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Attention is called to the reports of commanding officers, which

summarized the features of camp which they deem of particular


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While some organizations show a nominal falling off, their strength actually was improved by the smaller sprinkling of hothouse enlistment.

Many companies have a waiting list, and require men to drill before they are mustered in; there is no trouble to keep the ranks full, and recruits are usually fairly drilled when accepted. Logical deductions suggest themselves.

When ranks are so guarded that it is an honor to be a soldier, volunteers will present themselves. As long as men confer favor by their service, or are accepted on the mere asking, enrolled strength will depend on the whim of the moment, and response to duty that may involve hardship, will be a doubtful factor.

1. Camps.

Nothing is more needed to render the efficiency of the militia complete than a course of applied drill to supplement theoretical instruction.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the whole year was the tour of duty of the First Regiment Infantry at Fort Warren; the officers of this regiment have every reason to congratulate themselves on the excellent work, commendable discipline and fine record of this command. While the necessity of greater knowledge among officers was made apparent, the hearty and substantial progress proved the excellent material in this regiment.

It is too much to expect of a regiment whose work has been spent mainly on the infantry arms to become full-fledged artillerists in a single week. What was accomplished endorses the potential strength of this regiment for artillery work, and opens a new field for the militia, when well drilled, as a reserve for harbor defence.

If the time had been concentrated at the guns rather than diluted with elaborate guard details, and cut into by infantry work that wasted valuable time to reach suitable practice ground, more might have been accomplished.

Viewed in the light of an experiment, it was eminently success-ful. It has shown the possibilities for a command with the snap peculiar to this organization.

The exceptional advantages offered the First Regiment by the government, and the sturdy exertions of the regular officers to give the men the first elements in gunnery, deserve appreciative thanks.

If the suggestion in your last report had been followed, under the new drill regulations more could have been accomplished with regimental camps.

The advantage of bringing several regiments together, the

maintenance of a brigade organization, and the opportunity to show the tax payers an imposing encampment, deserve consideration. The annual encampment has familiarized the volunteer with the method of camping in tents, but it may be doubted whether the conditions of war have not been entirely lost sight of. The very excellence of arrangements made for the comfort of the men during the week's training seems almost to be a source of danger. As a rule, the command on arrival find the tents pitched and the camp ready, and during the whole week breakfast, dinner and supper are provided with a regularity even greater than that of an ordinary household. There is nothing wrong in this, for the main object of the week's camp is to have plenty of time for drill; but undoubtedly a commanding officer would do well if he should insist, even at the risk of losing half an hour's drill, on the observance of one or two of the conditions of a campaign. All that is necessary is, that from time to time an unexpected order should be given to strike the camp and march off, the camp being replaced at the conclusion of the march on its old site.

It was doubtless paternal kindness which prompted this protective policy for the militia. It has relieved them of some drudgery at the expense of pretty essential features for any experience for campaign work, with a base of supplies not fortuitously near South Framingham, within easy touch of Martin and Restaurant Row.

It has become a serious question whether the promiscuous visiting now permitted tends to elevate the force in the opinion of thoughtful citizens. It certainly does interfere with the tour of duty, and makes demands upon officers which fritters away time that is precious. It would be an improvement to have camp. thrown open but on one day. Military or occasional visitors might be admitted during the week, with Governor's day set apart for those of the general public, whose interest in the militia. should lead them to South Framingham. Unquestionably more systematic work could be got through with, and the appearance on that day would be in evidence of the better use made of the time and outlay for field experience.

The Naval Brigade is fortunate in the opportunity given them for close touch with the regular service. To a certain extent at least, the progress they have made is due to the fact that the most of the time their work is uninterrupted by callers.

2. Rations.

The army ration is no prison diet, but precisely the kind of food best suited to the soldier. This would seem to suggest something to the volunteer troops.

The charges may not be excessive for the food provided under the present system of catering. The fault lies in the injudicious selection of the food, and a service costly as well as unmilitary.

The regular army ration would give more healthy food, and there could be added sufficient extras to make the fare in camp ample, and yet leave well over a dollar a man for real pay. While this could be assigned as now, companies should go out of camp in better physical condition, and with several hundred dollars to the good.

Should the State assume the rationing, there would be material economy, and really more money available for the men after camp. Still, the enlistment of a company cook, as in Pennsylvania, is preferable. There would be added to the pay a sufficient allowance from the company fund to secure a satisfactory cook. This would do away with the dependence of a company upon contractors. Under such cooks would be civilian assistants, but there would be military supervision of the preparation of food, and valuable experience gained for any service of the company by itself.

The rationing by the State could be tried with company cooks as chefs, and in this way the elasticity of the army ration explained, and ultimately every company left to its proper resources as a self-contained unit.

3. Marches.

The militia can be considered a first reserve to the army, as yet only in theory. We can limit our military training to as little as we please. If a clean, well-uniformed body of men, skilled in the manual and able to go through pageant ceremonies, is our ambition, let us steer clear of error in calling them soldiers. This is not the definition given in regulations, nor is it all the militia aim to become.

The need for progress has been widely recognized, and the fervor with which thoroughness has been sought has seldom been so marked as during the last year. This can be turned to good use, and permanent improvement assured. The least we can do, under modern requirements, is to maintain a militia equipped as perfectly as possible, and practise it annually upon well-defined lines looking toward efficiency.

More field work is necessary, and decidedly more experience in marching. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the march, which constitutes the every-day work of an army, -combat, or at any rate battle, being the rare exception. Yet of the

march under ordinary war conditions the volunteers have no experience.

A single company of the Sixth Infantry had the enterprise to march from Lowell to South Framingham. An unexpected visit of inspection at their camp over night showed the command well in hand. They arrived in excellent condition for a profitable tour of duty. Their example might well be followed.

To take men from their daily work, put them in different clothes, permit them but a few hours' rest, with an entire change of food, and food not always wholesome (very unlike the regular fare of a soldier), and then give them smart drills or ceremonial functions, is certainly peculiar training for military duties. Often the morning drill, the most instructive work of the day, is slimly attended. Under the existing order of things it is difficult to find fault with meagre battalions, certainly when the men are reedy recruits, and out of condition, from a faulty system as well as their own unchecked indiscretions.

A few hours of marching welds a command together, and is a capital beginning for camp. The time will come when some regiment, or battalion under a keen major, will take the field with proper transport, and actually make its own way to some rendezvous for Governor's day. The experience would amply pay for the shock of a move based wholly upon a struggle for efficiency. The sight of the militia showing soldierly traits, and of course under the excellent discipline such pioneers would possess all along their march, would be a capital object lesson to the tax payers. A review would take on a deeper significance, for it would be of the progressive element of the militia.

The particular time for the tour of duty is elastic, so neither the terrors of a tropical sun, nor the echo of discomfiture from forced marches in another State, need chill the martial heart.

4. Field Days.

To render field operations of any permanent value, the idea must be most carefully thought out. This becomes vital if the work be restricted to a.single day. The idea should be shaped to ground the command for probable actual service, beginning with the rudiments of duties in the field, and advanced through progressive stages from year to year. Thoroughness should be the underlying feature of each idea, so that the points made be made of lasting benefit to a command, and kept vital by the leaven of old soldiers who remain in the organization.

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