La Fayette, Lauderdale, Leake, Lowndes, Marion, Perry, Scott, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Washington.
Relative to the militia, will state that the law requiring parades is in existence, but no orders have been issued by the commander-in-chief instructing general and field officers to enforce the law. The law requiring these parades was revived some eleven months ago, and not one report has been received from any company, regimental, or battalion parade. The law as it exists is impracticable, and requires to be remodeled before it can be effectual. The little interest taken in the militia is conclusive evidence that a regular organized militia is contrary to the spirit of the people, and an organization can never be effected when the people agree by common consent to disregard the law; and laws being of no purpose when they are observed, I recommend the repeal of the law. Proof sufficiently conclusive to show that but little interest is taken int he militia has been furnished this office by the recent returns of election, as some counties which have 800 or 900 men subject to military duty polled at the election for field officers only from two to fifteen votes. Further proof is that during last spring an election was ordered by the colonel of the Ninth Regiment of the First Division for an election of company officers, which he reports to this office as follows: "The qualified electors were present, the polls opened, and the men refused to vote. " He desired to know what was to be done. The only reply was that the frames of the bill anticipated no such gross disrespect to military authority and made no provisions relative thereto. Legislative action is recommended on this point. To show the impracticability of the law it is necessary to state that a regiment is composed of ten companies, or 1,000 men. By the law each county constitutes a regiment. In numerous counties the number of men subject to duty does not exceed 500, and in some the number exceeds 2,500. Still further, the companies are limited to sixty-four men, and by the law not more than eight companies in a regiment; therefore it is impossible to effect an organization under this law. I recommend its repeal and suggest that a per capita tax be collected in lieu of this militia duty and be deposited in the state treasury for general military purposes.
On the first Monday in October last the regular biennial election for militia officers was holden, and from the returns not more than two-thirds of the requisite officers were elected. The number of commissions issued amounts to 299; of general officers, 12; of field, 104; of staff, 28; of line, 155. The issuing and distribution of commissions to the officers entails expense upon the State and infinite unnecessary labor in this office, and produces no good whatever. Should it be deemed unadvisable to repeal this law I recommend a convention of the general officers and their staffs for the purpose of adopting a system of regulations and a uniform, &c. The amount of the expenditures of the department for arms and military purposes is about $26,900. 42. The apportionment of the expenditures will be found in the appendix. The receipts have been small. A sale of old and worthless muskets was effected with a house in New York. The amount received was $292, which has been deposited to the credit of the department. The volunteer companies are recommended in their elections of officers to select always men of military qualifications, as it is impossible for an officer to impart to his subalterns knowledge which he does not possess. The creation of the office of inspector-general of volunteers, and the consolidation of the duties of said office
5 R R-SERIES IV, VOL I