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strike where it will do the least harm. I would not favor these reductions at all as an abstract thing, but if reductions must take place I would have them made where they will do the least harm.
Question. As to the staff, can the number of permanent officers in a staff be reduced, and a part of the staff just as well be filled by officers detailed from the line?
Answer. I think so.
Question. Please state your reasons.
Answer. If you leave out the Medical Corps, the Corps of Engineers, the Ordnance, and Bureau of Military Justice, there is no department of the staff requiring any special and prolonged training to discharge its duties.
Question. Please state the effect of such a system upon officers of the line, as well as upon the officers of the staff.
Auswer. The duties of the other staff corps, after those I have named, can be performed by any officer who is competent to hold a commission in the Army. The alternation from duty with troops to staff-duty, from time to time, would be beneficial to the officers of the Army, without, I conceive, being in the least detrimental to the staff departments.
Question. Would it be of any considerable advantage to the line-offi cers themselves?
Answer. I think it would.
Question. How long a period of duty would you detail these officers for?
Answer. I would say four years on any one detail; not longer than that. Question. Would you let these details run into the higher branches of the staff, or into the lower grades?
Answer. There is no reason why it should not run throughout the department-staff corps. It may require a few surplus officers, but I would have them attached to regiments, and I would have promotions in the staff-corps, if it exists at all, confined to a very few men.
Question. How large a permanent staff would you have, in proportion to the present staff? How largely would you reduce the perma;
nent members of the staff?
Answer. You would want one officer here at the head of each staffdepartment in Washington, whose rank should not be higher than colonel, at the highest. The precise number of officers required here I do not know; you would want one at the head of each branch, and the General of the Army, I suppose, would want one adjutant besides his aids, and at each department headquarters you may have one officer for each branch of the staff. Beyond this the permanent officers in the staff corps should not go, in my judgment; and I doubt the propriety of extending it that far, in fact. My idea of a general officer is that there should be but one way by which a man ever can attain the rank of a general officer, and that is that he must gain it by work in the field with the men, with the troops. The idea of having a brigadier-general here at the head of each staff-department, who has not won his posi tion by service in the field, is not the thing. My view is that it should be impossible for a man to attain the rank of general officer except by service with the Army proper, which consists of armed organizations.
Question. Could a system be adopted by which the duties of staff officers could be alternated in the field and in the War Department, at Washington, to advantage?
Answer. I think so; that is the very thing that I want to see done.
Answer. The reason I have already given, that it would be a great
benefit to the Army, and no detriment, I think, to the staff corps. There is nothing in these departments that cannot be done by any officer who is competent to hold a commission. Lieutenant-colonel should be the highest grade in the departments, and the officers of the Army should be so arranged that promotion should take place regimentally and not in the staff. Exception to this rule might be made to a limited extent, but very limited.
Question. Why would you have promotion go on and be obtained in the line instead of the staff?
Answer. Because the attainment of high rank in the Army should be possible only by service with the troops; and I would have an officer's service during his whole life, if possible, principally with the troops.
Question. Do you hold it to be preferable to have the rewards of merit in the Army given to those who serve with the troops, or those who are cut off from the troops in mere staff positions ?
Answer. Decidedly to those who serve with the troops. The service will also, of course, include officers on staff duty with the troops in the field.
Question. Please state how you would obtain a sufficient supply of officers to fill these various grades in the staff.
Answer. You would simply want to attach to the regiments a number over and above those required for regimental duty equal to the number required for staff-duty.
Question. In the Medical Department, do you prefer surgeons of the Army to contract surgeons?
Answer. In my experience in the Army I have served with a great many of both classes of medical officers, and I have had no fault to find with either class. The advantage, as I understand that question, of regular commissioned medical officers is that by law they are required to be subjected to a thorough examination before receiving their commissions, and this gives us, in out-of-the-way places, where competent civilians could not be employed, reliable medical men.
Question. Can you say whether or not, if the Army was reduced to 25,000 men, the present number of officers, (forty-four,) besides the deputy and assistant paymasters, could pay the Army every two months?
Answer. I think they could if the present system is to be continued. Question. How are they paid now ?
Answer. They profess to average a payment every two months, and they come pretty near doing it.
Question. Are the paymasters busy all the time paying?
Answer. No, sir.
Question. How long does it take them to get through their various payments?
Answer. A paymaster has a certain place known as his station, and about each muster-day, every two months, he receives an order from the department-commander to go and pay troops at certain posts; he performs this journey, makes this round of payments, and returns to his station until the next order for him to do the same thing, and so on.
Question. Why can he not go on paying through the most of this period of two months, and pay, at intervals of two months, each command?
Answer. I don't know but that might be done.
Question. How long does it usually take them to make the round of their posts?
Answer. That varies so much with their locality that I could not give any definite answer to it. It depends altogether upon the facility
of traveling where they happen to be. For instance, in Texas, some of the routes there are very long and it takes almost two months to make a round trip, whereas in Nebraska and Wyoming they can do this in a week or two.
Question. Would they then have the balance of the two months to stay at home in their quarters ?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Could the present system of paying the Army be changed, so that the number of paymasters could be largely reduced and a part of the paying to the troops personally be made by some officer at the post?
Answer. I think it could. I see no reason why it could not be. After muster-day, which takes place every two months, we promise our men their pay, and all it requires is for some responsible party to go and get the money and disburse it, or have it sent to him, and after receiving it disburse it and take receipts on the rolls, make his returns, and the payment is made. Now, one paymaster at department headquarters, who is always kept in funds, can distribute money to officers sent from posts for it just as well as to send a paymaster out from department headquarters to pay.
Question. Could the troops be paid by a system of drafts on the United States Treasury, after the manner of paying pensions? They are mailed. If the pay-rolls were made out and forwarded to the paymaster, could not that be done?
By Mr. GUNCKEL:
Question. With the provision added that in remote and inaccessible points a paymaster should carry the money?
Answer. I don't see anything to make that system impracticable at all. The commissioned officers in point of fact nearly always draw their pay by checks from the paymaster.
By the CHAIRMAN:
Question. State whether there would be any difficulty in getting these drafts cashed at any ordinary posts on the railroad?
Answer. I think there might be some difficulty at some remote posts, but I think at most posts, especially those near the railroad, they could be cashed.
Question. How do you find the railroad and express companies in that respect; do they do something of a banking business on the frontier; do they accommodate the people with exchange?
Answer. I don't know a great deal about them in that respect, but so far as I know they are perfectly reliable as transporters of anything. Question. I am asking now about whether they would not take up these drafts and give money?
Answer. At the railroad offices, do you mean?
Question. Yes. How do you get your pay?
Answer. I send my pay account to the paymaster. I get checks for different sums as I want to use the money.
Question. Do you find any difficulty in getting them cashed?
Answer. None at all. I get them cashed at the nearest town or by the post-trader.
Question Do you think the post-traders would impose on the soldiers in cashing those drafts?
Answer. Yes, sir; I think they would. That would have to be regulated by law or order.
Question. Are the post-traders usually supplied sufficiently with money?
Answer. That depends on the posts, but I suppose they are. It would come to be an object for them to get the drafts as a good means of making their remittances to the East, where they buy their supplies.
By Mr. GUNCKEL:
Question. Where have you and the other officers been receiving these checks or drafts?
Answer. For the last few years I have received mine in Nebraska and Wyoming.
Question. And had them cashed by post-traders?
Answer. Yes, sir, if I desired it.
Question. Did you ever have any discount?
Answer. No, sir; they would not think of such a thing.
Question. Were they glad to get them because they were a means of transmitting money?
Answer. Yes, sir. They would not think of discounting a Government check.
By the CHAIRMAN:
Question. Can any improvement be made in the method of purchasing supplies for the Army, the present one being by advertisement and public bidding?
Answer. As a general rule I think the present system is best in the long run-the most economical for the Government. Cases do arise occasionally, however, where for small amounts of supplies it would be better to purchase in open market, but as a rule I think the contract system is the best. Most of the posts are so located that it is impossible to get their supplies in the immediate vicinity of the posts, so that pur chases for a considerable time ahead must be made by somebody where the supplies can be had. The practice of the Government, however, is to purchase supplies from persons who have them to spare in the vicinity of the posts, and the advertisements now always invite such parties to propose for what they can furnish.
By Mr. GUNCKEL:
Question. Looking to our whole war establishment, could there be a reduction of the expense without injuriously affecting either the character or the efficiency of the Army?
Answer. Yes, sir. A great deal of money may be saved by discontinuing the transfer of regiments from one part of the country to another. In such movements, which should be made every few years for sanitary purposes, I would transfer only the permanent part of the regiments; that is, the commissioned and a few of the non-commissioned officers.
Question. If our war establishment is too expensive, where is it too expensive, and how can it be reduced?
Answer. There is no other way than that you propose. The only thing which you can cut off at once would be the enlisted men. You would do that by stopping enlistment; and an analogous treatment for the officers would be gradual reduction, and diminish the rank and pay in the staff departments.
By the CHAIRMAN:
Question. State what you think of the present management of the Indians and of the peace policy of the Government under the Department of the Interior.
Answer. I think the most efficient management of the Indians possi ble would be secured by having their management confided to the War Department, because if any misunderstanding whatever occurs with the Indians no impression can be made upon them until force is used or exhibited. Indians have no respect for any person, Government agent, or anybody else, who has not a force at his control.
Question. Please state whether a system could be advantageously adopted whereby a portion only of the vacancies in the lieutenants of the Army should be filled by the graduates of theil Mitary Academy. Answer. The Army should be officered from three sources: The graduates of the Military Academy, civilians educated elsewhere, and the enlisted men when practicable. It is hardly possible to fix the proportious from each source to be appointed annually. It would probably be best to make the principle a matter of law and leave the proportion from each source to the President. The vacancies in the grade of second lieutenant at the time of appointing annually, say about the time a class graduates, may be sufficient to absorb the whole class and also give some appointments from the other two sources. The number from the Army suitable for appointment will be very small for several years, but will probably increase from year to year as the system becomes known to the country. The number of cadets educated at the Military Academy might be considerably increased with the present force of professors and instructors without a proportionate increase of expense. The usefulness of the institution to the country at large would thus be greatly enhanced. When the vacancies are not sufficient to absorb the entire graduating class, under the rule above stated, a portion of them would have to be discharged from the service, with their education and diplomas, to make their way in the world. They would soon make themselves known if their services should be needed in case of war, and the more such men we can have in the country the better for the general good.
Statement of Gen. W. H. H. Terrell, United States pension-agent at Indianapolis, Ind.
Hon. JOHN COBURN,
UNITED STATES PENSION-AGENCY,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.:
DEAR SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 3d instant, in which you ask certain questions in relation to the payment of pensions by drafts, (or checks,) and the cost thereof, with the view of applying the same principle of payment to the Army. I regret that this reply, which it gives me great pleasure to make, should have been so long delayed, but the regular quarterly payment of pensions having begun on the 4th instant it was impossible for me to respond to your inquiries until now.
Not being familiar with the details of Army payments by paymasters, I will not venture an opinion as to whether the pension system of pay ment by checks can be advantageously applied to the payment of the Army or not; but I will endeavor, in answering your questions, to show that the pension system is well adapted to the pension-service, and that
This is, in fact, the present practice; but it is not required by law.