« PreviousContinue »
from serving in tropical countries a longer period of time than would seem to be consistent with the preservation of their health and good condition.
THE CONDITION OF THE ARMY.
Considering the kind and character of the service that has been rendered by the United States Army during the past year in the different campaigns, engagements, and affairs in which it has participated, too much credit can not be given to it for maintaining under the most trying circumstances the same high standard of excellence that it has sustained for more than one hundred years.
This standard of efficiency is due to the training and strict discipline of West Point and to the high sense of honor that has been inculcated at that institution; to the practical and scientific instruction that the officers of the different arms of the service have received at the Artillery School, Fort Monroe, Va., at the Light Artillery and Cavalry School, Fort Riley, Kans., at the Infantry and Cavalry School, Fort Leavenworth, Kans., and to the valuable instruction and discipline imparted to the troops at every military station and in every military camp in the United States.
While the achievements of the Army and Navy during the SpanishAmerican war were most creditable to both branches of the service and highly gratifying to the country, yet the war was of such short duration that the Army had not sufficient opportunity to fully demonstrate its capacity and efficiency. Enough, however, was accomplished by the skill and fortitude of the troops to afford great satisfaction, not only to those in the service, but to all interested in the welfare of the Army. For the past three years the Army has been engaged in extensive field service, and has experienced in two hemispheres the many hardships of actual warfare. In the many affairs in which the troops have met an enemy in the field they have on all occasions and under all circumstances exhibited courage and stability, excellent marksmanship, and faithful devotion to duty.
During the past year the following-named gallant officers were either killed in action or died of wounds received in line of duty: Major General Lawton, Colonel Liscum, Majors Howard and Logan, Captains McGrath, Reilly, Mitchell, Warwick, Smith, Godfrey, Murphy, Crenshaw, French, Brown, and Bently, First Lieutenants Cheney, Ledyard, Koehler, Schench, Galleher, and Evans, and Second Lieutenants Boutelle, Keyes, Way, Cooper, Smith, Wagner, and Davis, together with a long list of brave soldiers, besides a large list of
officers and soldiers who have died of disease incident to service in i tropical countries.
These casualties bear evidence of the severity of the service in which the troops were engaged and of their heroism and fidelity.
During the past year the Army was called upon to perform an additional arduous and trying service, namely, the succor or rescue of the American legation besieged at the capital of the Chinese Empire. When the necessity for a military force in China arose the Ninth Regiment of Infantry was quickly moved from the Philippine Islands to Taku, China, and thence to Tientsin. In the battle of Tientsin the American troops were called upon to occupy and hold a most difficult position, in which they were subjected to a concentrated fire from Mauser rifles and machine guns in the hands of troops who had been instructed in their use, if not commanded at the time, by skilled European officers; and notwithstanding the severity of the fire and the serious loss in killed and wounded the troops maintained their position with the greatest spirit and fortitude. Indeed, it would be difficult to name any occasion on which troops engaged in action were better commanded, were more steady under fire, or where they made the soldier's sacrifice with more unselfish patriotism, or rendered a higher tribute to the honor of their country.
Colonel Liscum, their commander, fell while leading his troops, and it is fitting that especial mention should be made of his and their heroic service. Great reverence should be accorded the memory of Col. E. S. Liscum, commanding the Ninth Infantry, who, up to the time of his death, commanded his force with undaunted courage and marked ability.
After the death of Colonel Liscum the command of the American force engaged in the battle of Tientsin devolved upon Maj. Jesse M. Lee, of the Ninth Regiment of Infantry, who by his sound judgment in the disposition of his command and personal gallantry while directing the firing line in the advance and the successful withdrawal of his command at nightfall sustained the honorable reputation acquired by him during the civil and subsequent wars.
Two battalions of the Fourteenth Infantry, under command of Col. A. S. Daggett, and Battery F, Fifth Artillery, commanded by Captain Reilly, were dispatched from the Philippine Islands July 15, and the Sixth Cavalry was sent from San Francisco, July 3, to follow the advance of the Ninth Infantry; all the forces in China being placed under the command of Major-General Chaffee.
In the advance on Pekin the American troops were conspicuous for their zeal and courage as well as for their excellent discipline and noble conduct under most trying circumstances. The heroism and fidelity of the American soldier was again demonstrated in the fall of Captain Reilly, of Battery F, who was killed in action at the
capture of the Chinese capital. This officer was an ideal soldier, had a distinguished record for his services in the civil war and in Cuba, and, like Colonel Liscum, was without fear and without reproach.
During the past year the men of the volunteer force, authorized and located as previously indicated, have been sent to the Philippine Islands, where, in conjunction with the regular troops, they have rendered good service. Under an act of Congress, however, they will have to be withdrawn and discharged before the 1st of July, 1901. This necessity gives a very short term of service in the archipelago, and in order to meet the condition imposed by law and at the same time bring the volunteers back to the United States by the United States transport steamers--which are the only available means of transportationit will be necessary to begin their return almost immediately.
Since the date of my last report the artillery school has been reestablished at Fort Monroe, under very favorable auspices (as well as the cavalry and light artillery school at Fort Riley); but unfortunately, owing to the large proportion of our military force on foreign stations, it has not been practicable to locate a sufficient number of troops, batteries, and companies at Fort Riley and Fort Leavenworth to fully carry out the purposes for which the cavalry and light artillery school and the infantry and cavalry school have been created.
Marked progress has been made in locating heavy batteries for the defense of the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts. In this great work approximately $55,000,000 have already been expended, and it will require, to carry out the general plan now under consideration, at least $45,000,000 more.
The following statement gives the estimates submitted by the Quartermaster-General, Chief of Engineers, and Chief of Ordnance for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1902, for fortifications, armament, construction of barracks and quarters, and purchase of lands on the coast of the following States: Maine....
$1, 285, 925 New Hampshire
661, 010 Massachusetts
901, 534 Rhode Island
747, 518 New York..
2, 724, 485 Pennsylvania
159, 000 Virginia
935, 450 North Carolina..
100,000 South Carolina.
261, 610 Georgia
464, 440 Alabama
108, 610 Louisiana..
200, 620 Oregon and Washington...
1, 106, 602 California
1,417, 796 District of Columbia..
50,000 Porto Rico.....
I recommend that the appropriations be made accordingly.
Very great improvement has been made, under the direction of the Board of Ordnance and Fortification, in the development of an explosive invented by Dr. Tuttle, of Tacoma, Wash., which is believed to be superior in effectiveness to all known safe military explosives. It is perfectly safe to transport and handle, and can be used in any service projectile; can be thrown any distance within the capacity of any high-power gun through steel armor plate, and exploded with most destructive effect. Important action has also been taken by the same board in the matter of larger caliber high-power guns, and improvements have been developed in field and mountain artillery, sufficient success having been achieved to indicate that, within the next twelve months, greater advance will be made in seacoast and field artillery than has been accomplished during the last two decades In fact, the history of recent wars has demonstrated the great advancement, as well as the destructive power of modern artillery, especially in rapidfire and machine guns.
In future wars both branches of this arm of the service must play a more important part than ever before. The safety of the great harbors of the country, of the commercial ports, where is concentrated a great percentage of the population, as well as a large proportion of the wealth of the nation, depends upon the efficiency and the power of the coast defenses. They not only defend the wealth and treasures of the nation, but they protect the foundries, factories, workshops, savings banks, and the homes of the great masses of our laboring people. The service of modern artillery has now become an intricate science, requiring great study, skill, and efficiency on he part of the officers and of the enlisted men, and the pay of the latter should be increased in proportion to the skill and intelligence required for such service. I may say that those in this branch of the service have manifested great interest and efficiency in their profession.
Although we have not reached the serious consideration of small arms, yet sufficient has been demonstrated during the past few years in the development of automatic and semiautomatic weapons to make it apparent that a change of type and great improvements must be made in the near future. This subject will be brought to your attention during the coming year.
During the last few years great advance has been made in the application of steam and electric power to mobiles, automobiles, and locomobiles, or self-moving vehicles for the transportation of persons and material; and, while considerable progress has been made in utilizing this new military motor-power in European armies, there has been but little development along this line in our Army. In my opinion, it is perfectly practicable to employ this means of transportation in many ways for military purposes. In fact, I do not think it wise
to longer delay the practical application of such a well-known power; and I therefore recommend that a liberal appropriation or allotment be given for the purchase of the necessary appliances for use in the different military departments.
I renew my recommendation that authority be granted to the War Department to dispose of, by sale, certain reservations and military posts that have been, or may be, abandoned on account of being no longer of military value; and that the proceeds of such sales may be utilized in purchasing suitable lands that are imperatively required for the immediate use of the garrisons now at the artillery posts and at other points for the better equipment of the service. This plan has been recently adopted by the French Republic with great benefit to their service.
There is needed in the immediate vicinity of the National Capital suitable grounds for the encampment of regular troops whenever assembled and for State troops when occasionally required; and I call attention to the necessity for Congress to make the requisite appropriation for putting the ground near the capital, known as Potomac Flats, in suitable condition for such purpose and for such other pur poses as may be required. Its condition now is most unsatisfactory, and is a menace to the health of the people living at the National Capital.
The events of the past two years and a half have resulted in a condition that the nation must prepare to meet. The need for an efficient and well-organized land force for an indefinite period in the future is most obvious, and the organization of such a force can not wisely be avoided. There are weighty reasons why such a service as is now demanded of the Army can not well be performed by temporary organizations. There is a marked distinction between permanent and temporary organizations. The officers and men of the latter do not sever their connection with their vocations, and a prolonged service makes a demand upon them which should not be required. The especial efficiency of temporary organizations is illustrated in the accomplishment of some specific end, usually requiring a comparatively short time to accomplish.
There is also a highly economic question involved, especially where, us now, the service must be performed on a very remote field. The temporary organizations now serving in the Philippine Islands, although their whole period of service will cover nearly two years, will yet have rendered but little more than one year of service in the field, and the expense of the double transfer adds enormously to the cost of the organization.
Besides these considerations, the need of an increased regular force is urgent, in order to afford a reserve for the relief of regiments that are serving at tropical and subtropical stations. The permanent