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been replaced by volunteers, and the pursuit of the Indians has been continued by the latter troops up to the present time. The services rendered by these volunteer troops have been spoken of in terms of merited commendation in the reports of officers in command. Two
very important and momentous subjects forced themselves upon the attention of this department at an early period of my incumbency. These were the complications growing out of the troubles in the Territory of Kansas, and the still more involved and difficult relations borne by the Territory of Utah towards this government. The latter has recently assumed a very threatening attitude, of which I will presently speak.
The very anxious and earnest representations of danger to the public peace which were made by the governor of Kansas, growing out of exasperations between the different political parties there, and his earnest call for a large body of troops, required the transfer of the tenth regiment of infantry and the fourth regiment of artillery to Fort Leavenworth, and also the recall of Colonel Sumner's command, then in the field, and that engaged in marking the southern boundary of Kansas, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Johnston, of the first cavalry. From other quarters, likewise, troops were moved to Kansas, until a force was concentrated there sufficient, in the opinion of the governor, to repress all insubordination and to insure the peace of the territory. The result has fully answered the expectations of that distinguished functionary. The peace of Kansas has been undisturbed.
The requisite provision, however, for this desirable object, agreeably to the wishes of the governor, necessitated a very important modification of the plans then already determined upon with regard to the movement of troops to Utah. A large portion of both horse and foot, intended for this distant service, was detached and remained behind, leaving the expedition to proceed with the fifth and tenth infantry, the batteries of Captains Phelps and Reno, with a part of the second dragoons, which followed long after the head of the column had set out on the march.
UTAH AND THE EXPEDITION THITHER.
This subject has very recently assumed so extraordinary and important an attitude, that I deem it proper to dwell upon it somewhat more at length than, under other circumstances, would have been required.
The Territory of Utah is peopled almost exclusively by the religious sect known as MORMONS. From the time their numbers reached a point sufficient to constitute a community capable of anything like independent action, this people have claimed the right to detach themselves from the binding obligations of the laws which governed the communities where they chanced to live. They have substituted for the laws of the land a theocracy, having for its head an individual whom they profess to believe a prophet of God. This prophet demands obedience, and receives it implicitly from his people, in virtue of what he assures them to be authority derived from revelations re. ceived by him from Heaven. Whenever he finds it convenient to exercise any special command, these opportune revelations of a higher law come to his aid. From his decrees there is no appeal; against his will there is no resistance. The general plan by which this system is perpetuated consists in calling into active play the very worst traits of the human character. Religious fanaticism, supported by imposture and fraud, is relied on to enslave the dull and ignorant; whilst the more crafty and less honest are held together by stimulating their selfishness and licensing their appetites and lusts. Running counter, as their tenets and practices do, to the cherished truths of Christian morality, it is not to be wondered at that, wherever these people have resided, discord and conflict with the legal authorities have steadily characterized their history.
From the first hour they fixed themselves in that remote and almost inaccessible region of our Territory, from which they are now sending defiance to the sovereign power, their whole plan has been to prepare for a successful secession from the authority of the United States and & permanent establishment of their own. They have practised an exclusiveness unlike anything ever before known in a Christian country, and have inculcated a jealous distrust of all whose religious faith differed from their own; whom they characterize under the general denomination of GENTILES. They have filled their ranks and harems chiefly from the lowest classes of foreigners, although some parts of the United States have likewise contributed to their numbers. They are now formidable from their strength, and much more so from the remoteness of their position and the difficulty of traversing the country between our frontiers and Great Salt Lake. This Mormon brotherhood has scarcely preserved the semblance of obedience to the authority of the United States for some years past; not at all, indeed, except as it might confer some direct benefit upon themselves, or contribute to circulate public money in their community. Whenever it suited their temper or caprice, they have set the United States authority at defiance. Of late years, a well grounded belief has prevailed that the Mormons were instigating the Indians to hostilities against our citizens, and were exciting amongst the Indian tribes a feeling of insubordination and discontent.
I need not recite here the many instances in their conduct and higtory on which these general allegations are founded, especially the conduct they have adopted within the last twelve months towards the civil authorities of the United States.
It has, nevertheless, always been the policy and desire of the federal government to avoid collision with this Mormon community. It has borne with the insubordination they have exhibited under circumstances when respect for their own authority has frequently counselled harsh measures of discipline. And this forbearance might still be prolonged, and the evils rife amongst them be allowed to work out their own cure, if this community occupied any other theatre, isolated and remote from the seats of civilization, than the one they now possess. But, unfortunately for these views, their settlements lie in the great pathway which leads from our Atlantic States to the new and flourishing communities growing up upon our Pacific seaboard.
They stand a lion in the path ; not only themselves defying the military and civil authorities of the government, but encouraging, if not exciting, the nomad savages who roam over the vast unoccupied regions of the continent to the pillage and massacre of peaceful and helpless emigrant families traversing the solitudes of the wilderness. The rapid settlement of our Pacific possessions ; the rights in those regions of emigrants unable to afford the heavy expenses of transit by water and the isthmus ; the facility and safety of military, commercial, political, and social intercommunication between our eastern and western populations and States, all depend upon the prompt, absolute, and thorough removal of a hostile power besetting this path midway of its route, at a point where succor and provisions should always be found, rather than obstruction, privation, and outrage. However anxiously the government might' desire to avoid a collision with this or any other community of people under its jurisdiction, yet it is not possible for it to postpone the duty of reducing to subordination a rebellious fraternity besetting one of the most important avenues of communication traversing its domain, and not only themselves defying its authority, but stimulating the irresponsible savages hovering along the highway to acts of violence indiscriminately upon all ages, sexes, and conditions of wayfarers.
From all the circumstances surrounding this subject at the time, it was thought expedient during the past summer to send a body of troops to Utah with the civil officers recently appointed to that Territory. As the intention then was merely to establish these functionaries in the offices to which they had been commissioned, and to erect Utah into a geographical military department, the force then despatched and now en route to the Territory was thought to be amply sufficient for those purposes. Supplies were abundant there, and the position was favorable for holding the Indians in check throughout the whole circumjacent region of country. It was hardly within the line of reasonable probability that these people would put themselves beyond the pale of reconciliation with the government by acts of unprovoked, open, and wanton rebellion. It will be seen; however, from the documents accompanying this report, that flagrant acts of rebellion have been committed by them, in the face of positive assurances given them that the intention of the government in sending troops into the military department of Utah was entirely pacific.
Great care had been taken, in preparing for the march to Utah, that nothing should seem to excite apprehension of any action on the part of the army in the least conflicting with the fixed principles of our institutions, by which the military is strictly subordinate to the civil authority. The instructions to the commanding officer were deliberately considered and carefully drawn; and he was charged not to allow any conflict to take place between the troops and the people of the Territory, except only in case he should be called on by the governor for soldiers to act as a posse comitatus in enforcing obedience to the laws.
In conformity with this sentiment, and to assure these people of the real intention of the movement, an active, discreet officer was sent in advance of the army to Utah for the purpose of purchasing provisions for it, and of assuring the people of the Territory of the peaceful intentions of the government. This duty was faithfully performed; the chief men of the fraternity were assured that no violence was intended towards them or any one, and that nothing could be further from the intention of the government or the army than to molest any one for their religious opinions, however abhorrent they might be to the principles of Christian morality. This officer found, upon entering the Territory, that these deluded people had already, in advance of his arrival, or of any information, except as to the march of the column, determined to resist their approach and prevent, if possible, and by force, the entrance of the army into the valley of Salt Lake. Supplies of every sort were refused him. The day after his departure from the city, on his way back, Brigham Young issued his proclamation, substantially declaring war against the United States, and, at the same time, putting the Territory under martial law. The facts connected with this mission of Captain Van Vliet will appear more in detail from his reports, herewith transmitted.
In view of the menacing attitude of affairs in Utah, and of the importance of a prompt and thorough suppression of the spirit of rebellion reigning there, I must repeat my recommendation of five new regiments, which I am persuaded is the very smallest addition to the army which the exigencies of the service will allow.
Attention has been repeatedly called to defects in the organizations of the army, and to various details in reference to several of its parts. As these evils increase with time and practice under them, I must again bring them before you.
The basis of our existing system is the British army as it served in the colonies before the revolution, retaining many of the defects, since corrected in Great Britain, under the experience and necessities of long wars. Provisions inconsistent with the existing system, copied from other nations, and partial legislation designed for particular interests, have augmented these evils, and we have committed the fault of adapting our fundamental organization to a time of peace, instead of basing it on the exigencies of war.
One of the greatest errors of detail is the separate, independent character of our staff corps. This removes them from their proper position as aids or assistants to the commander, and constitutes them his equals. It contracts the sphere of observation and experience, and thus unfits the officer for change or advancement, and begets an. accumulation of precedent and prerogative at war with the vital principle of military organization-the inviolable and undivided authority of the head. He is bound, as they are, by the law, and his construction of it should govern them, not theirs him.
Another defect is the uncertain and ill-defined rights of brevet. rank. We have adopted the word, but not its signification, from the English rule, and applied it to circumstances not contemplated or existing when first established. Repeated decisions and imperfect
legislation have only increased the evil by inviting new discussions and adopting new constructions.
We have retained another fault, abandoned, at least practically, in almost every service among civilized nations, even the most aristocratic and monarchical. This is promotion by seniority. Age and experience should bring excellence; but the test lies in the actual possession of the latter, and not merely in the circumstances which it is assumed should produce it. Seniority, with the requirements essential for position, ought certainly to give precedence; but without these, that dignity and respect which belong to rank and command can never be secured.
All that has been urged in favor of retaining it with us is the danger of political or personal favor governing a selection. There may be danger from this source, but, by the rule of seniority, the worst officer of any arm must, if he lives, come to be one of the most important and responsible officers under the government-the colonel of a regiment. By selection, it is possible that the very best may not always be chosen, though the chances are in favor of this hypothesis; but certainly the very worst never will be, and this is surely a gain on the present rule.
To correct these and other evils, I would urge so to provide by law for the construction of the regiments of horse, artillery, and infantry, -as to approach them, as far as our circumstances require, to the practice of all nations long experienced in war, and so as to admit their contraction for peace and their re-expansion in war without altering this basis.
This can be done without any increase of officers or men, or augmentation of expense, by merely arranging those already in service and the companies of each corps to suit the end proposed.
To place the staff in proper relation to the rest of the army, the law should collect all the officers doing that branch of duty into one corps, to be assigned by authority of the President to such duties as each may seem to be best fitted for, securing to each the rank and relative position he now holds. But, as some staff corps are confined to duties requiring special instruction and long experience, their separate organization might be retained.
A general provision dispensing with the staff bureaus and giving the President authority to regulate the duties on the principles above stated, and to transfer, when necessary, officers to and from the line and staff, would restore the institution to its proper effectiveness. Thus, the staff near the War Department, representing the authority of the constitutional commander-in-chief of the army and navy, would bear the same relation to him as the staff attached to a corps in the field have to the colonel or general who commands it.
To avoid, for the future, the difficulties attending brevet rank, the best plan is to create, permanently, the general offices now exercised under brevets, making as many major generals and brigadier generals as the strength of the army requires. This would afford promotion to many brevet officers of inferior rank, and thus absorb nearly all ; as the strength of the army requires these officers, and they have always existed under the brevet rank, no increase of expense would