Newspaper Page Text
General Frederick Dent Grant on the Army
(.Copyright, 1904, by Frank G. Carpenter.) HICAGO, Aug. 18. (Special Corre spondence of The Bee.) I met General Fred Grant this morn ing in the army headquarters, lot (tie ruilman building, lie la ii churg: of tlie trooi9 here, and wears, a4 the regulations require, the uniform of his rank. As we talked other uniformed oft fleers entered from time to time for order or to have the Keneral pass upon the mili tary business which had ween entrusted to them and our conversation took place dux Ing the intervals of this work. General Grant has his mind well In hand. -He Jumps from ono thing to another with- ' out friction, and, returning, takes up the first where he left off. I remember a former interview I had with him under circumstances peculiarly trying. It was when he was one of the New York police commissioners, and as such was acting as Judge In the famous Sherry dinner scandal trial. At this dinner a fair but frail actress had been called in by soma of the swells of the fast set and In light attire had danced a nnutch dance before them to the horror of Christian New York. While the testimony was being taken General Grant talked with me about his father, giving mo graphic descriptions of his life at home and on the battle field and at the same time keeping the witnesses and crowd In check, lie carried on tho two lines of thought simultaneously; and bis talk was a most excellent one. General Fred Grant grows dally mors like his father. He has the same stocky frame, the same plain, honest features and the same blunt manner. Ire Is Just as un assuming as his father was, and he has much the samo quiet common sense. He talks but little, but, once started, his words are full of meat, and his experiences have been such that he views the world In the broad. General Fred Grant Is like his father In his fondness for military life. Ills fa ther was his hero, and it was at his own, request that General Grant took him as a boy of 12 to the battlefield, and later on sent him to West Point. Little' Fred was With his father during a great part of the war. He took part In five great battles, was twice shot and had many narrow escapes. He was on tho flagnhlp of Ad miral Porter when the boats ran the bat teries at VIcksburg, and bo was wounded during the VIcksburg campaign. His wound was in the log. It was only a flesh wound, but his leg la still paralyzed where the bullet struck. He told me once how it felt when the ball cut him, saying that the first sensation was that of a breast blow, following which wus a pain like a beo sting. He thought at first that he was killed, and upon his showing his wound to one of the officers the officer told him to move his toes. This lie did. Where upon tho officer said that lie was not badly hurt. Young Grant thereupon wrapped a cloth around his leg and remained in his addle until the battle was over. After his graduation at' West I'oint Gen eral Grant was assigned to the Fourth cavalry and rose to bo its lieutenant colo nel. After ten years' service lie resigned and afterward became minister to Austria. He re-entered tho army at tho beginning of the war with Spain, served in Porto Itlco for a year and then went to the Phil ippines. I met him when he was leaving Porto Rico and afterwards visited him at Angeles, in Luzon. He there had a large military district under his charge and wo traveled over It together, visiting his sev eral posts. Over mountain and valley, with a band of scouts In front of us to draw the fire from Filipinos In ambush, we rode, passing through many towns and Tillages, visiting camps In the wilds of the mountains and fording streams. The ride was a hard one, for much of it wus through the beds of rivers so heavily wooded that we could scarcely see the sky for the branches overhead. At other timos the grass was higher than our heads as we rode through It on our horses. I remem ber I had to hold my hands in front of my face to keep the grass blades from scratching It The trip almost wore me out, but Gen eral Fred Grant 'throve upon It and was fresher at the end than at the beginning. That was in 1S99, when he was about 0 7ear of age. He Is now 05 and seems to be younger thun ever. He succeeded well In the Philippines. He was engaged In several battles, and In the guerilla war fare which followed the active fighting1. He was tho first to bring his district to accept civil government. After I left him he was sent to northern Luzon, then to southern Luzon, and later to Sainar and Lcyte, where he received the surrender of the last of the Insurgent forces. About a year ago he returned to the United States and took charge of the Department of Texas. Since when he lias been sent to Chicago. I asked General Grant to give me his pinion of the future of tho Philippines based upon his stay there. He replied: "I think the Islands a valuable possession and that they will eventually be an im portant self-sustaining, colony of the United I . . -.it GENERAL FRED States. They are of large extent and their soil Is very rich. "So far the political conditions have been such that there has been but little incentive to develop the island. Under the Spanish rule both church and state worked against rather than for the good of the commoD people. Wages were low and the oppor tunities of the poor so few that there was but little incentive to work and practically no hope of a poor man becoming rich by his labor. This is now changing The projects under way to build railroads will result In cheap transportation and there will be a rearrangement of values all around." "Will the people ever make good Ameri can citizens?" "I think they will, although It will be. a long time before they will be able to gov ern themselves. If their government was left to them as they now are revolutions would be of frequent occurrence, and I doubt if the people would not soon be as badly off as they were In the days of the Spaniards. They need education, and this we are giving them. We are protecting their interests in every possible way, and I think they begin to realize it." "Ho you think the Islands are naturally rich?" "Yes. Nearly all have excellent soil and there Is much magnificent timber. Luzon has valleys which will raise sugnr and rice, and these' crops might bo greatly Increased by scientific cultivation. At present the farming Is done in the rudest way, some of the sugar mills being operated by water power or by wuter buffaloes. There is also much undeveloped country, and the mountains are said to contain valuable minerals. The islands have never been carefully prospected. As to the best for ests, they have never been touched. The woods are of many kinds, including some which will take a polish like mahogany. "One of the great values of the Islands," continued General Grant, "is their locatl n. They lie right on the. trade route to Aus tralia, China, Japan and India, and are thus a good base for pushing our trade In the far east. I see no reason why they should not grow more and more val uable as time goes on." "I here turned the conversation to the Russian-Japanese war, but this General Grant refused to discuss, saying he was an officer of tho United States government, which held an absolutely neutral position, and It would, therefore, be improper for him to criticise cither army or to discuss the possibilities of its success or failure. Said he: "We are friendly to bote tho Japanese and Russians and have been so for many years. We deprecate the war they are waging, but we do not feel that wo have the right to Interfere with either nation nor to criticise It." "But general, can you not point out some of the peculiar features of their war fare. This Is the first war of the twen tieth century, and It Is being waged after twentieth century methods, have not many new Inventions been brought Into D. GRANT IN 1S04. use and new ways of fighting developed?" "If what we see In the papers Is true I might Bay yes to that," said General Grant "Cut we have no reports as yet that can be absolutely relied upon, and none upon which one would dare to base an opinion. New and powerful explosives seem to have been discovered, the wireless telegraph has been operated for the first time and other new things are, it is said, in use. We shall get the. facts as to such matters through the Information bureaus of tho army and navy, but that will not be before the war is over. It will then be time enough to express an opinion." "What is the present condiilon of the United States army?" "It is steadl'y improving. Our soldiers are better trained from year to year. They have better habits, there Is lss drunken ness and they have higher Ideals." "How about profanity. General Grant? It Is said that the United States soldier is the wickedest swearer on earth." "I don't believe thit," said General Grant. "I know we have many Boldiers who use profano language, but they are individual cases. There are many who do not swear at all. Profanity is, as you know, prohibited by the army regulations." At this point the conversation turned to profanity among the officers, and I asked General Grant as to whether the stories that his father used profane language were true. Ho replied that they were not and that he had never heard his father use a profano word. Said he: "My father once told me that he had never uttered an oath in his life, I know iva.. he did not ubo even the ordinary expletives and that he was averse to slang. I once' heard him say 'thunder and light ning and once or twice say 'thunder,' but ns he drew toward the latter part of hla life he did not use even such expressions. He was a man of much natural refine ment. Ha never told a vulgar story nor would he listen to one if he could help It" "Then you think our soldiers are grow ing better?" "Yes. The character of our army always improves when the army has something to do. Since the Spanish war we have had our hands full, and there has been plenty of active service. Army life is now busier than ever. The people have a higher re gard for the soldier tlian they have had during the latter years of peace, and the eoldlers feci it. The profession of the common soldier is more desirable, and I think I may say we are making better soldiers from year to year." "Would yon advise a young man to go Into the army?" "That would depend much on the man, upon his character, his condition and his ambitions." said General Grant. "If he is . anxious to make a fortune the army is no place for him. If he has natural business ability he can perhaps do better outside, but if he has a desire for the service and is anxious to Improve himself In it, I think it offers many advantages. The common soldier Is better paid, better fed and better clad than the majority of ftfci same rank outside the army. He gets bisl lodging, food and raiment free, and haj $13.60 a month, out of which he baa Uk pay only his wash bills. If he is a good man he can make a great deal more oat Bide that. So you see his condition is bj( uo" means a bad one." "Has he any chance to become an of fleer?" ( "Yes, Indeed, The army Is always ad vanclng those of the privates who ar , worthy. There are regular examinations) for promotion, and the young man who would rise can do so if he has it in him. "How many soldiers have we now in thsl army?" "About E3.000." I : .-.'i'l "Is that enough?" I asked. "We could use more; and when the for "trfications now building are completed w . shall require more." : "How about the military spirit among our young men; docs it grow 7" "Yes. It has become associated with the (Schools, both public and private. We are drilling school cadets by the tens of thou , sands every year all over the country, and t are training them in case we should need , them in the wars of the future. The mili tia is very strong everywhere. Indeed, ' we have now a vast amount of reserve 1 material upon which we can call should 'it be needed. The American, trained or untrained, is, you know, always ready to enter the army if his country needs him. In this respect the United States has a Strong fighting machine. If all our men from 18 to 44, which should bo considered ;the military age. were in the army, we should In round numbers have 16,000,000 ' fighting men. Of these, about 11.000,000 .would be white, and the balance colored. "How about the military systems of Europe, where every boy Is required to spend so much of his life in the armyt 'Would they be good for this country?" "I do not think our people would con sent to that, and our geographical situa tion Is such that we do not need it. There are, however, advantages In the military systems of Europe. The armies there are great schools In which the young men are taught obedience to law and good citizen ship. They are taught sanitation and the laws of health, and by the exercises and drill forced upon them the nation individ ually and collectively is greatly improved. These are some of the compensations for the loss of the young men for several years to the nation. I do not wish to say that the system ought to be adopted here." "Does tho army have much trouble In securing recruits, general?" "No; thero are always men who want to be soldiers. We treat our soldiers better than almost any other nation, and we have little trouble in recruiting. When the times are hard the applications increase." "How about the desire to be officers?" "That seems to be born in a large pro portion of our American boys. There are always ten applicants for every vacancy at West Point." FRANK G. CARPENTER. Pointed Paragraphs A silk hat that's worn all night loses Its nap. . Sunbeams of wit quickly melt the Icq of sarcasm. A girl who uses paint isn't necessarily the picture of health. Too much knowledge has been known to strangle happiness. When a man gets too forward he is apt to be given a setback. The charity of some pcoplo is confined to heartfelt sympathy. Poverty is no disgrace; the disgrace be gins when you are unable to hide it. Card playing should be confined to either the drawins room or the anteroom. A. man never realizes how high a fence he can Jump until he is badly scared. It may not be easier to coax a woman than It is to drive her, but it is safer. A man may be master of a dozen lan guages and still be unablo to control his wife's tongue. The saints may have the best ,of It here after, but the sinners seem to have the most fun here on earth. A wise man never stumbles twice over the same stone; when he parses that way again the stone Isn't there, Chicago News. How Elephants Sleep "That elephant," said the circus man, "has slept standing' up for a year. He is 90, and what little sleep he requires he takes on his feet. "An elephant in his prime only sleeps five hours a night, and the older he grows the less sleep he needs. This good fellow hore practically needs no sleep at all. At whatever hour of the day or night I come to him, he stands patiently in Ids place, rocking from side to Bide. I know he sleeps a little, but for years now his naps have been so short that he hasn't bothered to lie down for them. Nearly all old ele phants are like this." Louisville Courier Journal.