1-043 Report to the Commanding General, Dept of the East, August 1910

Publisher: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Date: August 1, 1910

Report to the Commanding General,

Department of the East

[August 1910] [Camp Perry, Ohio]

“Report on Field Inspection of the

Organized Militia of Massachusetts. 1st Corps of Cadets”1



. . . In connection with the equipment I wish to repeat my recommendation of last year—that each state be issued sufficient equipment to completely equip each organization to its war strength on short notice. The excess not in use should be kept at the state arsenal. This would vastly simplify the work of the War Department or territorial departments in case it should become necessary to suddenly order out all the state troops for actual service. It affords an easy and effective means of decentralizing such work.


. . . The police of the camp was excellent. If any comment is made it might be said that too much time was set aside and devoted to the police of the camp.


. . . In order to give the men the maximum amount of instruction in their drill, etc., only five enlisted cooks did any cooking. These were assisted by 51 colored servants who waited on the tables, cooked, washed, etc. As it has been the custom in this organization when in camp on its home grounds to receive all the veterans of the corps, supporters, etc., a great many extra meals had to be served which necessitated a large staff in the mess department. The straight government rationed [sic] was not used and the cooking and meals were excellent. The corps had camped under service conditions during the past two summers, so were familiar with the handling of the regular ration. . . .


. . . Selection of Officers:- While according to the law the officers are supposed to be elected by the enlisted men, as a matter of fact in this organization they are practically appointed according to seniority, when efficient. As a result they are far above the average in efficiency. The election of officers should be discontinued and promotion by seniority required, the promotion being company, battalion or regimental according to the location of the units mentioned.

Where only one company comes from a town promotion from junior corporal to captain should be by seniority, provided the man passes suitable examinations. All seem to believe that this would do much to improve the National Guard, and their belief appears to be justifiable in every respect.

Drill Regulations and Guard Manual:- The experience of the instructor at nine camps with National Guard troops during the last four years leads to the belief that the infantry drill regulations and the manual of guard duty were not written with a view to the instruction of our National Guard troops and the large bodies of volunteers we will be compelled to hastily raise and train in case of war—these two forces presenting our greatest military problem. There appear to be many unnecessary details in both these volumes, which vastly increase the difficulty of quickly instructing new men in the first principals of soldiering. It would appear that at least fifteen movements in the manual of arms could be eliminated to advantage. For instance such movements as from right shoulder arms to present and the reverse, the various movements to and from left shoulder arms, serve no purpose, but as they appear in that part of the regulations detailing the elementary instruction for the recruit they should be thoroughly learned and not slighted. There are possibly close order formations that have no good purpose, too many rigid rules and too few general principles. The guard manual is complex and exceedingly difficult to the average private, even in the regular service. It is unfortunate considering the amount of instruction the individual soldier is given in guard duty that there is not more general similarity between the duties of a sentinel on an ordinary post and on outpost.

The 1st Corps of Cadets was organized in 1741; it has many interesting customs and traditions which are observed today; it has a great many veterans and a large following who support it. As a result the personnel is unusually high, the officers and enlisted men, practically all being from the better walks of life, men of college education and consequently of a high order of intelligence. The discipline is as near perfect as could ever be expected in a National Guard organization. The “esprit” of the organization has been developed to the highest point and is deserving of great commendation.2

Respectfully submitted,

G. C. Marshall, Jr.

Document Copy Text Source: Records of the United States Army Continental Command (RG 393), Department of the East, National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, Maryland.

Document Format: Author-typed report signed.

1. Marshall inspected the cadets at their camp at Hingham, Massachusetts, July 9-16. This report was written in August while Marshall was at Camp Perry, Ohio, where he was a statistical officer at the annual National Rifle and Pistol Matches. He had requested this duty and delayed his vacation trip in order to get it.

2. Captain Monroe C. Kerth (U.S.M.A., 1898), a General Staff officer who had been in Marshall’s class in the School of the Line and the Staff College, sent a memo to the chief of the Division of Militia Affairs quoting Marshall’s recommendations under Drill Regulations and Guard Manual at length (February 6, 1911, NA/RG 168). Kerth added: “Lieutenant Marshall’s experience with the Organized Militia, and his splendid record as an officer in the Regular Service, entitle his comments and recommendations to serious consideration. My own experience has been such that I not only agree with Lieutenant Marshall in his statements, but desire to emphasize the same, if possible.”

Recommended Citation: The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, ed. Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens (Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 1, “The Soldierly Spirit,” December 1880-June 1939 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981), pp. 51-52.

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