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Home > Civil War Sesquicentennial > Davis Tillson AG Report Transcript

Davis Tillson AG Report Transcript

… possession returned to the Arsenals.  No new companies have been chartered since I had this honor to make my first report to your Excellency.  Although several applications have been made; the Governor and Council wisely determining that neither the past experience, nor the future prospect of the militia, warranted, or encouraged the raising of additional companies, under the present defection provision for their maintenance and support.

There are at present only thirty six organized militia companies in the state.  And but very few of these at all, answer the purposes for which they were designed and chartered.  Most of them have but a fitful and uncertain life, resulting in nothing but vexation and annoyance to their members.  This may not be a very flattering statement, but it is strictly true.  I make it not certainly to disparage the militia.  No reasonable person aware of the fact that no compensation is made to our volunteer militias, could possibly have expected a different result, but, that if the Legislature shall for corrections of those who framed the constitution of our Country, that “a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free state” they might see how utterly wanting are the existing provisions of the State law to maintain such a force “and that perceiving this pact, they might ponder the means necessary to give efficiency and vitality to the organization.  I cannot perceive that it is my duty or that there would be any propriety or good taste in attempting to discuss the necessity or use of a well armed and disciplined militia, in an official report made in accordance with a law of the General governments imperatively requiring each state to organized and sustain such a force.  I take it for granted that the provisions of our State Constitution were adopted in good earnest and that the people of the State sincerely are in good faith intend to perform the obligation imposed upon them.  With this view I may simply state that the undoubted cause of the luck of vigor and life, the decay and want to interest so apparent in the militia, is solely to be attributed to the fact that no suitable or reasonable compensation is provided for the services requested of our citizen soldiers.  This is the real deficiency, and no possible ingenuity in devising and framing laws can in any way evade it.  Unless this fact is recognized in further legislation upon the subject, our militia system can result in nothing but a miserable failure.

I am however very decidedly of the opinion that a vastly more perfect and effective plan for the organization of the militia was recently suggested and recommended to the notice of the Secretary of War by Burns Lieutenant Colonel B.S. Roberts U.S. A. than would be at all likely to result from any state legislation.
After referring to that provision of the Constitution of the United States that confers upon Congress to power “to provide for organizing arming and disciplining the Militia” and showing that Congress has neglected to legislate to the full extent of the power delegated, and that the laws now in existence have failed to provide the results for which they were intended, lest Roberts goes on to propose that the Militia of the several states he divided into two classes, the voluntary and the involuntary, that the minimum of volunteers to be freed from one hundred and fifty to two hundred  thousand, and that they be distributed and apportioned to the several states in proportion to the ration of population.  That each state should appoint an Adjutant & Inspector General to be elected with as per reference to his execution and military qualification, and that he should hold his office during good behavior and be held responsible for the efficient organization, instruction, and discipline of the volunteer militia.  Also for the safe keeping of the arms equipments and the public property supplied to the state by the general government.  He further proposes that the general government shall provide suitable compensation for the officer and soldiers of the volunteer militia to pay for a certain number of days duty in camp under exact war disciple subject to the command and instruction of the Adjutant and Insp- …