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in order to extend the benefit to previous classes, the former heads of this department were communicated with, and from them six members of each of these classes also received proper recommendations. Two-thirds of those thus recommended have since applied for the paper, and now hold it as valuable evidence of special fitness to serve their country in the future. The expenses of engraving, printing; &c., have now been fully cleared; and, as all future sales will be a source of net income, I have the honor to present the plates and surplus diplomas now on hand to the College, for the purpose of perpetuating the prize known as the “ Totten Military Prize.” This prize is open to all members of the graduating class, and to such specials in their last year as may pursue the course in military science, and give satisfactory evidence of their tactical proficiency. The military essay for which this prize is offered has now become a feature in the course, and two classes have already competed for it. The prize essay of the last class, on the subject of “ The Military Resources of America,” was written by cadet First Lieut. and Adjutant D. H. Benson of Bridgewater. The subject for the present senior class is “ The American Military Problem."
The usual excursion was made during the year to the national armory at Springfield, when opportunity was also afforded to visit the large pistol factory of Smith and Wesson, situated at the same place.
During the summer vacation an excursion was made to West Point with such members of the present senior class as found it convenient to attend. Parts of three days were enjoyably spent in examining the matters of interest collected at this famous institution; and every facility was courteously afforded by the commandant, Gen. Niel, to investigate and study the system of discipline and administration of the corps of cadets. This excursion, besides being very instructive and entertaining, enabled the department to take an entirely novel step in the instruction of new cadets. Upon the beginning of the present year the West-Point method was adopted; and three seniors, two of whom had seen the system in actual work, were detailed out over the new class, and not relieved from their entire charge until they were ready to be admitted to the battalion. This event occurred
falls & month earlier than ever before, and has, in every respect, justified the innovation.
Three days in October were devoted by the faculty to an excursion for scientific purposes, and the enterprise placed under the charge of this department as to discipline and organization. It was organized, therefore, as a military expedition, and was entered into enthusiastically by the students, by whom all the arrangements were carried out, and without any drawbacks to their full realization. The thanks of the department are due to Mr. Bentley, superintendent of the N. L. N. Railroad, and to Mr. John H. Graves of Springfield, for the use of the depot, grounds, and picnic conveniences at Mount Toby station; all of which greatly added to the success of the encampment. It will be impossible to describe the expedition at length. But camp life and routine in all their details were grasped and put into actual practice by men who had never before experienced it, and this in an astonishingly short time. Discipline was perfect, interest unflagging, health excellent; and the battalion never before marched back to its quarters more conscious of the military possibilities that lie within its system of instruction than it did from Camp William Knowlton. It is the general desire of the students, and earnestly indorsed by this department, that such an encampment become a permanent feature in the College curriculum.
It was intended to inaugurate during the present year in this department a series of experiments in clearing land of stumps and rocks by means of the higher explosives. This important undertaking has been unavoidably delayed; but such steps have already been taken as will enable my successor to easily prosecute it. It is a subject that promises valuable results to the farming community, and nowhere could it be more properly studied than at this Institution.
The experiments carried on last year by this department in explosives have since been fully described and published in pamphlet form. These experiments had for their object the determination of the chemical, mechanical, and practical feasibility of a building up” grains, cakes, or masses out of two or more explosives, or out of the same explosive in varying conditions, in such a manner that these explosives should be tuccessively ignited, but only by the actual combustion of the several layers down to them. A most important possibility is thus held out of utilizing even the fiercest of modern explosives for artillery purposes, - an undertaking but lately given up in despair by almost the whole world, but only after the expenditure of millions by both Austria and England. This new method, however, proposes to protect large grains of gun-cotton, picrate, or other explosive, by enveloping them in exterior jackets of ordinary gunpowder, and thus to retard their explosion until the powder, by its regular combustion down to them, has performed its important task of starting the inert projectile into rapid velocity. An accelerating powder of unlimited force is thus within the range of promise, and one which from its scientific construction will exert only a minimum strain upon the arm in which it is used. Considerable interest in the matter has now been excited in military circles; and the Franklin Institute, representing a high class of scientific thinkers, almost immediately republished, by permission, the entire article in its journal. It will, therefore, be unnecessary to discuss these experiments in this report. From the very nature, however, of such a subject, it is clear that vast means, delicate instruments, and special students, are necessary to carry to their legitimate ends experiments of so much importance. Such facilities are possessed only by governments; and, as the matter is of special value only for war-purposes, it ought certainly to enlist their attention.
The department continues in charge of the instruction in topography, levelling, road maintenance and construction, and drawing. These are all important studies for the scientific farmer, and, it is trusted, will some day receive enough consideration to constitute, with kindred subjects, a separate department of “Practical Agricultural Engineering.” A few hundred dollars could hardly be spent more judiciously than in procuring specimens of the various road-coverings, models, drawings, and specifications of the different orders of city, town, and country roads, bridges, &c., and in establishing a suitable cabinet in connection with a class-room particularly devoted to these topics.
Before another catalogue is published, the detail of the present incumbent will have expired: he therefore takes the present occasion to acknowledge officially the firm and honest support that this department has always received at the hands of yourself and the faculty. The few cases of discipline that have arisen during his term of office have all received prompt notice; and such of them as have been of an aggravated character have been specialized with such summary consideration as should always characterize a military administration. The College, to a recognized extent, is a military one by the requirements both of the state and the national statutes; and its policy in regard to this department is considered to be both generous and just. This is especially true in view of the glaring shortcomings of many other institutions, which, though similarly bound to support a military department, are uiterly devoid of even the principles of its inception. So long as discipline remains intact, drills and uniforms compulsory, military rank a matter of merit, and a course in military science forms a part of the regular curriculum, so long will this College be specially deserving of the highest esteem of military authorities, and a detail to its chair of military science and tactics be an honor to the officer fortunate enough to obtain it.
Words can scarcely be found in which fairly to appreciate the important part taken by the students themselves in building up a department whose promises are yet so distant. The record of the past three years is their best reward at present, while perhaps the future may have higher ones in store. Their interest has steadily increased, and thus achievements have been possible, that, without it, would never have been even conceived.
America is just beginning to realize the absolute value of more general military education. It is the least expensive preparation for the future she can make, but one whose ultimate value is to be computed only in unspilt blood, — treasure far more priceless than all the other vast expenditures of peaceful preparation for possible war.
Very respectfully your obedient servant,
C. A. L. TOTTEN, 1st Lieut. 4th Art., U. S. A. HORTICULTURAL DEPARTMENT.
PRESIDENT W. S. CLARK.
Sir, - I have the honor of making the following Report upon the condition of the Horticultural Department:
It will be seen by the Treasurer's Report that the income from this department has been larger this season than ever before.
The orchard has been kept in a good state of cultivation, and many of the pear-trees give promise of fruit another year. The peach-trees have made a good growth, are free from disease, and have produced this season about twentyfive bushels of fine peaches. The trees have, each year, been pruned back to keep them in a compact form, and all borers have been carefully destroyed. The varieties found most valuable are Crawford's Early, Crawford's Late, Old Mixon, Stump the World, and Morris's White.
The vineyard has yielded a good crop of grapes of fine quality; but the bunches were small, owing, in part, to exhaustion of the soil, and in part to the injury done by the phylloxera, which has been found upon the roots of every variety.
The experiments made during the summer, of girdling the vines to hasten the ripening of the fruit, promise to be of some value, and will be continued.
From the hot-beds and cold-frames have been sold, the past season, seventy-five thousand cabbage-plants, lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes, to the value of a hundred and fifteen dollars, besides small plants of various kinds. Upon half an acre of land west of the peach-orchard were grown about two tons of fine Hubbard squashes; and from half an acre north of the Botanic Museum were grown over fifty bushels of ears of pop-corn.
A little over an acre and a half of land was planted with