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Discussion of Disbanding Provisional Army, Filling of Officer Vacancies in Old Regiments, Forwarding of Recommendations & Court Martial Proceedings

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Source Name Image(s)
CollectionMassachusetts Historical Society: John Adams Papers view image
Document Information
Date June 30, 1800
Author Name Samuel Dexter (primary) Location: War Department, Washington
Recipient Name John Adams (primary)
Summary Dexter confirms that a recently passed law called for the disbanding of the 12 new regiments of the provisional army, but not the "volunteer corps." Discusses the united opinion of the department heads [Cabinet] on the appointing of officers while the Senate is in recess -- that such should be permissible. Mentions the opinions of others on this matter, including Lt. Col. Tousard. Notes that he is preparing a list of officers from the reduced regiments who have been recommended to fill vacancies in the artillery and old regiments. Also forwards officer recommendations from General Pinckney and a court martial proceeding, for Adams' decision on its sentence.
Document Format Letter Signed
Document Notes [not available]
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups John Adams; Samuel Dexter; Captain Boyd; Volunteer Corps; Heads of Departments; Senate; Colonel Tousard; Lieutenant Colonel of the Second Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers; Regiments of Infantry; General Pinckney; Samuel Ewing; ;
Related Places War Department, Washington; Philadelphia; ;
Keywords enclosing letter; law for disbanding the twelve new regiments; nominate; oral instructions; commissions; promotion; vacancies; list; court martial; sentence; ;
Key Phrases [not available]

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I 172
War Department
Washington, 30th June 1800
I received your favor from Philadelphia enclosing letter from Capt Boyd, and have written to him as you directed. The Volunteer Corps are in no way affected by the late Law for disbanding the twelve new Regiments.
The heads of Departments were of opinion that Officers might be nominated in the recess of Senate, though the vacancy did not happen in the recess. I have according to your letter to my Predecessor and your oral instructions to me given a line to Col. Tousards, acquainting him that he is appointed Lieut Colonol of the Second Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers, and another to the same Gentleman acquainting him of his appointment as Inspector of Artillery. I find this to have been the former course of the office, and that Commissions have issued after the Consent of the Senate have been ontained. I have pursued a similar method where Officers of the next grade have been entitled to promotion of [undecipherable] from vacancies having happened in the grade above them.
There are many vacancies in the artillery and old Regiments of Infantry, and many of the officers of the reduced Regiments have been recommended by the commanding Generals and others to fill them. A list of those who appear best entitled is preparing, and when I shall have have completed it, it will be forwarded to you for your directions to the Department. In In the mean time, I enclose an extract from a letter of General Pinckney, relative to three Officers, whose situation seems peculiar, and request the favour of your order relative to their being appointed. Inclosed also are the proceedings of a Court Martial. I forward them to you for your decision on the Sentence, not because it appears a case of difficulty, but the Sentence being capital, it appeared proper to one that the final decision should be in fact as well as constructively your act.
I have the Honor to be
With profound Respect,
and great Esteem,
Your very obedient Servt
Saml Dexter
The President of the United States

I 173
Extract of a letter from Major General Pinckney dated Head Quarters at Shepherds Town June 12. 1800
Major Cass requests me to permit the officers I have above mentioned to continue to assist him in recruiting and have consented till the pleasure of the President is know. I strongly recommend them all three for appointment in the Artillery and old Regiments, according to my former letters. They should be immediately acquainted with what you determine relative to them, as their situation to continue acting as recruiting officers after the [11th?], & without regularly belonging to any military establishment, must be very awkward.
I have frequently mentioned the great merit of Lieut.t Wallach of the Cavalry, and refer to my former letters relative to this deserving officer. If he cannot be provided for in that Corps, it will be of advantage still to retain him in our service. In such case, he would wish to be in the Reg.t of Artillery, till the situation of affairs might render a larger Corps of Cavalry necessary, when he would prefer joining that Corps. I have so strong an idea of his military abilities, that I am anxious he should not be lost to the service.
Lieutt Barnes of the 9th Regiment, Williams of the 8th, and Lee of the 10th
Trial of Samuel Ewing
I 174
Proceedings of a Brigade General Court Martial, held this 9th day of June 1800 at Camp Allegany, by order of Lieut.t Coll Hambranick, for the trial of such persons as may be brought before them

Lieut.t Col.l Strong Presid.t

Captains Porter }

{ Captains Greaton

Sedgwick }
{ Shoemaker

Lieutt Whipple}

{Lieutt Shiran

The Court being sworn, proceeded to the trial of Samuel Ewing, a [undecipherable] of Captain Porters company 1st Reg.t Art.t & charged ( with deserting the service of the United States, from Detroit, on the 8 May 1800. (2,dly) for entering the Garrison aforesaid on the evening following in a hostile manner, with loaded arms, threatening the life of any person that would attempt to take him. (3,dly) For mutinously resisting Lieut,t Rand, when in the act of apprehending him, by charging and snaping at him a musket loaded with a slug.
The prisoner pleads guilty to the first part of the charge (viz) desertion, but not guilty of the remainder.
Lieutt Rand being sworn, says. the prisoner entered the Garrison on the 9 May 1800, and went to M.r [undecipherable] Tavern with a musket, which on examination I found to be loaded, I with a Corp.l and file of men followed him, entered the room where he was, I asked him what he came over for, he said to see the man of the house, I said do you mean to give yourself up, he answered no, I told him I should take him by force, he replied he would take my life, or that of any other person, who would attempt it, he then charged
charged his musket on me, and declared he intended taking the life of same person. I attempted to secure him, he put his musket against my body and snaped it, it did not go off, but ^was[undecipherable] loaded and primed _ at the same time took hold of my coller; I called for the men I had left at the door with Lieut.t Schuyler, they entered, he seized Leiut.t Schuyler by the neck, and choked him so as to deprive him of speech; i then forced the musket of his hands and knocked him down, after which took him to the guard house and put him in Irons.

Questions by the Court
Q_ How do you know the musket was loaded.
A._ I examined it immediately on apprehending him, and found it charged.
Q._ Do you suppose from the period he entered the Garrison untill you apprehended him he had time to load his musket.
A.-- No.
Q.- What time during the day did you apprehend him.
A. . Between sun set and dark.
Q. _ Was there any person in the room, where the prisoner was, when you entered.
A. _ yesfour or five men who all left the room, when he threatened to take my life. _
Q. _ who did you give the musket to
A. _ Serg.t Houstter
Q._ Was it in your possession untill you gave it to ergt. Houstter.
A. Yes.

Sergt. Thomas Houstter was sworn.
Questions by the Court.
Q. _ What do you know relative to the musket the prisoner had.
A. _ I drew the load, which consisted of glazed powder and one Slug, waded with paper and grass.
Q._ How long after the apprehending of the prisioner did you draw the load.
A. _ Fifteen minutes.
Q._ Did you give the musket to any person after receiving it from Lieut.t Rand, untill you drew the load.
A._ No__
The court find the prisoner guilty of the changes exhibited against him, being a breach of the first article of the Section and of the article of the 2.d Section of the rules and articles of War - and sentence him to be shot to death _ two thirds of the Court concurring.
Signed John C. Wallace acting

J. Advocate