Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Their Last Time Together - US Army in the Mormon Expedition

Over one hundred West Point trained officers served in the Utah Expedition. (1) Nearly all of them fought in the Civil War. The training and experience they gained during the expedition was critical in developing young officers who received commissions following the Mexican War. Like the Mexican War, the Utah Expedition provided valuable operational experience to the newly minted second lieutenants.

Fifty-seven officers served in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 10th Infantry Regiments. Twenty-four were in cavalry or dragoon units 1st and 2nd Cavalry and 1st and 2nd Dragoons. Seventeen were officers in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Artillery.

Lt. Col. C. F. Smith
10th Infantry Regiment
"Smith and the other officers conducted theoretical and practical military instruction as regularly as permitted by bad weather, the absence of men assigned to guard and outpost duty, and the delegation of soldiers to carry fuel four or five miles." (2) 

I have been playing the schoolmaster for some time past in hearing the offs [officers] of the regt [regiment] recite in Infantry Tactics − to me a great bore. But our Colonel, altho' recognizing the subject, has not all the confidence in the world in his ability to play the part of an instructor, & thus the duty devolves upon me. (3)
At the start of the Civil War, the former comrades decided to continue in the Union Army or return to their native or adopted states and obtain commissions in the Confederate Army. Seventy percent of officers served in the Union Army and thirty percent joined the "rebellion." Almost forty percent of the men became general officers. (4)  However, seventy percent of the future Confederate officers became generals.

The following men were among the most well know commanders: Randolph Marcy, Daniel Ruggles, Richard Garnett, Charles F. Smith, J. H. Hill, E. R. S. Canby, Henry Heth, F. Gardner, J. E. B. Stuart, Henry Sibley, John Buford, Phillip St. George Cooke, John Pegram, John Sedgwick, John Reynolds, and Albert Sydney Johnston.

Albert S. Johnston
Edward R. S. Canby

Bernard E. Bee
Henry H. Silbley

Henry Heth
John Reynolds

John Buford
J. E. B. Stuart

John Sedgwick

John Pegram

(1) Statistics are from the George Cullum,Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. from its Establishment in 1802 to 1890 with the Early History of the United States Military Academy, Vols. I & II. (2) Allen H. Mesch, Your Affectionate Father, Charles F. Smith 130.
(3)Smith, C. F. Letter to Miss Fanny M. Smith, February 27, 1858, C. F. Smith Papers.
(4) This number excludes promotions received on March 13, 1865 as part omnibus bill.

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