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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.
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