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Commanding Officers of the respective regiments, and commissions were issued accordingly.
In the subsequent commissioning of officers of the Fifth Regi. ment, of which there were only five, to fill vacancies, commissions were issued on the recommendation of the Commanding Officer. In the subsequent reorganization of the First Regiment, after the second call for troops, the Adjutant General and Major General Commanding did suggest the names of several officers at the request and with the approval of the Commanding Officer of the regiment; a privilege accorded, as was believed, not merely by virtue of his office but as the former regimental commander. At no time and in no case, except in that of Lieutenant Evans above mentioned, was any man, not a member of the organization, commissioned, although the “pressure” to induce departure from this rule almost amounted to persecution in some instances. There was, as was to have been expected, much disappointment at the failure of some to enter the service, but no influences or motives other than consideration for the welfare of these organizations and the good of the service operated upon this Department either in this or in any other matter.
On the second call for troops and the proclamation of the Governor thereupon on June 8, 1898, orders were issued and steps were taken for the organization of the Battaltion of the Fourth Regiment which promptly responded to the call to become, for the time, a part of the First Regiment. When the loyalty of officers and men to their own organization is considered, loyalty even to their company designation, too much praise cannot be given the officers and men of the Fourth for being willing to thus leave their own regiment and assume another company designation. This Battalion was mustered in by Captain William J. Nicholson, 7th United States Cavalry, at Baltimore, on June 29, 1898, and soon thereafter left for Fort Monroe to join the First.
On this second call for troops officers from each of the Fifth and First Regiments were sent back to Maryland with orders to report to these Headquarters for blanks and instructions and to proceed with the work of recruiting so that the strength of each company should be increased to one hundred and six enlisted men. The completion of this recruitment made each of said regiments, after the addition to the First Regiment of the battalion of the Fourth above mentioned, a three-battalion, twelve-company regiment, with an aggregate in each of thirteen hundred and thirty-three officers and men; thus making, as stated in the roster herewith, a total of twenty-six hundred and sixty-six infantry, besides the four hundred and fifty-six from the First Naval Battalion for the naval service—a grand total of thirty-one hundred and twenty-two. There was also a number of enlistments from Maryland in a so-called "immune" regiment, with which the State authorities had nothing to do.
By virtue of the special commission to the Adjutant General from the Governor authority was given me by the War Department to visit, from time to time as might be deemed expedient, the First Regiment upon matters relating to its discipline, further organization, etc. In pursuance of this authority three visits were paid the regiment at Fort Monroe and two at Camp Meade, the last visit to Camp Meade being in November, 1898, shortly before its departure for its winter quarters in Augusta, Georgia. The second visit to Fort Monroe was to complete the organization of the regiment. This was practically accomplished on July 7, 1898, although one officer was not mustered in until July 15.
After the departure of our troops for the war it was urged in certain quarters, from good motives for the most part, that another regiment should be organized for the protection of the State, as the Legislature had appropriated an abundance of money for the purpose. The position taken at these Headquarters in reference to this matter was that Troop “A,” after the increase in its authorized strength to one hundred enlisted men, the remnant of the Fourth Regiment, the First Separate Company and the “Veteran Corps' would be sufficient for ordinary purposes, especially as our proximity to Washington, where there was then a number of troops, would afford us opportunity to secure aid in case of serious riot or internal disturbance. In fact, Troop “A” was practically “on waiting orders.” It was further held that the expenditure of about thirty thousand dollars, which would have been required to fully equip the proposed regiment, would not be justified under all the circumstances and with a due regard to the welfare of the State. Some of the States did organize new regiments.
Early in August, upon the receipt of a letter from the Commanding Officer of the Fifth Regiment, then at Tampa, urging that the regiment be sent to Puerto Rico as its last opportunity to see active service, I proceeded to Washington. The result of several visits and numerous telegrams was that, while the regiment was about to be assigned to General Schwann's Brigade of Regulars, it was finally brigaded with the 2nd Georgia and the ist Florida, under General Hudson, for service in Puerto Rico. At the same time the ist Regiment was added to General Wade's Provisional Division for service in Puerto Rico, thus assigning all of Maryland's troops for active service as a recognition, as was stated at the War Department, of Maryland's efficient efforts to furnish well-equipped troops for the war. General Miles' telegram that no more troops were needed in Puerto Rico prevented these contemplated movements.
On Thursday, August 11, 1898, the Governor called my attention by telephone to an account in one of the daily papers in Baltimore of serious illness and dissatisfaction in the 5th Regiment at Tampa. He further called attention
to letters received by him from persons in Baltimore. Not one word of complaint from any officer or man had reached these Headquarters, except the very natural request of the Commanding Officer, above referred to, that the regiment should be assigned to duty in Puerto Rico. It was known that the regiment was one of only eight of the large number at Chickamauga which was deemed fit in material and equipment for immediate service. The State had even furnished our troops with ammunition. It was known the regiment was under orders for Santiago in the very beginning and that embarking had, at one time, been commenced at Port Tampa. It was supposed that matters were not altogether comfortable at Tampa, but no official notification of actual conditions there had been received.
However, after further talk with the Governor it was determined that a visit should be paid to Tampa. Having obtained from the Adjutant-General of the army, by virtue of the special commission from the Governor filed at the War Department as aforesaid, a strong letter to the Commanding officer of the Fourth Army Corps, which, among other things, stated the purpose of the trip to be "to inquire into the health and general condition of the 5th Maryland U. S. Volunteer Infantry, based upon rumors which the bearer believed to be largely sensational,” departure was made from Baltimore on Saturday afternoon, August 13, 1898. Tampa was reached on Sunday night.
That neither officers nor men of the regiment, used for weeks to their own appearance and surroundings, worn with waiting, wasted, in many cases, by fever and disease developing and multiplying day by day, could understand how the situation affected one who had been one of them, and who had seen them depart from Pimlico three months before in health and vigor, is 110t a matter of surprise. Had I been vested with the authority I should, then and there, have ordered the regiment home.
Orders had been issued to remove the regiment, with other troops at Tampa, to Huntsville, Alabama; but a rumor prevailed that it might be ordered to Fernandina, still within the “fever belt." I therefore left Tampa for Jacksonville on Tuesday night, August 16, having heard much of censorship at Tampa, and on the morning following wired the Adjutant General of the Army from the latter place as follows: "To my surprise nothing sensational in those rumors. The patient and uncomplaining endurance of officers and men amounts to heroism. I earnestly hope the exodus from Tampa to Huntsville will be speedily accomplished.”
On my arrival at Huntsville, by way of Chickamauga where valuable information as to army conditions generally was obtained, General Coppinger, Commanding the Fourth Army Corps, and his officers extended every facility for the work in hand, gave full information, offered the choice of camp. ing ground for the Fifth, and agreed fully, with the entire
concurrence of the Chief Surgeon of the Corps, that it would be advisable, under all the circumstances, to remove not only such of the soldiers of the regiment as were already ill and able to be moved, but more particularly those who were in that depressed state bordering on illness. Arrangements were therefore made soon after the arrival of the regiment at Huntsville on the Sunday morning following for hospital trains, and two trains transporting nearly two hundred of these invalids were dispatched in the ensuing ten days.
General Riggs received these invalids on arrival of the trains in Baltimore, and the worst cases were removed to hospitals by special direction of the Governor. The Surgeon General of the Army afterwards paid about $4,000 on account of the hospital claims, relieving to this extent the obligation assumed by the State.
Shortly after the arrival of the regiment at Huntsville the Governor of Maryland, at the solicitation of friends of the regiment in Baltimore and in accordance with the wishes of a very large majority of the members of the regiment, wired that he had secured from the War Department an order for the mustering out of the Fifth Regiment. The regiment remained at Huntsville over two weeks, reported at Baltimore early in September and was mustered out on October 22, 1898.
About twenty members of the Fifth Regiment died from disease contracted in the service, including that very popular and well-beloved officer, Lieutenant-Colonel William D. Robinson.
The war career of the First Regiment was uneventful. This regiment, like the Fifth, did what was required of it. formed garrison duty at Fort Monroe; left for Camp Meade, near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in September; left Camp Meade for winter quarters at Augusta, Georgia, in the late fall, and was there mustered out on February 28, 1899. Eight men were reported to have died in the First Regiment.
That neither regiment saw more active duty was not, I am persuaded, the fault of either organization. As a prominent army officer said: “There was not enough war to go around.” Whatever may have been the shortcomings of any department of the government, very few persons have any conception of the "pressure" brought to bear by Senators, Representatives and others in high places to accomplish special purposes. It is but just, however, to these servants of the people to say that the
pressure" upon them frequently comes from the people they. represent. It has been alleged that this pressure” was largely the cause of the assignment to duty of certain regiments in the late war. However this may be, the particular matters that should not be lost sight of are the prompt response to the call of duty by Maryland troops, the sacrifices made by these loyal officers and men, the unreserved offer of themselves to their country for whatever the fate of war might bring.
But, while this is all true, it can hardly be expected that the National Guard will ever again be called upon under similar conditions. Its present organization, its real relations with the United States Government; our so-called camps of instruction, where tents are pitched, sinks dug, food cooked and served for · the men; the methods of discipline, the retaining, from sentimental motives, which would in some cases be praise-worthy if the consequences were not likely to be serious, of officers and men who have grown old in the service of the State and their country, or who have become physically disqualified for active duty in the field-these and other considerations, including the fact referred to in the early part of this communication that officers and men of the so-called National Guard, as now constituted, are simply mustered in to serve the State, render the call. ing out of the National Guard for a foreign war impracticable and unfair. This was the position taken by Maryland, through its proper representative, at the beginning, as hereinbefore set forth, and events justified the apprehension then entertained.
One difficulty about Volunteer Regiments when first called into service is that neither officers nor men, as a rule, have learned to take care of themselves. The least and last thing a soldier has to do is to fight. Any man with ordinary intelligence can learn drill and some tactics, and any ordinary man will fight upon provocation, especially if he have company. The primary duty of an officer is himself to learn and to teach his men how to care for their bodies and their morals in camp, so that when the fighting time comes they may be in that state of physical health and moral vigor which steadies the nerves and otherwise makes a man feel like a man. If any intelligent man of business who takes up military studies and drill for a few hours a week, with a view of qualifying himself to be an officer, is as fit to command and have charge of men as an army officer, or, if an enlisted man in the National Guard is “as good as a regular," then the government would as well close West Point and disband the regular army.
After the return of one of the regiments there was much agitation of questions growing out of the peculiar conditions and the results attending this calling out of the National Guard for the service of the United States. Letters were written and published in the newspapers, and opinions were freely given. This agitation proceeded mainly, it is fair to assume, from ignorance of the provisions of the Acts of Congress referred to in the early part of this communication, and, in some cases, from want of knowledge of our own laws and military regulations. Circular No.
promulgated on October 10, 1898, while provoking some adverse criticism based upon an entire misapprehension of its purposes, practically set this agitation at rest. This circular, while containing quotations from the United States law, the constitution