Michael J. Treacy M.R.C.V.S.
Dr. Treacy, late veterinarian Eight U.S. Cavalry, died of yellow fever at Puerto Principe, Cuba, July 15, 1899. Dr. Tracey was a graduate of the Royal College at Glasgow, class of 1874, a part of his time having been spent at the Edinburgh school. He entered the U. S. Army as veterinary surgeon of the Seventh U. S. Cavalry, April 12, 1883, and served in that regiment until October 15, 1887, when he resigned to enter civil practice. He re-entered the service of U. S. Eighth Cavalry, January 7, 1889. Thus he served his country in a most faithful manner for fifteen years. During this long period he was a hard worker in a most thankless position. A veterinarian of ability, a splendid operator, a contributor of many articles of real merit to the professional and military journals, his writings in the latter showing him to be a military veterinarian of the highest order. By a strange coincidence his death occurred the same day that the Army Board of Examiners passed him to the grade of first-class veterinarian, with the pay and allowances of an officer, be having made a high mark before the Board. Since his entrance into the service Dr. Treacy was the leader in the fight for rank for army veterinarians, as his many articles in the journals and papers will attest. His work won for him praise from the entire army and the thorough respect of all officers be served with, and being a man of ability, he always commanded the respect and consideration of officers in command.
Dr. Treacy was a brave man. He went to Cuba to do his duty without any hope of glory, promotion, or even the small pittance of a pension accorded to every private in the army. When a man leaves his family and goes to "pest-ridden " Cuba under such conditions he is of the heroic order, which requires more real courage than the mere facing of the bullets of a cowardly, retreating enemy. Such a man was Dr. Treacy. Those who were in touch with his life and doings say that for three months past he played the part of a martyr in his love for the profession of his choice; though sick for months with Cuban fever, he would work continuously, doing double duty all the time, for the climate has almost ruined American cavalry horses, and his daily sick-reports show the prodigious amount of work he has done, despite his weakened condition.
Dr. Treacy was about fifty years of age. He leaves a widow, who only recently returned from Cuba, where she had faithfully nursed the doctor through a six-weeks' attack of Cuban fever. Dr. Treacy was an active member of the American Veterinary Association.
The Journal of comparative medicine and veterinary archives, Volume 20
He was married to Margaret J Cole.
Wm Treacy & Mary Kirwan
Michl John Treacy b. 19 Dec 1848 of Mountrath Sp. Michl & Mary Kirwan Mountrath Parish
1873 The Veterinarian, London
Case Of Enlarged Os Calcis In A Puppy. By Michael I. Treacy, Veterinary Student, Edinburgh.
1874 Highland And Agricultural Society Of Scotland.
Additional List, Passed April 1874...M. J. Treacy, of Ireland
23 September 1874 (FJ) Police Intelligence
John Kelly, Maryborough, Queen's County...a sheep affected with scab...veterinary surgeon, named Wm. Tracey...
25 Nov 1876 IT
Mr Treacey, V.S. (Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, London), having resigned his position under Professor Ferguson, her Majesty's Veterinary Surgeon, can be consulted at Mountrath.
1876 Veterinary Journal and Annals of Comparative Pathology. Vol III.
Examinations...The President asked if Professor Walley could mention an instance where the Council had allowed a student to change his place of education after having been rejected at his first examination. Professor Walley called attention to a case of Mr. Treacy as one in point.
December 1879 Action for libel
[Louth] Board of guardians...committee had a veterinary officer, Mr Michael Tracey VS, who in the month of October 1878, applied for an increase of salary from £80 a year in consequence of the great augmentation of his duties...
1880 Veterinary Journal and Annals of Comparative Pathology
Communications have been received from...Mr. J. Treacy, Dundalk;…
August 10, 1881 Lancaster daily intelligencer (Lancaster Pa)
James M. Burke, esq., reached his home in Lancaster last evening, after a four months' sojourn in Ireland. Crossing the brine has done him a world of good.
M. J. Treacy, of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons of London. England, arrived in this city last night with J. M. Burke esq., whom he accompanied from Europe. He will locate here.
August 31, 1881 Lancaster daily intelligence (Lancaster Pa)
DR. M. J. TREACY,
Member of the Royal College et Veterinary Surgeons or London, England, and Member and Fellow at the Royal Veterinary Medical Society at Edinburgh, Scotland. Having graduated in the best Veterinary Institutions of Great Britain, and with eight years practical experience in treating Cattle and Horses, he feels confident of giving satisfaction.
Office and Residence
Cadwell House, Lancaster, Pa.
03-15-1882 Indianapolis Sentinel (Indiana)
Veterinary Notice. In calling the attention of our readers to the advertisment of our respected fellow citizen, Dr Navin V.S., we have much pleasure in congratulating him on securing the services of Dr. Treacy M.R.C.V.S. as partner. Dr Treacy is a graduate of the best European Veterinary Schools and a surgeon of ten years experience, thus supplying to the horsemen of this city a want long needed.
03-21-1882 Indianapolis Sentinel (Indiana)
Veterinary Notice. Dr Navin V.S. respectfully intimates that he has secured as partner Dr M.J. Treacy (member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, London, England and fellow of the Veterinary Medical Society Edinburg, Scotland) a surgeon of ten years practical professional experience. Office No. 31 Kentucky avenue, one door south of Warner's livery and undertaking establishment. Residence 76 North Mississippi street. Telephone to Warner's livery and undertaking establishment.
Michael J. Treacy was appointed veterinary surgeon, Seventh United States Cavalry, April 10, 1883, accepted the appointment April 12, 1883, and his resignation was accepted to take effect October 15, 1887.
1884 The Register (and directory) of veterinary surgeons
M. J. Treacy, M.R.C.V.S., Veterinarian of the 7th U.S. Cavalry, Fort Meade, Dakota Territory, U.S
November 21, 1887 St. Paul daily globe (Saint Paul, Minn.)
Dr. Price's Veterinary Infirmary
Is again accessible. Dr. Treacy, M. R. C. V. S. (ex-inspector of animals for the British government), is now his professional associate. Considerable improve ments have been added and patients can receive the most scientific treatment.
In August, 1888, Dr. Michael J. Treacy became the first veterinarian on the staff of the University of Minnesota. He remained with the staff for only a few months.
He was appointed veterinary surgeon, Eighth United States Cavalry, January 3, 1889, and accepted the appointment January 7, 1889 until his death July, 1899 near Puerto Principe, Cuba.
November 22, 1895 The Black Hills union (Rapid City SD)
FRANCE BUYING AMERICAN HORSES.
Dr. M. J. Treacy, veterinarian of the 8th cavalry at Fort Meade, has an interesting article in the :Regimental Standard this week concerning his meeting at Indian apolis, daring his eastern trip, with a commission of French officers engaged in the purchase of horses for the various branches of their military service. Several extracts are here presented to show how this foieign delegation buy horses:-...
January 1896 The Journal of Comparative Medicine and Veterinary Archives
Veterinarian M.J. Treacy, 8th Cavalry
Resident State Secretaries
South Dakota, M. J. Treacy, Fort Meade
September 10, 1897 Hot Springs weekly star (Hot Springs SD)
Horse Raisers Charge State Veterinarian with "Ruthless Slaughter"
...Rousseau was not willing to allow such wholesale slaughter without further evidence, and employed J. M. Treacy, a veterinarian from Sturgis, to come out to his ranch and examine the herd. He also examined other herds while in that part of the country, and reports that in over 1,000 head examined by him he found only two cases in which there were symptoms of glanders…
June 17, 1898 The Daily Deadwood Pioneer-Times (Deadwood, South Dakota)
...Veterinarian Treacy attends Deadwood the first Tuesday of each month. Telephone Ft. Meade...
July 28, 1899 Dakota farmers' leader (Canton SD)
July 28, 1899 The Mitchell capital (Mitchell Dakota)
July 28, 1899 Hot Springs weekly star (Hot Springs SD)
Death of Dr. Treacy.
Word has been received at Fort Meade of the death of Dr. M. J. Treacy, a veterinary surgeon of the Eighth Cavalry, who is well known in the Black Hills. He died in Cuba on July 14 of yellow lever.
Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Michael T. Treacy died Jul. 14, 1899 Note: VETY 8TH U S CAVY
Michael T. Treacy
8 U.S. Cav.
1900 Census - Townships 1-2S. Ranges 10-14, Pennington, South Dakota
Elizabeth Cole Head F 62 Canada Eng. widow, b. Jan 1838, immigrated 1870, 5 children alive, na, farmer
Margaret J Tracy Daughter F 40 Canada Eng, widow b. Mar 1860, immigrated 1870, no children
June 25, 1903 The National tribune (Washington DC)
Veterinary Surgeon Pensionable Status
In the general law pension case of the widow of Michael J Treacy late Veterinary Surgeon 8th U S Cav the Pension Bureau held that the claimant was not entitled to pension claimants husband not having been an enlisted man or officer in tho United States service but served as a civilian employe The decision on appeal from this holding says (Ass't secretary Miller May 26 1903):
"Congress created the office of Veterinary Surgeon and under the Regulations of the Army the Secretary of War is authorized to appoint the officer hence an appointment thus made may be readily distinguished from a contract between the Secretary of War and a civilian.
After a careful review of all the facts in this case in connection With the laws creating the office held by Michael J Treacy at the time of his death the Department is of the opinion that ho was not a civilian employee as indicated in the official action of rejection of this claim but an officer within the meaning of paragraph 1 section 4G93 Revised Statutes of the United States
The papers are herewith returned for readjudication Rejection reversed.
1903 Decisions of the Department of the Interior in Appealed Pension and Bounty-land Claims
Jurisdiction—Secretary Of War-Officer—Service—Veterinary Surgeon—Appointment.
Margaret J. Treacy.
1. The Secretary of War has the power and authority under the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, under regulations of the War Department approved by the President, to appoint an officer to fill an office created by act of Congress, when the appointment is not otherwise provided for.
2. A veterinary surgeon is not a civil employee, but an officer within the meaning of paragraph 1, action 4693, Revised Statutes of the United States. Assistant Secretary M. W. Miller to the Commissioner of Pensions May 26, 1903.
Margaret J. Treacy, widow of Michael J. Treacy, late veterinary surgeon of the Eighth United States Cavalry, filed a claim for pension under the general law, September 27, 1899, alleging, among other things, that her late husband died of yellow fever at Puerto Principe, Cuba, July 14, 1899.
The claim was adjudicated January 30, 1900, when the following official action was recorded: Approved for rejection on the ground of no title, claimant’s husband not having been an enlisted man or officer in United States service, but served as a civilian employee.
An appeal was filed March 17, 1900, containing the following state- ment, specifications of error, and argument:
It is admitted that a veterinary surgeon is neither an officer nor an enlisted man. He is a civilian, appointed by the Secretary of War upon the recommendation of the colonel of the regiment to which he is appointed. He is, however, recognized by law as a component of a regiment of cavalry.
The Adjutant-General furnished the following report, November 4, 1899:
Respectfully returned to the Commissioner of Pensions.
Michael J. Treacy was appointed veterinary surgeon, Seventh United States Cavalry, April 10, 1883, accepted the appointment April 12, 1883, and his resignation was accepted to take effect October 15, 1887. He was appointed veterinary surgeon, Eighth United States Cavalry, January 3, 1889, and accepted the appointment January 7, 1889. The return of that regiment for July, 1899 dated Camp near Puerto Principe, Cuba, reports him to have died at the district hospital at that place July 14, 1899. Other official records on file here indicate him to have died of yellow fever. There is no evidence of record that he rendered any commissioned or enlisted service.
It may be deemed advisable to state, at this point a veterinary surgeon of the first class, created by the act of March 2, 1899,—while Michael J. Treacy was in the military service—was thereby raised to the rank of second lieutenant, and under the act of February 2, 1901, the grade of veterinarians of the second class in cavalry regiments was abolished, and thereafter the two veterinarians, authorized for each cavalry regiment, shall receive the pay and allowances of second lieutenants, mounted. The latter act, however, can have no bearing on this claim, because Michael J. Treacy was dead before it became a law, except in relation to the history of the office held by him at the time of his death.
Congress created the office of veterinary surgeon, and under the Regulations of the Army, the Secretary of War is authorized to appoint the officer, hence an appointment thus madeinay be readily distinguished from a contract between the Secretary of War and a civilian.
After a careful review of all the facts in this case in connection with the laws creating the office held by Michael J. Treacy at the time of his death, the Department is of the opinion that he was not a civilian employee, as indicated in the official action of rejection of this claim, but an officer within the meaning of paragraph 1, section 4693, Revised Statutes of the United States.
The papers are herewith returned for readjudication. Rejection reversed.
Pension of Margaret J Treacy, widow of Michael J Treacy, Vet Surg 8 US Cav, War with Spain
12 rate 15 July '99 to 28 Aug '03
INC 25 rate October 6 1917
transfered from San Francisco
Flat N Estabrook Bldg, Seattle Wash
Applied South Dakota 1899 Sep 27 died
Margaret J. Treacy died 27 Aug 1934 Seattle King Washington, Aged 69 years 3 months 18 days b. 1865 (d. of Mark D. Cole & Elizabeth Thompson) Married to Michael J. Treacy
Military Food Inspection: Its History And Its Effect On Readiness An Individual Study Project
by Lieutenant Colonel Henry W. Derstine, VC (1991) United States Army
…It was in the 1870s that the Army imitated the veterinary services. A civilian veterinarian named Treacy worked for the army starting in the 1870s. He suggested that veterinarians should be responsible for inspecting the army's food supply. Meat was received on frontier army posts and inspected by young officers who did not even assume to know anything about food. Dairy products were obtained from cows kept in insanitary sheds and eating the refuse from the horse stables. Treacy's ideas were never implemented, thus insanitary conditions continued to cause problems. (Leland B. Carter, "History of Food Inspection by the Army Veterinary Service," p. 12).
1898 Proceedings of the United States Veterinary Medical Association
Army Veterinary Service.
By Veterinarians Corcoran And Treacy, 8th Cavalry.
Mr. President and Gentlemen : You do me much honor, as you do my army colleagues, by the invitation to read a paper on the History of the U. S. A. Veterinary Service.
The ablest writer, even a romancer, can do little without a basis, and as there are no records of our services, I fear my efforts will be inadequate and uninteresting.
In the glorious era of the immortal Lincoln , our army veterinary service first saw the light. That great and good man, appreciating the service of veterinarians in the army, offered them commissions as lieutenants, which they refused, believing themselves entitled to higher rank. Soon afterwards in 1863, there was one appointed to each cavalry regiment, with the pay of a lieutenant ($75 per month) and the nominal rank of Sergt. Major, to entitle them to allowances, quarters and fuel, etc., but the provision of retirement for disability and long service, evidently contemplated at the time, was overlooked in those exciting and trying times, and has been overlooked ever since.
In 1866, at the reorganization of the Army, four more regiments of cavalry were added, and from the sad experiences of the immense losses of public animals during the war for want of ade- quate veterinary service, two veterinarians were assigned to each of the new regiments, one at $100 and one at $75 per month and so it continues to the present time. I will now have to pass over nearly ten years of which I have little knowledge.
About 1875, Dr. Samuel Going was appointed to the first cavalry, then stationed at Benecia Barracks, Gal. , and the officers of that old regiment received him as a gentleman, and an equal. Very soon, or immediately on his arrival, he discovered and suppressed an epidemic of glanders in his regiment. Though he was badly handicapped by a want of confidence in him on account of his youth, he soon demonstrated the truth of his diagnosis, and won a confidence and respect for the profession that will always continue in that regiment. About 300 horses with their stables and equipments, had to be destroyed. His career as an army veterinarian was a bright, though a short one, for after the breaking out of “The Nez Perces War,” he sealed his service to his coun- try with his promising young life, on a perilous expedition, with a lieutenant and ten (10) men none of whom returned alive. His body was afterwards recovered and buried with the honors of war at Fort Walla Walla, Washington.
He was succeeded by R. B. Corcoran. Corcoran transferred to the 8th in 1886, and was succeeded by Lemay now of the 7th, and he replaced by Piche, who later retired to a position in civilian life, now W. Going, formerly of the 7th, and brother of the brilliant young veterinarian quoted, presides over the veterinary destinies of the old regiment.
The Second Regiment has always been the friend of the profession, enhanced in the early '8o’s by the genial jolly little “Humphreys” who cast sunshine on all circles he came in contact with. He also consecrated his young and hopeful life to the service, in the line of duty in '85, and as the pet of his regiment, will always have a place in its fondest recollections. Dr. W. V. Lusk, now treads in his foot-prints, a progressive and energetic advocate of our cause.
The Third Regiment I know very little of, except that its present veterinarian, Dr. Waugh, has now for many years given faithful public service.
The Fourth Regiment's Veterinary Service has now been in charge of Dr. Alex. Plummer for about seven (7) years, and as a proof of his proficiency, he was selected to accompany Gen. Merritt*s expedition to the Philippines, where he now is.
The Fifth Regiment is to be congratulated on retaining the service so long of the able, gifted and generous Dr. Griffin, who is one of our legislative ''hustlers."
The Sixth Regiment has recently lost the services of our most progressive and untiring worker in our legislative progress, Dr. Turner. In fact, we all miss him sadly, for he spared neither brains, energy of money, for the general elevation of the army veterinary service, and deserves everlasting gratitude. His successor is Dr. -, a man of ability in his profession, and I have no doubt, will try to keep in the footsteps of his popular predecessor.
The Seventh Regiment's Veterinary Service is now in charge of two very able and progressive men, Drs. Lemay and McMurdo, whose bright records cannot be made more brilliant by anything I can add.
Dr. Holsinger was one of this fighting regiment's earliest veterinarians. He was killed by the “Sioux" in the Stanley Campaign, in the Yellowstone Valley in 1873. Dr. Tempany now of the 9th, was also veterinarian of this regiment in 1873. Dr. W. H. Going, now of the 1st, and your humble servant, were associates and colleagues in this regiment in the eighties.
The Eighth Regiment has had some brilliant men as veterinarians, but for some reason was not able to retain their services. In 1886 Veterinarian Corcoran transferred from the First, and in ‘89, I had the good fortune to become his colleague. We have worked in energetic unison ever since for the general good and elevation of the army veterinary service, and now we are gratified to be ably supported by our Colonel, General Bacon.
The Ninth and Tenth (colored) Regiments have recently added still more laurels to their already creditable records. They are represented by Drs. Tempany and MacDonald, 9th, Drs. Service and Foster l0th. Tempany and Service are each men of more than 35 years' service, and though naturally enfeebled by age, and the perilous privations of frontier life, in those long years they did not hesitate to respond to their country's latest call, even though disability meant disaster. MacDonald and Foster are so well known to the profession that any laudation from, me, is unnecessary. They are of considerable army experience and strongly advocate army veterinary progress.
Critics on army matters in the East are recently rampant. If they were but just to us, for only by agitation do we hope for favorable army veterinary legislation.
Some charge the army authorities as being the cause of inefficient veterinary service, — nothing could be more erroneous, for Gen. Miles is now, and always has been the greatest advocate of advancing the army veterinary service, as are all other ranking officers of note.
Some other cruel critics, libellously charge the “personnel" of the veterinary service as being inefficient, and 'the cause of the immense annual death and condemnation list. Had those gentle- men been but just, and critical in the proper sense by investigating into the root of this unnecessary loss, it would save me the painful duty of submitting a few of the salient causes of this waste, for except in the treatment of sick and disabled horses, the army veterinarians are seldom consulted on the subjects pertaining to their profession.
Remounts for cavalry and other public animals are supplied by the Q. M. Department and purchased by an officer of that department, without any veterinary technical training, assisted by some civilian expert, employed by him, who usually knows about as much and cares less as he is not responsible, and his job is but a transitory one at best.
Many of the remounts have come from the hands of the “City Sale Stable Artist," fixed up to deceive the quartermaster amateur expert, clipped and shod with polished hoofs, to cover defects of perpetual pavement '^pounding." Others are “toppy" from the use of the '^overdraw" in buggy use, and probably forced on the market by the bicycle, but in conformation not suited for active cavalry service. A number come to us incurably unsound and many rapidly approaching that condition. At all the military stations scattered over our broad continent, forage is inspected and received by young officers acting as quartermaster (frequently of the infantry branch) who have little, if any, knowledge of its nutrition or quality. Chronic asthma is consequently developed through its indigestibility and mustiness. This is another cause for a large annual condemnation list for which the army veterinarian is not responsible. A colleague informs me that at a post at which he was stationed, the infantry Q. M. would not receive anything but swamp or “slough grass" as hay, for it was '*green and good looking," while good upland was rejected. At the same post, a good-natured but too confiding infantry quartermaster received from a “smart contractor," through his irresponsible subordinate, a yearns supply of hay of so inferior a quality that the veterinarian had to emphatically protest against its further use by reason of diabetes and asthma it produced.
I am glad, gentlemen, that those conditions do not generally prevail, for at cavalry regimental headquarters closer attention is given to forage supplies. Veterinary medicines, dressings, and instruments are supplied and I believe purchased by the quarter- master's department. They are antiquated and inadequate and of little use in the modern treatment of disease. They are drawn quarterly and frequently without reference to the requirements of the veterinarian, causing an annual loss hard to estimate. Should a modern drug be required, for any special disease, it can be had only by special requisition by the Q. M. General and on its arrival (if it should arrive) the patients are more than likely bleaching on the prairie.
I will impose one more subject on your attention in answer to your critics, viz., Horseshoes and Shoeing. Up to 1887 the army regulations on horseshoeing were as follows :
Horses should be shod at least once a month. The length of the hoof indicates when a horse needs reshoeing rather than the wear of the shoe. In removing shoes, raise the clinches first, lest the crust be torn and stubs left in the horn. Pare the sole until it yields under the pressure of the thumb ; cut the walls down until they are but little higher than the contiguous sole, taking care to shorten the toe if necessary, it being frequently left too long ; cut away the bars so as to make a gradual slope from the walls to the bottom of the commissars which must be deepened ; lower and open the heels and take the bearing ofi" them for at least an inch on each side of the frog, so that the walls at those parts will not be in immediate contact with the shoe when first put on. Pay special attention to the removal of the pegs (the hard horny sub- stance which grows down at the heel on each side of the frog and contiguous to it); these pegs are apt to contract the foot or make it thrushy by pinching and narrowing the frog. The frog may be pared to stimulate its growth and the cleft opened, otherwise it is left untouched.
If a horse be flat-footed, pare the base or forward part of the hoof very little if at all, and shorten the toe as much as possible.
Forge the shoe to fit the foot ; do not let it project beyond the heels ; make its lower face perfectly flat. Avoid nailing too far back, particularly on the inside quarter ; this is to be especially attended to in the fore foot. Use as few nails as possible. Six are enough for an ordinary fore foot and seven for a hind foot ; horses with small feet should be shod forward with five nails only. In driving take care to give the nails an outward direction so that the points be brought low down in the crust. Turn the clinches down so as to be broad and firm. In rasping them, never rasp the whole surface of the hoof. When calks are used, there should be three, one at the toe, the others at the heel.'*
After many years agitation by the army veterinarians against this form of “foot butchery” my present colleague and myself were ordered to meet or report to a Board of Officers at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., in April, 1887, for the purpose of improving the system of horseshoeing. After discussing the subject with the Board and making recommendations, etc., the following para- graph was inserted in the new cavalry regulations.
”In preparing the horse's feet for the shoe, no cutting what- ever with the knife is permitted, except when necessary to fit the toe clip. In removing surplus growth of that part of the foot which is the seat of the shoe, use the cutting pinchers and rasp. Opening the heels or making a cut in the angle of the wall at the heel, must not be allowed. Flat-footed horses should be treated as the necessity of each case may require. In forging the shoe to fit the foot, be careful that the shoe is fitted to and follows the circumference of the foot clear around to the heel ; the heels of the shoe should not be extended back straight and outside of the walls at the heel of the horse's foot, as is frequently done. Care must be used that the shoe be not too small and the outer surface of the wall then rasped down to make the foot suit the shoe. The hot shoe must never be applied to the horse's foot under any circumstances. Make the upper or foot surface of the shoe perfectly flat so as to give a level bearing. A shoe with a concave ground surface should be used.
In garrison at the discretion of the colonel or commanding officer, the horses may be left unshod. Shoes will be fitted and kept ready to be put on the horses. “
But the veterinarians received no credit for the improved condition. And while these do not cover all our recommendations, they are quite a revolution from the former pernicious practices, and mind you, gentlemen, an immense salary was at that time paid by the War Department to a so called “expert'' for propagating and perpetuating this dark age brutality.
It is now more than eleven years since that Board met and made its reformation of the regulations, still we have not yet been furnished with the shoes recommended. They still come from the Q. M. Department unwieldy masses of iron, with no conception in their conformation to their scientific application, as required by regulations. Our horseshoers, while usually well instructed by us, can do little good work, with the material furnished. It is also difficult to retain good workmen on the pay they receive — $15 per month.
Then our cavalry of at least 12,000 horses, besides artillery and quartermaster animals, of probably a much larger number, are scattered over our vast domain, besides those in our new trop- ical possessions, with only fourteen regular army veterinarians, and those without sufficient authority to have their wishes or instructions respected.
The station of the army veterinarian is at regiment headquarters where usually only a portion of the regiment is located. Take for instance, the fourth cavalry before the recent war, its head- quarters at Walla Walla, Washington, with its veterinarian and only two or three troops — while four troops of the same regiment at Presidio, California, and two in the Yellowstone Park, were far beyond the reach of the regimental veterinarian, and this condition applies generally. For this reason alone we should not be regimental employees but army ones.
The different stations of the army are visited annually by an inspector, and all animals permanently disabled from this time till his next annual visit, are foraged and cared for. They are then presented by troop commanders, for condemnation, frequently without reference to the veterinarian, while neither the inspector or troop commander have any pretentions to veterinary attainment. Then a large percentage of these condemnations is for “unsteadiness in ranks” ''won't stand fire," "viciousness, " etc.
Now after placing these different items as plainly as it is possible for me to do, you will unlike our critics, kindly relieve us of the responsibility of their claimed immense annual animal loss, and place it where it belongs, and not on the army veterinarians.
We have now in the regular cavalry at least 12,000 horses. Those at $150 each, which is about the price paid by the purchasing quartermaster in peace times, amount to $1,800,000, and presuming the 25 per cent, annual loss of our critics is correct, $450,000 would be the amount each year. Then we have other public animals (artillery) and (quartermaster) of at least the same number and value. Presuming the same annual loss in those quarters, another $450,000, or a total annual loss of $900,000.
It was but recently I had the honor of being connected with a board of cavalry officers in purchasing remounts for my regiment. The price paid, $100 each, was an emergency one, as suitable horses under ordinary conditions, would not be worth much more than half that figure. Those remounts are more serviceable than those supplied by the Q. M. Department at $150 each and are at least sound. Then even at the figure paid, it would mean, applied to the cavalry alone, a difference of $600,000 or $150,000 per annum as applied to “The Claimed” 25 per cent, condemnation list.
The forage ration is composed of 12 lbs. of oats, 14 lbs. of hay, and 3 lbs. of straw, or hay, for bedding, daily. A great saving could be made on the grain ration, under proper veterinary supervision. In a mild climate, where grazing is to be had, which is at all frontier posts, during inactive service, and under other conditions, known to the experienced army veterinarian, half the grain ration could be saved in many instances for many months, and with benefit to the animals, while in some cases the full ration will be always necessary. To be within the limits, we will say a reduction of 3 lbs. per diem for 6 months (180 days) on all public animals. 24,000X3 lbs. x 180 days= 12, 960,000 lbs. at 1.5 cents per lb. (which is a low figure) =$194, 400 annually. Now, while I claim this saving can be made annually, by a reduction of grain ration, and with benefit, this reduction should be made only on veterinary advice.
Other large losses might be enumerated, viz. from the purchase by incompetent officers, and issuance of antiquated veterinary medicines, etc., from foraging horses after they become unserviceable until the arrival of inspector, on his annual visit From original cost of excessive iron and freight on unwieldy horse shoes supplied, from loss sustained by incompetent inspection of forage, etc. , etc. You will naturally ask, how can this immense annual loss be curtailed or stopped ? Make the army veterinarian a commissioned, responsible officer so that he may have an authoritative voice in all those matters, and at least a half a million a year will be saved to the treasury of the country. Ah, but gentlemen, this would be interfering with the sacred prerogative of the mighty purchasing power of the Army. We have labored, argued, agitated and appealed for sixteen (16) years to our law makers — receiving yearly pleasing promises until protracted procrastination has made our hearts grow sick. When hostilities were declared against Spain, and nearly all of our colleagues ordered to the front, we surely thought that our beneficent Government would give us some protective legislation, and several appeals were made by us to the chairmen of the military committees of both Houses to provide for ourselves and helpless families in case of injuries or death, without eliciting any reply. We are forced to the front but cannot get any pension. So far four of our number have lost their lives in active service and their families are allowed to starve by an ungrateful government. We are but fourteen and naturally our cry in the political wilderness of 75,000,000 is too feeble to be heard. So we have come to your powerful professional association, to submit our case.
One or two more items and I will close. Beef and other meats for army consumption are received and inspected by young officers, at the different army stations who do not even assume to know anything on this subject. Other bovine products, milk, cream, butter, are furnished on the frontier posts, from cows kept in unsanitary sheds, and subsisting frequently, in winter, on stable refuse, with no veterinary supervision as to sanitary condition or health. Is it not strange that tuberculosis and other fatal accessories to this condition are not more prevalent ?
Commissioned officers of the army are detailed to inspect (?) cattle supplied to Indians by contractors, for consumption. Pardon my dropping from the serious to the ludicrous. At a post in the Northwest situated on an Indian reservation, an old feeble army chaplain, recently appointed, who likely never saw a herd of cattle before in his life, has been for some time the inspector (?), though stationed at the same point is one of the oldest veterinarians in the army, but he had to be ignored because not commissioned. Another commissioned officer of the army, whilst inspecting Indian cattle, was approached by a practical joker who took him aside and in confidence informed him “Captain, there is not one of those steers that can eat grass, they haven't got a front tooth in their upper jaws — now don't give me away." The officer ordered a steer caught, and cast. There was not an upper incisor to be found — two, three, four, five and six more were examined with the same result. He condemned the whole herd. It is not related what the final result was.
Humanitarians, one item for you and I close. Faithful old cavalry horses condemned for old age, and too often suffering from acute painful disease, are sold, like all others, at auction, and purchased for a paltry sum, having to wind up their miserable existence under new, exacting and brutal masters, when they should be humanely destroyed for humanity's sake.
Gentlemen, our history inadequately presented, now comes to an end.
In a very short time Congress re-assembles. A bill for the re-organization of our increased army will be introduced. Will we again be overlooked ? Will you, with your permeating influence (for you represent every state in this great Union) permit the occasion to pass without opening a path for your young and aspiring colleagues that will lead to a glorious future ?
Of the fourteen veterinarians now in the army, most are of long service. Some are already old men and must soon make way for our growing generation. Of these fourteen (14), eleven (11) are graduates of some of the best colleges of this continent and of Europe, and of the three non-graduates, two are men of over 35 years' service which ought to be a guarantee of their competency. The other, my colleague and friend, whose name has often been mentioned in this paper, has twenty-one years' service to his credit.
Surely those old men who have fed and fostered our infant science on the plains of this great West, should be provided for in their declining years, and a justice be done the younger ones that is not denied veterinarians in any army of the world .
Gentlemen, you have our doleful, wasteful history poorly placed before you, and we await your verdict. Shall those faith- ful old men be cast on the cold world in their infirm years, with the dismal prospect of a Potter's field pauper's grave ? These men who kindled the first spark of your now glorious science on the perilous frontier, fanned now into a mighty flame by the beaming magic of your powerful influence, that, I trust will blaze and brighten a way to a prosperous and glorious future for our rising young men, and cast its hallowed light on the retired, and I trust happy homes of our old colleagues, where they will peacefully await “taps” from the bugle of the Great Commander.
Last update: 06 November 2017