Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Promotion and Politicking in the 1813 Army Regiments

Letters to Senator Thomas Worthington concerning officers and appointments, or promotions. Many of the junior officers of the 17th and 19th US Regiments of Infantry, who had endured the hard winter campaign of 1812-13 and the battles of Frenchtown and Fort Meigs, were outraged to find that the three 12-month regular Infantry Regiments being recruited in the 8th Military District would get officers newly appointed from civilian life, who would be equal or even senior in rank to them. Eventually the 17th and 19th were combined (as, effectively, they had always been in combat), and the residue of the 27th and 28th Regiments added in. 

Many officers resigned, faced with being cut off for promotion or sentenced to a winter at Sackett's Harbor New York, Fort Niagara or Detroit. For the rest of the war small detachments were scattered throughout the Great Lakes, at Detroit, Erie, Fort Niagara (and captured when that post fell), and Sackett's Harbor.

In the great reshuffling of the Army regiments immediately following the war, the 19th Regiment of Infantry was stuck into an organizational blender with scraps of many other units to create the modern 3rd Infantry Regiment.

Chillicothe June 6. 1813
Dr Sir,
Ensign Battel Harrison of the 19th reg. of U.S. infry is now in town, on furlough. he has been about a year in service, and has distinguished himself at Mississinewa, and the sortie at Fort Meigs. From the concurring testimony of officers &c; soldiers who have served in the same regt, and army, with him, he is brave, and highly worthy of a better station.
I find, he feels much hurt, that appointments have been made over him -- and that his chance of promotion, now, is not near as good, as when ihe entered the army.
He is worthy of a captaincy, of 1st. Lieutenrmancy. I know you think well of him - and, though I have no other interest than that of seeing merit rewarded, I have taken the liberty of addressing you on the subject, under the impression, that where promotions are made, you will use your exertions in his favor.
I am, respectfully,
C. A. Norton
Zanesville June 8th 1813
Dear sir,
I informed you last of week of the determination of Gen. Perkins to decline the command of the 27th Regt. Whether he yet adheres to or has abandoned that resolution, I presume ere this you are informed. In the event of his ultimate determination to decline, I mention to you my idea, that Paul and Munson had each better be advanced one rank, and that Col. Sloane had better be appointed to a majority. I have since ascertained that Sloane is so unwell that it will be impossible for him to serve. I am told he is scarcely expected to live. A Major ought to be appointed, if one can be found in some of the Eastern Counties. But I know of none. Perhaps Gen. Beall or Mr. Caldwell can point out some person fit for the office. I should like McConnel very well, but his local position is a bad one. Whittlesey has been well spoken of I do not know him Cotgrove will not answer.
With respect to Paul, I think there can be no doubt of the propriety of advancing him. It will give general satisfaction. With respect to Munson so far as personal merit goes he deserves it. He is an excellent efficient officer. None can be better. In saying this I do violence to my own private feelings He has used me in such a way, that I have neither the inclination nor the power to indulge any friendly feelings towards him. But I leave this behind me and can truly say that his zeal talents, conduct and sufferings entitle him to promotion.
With sincere esteem I am Dear sir ever yours
Lew Cass
Fort Meggs June 8th 1813 --
Dear Sir
I presume you have heard every particular respecting the investment of this place long since, I shall not trouble you with any detail df circumstances during the siege, it is readily believed that Colo Proctor was very sanguine in his expectations of reducing this post, and that his being compelled to raise the siege was equivalent to a complete Victory --
Perhaps scarce in any instance was there more coolness and intrepidity, displayed, than our troop evinced during the whole siege. A true characteristick of American Bravery -- Considerable discontent prevails generally among the officers of the 19th and 17th Regts. on account of some appointments having been lately made from the Rank of citizens over officers who have seen some service, but they are not willing to believe that the Senate will approbate those appointments -- I really believe it would cause a general resignation in the two Regts, it certainly violates the customs of Armies and a positive article of war, there is two instances, where Ensigns have been made Captains in the 19th Regt. they are Ensigns Baker and Butler who Received their appointments last fall in the 7th Regt they came out and done duty under Genl. Winchester, and last month received tleir promitions -- Extend that that principall and will venture to say that few men will continue in the service. I think that officers who have seen service has a greater claim upon the patronage of government than citizens who have enjoyed a comfortable fireside last winter, nothing has occurred since the siege worth writing about, but should any thing transpire I shall take the earliest opportunity of informing you of it
With respect I am yr obt. sert
Geo. M. Jackson
T. Worthington