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wished might go; then, when the volunteer force proper had been put in fair condition, the Guard could be ordered home. In other words, the Guard should be used as it was in the civil war, and should not be called out for foreign service. The identity of each organization of the Guard should be preserved.
This calling out of the Guard to do the work which should have been done by the regulars, and by special volunteer organizations, caused great hardship, and has resulted in much temporary disorganization in the Guard itself. The work which the National Guardsmen ought normally to perform, differs entirely from that expected from regulars. All men who are admitted to the National Guard should be physically and morally fit for any soldierly duty; but there are many men who do invaluable service in the Guard who ought not to be called upon to serve in long campaigns, unless there is urgent need. For instance, a large number of our most useful Guardsmen who gladly give their service to the State are men of small means, business men, mechanics, clerks and laborers, with families who are dependent upon their exertions. Ordinary service in the Guard does not interfere in the least with these men's work, and absence from their work for a few weeks to meet a special emergency does not cause any great hardship; but absence on a long campaign means the actual loss of the job, with delay in securing another after the return. This causes wide-spread suffering and hardship. It is right to ask them to perform a short term of duty, but not a long term; and the disinclination to enlist for a long term should not be held to in any way reflect on them. If the country needs the services even of men with families, then, whatever the individual suffering, the service should be freely given; but where the necessity can be met by enlisting some of the tens of thousands of young unmarried men who are eager to volunteer, it is a pity to employ men who can be ill spared. The Guard gave conclusive proof of its patriotism by the quickness with which it sought the chance to go to the war. New York has a right to be proud of the way in which her citizen soldiers sought opportunity to get to the front; and an equal meed of praise attaches to those who were fortunate enough to cross the seas, and to those equally devoted and equally patriotic, but less fortunate, soldiers to whom fell the harder task of waiting in camps on American soil through the weary months for the call to action which never came. The volunteers, the National Guardsmen, not only of New York, but of all the United States, have won by their ready response to the country's call the right to full justice, to full recognition of their services, by National and State government alike.
Many of the troops who volunteered gladly for the emergency, now that the war is over are most anxious to return. That they are not all of them able to return is due to the utterly inadequate size of our regular army. If our regular army is, as it should be, increased to one hundred thousand men, the hard necessity of retaining in the service the volunteer organizations which should not be retained, will disappear.
A very wise act of the last Legislature has, for the first time, put the organization of the Guard in this State on a proper footing. We now have a Major-General who is in fact, and not merely in name, the head of the National Guard. The Adjutant-General is to work in conjunction with him; he is not an independent officer, still less a
superior officer. He can do no more than deliver the orders of the Governor and act as his representative. The Major-General has the power, and he should be given every possible facility for the exercise of this power. If he fails to do his duty, or fails to bring the Guard up to the proper pitch of efficiency, he should be removed and another put in his place; but so long as he is in office he must be given a free hand. In other words, he must be given full power, so that the responsibility can be settled upon him, and then he should be held responsible for the exercise of this power and responsibility.
I call your especial attention to the arms of the Guard. The lamentable result of keeping the Guard armed with archaic weapons, utterly unfit for modern warfare, was shown very conclusively in the late contest with Spain. It is an under-statement of the case to say that a single first-class regiment, armed with the Krag-Jorgensen, is worth three regiments armed with a low power, single shot, black powder piece like the Springfield. The National Guard should be armed with a small calibre, high power rifle, preferably that used by the regular army. In any event the cartridge should be the same. The last point is of the utmost importance. All the fighting forces of this country should use the same cartridge. It is a great mistake for the army and navy to use different rifles, but it is an even greater mistake for the army and the National Guard to use different rifles. The Springfield musket as a modern arm has two drawbacks. First, owing to the limited range, it is of small value against a foe armed with high power, repeating rifles. Second, owing to the black powder, it is a source of utmost danger to whoever uses it, as the smoke that it makes serves as a target, and the body of men using it immediately become the object of all the hostile fire from every part of the field within range. This was shown not merely by the experience of the National Guard in Cuba, but by the experience of the regular artillery, which also had black powder weapons, and which suffered in consequence exactly as the Guard did. It has been proposed as a remedy to supply smokeless powder for the present weapon. It is doubtful whether or not this could be done, but if done it would merely render the weapon less dangerous to the user without rendering it much more formidable to the foe. Any such half measure would be a failure. Our National Guardsmen are entitled to the best type of weapon. In a riot they could probably do the best work with shotguns; but we must have rifles, and these rifles should be of the highest type, and should take the same cartridge that is used by the United States regular troops.
The regimental hospital corps should be kept up, and encouraged. The war with Spain has demonstrated the necessity of the regimental hospital.
The Red Cross, and kindred organizations, have done admirable work for our soldiers during the summer just past. The Red Cross Society should be the right hand of the medical department of the army, in peace and war; for even the best medical department will always need volunteer aid in the case either of battles or of camp epidemics. In America the Red Cross should have a federal organization, with, in every State, chapters which should be in close touch with the National Guard, attending the encampments and forming schools of instruction in military methods. We should then have in this State, for instance, “ The Red Cross of the National Guard of New York;" which should be recognized by the National Government.
The Naval MILITIA The Naval Militia did admirable work in the late war, justifying their existence as completely as the National Guard did. The New York Naval Militia furnished practically the entire crew, and all but two of the highest officers, on board of the war ship “Yankee.” They were fortunate in having in the person of Commander Bronson one of the most gallant and efficient captains in the United States Navy; and they did their duty in first class style. It would be difficult to parallel in the history of other naval nations what was done in this war by those naval militia organizations which, in addition to helping provide for our coast defense, actually furnished the entire crews of four large warships, thereby supplying a pressing need, due to the inadequate size of our splendid regular navy. The State should carefully preserve and build up this arm of the service. It must be remembered, however, that it is exactly what its name shows, namely, a Naval Militia, and not a Naval Reserve. It was called upon in the late war to do duty which should ordinarily be done by the regular navy, or by a proper naval reserve, one composed of sea-faring men similar in type to those who actually man our war ships. The Naval Militia ought normally to be used for coast defence purposes. In a war with a more formidable power than Spain it would be highly undesirable to put any part of our naval force to the use for which it is not best fitted, though it may always be necessary to do this if we do not greatly enlarge our regular navy, so that in number of ships and men it may more