., reference is respectfully made to the tabular returns. It will be observed that the number of desertions, and discharges on account of minority, is less than last year. The number of discharges is greater than it would otherwise be, because many married men, mostly old soldiers and non-commissioned officers, are forced to make provision for their families, in view of the late legislation depriving their wives of rations as laundresses.
There has been much discussion as to the limitation clause of the 1030 Article of War, and its application to the case of deserters. For over eighty years the common-law application of this clause by the Army, the practice of courts-martial, and the sanction of successive commanding generals and secretaries of war, was that deserters who remained absent from their proper posts and evaded apprehension were amenable to trial whenever they again came under the power of the military authorities. In other words, that the exception to the limitation clause was expressly intended to exclude deserters from its benefits.
The 103d (old 88th) Article of War reads thus: Art. 103. No person shall be liable to be tried and punished by a general court-martial for any offense which appears to have been committed more than two years before the issuing of the order for such trial, unless, by reason of having absented himself, or of some other manifest impediment, he shall not have been amenable to justice within that period.
When, within the past ten years, the new view was taken up by the Judge Advocate-General, and became known in the Army, that deserters were included in the limitation, except in some few instances practically impossible to be applied, the effect was to encourage and increase the crime of desertion to an alarming extent. It is the sentiment of the Army at large that the crime of desertion is a continuous one, not ending so long as the deserter remains absent from his military obligations; and that all soldiers are bound by the terms of law applying to their enlistment to serve a full period of five years, being liable to make good any portion of such period lost by unauthorized absence. Nor is this an oppressive view of the subject, since the humane application of authority residing in the Secretary of War always favorably acts upon men who have been a considerable time evading their obligations, and whose cases present reasons for discharge without trial.
With the greatest care and attention to this most important subject of desertion, the number of deserters has been steadily diminishing year after year. Should this proposed premium be paid for the offense, by proclaiming to the Army that a man has only to lie concealed for a certain period to be free from all penalty for desertion, military discipline will soon become a by-word and a sneer. It is therefore most earnestly recommended, if it is possible to make desertion an exception to the lim
itation by any terms stronger than those used in the present 103d Article of War, and there is any probability of the long-existing construction of the act being set aside, that any new legislation upon the subject shall confirm that construction.
There is reason to believe that strong efforts are made to remove the penalties of desertion, through limitation, for the purpose of securing pensions, bounty, &c., which were specially awarded by law for fait ful service, so as to place a man who has violated his obligations on the same footing with one who has fulfilled them. It has been argued, in this connection, that a statute of limitation is necessary to relieve those who were volunteers from a perpetual liability to serve, or from fear of arrest; but this argument is without weight since the obligation to serve has expired by the limitation of time for which volunteers were authorized. A new law would be required to create any new volunteer force, all the obligations of the old one having ceased with the period for which the law created it. There could be no possible right then to arrest, since there is no legal tribunal which could try a volunteer, for which purpose courts must be composed of volunteers alone. I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
E. D. TOWNSEND,
Adjutant-General. General W. T. SHERMAN,
United States Army.
1.-REPORT OF THE INSPECTOR-GENERAL.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES,
Washington, D. C., October 9, 1878. SIR: I have the honor to report that during the past year the officers of the Inspector-General's Department have been stationed and employed as follows, namely:
The undersigned has been in charge of the office at these headquarters, and occupied in the various duties pertaining to the same. He has also, under the direction of the Secretary of War, made the quarterly inspections of the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, as required by Section 1348, Revised Statutes.
Inspector-General D. B. Sacket, who has been stationed at the headquarters Military Division of the Missouri, has been occupied in making inspections and special investigations under the orders of the Secretary of War and the Lieutenant-General.
Inspector-General E. Schriver has been on duty at the headquarters Military Division of the Pacific, under the orders of the commanding general thereof. During the months of March, April, and May, 1878, Colonel Schriver, under instructions from the General of the Army, made a thorough inspection of the Department of Arizona, and his elaborate report of 142 pages contains a great deal of valuable military information, which I cordially commend to the perusal of the Secretary of War and the General of the Army.
Inspector-General N. H. Davis has been actively occupied during the year in numerous inspections, investigations, and other official work, under the orders of the general commanding the Military Division of the Atlantic. His annual report, herewith appended, contains important information and recommendations, and his suggestions regarding the importance of more target practice, and the method he recommends for
attaining a higher standard of proficiency than we now have, are respectfully recommended to the General of the Army for consideration.
Assistant Inspector-General Roger Jones has continued on duty in this oftice as my assistant, and has made quarterly inspections of the accounts of the disbursing officers in this city, as well as inspecting the national cemeteries in this vicinity.
Assistant Inspector-General Absalom Baird has been actively occupied in the duties of his office, under the orders of the LieutenantGeneral commanding the Military Division of the Missouri.
Assistant Inspector-General E. H. Ludington has been on sick leave during the year, and as there does not, from all I can learn, appear to be any improvement in his condition, I respectfully recommend that he be brought before a retiring board.
The following-named officers have been on duty as acting assistant inspector-generals in the different departments, namely:
Lieut. Col. A. D. Nelson, Twelfth Infantry, in Department of Dakota until February 27, 1878, when he was detailed for duty in connection. with the Paris Universal Exposition of 1878, by Special Orders No. 42, Adjutant-General's Office.
Lieut. Col. John S. Mason, Fourth Infantry, in Department of Texas since last annual report.
Lieut. Col. W. B. Royall, Third Cavalry, in Department of the Platte since last annual report.
Maj. James Biddle, Sixth Cavalry, in Department of Arizona since last annual report.
Maj. Richard Arnold, Fifth Artillery, in Military Division of the Atlantic until December 5, 1877, when he was assigned to the Department of the East, by General Orders No. 74, Division of the Atlantic.
Maj. E. C. Mason, Twenty-first Infantry, in Department of the Columbia since last annual report.
Capt. G. B. Russell, Ninth Infantry, in Department of the Gulf until that department was, by General Orders No. 38, Adjutant-General's Office, June 21, 1878, consolidated with the Department of the South under the name of the Department of the South, and he was assigned to duty in the new department.
Quarterly inspections have been regularly made of the accounts of all Army officers who during the year have disbursed money under appropriations of Congress, the reports of which show that the public funds have been properly disbursed and accounted for. The reports of these inspections are herewith submitted, ready for transmittal to Congress by the Secretary of War, as required by law.
Copies of the annual reports of the inspecting officers for the last year, so far as they have been received, are herewith submitted. They contain important information regarding the present condition of the Army, showing that the commissioned officers, as a general rule, are temperate, zealous, attentive to their duties, and not addicted to vicious or hurtful habits.
Although the enlisted men have had the opportunity to lay before the inspectors any complaints they might have against their officers, but very few instances have occurred where they have done so, and it is believed that we have never had a finer body of men in service than at this time.
The instruction in drills and other military exercises has been much interrupted during the year owing to the reduced state of the companies, the exceedingly small garrisons, and the large amount of labor necessarily imposed upon the men in building, repairs, care of public property,
&c. Proper attention has been given to discipline, and it is reported as excellent.
Among the irregularities that have been reported has been the frequent and, in most cases, the unavoidable infraction of Section 1232, Revised Statutes, forbidding the use of enlisted men as officers' servants. I have invited attention to this subject repeatedly in my former annual reports, showing the absolute impossibility of hiring citizen servants at many of our frontier posts, and the consequent necessity of officers employing soldiers as servants or doing their own work, grooming their own horses, washing their own clothing, &c., which on a campaign would leave them no time to attend to their military duties. The only way to remedy this evil, as I have set forth fully in previous reports, is to repeal the law and place the matter where it formerly was, when no evil was ever known to result from permitting soldiers of their own accord to act as servants for company officers.
In the Navy, servants, under the designation of stewards and cooks, are enlisted for officers and paid by the government. Then why should not officers of the Army be allowed to use enlisted men as servants, especially when they remunerate the government for all expense of maintaining these men, as they were required by law to do before the passage of the prohibitory act above mentioned It certainly is much more difficult to hire a servant at many of our frontier posts than it would be to hire one for a ship in our seaport towns.
As a measure of economy, if every company officer in the Army were permitted to take a soldier as waiter from the line, and required to reimburse the government for his pay, rations, clothing, &c., this would result in a saving to the United States of over $350,000 per annum.
Upton, in his work on "Armies of Europe and Asia," says: “In the Russian, Austrian, and Italian armies a servant is allowed to every officer from the military organizations." (See pages 102, 103, 150, and 163.)
The military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, established under the act of May 21, 1874, is now in successful operation. The officers assigned to duty with it are competent and faithful in the discharge of their duties, and the convicts are properly governed and employed, while, at the same time, they are treated with humanity and kindness. On the 25th ultimo there were 373 military convicts confined in this prison.
All the shoes required for issue to the troops are now fabricated by the convicts at the prison, and are of excellent quality; indeed, it is said by many officers that we have never before had as good an article in our Army, and as soon as the additional shops now in process of erection are completed many other articles now purchased from citizens can, in my judgment, be manufactured to better advantage there. At the same time, a large number of men would be instructed in useful mechan ical occupations that would tend to make them better qualified for selfsupport and better citizens when they are discharged.
The national cemeteries have all been inspected during the year by offi. cers of the Inspector-General's Department, and found in excellent order. The superintendents, with very few exceptions, have evinced efficiency, diligence, and pride in the proper discharge of the duties devolving upon them, and it is believed these cemeteries will bear favorable comparison with any of the civilian cemeteries of the country. Respectfully submitted.
R. B. MARCY, The ADJUTANT-GENERAL,
Inspector-General. United States Army.
1.-REPORT OF LIEUTENANT-GENERAL SHERIDAN.
HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE MISSOURI,
Chicago, Illinois, October 25, 1878. GENERAL : I have the honor to submit herewith, for the information of the General of the Army, the following report of operations in this military division since October 20, 1877, the date of my last annual report.
There has been no change in the organization of the division during the past year. It consists of the following departments, viz: The Department of Dakota, embracing within its limits the State of Minnesota, and Territories of Montana and Dakota, with twenty-three permanent posts and three encampments of observation, commanded by Bvt. Maj. Gen. John Gibbon, in the temporary absence of Brig. Gen. Alfred H. Terry; the Department of the Platte, embracing the States of Iowa and Nebraska, the Territories of Wyoming and Utah, and a portion of Idaho, with seventeen permanent posts and two camps of observation, commanded by Brig. Gen. George Crook; the Department of the Missouri, embracing the States of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Colorado, the Territory of New Mexico and the Indian Territory, and the posts of Fort Bliss and Fort Elliott, in Texas, with twenty permanent posts, commanded by Brig. Gen. John Pope; and the Department of Texas, embracing the State of Texas with thirteen permanent posts and numerous camps of observation, commanded by Brig. Gen. E. O, C. Ord.
To garrison these seventy-three permanent posts and the camps of observation, and cover the country from British America on the north to the Rio Grande on the south, we have only four companies of artillery averaging 53 men each, eight regiments of cavalry averaging 765 men each, and eighteen regiments of infantry averaging 452 men each, which, as will be seen by the reports of Generals Ord and Gibbon, gives us only one man to every 120 square miles in the Department of Texas, and one to every 75 square miles in the Department of Dakota, and about the same ratio in the Departments of the Platte and the Missouri. When it is borne in mind that this immense section of country has to be constantly under surveillance against Indians, and raiding parties from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, the work that has to be performerl by that portion of our Army located within this military division will be appreciated by all military men, and by those who have ever lived upon our frontier.
No other army in the world has such a difficult line to keep in order, and no army in modern times has had such an amount of work put upon the same number of men. In all other countries, it is the custom to establish garrisons of not less than a regiment or a brigade, while we have for the performance of similar duties only one or two companies; with us, regiments are rarely if ever together, the posts are generally garrisoned by one, two, or four companies, who are expected to hold and guard, against one of the most acute and wary foes in the world, a space of country that in any other land would be held by a brigade. To do this requires sleepless watchfulness, great activity, and tireless energy, and I am gratified to know that as a general thing our officers possess these soldierly qualities.
The reports of the several commanders that accompany this will fully advise the General of the Army of the operations of the troops in detail during the past year. The frontier has been greatly advanced, and mineral and agricultural interests have been largely developed, while the