War of the Rebellion: Serial 122 Page 0309 UNION AUTHORITIES.

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the outlay thus assumed. A perfect battery of six Whitworth 12-pounder rifled cannon, with 3,000 rounds of ammunition, the munificent donation of sympathizing friends in Europe, has also been received from England.

It will be necessary for Congress, either at its approaching special or at its next annual session, to adopt measures for the reorganization, upon a uniform basis, of the militia of the country. I know of no better source of information on this subject than able report of General Henry Knox, the first Secretary of War, who by his wise forecast and eminent appreciation of the future wants of the country showed the entire safety of an implicit reliance upon the popular will for the support of the Government in the most trying emergency, abundant confirmation od which fact is found in the present great rally of the people to the defense of the Constitution and laws.

I have already adverted to the superior manner in which some of the New England regiments now in service are equipped. This is to be attributed to the efficient home organization of the militia in some of those States. Their example is an excellent one, and cannot fail to have a beneficial effect upon such States as have not already adopted a like desirable organization. I think it important, also, to recommend a further distribution of improved arms among, the militia of the States and Territories. As the returns of the militia are frequently inaccurate, this distribution should be made proportionate to the last census returns of free white male inhabitants capable of bearing arms.

The large disaffection at the present crisis of U. S. Army officers has excited the most profound astonishment, and naturally provokes inquiry as to its cause. But for this startling defection the rebellion never could have assumed formidable proportions. The mere accident of birth in a particular section or the influence of belief in particular political theories no satisfactory explanation of this remarkable fact. The majority of these offilitary education at the hands of the Government-a mark of special favor conferred by the laws of Congress to only one in 70,000 inhabitants. At the National Military Academy they were received and treated as the adopted children of the Republic. By the peculiar relations thus established they virtually became bound by more than ordinary obligations of honor to remain faithful to their flag.

The question may be asked, in view of the extraordinary treachery displayed, whether its promoting cause may not be traced to a radical defect in the system of education itself. As a step preliminary to the consideration of this question, I would direct attention to the report, herewith submitted, of the Board of Visitors to the West Point Academy.* The supplemental report makes special reference to the system of discipline, which it appears from facts obtained upon investigation ignores practically the essential distinction between acts wrong in themselves and acts wrong because prohibited by special regulations.

The report states that no difference is made in the penalties affixed as punishments for either class of offenses. It is argued with reason that such a system is directly calculated to confound in the mind of the pupil the distinctions between right and wrong, and to substitute, in the decision of grave and moral questions, habit for conscience. I earnestly trust that Congress, will early address itself to a thorough examination of the system of education and discipline adopted in this important school, and if defects are found to exist, that it will provide a remedy with the least possible delay. The present exigencies of the public


* Omitted.