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Indians by the military or by the Interior Department, I suppose you embrace the expense of maintaining the Army in the Indian country.
Answer. That is to some extent a portion of the expense. But I have not made what can be precisely called an "estimate” of the relative cost.
Question. Do you embrace now the expense of the Army, or a portion of it, in the management of the Indian question ?
Answer. Yes; I cousider a portion of that expense to be properly applicable to the management of the Indian business.
By Mr. HAWLEY, of Illinois. Question. Would you not consider the whole expense of that portion of the Army which is in the Indian country as applicable to the Indian business?
Answer. No, sir.
Answer. The employment of the Army in regard to Indian affairs, as things are now, becomes, in many places, rather incidental than otherwise.
Question. Still that portion of the Army that is in the Indian country is used for the sole purpose of securing quiet there?
Answer. In some places the Army is used for that purpose, but then there are other portions of the Indian country in which the Army is located where it is not at all necessary for that purpose. For instance, there is a fort at Salt Lake City, which is there for the purpose, as I beliere, of eating ip Brigham Young's provisions—his surplus food. And there are other portions of the West where the same thing happens, and wbere a great outcry is heard as to disposition of the Indians, and all for the express purpose of getting troops out there to eat up provisions which are so far from the market that they cannot be otherwise disposed of. A case of that kind occurred a year ago in regard to the Flat-beads. Mr. Garfield, a member of the House, went out there and became perfectly satisfied that the Indians were as peaceable, and that there was as little possibility of their harming anybody as there would be in the most peaceable community of whites in the country. Yet it was pretended that the whites there were in immediate danger from an outbreak, and the Government granted arms to the settlers to protect themselves. But it was afterward developed that their sole object was to get troops in that remote region to eat up their provisions. One of the uses of the Army is to spend money iu the western Territories.
Question. Then, in your opinion, there is but a small military force needed in the western country?
Answer. There are only some points where the military force is needed.
Question. Can you designate those points ?
By the CHAIRMAN : Question. Is there anything else you desire to say in reference to the general question ?
Answer. I do not wish to say anything else.
WASHINGTON, D. C., January 17, 1874. Examination of Geveral Nelson H. Davis, one of the inspectorsgeneral of the Army.
By the CHAIRJAN: Question. State whether you have been on inspecting duty in connection with the engineer battalion within a year or so; and, if so, what
our opinion is as to the possibility or feasibility of dispensing with or inustering out a part of that battalion.
Answer. I made an inspection of Willet's Point, and of the battalion of engineers there last fall. It is commanded by Major Abbott, of the engineers, brevet brigadier-general. I consider this corps efficient, and indispensable to the interests of the service. I do not think it could be dispensed with. The men are instructed not only in the ordinary mili. tary duties, but in their professional duties pertaining to the Engineer Department, and the condition of the post and the result of their labors (both of officers and men) was exceedingly gratifying and satisfactory. I consider that, for the defense of our sea-coast, and barbors, and cities, this corps canuot be replaced by the same kind of intelligence and efficiency without a much greater expense than it would be to retain it. In connection with the ordinary post and engineering duties, the system of torpedoes for harbor and river defense is established and being per. fected at Willet's Point. The great proficiency to which it has already arrived reflects great credit on Major Abbott and his corps, and I think on the country. I consider it one of the principal elements of defense for our harbors and rivers, and, as I understand this torpedo system there, it is principally on the defensive against attack-it is for the de. fense of rivers and barbors; the others are offensive propelling torpedoes for the attack of ships, and that has been given to the Navy more especially
Question. State the comparative expenses of erecting large works of defense, and of continuing in the service this engineer battalion at its present numbers, if any comparison of expense can be instituted.
Answer. I do not see that you could dispense with this engineer bat. talion in either case.
Question. State what you think as to our works of sca-coast defense, and as to the introduction of the system of torpedoes.
Answer. I think the system of fortifications heretofore adopted for the defense of our sea-coast and harbors is of a character too expensive and inefficient at the present time in view of the increased calibers of the armament of vessels, and that a different system, less expensive, using heavy metal in connection with the torpedoes, will be a much more effective protection to our sea-coast and harbors, than the old system. Fort Adams, which was considered one of the model forts in the old system, is not considered, I believe, capable of resisting the heavy guns with which vessels are at the present day armed. Such was my view, and on expressing it to General Warren, he agreed with me.
Question. What has been the result of firing on the works of masonry protected by the addition of iron shields and other obstructions at Fortress Monroe ?
Answer. I was informed by one of the engineer officers who was present at an experiment made at Fortress Monroe, in the firing of 15-inch guns at the embrasures that were specially prepared with a view to resist this heavy metal, that the results showed conclusively that they would not resist the effect of the shot, but were badly broken, and were considered uusafe.
Question. State the amount of preparation made to defend the embrasures ?
Answer. I do not recollect the exact dimensions, but I think the thickness of iron was about eleven inches, with four feet of masonry, and with heavy iron beams in the rear of it.
Question. What was the effect of the firing?
Answer. The iron-plating and stone-masonry were perforated and much broken, and in order to ascertain whether pieces of stone or splinters were thrown to the rear, a screen was there erected, which was perforated in many places by these stone splinters and pieces of iron, showing that there was no safety for the cannoniers bebind those embrasures.
Question. Have you inspected any of the forts and posts in the Military Division of the Missouri ?
Answer. I have inspected nearly all of the posts in the Department of the Missouri, in Montana and Dakota. l inspected the posts through Kansas west, and in the fall and winter of 1872 I iaspected all the posts in New Mexico, Fort Bliss, in Texas, and Fort Garland, in Colorado. In 1873 I inspected all the posts in Montana, Dakota, anl Minnesota ; also all the disbursing offices at the different stations in the Department of Dakota.
Question. In your judgment, are the military posts in Kansas neces. sary to be maintained for the defense of the country or for the protection of the Indians!
Answer. Several of them, I think, are not.
Auswer. Forts Harker, Larned, and either Hays or Wallace, in Kansas.
Question. Are there any posts in Colorado that can be dispensed with ?
Answer. I hardly suppose it would be proper to abandon Fort Garland, although it is not in a position which I would recommend. The position for a fort there is farther north, up the San Juan Valley; but inasmuch as that fort is established, and as we have quarters there, I do not suppose it should be changed now. The buildings, however, are not expensive, and many of them were very much out of repairs.
Question. Going farther south into New Mexico, state whether any of those posts can be dispensed with, in view of the relations between the whites and Indians; or, in view of their use against the Indians, considering the troops necessary, can they be consolidated ?
Answer. Yes, sir. In my opinion Forts Craig, Selden, and Cummins can be dispensed with, and perhaps McRae. Fort Tularosa was recently established on account of the Apache Indians going there. If the In. dians remain the fort should be kept; if not, it is not necessary, and Fort McRae may be required. That depends on circumstances. Fort Union is a large post, and has been very expensive. It was a depot, to wbich not only were supplies for New Mexico sent generally, but was also a place where several companies of cavalry and infantry were kept. I do not think it would be proper to abandon it now. It is of use as a wintering-place. Fort Bascom I do not think necessary, although a camp there has been maintained in consequence of operating in an easterly direction. It was abandoned, and then was re-occupied temporarily, and I think is occupied now.
Question. What is the expense of maintaining these forts in New Mexico as compared with their maintenance elsewhere ?
Answer. They are expensive, like other remote posts in the interior, and they add very much to the expense of maintaining that number of troops beyond what would be required if concentrated into larger gar. risons.
Question. One question is, whether the number of troops in the Territory is necessary, and another question is, whether they ought to be scattered as they are now at the various posts.
Answer. I am decidedly of opinion that the number of troops is not in excess of the demand; but the number of posts is, decidedly.
Question. Wbat do you mean by demand ?
Answer. I mean for the protection of the country, and to keep the Indians quiet, and to furnish that protection which is called for as es.' corts to expeditions, supply-trains, &c.
Question. Could not the line be protected from Colorado into New Mexico without having these posts in Southern and Eastern New Mexico ?
Answer. There is no trouble in traveling through that section now. The fact of hostilities existing between the Ute and Plain tribes of In. dians has been one of the great protections to a portion of the country. It is considered a kind of neutral ground by the Indians.
Question. State the additional cost incurred by reason of having additional posts; in other words, what additional cost each post adds to the Army expenditure, over and above the ordinary expenses of the troops.
Answer. The expense is increased from several causes. In the first place, from the cost of transportation of troops and supplies to and from these places; then, from the extra number of medical officers required and the extra amount of labor, either by the hire of civilians or by enlisted men; avd then there is greater waste and destruction of public property and a far greater expense in the construction, preservation, and repair of buildings. There is also an additional number of officers and men required to discharge the same duties pertaining to a post. I may add that the efficiency and economy of the troops in the service would be much increased, and better discipline would be maintained, by concentrating the troops into larger garrisons.
Question. State as fully as you can your idea of the efficient employment of troops in the neighborhood of any hostile Indians, by reason of concentrating them or of scattering them.
Answer. It is a well-known fact in the history of Indian operations that success has generally attended the movement of troops in consid. erable numbers when prepared for a campaign that followed the Indians into their own country. Where there are many small posts and camps it requires a good deal of time and expense to collect the troops at one point in sufficient numbers to carry out the objects of the campaign. The aggregate of marching to get them together will be, oftentimes, almost as much as is required for the campaign proper. Where the troops are in larger numbers at proper centers, the success of the campaign is much more certain and expeditious, and less expensive.
Question. State the French system in Algeria.
Answer. The system adopted in Algeria by the French, formerly, of scattering small detachments of troops throughout the country, was changed to the system of larger posts and commands, and resulted in the economy and efficiency of the service.
Question. Can you state the probable difference in the expense of maintaining a regiment at one post and of maintaining it at two posts!
Answer. I cannot give tbe exact figures, but in general terms I venture to say that a regiment at one post can be maintained at from 50 to 60 per cent. of what it would cost when distributed in four or fire posts. I think that, when you consider all the elements that come into the question, 50 per cent. would be a fair estimate of the relative cost, exclusive of pay, rations, clothing, &c., for the troops.
Question. Would 50 per cent. be a fair estimate between what is expended and what might be expended in the management of affairs between us and the Indians by a change in that respect ?
Answer. I believe that by a proper distribution of troops, and the concentration of them, nearly if not quite 50 per cent. would be saved, with exceptions given.
Question. Has your attention been directed, as an inspector, to this point of concentration ?
Answer. I have frequently expressed my views as here given to de. partment commanders and to division commanders, who have in some cases fully concurred with me, but hare stated that the demand for troops at different places by the people of the country, and the influences brought to bear, and the want of adequate shelter, &c., necessitated establishing these posts or camps, or maintaining them.
Question. Do you think that many of those posts are established by personal or political influence, aside from the judgment of military men?
Answer. I think such influences are exerted and have their effect. Question. And for local profit?
Answer. And for local reasons oftentimes. I would mention Fort Benton, where I was last year; that post is unfit for anyboily to live in. It is unsafe, and there is reason to believe that unless some change takes place a sad destruction of life may occur there from the falling of the buildings. There is no necessity for this post, in my opinion, and I think the removal of the post has been recommended by General Sheridan. The town of Benton is a small village, whose population varies from, perhaps, a few scores in summer to a few hundred in winter. There are a few merchants, and traders in furs and traders with the Indians; but there are many adventurers and venders of bad whisky; they are, as reported, a whisky-drinking and rather lawless kind of people. They want the troops there because it gives them a sort of protection against Indians, who come in there and get drunk sometimes, as stated; and it gives them a certain traffic from the soldiers, who spend their money there more or less. One man there, as I was informed, said be would be will. ing to subscribe $50 to keep the troops there, and that he could afford to do so from his little earnings. The citizens, I understood, petitioned to keep the troops there. I believe the object is for the purpose of putting a few dollars in their own pockets. I do not think the troops are necessary in the interest of the General Government; but if they are to be kept there it is a solemn duty on the part of the Government to furnish them with proper quarters.
Question. I call your attention to the region in the Nortlı, beginning at the eastern portion of the district of the Missouri, and I ask you to go over the various posts and say whether any of them can be dispensed with. In Minnesota, is there anybody requiring protection there, whites or Indians ?
Answer. The Chippewa, Wahpeton, Sisseton, and Santee Indians there are mostly peaceable and quiet. I do not think there is any necessity for Fort Abercrombie ; Fort Snelling is an old post, and is used as a sort of depot, and for the housing of troops and keeping supplies. I presume that for that purpose it will be considered necessary.
Question. Suppose that the troops were removed out of Minnesota, is there any use then for any post at all there, any more than in Chicago