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supply of clothing as a bounty, without regard to length of service. The statements also show the expense of volunteers serving on foot, and of militia. The term of service of the latter never exceeds three months, unless specially provided for.
There is one comparison that would place the contrast between the expenses of regular and irregular troops in a much stronger light, if I had the data to enable me to state it in figures; and that is, the comparative loss and destruction of military stores and public property by the two forces. The immense importance attached to this subject by European governments, as a principal means of sustaining war, has led to the most rigid economy and the strictest accountability in everything connected with the materiel of an army. We have profited by their experience, and it is probable a more perfect system of accountability is nowhere to be found than in our little army; but it requires the study of years to understand, and the exercise of martial law to enforce it. This cannot be expected of irregular troops, that serve at most but a few months. As volunteers are frequently relieved, and their places supplied by others, it requires a large number to keep up a moderate force in the field. This increases in proportion not only the travelling and clothing expenses, but adds greatly to the pension list.
There is another subject which I would respectfully suggest should be considered in connexion with the employment of volunteers; and that is, the great inconvenience to which it subjects that useful class of citizens, the heavy tax imposed on their patriotism, and the loss the country sustains by diverting labor from its proper object, and turning producers into consumers. Respectfully, your obedient servant,
Paymaster General. Hon JOEL R. POINSETT,
Secretary of War.
Abstract of the expenses of the United States troops, volunteers, and militia.
For six months.
6,786 67 2, 262 22
$4, 662 02 2,331 00
$22, 576 01 13,553 69 7,583 58
$7,287 69 4,978 83 3,888 53
$3, 774 53 2, 102 25
5, 385 00
POTE.—The above calculations are for a company of fifty privates of each description of troops fully officered. PATYASTER GENERAL'S OFFICE, March 8, 1838.
Extract from the report of the Surgeon General.
SURGEON GENERAL'S OFFICE,
November 9, 1846. Sir: I have the honor to submit to you a statement of the fiscal transactions of this bureau for the year ending on the 30th of June, and a consolidated report of the sick and wounded of the regular army up to the 30th of September of the present year, together with remarks upon the operations generally of the medical department of
In relation to the sickness which has prevailed among the volunteer troops, I have not sufficient data upon which to found a report leading to any useful results.
The surgeons generally of the volunteer corps have made no regular return or other statement of the sick to this office; and no information on the subject, derived from other sources, is sufficiently accurate or explicit to be adopted as the basis of an official report. All that I can say understandingly on the subject is, that whether stationary or on a march, in camp or in the field, the volunteers have been exceedingly sickly.
The Tennessee and Kentucky regiments of cavalry left a great many of their men sick in hospital at Memphis, Tennessee, and again at Little Rock, Arkansas. How many men were left on the road afterwards I do not know ; but it is understood that the Kentucky regiment of cavalry continued to be sickly, having, while at Port La Vaca, three hundred on the sick report.
The same proportion of sickness, from all accounts, seems to have prevailed among the volunteers located on the Rio Grande, one-half being from time to time, as is understood, on the sick report.
From the best information which has been received at this office, it is believed that the extent of sickness among the volunteers on the Rio Grande has been fourfold to that among the soldiers of the regular army, with a corresponding excess of mortality in the ranks of the former.
This state of things, it is apprehended, will ever exist with volunteer troops, or undisciplined men employed on distant service and in a foreign clime; more particularly with the volunteer corps gotten up under the impulses of the moment.
Old men forget their age-young men think not of their physical disabilities. Impelled by a feeling of patriotism, a thirst after military fame, or the spirit of adventure, many of them recklessly enter the ranks, and undertake to perform the duties of a soldier, the toils, the privations, nor the self-restraint attendant on which, are they in a frame of mind or of body to endure.
It is not until they have embarked in the enterprise, have journeyed several hundred miles at a great expense to the government, and much to their own discomfort, that they find out there is something
more required to constitute an efficient soldier than patriotism, chivalry, and valor. Then, for the first time, they understand that the labor and exposure, the watching and fasting, the self-denial and selfrestraint they have to undergo, and for which neither nature, nor education, nor habit has fitted them, are beyond passive endurance.
In this vexed state of mind they readily take sick, then become melancholy and despondent, with a corresponding aggravation of the disease, so that, should they not sink under the accumulated weight of mental and physical infirmities both, they seldom, after being once stricken down, return to the duties of the field.
By the time they have been restored to their feet again, the battle has been fought and the laurels already borne off; and then, though it has not been their good fortune to attain the object of their high aspirations, (a triumphant conflict with the enemy, they have exhibited, at the sacrifice of their health, their zeal in their country's cause, and are anxious to return home.
The correctness of these remarks will, it is believed, be admitted by the volunteers themselves, many of whom enrolled their names with the prospect of wearing a commission, but, having failed in their competition for the station of commissioned officer, are obliged to serve in the ranks as a private soldier.
It is proper to state here that one-third and more of all the men who offer to enlist in the regular army are rejected; and it is reasonable to suppose that very many of those who are enrolled for the volunteer service would, if critically examined, be pronounced physically incapacitated for the arduous duties of a soldier. As far as I understand the matter, the government has, under the present state of things, virtually to pay a hundred men, while they realize the services of but fifty:
What with the extraordinary expenses attending the concentration of the individuals at a point, their organization into companies and corps, then their outfit and transportation to the theatre of war, together with the expenses of their return home before the expiration of their term of service, on a sick ticket, or on a certificate of discharge, the volunteers have cost the government one hundred per cent. more per man than the men of the regular army.
But this is not all; the presence of a numerous body of invalids seriously embarrass the service, for, besides consuming the subsistence and other stores required for the efficient men, they must have an additional number of surgeons and men to take care of them, and a guard to protect them, which necessarily lessens the disposable force, the available force for active operations in the field.
From the foregoing statement of facts, it may readily be conceived that measures ought to be taken to prevent the introduction into the volunteer corps, the same as in the regular army, of men who, from disease or original constitutional defectibility, are disqualified to perform the active duties of a soldier.
ADJUTANT GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington, December 4, 1857. SIR : In pursuance of your instructions that I should present you with a brief comparative view of the strength of the army at different periods since the close of our last war with Great Britain, as contrasted with the extent of frontier to be defended by it, and the relative population and resources of the country at the time, I have the honor to submit the following:
By the act of March 3, 1815, fixing the peace establishment, the strength of the army was reduced to 10,000, at which it remained fixed down to the further reduction made in 1821, a period when it reached its lowest figure, and from which soon afterward it slowly began to rise. By the addition of a new regiment in 1823, of another in 1836, and by the further increase in 1838, it successively went up from 6,183, its strength in 1822, to 7,497 in 1837, and to 12,539 in 1839. At the close of the Seminole war, in 1842, it was again reduced to 8,613, but four years after was raised to 12,216 by the addition of the regiment of mounted riflemen, and by an increase in the number of privates. Since then, if we leave out of consideration the Mexican war, the only augmentation to it has been that made by the act of June 17, 1850, authorizing the President to increase the number of privates in any company serving on the western frontier, or at remote and distant stations," with that more recently made by the act of March 3, 1855, adding four regiments to the establishment. Thus increased, the organized strength of the army varies now from 12,785 to 18,006, though its actual strength falls short of 16,000.
In a letter to the chairman of the military committee of the House, dated December 29, 1819, Mr. Calhoun, then Secretary of War, speaking of our northwestern frontier, says: “it is on that frontier only that we have much to fear from Indian hostilities." The organized strength of the army was then 10,000; the extent of the north western frontier, reckoning from St. Louis up to the mouth of the St Peter's; thence across to Green Bay; thence to Mackinac and up to the Sault Ste. Marie; and from Mackinac down to the present site of Chicago, was about 1,200 miles; and this, from the sparseness of the settlements along or within the line, was thought to be abundantly protected by some four or five posts.
At the present day we have to protect, against savage tribes who are growing every year more hostile, not only the same northwestern frontier, pow covered with rich settlements, and, of course, far more vulnerable now, and far more difficult to defend against the sudden and always unforeseen attacks of so wily and active a foe, but a frontier extending thence along the whole western line of our eastern settlements, with another on our western coast stretching from north to south from the 49th down nearly as far as the 32d parallel of north latitude; the Territories of New Mexico and Washington, which are on all sides surrounded by Indian enemies who have, in the former especially, repeatedly carried death and desolation into the very heart of their most populous settlements; the greater part of Texas ; much