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REPORT OF WM. L. BUCK, 20 LIEUTENANT 13TH INFANTRY, IN CHARGE OF THE MILITARY DEPARTMENT

AT A. AND M. COLLEGE, Miss.

A. AND M. COLLEGE, Miss., 1

November 14, 1885.
To Gen. S. D. Lee, President :

Sir: I have the honor to submit the three (3) following reports of work done in the Military Department since the State Legislature convened in 1883:

(a.) As Commandant of Students.
(6.) As Inspector of Commons.
(c.) As Professor of Military Science and Tactics.

(a.) AS COMMANDANT OF STUDENTS.
On arriving at the College from my summer leaves of absence,
1 reported to you for duty and assumed control of the Military
organization. The five (5) companies were organized as soon as
practicable, and on recommendation of the Commandant, offi-
cers and non-commissioned officers were appointed by you.
Quarters were assigned to the companies in the Dormitory.
INVENTORY AND CARE OF ARMS AND EQUIPMENTS.

(Session 1883-'4.) The arms and equipments were moved into the new armory, which has been found to be much more convenient than the two old rooms used as armories in previous years.

The Quartermaster took an accurate inventory of them, and the result was reported to you. Receipts were taken for all arms and equipments issued to students.

The arms and equipments are in the same armory as last year. An accurate inventory has been taken by the Quartermaster and forwarded to you. The same care is taken in the issuing of arms and equipments to students.

(Session 1885 to November 14, 1885.) Armories have been constructed, one in each company, and arms and equipments transferred from the old armory. The present is the most convenient arrangement yet devised. Receipts are taken for arms and equipments issued. The Quartermaster has just made an accurate inventory; a copy of which was forwarded to you.

DAMAGES TO PUBLIC PROPERTY.

Once per week the Quartermaster inspects the Dormitory and reports in writing all damage done to public property, in order that it may be repaired and the cost charged to the student responsible-when known.

PRACTICAL MILITARY INSTRUCTION.

(1.) Artillery drills.
(2.) Infantry drills.
(3.) Target practice.

(1.) ARTILLERY DRILLS.

(Session 1883-'4.) The cannon was fired at reveille and retreat, frun May 28, to June 4, 1884.

(Session 1884-'5.) Students of the Senior and Junior classes, respectively, have been practiced in the manual of the field piece, and at drills have fired the allowance of blank charges furnished by the U. S Government to this College. The firing was skillfully done, without accident of any kind.

(Session 1885, to Nov. 14, 1883.) There has been no artillery drill to date.

(2.) INFANTRY DRIJ.LS.

(Session 1883-'4.) During the winter but little attention could be paid to drills on account of the inclemency of the weather, the consequent poor condition of the drill grounds, and the necessity of utilizing the labor of the students in repairing the damage done to College property by a cyclone ; but in the spring there were company and battalion drills, producing excellent results by reason of increased interest on the part of the students.

(Session 1884-5) The whole body of students received practical instruction in Company and Battalion Drills, respectively, Dress Parade, Review and Battalion inspection. From March 2, to March 16, 1885, as a preparation for the trip to the New Orleans Exposition, the Battalion and Companies were drilled daily (Sunday excepted).

The drill of the students, in consequence, was better than at any time since my connection with the College- March 16, 1883. The purchase by the College of a battalion flag (not expensive) and the institution of a “Color Guard” have materially increased the interest in military duties and drills.

(Session 1885, to November 14, 1885. ) The companies have been drilled in the setting up exercises and company drill.

(3.) TARGET PRACTICE.

(Session 1883-'4.) By your direction, I took out to target practice members of the Senior and Junior classes, respectively, on a range about two miles from the College. They practiced at 50 yds., 100 yds., 150 yds. and 200 yds., and excellent results were obtained. Great interest was manifested, but objection is made to the distance of the range from the College.

There has been no target practice since 1883-'4, as no range has been found conveniently rear the College.

DEMKRITS.

(Session 1883-'84.) During this session the following scheme was introduced. For every month during which a student receives less than 8 demerits he obtains a credit of the difference between the number received and 8. These credits are substracted from demerits of past months, when any are charged against the student. This system encourages good conduct and affords a means of relief to a stu. dent who is nearly deficient on demerits. It has worked well.

(Session 1884-'85, and to November 14, 1885.) The same system has given excellent results and the per cent. of number of demerits to the whole number of students is lower than any previous year.

DISCIPLINE.

(Session 1883-'84.) The discipline of the students as a whole was very good, but it was necessary to make examples in several cases for gross violation of College regulations. For the first time the better class of students, those in favor of strict discipline, are in the ascendancy, as shown by public opinion among the students, compelling six or eight of their number to come forward and acknowledge an offense, putting a calf in the dormitory, rather than that the hall orderlies should be punished. This was brought about by the stand taken by the Faculty, that the hall orderlies would be punished in all cases, unless the guilty parties confessed their guilt and came forward to serve the punishment. Previous to this session disorders of the above character were very frequent.

(Session 1884-'85.) The discipline of the students was excellent as shown by their daily conduct, the record in the Secretary's office, and especially by their good behavior and soldierly bearing while at the New Orleans Exposition from March 16 to 23, 1885. The comman dant feels that the State may well feel proud of the conduct of the students of the A. and M. College when subjected to the most severe test of discipline possible. In the dormitory, during previous sessions, there have been frequent disorders, while there has not been a single case of disorder this session (1894-'5). There have been fewer reports and demerits than ever before, and no student has received 100 demerits for the half (%2) session, (the number necessary to dismiss). For offenses during the session 1883-'84 there were ten students dismissed, whereas in the session 1884-'85 there were only two.

(Session 1885-86, to November 14, 1885.) The discipline is excellent. The first monthly list of demerits shows a smaller number of demerits for old students than that of any previous year. The spirit of obedience to proper authority and College regulations thoroughly permeates the body of stu.

dents to an extent never before reached. The students themselves appreciate the advantages of good discipline, and assist in its preservation.

RECOMMENDATION. In my report for session 1883–84, I recommended, as did the President, the division of the dormitory, by wooden partitions, into separate company quarters, in order the better to fix responsibility and more easily control the students. This was done during the summer of 1884, and to it may in large measure be at: tributed the present efficient control of the students in the dormi. tory. I also recommended that students in the dormitory be com. pelled to buy metal lamps instead of glass, in order to prevent fire by accident. These lamps have been procured and issued to students.

THE RESTLESSNESS OF STUDENTS, (Session 1884-5), was much less than during sessions prior to this ; students were better contented, and a larger per cent. remained at the College during the whole session, as shown by the following table, compiled from the records in the Secretary's office:

SESSIONS. 1880 1831 1882 1883 1884

& & & & & 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885

each year...

Whole number of Students during the year.......

354 304 317 257 291 Number present at College May 1st, of each year 129 166 190 155 226 Number who left College prior to May 1st, of

225 138 127 102 63 Per cent. of whole number during the session of those who left prior to May 1st, of each year...

63 45 401 39 22 There have reported this session, to date, 364; there are present 339; only 25 have left since 16th September, 1885-only 6 9-10 per cent., say 7 per cent. From experience of previous years, in the number who left the first six weeks or two months of the session, the per cent. for this whole session, of those who leave College to the number who report during that time, will not be over 15 per cent.. against 22 per cent. last session.

From this data it will be seen that there has been a constant decrease in the per cent of the number of students who leave the College before the end of the session, from 63 per cent in 1880-1, 10 22 per cent in 1884-5, and the present session (estimated) 15 per cent. There has been a consequent increase, constant and steady, of the per cent of students who remain at College during the whole session. For the present session there have reported in two months more than during any previous nine months of the College's existence.

(b). AS INSPECTOR OF COMMONS. I desire to report that the mess hall arrangements are in excellent order, the table furniture clean and the service good,

The food is substantial, well cooked and abundant. The price of board cheap for the character and quantity of food furnished. In consequence of which, I have not received a single complaint from students during the sessions since November, 1883. The former Steward and his successor, I heartily commend for their ability as such, and to the Purchasing Agent of the College much credit is due for economy and business judgment in buying commissary stores and supplies.

(co.) AS PROFESSOR OF MILITARY SCIENCE AND TACTICS. By virtue of an Act of Congress, the Military Department in every Agricultural and Mechanical College accepting assistance from the United States Government is obligatory, in that to the gift of land is joined the condition that certain branches of science shall be taught, including military tactics. To educate its citizen soldiery in the science and art of war-since on them our country will mainly depend—the General Government has detached from line service (40) forty officers of the regular army, who are detailed, for a period of (3) three years, to act as Professors of Military Science and Tactics in the colleges above mentioned. For acquiring practical military knowledge and instrucinstruction, the United States Government has furnished, on ap plication, to each of these colleges, two field pieces with equipments and ammunition, and one hundred and fifty (150) cadet Springfield rifles, with blank and ball cartridges. At the end of every three months the Adjutant General of the United States Army requires of the officers so detailed a report of the progress made, together with the interest taken in military instruction and drills, by the Faculty and students, and the character of the discipline at these forty (40) colleges.

As a matter for your information, thinking it will be of interest, I copy from the Annual Report (of the Adjutant General of the United States Army), for this year, just published :

EXTRAOT. “ The appreciation by Congress of the value of military instruction to the youths of the land is evidenced by the law passed last year increasing to forty the number of officers of the army

that can be detailed for this important duty.

*

Section 1225 of the Revised Statutes, in authorizing the detail of an officer of the army, provides that the officer selected shall act as President, Superintendent or Professor, and that the insti. tution selected shall have capacity to educate, at the same time, not less than 150 male students.

I beg to invite your attention to the second table herewith, which shows that but twelve of the institutions named therein have an average attendance of over 150 male pupils, while at fourteen colleges it is under 100 and at five others it is less than 60. It is recommended that, if necessary to prevent cavil, the

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