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The great amount of work forced upon the clerical force of the adjutant-general's department through the numerous inquiries made by friends and relatives as to soldiers or their families, all of which have been replied to, although considerable labor and time has been expended in obtaining the information desired, and the great number of troops passing through, with the returns and reports made necessary thereby, all these have much increased the work of that department, and the clerks have worked many times long after the usual office hours, and without complaint. For this and their intelligent and efficient services they are deserving of commendation. The office force has been ably managed by the chief clerk, Mr. Vibart, and I desire to place upon record the fact that, in my opinion, he is well qualified for a higher clerical position than he has at these headquarters. Very respectfully,
WM. R. SHAFTER, Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding.
REPORT OF MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM R. SHAFTER, COMMANDING
THE DEPARTMENT OF THE COLUMBIA.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE COLUMBIA,
Vancouver Barracks, Wash., August 31, 1900. ADJUTANT-GENERAL OF THE ARMY,
Washington, D. C. SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of operations in this department for the year ending June 30, 1900:
Pursuant to instructions from the War Department the troops stationed at Wallace and Osborne, Idaho, under the command of Brig. Gen. H. C. Merriam, consisting of one troop, L, First Cavalry, and detachments of Troops E and H, Sixth Cavalry, were relieved by a company of the Seventh Infantry under command of Captain Goodin of that regiment during the early part of the month of June last, when the direction of affairs in the Cour d'Alene district reverted to this command.
DEFENSES ON PUGET SOUND.
There are four 10-inch guns and sixteen 12-inch mortars mounted at Fort Casey and four 10-inch guns mounted at Fort Flagler. The engineer officer in charge of the defenses on Puget Sound reports under date of June 4 as follows:
There is under course of construction at the present time a mortar battery and emplacements for two 5-inch rapid-tire guns at Fort Worden. The mortar battery will contain sixteen 12-inch mortars. Both the mortar battery and the rapid-tire battery will be completed about August 1. At Fort Casey emplacements for two 5-inch rapid-fire guns are under construction. These emplacements will also be completed about August 1. At Fort Flagler there has been constructed, during the past year, two emplacements for 5-inch rapid fire guns. At Bean Point, which is on the main passage to Port Orchard, there are under construction emplacements for three 8-inch rifles, two 5-inch rapid-fire. guns, and six 15-pounder rapid-fire guns. At Middle Point, on the opposite side of Richs Passage, there are two 15-pounder rapid-fire guns, All the emplacements at Bean Point and Middle Point will be completed by January 1, 1901.
There are now completed at Fort Flagler 4 officers' quarters, 1 barracks, administration building, guardhouse, bakery, blacksmith and
WAR 1900-VOL 1, PT III --16
carpenter shop, stable, fuel sheds, quartermaster and commissary storehouse, 2 noncommissioned officers' quarters, hospital and steward's quarters; under construction, 4 officers' quarters, 1 barracks.
At Fort Casey, 2 officers' quarters, barracks and commissary storehouse completed.
The buildings at Fort Lawton (Magnolia Bluff) referred to in my last report as being in course of construction have been completed. There are still lacking the following buildings to complete a two company post, to wit: One administration building, 1 guardhouse, 1 bakehouse, 1 workshop, and quartermaster's stables.
DEFENSES AT MOUTH OF COLUMBIA RIVER.
Upon the arrival and mounting of four 5-inch rapid-fire guns, which
, is indefinite, the armament at Fort Stevens will be complete and consist of as follows: Four 10-inch rifles, disappearing carriage; two 10-inch A. R. F. guns; eight 12-inch B. L. steel mortars; two 6-inch rifles, disappearing carriage; four 6-inch rapid-fire guns.
The quartermaster and commissary building for the new post is complete and occupied; the remaining buildings will not be completed until about September 1, 1900; the sewerage system, water plant, and grading will not be complete until considerably later. The constructing quartermaster reports that the post will not be ready for occupancy until November 1, 1900.
At Fort Columbia, Wash., there are three 8-inch rifles, one not mounted owing to non receipt of carriage. No buildings. Armament cared for by detachment from Fort Stevens.
Fort Canby, Wash., garrisoned by a detachment from Fort Stevens. No modern armament.
FORT SHERMAN, IDAHO.
The abandonment of this post is progressing, and the final disposition of the large accumulation of public property thereat will be completed and the detachment, Twenty-fourth Infantry, withdrawn about September 1 next.
At the beginning of the present year this Territory was withdrawn from the limits of this department and created a separate military department. The troops stationed at Skagway and Valdez, Alaska, have since been attached to this department for the purpose of payment and supply.
CHANGES OF TROOPS, ETC. For a detailed statement of the changes and movements of troops in this department and from this department during the year, attention is respectfully invited to Exhibit 2 of Appendix A.
The reports of the various department staff officers are set forth in the appendexes hereto attached.
WM. R. SHAFTER, Major-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding Department.
REPORT OF BRIG. GEN. GEORGE M. RANDALL, U. S. V., COMMAND
ING DEPARTMENT OF ALASKA.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF ALASKA,
Fort St. Michael, Alaska, September 20, 1900. The ADJUTANT-GENERAL OF THE ARMY,
Washington, D. C. Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the military affairs and conditions in this department from the date of its establishment to the present time:
The Department of Alaska was created by General Orders, No. 8, Adjutant-General's Office, January 19, 1900, with headquarters at Fort St. Michael. I remained in Washington, D. C., until February 21, consulting with the Secretary of War and chiefs of bureaus of the War Department, and attending to the numerous details in connection with the organization of the department, which, owing to its isolated geographical situation, presented many phases wholly different from any other of our geographical departments.
Headquarters were temporarily established at Seattle, Wash., March 15, pursuant to the same order, pending the opening of navigation, and the interim was spent in completing the organization of the several staff departments and in procuring and shipping supplies.
The following-named officers were selected and have reported for duty as personal and departmental staff:
First Lieut. Howard R. Hickok, Ninth Cavalry, aide-de-camp.
Maj. W. F. Tucker, Pay Department, chief paymaster.
Maj. Gonzalez S. Bingham, quartermaster, U. S. V., chief quartermaster.
Maj. Frank Greene, signal officer, U. S. V., department signal officer.
Capt. H. E. Tutherly, First Cavalry, acting inspector-general. Capt. W. R. Abercrombie, Second Infantry, engineer officer. Capt. W. P. Richardson, Eighth Infanty, acting adjutant-general. Capt. E. S. Walker, Eighth Infantry, chief commissary.
First Lieut. Walter A. Bethel, Third Artillery, captain and acting judge-advocate.
Capt. W. R. Abercrombie, Second Infantry, and First Lieut. Walter C. Babcock, Eighth Cavalry, reported to the department commander in person in Washington, pursuant to paragraph 17, Special Orders, No. 25, current series, Adjutant-General's Office, and were assigned to the work of continuing the construction of military road from Port Valdez to Eagle City, Alaska. Captain Abercrombie ħad been engaged upon the exploration and construction of this route for the two preceding summers, his expedition being known as the “Copper River exploring expedition.” His party is now officially designated as the "Trans-Alaskan military road detachment, Port Valdez to Eagle,
Alaska,” and, as stated above, is in direct continuation of work done by him during the two preceding years. Captain Abercrombie's party left Seattle on March 17 for Port Valdez. A full report of the season's work will not be received at these headquarters in time to go forward before the close of navigation, but partial reports from him up to date show that fair progress is being made, and that the route selected will probably be open its entire length by the end of next year.
Company G, Seventh Infantry, Capt. James B. Jackson commanding, arrived at Seattle April 22 and left the following day on transport Rosecrans for station at Valdez. A report just received from Captain Jackson shows that the troops are all housed and the buildings well on toward completion.
Companies A, B, I, and K, Seventh Infantry, arrived at Seattle May 30 and were assigned, A and K to transport Rosecrans, leaving June 2 for station at Nome, and Companies B and I to transport Lawton, leaving the evening of June 6 for station at Fort St. Michael.
The department commander, accompanied by the acting adjutantgeneral, chief surgeon, acting judge-advocate, and his aide-de-camp, left Seattle for Nome on transport Serrard the morning of June 6. The remaining officers of the staff proceeded on board transport Lawton for station at Fort St. Michael.
Upon arrival at Dutch Harbor on June 14 it was discovered that difficulty had been encountered in trying to push through the ice fields in Bering Sea by ships in their eagerness to arrive at Nome at an early date. Several vessels had been compelled to return to Dutch Harbor.
The Seward proceeded on her journey from Dutch Harbor about 10 p. m. June 16, but encountering ice which compelled her to sail out of her course, she did not arrive at Nome until 1 a. m. June 21.
It was discovered at Nome that the Rosecrans had been, in her attempts to escape the ice, forced to take a course too near to the coast off the mouth of the Yukon and had grounded in that vicinity on the morning of June 15. Information was received at the same time that she had gotten off on the morning of June 18 without any serious damage. She finally arrived at Nome on June 28, having been compelled to return to Dutch Harbor for coal.
The situation at Nome upon my arrival was approaching the critical stage. In the United States commissioner's court it was difficult to obtain conviction by jury trial, which emboldened the lawless in their unlawful acts and added to the difficulty of handling the situation. Labor organizations, preventing men from working for less than $1 per hour, were the cause of much destitution and want, threats of violence, and destruction of property.
No representation could have held people back from Nome. Fully 18,000 people, lured by reports of fabulous wealth in the district, arrived during the month of June. The beach east and west of the town at the time of my arrival was lined with tents for about 8 miles. A great many people came for the purpose of locating in permanent business, others to work the beach and tundra, and still another class to work their fellow-man. This last class was probably the most numerous and certainly the most industrious of all. Supplies and machinery of all descriptions could be seen upon the beach. Claim jumping was the order of the day. Nearly everyone seemed to think he had a divine right to take possession of a claim or town lot whereever found. This course resulted in many disturbances, and some of a serious character. Many property owners were disposed to defend