Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

No. 12.

LEGISLATURE, 1859.

ANNUAL REPORT of the Adjutant and Quarter

Master General.

HEAD QUARTERS, STATE OF MICHIGAN,
Adjutant and Quarter-Master Gen'ls Office,
Kalamazoo, Dec. 1, 1858.
To his Excellency, Kinsley S. Bingham,

Commander-in-Chief of the Military force of the State: SIR-In obedience to the laws of Congress "establishing a uniform Militia throughout the United States," and in conformity to the act of May 18, 1846, of the State of Michigan, entitled "An act to provide for the organization of a more active Militia, and for other purposes," I have the honor to submit my report embracing the years 1857 and 1858.

Agreeable to the 9th section of the 668th article of the Compiled Laws of 1857, I have made due returns to the President of the United States of all the Militia of the State, together with a schedule of all the arms, accoutrements, &c., constituting our military property; for a copy of which I refer you to abstracts A, B & C, found in the appendix to this report. From abstract B, it will be seen that the entire military force of the State amounts to 109,

a

750 persons capable of bearing arms. To sow the seeds of a military knowledge among this vast number, is the do sign of this department. This can only be accomplished by the organization of here aud there an independent company, properly fostered and encouraged by legislative aotion. In cases of emergency these will be regarded as nuclei, around which will cluster thousands to be speedily drilled and disciplined into an effective force.

Thus, without the enormous expense of a standing army, and without that objectionable feature in a Republican Government, we have at our command all its benefits.

The records of this department have not disclosed to me all the information I could desire, to a proper discharge of my duties, and consequently I have had often to grope in the dark, or to take steps at a venture.

I can account for this delinquency on the part of my predecessors only on the ground that Legislatures afford them no encouragement or sympathy, and held them to no adequate responsibility. The Supervisors, also, thong distinctly required by law, have generally neglected to return to this office those subject to military duty within the limits of their several townships. This neglect, therefore, has rendered it impossible for the Adjutant General to make such a return to the parent government, as would' furnish it with the data upon which is based the quota of arms which are turned over to the several States. My efforts to remedy this defect have partially succeeded, or so far at least as to enable me to report to the general Gorernment a number closely approximating to the truth. I call your attention to this omission of duty on the part of township officers, that some action may be had compelling its discharge more thoroughly in future.

The vast military element existing in our midst, would seem to claim from our Legislature some more decidedly efficient action. It is true, we cannot foresee any immediate emergency to call this element into exercise, yet it

would seem to be within the legitimate sphere of wisdom, to be able to control and direct it, should a crisis unexpectedly arise. Our peculiar situation, as a State, should be argument sufficient to arouse our fears, and to keep us always in a condition to resist and defend. For hundreds of miles, our shores are exposed to the aggressions of the most powerful nation on the globe; a nation, though speaking our own language, and bound to us by the ties of interest, and, in many instances, closely by the ties of blood, are yet jealous of us, and we of them; and who, on the slightest pretense, would be glad to measure steel with us. Are we wise in our apathy? It is true, we are at peace with all the world, but have we any security for its indefinite existence?

A portion of our fellow-citizens, taking a different view of the subject, have organized themselves into Volunteer Military corps, for improvement in drill and in the art of war, and at great pecuniary sacrifices are attempting to sustain their organizations, hoping, from time to time, that public opinion will undergo a change, and the necessity for legislation would force itself upon the various State administrations.

Up to this time they have waited to no purpose. Occa sionally, the matter has been respectfully brought to the notice of the proper power; but instead of being as respectfully received, it has either been laid upon the table, indefinitely postponed, or been hailed as the signal for a jest. A Republic like ours, whose policy is to sustain only a small regular army, must necessarily rely upon its volunteer force. Mobs and insurrections are an every day occurrence, but they are shrewd enough not to show themselves within reach of a regular bayonet; consequently the duty of suppressing them falls upon citizen soldiers.

Communities expend thousands in supporting and adequately sustaining firemen, whose duty it is to save property from the flame; (and this is commendable ;) then why

« AnteriorContinuar »