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Notwithstanding the improvement apparent from this statement, the fact remains that the crime of desertion is still alarmingly prevalent, and an evil of no ordinary magnitude.
have occurred in various localities in the Territories, and have been suppressed by the Army; but, in some cases, not without serious loss of life, both among soldiers and citizens. I remain of the opinion that permanent peace in the Indian country can only be maintained by the exhibition of force sufficient to overawe and keep in subjection the more warlike and dangerous of the savages.
It is to be hoped that the time is coming when the Indian can be governed by other methods; but, until he has been reached and elevated by the influences of education and civilization, we must deal with him as he is, and by such methods as will keep him at peace and make secure the lives of settlers in his neighborhood. While, therefore, we should persevere in the effort to improve the condition of the Indian tribes, by teaching them the arts of the lerdsman and afterward those of the husbandman, and by providing for the education of their youth, we should, at the same time, confront them with such military force as will teach them the futility of any attempt to resist the power of the United States. I also fully agree with the General of the Army in the opinion that such provision should be made by Congress as will prevent the possibility of suffering, for lack of food, among Indians confined upon reservations.
In short, our policy toward the Indians should be designed to enforce these two propositions, viz:
1. Fair and just treatment of the Indians, including the faithful per formance on our part of every promise; and,
2. The prompt and effectual punishment of all acts of war on their part, and to this end the employment of a sufficient military force in the Indian country to act with vigor and success, when occasion requires, and prevent the possibility of the defeat or massacre of small detachments of our troops, by which Indian wars have been so often in the past encouraged and prolonged.
The experiment of enlisting, for special service, Indian scouts has proved quite successful, and it has been a source of regret that the department has not been able to employ a larger number. Under the existing law, which treats such scouts as a part of the twenty-five thousand enlisted men of the Army, it has been impossible to employ, of the one thousand authorized, a greater number than three hundred without impairing seriously the efficiency of the regular forces. As a material aid in the management of Indian affairs, I recommend that the law be so amended as to authorize an increase of the number of such scouts, and so as to declare them to be a force in addition to the number of enlisted men authorized for the Army proper.
EDUCATION IN THE ARMY.
Section 1231 of the Revised Statutes provides as follows Schools shall be established at all posts, garrisons, and permanent camps at which troops are stationed, in which the enlisted men may be instructed in the common English branches of education, and especially in the history of the United States; and the Secretary of War may detail such officers and enlisted men as may be necessary to carry out this provision. It shall be the duty of the post or garrison commander to set apart a suitable room or building for school and religious purposes.
Believing this to be an important provision of law from the full enforcement of which much benefit would accrue not only to the service but to the enlisted men, many of whom sadly need the contemplated instruction, in December last I convened a board of officers to consider what steps should be taken to carry it out. This board, consisting of the Quartermaster-General, the Adjutant-General, and the Judge-Advocate-General, after full inquiry, made their report, recommending the adoption of certain rules for the government of post schools, libraries, and reading-rooms. The report of said board was approved by me, and announced to the Army in General Orders No. 24, of date May 18, 1878.
In pursuance of the forty-first of said rules, Col. A. McD. McCook, aide-de-camp to the General of the Army, has been detailed to visit and inspect regularly the various post-schools. It is made his duty to examine into the system of instruction; to advise commanders of posts of defects which he may discover, and to suggest methods of improvement; to endeavor to bring about uniformity in the methods of management and instruction, and to make known throughout the Army the best methods and systems in existence at any military post. He is to report the result of his inspection fully to the War Department, from time to time. Colonel McCook has entered upon the discharge of his duty.
It is recommended that the authority of Congress be asked to increase the extra per diem of soldier teachers from thirty-five to fifty cents. This is necessary in order to secure thoroughly competent men, and would probably lead to the enlistinent of a class of educated young men with a view to a detail as teachers. It is further recommended that a liberal appropriation be made for expenditure, under the direction of the Quartermaster-General, for the erection of buildings for schools and libraries at the different posts.
THE MEXICAN BORDER.
The increase of our force in the vicinity of the Rio Grande, and the vigorous policy which for some time has been pursued in dealing with marauders invading our soil from Mexico, have produced the result predicted in my report of one year ago. Although the people of Texas have not been exempt from these incursions during the year, and several of them have been attended by heart-rending atrocities, yet they have been fewer in number than during any year for a long period, and within
the past four months almost perfect quiet has prevailed. A considerable Mexican force has been sent to the vicinity of the border to operate against the bands of Indians infesting that region, and the avowed purpose of the Mexican Government is to put a stop to raids upon our people and territory.
THE EMPLOYMENT OF TROOPS AS A POSSE COMITATUS.
The 15th section of the act of Congress of June 18, 1878, provides that
From and after the passage of this act it shall not be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress
In my judgment it is important either that this provision be repealed, or that the number of cases in which the use of the Army shall be "expressly authorized” be very much enlarged. In many portions of our Western Territories, and even in some portions of the newer States, a resolute desperado, with a few followers, can defy the officers of the law and any local posse that can be organized.
During the year numerous attacks have been made upon the mailcoaches in New Mexico and Arizona, for purposes of robbery and plunder; and while I have been of the opinion that the mails of the United States may be defended by the use of troops, I have been obliged to give instructions that they cannot, without disregarding the act of Congress, be employed to aid the officers of the law in capturing the robbers after they have committed the crime. In doing so they would act as a posse comitatus, and this is nowhere by law 6 expressly authorized.” In the new and sparsely populated regions of the West, to say to robbers and thieves that they shall not be taken on any writ unless the sheriff and his local posse is able to capture them without aid from the soldiers, is almost to grant them immunity from arrest. In those new regions the Army is the power chiefly relied upon by the lawabiding people for protection, and chiefly feared by the lawless classes. Numerous instances might be cited, but the recent occurrences in Lincoln County, New Mexico, constitute a striking example. The inability of the officer in command of the troops in that vicinity to aid the officers of the law in making arrests was one of the principal causes which led to the most disgraceful scenes of riot and murder, amounting in fact to anarchy. This state of things continued until a case could be made for declaring the district in insurrection, after which a proclamation of warning was issued by the President, the troops were called into action, and at once restored quiet.
I am clearly of the opinion that the President should be left free to employ the national forces in aid of the process of the Federal courts whenever he shall deem it necessary; but if such use is to be limited to
cases where, as declared by the act above quoted, it“ is expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of Congress," then it is respectfully submitted that Congress should give very careful attention to the enumeration and specification of the cases in which such use of troops is to be permitted.
RELIEF OF YELLOW-FEVER SUFFERERS.
For a statement in detail concerning the issue, by my order, of rations to yellow-fever sufferers in the Southern States, I refer to the report of the Commissary-General of Subsistence. It will be seen from that report that while there was no statute to authorize the orders given in the premises, they were not unprecedented; similar action having been taken by the government, through this department, on several previous occa. sions. If, however, no such precedent had been found, I think the cir. cumstances of the case would have fully justified the action taken.
So terrible was the suffering of many communities, so alarming the destitution and want occasioned by the cessation of business, transportation, and travel, that it became a duty of both government and people, made imperative by the law of humanity, to extend all possible relief. The fearful ravages of this terrible disease constituted an extraordinary calamity which required that aid should be granted. In ordering the issues in question, however, I thought it necessary to adopt as a rule for my guidance that government aid should not be extended except in cases of great emergency, and when no other mode of relief was possible, and that rule has been strictly adhered to. In addition to the issue of rations, as shown by the report of the Commissary-General, tents were issued as a loan, as follows:
Angust 15—1,000 common tents to Memphis.
Also a small supply of medicines was issued to Grenada. I respectfully recommend that a joint resolution be passed by Congress approving and legalizing these issues.
I would recommend to Congress the careful consideration of the ques. tion whether such emergencies in the future may not be provided for by law, by conferring authority to act upon the President. If it be practicable, the law should be so framed as never to leave an executive officer under the necessity of acting outside of the statutes.
In this connection I have further to report that by means raised from private contributors the steamer John M. Chambers was chartered, loaded with supplies and medicines for the relief of the sufferers, and sent from Saint Louis, down the Mississippi River, upon her voyage of charity. A request having been made for an officer of the Army to com
mand the expedition, First Lieut. Hiram H. Benner, of the Eighteenth Infantry, and Second Lieut. Charles S. Hall, of the Thirteenth Infantry, volunteered for that hazardous duty, and in its performance the former lost his life, having died of yellow fever, at Vicksburg, on the 17th day of October last.
Lieutenant Benner was a man of high character, and a young officer of uncommon merit. He leaves a widow and two infant children; and it is respectfully submitted that Congress should, without delay, take such action as will recognize and give proper expression to the nation's gratitude for the self-sacrificing heroism which characterized his conduct and led to the sacrifice of his life. I earnestly recommend the passage of an act granting a pension to his widow.
APPROPRAATIONS, EXPENDITURES, AND ESTIMATES.
The expenditures under the War Department for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1877, were $2,618,888.69 less than those for the previous fiscal year, and the expenditures for the year ending June 30, 1878, were $1,324,731.54 less than those for 1877.
The estimates for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1880, as presented by chiefs of bureaus, were $32,832,951.67. These I have reduced to $10,387,718.33, which amount is only $1,910,862.15 in excess of the aggregate appropriations for 1879, and, as we shall presently see, is only an apparent increase even of that amount, since the appropriations for the current year for the support of the Army seem to have been upon the basis of twenty thousand four hundred and fifty enlisted men, while the number authorized by law was left at twenty-five thousand four hundred and fifty. As reduced and submitted, these estimates are for a less sum of money than any annual estimates rendered to Congress from this department during a period of at least eleven years, and are $2,727,724.91 less than those for the fiscal year 1879, which were $13,115,443.24.
The estimates, as compiled and promulgated in the Book of Estimates, are divided into four classes, namely, the civil establishment, the military establishment, the public works, and the miscellaneous, and under these heads they may be briefly considered.
In the civil establishment, a slight increase of appropriations is desired on account of existing necessities, which demand the employment of a large number of clerks. The present clerical force is insufficient to properly attend to and dispatch the current public business of this office and of the military bureaus. Congressional calls for facts and figures cannot satisfactorily be answered, and reasonable requests for copies of records cannot properly be granted, without extra hours of labor, volunteer services, or appropriations for the employment of additional clerks.
The estimates for the military establishment are $29,335,727.33, and are on a basis of twenty-five thousand four hundred and fifty