Page images

Answer. I think the material of the rank and file is much better. The material of the officers is not so good as it was in the regiments that I served with-thie artillery. I have been much in the field, especially in the Indian country, with the regular officers, and I have now been for six months in service with the volunteers. I think the rank and file of volunteers have much better material than the rank and file of the regular army. But the officers are nothing like so good.

Question. Then if you were called into battle you would rely more upon the rank and file than you would upon the officers ?

Answer. Proportionately I would.
Question. That is what I mean.

Answer. Except in some instances. I take the whole mass into consideration.

Question. For an aggressive movement now, are your troops in a condition to move without any great deal of delay or preparation, if called upon ?

Answer. Yes, sir; I think they are, except as to means of transportation. The troops themselves are ready to move at very short notice—that is, those one or two regiments I spoke of are not quite as efficient as the rest, because their colonels are not quite equal to their task.

Question. I was going to ask about that. What is the cause of their inefficiency-their greenness?

Answer. No, sir; I think it is a rauical defect in the head of the regiment. Sone men never can be good colonels; and if not, then their regiments would be very apt to be poor regiments.

Question. Is there any remedy for that?

Answer. I suppose that is an inevitable result of all human organizationsto have some officers incompetent for their places. I suppose it is so in every army to a greater or less extent. And so long as we have no especial test of merit here, it must continue to be so to a certain extent among ourselves. But it is much less so in the army now than it was. Quite a number of incompetent officers have been got rid of by one means and another.

Question. You have boards of examiners ?

Answer. Yes, sir; but those boards are sometimes composed of men who themselves are not perfectly competent judges.

Question. But on the whole is that board useful or otherwise ?

Answer. I think that board has been useful in some cases, though I found the moral effect of it in one two regiments to be bad. They looked upon it as a kind of a star-chamber proceeding, like the board in the navy some years ago. But I think upon the whole the board has been good in its results.

Question. These boards had their origin under the law of last summer?

Answer. Yes, sir; and it enables examination into the conduct, capacity, and every quality of the man. They cau inquire into the moral character and conduct of an officer as well as his military capacity. I have not been on any of the boards myself, but I have known some men put on a board whom I thought not competent to judge of these matters.

By Mr. Covode:
Question. What kind of arms have you in your division?

Answer. I have quite a variety of arms. In one of the regiments I have some of the old Springfield arms of 1826 or 1827, which are quite defective. I have one regiment armed with French rifles, which I think may be very good. Then there is one regiment armed with Austrian guns, which I think are not so good. Then I have some of our new pattern muskets, and some of the Enfield rifles, which are alınost like our Springfield muskets, or ritled

[ocr errors]

muskets. But I am making every effort now to get long range improved weapons for all my regiments.

Question. Of what make?

Answer. Of the Springfield improved pattern, or the Enfield rifle, or this new French arm, which I have not seen until lately, but which I was very much pleased with. It is a new rifled musket made in France.

Question. Which arms do you consider the best? Answer. Of all the arms I use our new Springfield musket of the calibre of 1858 is the best. But I have not had time to examine this new French arm; it struck me on a casual inspection to be quite good.

By the chairman:
Question. The Springfield is rifled?

Answer. Yes, sir; and we have also a musket which was made smoothbore and afterwards rifled. I have known quite a number of them to burst, and that has a very bad effect on the troops, to have the pieces burst in their hands. We have another musket which is very detective from the fact that it was altered from flint-lock to percussion. They bare to bore in, to put the nipple in, where it is thin, and they very often blow out.

I said I was ready for a movement, so far as maneuvring my troops go. They maneuvre well enough; but they are not sufficiently instructed in the use of their arms. I think the efficiency of the regiments in my conmand would be doubled if I could instruct them for six weeks in the use of their small arms. I would wish them all to have the proper arms first, and then instruct them. I once put a regiment in order in that way, after they had been thoroughly drilled, in six weeks. But I instructed them six hours a day. I taught them to estimate distances, and had them fire every day. In that way they had very great facility. I find the good of teaching the men, in that way, the use of these long-range guns with elevated sights for long distances.

By Mr. Covode: Question. You have some of the Belgian and Austrian arms, have you not ? Answer. I have some of the Austrian arms. Question. You think they are not equal to the French or American arm. Answer. No, sir; I do not think they are.

By the chairman: Question. When you go into action can you get your men steady enough to use the rifled musket to much better advantage than they would the smooth bore? In other words, will they take sight?

Answer. I can do so by six weeks teaching, and making every man think he is committing murder if he pulls the trigger without looking at the sight. If I get him in the habit, he will take sight; not without.

By Mr. Odell: Question. What system have you in your division for granting furloughs ?

Answer. I have no positive system, because I grant only those that appear to be matters of necessity-such as the sickness of the applicant, or in his family—or some extraordinary private business that appears to be a matter of necessity. I am fighting that thing as much as I can. I have no other system than that.

Question. There is a system by which an application reaches you ?

Answer. Certainly; I see and read every application for a furlough that is made in my division. There is not one that I do not read the reasons as 'well as act upon them. Many of the reasons are false; otherwise there

would not be a woman left alive in the north, for it would seem that they all have sick wives, or sick mothers, or sick daughters. I am fighting that subject as much as I can. The number of absentees in my division is not great at all. I shorten the leaves, as much as possible, even when I do let them go.

Question. They all go through you, the head of the division ?

Answer. Yes, sir; not a solitary thing of the kind goes on without my knowing and reading it.

Question. How many guns have you mounted ?

Answer. They are being continually mounted all the time. And it was in reference to that very point that I made the inquiry, but have as yet received no answer.

Question. Will you transmit to the committee a copy of the report when you receive it ?

Answer. I will; and I will nrge it again. I have thought it a very important matter, and I have not only written about it, but spoken about it. I told General Barnard at it was a matter of very urgent necessity.

Question. You say you had a brigade in General MeDowell's division some four months ago.

Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Have Munson's hill and Upton's Hill strong fortifications ?

Answer. Yes, sir; the one one on Upton's Hill my brigade built. It was quite strong, but it was not quite mounted when I came away.

Question. Do you know whether the fortifications at either place, Upton's Hill or Munson's Hill, are garrisoned ?

Answer. They were not when I came away.
Question. Or mounted ?

Answer. I think the one on Upton's Hill had seven guns mounted, and that there were several mounted on Munson's Hill. But I had nothing to do with that. But there were no men instructed in the guns in either. That is the point-that the men are not sufficiently instructed in the guns in the forts I have charge of; and, in my opinion, not sufficiently instructed in the forts over the river.

Question. You deem that a matter of great importance ?

Answer. I do. I brought it before the chief engineer some four weeks ago. I have been in command only about six weeks.

Question. Do you constantly have, in your division, the ammunition necessary for an immediate movenient?

Answer. I have at all hours; I am ready to move at any moment; I mean so far as my small arms are concerned. I can move in ten minutes, so far as ammunition for the small arms is concerned.

Question. Those regiments you referred to as not being efficient; arc they old regiments, or some just arrived here?

Answer. They were here when I took charge. Their inefficiency, in my opinion, is principally owing to the want of fitness of the colonels. They have been here four or five months, I think.

Question. You have two or three regiments inefficient on account of the officers. Should not that be remedied to make your division an efficient one?

Answer. I think it should.
Question. Should it not be done at once ?

Answer. If you can continue the means or system by which to do it. It would not do to be partial, and subject officers to the captious conduct of anybody; you should have a system. I would have no man the colonel of a regiment who did not show after a fair trial that he had his regiment a good one. He should bring fruit to show his ability; otherwise I would have somebody else. I would have a board of competent examiners to investigate the matter. By the military law no one can appoint a court of inquiry upon an officer except the President of the United States, unless upon the application of the officer himself.

By Mr. Gooch. Question. Do you know any good reason why these forts have not been garrisoned and the men in them trained before this time?

Answer. They have been in a constant process of construction and armament. The labor upon them has been very great, and I am not certain that all of them are in a condition to be turned over for occupancy. I have only rode in or around them as I go out every day to some part of my lines; more to look at the general aspect of the country than to examine the forts. I have not been difinitely informed as to their actual condition and armament.

Question. Do yon not know that there are some forts so far finished that they ought to be garrisoned, provided there is no obstacle in the way?

Answer. Yes, sir; that is my impression. But I would rather not answer so difinitely about a matter that has not been formally turned over to my charge. I made an application to the chief engineer a month ago, but have not yet received a reply. In that application I stated my belief in the necessity of having placed these forts in my charge, and baving the men drilled in the use of the guns at once.

WASHINGTON, January 11, 1862 General John G. BARNARD sworn and examined.

By the chairman:
Question. What is your rank and position in the army ?

Answer. My rank in the regular army is major of the corps of engineers. I am a brigadier general of volunteers, and chief of General McClellan's engineer corps, or assigned to that duty.

Question. Does your position make you acquainted with the fortifications about Washington, on both sides of the river ?

Answer. They are under my charge. I am the officer especially charged with them.

Question. What is their condition of readiness at this time?

Answer. They are all completed with the exception of four on the other side of East Branch, we expect to finish in the course of a couple of weeks.

Question. Are they all properly garrisoned ready for an attack of the enemy?

Answer. No, sir; they are not garrisoned; they are partially garrisoned on the Virginia side of the river. But that is a matter which does not belong to my department.

Question. I suppose not. I only want to know what the condition of the forts are, whether they are in a condition to meet an immediate attack of the enemy should that happen?

Answer. No, sir, they are not. We could throw our troops in them to defend them, but to make them really efficient they ought to have their gunners attached to them and drilled to the use of the guns.

Question. Has that been done to any considerable extent?

Answer. It has been done, I believe, in most of the works on the south side of the Potomac. But I cannot exactly say to what extent there have been gunners assigned; but I think to all of them. I should have said, in reference to the completion of the works, that there is a small one not yet entirely completed on the other side.

Question. Ought there not, in your judgment, to be men in these fortifications being trained for gunners ?

Answer. Yes, sir; there ought.
Question. Is there anything to prevent its being done ?

Answer. I do not know that there is. The commanding general has always told me that he was relying upon troops enlisted especially as heavy artillery, uuwilling I suppose to break in upon the organization of his brigades, or to devote to this purpose those troops of which he was making up his columns of march.

Question. Would you deem these fortifications efficient without trained gunners ?

Answer. They would not do what they ought to do.

Question. How long does it take to train a raw hand so that he will handle a gun well and know how to aim it?

Answer. An artillery officer would be more at home on that point than I am ; but I suppose it would take two or three weeks to learn the mere management of the guns.

Question. And to get the range of the guns so as to make the fire efficient ? Answer. All that has to be learned.

Question. Will it take two or three months to make a man tolerably efficient in that way?

Answer. Two or three months would be better. But I should think that for most purposes two or three weeks would be sufficient; even less than that you might, by diligent instruction, I should think, in a week get men so that they would handle a gun with a great deal of efficiency. They would not make perfect gunners.

Question. Would he know the range of it-how far it would carry effectually?

Answer. To make an expert artilleryman would require several months, no doubt.

Question. Do you know what number of men are employed in these fortifications ?

Answer. I cannot give the exact number. Do you mean as gunners, as garrisons ?

Question. As garrisons.

Answer. I cannot state that fact with any kind of accuracy. General Barry, the commander of the artillery, would know better about that. I have had so much to do with building them, with the fatigue administration of them, that I do not have much time for the other matters.

Question. Suppose these fortifications were all manned by experienced gunners and properly garrisoned, how many men do you suppose would be necessary to defend this city against say 100,000 of the enemy?

Answer. That question has so many aspects to it. If we were acting in the field and elsewhere, driving the enemy before us, and our moral condition was high, we could hold it with 30,000 men against 100,000 men in front of us here; but if we were driven back, demoralized and all that, I should say that 35,000 or 40,000 for gunners and reserves would be about the calculation.

Question. You would think that 50,000 or 60,000 well trained men remaining here, would make this city safe, with the rest of the army free to go on other expeditions ?

Answer. If we left this army, at Manassas, free to act, while we were acting 200 or 300 miles from here, I would rather say 75,000 men, because

« PreviousContinue »