of these distinguished gentlemen afford every assurance that they will bring to bear upon the subjects of their investigation the ripest teachings of sanitary science in its application to the details of military life. The organization of military hospitals, and the method of obtaining and regulating whatever appertains to the cure, relief, or care of the disabled, as also the regulations and routine through which the services of patriotic women are rendered available as nurses, was at an early period of the present struggle intrusted to the charge of Miss D. L. Dix, who volunteered her services, and is now, without remuneration, devoting her whole time to this important subject. The arms and ordnance supplied from our national armories, under the able superintendence of the Ordnance Bureau, compare most favorably with the very best manufactured for foreign governments. The celebrated Enfield rifle, so called, is a simple copy of the regular arm manufactured for many years at the Springfield armory. Previous to the early part of last year the Government had a suppy of arms and munitions of war sufficient for any emergency; but, through the bad faith of those intrusted with their guardianship they were taken from their proper depositories and distributed through portions of the country expected to take part in the contemplated rebellion. In consequence of the serious loss thus sustained there was available, at the commencement of the outbreak, a much less supply than usual of all kinds. But through the zeal and activity of the Ordnance Bureau, the embarrassment thus created has been in a great measure overcome. As the capacity of the Government armories was not equal to the supply needed, even after having doubled the force at the Springfield armory, the department found it absolutely necessary to procure arms, to some extent, from private manufacturers. It is believed that from these sources they can be obtained equal in quality and not much higher in cost than those made in the national workshops. It would, therefore, appear a wise policy on the part of the Government to encourage domestic industry by supplying our troops in part from private factories of our own country, instead of making purchases from abroad. As rifled cannon are, in point of effectiveness, far superior to smooth-bored, arrangements have been made to rifle a large portion of the guns on hand, and the work is still in progress. Some patriotic American citizens resident in Europe, fearing that the country might not have a sufficient supply, purchased on their own responsibility, through cooperation with the United States Ministers to England and France, a number of improved cannon and muskets, and, at your instance, this department accepted the drafts drawn to defray the outlay thus assumed. A perfect battery of six Whitworth twelve-pounder rifled cannon, with three thousand rounds of ammunition, the munificent donation of sympathizing friends in Europe, has also been received from England. It will be necessary for Congress, either at its approaching special, or at its next annual session, to adopt measures for the reorganization, upon a uniform basis, of the military of the country. I know of no better source of information on the subject than the able report of General Henry Knox, the first Secretary of War, who, by his wise forecast and eminent appreciation of the future wants of the country, showed the entire safety of an implicit reliance upon the popular will for the support of the Government in the most trying emergency, abundant confirmation of which fact is found in the present great rally of the people to the defence of the Constitution and laws. I have already adverted to the superior manner in which some of the New England regiments, now in service, are equipped. This is to be attributed to the efficient home organization of the militia of some of those States. Their example is an excellent one, and cannot fail to have a beneficial effect upon such States as have not already adopted a like desirable organization. I think it important, also, to recommend a further distribution of improved arms among the militia of the States and Territories. As the returns of the militia are frequently inaccurate, this distribution should be made proportionate to the latest census returns of free white male inhabitants capable of bearing arms. The large disaffection, at the present crisis, of United States Army officers, has excited the most profound astonishment, and naturally provokes inquiry as to its cause. But for this startling defection the rebellion never could have assumed formidable proportions. The mere accident of birth in a particular section, or the influence of a belief in particular political theories, furnishes no satisfactory explanation of this remarkable fact. The majority of these officers solicited and obtained a military education at the hands of the Government — a mark of special favor conferred by the laws of Congress to only one in seventy thousand inhabitants. At the National Military Academy they were received and treated as the adopted children of the republic. By the peculiar relations thus established, they virtually became bound, by more than ordinary obligations of honor, to remain faithful to their flag. The question may be asked, in view of the extraordinary treachery displayed, whether its promoting cause may not be traced to a radical defect in the system of education itself. As a step preliminary to the consideration of this question, I would direct attention to the report, herewith submitted, of the Board of Visitors to the West Point Military Academy. The supplementary report makes a special reference to the system of discipline, which, it appears from facts obtained upon investigation, ignores, practically, the essential distinction between acts wrong in themselves, and acts wrong
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Battle of Bull Run .
Doc . 4 .- N. Y. Tribune narrative.
Doc . 59 : a Virginian who is not a traitor: response of Lieut. Mayo , U. S. N. , to the proclamation of Gov. Letcher .
Doc . 65 -speech of Galusha A. Grow , on taking the Chair of the House of Representatives of the United States , July 4 .
Doc . 135 .- Virginia ordinance, prohibiting citizens of Virginia from holding office under the United States , passed July , 1861 .
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.