Militia.The first session of the territorial legislature, which met on July 2, 1855, passed a long act of 27 sections providing for the organization of the militia. This was what is known as the "bogus legislature," elected by the votes of Missourians, and the actual residents of the territory refused to be governed by its enactments. Consequently, the organization of the militia under the provisions of the act mentioned was more in theory than in fact. On Feb. 12, 1858, the first free-state legislature passed an act declaring every white male inhabitant between the ages of 18 and 45 years subject to military duty and a part of the militia of Kansas. The act also provided for a major-general, 8 brigadier-generals, an inspector-general, an adjutant-general, a quartermaster-general, a commissary-general and a surgeon-general, these officers to be elected by the legislature and to constitute a military board, which should have control of all matters pertaining to the militia. The object of the legislature in creating this board was to take the matter out of the hands of the territorial authorities, which were friendly to the slave power, and for that reason the act was vetoed by the governor, but was passed over the veto. (See Denver's Administration.)
A thorough reorganization of the militia was effected soon after Kansas was admitted into the Union. By the act of April 22, 1861, all male citizens between the ages of 21 and 45 years were declared to be part of the militia, except such persons as might be exempt by the laws of the United States; those who had served for five years in the United States army or the active state militia; superintendents of the state charitable and penal institutions, and railway conductors or engineers actually engaged in the train service of any railroad company. Persons having conscientious scruples against bearing arms could be exempted by payment of $5 annually. The active militia was defined as the members of volunteer companies, subject to the call of the governor, who was commander-in-chief, by virtue of the state constitution.
Under the operation of this law, Kansas was divided into two militia districts, separated by the Kansas river, and the number of brigades in each district was to be directed by the commander-in-chief. From three to six companies of the active militia were to constitute a battalion; from five to eleven companies were to be formed into a regiment, and all enlistments were to be for a period of five years. Counties were authorized to create a military fund for the volunteer companies therein, and the mayor and council of every city where a volunteer company might be enrolled were directed to erect an armory for such company. By the act of May 1, 1861, the governor was authorized to tender to the United States government one or more regiments of the state militia.
While the Civil war was in progress, very little attention was given to the organization or discipline of the militia. Practically all the men subject to service in the active militia enlisted in some of the volunteer organizations and were mustered into the service of the United States "for three years, or during the war." Early in 1865, when it became apparent that the war was nearing an end, the legislature again turned its attention to the subject of the state militia. On Feb. 13, 1865, an act was passed providing for the compensation and discipline of the state troops, and for their expenses incurred in the Price raid the previous autumn. This law, with some amendments, remained the militia law of the state until 1885.
By the act of March 7, 1885, the militia of Kansas underwent for a second time a complete reorganization, and the name was changed to the Kansas National Guard. In April the work of reorganization was commenced. All the old organizations that did not desire to remain as part of the national guard were mustered out under the new law; new companies and regiments were mustered in; rules and regulations for the government of the guard were adopted, etc. The state was made one military district, to be under the command of a major-general, but there were four brigade districts, each under the command of a brigadier-general. The major-general and the four brigadier-generals were authorized to act as a military board. The first board, which was organized on June 21, 1885, consisted of Maj.-Gen. Thomas M. Carroll, Brig.-Gens. A. M. Fuller, T. McCarthy, Adam Dixon and J. N. Roberts, with Adjt.-Gen. A. B. Campbell as secretary. The law also provided for an annual muster and camp of instruction, and the first annual muster was held at Topeka from Sept. 28, to Oct. 3, 1885. Since then annual musters and camps of instruction have been held regularly, and they have been the means of awakening considerable interest among the young men of the state in military maneuvers. Friendly rivalry, or rather emulation, has been stimulated by the act of Feb. 27, 1907, which provided for target practice, the state paying three cents for each shot fired on a state range, under the direction of a commissioned officer, upon a proper report being filed. Since the passage of this law the members of the national guard have become much more proficient in the use of the rifle.
Another act relating to the national guard was approved by Gov. Stubbs on March 12, 1909, authorizing the military board to build armories for drill, meeting and rendezvous, and provided that such armories should be open to the Grand Army of the Republic, Spanish-American War Veterans and auxiliary societies. At the same time it was provided that enlistments should be for four years, and that the military board should act in an advisory capacity to the commander-in-chief.
On a number of occasions the militia or the national guard has been called upon to aid in the enforcement of law or to preserve order. The most notable instances of this character were in the county seat contests in some of the western counties, particularly in Stevens and Sherman counties. In the great railroad strike of 1878 some of the companies were called into active service, and the troops were in evidence in the Missouri Pacific strike of 1886. The state has been liberal in her support of the national guard since the passage of the law of 1885, about $20,000 being annually expended on the camps of instruction, and something like $30,000 more for the support of the adjutant-general's office, company drills, armory rent, medals, target practice, etc.
The state constitution provides that "Officers of the militia shall be elected or appointed and commissioned in such manner as may be provided by law." Under the law of 1909 the state constitutes one brigade district, under the command of a brigadier-general, and is divided into regimental districts. The governor appoints the brigadier-general, with the consent of the senate; the field officers of each regiment are chosen by the commissioned officers of the several companies composing the regiment, and the company officers are elected by the enlisted men belonging to the company. The adjutant-general has control of the military department of the state, in which he is subordinate only to the governor. He exercises a general supervision over all military affairs and performs the duties of his department under the usage and regulations of the United States army. The governor, as commander-in-chief, has power to call out the national guard at any time to suppress insurrection, repel invasion, or to aid in the execution of the laws. Mayors of cities of the first class also have power to call out any local company of the guard to disperse unlawful assemblies or to assist in preserving the peace.
Every company is required to meet at its armory for drill and instruction at least twice each month, and at such meetings some officer capable of imparting military instruction conducts a drill of not less than two hours' duration in the "school of the soldier," the manual of arms, etc. In addition to the annual camp of instruction, there is a semi-annual inspection of each regiment and battalion, made by the commanding officer thereof, or under his supervision. These are known as the spring and fall inspections. In April, 1911, the Kansas National Guard was composed of one brigade of two regimentsthe First and Second infantryeach made up of twelve companies; a battery of field artillery; a signal corps and a hospital corps. The First regiment was commanded by Col. Wilder S. Metcalf, and the Second by Col. Perry M. Hoisington. The brigade was at that time under the command of Brig.-Gen. Charles S. Huffman. In addition to this organization there were two provisional companiesCapt. Clinton R. Shiffler's company at Lawrence, which was attached to the First infantry for duty, and Capt. Harry M. Snyder's company at Independence, which was attached to the Second infantry. Battery A, field artillery, was commanded by Capt. William A. Pattison, with headquarters at Topeka.
Such is the peace footing of the national guard, but the military spirit is strong in Kansas, and with the excellent commanders, the inculcation of the proper esprit de corps, the state has as fine a body of citizen soldiery as any in the Union, always ready to answer the call of duty.Pages 280-283 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I
TITLE PAGE / LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
J | K | L | Mc | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Background and KSGenWeb logo were designed and are copyrighted by
Tom & Carolyn Ward
for the limited use of the KSGenWeb Project.
Permission is granted for use only on an official KSGenWeb page.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project