Old Army By the Numbers: Union Artillery at Chancellorsville

Regular army sergeant Charles T. Bowen confessed the following in a letter to his wife.  “I think I should as soon be in action as not if there were no artillery used.  I dont [sic] fear musket balls a bit & a fellow has some chance with them for may only give slight wound, but if a shell strikes a man it is sure to carry away the part hit anyway & he has no chance.”  Perhaps no other 19th century weapon struck terror into soldiers more than artillery.  The military service record of nearly every Union Civil War soldier involved exposure to cannon.

The Civil War artillery branch was a complex organization.  In addition to the guns, artillerymen required a varied supply of ammunition and hundreds of pieces of equipment.  Horses, by the thousands, were required to move the guns impedimenta.  Old army Records recently digitized and indexed several detailed returns of artillery men and equipment lost and ammunition expended in the Army of the Potomac.  The following summarizes some of the data tabulated for the Battle of Chancellorsville (April 30-May 6, 1863).

Complex Plan Foiled by a Bold Response

The winter of 1862-63, following yet another unsuccessful Union attempt to capture Richmond, found the Army of Northern Virginia, under General Robert E. Lee, well entrenched at Fredericksburg, Virginia.  In the spring of 1863, Major General Joseph Hooker, newly appointed commander of the Army of the Potomac, devised a bold plan to circumvent the Confederate defenses at Fredericksburg and capture Richmond.

Hooker’s plan was complex.  He sent about 10,000 cavalrymen on a raid towards Richmond in an attempt to sever Lee’s communications.  Simultaneously, Hooker deployed his infantry, supported by artillery, to spring a classic pincer movement.  Part of his forces attacked Fredericksburg from the east.  Meanwhile, Hooker and the rest of his command crossed the Rappahannock River swinging west and behind Lee’s troops.

By May 30, Hooker was in position behind Lee, beginning the Battle of Chancellorsville.  Hooker had the upper hand.  However, Lee made the bold and risky move to divide his smaller force to counter both Union wings at once.  Lee’s move, executed brilliantly by his number one subaltern, General Stonewall Jackson, stymied Hooker’s plan.  Over the next seven days the shaken Union commander struggled to regain the momentum only to lose ground.  The slugfest finally came to an end on May 6 when the Army of the Potomac crossed to the north side of the Rappahannock in yet another aborted attempt to capture the Confederate capitol.

Union artillery units were in the middle of fighting and suffered steep losses, both in equipment and personnel.  This article will not delve into the specifics of the battle.  Those wishing to read a detailed account of the battle should consult John Bigelow, Jr.’s The Campaign of Chancellorsville: A Strategic and Tactical Study.

Representative of Civil War Artillery (Light to Heavy Guns)
Photo of restored Union artillery piece 12-pound smoothbore gun (Napoleon).
12-pound smoothbore gun (Napoleon).

The Army of the Potomac artillery included 57 batteries assigned to seven army corps (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 11th, and 12th).  Eleven additional batteries comprised the artillery reserve.  Regular army and volunteers from Connecticut, New York, Ohio, Maine, and other states manned the guns (the Union order of battle at Chancellorsville is available through the National Park Service).

The Army of the Potomac artillery at Chancellorsville included a wide range of light and heavy guns, both smoothbore and rifled.  The smoothbore workhorse was the bronze Light 12-pounder, known as the Napoleon.  Light rifled guns included the 3-Inch Ordnance (3-inch Rifled), and 10-pound Parrott.  Heavier cannon included the 20-pound Parrott and the 4.5-inch Ordnance Rifle.

Photo of restored Union artillery piece 4.5-inch Ordnance Rifle..
4.5-inch Ordnance Rifle.

Each gun fired a fired a variety of ammunition.  Each type had a specific purpose:

Shot or solid shot
Destroy opposing artillery carriages and support vehicles.  Antipersonnel capabilities by rolling or ricocheting off the ground or objects

Shell 
Heavy walls of the projectile explode dispersing shrapnel to personnel and equipment. Fused versions could detonate on time (aerial burst) or percussion (impact with the ground or object)

Spherical Case
Antipersonnel.  Filled with lead or iron balls that disperse on detonation.

Canister
Antipersonnel.  Filled with lead or iron balls that disperse on detonation much like a shotgun blast.  Typically used at short range.

Rifled ammunition had various designs and configurations.  At Chancellorsville, common designs included Schenkl and Hotchkiss.

“Their ammunition was soon exhausted…”

Artillery from three corps and the artillery reserve reported the amount of ammunition fired during the 6-day engagement.  The four units reported expending 15,491 rounds of various types.

Summary of artillery ammunition fired by the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

The fury of the battle is exemplified by the amount of ammunition expended by Battery A, Massachusetts Light Artillery (composed of six 12-pound Napoleon’s).  On May 3rd, the unit took up position to the left of Bowling Green Road.  Two of the guns “were engaged in driving back small bodies of the enemy’s infantry” while the remaining four guns of the battery fired at Confederate guns about 1,300 yards away.  In a few hours, the battery fired 299 solid shot rounds, 253 case shot rounds, 85 shells, and 48 rounds of canister; 685 total rounds!  Amazingly, most of the canister was fired within 75 yards of the battery demonstrating how close and intense the fighting was at times.

On May 6th, Battery B, 1st Pennsylvania Light Artillery moved north of the Rappahannock River and covered the Union retreat.  In just one hour, the battery’s four 3-Inch Ordnance Rifles, unleashed 73 rounds (10 Hotchkiss timed fuse, 12 Schenkl percussion shell, and 51 Hotchkiss case shot).

Artillery Impedimenta

Government property of all types and sizes was required to transport and service artillery guns.  Mobility was crucial and mobility meant horsepower.  Union artillery lost 438 horses, including 371 animals killed outright (a previous article discussed the monetary cost of purchasing horses).  That essentially rendered 24 guns, or 4 batteries, immobile.  In addition, hundreds of other items, ranging from axes to water buckets, formed an artillerist’s outfit.  The Battle of Chancellorsville was especially costly for government equipment.  According to a detailed inventory of losses incurred by Army of the Potomac artillery units lost nearly 5,000 items in the 7-day engagement.  Topping the list was horse-related equipment (nose bags, brushes, curry combs, and whips).

This photo, taken about 17 years after the battle, clearly shows the scars caused by artillery in May 1863.
The Human Cost

The loss of guns, horses, and equipment obviously paled in significance to loss and injury of artillerymen.  Chancellorsville was especially detrimental to the Army of the Potomac artillery personnel.  Fifty-six men were killed (6 officers and 50 enlisted men).

Those killed included First Lieutenant Frederic Dorries, Battery L, 1st Ohio Light Artillery.  The 36-year old German native and former Stove Merchant died on May 3rd.  An artillery shell, presumably fired from a Confederate gun, broke both of Dorries’ hips and penetrated his chest.  He died instantly leaving behind a wife.  Six enlisted men from the 5th Maine Battery, including Corporal Benjamin F. Grover and Privates Timothy Sullivan and James P. Holt.

In addition to the dead, over 280 artillerymen sustained wounds during the Battle of Chancellorsville.  Injuries ranged from scrapes and bruises to severed limbs.  Three privates from the 5th Maine Battery, for example, suffered the latter:  Charles M. Kimball lost an arm, Edward A. Stuart a leg, and William N. Nason a hand.

Descriptions of battles often focus primarily on the main commanders and tactics.  Lost in these studies are the roles of the subalterns and enlisted men.  Thanks to Old Army recordkeeping, we can expand upon the roles of 19th century U.S. soldiers in key events and tie those experiences to the equipment, minute episodes, and comrades that complete a military service record.

Sources

Unpublished Sources (Old Army Records)
Approved Pension Application File for Charlotte Erth Dorries, Widow of Frederic Dorries (RG 15)
Consolidated Return of Losses and Ammunition Expended by the Army of the Potomac Artillery at Chancellorsville

Published Sources 
The Campaign of Chancellorsville: A Strategic and Tactical Study (Bigelow, Jr., 1910)
Dear Friends at Home:  The Civil War Letters and Diaries of Sergeant Charles T. Bowen, Twelfth United States Infantry, 1861-1864 (Cassedy, 2001).
Letter to the Members of the 5th Maine Battery Association (Stevens, 1890)

Government Documents
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.  Series 1, Volume 25 (1889)

Absent Without Leave Army Officer: Lt. Josiah Sheetz

While indexing general orders for several military departments in the 1870s I was struck by several orders calling for the detainment of active duty regular officers absent without leave (AWOL).  The orders essentially served as all point bulletins notifying all military and civil authorities throughout the country to detain the officers so that offenders could justify their absence. For example, the Adjutant General issued orders to apprehend 2nd Lieutenant John Aspinwall, 7th Cavalry, in May 1874 and Captain William McClellan Netterville, 21st Infantry in March 1876.  Military authorities failed to catch up to those two officers.  They were eventually dropped from the Army list.  However, the case of 1st Lieutenant Josiah A. Sheetz, reported AWOL in 1875, is an intriguing story.

Brevet Brigadier General Josiah A. Sheetz, ca. 1865. Courtmatialed for being absent without leave.oldarmyrecords.com
Josiah A. Sheetz as a Brevet Brigadier General, ca. 1865.  Photo courtesy of MOLLUS-MASS Civil War Photo Collection RG667s, U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, Carlisle, PA.
Meteoric Rise

The Civil War catapulted thousands of men into senior leadership roles.  One such person was Josiah Sheetz.  In the spring of 1861, Sheetz resided in Pekin, the county seat of Tazewell County, Illinois.  Responding to the call to arms, Sheetz helped organize Company F, 8th Illinois Infantry, mustering in as a 2nd Lieutenant.  The 8th Illinois served in the Western Theater, mostly along the Mississippi River.  He participated in the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson.  By December 1864, Sheetz rose to the rank of colonel, commanding the same regiment he joined in 1861.  In March 1865, he received the honorary rank of brevet brigadier general of volunteers.

From Brigadier General to Private

Sheetz resigned his commission in February 1866.  However, he was back in the army less than three months later.  His return to service was less prestigious than when he first left.  He enlisted as a private in the 1st U.S. Infantry.  No doubt, Sheetz’s Civil War experience allowed him to advance through the noncommissioned ranks.  He soon served as 1st Sergeant, his previous service no doubt factored into the promotions.  Within a year of joining the regular army, Sheetz attained a commission as 1st lieutenant in the 30th Infantry; he transferred to the 4th Infantry in March 1869.

Doomed by Standard Military Service

As a regular army officer, Sheetz’s military service record is unremarkable.  His responsibilities included roles as adjutant and post treasurer (i.e. financially responsible for money used to fund post schools and funds used to purchase supplies for companies).   His downfall began innocently enough.  However, facts later proved that improprieties began months earlier and quickly spiraled out of control.  In April 1875, Sheetz served with his company at Fort Fetterman, Wyoming Territory.  About the middle of the month he was ordered to escort a soldier to the government insane home in Washington, DC.  His route took him to Fort Laramie.  On his way Sheetz also escorted 11 enlisted, including two defendants and nine witnesses, to Fort Laramie to appear before a general court martial.  His Fort Laramie mission would prove ironic.

Absent Without Leave

While in Washington, the Adjutant General approved Sheetz’s request to delay his return to Fort Fetterman by 20 days.  Sheetz then proceeded to his father’s home in Illinois, via Chicago.  By July neither the Adjutant General nor his post commander had heard from Sheetz.  With no information on his whereabouts, the Adjutant General listed Sheetz as AWOL and issued the instructions to military commands across the country to, if encountered, detain him.  The various military commands in turn reissued the instructions.

The Military Division of Atlantic, for instance, issued the following circular on July 29th.  “Should 1st Lieutenant Josiah A. Sheetz, 4th Infantry, appear at any post or station in this Division, the commanding officer will retain him and report the fact to these Headquarters.”  In the meantime, Sheetz became aware of the problems he was facing and made a feeble attempt to justify his absence, claiming to be ill and bedbound.  Nevertheless, the government, now aware of Sheetz’s location, ordered the rogue officer back to his station at Fort Fetterman.  A lengthy general court martial case was also being prepared.

General Court Martial

On October 18, 1875, the general court martial of 1st Lieutenant Josiah A. Sheetz began in Cheyenne, Wyoming Territory.  A panel of nine officers heard the case.  Captain William H. Bisbee prosecuted the case as judge advocate.  The case included 6 charges and 26 specifications.  In addition to being absent without leave, the facts of the government case included the following.

First, Sheetz claimed and knowingly received two salary payments for the month of April 1875 and three payments for May 1875 thereby defrauding the government of $450.00 (about $10,340 today).  Second, Sheetz failed to properly account for the post fund, under his accountability, in the amount of $502.54 (about $11,548 today).  Third, the lieutenant failed to properly compensate soldiers serving as post baker, assistant post baker, and schoolteacher.  Similarly, Sheetz failed to pay the appropriate money, from the post fund, to units that served at Fort Fetterman.

Under the charge of “conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman” the government claimed that Sheetz received cash for his fraudulent pay vouchers from numerous banks and businesses at Fort Fetterman, Cheyenne, and Chicago.  Additionally, the government claimed that Sheetz failed to pay bills, incurred by him while serving as post treasurer, as well as failing to deposit money, given to him by one of his soldiers.

Sentence

Sheetz pleaded not guilty to five of the six charges.  He plead guilty to the charge which included specifications for being AWOL, not accounting for the post fund, failing to pay enlisted personnel from the post fund, and failing to pay for school supplies.  Sheetz represented himself and put up a feeble defense.  The most damning part of the prosecution’s case was the fact that Sheetz signed the three fraudulent pay vouchers.  At the end of the eighth day of trial the court panel briefly adjourned and rendered their findings.  They found the 1st lieutenant guilty of all charges and sentenced him to be cashiered, confined in prison for two years, and publish the crimes, place of confinement, and punishment in newspapers in Freeport, Illinois (where Sheetz’s father lived) and Laramie City, Wyoming Territory.

An Abrupt End to A Military Career

In view of Sheetz’s admirable Civil War record, the Secretary of War remitted the punishment to dismissal from the Army only.  Throughout Sheetz’s military service record documents, the curt word “cashiered” appears, an inglorious end to his army career.  Sheetz died on January 8, 1883.  What prompted the former brevet brigadier general to defraud the government and go AWOL?  Did the isolation of serving on the western frontier cause him distress?  Was he living a colonel’s lifestyle on a 1st lieutenant’s salary?  We may never know why this regular officer went rogue, but Old Army Records will continue to index documents in an attempt to answer those types of questions.

Sentence and Review section of GCMO for 1st Lieutenant Josiah A. Sheetz, 4th Infantry for being absent without leave.
The published findings of the general court martial of Josiah A. Sheetz covered 12 pages. The sentence simply read, “1st Lieutenant Josiah A. Sheetz, 4th Infantry, ceases to be an officer of the Army from the date of this order.”

Sources

Unpublished Sources (Old Army Records collection)
Department of Dakota, General Orders, General Court Martial Records, and Circulars
Department of Texas, General Orders, General Court Martial Records, and Circulars
Division of the Atlantic, General Orders, General Court Martial Records, and Circulars
Josiah A. Sheetz, Consolidated Military Officer’s File (military service record)
Josiah A. Sheetz, General Court Martial Record

Government Documents
Historical register and dictionary of the United States Army: From its organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 (Heitman, 1903)

U.S. Ram Monarch: A Brief Service History

No, Old Army Records has not gone to sea.  This article discusses the interaction of the army with river vessels. Watercraft of various sizes and classes aided the Union Army in securing victory during the Civil War.  Gunboats, steamers, and barges assisted the Union ground forces.  Often soldiers served on board boats, such as those used by U.S. Ram Fleet.

U.S. Ram Fleet
U.S. Ram Monarch and Queen of the West, ca. 1862. oldarmyrecords.com
U.S. Monarch and its sister ram Queen of the West, ca. 1862.

The U.S. Ram Fleet was developed by Pennsylvania-born engineer Charles Ellet, Jr in early 1862.  With the blessing of the Secretary of War, Ellet set about building his fleet. He purchased powerful and sturdy vessels already steaming up and down eastern rivers. The core of the fleet consisted of three stern-wheel towboats (boats used to push barges), the Queen of the West, Switzerland, and Monarch. The government purchased the Monarch in April 1862 for $14,000 (about $348,000 today).

Ellet quickly retrofitted the vessels to meet his task, ramming and sinking enemy boats.  The key to building an effective ram was to put the whole weight of the boat at the central bulkhead so that, at the moment of collision, the weight and momentum carried through to the target boat.  To accomplish this, Ellet instructed that three heavy solid timber bulkheads, from 12 to 16 inches thick, ran fore and aft, from stem to stern, placing the central one directly over the keel.  In addition, iron stays held the boilers and machinery firmly in place.  Also, oak timbers, bolted together in layers 2 feet thick helped protect the machinery and pilot house from small arms fire.

Soldiers Protected the Ram Fleet

Although supporting army operations, the Monarch fell under the immediate command of naval officers throughout most of its wartime service.  However, from the onset, all of Ellet’s rams had army security details assigned to each vessel.  Men from Company I, 59th Illinois Infantry served on the Monarch.  The men included 1st Sergeant Edward W. Bartlett and privates John Holland and Gilbert C. Hamilton.  However, service for some of the men was short.  Private Holland, for example, took violently ill in the streets of Tuscumbia, Alabama in September 1862 and died shortly thereafter.

Getting Into Action

Just months after setting out on his mission, Ellet, now with the rank of Colonel, steamed the tiny fleet south on the Mississippi River.  Contact with Confederate vessels occurred soon after.  In what is known as the Naval Battle of Memphis (June 6, 1862), the Monarch helped sink or incapacitate several vessels, including the Little Rebel, Lovell, Price, and General Beauregard.  Serving on the bridge of the Monarch during the Memphis engagement was David M. Dryden, a 1st Lieutenant from Company F, 1st Kentucky Infantry.  Dryden fought with his infantry unit in Virginia in 1861 before taking a leave of absence for health reasons.  His experience as steamboat captain caught the attention of Ellet, who secured Dryden’s transfer to the Ram Fleet.

U.S. Ram Monarch in the Memphis naval battle. Published by Harpers Weekly, June 28, 1862. oldarmyrecords.com.
Just months after being acquired by the government, U.S. Ram Monarch went into battle near Memphis. This depiction, published by Harper’s Weekly on June 28, 1862, shows the Monarch ramming the Confederate side wheel boat General Beauregard.

With the surrender of Vicksburg in July 1863, Union forces held unrestricted access to the Mississippi River. It effectively ended the mission of the ram fleet.  For the next year, the Monarch and the other rams, steamed up and down the Mississippi River and tributaries on a variety of excursions.  These ranged from expeditions involved in removing obstructions, such as torpedoes, and reconnaissances in force.  Occasionally, the Monarch served as the flagship for the Ram Fleet.

By fall 1864, the Ram Fleet was no longer serving the Navy and was scattered up and down the Mississippi River Valley in charge of army quartermasters.  The Monarch was anchored in New Orleans.  While in army service the Monarch served primarily as a transport hauling mail, freight, soldiers, and refugees.

Monarch’s Final Military Service

Until recently, the end of the military service history of the Ram Monarch are sketchy.  For instance, the Wikipedia entry for the Monarch, which relies heavily on Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks, simply states that the boat “…was dropped from the naval list in 1864, but remained in reserve, ready for recall to active service. She was sunk by ice in December 1864, but was refloated and taken to Mound City, Illinois for dismantling in July 1865.”  The final two months of government service of the Monarch were memorialized in a journal kept by Captain Charles Bogy (Master) and/or H. Carrigan (Clerk).  During our recent trip to the National Archives, Old Army Records digitized the journal.  The log documents rather mundane, yet important duties as they relate to the 19th century military personnel and their dependents.

Death Highlights the Monarch’s Final Trips

By October 1864, army quartermasters assigned various duties to the Monarch.  The vessel carried destitute refugees, black and white, from devastated southern states northward.  Many of these passengers were in poor health and died in route.  For instance, at 2 a.m. on November 2, 1864, Irene Fitzgerald “wife of a soldier of the 6th Mississippi Heavy Artillery” died on board.  The boat crew then went into Vicksburg, procured a coffin and buried her.  She left a young child, William, who was left in a dying condition at the refugee home operated by the Western Sanitary Commission in Vicksburg.

Just two days later another refugee, Matilda Cotton, died of “chronic diarrhea and general debility” at Skipwith Landing.  Intestinal distress soon claimed a third victim.  Private Ezekiel J. Bailey of Battery G, 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery passed away in the evening of November 5th.  Bailey was on his way home on furlough.

Map of the lower Mississippi River Valley during the Civil War. The military and naval history of the rebellion in the United States. With biographical sketches of deceased officers. The story of the Ellets and their men (cover page), 1865. oldarmyrecords.com
The U.S. Ram Monarch steamed up and down the Mississippi River and its major tributaries. As a result, the boat anchored at several cities and small communities. Some stopping points, affecting the military service of several Old Army soldiers and their dependents, are shown here. Map modified from one shown in The Military and Naval History of the Rebellion in the United States (1865).
An Inglorious End to the Ram Monarch

The run of bad luck continued nine days later when the Monarch struck a rock near Thebes, Illinois and took on water.  Ironically, the addition of timber to hull, in order to make the boat an effective ram, prevented the crew from making repairs.  Captain Bogy steered the wounded boat to shallower waters near the shore.  The boat eventually came to rest in water 4-12 feet deep “…very much listed over to the port.”  Over the next several weeks, crews pumped out and repaired the Monarch.  Finally, on the morning of December 9, 1864, the Monarch was once again under steam and headed to St. Louis.

By December 20th, the boat was at Harlow’s Landing about 25 miles south of St. Louis.  The last entry in the log was ominous.  It read “Main channel [b]locked up with ice it will nearly take all night for [the steamer] to take in the wood[.]  Weather might be called very pleasant for this portion of the country[,] very little ice ram[m]ing Stmrs [steamers].”  Did ice finally defeat one of Charles Ellet, Jr. prized rams?

Elaborating on 19th Century Military Service Records

As the history and log of the Ram Monarch illustrates, Old Army soldiers interacted with a variety of military branches and departments.  Old Army Records will continue to locate, digitize, and index these documents to help flesh out the military service history of a 19th century U.S. Army soldier.

We wish to thank our recent customers for their research requests.  Trying to find specific information on an individual soldier, unit, or event without much success?  Are you having trouble finding information on an obscure Old Army topic?  We may be able to help.  Feel free to contact us for guidance and a free quote. 

Sources

Unpublished Sources (Old Army Records)
David M. Dryden, Military Service Records (RG 94)
John V. Holland, Pension Record (RG 15)
Journal of Events on the U.S.S. Monarch, October-December 1864 (RG 393)

Published Sources (in Old Army Records digital library)
History of the Mississippi River Ram Fleet and Marine Brigade (Crandall 1907).
Outline of the Forthcoming History of the Mississippi River Ram Fleet and Marine Brigade (Crandall ca. 1906).

Government Documents
The Military and Naval History of the Rebellion in the United States (1865)
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.  Series 1, Volumes 13 (1885), 15 (1886), 17 (1886 and 1887), 24 (1889), 41 (1893), and 52 (1898)
Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion.  Series 1, Volumes 25 (1912) and 26 (1914)

Websites
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Monarch_(1862)
https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-soldiers.htm#

Old Army Records Update

Jim and I are back from our most recent Old Army records acquisition trip.  As our journey through Old Army records continues, we always encounter new information that refines our knowledge on the daily operation of the 19th century U.S. Army.  For example, in 1864 the Adjutant General issued General Order No. 75, which clarified several personnel issues, including the designation of draftees and the transfer of soldiers to the U.S. Navy.  Last week we found a document that tabulated the number of copies and distribution of general orders in the 1860s.  The Adjutant General printed and distributed over 5,900 copies of G.O. 75 to various military commands, states, installations, and generals.  This example illustrates the civilian and military manpower required to maintain the War Department.  With that being said, we are excited to announce that soon thousands of names will be indexed related to the following Old Army topics:

  • Soldiers who qualified as marksman/ sharpshooters
  • Lists and assignments of army sutlers/ post traders
  • Charges and specifications against soldiers
  • Lists of soldiers fitted for artificial limbs
  • Lists and assignments of civilian nurses
  • Rosters of noncommissioned officers serving in regular army units
  • Lists of officers detailed to teach military science at high schools and colleges
  • Individuals issued specific firearms
  • Lists of soldiers detailed to perform specific jobs
  • Lists of civilian clerks working at various staff departments
  • Prisoners at Forts Leavenworth and Pulaski
  • Individuals serving as scouts during the Civil War
Old Army soldiers performed a wide-range of daily duty. For example, this list includes the names of soldiers from the 47th New York Infantry assigned to picket duty in North Carolina.
Wide range of Old Army Subjects

What distinguishes Old Army Records apart from other databases, is our commitment to not only capture the names of soldiers, but index the events, places, material, and other subjects associated with the period.  Together, these subjects, or what we call searchable units (SUs), put soldiers into context with the Old Army.  We are therefore pleased to announce the following additions to our dataset:

  • 500+ names and descriptive data for army horses and mules
  • List of countersigns and paroles used during the Civil War
  • List of safeguards issued during the Civil War
  • Tabular data of the types of firearms lost, damaged, and rendered unserviceable by regular army units
  • The causes of desertion from the regular army
  • Lists of items received by soldiers confined to prison
  • Accounting for ammunition expended in the southwest during the 1860s
  • Lists of ordnance and ordnance stores lost by the Union Army in key Civil War battles
Army officers were responsible for all government property and could be called upon to account for expenditures. One enterprising officer maintained a ledger which included the loss and usage of ammunition. This excerpt, for example, includes ammunition used in combat and by the the butcher for Company C, 1st California Cavalry in November and December 1865.
Following the Paperwork Trail

With each document digitized, we are amazed at the breadth of records kept by the 19th century U.S. Army and that survive, yet, today.  The details contained in those documents helps fulfill our goal of presenting the rich day-to-day life of an Old Army soldier.  In the coming months, while we index the new data, we will publish articles on these topics.  So, keep checking the Records Inventory page for updates.  In the meantime, feel free to contact us with questions or your research requests.

News: Annual Research Pilgrimage

Well here we are again in our nation’s capital on what has become an annual research pilgrimage to the seat of the largest repositories of Old Army Records in the country, Washington, D.C.’s branches of the National Records Administration Archives (NARA) and Library of Congress (LOC).  Kevin & I have returned again this year to continue our, never ending, quest to populate our Old Army Records collection with as many SU rich documents as are available.  Our goal is to provide you with access to the most comprehensive collection of records focused on the details of the Old Army soldier’s day to day life.  Now, anyone who has taken even a casual look at the either the NARA or LOC online catalogs would say, that is an impossible task.  We have considered that but have decided it is a task worth pursuing.

Desks, chairs, & Bookshelves in the NARA West Reading Room, March 2019.
Where Kevin & I spent the last week, NARA West Reading Room. Photo by Kevin O’Dell March 7, 2019.
Priorities

With that in mind we do our best to prioritize our records research and scanning. As we have mentioned in our past news posts, one of our main priorities has been gathering the General Court Martial Orders (GCMOs) for the various departments for the entire Old Army period, 1800 to 1899.  Well we are continuing that priority.  But we find it impossible to limit ourselves to just one records category.  So, while I continue to add to our already voluminous collection of GCMOs;  Kevin gathers records that are even more SU rich, such as registers and inventories. These type of records will provide you with a wider view of the issues an Old Army soldier had to deal with on a day to day basis and within his career; such as, what kind of work he was forced to do while sentenced to hard labor or what help could he get if he lost a limb.  These are just two examples of the type of information we’ve added to our Old Army Records collection that we haven’t found anywhere else on the internet.

Experience Helps

Despite weather forecasts of snow that threatened our travel and commuting plans.  Typical obstacles for travel across the country in the winter. Deciding which records to spend our, limited, time here to pursue has been the most difficult part of the trip, so far.  However, due to the experience we’ve gained by the many times we’ve repeated this trip and the excellent and professional help from the staff at both the NARA & LOC as well as at the Washington – College Park (I-95) Holiday Inn, our preferred place to stay when in the D.C. area, we’ve been able to successfully gather a diverse portfolio of records as evidenced by the following list of topics.

  •  Crime and punishment confinement data, including work performed by prisoners confined at military posts.
  • Marksmen/ sharpshooter qualifications, including shooting scores and rankings within a department and even the entire army
    • How did your Old Army ancestor rank?
  • Daily jobs performed by soldiers.

In the coming months, we will be adding the many records we’ve digitized, on this trip, to our database and will publish articles related to these very topics.  So, be sure to return often so as not to miss any of what promises to be both entertaining and informative content on our page.

Old Army Records Research Services

In addition to gathering records to populate our Old Army database, we were able to use our experience in conducting research at these repositories to fulfill a research request for a client.  We’re proud to offer our Old Army Records Research Services to anyone who would like us to locate & gather records from the 19th century US Army.  Feel free to contact us with your research request for availability & pricing.

As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts and impressions of our website.  So, leave us your comments and suggestions as to what you would like to see on our site and what records you would like us to add to our Records Inventory.  Until our next news post, ENJOY.

Major General Jacob Jennings Brown’s Funeral

On February 25, 1828, Adjutant General Roger Jones issued the following directive from Washington, DC.  “The Senior officers of the General Staff of the Army, and the Commanding General of the Militia of the District of Columbia, will convene at the Adjutant’ General’s Office, this morning, at nine o’clock, to make suitable arrangements for the funeral honors of the distinguished and lamented Major General Brown.”  The flurry of orders and details which soon followed outlined the funeral for the 12th Commanding General (both George Washington and James Wilkinson each served twice) of the U.S. Army.

Humble Roots

Jacob Jennings Brown was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in May 1775.  He descended from a long line of devout Quakers making his ultimate career path therefore seem strange.  After brief stints as a surveyor, school teacher, and military secretary for Major General Alexander Hamilton, Brown purchased land on Lake Ontario in northern New York.  Soon after, he founded the village of Brownville and became a prominent figure in state politics.  His political position led to an appointment of colonel in the militia.  When the war of 1812 began Brown served as a militia brigadier general.

General Jacob Brown, Commander of the Army

Much of the War of 1812 was fought along the northeast U.S. border with Canada.  As a result, New York militia troops entered the conflict early.  Brown competently lead troops in the early engagements at Ogdensburg and Sackett’s Harbor.  Consequently, he received appointments as brigadier and then major general in the Regular Army.  Regular Army soldiers, led by Brown, defeated British regulars at Chippawa and Lundy’s Lane in January 1814.  Before the war officially ended, Congress bestowed upon Brown a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his “gallantry and good conduct” at the battles of Chippewa, Niagara, and Erie.

By June 1815, Brown was the senior officer of the U.S. Army.  However, he did not receive the title of Commanding General of the Army until 1821.  During his tenure as senior army commander, General Brown attempted to retain competent soldiers and improve unit training.

Jacob_Jennings_Brown.jpg. oldarmyrecords.com
Major-General Jacob Jennings Brown (1775-1828), US Army, circa 1814.
A Grand Funeral Possession

General Jacob Brown died on February 24, 1828 while on duty in Washington, DC.  The exact cause of death is unknown.  He suffered several wounds at Lundy’s Lane in January 1814.  One 19th century biographer stated that “[t]he disease of which he died is said to have been in consequence of another wound contracted by him at Fort Erie, during the war…”  The funeral orchestrated by the War Department included nearly all senior military and government leaders then at the nation’s capital.  As with all military duty, the funeral was scripted and adhered to strict protocol.  The following circular, issued by the Adjutant General, outlined the funeral procession.

Orders of the Adjutant General's Office, Washington, DC, 26th July 1825-October 29th, 1828. oldarmyrecords.com
Circular issued by the Adjutant General outlining the order for General Jacob Brown’s funeral procession.

Arrangements occurred right up to the burial on February 27th.  Early that morning the War Department issued last-minute orders, which included instructions for the line of escort to form precisely at 10:30 a.m. in front of General Brown’s residence with its left resting near the corner of the United States Bank.  The procession escorted the general’s body to the Congressional Cemetery where it was interred in Section 1, Range 57, Site 150.

Mourning and General Jacob Brown’s Old Army Legacy

The day after the funeral Secretary of War James Barbour issued an order, distributed to troops throughout the nation, eulogizing General Brown.  In it Barbour credited Brown for“[u]niting with the most unaffected simplicity, the highest degree of personal valor, and of intellectual energy, he stands pre-eminent before the world, and for after ages, in that band of heroic spirits, who, upon the ocean and the land, formed and sustained, during the second war with Great Britain, the martial reputation of their country.”  Barbour went on to commend the former commanding general for his “intuitive penetration, his knowledge of men, and his capacity to control them…his scrupulous regard for their rights, his constant attention to their wants…”

Following regulations, artillery at each military post were fired every half hour from sunrise to sunset on the day succeeding the arrival of the directive.  Further, each army officer wore black crape around their left arm and on the hilt of their sword for six months.

According to the official history of commanding generals and army chiefs of staff, Brown recommended pay incentives to encourage reenlistment and pay increases for noncommissioned officers.  He also advocated periodic centralized training for widely scattered units in order to prevent erosion in military instruction.

Sources

Unpublished Sources (indexed by Old Army Records)
Orders issued by the Adjutant General’s Office (1828)

Army Regulations
General Regulations for the Army (1825)

Congressional Document
The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; with an Appendix Containing Important State Papers and Public Documents; and all the Laws of a Public Nature; with a Copious Index, Thirteenth Congress-Third Session.  Comprising the Period from Sept. 19, 1814 to March 3, 1815, Inclusive. Compiled from Authentic Materials (1854)

Government Document
Commanding Generals and Chiefs of Staff, 1775-1995: Portraits & Biographical Sketches of the United States Army’s Senior Officer (Bell 1999)

Old Army Demographics: 18th Regular Infantry in the Civil War

In the previous article I discussed the role of adjutants in the 19th century U.S. Army.  The dedicated efforts of those staff officers ensured that current Old Army researchers have the detail-rich unit and garrison information.  Accordingly, an adjutant’s duty was documenting the activities and personnel of their assigned unit.  In April 1866, Colonel Henry B. Carrington forwarded the Official History of the 18th United States Infantry, 1861-1865 to the Adjutant General’s Office.  Compiled by regimental adjutant, 1st Lieutenant Frederick Phisterer, the history provides data significant to understanding Old Army demographics.

Three Regiments in One

The 18th was one of nine regular army infantry regiments (11th-19th) formed in 1861.  Modeled on the French regimental system, each regiment consisted of three 8-company battalions (designated 1st-3rd).   In actuality, each battalion functioned as a regiment, each with their own command and staff positions and set of records.

The history prepared by Phisterer documented the enlistment of 4,778 men between July 1, 1861 and December 31, 1865.  His effort received high praise from senior officers for its thoroughness and completeness.  It includes the names and dates of enlistment of the nearly 5,000 men who joined the regiment during the Civil War period, monthly itineraries of the 24 companies, and biographies of the regiment’s officers.  Moreover, the history lists the names, dates of appointment, and notes (i.e. death, wounds, demotion, etc.) of the 657 noncommissioned officers who served with the unit.  Perhaps the most the interesting information contained in the book are the demographics of the enlisted men.  Some of that information is presented below.

Old Army Demographics, Occupations From Actor to Woodchopper

Although a regular army unit, the 18th could easily claim to be an Ohio regiment.  Of the 4,778 men who joined the unit, 1,320 (28%) claimed Ohio as their birth state.  Officers organized and trained the recruits at Camp Thomas, Ohio, just north of Columbus.  Over 1,000 recruits enlisted at Columbus alone; an additional 43 recruiting stations throughout Ohio also swelled the ranks.  The high number of Ohio-born men in the regiment is no doubt attributed to its formation in that state.

Army Demographics: table number of 18th Regular U.S. Infantry Civil War enlistments from each state and territory.
The stats of the 18th Regular Infantry indicate that most enlisted men were born in the U.S.  Interestingly, the ranks included men from nearly all the states and territories which comprised the nation then.

About 33% of the ranks claimed foreign birth places with the majority from western Europe.  Of the foreign-born, Ireland and Germany led with 1,002.  Canada, Newfoundland, and New Brunswick accounted for 156 enlistees.  Additionally, a few soldiers claimed Cuba, Australia, and “on the sea” as birthplaces.

Army Demographics: map of Europe showing number of non-native-born enlistments, in each country, for the 18th Regular U.S. Infantry of the Civil War.
Roughly a third of enlistees in the 18th Regular Infantry claimed to be non-native-born. Of those, most hailed from western Europe.
Occupations From Actor to Woodchopper

In many ways, the composition of the regiment was a microcosm of the nation.  The 108 different occupations, noted by enlistees, reflected the diversity.  Not surprisingly, 35% of the soldiers listed their occupation as farmer thereby reflecting the agrarian nature of the economy.  The 1,679 farmers therefore led all occupations.  Laborer, soldier, carpenter, blacksmith, shoemaker, boatman, clerk, sailor, and musician rounded out the top ten occupations represented in the regiment.  However, numerous other occupations filled the ranks such as physicians, lawyers, an actor, a showman, and one “gentleman”.  In short the 18th Infantry included a wide range of unskilled and skilled professions.

Army Demographics: table showing the many former occupations of enlisteees of the 18th U.S. Infantry of the Civil War.
Enlisted men in the 18th U.S. Infantry claimed over 100 different occupations before joining the unit.
The Personal Cost of Old Army Service

The 18th Infantry fought and bled at several of the prominent battles in the Civil War Western Theater, namely the sieges of Corinth (1862) and Atlanta (1864) and battles of Stones River (1862/1863), Chickamauga (1863), Resaca (1864), and Kennesaw Mountain (1864).  Throughout most of the Civil War, the 18th Regulars served in the 14th Army Corps alongside battalions from fellow regular army infantry regiments (15th, 16th, and 19th) and numerous volunteer units.  The latter included the 11th Michigan and 69th Ohio infantry regiments.

Attrition, common to all military units of the era, affected the regiment.  As of December 31, 1865 the unit lost 64% of its enlisted men owing to a variety of reasons.  Most, 1,052, deserted.  Just over 200 men died outright in battle or succumbed to wounds while 330 died from disease.  Only 14% received honorable discharges for successfully completing their term of enlistment.  Moreover, a high number of men (582) received early discharge for disability.  Interestingly, 29 men were still listed as missing in action as of December 1865.

The statistics listed in the 18th Infantry history provide a fine basis for compiling Old Army demographics.  Do you have any idea for a “By the Numbers” or other Old Army article?   We’d love to hear it.  Send your suggestions through the Contact Us page.

Old Army Staff Position: Adjutant

Old Army officers had numerous administrative and command duties.  At the root of all these responsibilities was complete and accurate record keeping.  One military position was responsible for the extant Old Army records:  the adjutant.

U.S. Army Adjutant General Shield.
The Adjutant General

Congress authorized the creation of Adjutant General’s Office (AGO) in 1813.  Initially headed by a brigadier general, the AGO was tasked with issuing orders from army headquarters, detailing troops for specific movements and tasks, and the instruction of troops.  The office also served as the repository of documents pertaining to army personnel.  In times of conflict a small cadre of temporary adjutants, known as acting assistant adjutant generals, aided with the administrative duties.  At the regiment and military post level, those administrative duties were completed by junior officers assigned the position simply known as adjutant.

Staff Position

Although written for regimental adjutants, the following statement, from the 1847 army regulations, equally applies to the position within all types of commands.

It is enjoined upon the adjutant to maintain a courteous and friendly understanding with his brother officers, avoiding all discussions upon the orders, or military conduct of the commander.  He should inform himself upon all points of military usage and etiquette; and on proper occasions kindly aid, with his advice and experience, the younger subalterns of the regiment, especially those just entering the service.  And he should, at all times, endeavor to exert the influence belonging to his station, in sustaining the reputation and discipline of the regiment. 

Captains oversaw their respective companies.  The role of post, regiment, and detachment adjutant therefore fell to the junior most officers, lieutenants.  Like other staff positions, adjutants served at the discretion of the colonel or permanent commander.  However, by the end of the 19th century army regulations stipulated that officers could only serve four years in the position.  He was not eligible for a second tour in that capacity except to serve an unexpired term of four years.

Often detachments were assembled to complete temporary assignments.  Officers completed ad-hoc positions for these units.  For example, in the spring of 1875 a battalion of the 7th Cavalry took up post near Yankton, South Dakota to quell disturbances at the nearby Ponca Indian Agency.  Second Lieutenant William Thomas Craycroft was detailed as adjutant as well as quartermaster and commissary of subsistence for the battalion.

Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork

Whether using a small field desk under “an oak tree”, in tents, or dedicated office space an adjutant performed several tasks.  Captain August V. Kautz in Customs of Service for the Officers of the Army summed up the role and responsibility of an adjutant.

The Adjutant is the official organ of the regimental commander through whom he communicates with the subordinates in the regiment.  He has charge of the books, records, and papers pertaining to the regiment.  He superintends the machinery and workings of the regiment.  He communicates the orders of the commander, and sees that they are obeyed, and the regular returns and reports are made.  He keeps the roster of the officers, makes the details that are called for from the regiment, and forms and marches on the guard at guard mounting.

In addition, the adjutant oversaw the regimental/ post band, often functioned as the official unit timekeeper, served as post treasurer, and issued non-commissioned officer warrants (official papers notifying soldiers of promotion to the rank of corporal or sergeant).   Adjutants maintained a variety of books and documents.  The types of documents varied throughout the 19th century.  However, the following is a representative example:

Descriptive Book
Endorsement Book
General Order Book
Index to Letters Received
Letters Sent Book
Morning Report Book
Rosters
Special Order Book

Each morning the adjutant prepared duty rosters which detailed officers and enlisted men to a variety of temporary assignments.  These included officer of the day, fatigue and guard duty.  The first sergeants in turn met with the adjutant to receive orders and assignments pertaining to their respective companies.  Clerks, detailed from the enlisted ranks, often assisted adjutants with copying and organizing the various reports and papers.  Not surprisingly, clerks received assignments based on their administrative ability and penmanship.

Assembled here, in front of tent, are the adjutant and first sergeants of the 22nd New York State Militia, holding an American flag and rifles.
Each morning regimental adjutants issued duty rosters to the first sergeants. Assembled here are the adjutant and first sergeants of the 22nd New York State Militia near Harpers Ferry, ca. 1862. (photo courtesy of Library of Congress).
Adulation and Consternation
Card de Vist portrait of Captain George M. Templeton, in uniform.
George M. Templeton capably served as post adjutant at Fort C. F. Smith. (photo courtesy of Newberry Library).

The position of adjutant was prestigious, but carried great responsibility.  Post and regiment commanders often recognized the service provided by the military administrators.  George M. Templeton, 27th U.S. Infantry is a typical example.  Templeton’s promotion to Captain no longer allowed him to serve as adjutant at Fort C.F. Smith, Montana Territory (M.T.).  In a January 1868 special order, post commander Luther P. Bradley announced the change and “to express his sense of the very faithful and able manner in which he has discharged the duties of Post Adjutant.”  This sentiment is typical of the sentiments expressed by commanders for adjutants vacating their position.

Occasionally, an adjutant ran afoul of military protocol and answered to a court martial.  In 1873, 2nd Lieutenant Charles Austin Booth, a 7th Infantry officer and adjutant at Fort Benton, M.T. found himself defending the charge of “conduct prejudicial to good order and military discipline.”  In his staff capacity Booth “became acquainted with the contents of an official communication from the Commanding Officer of the Department of Dakota” and addressed to the commander of Fort Benton.  The communication in question dealt with policy to prevent Indians from visiting the nearby town of Benton.

Booth informed several local citizens of the policy thereby violating one of the key tenants of adjutant:  confidentiality.  The court found Booth guilty and sentenced him to a written reprimand issued by general order from Brigadier General Alfred Terry, the department commander.  However, Terry concluded that Booth completed the indiscretion inadvertently “rather than the intent to do wrong” and opted not to inflict upon him the “mortification of a reprimand.”

Closing Thoughts

Often, Old Army researchers experience frustration with gaps in the original records for the period.  However, considering the fact that 19th century army records slogged with the soldiers through wind, rain, snow, and mud, we are fortunate that we have as many records as we do.  This is largely due to the unsung administrative warriors of the period, the adjutants.  Check out our list of documents kept by adjutants and indexed by Old Army Records.  In the next article I will discuss details from a superb regimental history prepared by an extremely capable adjutant.

Sources

Unpublished Sources (indexed by Old Army Records)
General Orders from the Headquarters of the Department of Dakota, 1873
Special and General Orders, Fort C.F. Smith
Special Orders, General Orders, and Circulars, Seventh Cavalry

Army Regulations
General Regulations for the Army (1821)
General Regulations for the Army of the United States (1847)
Regulations for the Army of the United States (1895)
Regulations of the Army of the United States (1881)
Revised U.S. Army Regulations (1863)

Congressional Document
Legislative History of the General Staff of the Army of the United States (Its Organization, Duties, Pay, and Allowances), From 1775-1901 (1901)

Published Source
Customs of Service for Officers of the Army (1866)

Unpublished Source
Cornelius C. Platter Civil War Diary, 1864 – 1865, Hargerett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries

Old Army Records: Circulars

In previous articles, I discussed general and special orders issued by the 19th century U.S. Army.  General and special orders regulated day-to-day operations of the army.  Often, officers required detailed instructions on how to complete army paperwork or comply with procedures.   Occasionally, line officers became lax in their administrative duties and needed gentle reminders to get them into compliance.  Policy changes or adjustments to soldier behavior sometimes required attention.  Directions for the composition of and behavior on expeditions needed clarification.  Finally, certain army business required specific documents.  For the instances referenced above, army commanders issued circulars.

All levels of command, ranging from the Adjutant General’s Office (AGO) to a battalion or detachment, issued circulars.  As with other types of orders, the issuing authority maintained books and/or files for circulars.  Unlike orders, which were typically numbered sequentially, circulars were often organized and referred to by the date of their publication.

Detailed Instructions

Not surprisingly, an army officer spent considerable time completing paperwork and complying with procedures.  Circulars notified officers of changes and helped guide officers through the bureaucratic jungle.  For example, in April 1871, the AGO issued a letter to all military divisions regarding reenlistment standards.  The headquarters of the Military Division of the Pacific incorporated the letter into a circular which they distributed throughout the division:

Only men who are up to the standard of height [5’6” and upwards and between 21 and 35 years old and concerning whose fitness for the service in other respects there exists no doubts], prescribed in letter of March 18th, 1871, from this Office will be enlisted.

No objection will be made to the re-enlistment of good men, who are below the standard height, in the companies from which they were discharged, provided they apply in person at the station or stations of said companies. 

Sometimes, circulars simply functioned as technical pamphlets. For example, in May 1870 the Military Division of the Missouri issued a 6-page circular detailing the construction and use of sundials.  Frequently, circulars outlined the process for requisitioning and disposing of arms, equipment, or other government property.  The following are examples.  First, instructions issued to 7th Cavalry company commanders for requisitioning Model 1873 Springfield Carbines and Colt revolvers.  Second, instructions from the Commissary General of Subsistence for the disposal of surplus desiccated vegetables.

Advertisement Circulars

The 19th century army, as with today, relied heavily on civilian contractors to complete their mission.  Contractors throughout the country provided a wide range of goods and services including freighting, building material, horses, and fuel.  In most instances, the government selected contractors based on competitive bids.  The army issued circulars detailing which newspapers procuring officers could advertise in.  Conversely, leaflets also listed which newspapers no longer warranted advertisements.  The following is a small sample of newspapers in which the War Department authorized the publication of ads in the 1870s:

Advocate (Huntsville, Alabama)
Daily Times (Jersey City, New Jersey)
Evening Call (Leavenworth, Kansas)
Grand Era (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Inter-Ocean (Chicago, Illinois)
National Republic (Selma, Alabama)
Our Mountain Home (Talladega, Alabama)
Pioneer (Asheville, North Carolina)
Republican (San Francisco, California)
Skandinavisk (New York, New York)

Memos

Circulars also functioned as interbranch memos.  Memorandum replaced circulars as a form of communication in the 20th century army.  Colonel John R. Brooke (3rd Infantry), commander of Fort Shaw, Montana Territory took issue with the behavior of some of his men at a post band concert.  As a result, Brooke issued the following:

During a band concert at Fort Shaw in 1880, soldiers spit tobacco juice on a mess room floor. Post commander, Col. Robert Brooke, deemed the behavior unacceptable and issued this circular.

Circulars condemning behavior also applied to officers.  The 1895 army regulations specifically listed one instance in which officers likely regretted inclusion in the memos:

The notice of stoppage of officers’ pay will be prepared in the form of a monthly circular to paymasters, advising them of stoppages outstanding at its date. This circular will be submitted to the Secretary of War for his approval prior to its publication. When an officer’s name is borne thereon, no payment of salary will be made to him which is not in accordance with the stoppage entry made against his name.

Although not as numerous as general and special orders, circulars contain a wealth of information regarding the administration of the Old Army.  They provide insight into what subjects army commanders deemed important throughout the 19th century.  Furthermore, the leaflets identify other documents, such as newspapers, that may contain other information pertaining to an Old Army topic.

Sources

Unpublished Sources (indexed by Old Army Records)
7th U.S. Cavalry, General Orders, Special Orders, and Circulars
Adjutant General’s Office, General Orders and Circulars
Atlantic (Division of), Orders
Fort Shaw, Montana Territory, General Orders, Garrison Court Martial Orders, and Circulars
Missouri (Division of), Orders
Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence, Circulars
Pacific (Division of), Orders
Texas (Department of), Orders

Government Documents
Regulations for the Army of the United States (1895)