William H. (William Henry) Powell.

The army officer's examiner online

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By Lieot.-Ool. WM. fl. POWELL,

11th Infantfju^M^^Army,

' i^{




58 East Tenth Strbbt.


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C6pyright, 1




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The object of this work is to equalize the examinations of
officers by boards and to relieve the War Department of the trou-
ble of preparing sample questions, each subject being exhausted
with questions and fair approximate answers given to each, fur-
nishing thereby a guide to both boards and candidates, as well as
data to refresh their memories for those who have passed the
periods of examination.

It will be found to be an invaluable aid to officers of the
National Guard in the pursuit of knowledge in the military

The work has been prepared with great labor, and the sub-
scriber has received the valuable assistance in its preparation of
lieut.-Ool. J. W. Clous, Judge Advocate, Professor of Military
Law at the U. S. Military Academy, in Military Law ; Major S. 0.
Norvell, 10th Cavalry, in Cavalry Drill ; First Lieut. Thos. J.
Lewis, 2d Cavalry, in Hippology ; First Lieut. Wallis O. Clark,
12th Infantry (distinguished marksman), in Fire Discipline ; and
Second Lieut Wm. H. Reynolds, 14th Infantry, in Military
Topography — to all of whom he returns his sincere thanks.

Wm. H. Powell.
New Yobk Citt, 1891


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Boards for the examination of all officers of the army as to
tbelr physical and mental qualification were instituted by the
following Act of Congress :

Act ov Ck>MORB8S Dibbotino Examinatioms fob Promotiom.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Repreaentativea of the United
States of America in Congress assembled. That hereafter, promotion to every
f^^rade in the Army below the rank of brigadier-fireneral, throughout each arm,
corps, or department of the service, shall, subject to the examination hereafter
provided for, be made according to seniority in the next lower grade of that
arm, corps, or department : Fiovided, That in the line of the Army all officers
now above the grade of second lieutenant shall, subject to such examination,
be entitled to promotion in accordance with existing laws and regulations.

Sbo. 2. That officers of * grades in each arm of the service shall be assigned
to regiments, and transferred from one regiment to another, as the interests of
the service mav require, by orders from the War Department, and hereafter all
appointments in the line of the Army shall be by commission in an arm of the
service and not by commission in any particular regiment.

8bo. 8. That the President be, and he is hereby, authorised to prescribe a
system of examination of all officers of the Army below the rank of major to
determine their fitness for promotion, and such an examination to be conducted
at such times anterior to the accruing of the right to promotion as may be best
for the interests of the service : Provided, That the President may waive the
examination for promotion to any grade in the case of any officer who, in pur-
snance of exiflting law, has passed a satisfactory examination for such grade
prior to the passage of this act : And provided. That if any officer fails to pass
a satifcfactory examination and is reported unfit for promotion, the officer next
below him in rank, having passed said examination, shall receive the promo-
tion : ^ndonwtded. That should the officer fail in his physical examination and
be found incapacitated for service by reason of physioa disability contracted in
line of duty, he shaH be retired with the rank to which his seniority entitled him
to be promoted ; but if he should fail for any other reason, he shall be suspcfnded
from promotion for one year, when he shall be re-examined, and in case of fail-
ure on such re-examination he shall be honorably discharged with one yearns
pay from the Army : And provided further. That the examination of officers
Appointed in the Army from civil liffe. or of officers who were officers of volun-
teers only, or were officers of the militia of the several States called into service
of the United States, or were enlisted men in the regular or volunteer service,
either in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, during the War of the Rebellion, shall
be conducted by boards composed entirely of officers who were appointed from
civil life or of officers who were officers of volunteers only during said war, and
such examination shall relate to fitness for practical service and not to technical
Md scientific knowledge ; and in case of failure of any such officer on the re-

* Sic in the roll.

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examination hereinbefore provided for, he shall be placed upon the retired list
of the Army; and no act now in force shall be so construed as to limit or restrict
the retirement of officers as herein provided for.
Approved, October 1, 1890.

Bt command ov Huob-Gbkeral Schofibld :


Acting Adjutant-OenercU,

Upon the approyal of this act, and as soon as the roles pre-
scribed could he ^r^[Mu?ed, the blowing order was issued :

Qbnkul Orders, ) Hxadquabtbrs of thb Abmt,

>■ Adjtttant-Gbnbral's Office.

No. 128. ) Washington, October' 29, 1890.

The following rules, prescribed by the President, in accordance with Section 8

of the Act of Ck>ngre8s approved October 1, 1890. providing for a system of ex-
amination to determine the fitness for promotion of all officers of the Army
bel0va0ar«#iBCimdek •!«, by4ii»e^0B of the Seeretary pf W«r, puMlsbed for
the infcn^nation anjd guidance of aO eoBcemed :

I. At sueh time, anterior to the accruing of the right to promotton, as may be
best for the interests of the service, officers of the fine of the Army and of the
Quartermaster's and Subsistence Departments below the rank of major shall be
examined by a board, convened by the War Department, consisting of five
members, ^w» M whom shail be aeleeted from the Ifedica] Oorpt. and a recorder.
The board, excepting the officers of the Medical Ck>rps, shall be composed of
ofioers senior in rank to the officers to be examined, and, as far as practicable,
of the arm of aenrice or department to which the officer belouga. The duties
of the nfjedfaari ottcars will be oonihied to the physical examination.

VL SxaaiiaatfoB shall foe made under the fottowing heads :

1. Physical oonditioB.

S. Character and pyofesstopal effioimic^.

UL When the board flods an officer physically incapacitated for service it shiil
conclude the eTamiaation by floding and reporting the cause which, in its judg-
ment, has produoed his disability, and whether such disability was contracted
in the line of duty. Forthepurposeof this inquiry the prooeediags of the boacd
shall conform to those of a retiring board.

I¥. When tiiue board finds an officer physically capable, the examination shall

groceed under the seeond head. Any evidence suomitted as to character will
e carefully considered, and auch proceedings taken as, in the opinion of the
board, the case requires; provided: that an adverse finding duUi aot be entered
Matil the officer mM have oeen fully heard in his own iiehalf.

V. The examination in respect to professional proficiency shall relate to fit-
«ess for praoticaUeaerviee, and to M>ply ^ ^ officers enumerated in pacagraph
I. For the preseut it ahaU embrace such subjects as pertain to the actual prac-
ticid working of the arm of tiie service or d^Mirtment to which the officer
belongs, viz. : drill regulaticMis, authorized mauuius of instruction, army regula-
tions, military law so far as it relates to practice and procedure before courts-
maKial, records, returns, correspondenoe, and administration; and due consid-
eration will be given to the officer's record for professional efficiency, including
his ataoding at the service aohools.

Any individual investigations, papers, reports, or books may be submitted to
the board toy the officer, and the board is authorized to consider any matter
which wiU« in its judgment, aid it in determining the fltoess of the officer for

TI. Subsequently to a date to be announced hereafter, hut not less than
eighteen ficionths hence, the scope of examination for officers of the line will be
•xtended. To this end oiOlcers should make themselves familiar with the elemenUi
of Field Engineering and the Art of War, so far as they relate to fitness for
practical semce. The authorities on these subjects included in the curriculum
of the Artillery School at Fort Monroe and of the Infantry and Cavalry School
at Fort Leavenworth are regarded as standard. The result of special Inquiries
involving studies of professional subjects will be received and considered as
equlvalNits of the above-mentioned subjects, so far as In the opinion of the
board their merits justify.

Vn. 1%e examination of the following officers riiaU be conducted by b o ar d s

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composed entirely of officers who were appointed from civil life or who were
officers of volunteers only, during the War of the Rebellion:

1. Officers appointed in the Army from civil life during the War of the

2. Officers who were officers of volunteers only during the War of the

8. Officers who were officers of militia of the several States called into the
service of the United States during the War of the Rebellion.

4. Officers who were enlisted men in the Regular or Volunteer Service,
either in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, during the War of the Rebellion.

The examination of the following officers may be conducted by boards organ-
ized at the discretuM^ ot the W^r Dep&rtment, to b^' composed, as far as
practicable, of offlder^ df th^"tome professional antecedents as the officers to be

1. Graduates of the Military Academy.

r of the Rebellion.

ar of the Rebellion.

I " is understood to embrace

of ]£neine^r8, and Qrdnance
ixatnin^d for promotion as
kination as to professional
id by orders and regulations
to, or as may hereafter be

I as now authorized, for the
lose duties ^all be con^ned

e passed a patisfactorv ex-
he act approved October 1,
3n abov^ mentioned, unless

r board as incapacitated by
lent of service, shall, if the
lident, be regarded as physi-
tion 3 of the Act of October
1 his seniority entitles him
suit in his promotion on the
' such vacancy he shall not
further provided, that anv
ons of this jJaragraph shall,
e general provisTons of this


X. The examining board shall report its recommendation o^ any officer for
proni(^iion in subatontiaUy thefolloitrihg fofm:

" We find that ^as the phyedcal, moral, and professional quali-
fications toperfbtm efficiently all the duties of the grade to which he will next
be eligible, and recommend him for prothotion thereto."

Each record must be signed Jby every member and by the recorder, and must
show who of Uie loiembers concurred in and who, it any, dissented from the
Opinion of the 1>oard.

Whenever the board ^lils to j-ecommend a candidate for promotion, the record
will state the cau^ of such failure.

The prooeedlnga ^«rbe forwarded to the Adjutant-General of the Army /or
(he final action of the Secretary of War.

3r QOiQiAMD ov Major-general Schofibld :

Acting Adjutant-Oeneral,

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When the officers who are ordered to appear oefore the board
report to the president thereof {which they are invaridbly
directed to do in orders), the president, through the recorder,
notifies the medical members of the board of their presence, and
requests to know when the physical examination can be made.

As soon as the fact is ascertained, the officers to be examined
are directed to report to the senior surgeon, who will, upon com-
pletion of the physical examination, transmit to the recorder a
written certificate giving the condition of the officer, signed by
both medical officers.

A certificate will be required from the examined officer at the
commencement of the physical examination that, to the best of
his knowledge and belief, he is not affected with any form of
disease or disability. (See Circular from Surgeon-General's Office,
by order of the Secretary of War, Dec. 18, 1890.)

Upon the receipt of the certificates, the president will direct
the recorder to convene the board at an appointed time, and the
recorder notifies the candidate for examination to be present; pr,
if preferable the entire board can be convened before the exami*
nation by the medical officers, and the physical examination made
during a recess of the board, taken for that purpose.

The members, recorder, and officers to be examined assemble aii
the place and hour designated, and the board will be called ta
order by the president, who will direct the order convening the
board to be read. j

After this the order directing the candidate to appear will be
read, and the candidate will be asked if he has any objection to
his examination by any member present.*

[If the officer should object^ his objection mill be made in writ-
ing; and after consideration by the boards and its opinion given^
tuill be forwarded to the War Department for action in the

• The right of challenge should alwavs be accorded. The statutes as to the
formation of a retiring-board intend a fair hearing, and without this right great
injustice might at times result.— ive».


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At this point the officer should ask to introduce counsel, if he
desires so to do.

If the candidate has no objections to any of the members, the
recorder will then administer the following oath:

^^You (A. B.) do swear that you will hxmestly and impartiolly
discharge your duties as a member of this board in the matter
now before you. So hslp you Qod,'*^

After which the president of the board will administer the fol-
lowing oath to the recorder ;

*' You (A. B.) do svjear that you unll, according to your best
abilities^ accurately and impartially record the proceedings of
the boards and the evidence to be given in ths ease in hearing.
/So help you God,'*'* ,

The board is now organized in the full capacity of a Retiring-
board, and if there is anything found in the medical examiuation
which is likely to render the officer uufit for promotion, all other
candidates but the one in question will withdraw from the boai'dj
and a further examination of the case will be continued.

The examination of witnesses is next in order, and, when called
before the board, the following oath will be administered by the

'* You (A. B.) do swear that the evidence you give in the cause
now in hearing shall be the truths ths whole truth, and nothing
but the tmth. So help you God.^^

The first witnesses (in case of disability) are the medical officers,
and they present the written certificate which they have made,
and reply to any oral questions propounded by the board, all of
which must be made a matter of record.

Note.— A retiring-board has to inquire into and determine the facts touching
the nature and occasion of the disability of any officer who appears to be in-
capable of performing the duties of his office, and has such powers of a court-
martial and of a court of inquiry as may be necessary for that purpose. Tlie
board, therefore, isas power to summon and compel the attendance of witnesses,
and to malce use of depositions iu the same manner and under the same re-
strictions as courts-martial.— Ives.

Other oral testimony and documentary evidence may then be
introduced, with the right to the candidate of objecting to any
improper evidence, and of cross-examining the witnesses called
by the board.

The candidate can then produce such evidence as he may deem
necessary in the case.

When this has all been received, should the board desire, it
may call upon the Adjutant-General of the Army for the com-
plete history of the officer; in which case, or in the event of a
delay granted the officer, the board adjourns to meet at the call
of the president, or proceeds to other business.

When all the papers relating to the case have]
the recorder, the president will call the boar^<5^^6fviind eaeh
individual paper, duly attested, will be rea^^iti ;the presence of

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t]m qf^T jmdev examination, briefisd op tb^ tjeeord and referred
to as appended, and marked A, B, or 0, as the case njay be.

After all the evideoce has been duly eptored, ^he board wil} sit
with closed doora (wT},ich it T^us (i right to cLq at any time for d§'
Ifb^ratimi f>ut not for the taking of testimony) ^ and the degision
at which it arriyes js entered upon the record, sigped by the presi-
dent and recorder only, if th^ o^cer is found incapacitated for
active duty.

> determine the faotg
he officers ezamined.
y offence, or to try an
Its deliberations must
rge t^e duties incident
ited to any particular
the duration and con-

The finding ol the board must be considered as confidential.
The board is required to give an opinion as to whether the in-
valid officer is incapacitated for active service or not. When it
finds an officer so Incapacitated, it is further required to report
the cause whidi, in its judgment, has produced his incapacity,
and whether such cause resulted from ah incident of service.

This conclusion of the board is merely to assist the President
af the United States in deciding the case.

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of discharging the duties of the next higher grade to whicb bie is
eligible, the certificates of the surgeons wiU be read to th^ biird
immediateljr after the oaths h^ye be^ adminUjtered to the mem-
bers and the recorder, and the board determiaeg spb^b^ ^ will
so find the officer or otherwise. If found capacitated for duty,
the medical members will tkm^ Im leti^f^A (^^om furftb^r attend-
ance in the case.

The remaining members then becon^e a board of examination
as to professional efficiwiiey asd proceed, as prescribed ip Geaerai
Orders No. 128, series of 1890, from the headquarters of the Arpiy,
amended by the following order:



^^* ^"* J Washington, OcUker 6, 18M.

Tb« isMomm^ rules preeez^bed by the President, in accordance
with section 3 of the act of Congress approved October 1, 1890,
providing £er a system of examination to determine the fitness
for projQ^don of ill officers <^ the Anny below a certain jgrade,
are, by direction of the Secretary of War, published for the i»f or-
saaiioii and guidaooe of all concerned:

I. Aft(er Jaamury 1, 1$93, tbe seope of examination fox offic€9%
of the line will iw as follows:

J}xal^.—Ff>r prom^tmi from sfiemdi^ first Umtmafd.

il^^itary forvr.

Elenieats «ol MA engkieeriog.

D^rijyi seg»lats»QD8 (oaadidiite's arm oid^.
Majtmaifi of iiistoxQCioii:


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Exterior ballistics.
Infantry —

Fire discipline.
Minor tactics.

Small-arms firing regulations j^cavalry and infantry oijy).
A4Dttinistration.J . ;

Second,— For promotion from first lieutenant to captain.

Military law.

Elements of field engineering.


Drill regulations (candidate's arm only). . -

Manuals of instruction^ as prescribed for second lieutenaints. .,

Minor tactics.

Military topography. ^

Small-arms firing regulations (cavalry and infantry only).


Third. — For promotion from captain to major. \

Military law.

Drill regulations (candidate's arm only).

Minor tactics.

Administration. ;

Essay of not less than 8000 words upon a professional topic,
select^ by the candidate, and submitted to the Adjutant-General
for the approval of the Major-General Commanding the Army.
.The essay to be prepared at any time during the three months
immediately preceding the examination, the date of which will be
communicated by the Adjutant- General.

Fourth. First and second lieutenants of artillery, serving witlj
light batteries at the time of examination, will be examined in
jiippology as prescribed for cavalry.

Fifth. Examinations conducted in conformity with the Memo=-
jandum of October 5, 1891, from this oflace, will, for the purpose
of marking, be divided into two parts, as follows: . — ^

1. To each written question a numerical value will be attached,
and the board will credit each answei^ according to its -nature..

2. To each exercise in parade examination, and the attending
oral questions if any are propounded, the board will in like man-
ner allot a numerical value, and credit each test according to its
merit. In subjects exclusively or almost entirely oral, such as
small-arms firing regulations t^d administration, a numerical
value will be given each subject, and a credit given on the gen-
eral result of all the answers therein. >

No candidate will be passed who shall not obtain an average
of 60 per cent in all the written questions propounded; and an

Online LibraryWilliam H. (William Henry) PowellThe army officer's examiner → online text (page 1 of 68)