Encyclopedia of War & American Society


Edited by: Peter Karsten

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    • Peter Karsten

      Peter Karsten is professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh with a joint appointment in the Sociology Department. He attended Yale on an NROTC scholarship and served three years on the USS Canberra. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1968. His first book, The Naval Aristocracy: The Golden Age of Annapolis and the Emergence of Modern American Navalism (Free Press, 1972), and his most recent book, Between Law and Custom (Cambridge University Press, 2003), won Phi Alpha Theta Best Book Awards. He also has written Soldiers and Society: The Effects of Military Service and War on American Life (1978); Law, Soldiers and Combat (1978); Military Threats (1984); Heart versus Head: Judge-Made Law in 19th Century America (1997); and served as editor of The Military in America from Colonial Times to the Present (1986), and of a five-volume set of essays, The Military and Society (1998). From 1985 to 1998, Karsten served as co-director (with Peter Stearns) of the Pittsburgh Center for Social History.

      Associate Editors

      Mark Grimsley, Associate Professor, Department of History at The Ohio State University. Mark is the author of The Hard Hand of War: Union Military Policy Toward Southern Civilians, 1861–1865 (Cambridge University Press, 1995) and And Keep Moving On: The Virginia Campaign, May–June (University of Nebraska Press, 2002).

      Jennifer D. Keene, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History at Chapman University. Jennifer is the author of The United States and the First World War (Longman, 2000), and Doughboys, the Great War and the Remaking of America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001).

      Wayne Lee, Assistant Professor and Vice Chair, Department of History at University of Louisville. Wayne is the author of Crowds and Soldiers in Revolutionary North Carolina: The Culture of Violence in Riot and War (University Press of Florida, 2001), and “Fortify, Fight, or Flee: Tuscarora and Cherokee Defensive Warfare and Military Culture Adaptation” (Journal of Military History, 2004).

      Mark Parillo, Director of the Institute for Military History and 20th Century Studies at Kansas State University. Mark is the author of The Japanese Merchant Marine in World War II (Naval Institute Press, 1993), and editor of “We Were in the Big One:” Experiences of the World War Two Generation (Scholarly Resources, 2002).


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      List of Entries

      List of Documents

      1609 Rev. William Symonds's Sermon Criticizing the Virginia Company's Violence against Natives

      1611 John Winthrop on the Evils of Gun Ownership

      1613 Defense by William Strachey of the Virginia Company's Violence against Natives

      1622 Virginia Co. Sec. Edward Waterhouse Defends Company's Conduct during 1622 War

      1637 Excerpt from Captain John Underhill's Account of a Raid on a Pequot Village

      1654 Letter of Roger Williams

      1712 John Barnwell's Expedition against the Tuscaroras of North Carolina

      1737 Massachusetts's Rev. William Williams on Just Wars

      1747 Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson's Observations on the Boston Press Gang Riot of 1747 in His History of the Colony

      1759 Petition from Army Wife Martha May for Freedom to Carry Water to Troops

      1760 Lt. Col. James Grant and Gen. Jeffrey Amherst Discuss How to Subdue the Cherokees

      1766 Comments from British Pamphlet on Colonies’ Refusal to Pay Taxes

      1768 a A Letter from Samuel Adams to the Boston Gazette

      1768 b Excerpts from Tryon's Journal of the Expedition into the Backcountry

      1772 Excerpt from “The Dangers of Standing Armies” by Joseph Warren

      1774 North Carolina Militia Act of 1774

      1775 Peter Oliver's Interview with POW William Scott

      1776 a Distribution of Enlisted Men and Officers over Wealthholding Thirds of Total Ratable State Population

      1776 b Gen. Washington's Letter to Continental Congress on Reenlistment Difficulties

      1776 c Account of Walter Bates, Connecticut Loyalist

      1777 a Petition of Samuel Townsend to New York State Convention

      1777 b Account Concerning Connecticut Men's Refusal to Serve in the Revolutionary War

      1777 c The Rifleman's Song at Bennington

      1785 Tory Veteran's Testimony Concerning Treatment by Patriots

      1797 Gov. Samuel Adam's Farewell Address

      1800 Excerpt from Mason Weems's A History of the Life and Death, Virtues & Exploits of General George Washington

      1814 Treaty of Ghent

      1824 Lyrics to a Popular Song Celebrating Jackson's Victory over the British

      1830 Sec. of War John Eaton on Inability to Fill Army Ranks

      1833 Revolutionary War Pension Application

      1835 A Crisis of Conscience and Ethan Allen Hitchcock

      1838 Lyrics to “Benny Havens, Oh!”

      1846 a Letter from Pres. James Polk to House of Representatives on Secrecy in Executive Branch Dealings

      1846 b Excerpts from The Biglow Papers

      1849 Lyrics to “I’m Off For Nicaragua”

      1850 Excerpt from A. A. Livermore's War with Mexico

      1861 a Officers Staying in the U.S. Army or Joining the Confederacy, by Region of Birth

      1861 b Mark Twain's Account of His Brief Confederate Career

      1861 c An Englishman's Memory of Enlisting in an Arkansas Regiment

      1861 d Examples of Confederate Soldiers’ Experiences on Battlefield

      1861 e Excerpt from Anglo-African Editorial

      1861 f Comments of African American Spy Allan Pinkerton

      1862 a Excerpt from Official Army Records on Impressment of Black Workers

      1862 b Exchange between Horace Greeley and Abraham Lincoln

      1863 a Enlistment Speech to African Americans

      1863 b Frederick Douglass's Comments on the Recruitment of His Sons

      1863 c Letter of Lewis Douglass to Future Wife

      1863 d Letter of Captain M. M. Miller to His Aunt

      1863 e Account of Col. Thomas J. Morgan Concerning His African American Brigade

      1863 f Account of Black Physician on Escape from Anti-Draft/Anti-Black Riots

      1863 g Letter from Grant to Lincoln on Recruitment of African Americans

      1863 h Excerpts from General Orders, No. 100

      1863 i Lyrics to “Just Before the Battle, Mother”

      1864 a Comments of Black Sailor George Reed

      1864 b Excerpt from Sherman's Memoirs on His March from Atlanta to the Sea

      1864 c Excerpts from the Writings of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

      1865 a New York Tribune's Comments on the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts

      1865 b Lyrics to “I’m A Good Old Rebel”

      1866 John Faller, Andersonville POW, on His Captivity

      1899 Two Songs Popular among Naval Officers Dating from the Philippine War

      1900 Black Soldier's Letter to a Wisconsin Editor on American Treatment of Filipinos

      1908 Leonard Wood on Preparedness and Civil Obligation of the Army

      1910 Excerpts from William James's Essay, “The Moral Equivalent of War”

      1915 a Excerpts from The Poet in the Desert by Charles Erskine Scott Wood

      1915 b Lyrics to “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier”

      1917 a Mother's Poem: “I Didn’t Raise My Boy” by Abbie Farwell Brown

      1917 b Lyrics to “Over There,” or “Johnnie Get Your Gun”

      1917 c John Simpson's Letter to Senator

      1917 d “Uncle Sam's Little War in the Arkansas Ozarks,” a Report of Draft Resistance in the Literary Digest

      1917 e Alpha IQ Tests Administered to Recruits

      1917 f Beta IQ Tests Administered to Recruits

      1918 a The Man's Poem and The Woman's Response

      1918 b Verse of the American Expeditionary Force, 1918–1919

      1918 c Selected Songs from the Compilations of John Jacob Niles

      1918 d President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points

      1919 a Florence Woolston Reflects on the Effect of World War I on Her Nephew Billy

      1919 b DuBois Writes of Returning Soldiers

      1919 c African American Reaction to D.C. Race Riots

      1919 d Facts and Questions Concerning the NREF

      1919 e Lyrics to “How ’ya Gonna Keep ’em Down on the Farm (After They’ve Seen Paree?)”

      1919 f Excerpts from the Diary of Sgt. Will Judy

      1929 Lyrics to “Marines’ Hymn”

      1930 Excerpt from Nineteen Nineteen by John Dos Passos

      1932 “The Bonuseers Ban Jim Crow” by Roy Wilkins

      1933 Excerpts from Company K by William March

      1938 A Massachusetts Veteran Reflects on Memorial Day Ceremonies

      1940 War Activity, November 1943, and Civilian Population Change, 1940 to November 1, 1943

      1941 Executive Order 8802: Prohibition of Discrimination in the Defense Industry

      1942 a Letters from Black Soldiers in World War II

      1942 b Black Serviceman Lester Simons's Account of Training Experience

      1942 c Marine's Letter to Father Concerning His Experience in Guadalcanal #1

      1942 d Marine's Letter to Father Concerning His Experience in Guadalcana #2

      1942 e Monica Itoi Sone's Account of Her Transfer to a Japanese Internment Camp

      1942 f Interviews with Japanese-Americans Regarding Mistreatment during World War II

      1943 Excerpt from Bill Mauldin's Up Front

      1944 a Excerpt from Ernie Pyle's Brave Men

      1944 b Excerpts from Pacific War Diary 1942–1945 by James J. Fahey

      1944 c Black Soldier's Encounter with Racism and its Psychological Effects

      1945 a Black Serviceman's Account of Confrontation with Battalion Commander

      1945 b Black Soldiers’ Recollections of Their Experiences in World War II

      1945 c Soldiers’ Poems on the Horrors of War

      1945 d John Ciardi's “A Box Comes Home”

      1945 e Excerpt from Bill Mauldin's Brass Ring

      1945 f Excerpts from Company Commander by Charles B. MacDonald

      1946 a Remarks of Navajo Veteran on Serving in the Military

      1946 b Excerpts from Hiroshima by John Hersey

      1947 Excerpts from Bill Mauldin's Back Home

      1948 a Psychiatric Case History of World War II Tailgunner

      1948 b Executive Order 9981: Desegregation of the Armed Forces

      1949 Attitude of Veterans and Nonveteran Fathers during World War II Toward Personality Characteristics of First-Born

      1950 a World War II Veteran's Account of Experience in Service

      1950 b Lyrics to the R.O.T.C. Song

      1950 c Random House's Bennett Cerf Praising Military after Attending JCOC

      1950 d Excerpt from Harry J. Maihafer's From the Hudson to the Yalu: West Point in the Korean War

      1951 Recall of Gen. Douglas MacArthur

      1953 Case History of World War II Psychiatric Casualty

      1957 Excerpt from Born on the Fourth of July by Ron Kovic

      1961 Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower's Farewell Address

      1964 Veteran Harold Bond's Reflections on Returning to Monte Cassino

      1965 a Seymour Melman on America's Aging Metal-Working Machinery

      1965 b Selective Service System's Channeling Manpower Memo

      1965 c Case Report on Psychiatric Illness of Submariner's Wife

      1965 d Letter Home from Serviceman on Combat Experience

      1965 e Excerpts from A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo

      1966 a Letters from Vietnam GIs on Killing Enemies in Combat

      1966 b Letter from Vietnam GI Objecting to Antiwar Protesters

      1966 c Air Force Officer Dale Noyd's Letter of Resignation

      1966 d Excerpts from Soldados: Chicanos in Viet Nam

      1967 a Postings to Tiger Force Website in Response to Toledo Blade Revelations

      1967 b Environmental Effects of War in Vietnam

      1968 a Accounts of Servicemen's Combat-Related Psychiatric Disorder

      1968 b Defense and NASA Spending in Various States

      1969 Survey of Veteran's Opinions on Effects of Service

      1970 a Open Letter of Chicana GI Widow

      1970 b Widow of Air Force Pilot's Account of Her Experience and Attitude Toward the War

      1970 c Excerpts from “Pentagon Papers” Supreme Court Briefs

      1971 a Letters to Editors of SGT Fury and His Howling Commandos

      1971 b Interview with U.S. Army Col. David H. Hackworth

      1971 c Drug Use in the Army

      1971 d Did Vietnam Turn GIs into Addicts?

      1972 Remarks of Black Veteran on His Return to Pennsylvania

      1973 War Powers Resolution

      1975 Lt. Keffer's Reflections on Attending a Reunion of Buchenwald Survivors

      1976 a Excerpts from Book Two (Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans) of the Church Committee Report

      1976 b Remarks of Deserter on Eve of His Surrender to Authorities

      1977 Remarks of Mother Concerning the Death of Her Son

      1988 Editorial on Loss of Military Service as a Rite of Passage by Gerald A. Patterson

      2000 “Principles of Ethical Conduct…The Ultimate Bait and Switch” by Peter L. Duffy

      2001 “The Harvest Matrix 2001”

      2004 a Yale Law School Faculty Suit against Department of Defense Regarding On-campus Recruitment

      2004 b Statement by Christian Leaders Condemning a “Theology of War”

      2004 c Interview with Yale Graduate Tyson Belanger who Served in the Iraq War

      Reader's Guide


      This encyclopedia includes substantial essays on the wars Americans have fought, their civilian and military leaders, and their major military institutions. It goes well beyond those subjects, however, in two significant ways. First, it probes the connections between our wartime expeditions and the experiences of the larger American society. This exploration is not limited to years of war; it also includes discussions of those aspects of society that bear the marks of wartime experience after the conflicts end. Second, in the third volume, the encyclopedia offers the user a host of documents (in a set of appendices that also includes a detailed chronology and extensive bibliography) linked to the entries that precede the appendixes. These documents include passages from letters, diaries, autobiographies, official documents, novels, poems, songs, and cartoons, as well as a number of tables of data, surveys, and public opinion polls. All are intended to extend the research capabilities of the user and serve as illustrations and evidence of the points made by the authors of the articles in the body of the encyclopedia.

      My four associate editors and I have written several of the entries that fall within our own fields of expertise. Many experts in other fields have responded to our call, contributing the balance of the articles. In this way, we believe that we have produced a comprehensive, highly credentialed multi-disciplinary historical work covering a wide range of general thematic categories, issues, and topics. They are, in alphabetical order:

      • Arts and Culture
      • Civil–Military Relations
      • Economy and Labor
      • Education (both military and civilian)
      • Environment and Health
      • Journalism and Media
      • Law and Justice
      • Planning, Command and Control
      • Race, Gender, and Ethnicity
      • Religion
      • Science and Technology
      • Veterans' Issues and Experiences
      • The Wars themselves and their civilian and military leaders

      Arts and Culture Civil–Military Relations Economy and Labor Education (both military and civilian) Environment and Health Journalism and Media Law and Justice Planning, Command and Control Race, Gender, and Ethnicity Religion Science and Technology Veterans’ Issues and Experiences The Wars themselves and their civilian and military leaders The articles in these areas range from the general to the specific. Some, for instance, are overviews—for example, those on the conflicts Americans engaged in from the colonial era to the present, and those relating war to the economy, religion, civil–military relations, film, music, art, literature, theater, the media, and the environment. The later articles are meant to be guideposts for researchers interested in the various subject areas addressed in the encyclopedia. Others, shorter and more focused—such as those on specific individuals, novels, celebrations, or films (like Ethan Allen Hitchcock, The Red Badge of Courage, Memorial Day, and The Deer Hunter)—serve to provide greater depth and detail on these themes and subjects.

      Some articles are more overtly related to American society in wartime, for instance, the entry on Victory Gardens, the public program established by the government to encourage individuals on the home front to plant vegetable gardens to supplement the nation's food supply. The articles more closely related to military history—such as those on the wars themselves or on specific phenomena within the services—include the Racial Integration of the Armed Forces, the role of Women in the Military, and the development of triage and emergency surgical care in MASH Units; these entries all address the social context and effects of the specific subject on the military and the American public. Thus, the article on the Cold War examines such topics as the public concern and hysteria over the superpowers’ nuclear buildup and the censorship crusades instituted during this time, as well as the economic, ideological, and cultural elements of Cold War “containment” strategy (including the Marshall Plan, Radio Free Europe, and the Fulbright Program), and specific events, reactions, and measures taken (e.g., the Korean War and Vietnam War). Subjects and events only touched upon in the Cold War entry—the Military–Industrial Complex and American Field Service, for example—are explored in other articles (indicated at the end of each article under Related Entries). Those links lead users to societal connections not covered in detail in the larger articles, providing a network of cross-referenced content that will illuminate the larger historical context for each topic.

      Wars affect societies in a number of ways. Direct effects can be traced as straightforward, tangible, or causal connections between military engagement and people, places, institutions, and societal attitudes. Interactive relationships occur when the social, political, and cultural contexts affect how a war is waged, which, in turn, may create subsequent changes in both the military and the society at large. Indirect (unintended or “second-effect”) consequences result from less straightforward connections, such as demographic changes resulting from wartime conscription or new trends in film or literature resulting from protest movements; these changes frequently occur some time after the war has ended. The analysis below explores these types of effects in more detail, offering examples from the encyclopedia's entries (titles of which are indicated in boldface at their first mention) to illustrate the range of connections between war and American society.

      Direct Effects

      One of the more obvious and direct ways wars affect society is the potential for the devastation of private property, public infrastructure, and lives inherent in the act of waging war. Territory rich in resources and inhabitants can be absorbed into an enemy's borders or into one's own. The human casualties are not limited to the death of a loved one in combat—American combatants have suffered from diseases contracted during their days in the service, with appalling death rates (at least until World War II). Moreover, Prisoners of War (POWs) can return home maimed with physical or psychological injuries (such as post-traumatic stress disorder and combat fatigue, discussed in the article on Psychiatric Disorders, Combat Related), or with both.

      Less pernicious alteration can occur, such as those in the mentalities of those who served during the Revolutionary War: those whose units operated for significant periods outside of their own states, be they from state militias or states’ regimental line units of the Continental Congress, underwent a rapid change in their outlook, quickly adopting a more cosmopolitan view of the world. They became more conscious of the value of a more powerful federal union than did locally deployed veterans. The more widely deployed veterans also were the prime movers in the creation of the highly federalist Society of the Cincinnati immediately after the war, and were also far more supportive of the adoption of the proposed federal Constitution in the late 1780s than the militia that stayed close to home.

      Two caveats should be noted about these types of direct effects. First, although many who served experienced changes in their physical or psychological well-being as a consequence of their service, other changes attributed solely to being in the military during wartime have more complex causes—partly rooted deep in the experiences of childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood. A number of studies demonstrate this: that some individuals undergoing changes during wartime military service do possess “predispositions,” which can lead to such mental or emotional transformations during wartime as increased sexual promiscuity during and after war, a propensity to desert or go absent-without-leave, to abuse drugs and alcohol, to be susceptible to neuro-psychiatric illness, and to commit crimes after leaving the service.

      A second caveat relates to temporary changes that are often represented as being more permanent than they really are. One of these effects relates to the rise in the percentage of women in the work force during wartime. The “Rosie the Riveter” phenomenon during World War II was real enough, but it was not the primary cause of the continuing rise in the percentage of American women entering the work force after the war. That trend had been under way for more than half a century before the war, and the unprecedented increase of women working outside the home—caused by the drafting of millions of men for the war—reversed itself almost completely once the war ended and men returned to their homes and jobs. Furthermore, social psychologists and sociologists (as well as GI cartoonist Bill Mauldin) noted declines among GIs in their levels of “authoritarianism” (respect for authority) during World War II. Many did not care for the “hurry-up-and-wait” practices of the services or for the orders and treatment they got from many of the “90-day wonders” who served as their superior officers. Similarly, race relations after the racial integration of the armed services clearly were better in the foxholes than they had been in civilian life or the barracks. But these and several other combat-zone changes in attitude declined, according to social scientists, once the men were no longer in the combat zone or had been discharged into civilian life.

      Interactive Relationships

      The relationship between war and American society is also, at times, interactive; that is, the very way that we wage war has been affected by American society (differing, of course, in characteristics from one wartime experience to the next). This is clearly the case in the raising of America's military forces when hostilities were imminent. The general entry on Conscription and Volunteerism and the more focused entries on the Colonial Militia Systems, the Preparedness Movement, Draft Evasion and Resistance, the Selective Service System, and the Doctor Draft during the Korean War, and the modern All Volunteer Force together reveal the different perspectives and tensions between and among various groups: between those individuals supportive of conscription (who have claimed that those enjoying the benefits of life in the United States owe a civic obligation of military service in times of crisis); those who have preferred to join only with men of their own sort and community (the volunteer tradition); and those who have resisted calls for voluntary action as well as for compulsory measures (as in United States v. SeegerandWelsh v. United States). In some wars such resistance has blossomed into massive individual and collective action. Thus on March 31, 1917, John Simpson, head of the Farmer's Union of Oklahoma, wrote to his senator of the anger that “nine out of ten farmers” felt toward the federal government's recent draft legislation; soon the “Green Corn Rebellion” of tenant farmers in that state bore out his claim. Others in 1917, and again during the Vietnam War, urged young draftees to refuse to report for service, and tens of thousands responded to these calls (evidence summarized in the Antiwar Movements and Pacifism entries). Still others have pressed for “national service,” asking of young men (and conceivably women) that they fulfill their civic obligations either in the military or in some comparable nonmilitary public service organization like the Peace Corps, Vista, or Americorps. It may sound like a truism, but if so, it is an “interactive” one: The ability of the U.S. government to raise armies in times of war has always depended in a large measure on the extent to which American society supports the war.

      The government has responded generally to such indifference or opposition with efforts to inspire the populace with Propaganda Posters or films, and to instill enthusiasm for the war effort (using public speakers to urge Americans, as the government did during the Cold War, to respond to the calls of the preachers of Militant Liberty). The critics have responded with Political Cartoons disparaging measures taken (or not taken) by the administration in power. Indeed, active government suppression of dissent in World War I was the primary inspiration for the creation of the American Civil Liberties Union.

      When large numbers of men have been successfully compelled to serve, other obvious interactions with society result. For instance, when the 1940 federal draft law was enacted, tens of thousands of couples moved to secure marriage licenses at a faster rate than ever before, clearly inspired by the law's exemption of married men. And when Congress changed this within the year to read “married men with children,” the birth rate rose sharply nine months later. The families of those who were drafted had to adjust to new circumstances. This led many women to enter the work force during World War II (a larger-scale case of what had transpired in World War I and the Civil War as well).

      The Military Bases that these personnel were sent to within the United States, as well as their surrounding communities, ballooned in size, with both social and economic consequences. Those on the home front had to cope with shortages of food and other essentials, with hoarding, inflated prices, and, eventually, with the Rationing of essentials. Those returning from their military duties after the wars sometimes brought War Brides who may not have been greeted with enthusiasm by their spouses’ families and hometowns. Those returning to families they had left at the outset of the war sometimes faced a host of problems in their marriages, in readjusting to civilian life, and in making a living. Some marriages ended in divorce. Other reunited couples responded to the good fortune of the veteran's survival and rekindled their love by conceiving a child, which often produced distinct rises in the birth rate—after the Civil War, for instance, and especially following World War II, with the much discussed Baby Boom.

      Another example of the interaction of wars and American society relates to the location and the character of the war. Those wars fought in our own backyard (the Colonial Wars, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Indian Wars, Mexican War, Campaign against the Mormons [found under Mormons, Campaign against the], and, most notably, the Civil War and the decade of Reconstruction thereafter) were certainly interactive. They affected noncombatants on the home front in social, physical, and environmental ways that were more immediate than the effects of foreign campaigns, and they influenced the social landscape in clear and specific ways. These wars produced internment camps for suspected enemy nationals. And, as the existence of these camps demonstrates, the dividing line between “the enemy” and “us” sometimes can be relative or nonexistent. Native Americans, British Americans, Hispanic Americans, Japanese Americans, Italian Americans, and German Americans have, at various times, been regarded as both enemies and Americans. The Japanese American (and the lesser-known Italian and German American) internment camps of World War II are the most familiar to the modern reader, but many suspected Loyalists were interned during the Revolutionary War. Moreover, POWs taken during these backyard wars were often held under deplorable conditions, notably during the colonial wars, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Indian Wars, and the Civil War.

      Indirect, “Unanticipated,” or “Second-Effect” Consequences Wars have had less obvious but no less significant “second-effect” consequences for American society in a host of ways, some of which are not evident until the aftermath of a given war. We have already noted the Baby Boom and greater divorce rates after World War II, but the encyclopedia offers numerous other examples of these second-effect consequences.

      Cultural Effects. A host of cultural changes have flowed indirectly from our wartime experiences. For instance, an increased attention to martial tonsorial fashion after major wars sometimes occurs in the general public, such as the interest in sporting “sideburns” after the Civil War, and crew cuts after World War II. The same connection might be drawn about attire (khakis and dungarees, now known as jeans). A clear increase in the popularity of Pinups developed after World War II, culminating in the magazine Playboy and its imitators. During each amassing of young men for war, as in the Civil War and the two world wars, the military encouraged such sports as baseball, boxing, and football. This appears to have helped boost interest after these wars in organized sports (see Sport and War), as well as Wargaming and Military Reenactments (under Reenactments, Military). With each war, the interest and demand for toy guns and uniformed toy soldiers have developed. The same may be said of “GI Joe” action figures and Captain Marvel Comic Books, as well as comic strips like The Sad Sack, Beetle Bailey, Steve Canyon, and Doonesbury.

      Both during and after wartime, considerable attention has been given to war-related themes in music (see Music and War), theater (see Theater and War and Musical Theater and War), and literature, including poetry (see Literature and War). In general, all of these artistic fields evolved from a patriotic and celebratory form in the nation's first 125 years to works that had a more skeptical, indeed, cynical tone by World War I and thereafter. The manner in which war has been reported to the public has also changed, from the earliest representations in popularly displayed paintings, prints, and lithographs (see Visual Arts and War) until being mostly replaced by Radio (in World War II), News Reels, and Photography, which in turn yielded, at least in part, to film (see Film and War) and Television (see Television and War). The media (see Media and War) that provide American society with its information about warfare now include the older ABC, CBS, and NBC broadcast companies, and the newer round-the-clock coverage produced by firms such as CNN, as well as Internet sites and blogs. Our wars later reappear on television as dramatic or comic series such as Combat!, M*A*S*H, China Beach, and historical documentaries, such as Ken Burns's “The Civil War” and the products of The History Channel.

      Even our everyday language (Language and War) has been affected. We have been borrowing from and incorporating military terms and jargon into our lexicon, including such words and phrases as blitzing, outflank, snafu, and under siege. The same may be said for the use of war-related rhetoric by public speakers. A well-known example of this is when Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt used military metaphors to evoke steadfast determination against the difficulties of the Depression in his first inaugural address in March 1933: “We must move as a trained and loyal army … with a unit of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife … I assume … the leadership of this great army of our people … to wage a war against the emergency…. ” Indeed, Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps, administered by the Army, had some of these qualities.

      Veterans Affairs and Experiences. Indirect effects of war can be seen in many veterans’ organizations themselves, among them the Society of the Cincinnati, Aztec Club, Grand Army of the Republic, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Military Order of the World War (I), American Veterans Committee, AMVETS, the Disabled American Veterans, Jewish War Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, Vietnam Veterans against the War, and American GI Forum. Most of these organizations have engaged in lobbying efforts to secure veterans’ benefit programs, including the Veterans Administration and the GI Bills, the construction of Memorials and Monuments to honor the fallen—among them Arlington National Cemetery, the World War II and Korean War memorials, and the Vietnam War Memorial—and the formal ceremonies of Memorial Day and Armistice Day.

      This process of remembering, like many other war-related trends, was contested. Thus, Malcolm Cowley, a “Lost Generation” veteran of World War I, proposed in 1933 that it was “time to inscribe at the entrance to every veterans’ graveyard and over the tombs of the unknown soldiers, ‘They died bravely, they died in vain.’” Otherwise, celebration of “the useless deaths of the last war” would mislead other “generous and loyal men” to relive “the happy illusions” of the past. He was answered 12 years later by Dixon Wecter, who wrote of those veterans beginning to return from the combat zones of World War II: “When the war is over, he does not want to be called a fool…. Whatever the cost to him personally in this war … he wants to know that it has all been to some purpose.” Related to this subject is the suggestion that politics frequently favors veterans, a proposition explored in the entry on Veteran Status and Electability.

      Trends in the physical and socioeconomic mobility of veteran (and nonveteran “home front”) populations can also be traced to wartime experiences. A popular song during World War I began with the line “How ’ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree,” and that held for both world wars. More than a quarter of all veterans of these wars moved out of their home counties for work or educational opportunities upon returning to the United States. Older inhabitants who had not secured their first jobs during the wars tended to remain; however, younger men and women who had not served in the armed services also moved to different counties (often where the job opportunities they had discovered during the war existed) in very nearly the same percentages as their veteran peers. The presence (or absence) in a community of significant war-related contracts for local businesses significantly affected the mobility of community's residents. During World War II, for example, the correlation between defense contracting and population decline was striking in the South. The state with the highest per capita contract dollars granted in that region was Virginia, which experienced a 4.8 percent increase in population between early 1940, when such contracts became abundant nationwide, and late 1943. The lowest four states in terms of per capita contract dollar rates in those years—less than half those of Virginia—were North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Arkansas, which all lost an average of 8 percent of their population

      One study found that by 1971, and even 10 years after the Korean War, the earning ability of white veterans of the two world wars and the Korean War had slipped slightly behind their nonveteran peers who had the same levels of education and entered the same sectors of the workforce. This was not the case with returning African American veterans, who had slightly higher earnings than their nonveteran peers. A greater increase in earning ability can be seen among Mexican American veterans, whose advancement was considerably greater than their nonvet peers. The cause of this greater upward mobility, compared with their nonveteran peers, seems to have been the training received in service in both English-language skills—lacking in many Mexican-American vets before their service—and the regimentation of military life, which transferred to the civilian world of trade, business, and the professions (see Latinos in the Military and African Americans in the Military).

      Military Institutions and Affairs. The changes in the structure of military institutions are among the less obvious long-term results of our military engagements. The various service academies and important military postgraduate schools, such as the Army Industrial College, were created in response to the experience of the military during various wars. Likewise, two administrative oversight boards—the War Labor Board and War Industries Board—were created during World War I and World War II to address problems that had been identified in prior conflicts.

      Certain changes in the character or structure of civil–military relations also resulted from indirect effects of our wartime experience. These types of long-term effects can be seen in the steady rise (and ultimate control) of Frontline Reporting, for instance, and the creation of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), charged with granting contracts to Think Tanks and to scientists to help conceptualize and design the war-fighting systems of the next generation. One offshoot of the research at DARPA, it is worth noting, is the development of key innovations that led to the Internet. Other long-term changes in civil–military relations that also can be traced to such indirect effects are the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which helped to limit how federal forces could be used in domestic disturbances; the Civil Defense program, which addressed the increased interest—elevated during the Cold War—in protecting the civilian population; the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which sought to limit the power of the president to commit troops to conflicts and undeclared wars; the 1986 Goldwater–Nichols Act, aimed at improving communications and accountability within the armed services and between the services and civilian leaders; and the more recent establishment of the Homeland Security Department, intended to implement and strengthen security within domestic borders in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

      Relationship between the Military and Industry. What Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the “Military–Industrial Complex” in his farewell address in 1961 is another example of the more distant but real connections between war (both hot and cold) and societal effects. The close connections between the military services and American industry had roots in the naval buildup of the late 19th century. However, an even more intriguing relationship emerged in World War I—one that became more complex during and after WWII—between the military–industrial nexus and both scientists and academics (including economists, statisticians, psychologists, social psychologists, sociologists, physicists, chemists, engineers, artificial-intelligence philosophers, and computer scientists). Since World War II, the military has been thrust by its civilian masters into a relationship (one characterized at first by doubt and distrust) with civilian-dominated think tanks and the Systems Analysis methodology practiced by civilian experts, many of them academics, employed both by the Department of Defense and by defense-related think tanks. These trends, and other innovations, some of which already have been noted above (such as the creation of the Army Industrial College, the various war colleges, the National War College, and DARPA), had much to do with the ongoing phenomenon known as Technology and Revolutionary Changes in Military Affairs. Finally, by the turn of the 21st century, the Defense Department had accelerated the growth of a relatively new and highly controversial approach to supplying and supporting the armed services—that of employing entirely Private Military Contractors to perform a number of tasks (including some combat-related ones) that in the past had been assigned to uniformed military personnel.

      Economic and Technological Effects. The economic effects of the relationship between war and society have been wide-ranging. They include certain economic costs and losses, such as Labor Strikes in wartime; changes in rates of employment and production; trade-offs in the use of public funds for weapons and manpower expenses, rather than schools, roads, or private sector reinvestments; and the environmental effects of nuclear testing and nuclear waste storage. The “spill-over” or “spin-off” effects of technological innovations arising from wartime efforts can be seen in many areas of the economy and industry; some of these changes have had lasting and varied effects on our daily lives. They include the Navy's funding of steel vessels in the 19th century; the development and manufacture of jeeps, synthetic rubber, and radar, which were World War II innovations; jet aircraft and MASH emergency triage measures, developed largely during the Korean War; nuclear energy, space satellites, and the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, which were Cold War by-products; and the vehicle developed for the military as the “Humvee,” which became popular during the Persian Gulf War. This high-riding descendant of the jeep was then adopted by entrepreneurs for civilians eager to experience its feel (who were also willing to pay the price of its fuel).

      PeterKarsten, University of Pittsburgh, 2005
    • Chronology


      Soon after English settlers from the Virginia Company establish an outpost at Jamestown Colony, members of the Powhatan Confederacy kill two colonists and capture John Smith. After his release, Smith enforces stricter military discipline among the colonists and intensifies repression of local indigenous peoples.


      Chief Opechancanough's Confederation of Tidewater Indians attacks the Virginia Company's settlements in the spring of 1622, killing a quarter of the population. The company secures military aid from England and the Potomack, and fights Openchancanough's forces for nearly 11 years before the two sides agree to terms of peace.


      The Pequot War, the first serious armed conflict in New England between colonists and indigenous peoples, is fought in modern-day eastern Connecticut.


      Chief Opechancanough, in his 90s, leads another attack on the Virginia colonists, killing nearly 500 on the first morning. The colonists, however, now have better palisades and arms, and vastly outnumber their attackers—who are this time completely defeated.


      King Philip's (or Metacomet's) War, a general uprising of indigenous peoples to resist continued expansion of the English colonies in New England, leaves more than 5,000 Native Americans and some 1,500 English dead. The war ends shortly after Metacomet (his Christian name was Philip) is killed by a band of turncoat Sakonnet warriors.


      William Penn establishes the colony of Pennsylvania as a “Holy Experiment” in Quaker pacifism, following the declaration by Quaker leader George Fox 20 years earlier “against all plotters and fighters in the world.”


      King William's War is fought. It is the first in a series of colonial conflicts between France and England for supremacy in North America.


      Queen Anne's War is fought in Europe and North America over the succession to the Spanish throne. In North America, fighting occurs between British and French forces in the north and between British and Spanish in the south.


      A confederation of Yamasee and other Muskhogean-speaking peoples in the colony of South Carolina attack colonists. South Carolinians secure the aid of North Carolinians and the Cherokee; the Yamasee are defeated and driven back into their primary area of settlement, present-day Georgia.


      King George's War involves military operations in North America that stem from the War of the Austrian Succession in Europe. Following King William's War and Queen Anne's War, this becomes the third major conflict between the British and French that extends to American soil, culminating in the French and Indian War.


      In efforts to augment the ranks of their crews during King George's War, officers and men from British vessels land in Boston harbor and “press” men into service under the terms of parliamentary legislation. Bostonians react furiously, trapping several officers attending a dinner at the governor's house. Within a few days the British naval commander agrees to release most of those pressed in exchange for the release of his officers, and the Boston Press Gang Riot ends.

      1754 (May 9)

      The first American political cartoon, drawn by Benjamin Franklin, is published in the Pennsylvania Gazette. It depicts a snake divided into eight segments, each labeled as a colony or region of British North America, above the motto Join Or Die.


      The French and Indian War, the American name for the conflict in North America between Great Britain and France (in Europe known as the Seven Years’ War), takes place. The war establishes British dominance of North America.


      The Royal Proclamation of 1763 prohibits settlement west of the ridge of the Appalachian Mountains, thereby inflaming backcountry settlers and colonial land speculators, who see Native American land as crucial to their economic futures.

      1765 (March 22)

      The Stamp Act, requiring all American colonists to pay a tax on every piece of printed paper they use, is passed by the British Parliament. The money thus collected is intended to help pay the costs of defending and protecting the American frontier near the Appalachian Mountains. The act, opposed by many colonists, is seen as an attempt by England to raise money from the colonies without involvement or approval of colonial legislatures.

      1770 (March 5)

      Tensions between British Redcoats and colonists lead to British troops firing on a crowd of civilians, killing five people in what becomes known as the Boston Massacre. The event has been seen by some historians as a watershed in the progress toward independence.


      The Revolutionary War is fought. The first shot at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, occurs on April 19, 1775; the Treaty of Paris recognizing American independence is signed on September 3, 1783.

      1775 (June 14)

      The 2nd Continental Congress adopts the New England militias then besieging the British Army in Boston as intercolonial, or “continental,” forces.

      1775 (July 29)

      The Continental Congress authorizes ministers to serve with the rebel forces, establishing the American tradition of a military chaplaincy.

      1775 (November 29)

      The first intelligence-gathering unit in the United States, the Committee of Secret Correspondence, is established by the Continental Congress. The committee's members acquire foreign publications, hire spies, and fund propaganda activities to discover and influence the attitudes of foreign powers about the American cause.

      1776 (July 4)

      A Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America, demanding independence from Great Britain, is adopted by Congress in Philadelphia. The Declaration of Independence begins with the words “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another …” and establishes a clear rationale for American independence. The document would make its first newspaper appearance in the Pennsylvania Evening Post on July 6 and have its first public reading on July 8, in Philadelphia.


      William Billings, a tanner from Boston, composes the choral work “Chester,” which combines patriotic and religious fervor. The first completely American patriotic song, it quickly becomes one of the most popular songs of the day.


      Benjamin Franklin and Frederick the Great of Prussia conclude a treaty of friendship and commerce that also codifies principles for the conduct of war. The treaty is credited with being one of the first international agreements to contain principles of the law of war in written form.


      With the United States still operating under the Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress passes the Northwest Ordinance. One component of this law provides the framework for the distribution and use of the lands that would eventually make up the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. It also codifies the principle that the lands west of the Appalachians legally belong to Native Americans.

      1789 (April 30)

      George Washington takes office as the first president of the United States, serving two four-year terms.


      After serving in the Continental Army during the Revolution, black men are prohibited from further service in the militia by the Militia Act of 1792, inaugurating a pattern that would endure for many decades of allowing blacks to serve in the military during wartime and refusing them any military association in peacetime.


      Producing muskets for the U.S. government, Eli Whitney introduces the concept of interchangeable parts. The system is adopted by the federal arsenals, allowing faster, cheaper production and easier maintenance. Some historians have observed that this cheaper manufacturing process allowed for the rapid spread of guns throughout civilian society in the middle of the 19th century.


      The federalist government of Pres. John Adams wages an undeclared naval war in the Atlantic against France (the Quasi-War) and passes the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798) to suppress media criticism.


      The United States Military Academy is established at West Point, New York.


      The United States acquires approximately 800,000 square miles of territory (mostly west of the Mississippi River) for $15 million when Pres. Thomas Jefferson and others negotiate the Louisiana Purchase from France.


      The War of 1812 is fought. After the Revolutionary War leaves relations between the United States and Great Britain strained, hostilities resume over a variety of issues, including the failure of the British to withdraw from American territory around the Great Lakes and British support of Native Americans on the frontiers.

      1814 (September 13)

      During a British attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland, Francis Scott Key writes the poem “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” which seven days later would become “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It receives its first public performance in Baltimore the following month. It would not become the national anthem until 1931.

      1815 (January 8)

      Andrew Jackson defeats the British at the battle of New Orleans.


      Affluent merchant David Low Dodge founds the New York Peace Society. Twenty-two Protestant clerics, college presidents, and writers follow Dodge's example, founding the Massachusetts Peace Society later that year.


      The Seminole Wars, the longest, deadliest, and most expensive conflicts with indigenous peoples fought in the United States, are conducted in three phases (1817–18; 1835–42; 1855–58) in Florida between the United States and the Seminole.


      Norwich Military Academy is founded in Vermont by Capt. Alden Partridge, the first superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

      1828 (May)

      The American Peace Society is established in New York City.


      Congress passes the Indian Removal Act, which calls for the removal of all Native American peoples residing east of the Mississippi to new lands in the West.


      Abolitionist and peace activist William Lloyd Garrison exhorts New Englanders to engage in disruptive acts of civil disobedience to deprive slave-owning Southerners of federal financial, legal, and military support. Garrison, who formed the New England Anti-Slavery Society (1832) and the New England Non-Resistance Society (1838), opposed all state-sponsored violence.


      The Virginia Military Institute, the first state-supported military college in the United States, is established at Lexington.


      The government of South Carolina establishes two state military academies, The Arsenal at Columbia and The Citadel at Charleston. In 1845 The Arsenal is closed and its students and faculty merge with those at The Citadel.


      The United States Naval Academy is established at Annapolis, Maryland.

      1846 (May 13)

      After Mexican and American forces fight a skirmish north of the Rio Grande in which 11 U.S. dragoons are killed, Pres. James Polk asks for and receives a declaration of war from Congress. The Mexican–American War would continue until February 1848.


      Antislavery writer James Russell Lowell writes pseudonymous letters from “Ezekeil Biglow, farmer,” and “Birdofredum Sawin” to the Boston Courier. He is critical of the war with Mexico and especially of military recruitment methods.


      Henry David Thoreau publishes “Civil Disobedience,” encouraging citizens not to pay taxes that might be used to finance the Mexican–American War.

      1848 (February)

      The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is ratified, forcing Mexico to abandon title to territory in Texas north of the Rio Grande and to cede New Mexico and California to the United States.


      William Walker, the most notorious of a number of “filibusters” seeking to carve new slave states in Central America and the Caribbean, leads a body of men in his first of three failed attempts to accomplish this end, in Sonora, Mexico. After establishing a substantial foothold in Nicaragua in 1855, he is driven out in 1857. His third attempt in 1860 in Honduras results in his execution there.

      1859 (October 16)

      John Brown leads a handful of men in a raid on the Harpers Ferry federal arsenal—a move Brown hoped would ignite a slave rebellion.

      1860 (December 20)

      South Carolina is the first state to secede from the Union following the election the previous month of Abraham Lincoln as president of the United States. From January to June 1861, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee also secede, in that order.

      1861 (February 18)

      Jefferson Davis, having resigned his U.S. Senate seat the previous month upon Mississippi's announcement of its secession, is inaugurated as provisional president of the newly formed Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabama.

      1861 (June 13)

      Pres. Abraham Lincoln authorizes the U.S. War Department to create the U.S. Sanitary Commission. The agency was conceived by two doctors, Elizabeth Blackwell, and her sister, Emily Blackwell, to function as a national, civilian-led government relief organization. The commission contributed food, clothing, medical supplies, and other aid to the Union Army during the Civil War.

      1861 (July)

      The first battle of the Civil War, the battle of Bull Run, is fought at Manassas, Virginia.

      1861 (November)

      Representatives from a number of counties in western Virginia meet at Wheeling to begin drafting a constitution for a breakaway state. In May 1863, voters approve the constitution and the newly elected legislature petitions Congress to become the 35th state, West Virginia.


      Photographer Mathew Brady publishes two books of his Civil War photos, Brady's Photographic Views of the War and Incidents of the War.

      1862 (February 25)

      Congress passes the first Legal Tender Act, which authorizes printing of $150 million in Treasury notes. Known as “Greenbacks,” these notes would remain in use in Union states throughout the Civil War and for several years thereafter.

      1862 (September 22)

      President Lincoln issues the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring that unless the rebellious states return to the Union by January 1, 1863, the slaves living therein would be “thenceforward and forever free.” The rebels do not comply, and Lincoln issues the final Emancipation Proclamation on New Year's Day of 1863.

      1863 (January 26)

      President Lincoln orders the War Department to allow black troops to be raised for the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer (Colored) Infantry. Black recruits from 24 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, the West Indies, and even Africa flock to the 54th's colors. Robert Gould Shaw is appointed the regiment's commander.

      1863 (April 24)

      General Orders, No. 100, entitled Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field, is published. Written primarily by Francis Lieber, a German American professor of law at Columbia College, the document is regarded by many historians as the world's first official set of ethical guidelines about military conduct in the field.

      1863 (July 1–3)

      The battle of Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania, is one of the bloodiest of the Civil War. Pres. Abraham Lincoln's brief (266 words) Gettysburg Address honoring the dead of that battle on November 19, 1863, stands among the great presidential addresses in American history.

      1863 (July)

      In New York, antidraft riots break out on July 13 and last for five days. Mobs of predominantly Irish immigrants attack government officials, wealthy white New Yorkers, and African Americans. They lynch 11 black men, injure dozens more, and destroy hundreds of buildings, including an orphanage for African Americans. The riots would rank among the most dramatic breakdowns of domestic order in the 19th century.

      1863 (August 21)

      William Clark Quantrill, a pro-Confederate Missourian, leads a force of 450 men to attack the militantly antislavery town of Lawrence, Kansas. “Quantrill's Raiders” spend three hours looting and burning the town, killing 180 of its residents.

      1863 (December)

      President Lincoln issues a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, offering terms under which most white Southerners, excluding Confederate officials and military officers, could obtain amnesty simply by taking an oath of allegiance to the Union and by accepting emancipation. It includes a plan whereby a state in rebellion could return to the Union whenever a number of voters equivalent to at least 10 percent of those who had cast ballots in 1860 took the oath. They could then create a loyal state government.


      Several European countries draft the Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded in Armies in the Field. This convention, which grew out of the efforts of Swiss businessman J. Henri Dunant, is followed by others developed over the next century in Geneva, Switzerland, and The Hague, The Netherlands. All of these documents promulgate overall guidelines for the conduct of war.

      1864 (February)

      Confederate prison Camp Sumter (known by its more notorious name Andersonville) opens in Georgia.

      1864 (April 12)

      The Fort Pillow Massacre takes place. In a move to recapture the fort they had built in 1861, Confederate forces under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest attack Fort Pillow, near Memphis, killing more than 200 Union troops, many of them African Americans.

      1864 (September 3)

      Union forces under Gen. William T. Sherman enter Atlanta.

      1864 (November 29)

      Colorado militia colonel John Chivington leads 700 men into the Southern Cheyenne village of Black Kettle at Sand Creek in southeastern Colorado, despite having been told by U.S. Army officers at Fort Lyon that Black Kettle had surrendered. Chivington's troops kills more than 150 Native Americans. The massacre prompts a congressional investigation.

      1865 (April 9)

      Confederate general Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant and his Union forces at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

      1865 (April 14)

      Pres. Abraham Lincoln is assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., by John Wilkes Booth.

      1866 (April 6)

      The Grand Army of the Republic, the largest and most powerful organization of Union Army and Navy veterans, is founded in Decatur, Illinois, by former Army surgeon Benjamin Franklin Stephenson.


      Beginning as a loose affiliation of paramilitary organizations operating widely in the South during Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan forms and announces itself at an 1867 convention in Nashville, Tennessee, as the “Invisible Empire of the South.” It is led by former Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest.

      1868 (May 30)

      Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) national commander John Logan enjoins all GAR posts to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers of the Civil War, thereby establishing what would become known as Memorial Day (initially known as Decoration Day).


      Congress passes the Force Act (1870) and the Ku Klux Klan Act (1871), directing the Army to suppress the Klan's depredations against blacks and white Republicans. Those measures prove to be effective in South Carolina, but less so elsewhere.


      The United States Naval Institute is established.


      Col. George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry leads a geological expedition into the Oglala Sioux's Black Hills to determine whether gold deposits are to be found there. The report of the presence of gold leads to a flood of prospectors and the abrogation in 1876 of the treaty with the Sioux.


      The United States Coast Guard Academy is established.

      1876 (June 25)

      Gen. George Armstrong Custer's 7th Cavalry is defeated by Lakota Sioux and Cheyenne warriors led by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull at the battle of Little Bighorn. Custer's defeat prompts the Army to redouble its campaign against the Sioux and hastens the end of indigenous people's resistance to being placed on Indian reservations.


      The U.S. Military Academy at West Point graduates its first African American, Henry Flipper.


      Labor calls strikes against railroads throughout the United States and local militia units prove unable or unwilling to protect railway property. Units of the federal armed services are ordered to perform these duties.


      The Posse Comitatus Act, restricting the circumstances under which U.S. military forces can be used to address domestic disturbances, is passed in response to Southerners’ anger at the use of federal troops during Reconstruction. The act would evolve into an important foundation of in the evolution of American civil–military relations.


      National Guard officers meet in St. Louis, Missouri, to organize the National Guard Association.


      A Century of Dishonor, by Helen Hunt Jackson, is published, exposing the tragedies caused by the government's policies toward Native Americans. It leads to the creation of several Indian rights groups, including the Indian Rights Association (1882) and the National Indian Defense Association (1885).


      Clara Barton founds the American Red Cross.


      The Naval War College is established to serve as an advanced professional school to prepare middle- and senior-grade officers for higher command, contributing to and acknowledging the growing professionalism of the naval officer corps.

      1890 (December)

      A band of poorly armed Sioux Ghost Dancers at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, is massacred in the last major engagement of the Indian Wars. For the Army this event marks the end of the military phase of the settlement of the West. For many Native Americans, however, the Wounded Knee Massacre becomes emblematic of the ruthlessness of the frontier Army and the injustices of U.S. Indian policy.


      The Red Badge of Courage, a Civil War novel by Stephen Crane, is published.

      1898 (February 19)

      The USS Maine explodes in Havana Harbor, Cuba, amid suspicions (later shown to be unfounded) that it was sabotaged by Spanish troops. The event fuels support for a war with Spain. The Spanish–American War begins in April 1898.

      1898 (July 1)

      Establishing a symbol of the glories of imperial adventure in Cuba, Teddy Roosevelt leads the Rough Riders and units of the black 9th and 10th U.S. Army Cavalry Regiments in charges up the San Juan Heights outside Santiago de Cuba.

      1898 (December 10)

      The Treaty of Paris transfers colonial control of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines from Spain to the United States.


      The Philippine War is waged, during which the United States attempts to quell Filipino insurrections in America's newly acquired colonial territory.


      The Boxer Rebellion takes place in the early months of 1900. Boxers attack foreign missionaries in the Chinese countryside and then in the diplomatic quarter in Peking (Beijing).


      With the Army Reorganization Act of 1901, a permanent female nursing corps is created.


      The first of several major U.S. interventions in Central America is instigated after Pres. Theodore Roosevelt obtains permission to build an interoceanic canal in Panama. In January, the United States negotiates with Colombia to build a canal across the Panamanian isthmus, at the time a province of Colombia. The Colombian legislature rejects the treaty even as Panama is attempting to secede and establish itself as a sovereign nation. Roosevelt then recognizes Panama as a nation and sends naval warships and members of the Marine Corps to prevent Colombia from quashing the rebellion. After successfully seceding in November 1903, Panama brokers a deal with the United States to permit the construction of the canal.


      The Militia Act of 1903 recognizes newly emergent National Guard units as the “Organized Militia” of the United States, but requires that units engage in summer training maneuvers with regular Army units, to be subject to some regular Army standards, and to submit to inspections by regular Army officers.

      1906 (August 13–14)

      Black infantrymen from the 25th Infantry Regiment in Brownsville, Texas, are accused of firing on white towns-people (“the Brownsville Riot”).


      Ambrose Bierce publishes his Devil's Dictionary, in which he defines war as “a byproduct of the arts of peace” and peace as “a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.”


      Jewish War Veterans, one of the oldest veteran's organization in the United States, forms.


      Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is established.


      Panama Canal is completed under U.S. direction and remains in U.S. control until 1999.

      1914 (August)

      World War I begins in Europe.

      1914 (October)

      The American Field Service is created to provide American volunteer ambulance drivers for the war in France.


      Chicago social worker Jane Addams founds the Women's Peace Party (later the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom) to abolish the causes of war, to work for peace, and to create political systems that would bring equality for all.

      1915 (April 22)

      The German Army releases chlorine gas against British and French forces near the town of Ypres in Belgium. It it the first use of chemical weapons in warfare.

      1915 (May 7)

      The British ship Lusitania, with many Americans on board, is sunk by a German submarine.

      1915 (Summer)

      East Coast munitions workers centered in Bridgeport, Connecticut, lead a short and successful strike, bringing the eight-hour workday to the munitions industry.

      1915 (August 9)

      Amid protests about America's lack of military preparedness in the wake of the sinking of the Lusitania and other incidents, a train carrying lawyers, bankers, politicians, civil servants, and the first of many students from Ivy League colleges leaves Grand Central Station for a camp in Plattsburgh, New York. The month-long session to improve the country's preparedness, to be repeated the next year in several venues, is part of a larger countrywide “Preparedness Movement.”

      1915 (December 4)

      Henry Ford's Peace Ship sails from Hoboken, New Jersey, for Stockholm with a number of prominent pacifists in a vain attempt to arrange an end to the World War I.


      The Reserve Officer's Training Corps (ROTC) is established to provide military training on college campuses as part of the National Defense Act passed the same year.


      James Montgomery Flagg creates the most recognizable poster of both world wars, a picture of Uncle Sam pointing his finger at the viewer over the slogan I Want You.


      A. Philip Randolph and Chandler Owen found Messenger, one of the most influential African American periodicals of the war and postwar period. Through its pages, Randolph and Chandler assume the stance of conscientious objection to the war and encourage African Americans to avoid military service, prompting Justice Department officers to arrest the two for violating the 1917 Espionage Act.

      1917 (April 2)

      In a speech to Congress, Pres. Woodrow Wilson, arguing for U.S. involvement in World War I, utters the phrase “the world must be made safe for democracy.”

      1917 (April 6)

      The United States declares war against Germany, officially entering World War I.

      1917 (April 13)

      Shortly after Congress declares war on Germany, President Wilson creates the Committee on Public Information—the nation's first large-scale propaganda agency—to mobilize public opinion in the United States behind the war effort, and also to gain international support.

      1917 (April 17)

      Eleven days after the formal U.S. declaration of war, the War Department creates a new federal agency, the Commission on Training Camp Activities, to protect men in uniform from moral corruption and venereal disease.

      1917 (May 18)

      Congress passes the Selective Service Act with the intent to raise a massive American army to win the war in Europe. The act requires all men between the ages of 21 and 31 (including Native Americans) to register for the draft.

      1917 (November)

      The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia overthrows the postimperial government of Kerensky's Social Democrats. In March 1918 the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk is signed, which is favorable to Germany, and ends Russia's participation in World War I.


      The Espionage and Sedition acts are passed as separate pieces of legislation designed to limit treacherous behavior in wartime and to promote patriotism. The Espionage Act, approved on June 15, 1917, sets fines of up to $10,000 and prison terms for citizens who aid the enemy. The Sedition Act forbids “any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States, or the Constitution of the United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy.”


      The War Labor Board is established to set wartime labor policies and secure a strong workforce.

      1918 (March)

      A strain of influenza appears in the United States as the first of three waves of a flu pandemic that continues into 1919, killing 40 million to 50 million people worldwide, and 675,000 in the United States.

      1918 (March 4)

      Pres. Woodrow Wilson issues an executive order to give the War Industries Board (WIB), under the leadership of Bernard Baruch, the power to function as a distinct agency to coordinate the channeling of civilian resources to meet the military's ever-growing industrial and transportation needs. The WIB would transform the relationship between the government and civilian society as the nation for the first time organized its resources to fight a total war.

      1918 (June)

      Under provisions in the 1917 Espionage Act, Socialist Eugene V. Debs is arrested for delivering a speech in Canton, Ohio, in which he expressed his opposition to the draft. Debs was sentenced to a 10-year prison term. In 1919 he appeals his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which unanimously affirms his conviction in an opinion delivered by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. After serving three years, Debs was pardoned by Pres. Warren Harding in 1921.

      1918 (July)

      W. E. B. Du Bois publishes an editorial in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's magazine, The Crisis, urging blacks to “Close Ranks” and support the war effort. He would publish a series of impassioned editorials in The Crisis over the following months urging support for black soldiers, including “Returning Soldiers.”

      1918 (November 11)

      An armistice is signed in the forest of Compiègne, France, ending fighting in World War I.

      1919 (March 15)

      The American Legion is established, unifying many of the newly founded veterans’ groups.

      1919 (June 28)

      The Treaty of Versailles is signed, forcing Germany to pay severe war reparations and stripping it of its colonial territories.

      1919 (November 11)

      On the one-year anniversary of the end of World War I, Armistice Day is proclaimed. After 1938, November 11 was observed as a federal holiday devoted exclusively to remembering the sacrifices of that conflict. In 1954 Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday honoring all U.S. veterans.

      1920 (January)

      Roger Baldwin founds the American Civil Liberties Union.


      The Disabled American Veterans of the World War (renamed Disabled American Veterans in 1941) is established.


      The last U.S. troops are withdrawn from Russia after an intervention lasting two years in Russia's civil war.


      The Veterans Bureau is established.

      1921 (November 11)

      On the third anniversary of the end of World War I, the United States lays the body of an unidentified soldier to rest at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia, designating him the country's “Unknown Soldier.” It follows England and France in this gesture to recognize the thousands of soldiers unaccounted for or mutilated beyond recognition in war.


      The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 grants citizenship to all Native Americans.


      The Army Industrial College is founded to train officers in facilitating economic mobilization in wartime.


      The Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare is instituted.


      A Farewell to Arms, a World War I novel by Ernest Hemingway, is published.

      1929 (October)

      Stocks in America and throughout the world suffer devastating losses in value. The Crash of 1929 ushers in the Great Depression, which would last through the 1930s.

      1930 (July)

      The Veterans Administration is established to administer benefits for the nation's veterans.


      Pres. Herbert Hoover signs into law a bill that makes “The Star-Spangled Banner” the national anthem.

      1932 (May–July)

      The Bonus March takes place in Washington, D.C. Veterans of World War I march on the city to demand early payment of military bonuses owing to financial pressures brought about by the Great Depression.


      After 30 years of American military interventions in Caribbean and Central American countries, Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt announces a “Good Neighbor Policy.” Limiting interventions to assisting threatened American citizens, the Good Neighbor Policy expresses the American people's desire for international isolation.

      1933 (March)

      The American embassy in Berlin and U.S. consuls report numerous mob attacks on Jews, as well as the systematic removal of Jews from positions in government, education, and the legal profession.

      1933 (March 31)

      The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) is established as part of Roosevelt administration's program to provide emergency aid to unemployed youth and to revitalize the nation's natural resources.


      The first in a series of neutrality acts is signed into law, embodying America's growing isolationist impulse.


      The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), also known as the Dies Committee, is established to investigate communist penetration of labor and other organizations in the United States.


      The insecticide DDT is created to kill lice and prevent the spread of such diseases as typhus; its first massive application would be with troops in World War II. DDT would become a staple insecticide in the United States after World War II.

      1939 (August)

      Émigré German scientist Albert Einstein writes Pres. Franklin Roosevelt to warn him that the Germans are on the track of creating a nuclear weapon.

      1939 (September 1)

      The German army invades Poland, setting into motion the events that would lead to World War II.

      1940 (May)

      The Selective Service and Training Act goes into effect; it exempts married men from the draft.

      1940 (September)

      After a sharp rise in the marriage rate in the wake of the May statute, Congress amends the Selective Service Act to exempt only married men with one or more children.

      1941 (March)

      In the wake of a violent strike at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, defense plant, Pres. Franklin Roosevelt establishes the 11-member National Defense Mediation Board, later to become the National War Labor Board.

      1941 (April 1)

      Tens of thousands of Ford workers strike the massive River Rouge plant in Michigan. Faced with the prospect of losing immensely profitable government contracts, Ford signs a closed shop (union-members only) contract with the United Auto Workers—the first of its kind in the auto industry—which brings the 100,000 workers at Ford plants into the union.

      1941 (June)

      Executive Order 8802 is signed by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt. It establishes the Fair Employment Practices Commission, a body authorized to investigate complaints of racial discrimination in companies under contract to supply war materials to the government.

      1941 (August)

      The Office of Price Administration is created by Executive Order 8875.

      1941 (December)

      Representatives of gardening organizations, seed companies, the agricultural press, and other organizations meet with Sec. of Agriculture Claude Wickard to discuss how to encourage Victory Gardens in the United States. The program's goals are to increase the production and consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits, encourage the preservation of surplus vegetables and fruits by individual families, and maintain morale while offering all Americans a means of participating in the war effort.

      1941 (December 7)

      Japanese warplanes attack the U.S. Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, provoking a declaration of war by the United States.

      1941 (December 19)

      President Roosevelt establishes by executive order the Office of Censorship to monitor all civilian radio broadcasts and print media, both within the United States and across U.S. borders, to ensure that no information is transmitted or disseminated that might be of use to America's enemies.

      1942 (January 12)

      By executive order, President Roosevelt establishes the War Labor Board (WLB) to supervise and intervene in various aspects of collective bargaining. From 1942 to 1945, the WLB would settle disputed contracts and play a major role in establishing wage rates, hours, and union security. It also would help shape the nature of postwar labor relations.

      1942 (February 19)

      President Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, which mandates the internment of 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans in detention camps throughout the western United States.

      1942 (February 25)

      The Voice of America (VOA) makes its first radio broadcast, in German, commencing its mission to provide information about America and the war to international audiences. The VOA would continue spreading information to the world about U.S. culture and institutions into the 21st century.

      1942 (June 13)

      By executive order, President Roosevelt establishes the Office of War Information to coordinate news and information sent out by the U.S. government during World War II and to oversee domestic and foreign propaganda in support of the war effort.

      1942 (November 24)

      Dorothy Stratton is sworn in as first director of the Coast Guard women's organization, or SPARS, with the rank of lieutenant commander.

      1942 (December 2)

      Under the leadership of Enrico Fermi, scientists at the University of Chicago create the first nuclear chain reaction.

      1943 (February 1)

      Pres. Franklin Roosevelt announces the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, comprised of Japanese Americans. Amid doubts about the loyalty of the regiment's soldiers, the 442nd achieves one of the most outstanding records of any regiment in World War II.

      1943 (May 29)

      Norman Rockwell's Rosie the Riveter painting appears on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post's Memorial Day edition.

      1943 (Mid-June)

      Following the 3rd United Mine Worker strike in just six weeks, Congress passes (over President Roosevelt's veto) the Smith–Connally War Labor Disputes Act, which authorizes the use of military force to seize struck mines and factories and provides for fines and jail terms for strike leaders.

      1943 (June)

      More than 100 Mexican Americans in Los Angeles are seriously injured, and more are jailed, during racially inspired attacks on their communities by military servicemen and Los Angeles police. The 10-day clash would become known as the “Zoot Suit” riot.

      1943 (July)

      The Women's Army Corps (WAC) is established, providing full military rank to WAC members.

      1943 (September)

      Life magazine publishes one of the first photographs (taken by George Strock) of American war dead, a view of three soldiers lying partly buried in the sand on Buna Beach in New Guinea.

      1943 (November 1)

      The United Mine Workers strike for the 4th time since the spring, involving all of the nation's 530,000 bituminous coal miners. Using his new powers under the Smith–Connally War Labor Disputes Act, Roosevelt sends in troops and seizes strike-bound coal mines, threatening to draft striking miners. The union refuses to back down, and Roosevelt orders Sec. of the Interior Harold Ickes to bypass the War Labor Board (which had a policy of not negotiating with a striking union) and negotiate a contract that proves to be acceptable to the mine workers.

      1944 (May 22)

      Life magazine publishes a photo of a young woman seated at her desk writing a thank you note to her friend, a Navy lieutenant, who had sent her the skull of a Japanese soldier that sits before her on her desk.

      1944 (June 6)

      On D-Day, more than 100,000 Allied troops cross the English Channel and land on the beaches of Normandy in France in the largest seaborne invasion in the history of warfare. D-Day proves a decisive turning point for the Allies in World War II.

      1944 (June 22)

      President Roosevelt signs into law the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, or “GI Bill of Rights” as it is more commonly known, by which the federal government offers soldiers a wide range of benefits, including education assistance, home loans, vocational training, and business loans as a reward for military service. One of the most expansive pieces of social welfare legislation in the country's history, the GI Bill would be credited with making possible profound changes to the social fabric of postwar America.

      1944 (July 17)

      A massive explosion rocks the Port Chicago Naval Munitions Base near San Francisco, California, killing 320 servicemen and injuring another 390. The incident exposes racial discrimination given the disproportionately large number of African Americans killed; they were working under extremely dangerous conditions. The Port Chicago Mutiny follows.

      1944 (November)

      The American Veterans Committee is organized.

      1944 (December 9)

      Delegates from nine organizations meeting in Kansas City, Missouri, create the American Veterans of World War II, which becomes known as “AMVETS.”

      1945 (April 18)

      War correspondent Ernie Pyle is killed by a sniper while on the front lines on Ie Shima with elements of the Army's 77th Infantry Division.

      1945 (May)

      German forces begin to surrender on European battlefields. The formal unconditional surrender is signed May 7. May 8 is declared VE (Victory in Europe) Day.

      1945 (July 16)

      The first nuclear device is detonated at Trinity Site, near Alamogordo, New Mexico.

      1945 (August 6)

      An atomic bomb is dropped from the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay onto the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Some 70,000 people die in the blast and thousands more die later from effects of radiation. A second bomb is dropped on Nagasaki three days later.

      1945 (August 15)

      Photographer Alfred Eisenstadt captures one of the most memorable images from World War II, “V-J Day, Times Square, 1945,” showing a newly returned sailor embracing the first woman to cross his path in Times Square on Victory in Japan Day. The photo would be featured on the cover of Life magazine.

      1945 (September 2)

      Formal surrender of Japan onboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

      1945 (December)

      Congress passes the War Brides Act, which loosens immigration laws to expedite the entry of more than 100,000 war brides, predominantly from Europe, into the United States after soldiers return home from World War II.


      The Best Years of Our Lives, a film directed by William Wyler about World War II veterans, premieres.


      Congress establishes the Fulbright Program for academic exchanges.

      1946 (May)

      The Doolittle Board issues its report about the relations between officers and enlisted men, leading to some improvement in the treatment of enlisted personnel and to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

      1946 (August 31)

      Hiroshima, by John Hersey, is published in a single issue of The New Yorker magazine; the book, about the aftermath of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, in August 1945, is published by Alfred Knopf later in 1946.


      The U.S. Air Force is established as a distinct branch of the U.S. military.


      The National Security Act of 1947 establishes a secretary of defense, unifies the service, and creates a separate Air Force, a National Security Council, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It charges the new agency with coordinating the nation's intelligence activities and with collecting and evaluating intelligence affecting national security.


      The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) investigates and puts on trial the “Hollywood Ten,” communist writers in the entertainment industry. This results in the firing and blacklisting of writers, actors, and others in a widening array of industries, as well as in many schools and colleges.

      1947 (June 5)

      In a speech at Harvard University, Sec. of State George C. Marshall makes the first public announcement of the European Recovery Plan. Subsequently known as the “Marshall Plan,” it would become one of the most successful government initiatives of the 20th century.


      George Kennan, a junior State Department official, provides the first widely accepted outline of a coherent American Cold War policy in his article published in Foreign Affairs, “Sources of Soviet Conduct.”


      The Naked and the Dead, a World War II novel by Norman Mailer, is published.


      The first MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) units are authorized by the surgeon general of the Army to provide front-line combat care. They are the first medical units to be deployed in the Korean War in 1950.

      1948 (March)

      Activist Chicano veterans in south Texas organize the American GI Forum.

      1948 (June 24)

      A new Selective Service Act is passed by Congress.

      1948 (June 24)

      Fearing a revitalized Germany under Western influence, the Soviets foment the first major crisis of the Cold War—the Berlin Crisis of 1948. Taking advantage of a postwar arrangement guaranteeing only air access to jointly occupied Berlin, 100 miles inside the Soviet zone, the Soviet Union closes off rail and road links hoping to force out the West. Pres. Harry Truman declares that American forces will remain in Berlin, and a massive airlift supplies the city with more than two million tons of supplies. The Soviets eventually lift the blockade, effectively admitting defeat and deferring a decision on Berlin.

      1948 (July 26)

      Pres. Harry Truman signs Executive Order 9981, prohibiting racial discrimination and segregation in the U.S. armed forces.


      Radio Free Europe is established as a tool in the ongoing ideological struggle with the Soviet Union. It would provide communication services to Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Russian Federation, and southwestern Asia in the hope of weakening the Soviet government's hold on the societies it rules by providing more open discussion of current news and events and promoting Western values.


      Local American Legion members in Westchester County, New York, mob a concert by black opera singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson.


      The U.S. Naval Academy graduates its first African American, Wesley Brown.

      1949 (August)

      The Soviet Union tests its first nuclear device.


      Twelve O’Clock High, a World War II film directed by Henry King, premieres.


      National Security Council Memorandum-68 (NSC-68) calls for wholesale revision of U.S. Cold War policy. It reshaped Kennan's “containment” theory to emphasize military force over economic, diplomatic, or psychological means to preserve U.S. national security in the face of an increasingly aggressive Soviet Union. NSC-68 would emerge as the preeminent policy document of U.S. strategic thinking during the early years of the Cold War.


      The Federal Civil Defense Administration begins to produce films, pamphlets, and posters emphasizing U.S. vulnerability to enemy attack—especially from the Soviet Union.


      Beetle Bailey, a humorous comic strip that stars the slacker draftee whose attitudes and adventures come to represent the peacetime draft Army of the 1950s and 1960s, makes its first appearance.


      The Uniform Code of Military Justice is signed into law by Pres. Harry Truman. The code attempts to combine the command-dominated military justice system with the civilian justice system, emphasizing due process.

      1950 (June 25)

      In a move that sparks the Korean War, North Korean tanks cross the 38th parallel separating North and South Korea. The following day, Pres. Harry Truman authorizes the movement of U.S. troops to defend South Korea.

      1950 (September 9)

      The nation's first draft of doctors is signed into law to address the drastic shortage of medical personnel after post–World War II demobilization and in response to the additional requirements of the Korean War.

      1951 (April 11)

      President Truman announces the dismissal of Gen. Douglas MacArthur from his duties as Allied commander of United Nations forces in the Far East (Korea).

      1952 (July 16)

      Pres. Harry Truman signs into law the Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1952, which offers education and loan benefits to veterans who served for more than 90 days during the Korean War.

      1952 (October)

      The popular and critically acclaimed documentary Victory at Sea begins airing on NBC. The 26-episode series, recounting the U.S. Navy's role in World War II, reinforced the idea of the “good war.”


      Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed two years after being convicted of espionage.


      From Here to Eternity, a film directed by Fred Zinneman based on the 1951 novel by James Jones, premieres.


      Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower signs Executive Order 10450, codifying sexual perversion as grounds for dismissal from federal employment, including the military.

      1953 (July 27)

      An armistice is signed ending the Korean War.


      The Caine Mutiny, a World War II film directed by Edward Dmytryk based on the 1951 novel by Herman Wouk, premieres.


      The United States Air Force Academy is established.


      Militant Liberty, formulated by John C. Broger of the Far East Broadcasting Company, appears. It is one of several ideological initiatives supported by the Department of Defense during the early days of the Cold War.


      The Bridges at Toko-Ri, a Korean War film directed by Mark Robson based on the 1953 novel by James Michener, premieres.


      Strategic Air Command, a film directed by Anthony Mann and starring Jimmy Stewart, premieres.


      Pres. Dwight Eisenhower's promotion of a national system of interstate highways leads to the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 and the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. In 1990 it is renamed The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways.


      Norman Cousins and others found the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy to lobby for a comprehensive test ban treaty. The organization realizes some success in 1963 when the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union agree to stop atmospheric and underwater testing and to ban tests in space.

      1957 (October 4)

      The Soviet Union launches the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, into orbit.


      The civilian National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is created to promote nonmilitary, peaceful uses of space, and becomes the lead agency in the space program.

      1961 (January 17)

      In his farewell address to the American public, Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower warns of the rise of a “military–industrial complex” and its undue legislative and economic influence. Only “an alert and knowledgeable citizenry,” Eisenhower urged, can ensure that “security and liberty may prosper together.”

      1961 (March 1)

      Pres. John F. Kennedy signs an executive order establishing the Peace Corps.

      1961 (June)

      At a meeting in Vienna, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev attempts to bully Pres. John F. Kennedy into acceding to Soviet demands for final agreements on the status of Berlin and Germany and sets a six-month deadline for formal agreements. Refusing to be bullied, Kennedy, in July 1961, announces a policy of zero tolerance for interference in Allied rights to travel across East Germany to Berlin, and at the same time begins a massive buildup of U.S. armed forces.

      1961 (August 13)

      After more than 200,000 people flee East Germany for the West during the first six months of the year, a barbed wire fence is erected to divide East and West Berlin. It is soon replaced by a stone wall. The Berlin Wall would stand as both a physical barrier and a symbol of the Cold War until November 1989.


      Combat!, a television series set during World War II, airs its pilot; the series runs until 1967.


      Students for a Democratic Society is founded on several U.S. college campuses.


      Rachel Carson publishes Silent Spring, warning against the effects of the insecticide DDT, which had been developed for use in World War II and became widely used in the United States after the war.

      1962 (October)

      The Cuban Missile Crisis is sparked when U.S. aerial surveillance on October 14 confirms Soviet missile sites in Cuba capable of delivering nuclear warheads to American soil. President Kennedy addresses the world on October 22, demanding the removal of the missiles. For a week, the United States and the Soviet Union teeter on the brink of nuclear war.


      The Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space, and Under Water (often shortened as the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty) is signed by the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union.


      Associated Press reporter Malcolm Browne photographs an incident in Vietnam involving Buddhist monks dousing themselves with gas and burning themselves alive, one of the first visual statements against the war in Vietnam to be circulated around the world.

      1963 (November 22)

      Pres. John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas.

      1964 (August)

      After U.S. ships patrolling in the Gulf of Tonkin come under attack from North Vietnamese forces on August 2, Pres. Lyndon Johnson orders retaliatory air strikes against North Vietnamese naval installations and obtains the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution from Congress. This resolution, a major step in widening America's role in Vietnam, grants the president the authority to use whatever means necessary to protect South Vietnam and U.S. military forces in Southeast Asia.


      Seven Days in May, a Cold War suspense film directed by John Frankenheimer and adapted by Rod Serling from the 1962 novel by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey, premieres.


      Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, a film directed by Stanley Kubrick satirizing the nuclear arms race, premieres.


      The Supreme Court decision in United States v. Seeger establishes that a belief in a supreme being and religious membership are no longer required to claim conscientious objector (CO) status, although a CO's reasons for nonparticipation must resemble those of members of conventional religions. The Court would further refine this decision five years later in Welsh v. United States by removing the religious qualification, stating that an individual's “ethical and moral beliefs” that prohibit military participation are sufficient to obtain CO status.

      1965 (April 17)

      Organized by Students for a Democratic Society, more than 25,000 activists descend on Washington, D.C., to protest the war in Vietnam—the first major demonstration against that war.

      1966 (March 3)

      Pres. Lyndon Johnson signs into law the Veterans Readjustment Benefits Act of 1966, which, unlike previous GI bills, extends benefits to veterans who served during times of war and peace. With this act, military service becomes a more viable option for economic advancement.

      1966 (April)

      The religious protest group, Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam, is formed.

      1967 (April)

      Vietnam Veterans Against the War is formed by a number of American servicemen who have returned to the United States after tours of duty in Vietnam.

      1967 (June)

      Boxer Muhammad Ali is convicted for refusing induction into the U.S. Army. He is stripped of his heavyweight title, fined $10,000, and sentenced to prison for five years (though he served no time). The verdict is reversed by the Supreme Court in 1971.

      1968 (January–February)

      North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong units launch coordinated attacks throughout South Vietnam in the Tet Offensive. Although the attacks amount to a costly military defeat for the communist forces, their scale and ferocity, coming so soon after an extensive U.S. government public relations campaign that had stressed progress in the war and the impending collapse of the communist forces, shock the American public and further erode an already declining will to continue the war.

      1968 (March 16)

      The My Lai Massacre, the slaughter of more than 500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians by soldiers of C Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, Americal Division, gives rise to highly-charged legal proceedings and fuels the public's concerns about the Vietnam War.

      1968 (April 4)

      Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

      1968 (June 5)

      Sen. Robert F. Kennedy is assassinated in Los Angeles.

      1968 (August 26–29)

      Antiwar demonstrators and police engage in a violent melee outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

      1968 (November)

      Richard Nixon wins the presidency with a campaign stressing law and order at home and “peace with honor” in Vietnam.


      In U.S. v. O’Brien, the American Civil Liberties Union argues that burning a draft card is an exercise of freedom of expression. The Supreme Court disagrees, ruling that a conviction for violating a statute prohibiting the destruction of an individual's draft card cannot be dismissed on free speech grounds.


      The Information Processing Techniques Office of the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA; later the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA) establishes the first wide-area network, the ARPANET, which becomes the foundation for the Internet in the early 1980s.

      1969 (August 1)

      The Military Justice Act of 1968 goes into effect.

      1969 (December 1)

      The lottery draft system replaces the Selective Service System in the United States.

      1970 (April)

      President Nixon orders U.S. forces to strike at suspected enemy forces operating within the “Parrot's Beak” border area of Cambodia, unleashing a storm of protests across the United States by opponents of the war.

      1970 (May 4)

      At Kent State University in Ohio, police and National Guard troops, dispatched to quell student rioting, fire on protestors, killing four students and wounding nine others. Unrest on college campuses explodes, forcing many institutions to shut their doors. Ten days later, riots at Jackson State University in Mississippi leave two students dead from Mississippi state trooper bullets.

      1971 (June 13)

      The New York Times begins publication of excerpts from the “Pentagon Papers”—the first public appearance of what would eventually emerge as a 47-volume history of American involvement in Vietnam compiled by the Pentagon.

      1972 (June)

      After seven cadets and midshipmen challenge the constitutionality of mandatory chapel attendance at U.S. military academies, a federal appeals court rules that attendance must be voluntary.

      1972 (September 17)

      The television program M*A*S*H airs its pilot episode. The series, set during the Korean War but appearing during the Vietnam War, would run until 1983.


      The Supreme Court rules that the military must offer women the same dependent benefits offered to men.

      1973 (July)

      Military conscription (the draft) ends in the United States in favor of an All Volunteer Force.

      1973 (November)

      Congress passes the War Powers Act.

      1975 (April)

      U.S. helicopters evacuate the embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam, on April 29, and Saigon falls to North Vietnamese forces on April 30. The Vietnam War comes to an end.


      Military academies in the United States accept the first female cadets.

      1976 (February 19)

      Pres. Gerald Ford formally rescinds Executive Order 9066, which Pres. Franklin Roosevelt had signed in 1942 authorizing the internment during World War II of 120,000 Japanese Americans.


      The Deer Hunter, a Vietnam War film directed by Michael Cimino, premieres.


      Vietnam Veterans of America is established by Bobby Muller. The organization's founding principle is “Never again shall one generation of veterans abandon another.”


      Apocalypse Now, a Vietnam War film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, premieres.


      Pres. Jimmy Carter commits the nation to build a national museum dedicated to the Holocaust. The museum opens in 1994.


      The first Army court-martial conviction for sexual harassment results from scandals at Fort Meade, Maryland, involving rapes and other abuse.


      The third edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders(DSM-III) officially recognizes post-traumatic stress disorder as a condition suffered by many returning soldiers.


      “Call to Halt the Nuclear Arms Race,” a four-page document written by Randall Forsberg of the Institute for Defense and Disarmament Studies, is credited with launching the American nuclear freeze movement.

      1980 (June 1)

      The Cable News Network (CNN) airs its first broadcast, ushering in the era of 24-hour televised news.


      The Army introduces the Be All You Can Be recruiting campaign, one of the most highly acclaimed and recognized slogans in modern advertising.


      The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, referred to as “The Wall,” designed by Maya Lin, is dedicated on the Mall in Washington, D.C.


      First Blood, the first in the Rambo series of films starring Sylvester Stallone as a maladjusted Vietnam veteran, is released.


      The United States intervenes in Grenada (Operation Urgent Fury).


      WarGames, a film about the threat of accidental nuclear war directed by John Badham, premieres.

      1984 (November 28)

      Sec. of Defense Caspar Weinberger delivers a speech (The Uses of Military Power) before the National Press Club in Washington. In the speech, he outlines six conditions that should be met before deploying U.S. troops overseas. This speech, later refined by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Colin Powell, forms the basis of what would come to be known as the Weinberger–Powell Doctrine.


      Platoon, a Vietnam War film directed by Oliver Stone, premieres.

      1986 (October 1)

      Pres. Ronald Reagan signs the Goldwater–Nichols Act, which seeks to improve the quality of military advice provided to civilian decision makers, to place greater responsibility upon combat commanders, and to institute greater cooperation and coordination among the individual military services.


      After 44 years of lobbying by the American Civil Liberties Union, Congress acknowledges the government's miscarriage of justice in its wartime treatment of Japanese Americans, and offers $20,000 in reparations to each Japanese American who had been detained in one of the several internment camps in the western United States.


      Born on the Fourth of July, a film directed by Oliver Stone and adapted from the 1976 autobiography by disabled Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, premieres.

      1989 (June)

      The Polish “Solidarity” trade union, which had been brutally suppressed in 1981 by the Soviet-sponsored Polish government, wins open elections, making it the first noncommunist government in Eastern Europe since the end of World War II.

      1989 (June 4)

      After weeks of student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, Chinese troops, and tanks crack down on the demonstrators, killing hundreds in what becomes known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

      1989 (November 9)

      The Berlin Wall separating East and West Germany is breached, and the border is opened. The formal reunification of Germany in October of the following year marks the end of a Cold War–divided Europe.


      The Hunt for Red October, a Cold War suspense film directed by John McTiernan, premieres.

      1990 (July)

      Under orders of dictator Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi Army occupies neighboring Kuwait. That act prompts the sequence of events that include the mobilization under the name Operation Desert Shield and the Persian Gulf War under the name Operation Desert Storm.

      1990 (September 23–27)

      Ken Burns's documentary The Civil War airs on PBS. The series, featuring archival photographs and documents, contemporaneous music, interviews with historians, and narration by a wide range of well-known Americans, would be hailed as one of the most comprehensive documentary treatments of any war ever presented.

      1991 (January 16)

      The U.S. bombing of Baghdad in the Persian Gulf War begins.

      1991 (February 23)

      The ground war in Iraq begins. The cease-fire is proclaimed March 3.


      Charges of sexual abuse by women attending the Navy's annual Tailhook Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, lead to investigations and scandal for the Navy.

      1991 (December 25)

      Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as president of the Soviet Union, effectively marking the end of the U.S.S.R.

      1992 (August 21)

      Randall Weaver, refusing to make a required court appearance, retreats with his family to their remote northern Idaho home at Ruby Ridge, beginning a 10-day standoff with U.S. marshals that ends in a bloody siege leaving several dead. The incident helps to fuel a growing antigovernment “militia movement” in the United States that lasts through much of the 1990s.


      Pres. Bill Clinton announces a more permissive policy on gays and lesbians in the military, immediately challenged in private by the military's Joint Chiefs. A compromise, known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” is reached.

      1993 (October 3)

      An American Rapid Reaction Force, in an effort to capture Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Aideed, loses two Blackhawk helicopters and 18 personnel in a battle with Somalis in the streets of Mogadishu. The episode—during which television broadcasts show images of a dead American being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, along with footage of a captured U.S. airman—effectively ends U.S. involvement in Somalia. It also has a role in shaping U.S. decisions about intervening in other conflicts, including the ethnic genocide in Rwanda the following year.


      The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum opens in Washington, D.C.


      The Korean War Veterans Memorial is dedicated on the Mall in Washington, D.C.


      The Enola Gay controversy is prompted by an exhibit planned at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima from the B-29 Enola Gay. Several veterans organizations object to the exhibit's perceived critical slant, leading to substantial revisions to the exhibit.


      Initially accepted into The Citadel, Shannon Faulkner's application is rejected once her gender becomes known. Her subsequent lawsuit paves the way for her to sign in on August 12, 1995, as the school's first female cadet. Although Faulkner leaves the school after five days, the Board of Visitors is forced to eliminate gender as a criterion for membership in the South Carolina Corps of Cadets.

      1995 (August 19)

      The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is destroyed by a bomb planted by “militia” enthusiast Timothy McVeigh with the help of Terry Nichols; 168 people die.


      The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies is established to promote transparency and greater responsibility in sales of conventional arms and to contribute to international peace and security by preventing destabilizing accumulations of conventional arms. Thirty-three countries, including the United States, participate in the agreement.


      Saving Private Ryan, a World War II film beginning with the D-Day landings at the beaches of Normandy, France, directed by Stephen Spielberg, premieres.


      The Panama Canal, controlled by the United States since its opening in 1914, returns to Panamanian control.

      1999 (March 24)

      The North Atlantic Treaty Organization launches Operation Allied Force to halt Serbia's “ethnic cleansing” of Albanians in Kosovo.


      The National D-Day Museum opens in New Orleans, Louisiana.

      2001 (September 11)

      Four U.S. commercial passenger jets are highjacked by terrorists associated with al Qaeda and crashed into U.S. sites, killing 2,986 people. Two planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, destroying both buildings; another hits the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, just outside the nation's capital; a fourth crashes in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania—presumably headed toward a location in Washington, D.C. The September 11 attacks have profound economic, social, cultural, and military effects throughout the world.

      2001 (September 20)

      In an address to a joint session of Congress and to the American people, Pres. George W. Bush uses the phrase “war on terror” to describe the administration's intentions in the wake of the September 11 attacks, setting a seemingly long-term agenda for the country.

      2001 (October 7)

      The United States begins a military campaign against Taliban forces and al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.

      2001 (October 26)

      Pres. George W. Bush signs into law the USAPATRIOT Act, which permits the indefinite imprisonment without trial of any non-U.S. citizen the attorney general rules to be a threat to American national security, while relieving the government of any responsibility to provide legal counsel to detainees. The act also contains provisions criticized as infringing excessively on Americans’ individual rights.

      2002 (November 25)

      The Department of Homeland Security is established in an effort to protect against terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.


      A sexual assault scandal unfolds at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

      2003 (March)

      U.S.-led forces begin the bombing of Baghdad on the night of March 21, launching the Iraq War. The ground invasion commences soon thereafter. Numerous reporters, referred to as “embeds,” accompany soldiers on the march toward Baghdad, providing unprecedented coverage of war to people around the world.

      2003 (May 1)

      Pres. George W. Bush, appearing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln under a banner that reads “Mission Accomplished,” declares “major combat operations” in the Iraq War at an end. American troops, however, continue operating in Iraq, becoming more embroiled in the ensuing conflict between Iraqi factions.

      2004 (April)

      The National World War II Memorial opens in Washington, D.C.

      2004 (April 29)

      Photographs of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq are first broadcast on CBS's 60 Minutes II.

      2004 (July)

      The Senate Intelligence Committee reveals that the military advice given to Pres. George W. Bush about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was predicated on faulty information.

      2004 (September)

      A federal judge overturns the USAPATRIOT Act's provision requiring telephone, Internet, and communication companies to respond to law enforcement's requests for access to customers’ personal information and call records.

      2004 (September)

      The Pentagon reports that the 1,000th American soldier had been killed in Iraq.


      1609 Rev. William Symonds's Sermon Criticizing the Virginia Company's Violence against Natives

      1611 John Winthrop on the Evils of Gun Ownership

      1613 Defense by William Strachey of the Virginia Company's Violence against Natives

      1622 Virginia Co. Sec. Edward Waterhouse Defends Company's Conduct during 1622 War

      1637 Excerpt from Captain John Underhill's Account of a Raid on a Pequot Village

      1654 Letter of Roger Williams

      1712 John Barnwell's Expedition against the Tuscaroras of North Carolina

      1737 Massachusetts's Rev. William Williams on Just Wars

      1747 Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson's Observations on the Boston Press Gang Riot of 1747 in His History of the Colony

      1759 Petition from Army Wife Martha May for Freedom to Carry Water to Troops

      1760 Lt. Col. James Grant and Gen. Jeffrey Amherst Discuss How to Subdue the Cherokees

      1766 Comments from British Pamphlet on Colonies’ Refusal to Pay Taxes

      1768 a A Letter from Samuel Adams to the Boston Gazette

      1768 b Excerpts from Tryon's Journal of the Expedition into the Backcountry

      1772 Excerpt from “The Dangers of Standing Armies” by Joseph Warren

      1774 North Carolina Militia Act of 1774

      1775 Peter Oliver's Interview with POW William Scott

      1776 a Distribution of Enlisted Men and Officers over Wealthholding Thirds of Total Ratable State Population

      1776 b Gen. Washington's Letter to Continental Congress on Reenlistment Difficulties

      1776 c Account of Walter Bates, Connecticut Loyalist

      1777 a Petition of Samuel Townsend to New York State Convention

      1777 b Account Concerning Connecticut Men's Refusal to Serve in the Revolutionary War

      1777 c The Rifleman's Song at Bennington

      1785 Tory Veteran's Testimony Concerning Treatment by Patriots

      1797 Gov. Samuel Adam's Farewell Address

      1800 Excerpt from Mason Weems's A History of the Life and Death, Virtues & Exploits of General George Washington

      1814 Treaty of Ghent

      1824 Lyrics to a Popular Song Celebrating Jackson's Victory over the British

      1830 Sec. of War John Eaton on Inability to Fill Army Ranks

      1833 Revolutionary War Pension Application

      1835 A Crisis of Conscience and Ethan Allen Hitchcock

      1838 Lyrics to “Benny Havens, Oh!”

      1846 a Letter from Pres. James Polk to House of Representatives on Secrecy in Executive Branch Dealings

      1846 b Excerpts from The Biglow Papers

      1849 Lyrics to “I’m Off For Nicaragua”

      1850 Excerpt from A. A. Livermore's War with Mexico

      1861 a Officers Staying in the U.S. Army or Joining the Confederacy, by Region of Birth

      1861 b Mark Twain's Account of His Brief Confederate Career

      1861 c An Englishman's Memory of Enlisting in an Arkansas Regiment

      1861 d Examples of Confederate Soldiers’ Experiences on Battlefield

      1861 e Excerpt from Anglo-African Editorial

      1861 f Comments of African American Spy Allan Pinkerton

      1862 a Excerpt from Official Army Records on Impressment of Black Workers

      1862 b Exchange between Horace Greeley and Abraham Lincoln

      1863 a Enlistment Speech to African Americans

      1863 b Frederick Douglass's Comments on the Recruitment of His Sons

      1863 c Letter of Lewis Douglass to Future Wife

      1863 d Letter of Captain M. M. Miller to His Aunt

      1863 e Account of Col. Thomas J. Morgan Concerning His African American Brigade

      1863 f Account of Black Physician on Escape from Anti-Draft/Anti-Black Riots

      1863 g Letter from Grant to Lincoln on Recruitment of African Americans

      1863 h Excerpts from General Orders, No. 100

      1863 i Lyrics to “Just Before the Battle, Mother”

      1864 a Comments of Black Sailor George Reed

      1864 b Excerpt from Sherman's Memoirs on His March from Atlanta to the Sea

      1864 c Excerpts from the Writings of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

      1865 a New York Tribune's Comments on the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts

      1865 b Lyrics to “I’m A Good Old Rebel”

      1866 John Faller, Andersonville POW, on His Captivity

      1899 Two Songs Popular among Naval Officers Dating from the Philippine War

      1900 Black Soldier's Letter to a Wisconsin Editor on American Treatment of Filipinos

      1908 Leonard Wood on Preparedness and Civil Obligation of the Army

      1910 Excerpts from William James's Essay, “The Moral Equivalent of War”

      1915 a Excerpts from The Poet in the Desert by Charles Erskine Scott Wood

      1915 b Lyrics to “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier”

      1917 a Mother's Poem: “I Didn’t Raise My Boy” by Abbie Farwell Brown

      1917 b Lyrics to “Over There,” or “Johnnie Get Your Gun”

      1917 c John Simpson's Letter to Senator

      1917 d “Uncle Sam's Little War in the Arkansas Ozarks,” a Report of Draft Resistance in the Literary Digest

      1917 e Alpha IQ Tests Administered to Recruits

      1917 f Beta IQ Tests Administered to Recruits

      1918 a The Man's Poem and The Woman's Response

      1918 b Verse of the American Expeditionary Force, 1918–1919

      1918 c Selected Songs from the Compilations of John Jacob Niles

      1918 d President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points

      1919 a Florence Woolston Reflects on the Effect of World War I on Her Nephew Billy

      1919 b DuBois Writes of Returning Soldiers

      1919 c African American Reaction to D.C. Race Riots

      1919 d Facts and Questions Concerning the NREF

      1919 e Lyrics to “How ’ya Gonna Keep ’em Down on the Farm (After They’ve Seen Paree?)”

      1919 f Excerpts from the Diary of Sgt. Will Judy

      1929 Lyrics to “Marines’ Hymn”

      1930 Excerpt from Nineteen Nineteen by John Dos Passos

      1932 “The Bonuseers Ban Jim Crow” by Roy Wilkins

      1933 Excerpts from Company K by William March

      1938 A Massachusetts Veteran Reflects on Memorial Day Ceremonies

      1940 War Activity, November 1943, and Civilian Population Change, 1940 to November 1, 1943

      1941 Executive Order 8802: Prohibition of Discrimination in the Defense Industry

      1942 a Letters from Black Soldiers in World War II

      1942 b Black Serviceman Lester Simons's Account of Training Experience

      1942 c Marine's Letter to Father Concerning His Experience in Guadalcanal #1

      1942 d Marine's Letter to Father Concerning His Experience in Guadalcanal #2

      1942 e Monica Itoi Sone's Account of Her Transfer to a Japanese Internment Camp

      1942 f Interviews with Japanese-Americans Regarding Mistreatment during World War II

      1943 Excerpt from Bill Mauldin's Up Front

      1944 a Excerpt from Ernie Pyle's Brave Men

      1944 b Excerpts from Pacific War Diary 1942–1945 by James J. Fahey

      1944 c Black Soldier's Encounter with Racism and its Psychological Effects

      1945 a Black Serviceman's Account of Confrontation with Battalion Commander

      1945 b Black Soldiers’ Recollections of Their Experiences in World War II

      1945 c Soldiers’ Poems on the Horrors of War

      1945 d John Ciardi's “A Box Comes Home”

      1945 e Excerpt from Bill Mauldin's Brass Ring

      1945 f Excerpts from Company Commander by Charles B. MacDonald

      1946 a Remarks of Navajo Veteran on Serving in the Military

      1946 b Excerpts from Hiroshima by John Hersey

      1947 Excerpts from Bill Mauldin's Back Home

      1948 a Psychiatric Case History of World War II Tailgunner

      1948 b Executive Order 9981: Desegregation of the Armed Forces

      1949 Attitude of Veterans and Nonveteran Fathers during World War II Toward Personality Characteristics of First-Born

      1950 a World War II Veteran's Account of Experience in Service

      1950 b Lyrics to the R.O.T.C. Song

      1950 c Random House's Bennett Cerf Praising Military after Attending JCOC

      1950 d Excerpt from Harry J. Maihafer's From the Hudson to the Yalu: West Point in the Korean War

      1951 Recall of Gen. Douglas MacArthur

      1953 Case History of World War II Psychiatric Casualty

      1957 Excerpt from Born on the Fourth of July by Ron Kovic

      1961 Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower's Farewell Address

      1964 Veteran Harold Bond's Reflections on Returning to Monte Cassino

      1965 a Seymour Melman on America's Aging Metal-Working Machinery

      1965 b Selective Service System's Channeling Manpower Memo

      1965 c Case Report on Psychiatric Illness of Submariner's Wife

      1965 d Letter Home from Serviceman on Combat Experience

      1965 f Excerpts from A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo

      1966 a Letters from Vietnam GIs on Killing Enemies in Combat

      1966 b Letter from Vietnam GI Objecting to Antiwar Protesters

      1966 c Air Force Officer Dale Noyd's Letter of Resignation

      1966 d Excerpts from Soldados: Chicanos in Viet Nam

      1967 a Postings to Tiger Force Website in Response to Toledo Blade Revelations

      1967 b Environmental Effects of War in Vietnam

      1968 a Accounts of Servicemen's Combat-Related Psychiatric Disorder

      1968 b Defense and NASA Spending in Various States

      1969 Survey of Veteran's Opinions on Effects of Service

      1970 a Open Letter of Chicana GI Widow

      1970 b Widow of Air Force Pilot's Account of Her Experience and Attitude Toward the War

      1970 c Excerpts from “Pentagon Papers” Supreme Court Briefs

      1971 a Letters to Editors of SGT Fury and His Howling Commandos

      1971 b Interview with U.S. Army Col. David H. Hackworth

      1971 c Drug Use in the Army

      1971 d Did Vietnam Turn GIs into Addicts?

      1972 Remarks of Black Veteran on His Return to Pennsylvania

      1973 War Powers Resolution

      1975 Lt. Keffer's Reflections on Attending a Reunion of Buchenwald Survivors

      1976 a Excerpts from Book Two (Intelligence Activities and the Rights of Americans) of the Church Committee Report

      1976 b Remarks of Deserter on Eve of His Surrender to Authorities

      1977 Remarks of Mother on the Death of Her Son and the Pardon of Draft Resisters

      1988 Editorial on Loss of Military Service as a Rite of Passage by Gerald A. Patterson

      2000 “Principles of Ethical Conduct…The Ultimate Bait and Switch” by Peter L. Duffy

      2001 “The Harvest Matrix 2001”

      2004 a Yale Law School Faculty Suit against Department of Defense Regarding On-campus Recruitment

      2004 b Statement by Christian Leaders Condemning a “Theology of War”

      2004 c Interview with Yale Graduate Tyson Belanger who Served in the Iraq War



      Some of the early English and Scots colonists in their North American “plantations” treated indigenous peoples with unwarranted violence. This led some of their countrymen to remind them of Christian Just War concepts. Example: word came to the spiritual leader of the Plymouth Pilgrims, Pastor John Robinson, in 1623 that the Plantation's employed military leader, Capt. Miles Standish, had led a sortie against Massachusetts Native Americans who had threatened the lives of fur trader Thomas Weston and his men, claiming that Weston had cheated them. Standish had killed several. “Oh, how happy a thing had it been,” Robinson wrote, “if you had converted some before you had killed any! … [Y]ou being no magistrates over them were to consider [only] what by necessity you were constrained to inflict. Necessity of this … I see not … [I]ndeed I am afraid lest, by these occasions, others should be drawn to affect a kind of ruffling course in the world.” Similarly, in the passage that follows, Rev. William Symonds, troubled by news of the killing of a number of Tidewaters in Virginia, delivered these admonitions during a London religious service for those about to join the first wave of colonists in 1609:

      O but, in entering of other countries, there must needs be much lamentable effusion of blood. Certainly our objector was hatched of some popish egg; & it may be in a JESUITS vault, where they feed themselves fat, with tormenting innocents. Why is there no remedy, but as soon as we come on land, like Wolves, and Lions, and Tigers, long famished, we must tear in pieces, murder, and torment the natural inhabitants, with cruelties never read, nor heard of before? must we needs burn millions of them, and cast millions into the sea? must we bait them with dogs, that shall eat up the mothers with their children? let such be the practices of the devil, of Abaddon the son of perdition, of Antichrist and his frie, that is of purple Rome. As for the professors of the Gospel, they know with Jacob and his posterity, to say to Pharaoh, To Sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture, &c. They can with Sampson live peaceably with the Philistines, till they be constrained by injustice, to stand upon their defence. They can instruct the barbarous princes, as Joseph did Pharaoh and his Senators; and as Daniel did Nabuchad-nezer, &c. And if these objectors had any brains in their head, but those which are sick, they could easily find a difference between a bloody invasion, and the planting of a peaceable Colony, in a waste country, where the people do live but like Deer in herds, and (no not in this stooping age, of the gray headed world, full of years and experience) have not as yet attained unto the first modesty that was in Adam, that knew he was naked, where they know no God but the devil, nor sacrifice, but to offer their men and children unto Moloch. Can it be a sin in Philip, to join himself to an Ethiopian charet? Is only now the ancient planting of Colonies, so highly praised among the Romans, and all other nations, so vile and odious among us, that what is, and hath been a virtue in all others, must be sin in us?

      NOTE: The language and typography in this excerpt have been updated to modern English.

      SOURCE: William Symonds, A Sermon Preached at White-Chappel (London: Eleazar Edgar, 1609).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Wars; Just War Theory; Religion and War



      By the time that the English were beginning to colonize North America, the British Parliament had begun to limit the owning and use of firearms largely to men of property, in part to curb the poaching of game on their estates. Nevertheless, some men without property acquired firearms. In 1611 young John Winthrop (soon to become the chief magistrate of the English court at Norwich, East Anglia, and, in time, the first governor of the Puritan's Massachusetts Bay Colony) offered these entertaining thoughts in his diary on his use of his musket.

      Finding by much examination that ordinary shooting in a gun, etc: could not stand with a good conscience in my self, as first, for that it is simply prohibited by the law of the land, upon this ground amongst others, that it spoils more of the creatures than it gets: 2 it procures offence unto many: 3 it wastes great store of time: 4 it toils a man's body overmuch: 5 it endangers a man's life, etc: 6 it brings no profit all things considered: 7 it hazards more of a man's estate by the penalty of it, than a man would willingly part with: 8 it brings a man of worth and godliness into some contempt: —lastly for mine own part I have ever been crossed in using it, for when I have gone about it not without some wounds of conscience, and have taken much pains and hazarded my health, I have gotten sometimes a very little but most commonly nothing at all towards my cost and labor:

      Therefore I have solved and covenanted with the Lord to give over altogether shooting at the creek; —and for killing of birds, etc: either to leave that altogether or else to use it, both very seldom and very secretly. God (if he please) can give me fowl by some other means, but if he will not, yet, in that it is [his] will who loves me, it is sufficient to uphold my resolution.

      NOTE: The language and typography in this excerpt have been updated to modern English.

      SOURCE: Winthrop Papers, vol. 1, 1498–1628 (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1929).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Militia Systems; European Military Culture, Influence of; Gun Ownership; Militia Groups



      Criticism of the treatment by Virginia colonists of some of their Rapahanock and Powhatan Confederacy neighbors continued to be expressed in English circles, prompting that colony's secretary, William Strachey, to include these passages in the company's defense within his report of the colony's first five years of operation.

      … What open and actual injury shall we do to the poor and innocent inhabitants to intrude upon them? I must ask them again, In which shall we offer them injury? for proffering them trade, or the knowledge of Christ? From one of these two or both the injury must proceed. Why? What injury can it be to people of any nation for Christians to come unto their ports, havens, or territories, when the law of nations (which is the law of God and man[)] doth privilege all men to do so, which admits it lawful to trade with any manner of people, in so much as no man is to take upon him (that knoweth any thing) the defence of the savages in this point, since the savages themselves may not impugn or forbid the same, in respect of common fellowship and community betwixt man and man; albeit I will not deny but that the savages may (without peradventure) be ignorant of as much, and (alas) of more graces beside, and particularities of humanity, the reason whereof being, because (poor souls) they know not the good which they stand in need of; but we that are Christians do know how this law (enriching all kingdoms) gives privileges to ambassadors, keeps the seas common and safe, lays open ports and havens, and allows free scales and liberal access for whosoever that will import unto them such commodities as their countries have, and they want; or export from them some of their plenty (duties and customs provincial observed). If this be so for the first, concerning the other it may fully be answered with this demand, shall it not follow, if traffic be thus justifiable (which intended nothing but transitory profit and increase of temporal and worldly goods) shall not planting the Christian faith be much more? Yes by how much the divine good (not subject to change, and under no alteration), excels, takes an account, and surveys, and surpasseth all things, and all our actions are to bend their intentions thitherward; and what way soever we make, yet miserable and wretched he whose every line he draws, every act and thought do not close and meet in the center of that….

      But yet it is injurious to the natural inhabitants, still say ours. Wherefore? It is because it is, now indeed, a most doughty and material reason, a great piece of injury to bring them (to invert our English proverb) out of the warm sun, into God's blessing; to bring them from bodily wants, confusion, misery, and these outward anguishes, to the knowledge of a better practice, and improving of these benefits (to a more and ever during advantage, and to a civiler use) which God hath given unto them, but involved and hid in the bowels and womb of their land (to them barren and unprofitable, because unknown); nay, to exalt, as I may say, mere privation to the highest degree of perfection, by bringing their wretched souls (like Cerberus, from hell) from the chains of Satan, to the arms and bosom of their Saviour: here is a most impious piece of injury. Let me remember what Mr. Simondes, preacher of St. Saviour's, saith in this behalf: It is as much, saith he, as if a father should be said to offer violence to his child, when he beats him to bring him to goodness. Had not this violence and this injury been offered to us by the Romans (as the warlike Scots did the same, likewise, in Caledonia, unto the Picts), even by Julius Caesar himself, then by the emperor Claudius, who was therefore called Britannicus, and his captains, Aulus Plautius and Vespatian (who took in the Isle of Wight); and lastly, by the first lieutenant sent hither, Ostorius Scapula (as writes Tacitus in the life of Agricola), who reduced the conquered parts of our barbarous island into provinces, and established in them colonies of old soldiers; building castles and towns, and in every corner teaching us even to know the powerful discourse of divine reason (which makes us only men, and distinguisheth us from beasts, amongst whom we lived as naked and as beastly as they). We might yet have lived overgrown satyrs, rude and untutored, wandering in the woods, dwelling in caves, and hunting for our dinners, as the wild beasts in the forests for their prey, prostituting our daughters to strangers, sacrificing our children to idols, nay, eating our own children, as did the Scots in those days, as reciteth Tho. Cogan, bachelor of physic, in his book De Sanitate, cha. 137, printed 1189, …

      All the injury that we purpose unto them, is but the amendment of these horrible heathenisms, and the reduction of them to the aforesaid manly duties, and to the knowledge (which the Romans could not give us) of that God who must save both them and us, and who bought us alike with a dear sufferance and precious measure of mercy.

      For the apter enabling of our selves unto which so heavenly an enterprise, who will think it an unlawful act to fortify and strengthen our selves (as nature requires) with the best helps, and by sitting down with guards and forces about us in the waste and vast unhabited grounds of theirs, amongst a world of which not one foot of a thousand do they either use, or know how to turn to any benefit; and therefore lies so great a circuit vain and idle before them? Nor is this any injury unto them, from whom we will not forcibly take of their provision and labours, nor make rape of what they cleanse and manure; but prepare and break up new grounds, and thereby open unto them likewise a new way of thrift or husbandry; for as a righteous man (according to Solomon) ought to regard the life of his beast, so surely Christian men should not show themselves like wolves to devour, who cannot forget that every soul which God hath sealed for himself he hath done it with the print of charity and compassion; and therefore even every foot of land which we shall take unto our use, we will bargain and buy of them, for copper, hatchets, and such like commodities, for which they will even sell themselves, and with which they can purchase double that quantity from their neighbours; and thus we will commune and entreat with them, truck, and barter, our commodities for theirs, and theirs for ours (of which they seem more fain) in all love and friendship, until, for our good purposes towards them, we shall find them practice violence [no more].

      NOTE: The language and typography in this excerpt have been updated to modern English.

      SOURCE: William Strachey, The Historie of Travaile into Virginia Britannia (London: Hackluyt Society, 1849).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Wars; Just War Theory



      A defense similar to the one above (see document, 1613), but one more frank in its tone, was offered nine years later by Strachey's successor, Edward Waterhouse, after the Powhatan had attacked the colony in 1622, killing 25 percent of its population, in an attempt to regain lands and sovereignty.

      THUS have you seen the particulars of this massacre, out of Letters from thence written, wherein treachery and cruelty have done their worst to us, or rather to themselves; for whose understanding is so shallow, as not to perceive that this must needs be for the good of the Plantation after, and the loss of this blood to make the body more healthful, as by these reasons may be manifest.

      First, Because betraying of innocency never rests unpunished: And therefore Agesilaus, when his enemies (upon whose oath of being faithful he rested) had deceived him, he sent them thanks, for that by their perjury, they had made God his friend, and their enemy.

      Secondly, Because our hands which before were tied with gentleness and fair usage, are now set at liberty by the treacherous violence of the Savages not untying the Knot, but cutting it: So that we, who hitherto have had possession of no more ground than their waste, and our purchase at a valuable consideration to their own contentment, gained; may now by right of War, and law of Nations, invade the Country, and destroy them who fought to destroy us: whereby we shall enjoy their cultivated places, turning the laborious Mattock into the victorious Sword (wherein there is more both ease, benefit, and glory) and possessing the fruits of others labours. Now their cleared grounds in all their villages (which are situate in the fruitfullest places of the land) shall be inhabited by us, whereas heretofore the grubbing of woods was the greatest labour.

      Thirdly, Because those commodities which the Indians enjoyed as much or rather more than we, shall now also be entirely possessed by us. The Deer and other beasts will be in safety, and infinitely increase, which heretofore not only in the general huntings of the King (whereat four or five hundred Deer were usually slain) but by each particular Indian were destroyed at all times of the year, without any difference of Male, Dame, or Young. The like may be said of our own Swine and Goats, whereof they have used to kill eight in ten more than the English have done. There will be also a great increase of wild Turkeys, and other weighty Fowl, for the Indians never put difference of destroying the Hen, but kill them whether in season or not, whether in breeding time, or sitting on their eggs, or having new hatched, it is all one to them: whereby, as also by the orderly using of their fishing Wares, no other known Country in the world will so plentifully abound in victual.

      Fourthly, Because the way of conquering them is much more easy than of civilizing them by fair means, for they are a rude, barbarous, and naked people, scattered in small companies, which are helps to Victory, but hinderances to Civility: Besides that, a conquest may be of many, and at once; but civility is in particular, and flow, the effect of long time, and great industry. Moreover, victory of them may be gained many ways; by force, by surprise, by famine in burning their Corn, by destroying and burning their Boats, Canoes, and Houses, by breaking their fishing Wares, by assailing them in their huntings, whereby they get the greatest part of their sustenance in Winter, by pursuing and chasing them with our horses, and blood-Hounds to draw after them, and Mastiffs to tear them, which take this naked, tanned, deformed Savages, for no other than wild beasts, and are so fierce and fell upon them, that they fear them worse than their own Devil which they worship, supposing them to be a new and worse kind of Devils than their own. By these and sundry other ways, as by driving them (when they flee) upon their enemies, who are round about them, and by animating and abetting their enemies against them, may their ruin or subjection be soon effected….

      Fiftly, Because the Indians, who before were used as friends, may now most justly be compelled to servitude and drudgery, and supply the [?] of men that labour, whereby even the meanest of the Plantation may employ themselves more entirely in their Arts and Occupations, which are more generous, whilst Savages perform their inferiour works of digging in mines, and the like, of whom also some may be sent for the service of the Sommer Ilands.

      Sixtly, This will for ever hereafter make us more cautious and circumspect, as never to be deceived more by any other treacheries, but will serve for a great instruction to all posterity there, to teach them that Trust is the mother of Deceit, and to learn them that of the Italian, Chi non fida, non s’ingamuu, He that trusts is not deceived; and make them know that kindnesses are misspent upon rude natures, so long as they continue rude; as also, that Savages and Pagans are above all other for matter of Justice ever to be suspected. Thus upon this Anvil shall we now beat out to our selves an armour of proof, which shall for ever after defend us from barbarous Incursions, and from greater dangers that otherwise might happen. And so we may truly say according to the French Proverb, Aquelq, chose malheur est bon, Ill luck is good for something.

      Lastly, We have this benefit more to our comfort, because all good men do now take much more care of us than before, since the fault is on their sides, not on ours, who have used so-fair a carriage, even to our own destruction. Especially his Majesties most gracious, tender and paternal care is manifest herein, who by his Royal bounty and goodness, hath continued his many favors unto us, with a new, large, & Princely supply of Munition and Arms, out of his Majesties own store in the Tower, being graciously bestowed for the safety and advancement of the Plantation. As also his Royal favor is amply extended in a large supply of men and other necessaries throughout the whole Kingdom, which are very shortly to be sent to VIRGINIA.

      NOTE: The language and typography in this excerpt have been updated to modern English.

      SOURCE: Edward Waterhouse, A Declaration of the State of the Colony and the Affaires in Virginia (London, 1622).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Wars; Just War Theory; Religion and War



      Several thousand Puritans from England and the Massachusetts Bay Colony migrated in the mid-1630s to what is now Connecticut. In the eastern half of that region they came to loggerheads with the powerful Pequot nation whose people brooked no trespass on their domains. Violent encounters between Pequot and newcomers led to a Puritan punitive expedition in 1637. Capt. John Underhill, a Puritan settler who had gained military experience in the service of Philip William, prince of Orange, while selfexiled with his fellow Puritans in Holland, commanded the Massachusetts Bay contingent of this expedition. His account of the ensuing war includes these passages. Note the evidence of a cultural difference between the ways that Europeans their Narragansett and Mohegan allies conceived of the limits to war.

      … Having our swords in our right hand, our Carbines or Muskets in our left hand; we approached the Fort. Master Hedge being shot threw both arms, and more wounded; though it be not commendable for a man to make mention of any thing that might tend to his own honour; yet because I would have the providence of God observed, and his Name magnified, as well as for my self as others, I dare not omit, but let the world know, that deliverance was given to us that command, as well as to private soldiers. Captaine Mason and my self entering into the Wigwams, he was shot, and received many Arrows against his head-piece, God preserved him from any wounds; my self received a shot in the left hip, through a sufficient Buffcoat that if I had not been supplied with such a garment the Arrow would have pierced through me; another I received between neck and shoulders, hanging in the linen of my Head-piece, others of our soldiers were shot some through the shoulders, some in the face, some in the head, some in the legs; Captaine Mason and my self losing each of us a man, and had near twenty wounded: most courageously these Pequots behaved themselves; but seeing the Fort was too hot for us, we devised a way how we might save our selves and prejudice them; Captaine Mason entering into a Wigwam, brought out a fire-brand, after he had wounded many in the house, then he set fire on the West-side where he entered, my self set fire on the South end with a train of Powder, the fires of both meeting in the center of the Fort blazed most terribly, and burnt all in the space of half an hour; many courageous fellows were unwilling to come out, and fought most desperately through the Palisadoes, so as they were scorched and burnt with the very flame, and were deprived of their arms, in regard the fire burnt their very bowstrings, and so perished valiantly: mercy they did deserve for their valour, could we have had opportunity to have bestowed it; many were burnt in the Fort, both men, women, and children, others forced out, and came in troops to the Indians, twenty, and thirty at a time, which our soldiers received and entertained with the point of the sword; down fell men, women, and children, those that escaped us, fell into the hands of the Indians, that were in the rear of us; it is reported by themselves, that there were about four hundred souls in this Fort, and not above five of them escaped out of our hands. Great and doleful was the bloody sight to the view of young soldiers that never had been in War, to see so many souls lie gasping on the ground so thick in some places, that you could hardly pass along. It may be demanded, Why should you be so furious (as some have said) should not Christians have more mercy and compassion? But I would refer you to David's war, when a people is grown to such a height of blood, and sin against God and man, and all confederates in the action, there he hath no respect to persons, but harrows them, and saws them, and puts them to the sword, and the most terriblest death that may be; sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents; sometime the case alters: but we will not dispute it now. We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings….

      … Our Indians came to us, [sic]-eyed at our victories, and greatly admired the manner of English men's fight; but cried mach it, mach it; that is, it is naught, it is naught, because it is too furious, and slays too many men. Having received their desires, they freely promised, and gave up themselves to march along with us, wherever we would go.

      NOTE: The language and typography in this excerpt have been updated to modern English.

      SOURCE: John Underhill, Newes from America; or, a New and Experimentall Discoverie of New England (London: Peter Cole, 1638).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Wars; European Military Culture, Influence of; Just War Theory; Militarization and Militarism



      The founder of the Rhode Island colony, Roger Williams, maintained a lively correspondence with the government of his northern colonial neighbor, Massachusetts Bay. This included some protests against what he felt were that colony's failure to maintain some basic Just War principles in its dealings with Rhode Island's closest Native American neighbors, the Narragansett. Here he reminds the government in Boston that “all men of conscience or prudence ply to windward, to maintain their wars to be defensive…. ”

      To the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony To the General Court of Massachusetts Bay.

      PROVIDENCE, 5, 8, 54. (so called.)

      [October 5, 1654.]

      MUCH HONORED SIRS,—I truly wish you peace, and pray your gentle acceptance of a word, I hope not unreasonable.

      We have in these parts a sound of your meditations of war against these natives, amongst whom we dwell. I consider that war is one of those three great, sore plagues, with which it pleaseth God to affect the sons of men. I consider, also, that I refused, lately, many offers in my native country, out of a sincere desire to seek the good and peace of this.

      I remember, that upon the express advice of your ever honored Mr. Winthrop, deceased, I first adventured to begin a plantation among the thickest of these barbarians.

      That in the Pequot wars, it pleased your honored government to employ me in the hazardous and weighty service of negotiating a league between yourselves and the Narragansetts, when the Pequot messengers, who fought the Narragansetts’ league against the English, had almost ended that my work and life together.

      That at the subscribing of that solemn league, which, by the mercy of the Lord, I had procured with the Narragansetts, your government was pleased to send unto me the copy of it, subscribed by all hands there, which yet I keep as a monument and a testimony of peace and faithfulness between you both.

      That, since that time, it hath pleased the Lord so to order it, that I have been more or less interested and used in all your great transactions of war or peace, between the English and the natives, and have not spared purse, nor pains, nor hazards, (very many times,) that the whole land, English and natives, might sleep in peace securely.

      That in my last negotiations in England, with the Parliament, Council of State, and his Highness, I have been forced to be known so much, that if I should be silent, I should not only betray mine own peace and yours, but also should be false to their honorable and princely names, whose loves and affections, as well as their supreme authority are not a little concerned in the peace or war of this country.

      At my last departure for England, I was importuned by the Narragansett Sachems, and especially by Ninigret, to present their petition to the high Sachems of England, that they might not be forced from their religion, and, for not changing their religion, be invaded by war; for they said they were daily visited with threatenings by Indians that came from about the Massachusetts, that if they would not pray, they should be destroyed by war. With this their petition I acquainted, in private discourses, divers of the chief of our nation, and especially his Highness, who, in many discourses I had with him, never expressed the least tittle of displeasure, as hath been here reported, but in the midst of disputes, ever expressed a high spirit of love and gentleness, and was often pleased to please himself with very many questions, and my answers, about the Indian affairs of this country; and, after all hearing of yourself and us, it hath pleased his Highness and his Council to grant, amongst other favors to this colony, some expressly concerning the very Indians, the native inhabitants of this jurisdiction.

      I, therefore, humbly offer to your prudent and impartial view, first these two considerable terms, it pleased the Lord to use to all that profess his name (Rom 12:18,) if it be possible, and all men.

      I never was against the righteous use of the civil sword of men or nations, but yet since all men of conscience or prudence ply to windward, to maintain their wars to be defensive, (as did both King and Scotch, and English and Irish too, in the late wars,) I humbly pray your consideration, whether it be not only possible, but very easy, to live and die in peace with all the natives of this country.

      For, secondly, are not all the English of this land, generally, a persecuted people from their native soil? and hath not the God of peace and Father of mercies made these natives more friendly in this, than our native countrymen in our own land to us? Have they not entered leagues of love, and to this day continued peaceable commerce with us? Are not our families grown up in peace amongst them? Upon which I humbly ask, how it can suit with Christian ingenuity to take hold of some seeming occasions for their destructions, which, though the heads be only aimed at, yet, all experience tells us, falls on the body and the innocent.

      NOTE: The language and typography in this excerpt have been updated to modern English.

      SOURCE: Roger Williams, The Complete Writings of Roger Williams, vol. 6 (New York: Russell & Russell, 1963).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Wars; Just War Theory; Religion and War



      In September 1711 the Tuscarora people of eastern North Carolina launched an attack against encroaching European colonists. The Tuscarora were particularly disturbed by the founding of New Bern in 1710, but they were also responding to a long series of aggressive actions engaged in by traders and slave raiders. The Tuscarora's initial attacks devastated the white frontier, and North Carolinians, generally powerless to respond, asked for help. South Carolina dispatched an expedition of 33 whites and about 500 allied Native Americans (mostly Yamassee) under the command of Col. John Barnwell. Barnwell marched into the southern Tuscarora towns, and, in a complicated series of sieges, truces, broken truces, and more sieges, he forced the capitulation of a major Tuscarora force defending a fort near Hancock's Town (or Catechna). Barnwell and his men and allies returned to South Carolina. Possibly because of Barnwell's actions in taking slaves from among the Tuscarora, war quickly broke out again and would continue sporadically as late as 1715. The following excerpts from his journal convey a sense of Barnwell's tactics and attitudes toward Native Americans.

      The 29th I marched hard all day and most of the night, that if possible I might surprise this great town, but to my great disappointment they discovered us, being continually upon their guard since the massacre [i.e. the Tuscaroras’ initial attack]. Tho’ this be called a town, it is only a plantation here and there scattered about the Country, no where 5 houses together, and then 1/4 a mile such another and so on for several miles, so it is impossible to surprize many before the alarm takes. They have lately built small forts at about a miles distance from one another where ye men sleep all night & the women & children, mostly in the woods; I have seen 9 of these Forts and none of them a month old, & some not quite finished.

      [Barnwell stormed one fort at Narhontes, and]

      Next morning ye Tuscaruro town of Kenta came to attack us, but at such a distance I could not come up with them so I ordered two of Capt. Jack's Company to cross a great Swamp that lay at the back of us and ly close untill they heard our firing, and then to come on the back or rear of the Enemy if possible to surround them, accordingly they did, but being two [too] eager, they did not time [it properly, and we took] but 9 scalps & 2 prisoners which I ordered immediately to be burned alive.

      [Now with an army of 153 whites and 128 Indians, Barnwell besieged Hancock's Fort. Progress was slow, and required the digging of zigzag approach trenches. Finally the trenches came up the palisade wall, and]

      .… we gained ye ditch & sevll times fired ye pallisades wch ye enemy like desperate villians defended at an amazing rate. This siege for variety of action, salleys, attempts to be relieved from without, can’t I believe be parallelled agst Indians. Such bold attacks as they made at our trenches flinted the edge of those Raw soldiers, that tho’ they were wholly under ground yet they would quitt their posts and with extreme difficulty be prevaled upon to resume them. The subtell Enemy finding the disadvantage they were under in sallying open to attack our works took ye same method as we did and digged under ground to meet our approaches…

      [Barnwell found the effort of assault too costly in lives and especially time, so he finally offered terms under which the Tuscaroras could surrender. They agreed to a list of articles that included admitting Barnwell's force into the fort. Barnwell paraded his forces through the entrance and]

      I might see by the strength of the place a good many would be killed before it could be forced. Some base people was urging to take this opportunity [to seize the Tuscaroras] but I would sooner die. In truth they were murderers, but if our Indians found that there could be no dependence on our promises, it might prove of ill consequence …

      NOTE: The language and typography in this excerpt have been updated to modern English.

      SOURCE: “Journal of John Barnwell,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 5, no. 6 (1898–99): 42–55, 391–402.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Wars; European Military Culture, Influence of



      In the 18th century, sermons on Just War were to be heard in a number of the settled British colonies of North America. A prominent Presbyterian minister, Gilbert Tennent, offered one in Pennsylvania in the 1740s. The passages below are drawn from a sermon preached before “the Honorable [Massachusetts] Artillery Company [on] the day of their [sic] election of officers” in 1737 by the Congregationalist minister William Williams.

      … a Christian State … exposed to the Incursions and Ravages of proud, ambitious or covetous Men … is needful, that they should take care for their own Security and Defence. God can indeed, make those who are disposed to be their Enemies, to be at peace with them. And it is the highest interest of any People to labour to be in good terms with the great Ruler and Governour of the world; and to put their trust in Him, as their defence. Yet since, according to the ordinary Course of Providence, his own People have seldom enjoyed lasting peace, but have been expos’d to Invasions and Incroachments of unreasonable Men, therefore it is needful and prudent for them to be upon their Guard and Defence, and be able to repel force by force. Otherwise their Civil and Sacred Liberties, their Lives and Properties, and all that is dear unto them, may be in the utmost hazard. So that by the principles, which the God who hath made us, hath implanted in us, it is plain that Christians need Armour of Defence against their Enemies, that they may not be made a Prey unto Devourers.

      Self-preservation is a fundamental Law of humane Nature, and Christianity does not overthrow any such Laws but establish them.—This is intimated to us, by that of our Lord to his Disciples, Luk. 22, 35, 36.—He said unto them, when I sent you without purse and scrip and shoes, lacked ye any thing? and they said nothing. Then said He unto them, But now he that hath a purse let him take it,—and he that hath no Sword let him sell his Garment and buy one: Signifying, “that the Instruction which He gave them for the Execution of their first Commission, was but temporal, and for that time only observable, now the time requireth that you be armed to Encounter many Difficulties. Now the posture of your affairs will be much altered, you must expect Enemies and Oppositions; and the Tragedy will begin with me—. You stand concerned to make as good preparation as you can in these things, &c.” If our Lord does not design to teach Ministers to take Arms for their Defence, nor in the least intend that the Gospel should be propagated by the Sword; yet he intimates to them and to all succeeding Christians, that they must not expect or depend on Miracles for their Supply or Defence,—but that the Sword may become as necessary as our Cloathing.—Nor is this at all inconsistent with that Repremand of our Saviour unto Peter, Mat. 26. 52. Then said Jesus unto him, put up thy Sword now into its place; for all they that take the Sword shall perish with the Sword. For this is to be understood, of private Persons taking up the Sword against the lawful Magistrate, or Persons who have not a lawful Call or Warrant. And thus all Christians are to learn the same Lesson. Men must have the Sword orderly put into their hands, before they may use it. It was not the Design of our Saviour to set up a Temporal Kingdom, or civil Dominion, as he saith, in another place, “My Kingdom is not of this world, else would my Servants fight,” (Joh. 18. 36.) or they might reasonably do it.

      The lawfulness of weapons of War, and the benefit of well appointed Arms, disciplined and skilful Soldiers, has been well shew’d from this Desk,—Let it suffice therefore, now to suggest,

      That the LORD himself hath this Title given Him as his great Honour: particularly in that Song of Triumph after the miraculous Destruction of his People's Enemies, Exod. 15.

      Jehovah is a Man of War—. And how often is he call’d, The Lord of Hosts?—The Lord strong and mighty:—the Lord mighty in Battle!—This at least, intimates that a warlike Genius, dextrous Skill and undaunted Courage, are honourable qualifications among Men.

      NOTE: The language and typography in this excerpt have been updated to modern English.

      SOURCE: William Williams, Martial Wisdom Recommended; A Sermon Preached [to] the Honorable Artillery Company [on] the day of their election of officers (Boston, 1737).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Wars; Just War Theory; Religion and War



      Britain's imperial wars of the 18th century created seasonal demands for additional naval personnel. British naval conscription measures of the day, authorized by Parliament, were simple and direct. The vessel in need sent a “press gang” of sailors under the command of an officer ashore to draft (“impress”) unwary men possessed of no skill or trade that would have exempted them from such treatment. Commodore Charles Knowles, commanding a small squadron of warships in the vicinity of Boston in 1747, sent such a party ashore to find replacements for some sailors who had deserted. When they seized a number of likely candidates, word of their presence spread quickly and a number of Knowles's officers, dining with Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson, found themselves besieged and threatened by a large and angry mob. The lieutenant governor's report of the incident follows.

      IN 1747 (NOV. 17TH) HAPPENED a tumult in the town of Boston equal to any which had preceded it, although far short of some that have happened since. Mr. Knowles was commodore of a number of men of war then in the harbour of Nantasket. Some of the sailors had deserted. The commodore … thought it reasonable that Boston should supply him with as many men as he had lost and, sent his boats up to town early in the morning, and surprized not only as many seamen as could be found on board any of the ships, outward bound as well as others, but swept the wharfs also, taking some ship carpenters apprentices and labouring land men. However tolerable such a surprize might have been in London it could not be borne here. The people had not been used to it and men of all orders resented it, but the lower class were beyond measure enraged and soon assembled with sticks, clubs, pitchmops, etc. They first seized an innocent lieutenant who happened to be ashore upon other business. They had then formed no scheme, and the speaker of the house passing by and assuring them that he knew that the lieutenant had no hand in the press they suffered him to be led off to a place of safety. The mob increasing and having received intelligence that several of the commanders were at the governor's house, it was agreed to go and demand satisfaction. The house was soon surrounded and the court, or yard before the house, filled, but many persons of discretion inserted themselves and prevailed so far as to prevent the mob from entering. Several of the officers had planted themselves at the head of the stair way with loaded carbines and seemed determined to preserve their liberty or lose their lives. A deputy sheriff attempting to exercise his authority, was seized by the mob and carried away in triumph and set in the stocks, which afforded them diversion and tended to abate their rage and disposed them to separate and go to dinner.

      As soon as it was dusk, several thousand people assembled in king-street, below the town house where the general court was sitting. Stones and brickbatts were thrown through the glass into the council chamber. The governor, however, with several gentlemen of the council and house ventured into the balcony and, after silence was obtained, the governor in a well judged speech expressed his great disapprobation of the impress and promised his utmost endeavours to obtain the discharge of every one of the inhabitants, and at the same time gently reproved the irregular proceedings both of the forenoon and evening. Other gentlemen also attempted to persuade the people to disperse and wait to see what steps the general court would take. All was to no purpose. The seizure and restraint of the commanders and other officers who were in town was insisted upon as the only effectual method to procure the release of the inhabitants aboard the ships.

      It was thought advisable for the governor to withdraw to his house, many of the officers of the militia and other gentlemen attending him. A report was raised that a barge from one of the ships was come to a wharf in the town. The mob flew to seize it, but by mistake took a boat belonging to a Scotch ship and dragged it, with as much seeming ease through the street as if it had been in the water, to the governor's house and prepared to burn it before the house, but from a consideration of the danger of setting the town on fire were diverted and the boat was burnt in a place of less hazard. The next day the governor ordered that the military officers of Boston should cause their companies to be mustered and to appear in arms, and that a military watch should be kept the succeeding night, but the drummers were interrupted and the militia refused to appear. The governor did not think it for his honour to remain in town another night and privately withdrew to the castle. A number of gentlemen who had some intimation of his design, sent a message to him by Col. Hutchinson, assuring him they would stand by him in maintaining the authority of government and restoring peace and order, but he did not think this sufficient.

      The governor wrote to Mr. Knowles representing the confusions occasioned by this extravagant act of his officers, but he refused all terms of accommodation until the commanders and other officers on shore were suffered to go on board their ships, and he threatened to bring up his ships and bombard the town, and some of them coming to sail, caused different conjectures of his real intention. Capt. Erskine of the Canterbury had been seized at the house of Col. Brinley in Roxbury and given his parole not to go aboard, and divers inferior officers had been secured.

      The 17th, 18th and part of the 19th, the council and house of representatives, sitting in the town, went on with their ordinary business, not willing to interpose lest they should encourage other commanders of the navy to future acts of the like nature, but towards noon of the 19th some of the principal members of the house began to think more seriously of the dangerous consequence of leaving the governor without support when there was not the least ground of exception to his conduct. Some high spirits in the town began to question whether his retiring should be deemed a desertion or abdication. It was moved to appoint a committee of the two houses to consider what was proper to be done. This would take time and was excepted to, and the speaker was desired to draw up such resolves as it was thought necessary the house should immediately agree to, and they were passed by a considerable majority and made public.

      In the house of representatives, Nov. 19th, 1747.

      Resolved, that there has been and still continues, a tumultuous riotous assembling of armed seamen, servants, negroes and others in the town of Boston, tending to the destruction of all government and order.

      Resolved, that it is incumbent on the civil and military officers in the province to exert themselves to the utmost, to discourage and suppress all such tumultuous riotous proceedings whensoever they may happen.

      Resolved, that this house will stand by and support with their lives and estates his excellency the governor and the executive part of the government in all endeavors for this purpose.

      Resolved, that this house will exert themselves by all ways and means possible in redressing such grievances as his majesty's subjects are and have been under, which may have been the cause of the aforesaid tumultuous disorderly assembling together.

      T.Hutchinson, Speaker.

      The council passed a vote ordering that Captain Erskine and all other officers belonging to his majesty's ships should be forthwith set at liberty and protected by the government, which was concurred by the house. As soon as these votes were known, the tumultuous spirit began to subside. The inhabitants of the town of Boston assembled in town meeting in the afternoon, having been notified to consider, in general, what was proper for them to do upon this occasion, and notwithstanding it was urged by many that all measures to suppress the present spirit in the people would tend to encourage the like oppressive acts for the future, yet the contrary party prevailed and the town, although they expressed their sense of the great insult and injury by the impress, condemned the tumultuous riotous acts of such as had insulted the governor and the other branches of the legislature and committed many other heinous offences.

      The governor, not expecting so favorable a turn, had wrote to the secretary to prepare orders for the colonels of the regiments of Cambridge, Roxbury and Milton and the regiment of horse to have their officers and men ready to march at an hour's warning to such place of rendezvous as he should direct; … Commodore [Knowles] dismissed most, if not all, of the inhabitants who had been impressed, and the squadron sailed to the great joy of the rest of the town.

      SOURCE: Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Colony of Massachusetts-Bay, 2nd ed. (London, 1765–1828), 2: 489–92.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Militia Systems; Colonial Wars; Impressment



      European and American colonial military forces were often accompanied by women—spouses of soldiers serving in the regiment or others employed to cook, sew, and wash for the troops. When the soldier-husband of such a “camp follower” was killed, or when he ran afoul of military discipline, the man's wife could experience real distress, especially if, as in this case, she reacted in a manner that offended the power-that-was.


      4th June 1759

      Honoured Sr/

      Please to hear the Petition of your Poor unfortunate Servant Martha May now confined in Carlisle Gaol Please your Honr as my husband is an Old Soldier and Seeing him taken out of the Ranks to be Confined Put me in Such a Passion that I was almost beside myself but being informed, after that I abused Yr Honour, to a High degree for which I ask Yr Honour a Thousand Pardons, and am Really Sorrow for what I have said&done; Knowing Yr Honour to be a Compationate, and Merciful Man, I beg and hope you will take it into Consideration that it was the Love I had for my Poor husband; and no—hill will to Yr Honour, which was the cause of abusing so good a Colonel as you are. Please to Sett me at Liberty this time & I never will dis-oblige yr Honour nor any other Officer belonging to the Army for the future as I have been a Wife 22 years and have Traveld with my Husband every Place or Country the Company Marcht too and have workt veryhard ever since I was in the Army I hope yr honour will be so Good as to pardon me this [onct (stricken out)] time that I may go with my Poor Husband one time more to carry him and my good officers water in ye hottest Battles as I have done before.

      I am

      Yr unfortunate petitioner and Humble Servant

      Mara May

      [Endorsed] Petition of Martha May to carry Water to the Soldiers in the heat of Battle.


      To the Right Honble Colonel Bouquet

      SOURCE: Martha May to Henry Bouquet, June 4, 1758, in The Papers of Henry Bouquet, vol. 2, page 30.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Camp Followers; Colonial Wars; Families, Military; Women in the Military



      Frontier friction between the Cherokee of the southern Appalachians and white settlers led to three expeditions against the Cherokee from 1759 to 1761. The 1760 expedition had destroyed a number of Cherokee villages, but had not ended the war. In the following excerpts, British Gen. Jeffrey Amherst and Lt. Col. James Grant, the designated commander of an expedition to begin in the spring of 1761, discuss how to defeat the Cherokee. Their discussion highlights a number of patterns in British wars against Native Americans: the intention to “chastise” rather than conquer; the reliance on devastation as a strategy; and the seemingly insoluble problem of what to do if indigenous peoples merely fled and refused to surrender or make peace.

      [Amherst to Grant to December 21, 1760.]

      [Y]ou will proceed to the inland frontiers, or wheresoever the enemy may be within the Province of S. Carolina; & act against them offensively by destroying their towns & cutting up their settlements as shall occur best to you for the future protection of the Colony; the lives & the properties of the subjects; the most effectual chastisement of the Cherokees; the reducing of them to the absolute necessity of suing for pardon & peace; & the putting it out of their power of renewing hostilities with any degree of imminent danger to the Province. Immediately after you have completed this service, as I observed before, you are, with the troops under your command, to return to Charlestown, & to embark with the whole on your return here [New York], …

      … No people are more easily surprised than Indians, they must at all times be pushed. If they are, they will not stand, but trust to flight and are easily conquered, so no people are more dangerous enemies when given way to, as their motions are very quick, and their howlings, with the notions the soldiers are too apt to have of their barbarities, create the greatest confusion …

      Grant replied to Amherst's above orders by asking a series of questions. This letter preserves both Grant's questions and Amherst's replies. One of Grant's questions asked:

      Query 3rd: After cutting up the Indian settlements, and following the Cherokees as far as troops can with any degree of safety, supposing they retire only, and don’t ask for peace, what is to be done?

      Answer: You are to pursue the Cherokees as far as shall be practicable; to distress them to your utmost; & not to return until you have compelled them into a peace, or that you receive orders for so doing….

      SOURCE: Edith Mays, ed., Amherst Papers, 1756–1763, The Southern Sector, (Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1999), 153–54, 163.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Wars



      Once the Seven Years’ (French and Indian) War had ended, the Crown and Parliament, under pressure from an officer serving therein, decided to provide support for some regiments that had not been maintained in peacetime prior to that war. Several companies of men belonging to regiments that had served in the North American theater of the war were based in colonial seaport cities and taxes were levied on the colonists to pay for them. These taxes prompted widespread resistance, and a constitutional crisis emerged that led to a flurry of pamphlets supporting one side or the other. In one such pamphlet, these inflammatory passages, probably penned by a British officer and veteran of the war in America, must have infuriated colonial New Englanders who saw it.

      I take your word for it … and believe you are as sober, temperate, upright, humane and virtuous, as the posterity of independents and anabaptists, presbyterians and quakers, convicts and felons, savages and negro-worshippers, can be; that you are as loyal subjects, as obedient to the laws, as zealous for the maintenance of order and good government, as your late actions evince you to be; and I affirm that you have much need of the gentlemen of the blade to polish and refine your manners, to inspire you with an honest frankness and openness of behaviour, to rub off the rust of puritanism and to make you ashamed of proposing in your assemblies, as you have lately done, to pay off no more debts due to your original native country.

      SOURCE: The Justice and Necessity of Taxing the American Colonies Demonstrated (London, 1766).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Economy and War; Revolutionary War

      1768 a


      Fear of and disdain for “standing armies” came, to one degree or another, in every ship carrying successive waves of colonists from the British Isles. The earliest settlers recalled Charles I's garrisoning of his Irish regulars in English cities. Others had read of the occasional encroachments on civilian control by Rome's Praetorian Guard or the condotierri of the Italian city-states. When the Crown garrisoned British regulars at Boston, men like Samuel Adams (writing as “Vindex”) soon raised those fears in the pages of the December 12, 1768, issue of the Boston Gazette.

      IT IS A VERY IMPROBABLE SUPPOSITION, that any people can long remain free, with a strong military power in the very heart of their country:—Unless that military power is under the direction of the people, and even then it is dangerous.—History, both ancient and modern, affords many instances of the overthrow of states and kingdoms by the power of soldiers, who were rais’d and maintain’d at first, under the plausible pretence of defending those very liberties which they afterwards destroyed. Even where there is a necessity of the military power, within the land, which by the way but rarely happens, a wise and prudent people will always have a watchful & jealous eye over it; for the maxims and rules of the army, are essentially different from the genius of a free people, and the laws of a free government. Soldiers are used to obey the absolute commands of their superiors: It is death for them, in the field, to dispute their authority, or the rectitude of their orders; and sometimes they may be shot upon the spot without ceremony. The necessity of things makes it highly proper that they should be under the absolute controul of the officer who commands them; who saith unto one come, and he cometh, and to another go, and he goeth. Thus being inured to that sort of government in the field and in the time of war, they are too apt to retain the same idea, when they happen to be in civil communities and in a time of peace: And even their officers, being used to a sort of sovereignty over them, may sometimes forget, that when quartered in cities, they are to consider themselves & their soldiers, in no other light than as a family in the community; numerous indeed, but like all other families and individuals, under the direction of the civil magistrate, and the controul of the common law—Like them, they are to confine their own rules and maxims within their own circle; nor can they be suppos’d to have a right or authority to oblige the rest of the community or any individuals, to submit to or pay any regard to their rules and maxims, any more than one family has to obtrude its private method of economy upon another.

      It is of great importance, and I humbly conceive it ought to be the first care of the community, when soldiers are quartered among them, by all means to convince them, that they are not to give law, but to receive it: It is dangerous to civil society, when the military conceives of it self as an independent body, detach’d from the rest of the society, and subject to no controul: And the danger is greatly increased and becomes alarming, when the society itself yields to such an ill grounded supposition: If this should be the case, how easy would it be for the soldiers, if they alone should have the sword in their hands, to use it wantonly, and even to the great annoyance and terror of the citizens, if not to their destruction. What should hinder them, if once it is a given point, that the society has no law to restrain them, and they are dispos’d to do it? And how long can we imagine it would be, upon such a supposition, before the tragical scene would begin; especially if we consider further, how difficult it is to keep a power, in its nature much less formidable, and confessedly limited, within its just bounds!—That constitution which admits of a power without a check, admits of a tyranny: And that people, who are not always on their guard, to make use of the remedy of the constitution, when there is one, to restrain all kinds of power, and especially the military, from growing exorbitant, must blame themselves for the mischief that may befall them in consequence of their inattention: Or if they do not reflect on their own folly, their posterity will surely curse them, for entailing upon them chains and slavery.

      I am led to these reflections from the appearance of the present times; when one wou’d be apt to think, there was like to be a speedy change of the civil, for a military government in this province. No one I believe can be at a loss to know, by whose influence, or with what intentions, the troops destin’d for the defence of the colonies, have been drawn off, so many of them, from their important stations, and posted in this town. Whether they are to be consider’d as marching troops, or a standing army, will be better determined, when the minister who has thus dispos’d of them, or G. B——d,* or the Commissioners of the customs, if he or they sent for them, shall explain the matter; as they who did send for them, assuredly will, to Britain and America. I dare challenge them, or any others to prove that there was the least necessity for them here, for the profess’d purpose of their coming, namely to prevent or subdue rebels and traitors: I will further venture to affirm, that he must be either a knave or a fool, if he has any tolerable acquaintance with the people of this town and province, nay, that he must be a traitor himself who asserts it. I know very well, that the whole continent of America is charg’d by some designing men with treason and rebellion, for vindicating their constitutional and natural rights: But I must tell these men on both sides the atlantic, that no other force but that of reason & sound argument on their part, of which we have hitherto seen but precious little, will prevail upon us, to relinquish our righteous claim:—Military power is by no means calculated to convince the understandings of men: It may in another part of the world, affright women and children, and perhaps some weak men out of their senses, but will never awe a sensible American tamely to surrender his liberty.—Among the brutal herd the strongest horns are the strongest laws; and slaves, who are always to be rank’d among the servile brutes, may cringe, under a tyrant's brow: But to a reasonable being, one I mean who acts up to his reason, there is nothing in military achievement, any more than in knight errantry, so terrifying as to induce him to part with the choicest gift that Heaven bestows on man.

      But whatever may be the design of this military appearance; whatever use some persons may intend and expect to make of it: This we all know, and every child in the street is taught to know it; that while a people retain a just sense of Liberty, as blessed be God, this people yet do, the insolence of power will for ever be despised; and that in a city in the midst of civil society, especially in a time of peace, soldiers of all ranks, like all other men, are to be protected, govern’d, restrain’d, rewarded or punish’d by the Law of the Land.

      *[Editor's Note: “G. B——d” refers to the Massachusetts Bay Colony's Governor, Francis Bernard; direct reference to Bernard might have invited a charge against the Boston Gazette of seditious libel.]

      SOURCE: Article signed “Vindex,” Boston Gazette, December 12, 1768, as given in The Writings of Samuel Adams, ed. H. A. Cushing (Boston, 1904), 1: 264–68.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil–Military Relations; Just War Theory; Militarization and Militarism; Revolutionary War

      1768 b


      During the late 1760s, a vigorous protest movement developed in the piedmont counties of North Carolina. Small farmers for the most part, they called themselves “Regulators,” referring to their desire to “regulate” the workings of local government, which they felt had become increasingly corrupt. In the summer of 1768 Royal Gov. William Tryon sought to raise a militia to protect the upcoming fall court session in Hillsborough—in the heart of Regulator country. In this excerpt, Tryon describes his efforts to convince the militia of Rowan County (also a piedmont county) to join his expedition. It is a vivid example of the ways in which elite leaders in the colonial era found themselves negotiating for the allegiance and support of the militia. Here Tryon pulled out all the stops, meeting separately with the officers, showing letters of support from a variety of ministers, and then manipulating the traditional militia muster to try to garner the support of the militiamen.

      July 6, 1768-October 2, 1768

      Fryday 26th August. Eleven companies of the Rowan regiment marched into Town before 12 o’clock when the Governor ordered all the Captains and Field Officers to repair to Mr Montgomery's where he communicated to them the transactions that had passed between him and the Insurgents, at the same time that he read the several correspondence between them, except the Insurgents first address to the Governor and the Papers that accompanied them, which the time would not permit him to do. However the Governor explained the full extent and purport of them. The Governor also laid before these gentlemen the great necessity of a strict union of every honest man and well wisher of his Country at a juncture when the calamities of a civil war were impending. Colonel Osborn then spoke warmly in support of Government and the Liberties and Properties of the Inhabitants, which he said was in great Danger if these Insurgents should be able to overturn Hillsborough Superior Court. He then read a letter from four dissenting ministers directed to their Brethren the Presbyterians, wherein the wicked conduct and practises of the Insurgents were sensibly touched upon, the support of Government earnestly recommended and enforced—vide letter.

      The Officers then desired to have a Conference among themselves and retired to a private room. In less than an hour they waited on the Governor again, when Colonel Osborn in the name of the whole returned the Governor their hearty thanks for the trouble he had taken to preserve the Peace of this Province, and told him it was at the request of those gentlemen that he assured the Governor they would unanimously assist him in the cause in hand with their utmost efforts. The Governor then marched into the field to review the regiment; as he passed along the front of the regiment, he spoke to every Company explaining to them the danger this country was in from the rash, obstinate & violent Proceedings of the insurgents, and that if every honest man and man of property would not with fortitude stand up in support of their liberties and Properties, this Province would inevitably fall into a civil war. That he should have occasion for a body of men to preserve the Peace at the next Superiour Court of Hillsborough, which was threatened to be attempted under solemn Oath by the Insurgents –That for this service he should draft no men, but receive those only who turned out Volunteers That after the Battalion had fired and a Discharge of the Artillery The Governor should order all those who were willing to serve His Majesty King George and protect the Liberties of the Country to move out of their ranks and join His Majesty's union colours in the front of the regiment, accordingly as soon as the regiment had gone through their Fire by companies and the discharge of three pieces of artillery the Governor invited all His Majesty's Subjects, friends to the Liberties & Properties of their Country, to join the King's colours and immediately quitted his horse, took the King's colours in his hand, inviting the Volunteers to turn out to them. The first Company that joined the union Colours was Captain Dobbins’, upon which the Governor took Captain Dobbins’ Colours (each Company having a pair of Colours) and delivered the King's Colours into the hands of the ensign of that Company; congratulating Capt: Dobbins (who had been in service) on the honour he had obtained and merited. Other Companies immediately followed the first and in a few moments there was but one Company in the Field that declined turning out the Captain of which however honourably quitted his Company and joined the Kings Colours. Each Company as it joined the Colours was saluted with three huzzas and the whole with a discharge of the Swivel guns after which the men joined again in a battalion grounded their arms, went to the right about, and marched to refresh themselves with the Provisions His Excellency had provided for them. They were ordered to stand to their arms, when each man in the ranks had a drink of either Beer or Tody, to His Majesty's health and prosperity to North Carolina – It is to be observed that one Company (Captain Knoxes) did not turn out to join His Majesty's Colours as Volunteers but remained in their ranks and afterwards without partaking of the refreshments provided, marched out of the Field carrying that shame and disgrace with them, and the just contempt of the Regiment, which their conduct apparently incurred. The Battalion was then dismissed, and the Field Officers, Captains and Gentlemen waited on the Governor to dinner, where the health of His Majesty and the Royal Family, Prosperity to the Province and success to the Rowan and Mecklenburg Volunteers were drank.

      SOURCE: The Regulators in North Carolina: A Documentary History, 1759–1776 (Raleigh, N.C.: State Department of Archives and History, 1971).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Militia Systems; Colonial Wars; Militarization and Militarism



      The Fatal Fifth of March, 1770—also known as “The Boston Massacre”—was regarded in New England as a consequence of the stationing of British troops in colonial urban centers like Boston and New York, where off-duty soldiers competed for work with local artisans. For many years New Englanders gathered on March 5 to hear orations like this one by the man who would die commanding Massachusetts's troops at Bunker Hill three years later:

      The ruinous consequences of standing armies to free communities may be seen in the histories of SYRACUSE, ROME, and many other once flourishing STATES; some of which have now scarce a name! Their baneful influence is most suddenly felt, when they are placed in populous cities; for, by a corruption of morals, the public happiness is immediately affected; and that this is one of the effects of quartering troops in a populous city, is a truth, to which many a mourning parent, many a lost, despairing child in this metropolis, must bear a very melancholy testimony. Soldiers are also taught to consider arms as the only arbiters by which every dispute is to be decided between contending states; —they are instructed implicitly to obey their commanders, without enquiring into the justice of the cause they are engaged to support: Hence it is, that they are ever to be dreaded as the ready engines of tyranny and oppression. —And it is too observable that they are prone to introduce the same mode of decision in the disputes of individuals, and from thence have often arisen great animosities between them and the inhabitants, who whilst in a naked defenceless state, are frequently insulted and abused by an armed soldiery. And this will be more especially the case, when the troops are informed, that the intention of their being stationed in any city, is to overawe the inhabitants. That, this was the avowed design of stationing an armed force in this town, is sufficiently known; and we, my fellowcitizens have seen, we have felt the tragical effects! —THE FATAL FIFTH OF MARCH 1770, can never be forgotten—the horrors of THAT DREADFUL NIGHT are but too deeply impressed on our hearts—Language is too feeble to paint the emotions of our souls, when our streets were stained with the BLOOD OF OUR BRETHREN, —when our ears were wounded by the groans of the dying, and our eyes were tormented with the sight of the mangled bodies of the dead. —When our alarmed imagination presented to our view our houses wrapt in flames, —our children subjected to the barbarous caprice of the raging soldiery—our beauteous virgins exposed to all the insolence of unbridled passion, —our virtuous wives endeared to us by every tender tie, falling a sacrifice to worse than brutal violence, and perhaps like the famed Lucretia, distracted with anguish and despair, ending their wretched lives by their own fair hands. —When we beheld the authors of our distress parading in our streets, or drawn up in regular battallia, as though a hostile city; our hearts beat to arms; we snatched our weapons, almost resolved by one decisive stroke, to avenge the death of our SLAUGHTERED BRETHREN, and to secure from future danger, all that we held most dear; But propitious heaven forbade the bloody carnage, and saved the threatened victims of our too keen resentment, not by their discipline, not by their regular army,—no, it was royal George's livery that proved their shield—it was that which turned the pointed engines of destruction from their breasts.!!! The thoughts of vengeance were soon buried in our inbred affection to Great Britain, and calm reason dictated a method of removing the troops more mild than an immediate recourse to the sword. With united efforts you urged the immediate departure of the troops from the town—you urged it, with a resolution which ensured success—you obtained your wishes, and the removal of the troops was effected, without one drop of their blood being shed by the inhabitants.

      !!! I have the strongest reason to believe that I have mentioned the only circumstance which saved the troops from destruction. It was then, and now is, the opinion of those who were best acquainted with the state of affairs at that time, that had thrice that number of troops, belonging to any power at open war with us, been in this town in the same exposed condition, scarce a man would have lived to have seen the morning light.

      The immediate actors in the tragedy of that night were surrendered to justice.—It is not mine to say how far they were guilty! they have been tried by the country and ACQUITTED of murder! And they are not to be again arraigned at an earthly bar: But, surely the men who have promiscuously scattered death amidst the innocent inhabitants of a populous city, ought to see well to it, that they be prepared to stand at the bar of an omniscient judge! And all who contrived or encouraged the stationing troops in this place, have reasons of eternal importance, to reflect with deep contrition on their base designs, and humbly to repent of their impious machinations….

      Even in the dissolute reign of King Charles II, when the house of Commons impeached the Earl of Clarendon of high treason, the first article on which they founded their accusation was, that “he had designed a standing army to be raised, and to govern the kingdom thereby.” And the eighth article was, that “he had introduced arbitrary government into his Majesty's plantations.” —A terrifying example, to those who are now forging chains for this Country!

      You have my friends and countrymen often frustrated the designs of your enemies, by your unanimity and fortitude: It was your union and determined spirit which expelled those troops, who polluted your streets with INNOCENT BLOOD. —You have appointed this anniversary as a standing memorial of the BLOODY CONSEQUENCES OF PLACING AN ARMED FORCE IN A POPULOUS CITY, and of your deliverance from the dangers which then seemed to hang over your heads; and I am confident that you never will betray the least want of spirit when called upon to guard your freedom. —None but they who set a just value upon the blessing of Liberty are worthy to enjoy her.

      SOURCE: Joseph Warren, The Dangers of Standing Armies (Boston: Edes and Gill, 1772).

      RELATED ENTRIES: European Military Culture, Influence of; Militarization and Militarism



      As colonial economies and societies developed, their laws about their militias tended to change as well. A growing number of classes of artisans and professions, deemed indispensable to the vitality of the colony, were exempted from militia duties. The original militia law for the Carolinas in 1669 required “all inhabitants and freemen … above 17 years of age and under 60” to be “bound to bear arms, and serve as soldiers when the grand council shall find it necessary.” By 1774 the law in North Carolina read as follows:

      WHEREAS A MILITIA may be necessary for the defence and safety of this province.

      I. Be it Enacted by the Governor, Council and Assembly and by the Authority of the same That all Freemen and Servants within this province between the Age of Sixteen and Sixty shall compose the Militia thereof and that the several Captains of the same shall Enroll the names of all such Freemen and Servants of which their several Companies consist and shall at their respective General Musters return a Copy thereof to the Colonel of their respective Regiments under the Penalty of Five Pounds Proclamation money to be levied by a Warrant of Distress from the Colonel of their Regiment directed to the Sheriff of the County to which the said Regiment belongs which Sheriff shall be paid out of the said Penalty the sum of ten Shillings: and in case any Sheriff shall neglect or refuse to serve such Warrant he shall forfeit and pay the sum of five pounds to be recovered by action of Debt in any court of Record and be applied as hereinafter directed which Copy so returned shall by every Colonel be returned to the Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being under the like Penalty and that all persons after being so Enrolled who shall at any time (Unless rendered incapable by sickness or other accident) neglect or refuse when called upon to appear at such times and places where Ordered by the Colonel or Commanding Officer, there to be mustered, Trained and exercised in Arms and be provided with a well fixed Gun shall forfeit and pay it at a private Muster five Shillings, if at a General Muster Ten Shillings and shall also be provided with a Cartouch Box, Sword, Cutlass, or Hanger, and have at least Nine Charges of powder made into Cartridges and sizeable Bullets or Swann Shot and three Spare Flints a Worm and a picker under the Penalty if at a private Muster the Sum of two Shillings and Six pence if at a General Muster Five Shillings to be levied by a Warrant of distress from the Captain of the Company directed to the Serjeant of the same who is hereby impowered to Execute the said Warrant and distrain for the said Fines and Penalties in the same manner as Sheriffs are impowered to distrain for public Taxes and shall make return thereof to the Captain which Serjeant shall deduct one Shilling and four pence out of every Fine so levied and in Case such Serjeant or Serjeants shall neglect or refuse to serve any Warrant or Warrants to him or them so directed he or they for such Neglect or refusal shall be fined Twenty Shillings to be recovered by a Warrant from the Captain directed to any other Serjeant under the same Penalty to be accounted for and applied as other fines in this Act directed….

      III. Provided also, That no member of his Majesty's Council, no member of Assembly, no Minister of the Church of England, no Protestant Dissenting Minister regularly called to any Congregation in this Province, no Justice of the Superior Courts, Secretary, Practising Attorney, no man who has borne a Military Commission as high as that of a Captain or Commissioned Officer who has served in the army, no Justice of the Peace, nor any Person who hath acted under a Commission of the Peace, no Clerk of the Court of Justice, Practicing Physician, Surgeon, Schoolmaster having the Tuition of ten Scholars, Ferryman, Overseer having the care of six Taxable slaves, Inspectors, Public Millers, Coroners, Constables, Overseers and Commissioners of Public Roads, Searchers, or Branch Pilots so long as they continue in office shall be obliged to enlist themselves or appear at such musters.

      IV. Provided nevertheless, That in case any such Overseer having the Care of six Taxable Slaves shall be seen in the muster Field on the days of General or Private musters they shall be liable to a Fine of forty shillings to be levied by a Warrant from the Colonel or Commanding Officer and applied as other Fines in this Act directed.

      V. And be it further Enacted, by the Authority aforesaid, That if the Captain, Lieutenant, or Ensign, or any Two of them shall adjudge any Person or Persons enrolled as aforesaid, to be incapable of providing and furnishing him or themselves with the Arms, Ammunition, and Accoutrements, required by this Act, every such Person shall be exempt from the Fines and Forfeitures imposed by Virtue of this Act until such Arms, Ammunition, and Accoutrements, shall be provided for and delivered him by the Court Martial; to be paid for out of the Fines already collected, and that may hereafter be collected….

      SOURCE: Walter Clark, ed., State Records of North Carolina, 26 vols. (Winston-Salem, N.C., 1895–1914), 23: 940–41.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Militia Systems; Conscription and Volunteerism; European Military Culture, Influence of; National Guard; Revolutionary War



      Peter Oliver, a prominent Tory active in the service of “king and country,” asked a Revolutionary lieutenant captured at Bunker Hill how he had decided to serve. Although we cannot know with certainty whether the lieutenant, William Scott, was being truthful, or whether he was quoted correctly, we do know that he went on to serve in a Patriot uniform (violating his parole) after having been released by the British; in any event, he is quoted as having replied:

      The case was this Sir! I lived in a Country Town; I was a Shoemaker, & got my Living by my Labor. When this Rebellion came on, I saw some of my Neighbors get into Commission, who were no better than myself. I was very ambitious, & did not like to see those Men above me. I was asked to enlist, as a private Soldier. My Ambition was too great for so low a Rank; I offered to enlist upon having a Lieutenants Commission; which was granted. I imagined my self now in a way of Promotion: if I was killed in Battle, there would an end of me, but if my Captain was killed, I should rise in Rank, & should still have a Chance to rise higher. These Sir! were the only Motives of my entering into the Service; for as to the Dispute between great Britain & the Colonies, I know nothing of it; neither am I capable of judging whether it is right or wrong.

      SOURCE: Douglass Adair and John A. Shutz, eds., Peter Oliver's Origin and Progress of the American Revolution (San Marino, Calif.: Huntington Library, 1961), 130. For a discussion of Scott see John Shy, A People Numerous and Armed (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), 165–79.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Conscription and Volunteerism; Prisoners of War; Revolutionary War

      1776 a


      The states’ “Patriot” militias were, with a few exceptions, more representative of the socioeconomic structure of the states than were the regiments that each state raised for the Continental Line. Most of the latter contracted to serve for longer periods of time than did the members of the state militias. We know the socioeconomic composition of a few of these Continental Line units. This table is based on Mark Lender's analysis of 88 New Jersey officers and 710 enlisted men on the muster rolls between late 1776 and mid-1780 (the only period when the records were sufficiently detailed to enable him to conduct the analysis).

      Percentage of Enlisted Men from:
      Lower Third2Middle ThirdUpper Third3
      Percentage of Officers from:
      Lower ThirdMiddle ThirdUpper Third4
      1 Based on data in Lender, “Enlisted Line,” chap. 4.
      2 Includes 46 percent propertyless soldiers.
      3 Includes 1 percent of the soldiers in the wealthiest tenth.
      4 Includes 31.8 percent of the officers in the wealthiest tenth.

      SOURCE: Mark Edward Lender, “The Social Structure of the New Jersey Brigade: The Continental Line as an American Standing Army,” in The Military in America from the Colonial Era to the Present, ed. Peter Karsten (New York: Free Press, 1980), 70.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Militia Systems; Conscription and Volunteerism; Continental Army; Economy and War; Revolutionary War

      1776 b


      The following is an excerpt from a letter written by George Washington, serving as general of the Continental Army, to the Continental Congress. In it, Washington addresses the Congress's view on reenlistment difficulties and details his observations about the state militia forces, Army discipline, and the selection of officers:

      To The President of Congress

      Colonel Morris's, on the Heights of Harlem,

      September 24, 1776.

      It is in vain to expect, that any (or more than a trifling) part of this Army will again engage in the Service on the encouragement offered by Congress. When Men find that their Townsmen and Companions are receiving 20, 30, and more Dollars, for a few Months Service, (which is truely the case) it cannot be expected; without using compulsion; and to force them into the Service would answer no valuable purpose. When Men are irritated, and the Passions inflamed, they fly hastely and chearfully to Arms; but after the first emotions are over, to expect, among such People, as compose the bulk of an Army, that they are influenced by any other7 principles than those of Interest, is to look for what never did, and I fear never will happen; the Congress will deceive themselves therefore if they expect it.

      A Soldier reasoned with upon the goodness of the cause he is engaged in, and the inestimable rights he is contending for, hears you with patience, and acknowledges the truth of your observations, but adds, that it is of no more Importance to him than others. The Officer makes you the same reply, with this further remark, that his pay will not support him, and he cannot ruin himself and Family to serve his Country, when every Member of the community is equally Interested and benefitted by his Labours. The few therefore, who act upon Principles of disinterestedness, are, comparatively speaking, no more than a drop in the Ocean. It becomes evidently clear then, that as this Contest is not likely to be the Work of a day; as the War must be carried on systematically, and to do it, you must have good Officers, there are, in my Judgment, no other possible means to obtain them but by establishing your Army upon a permanent footing; and giving your Officers good pay; this will induce Gentlemen, and Men of Character to engage; and till the bulk of your Officers are composed of such persons as are actuated by Principles of honour, and a spirit of enterprize, you have little to expect from them.—They ought to have such allowances as will enable them to live like, and support the Characters of Gentlemen; and not be driven by a scanty pittance to the low, and dirty arts which many of them practice, to filch the Public of more than the difference of pay would amount to upon an ample allowe. besides, something is due to the Man who puts his life in his hands, hazards his health, and forsakes the Sweets of domestic enjoyments. Why a Captn. in the Continental Service should receive no more than 5/. Curry [5 s. currency] per day, for performing the same duties that an officer of the same Rank in the British Service receives 10/. Sterlg. for, I never could conceive; especially when the latter is provided with every necessary he requires, upon the best terms, and the former can scarce procure them, at any Rate. There is nothing that gives a Man consequence, and renders him fit for Command, like a support that renders him Independant of every body but the State he Serves.

      With respect to the Men, nothing but a good bounty can obtain them upon a permanent establishment; and for no shorter time than the continuance of the War, ought they to be engaged; as Facts incontestibly prove, that the difficulty, and cost of Inlistments, increase with time. When the Army was first raised at Cambridge, I am persuaded the Men might have been got without a bounty for the War: after this, they began to see that the Contest was not likely to end so speedily as was immagined, and to feel their consequence, by remarking, that to get the Militia In, in the course of last year, many Towns were induced to give them a bounty. Foreseeing the Evils resulting from this, and the destructive consequences which unavoidably would follow short Inlistments, I took the Liberty in a long Letter, … to recommend the Inlistments for and during the War; assigning such Reasons for it, as experience has since convinced me were well founded. At that time twenty Dollars would, I am persuaded, have engaged the Men for this term. But it will not do to look back, and if the present opportunity is slip’d, I am perswaded that twelve months more will Increase our difficulties fourfold. I shall therefore take the freedom of giving it as my opinion, that a good Bounty be immediately offered, aided by the proffer of at least 100, or 150 Acres of Land and a suit of Cloaths and Blankt, to each non-Comd. [noncommissioned] Officer and Soldier; as I have good authority for saying, that however high the Men's pay may appear, it is barely sufficient in the present scarcity and dearness of all kinds of goods, to keep them in Cloaths, much less afford support to their Families. If this encouragement then is given to the Men, and such Pay allowed the Officers as will induce Gentlemen of Character and liberal Sentiments to engage; and proper care and precaution are used in the nomination (having more regard to the Characters of Persons, than the Number of Men they can Inlist) we should in a little time have an Army able to cope with any that can be opposed to it, as there are excellent Materials to form one out of: but while the only merit an Officer possesses is his ability to raise Men; while those Men consider, and treat him as an equal; and (in the Character of an Officer) regard him no more than a broomstick, being mixed together as one common herd; no order, nor no discipline can prevail; nor will the Officer ever meet with that respect which is essentially necessary to due subordination.

      To place any dependance upon Militia, is, assuredly, resting upon a broken staff. Men just dragged from the tender Scenes of domestick life; unaccustomed to the din of Arms; totally unacquainted with every kind of Military skill, which being followed by a want of confidence in themselves, when opposed to Troops regularly train’d, disciplined, and appointed, superior in knowledge, and superior in Arms, makes them timid, and ready to fly from their own shadows. Besides, the sudden change in their manner of living, (particularly in the lodging) brings on sickness in many; impatience in all, and such an unconquerable desire of returning to their respective homes that it not only produces shameful, and scandalous Desertions among themselves, but infuses the like spirit in others. Again, Men accustomed to unbounded freedom, and no controul, cannot brook the Restraint which is indispensably necessary to the good order and Government of an Army; without which, licentiousness, and every kind of disorder triumpantly reign. To bring Men to a proper degree of Subordination, is not the work of a day, a Month or even a year; and unhappily for us, and the cause we are Engaged in, the little discipline I have been labouring to establish in the Army under my immediate Command, is in a manner done away by having such a mixture of Troops as have been called together within these few Months….

      Another matter highly worthy of attention, is, that other Rules and Regulation's may be adopted for the Government of the Army than those now in existence, otherwise the Army, but for the name, might as well be disbanded. For the most attrocious offences, (one or two Instances only excepted) a Man receives no more than 39 Lashes; and these perhaps (thro’ the collusion of the Officer who is to see it inflicted), are given in such a manner as to become rather a matter of sport than punishment; but when inflicted as they ought, many hardened fellows who have been the Subjects, have declared that for a bottle of Rum they would undergo a Second operation; it is evident therefore that this punishment is inadequate to many Crimes it is assigned to, as a proof of it, thirty and 40 Soldiers will desert at a time; and of late, a practice prevails, (as you will see by my Letter of the 22d) of the most alarming nature; and which will, if it cannot be checked, prove fatal both to the Country and Army; I mean the infamous practice of Plundering, for under the Idea of Tory property, or property which may fall into the hands of the Enemy, no Man is secure in his effects, and scarcely in his Person; for in order to get at them, we have several Instances of People being frightend out of their Houses under pretence of those Houses being ordered to be burnt, and this is done with a view of seizing the Goods; nay, in order that the villany may be more effectually concealed, some Houses have actually been burnt to cover the theft.

      I have with some others, used my utmost endeavours to stop this horrid practice, but under the present lust after plunder, and want of Laws to punish Offenders, I might almost as well attempt to remove Mount Atlas.—I have ordered instant corporal Punishment upon every Man who passes our Lines, or is seen with Plunder, that the Offenders might be punished for disobedience of Orders; and Inclose you the proceedings of a Court Martial held upon an Officer, who with a Party of Men had robbed a House a little beyond our Lines of a Number of valuable Goods; among which (to shew that nothing escapes) were four large Pier looking Glasses, Women's Cloaths, and other Articles which one would think, could be of no Earthly use to him. He was met by a Major of Brigade who ordered him to return the Goods, as taken contrary to Genl. Orders, which he not only peremptorily refused to do, but drew up his Party and swore he would defend them at the hazard of his Life; on which I ordered him to be arrested, and tryed for Plundering, Disobedience of Orders, and Mutiny; for the Result, I refer to the Proceedings of the Court; whose judgment appeared so exceedingly extraordinary, that I ordered a Reconsideration of the matter, upon which, and with the Assistance of fresh evidence, they made Shift to Cashier him.

      I adduce this Instance to give some Idea to Congress of the Currt. [current] Sentiments and general run of the Officers which compose the present Army; and to shew how exceedingly necessary it is to be careful in the choice of the New Sett, even if it should take double the time to compleat the Levies. An Army formed of good Officers moves like Clock-Work; but there is no Situation upon Earth, less enviable, nor more distressing, than that Person's who is at the head of Troops, who are regardless of Order and discipline; and who are unprovided with almost every necessary.

      SOURCE: John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, vol. 6 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1932), 106–16.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Militia Systems; Conscription and Volunteerism; Continental Army; Draft Evasion and Resistance; Economy and War; European Military Culture, Influence of; Revolutionary War; Washington, George

      1776 c


      Walter Bates, a young Loyalist from Darien, Connecticut, whose family was active in support of the British, was 16 years of age in 1776 when he was seized by rebels and tortured in the hope that he would inform on other Loyalists.

      At this time I had just entered my sixteenth year. I was taken and confined in the Guard House; next day examined before a Committee and threatened with sundry deaths if I did not confess what I knew not of…. I was taken out by an armed mob, conveyed through the field gate one mile from the town to back Creek, then having been stripped my body was exposed to the mosquitoes, my hands and feet being confined to a tree near the Salt Marsh, in which situation for two hours time every drop of blood would be drawn from my body; when soon after two of the committee said that if I would tell them all I knew, they would release me, if not they would leave me to these men who, perhaps would kill me.

      I told them that I knew nothing that would save my life.

      They left me, and the Guard came to me and said they were ordered to give me, if I did not confess, one hundred stripes, and if that did not kill me I would be sentenced to be hanged. Twenty stripes was then executed with severity, after which they sent me again to the Guard House. No “Tory” was allowed to speak to me, but I was insulted and abused by all.

      The next day the committee proposed many means to extort a confession from me, the most terrifying was that of confining me to a log on the carriage in the Saw mill and let the saw cut me in two if I did not expose “those Torys.” Finally they sentenced me to appear before Col. Davenport, in order that he should send me to head quarters, where all the Torys he sent were surely hanged. Accordingly next day I was brought before Davenport—one of the descendants of the old apostate Davenport, who fled from old England—who, after he had examined me, said with great severity of countenance, “I think you could have exposed those Tories.”

      I said to him “You might rather think I would have exposed my own father sooner than suffer what I have suffered.” Upon which the old judge could not help acknowledging he never knew any one who had withstood more without exposing confederates, and he finally discharged me the third day.

      SOURCE: Catherine Crary, ed., The Price of Loyalty (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973), 81–82.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Conscription and Volunteerism; Prisoners of War; Revolutionary War

      1777 a


      The Patriot militia served, John Shy has observed, as a kind of thought-police, maintaining loyalty to the cause in the presence of passing enemy forces. Samuel Townsend, a farm laborer from Kingston, New York, found himself in “hot water” after he spoke critically, while “in his cups,” of a Patriot Committee of Safety's order to all communities to pursue men who had enlisted in Loyalist regiments.

      Kingston Jail, April 30, 1777

      To The Honorable the Representatives of the State of New York in Convention Assembled:

      The petition of Samuel Townsend humbly sheweth

      That ye petitioner is at present confined in the common jail of Kingston for being thought unfriendly to the American States. That ye petitioner some few days ago went from home upon some business and happened to get a little intoxicated in liquor, and upon his return home inadvertantly fell in company upon the road with a person unknown to yr petitioner and in discoursing and joking about the Tories passing through there and escaping, this person says to yr petitioner that if he had been with the Whigs, [they] should not have escaped so…. To which your petitioner, being merry in liquor, wantonly and in a bantering manner told him that in the lane through which they were then riding five and twenty Whigs would not beat five and twenty Tories and, joking together, they parted, and yr petitioner thought no more of it. Since, he has been taken up and confined and he supposes on the above joke.

      Being conscious to himself of his not committing any crime or of being unfriendly to the American cause worthy of punishment…. That yr petitioner is extremely sorry for what he may have said and hopes his intoxication and looseness of tongue will be forgiven by this honorable convention as it would not have been expressed by him in his sober hours. That yr petitioner has a wife and two children and a helpless mother all which must be supported by his labor and should he be kept confined in this time his family must unavoidably suffer through want, as yr petitioner is but of indigent circumstances and fully conceives it is extremely hard to keep him confined to the great distress of his family as well as grief of yr petitioner. Yr petitioner therefore humbly prays that this honorable convention be favorably pleased to take the premises under their serious consideration so that yr petitioner may be relieved and discharged from his confinement or [granted] such relief as to the honorable house shall seem meet and ye petitioner shall ever pray.

      Samuel Townsend

      SOURCE: Catherine Crary, ed., The Price of Loyalty (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1973), 151–52.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Colonial Militia Systems; Conscription and Volunteerism; Revolutionary War

      1777 b


      Nathaniel Jones and 16 other Farmington men were jailed in 1777 for refusing to serve the Revolutionary cause. After a time, they recanted, were examined, and were released upon satisfying the Revolutionary government in Connecticut that “there was no such thing as remaining neuters.”

      On report of the committee appointed by this Assembly to take into consideration the subject matter of the memorial of Nathl Jones, Simon Tuttle, Joel Tuttle, Nathaniel Mathews, John Mathews, Riverius Carrington, Lemuel Carrington, Zerubbabel Jerom junr, Chauncey Jerom, Ezra Dormer, Nehemiah Royce, Abel Royce, George Beckwith, Abel Frisbee, Levi Frisbey, Jared Peck, and Abraham Waters, all of Farmingon, shewing that they are imprisoned on suspicion of their being inimical to America; that they are ready and willing to join with their country and to do their utmost for its defence; and praying to be examined and set at liberty, as per said memorial on file, reporting that the said committee caused the authority &c. of Farmington to be duly notifyed, that they convened the memorialists before them at the house of Mr. David Bull on the 22d of instant May and examined them separately touching their unfriendliness to the American States, and heard the evidences produced by the parties; that they found said persons were committed for being highly inimical to the United States, and for refusing to assist in the defence of the country; that on examination it appeared they had been much under the influence of one [James] Nichols, a designing church clergyman who had instilled into them principles opposite to the good of the States; that under the influence of such principles they had pursued a course of conduct tending to the ruin of the country and highly displeasing to those who are friends to the freedom and independence of the United States; that under various pretences they had refused to go in the expedition to Danbury; that said Nathaniel Jones and Simon Tuttle have as they suppose each of them a son gone over to the enemy; that there was, however, no particular positive fact that sufficiently appeared to have been committed by them of an atrocious nature against the States, and that they were indeed grossly ignorant of the true grounds of the present war with Great Britain; that they appeared to be penitent of their former conduct, professed themselves convinced since the Danbury alarm that there was no such thing as remaining neuters; that the destruction made there by the tories was matter of conviction to them; that since their imprisonment upon serious reflexion they are convinced that the States are right in their claim, and that it is their duty to submit to their authority, and that they will to the utmost of their power defend the country against the British army; and that the said committee think it advisable that the said persons be liberated from their imprisonment on their taking an oath of fidelity to the United States: Resolved by this Assembly, that the said persons be liberated from their said imprisonment on their taking an oath of fidelity to this State and paying costs, taxed at £22 7 10; and the keeper of the gaol in Hartford is hereby directed to liberate said persons accordingly.

      SOURCE: Public Records of the State of Connecticut, vol. 1, 259–60. John Shy's reference in an essay led the editors to this passage. See Shy, “The American Revolution: The Military Conflict as a Revolutionary Conflict,” in Essays on the American Revolution, ed. Stephen Kurtz and James Hutson (Chapel Hill: Published for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Va., by the University of North Carolina Press, 1973), 121–56.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Antiwar Movements; Conscription and Volunteerism; Draft Evasion and Resistance; Revolutionary War

      1777 c


      In the summer of 1777, Gen. John Burgoyne drove south from Canada toward New York City in an attempt to link up with British forces there and cut New England off from the main Continental Army. Growing short of provisions, he sent several hundred German, Loyalist, Indian, and British troops under Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum to seize the Patriot storehouse at Bennington, Vermont, which he was led to believe was inadequately defended. It was not. Some 1,800 Patriot forces under Col. John Stark defeated both Baum and British replacements under Lt. Col. Heinrich von Breymann on August 16. The British lost 200; some 700 were captured. Burgoyne, dealt a fatal blow, surrendered at Saratoga on October 17. This “Rifleman's Song,” celebrating the Patriot victory, is similar to many others written and sung throughout the next century that treat the American volunteer soldier as superior to regulars.

      Why come ye hither, Redcoats, your mind what madness fills?

      In our valleys there is danger, and there's danger on our hills.

      Oh, hear ye not the singing of the bugle wild and free?

      And soon you’ll know the ringing of the rifle from the tree.


      Oh, the rifle, oh, the rifle

      In our hands will prove no trifle.

      Ye ride a goodly steed, ye may know another master;

      Ye forward came with speed, but you’ll learn to back much faster.

      Then you’ll meet our Mountain Boys and their leader Johnny Stark,

      Lads who make but little noise, but who always hit the mark.

      Tell he who stays at home, or cross the briny waters

      That thither ye must come like bullocks to the slaughter.

      If we the work must do, why, the sooner ’tis begun,

      If flint and trigger hold but true, the sooner ’twill be done.

      SOURCE: Burl Ives, Song Book (New York: Ballantine Books, 1966), 92–93.

      RELATED TOPICS: Music and War; Revolutionary War



      Maurice Nowland, a Tory veteran, told a royal commission that he had served briefly as a Revolutionary soldier “by Compulsion” and/or “from attachment to a friend.” These excerpts are from testimony before the commission:

      Memorial of Maurice Nowland

      26th of May 1785.

      Maurice Nowlan—the Claimant—sworn:

      Is a Native of Ireland & went to America in 1770 to New York. He was settled in 1774 at Cross Creek & followed a Mercantile Line & carried out 200 Gas. He took part with Govt at first & rais’d a Company in 1776 & join’d Coll Macdonald at Cross Creek. Produces a Warrant for the rank of Captn with the Pay as such. He was four Years and ten Months in Captivity. He broke Gaol at Reading in Octr 1780 & got to New York from whence he went in 1781 to Charlestown. He got a Warrant from Coll Stuart to raise a Company in North Carolina but being obliged to evacuate Wilmington suddenly he was not able to raise the Company. Warrant produced dated 30th of Octr 1781. At the Evacuation of Charlestown he came to Engd. He never sign’d any Association or took any Oath. When he was in confinement he was offer’d his whole property if he would join them. He recd the pay of Captn up to this time & now receives half pay. He has an Allowance of £50 a Yr from the Treasury which he has had from the 1st of Jany 1783 & he now continues to receive it.

      Neil McArthur—sworn.

      Knew Mr Nowland in 1774. He was a very loyal Subject. He was a Storekeeper. He raised a Company in 1776. He was a long time confined. He married a Daur of one Wm White he married in Ireland. Wm White was an Irishman. He is not acquainted with any of [Maurice Nowlan's] Lands. He knows he had an House at Cross Creek can’t tell what he gave for it. Does not know what it was worth but believes £500 S. Would have given £500 for it.

      Further Testimony to the Memorial of Maurice Nowlan

      2d of June 1785.

      Maurice Nowlan—sworn.

      Admits that he was one of the Party who went by the desire of the Rebel Committee to intercept a letter written by Govr Martin which they effected. Says however that he did not go by choice. Says he went by Compulsion & that he was taken out of his Bed. Says however that he should have been in no personal Danger if he had avoided going. Says there were two Companies in Arms in America at that time for the purpose of learning their Exercise. One Co was attach’d to America & the other to G. B. He was in that which was attached to America. He was an Assistt Lieutt. Being asked why he did not tell this Story when he spoke of his own Case he says he was confused & that he was not asked. Thinks notwithstanding this that a Man may be said to have been uniformly loyal. He chose his Co. from attachment to his friend. He join’d the British because he always meant to do it. Admits that he always thought that the British would succeed.

      Alexander McKay—sworn.

      Did not know that Mr Nowlan was one of the Party to take Captn Cunningham till this Day. Says in the Case of Vardy [another claimant] this affected his Opinion because he knew his Sentiments but it does not alter his opinion of Nowlan's Loyalty.

      SOURCE: H. E. Egerton, ed., Royal Commission on the Losses and Services of American Loyalists (Oxford: Roxburghe Club, 1915), 368–69.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Conscription and Volunteerism; Revolutionary War



      Gov. Samuel Adams delivered a farewell address to the Massachusetts legislature on January 27, 1797, that left no doubt as to where he stood on the question of whether the nation should rely in the future on the states’ militia systems or on the federal government's regular Army.

      PERMIT ME TO CALL your attention to the subject of the Militia of the Commonwealth. —A well regulated militia “held in an exact subordination to the civil authority and governed by it,” is the most safe defence of a Republic. —In our Declaration of Rights, which expresses the sentiments of the people, the people have a right to keep and bear arms for the common defence. The more generally therefore they are called out to be disciplined, the stronger is our security. No man I should think, who possesses a true republican spirit, would decline to rank with his fellow-citizens, on the fancied idea of a superiority in circumstances: This might tend to introduce fatal distinctions in our country. We can all remember the time when our militia, far from being disciplined, as they are at present, kept a well appointed hostile army for a considerable time confined to the capital; and when they ventured out, indeed they took possession of the ground they aimed at, yet they ventured to their cost, and never forgot the battle of Bunker Hill. The same undisciplined militia under the command and good conduct of General Washington, continued that army confined in or near the capital, until they thought proper to change their position and retreated with haste to Halifax. —If the Militia of the Commonwealth can be made still more effective, I am confident that you will not delay a measure of so great magnitude. I beg leave to refer you to the seventeenth article in our Declaration of Rights, which respects the danger of standing armies in time of peace. I hope we shall ever have virtue enough to guard against their introduction. —But may we not hazard the safety of our Republic should we ever constitute, under the name of a select militia, a small body to be disciplined in a camp with all the pomp & splendor of a regular army? Would such an institution be likely to be much less dangerous to our free government and to the morals of our youth, than if they were actually enlisted for permanent service? And would they not as usual in standing armies feel a distinct interest from that of our fellowcitizens at large? The great principles of our present militia system are undoubtedly good, constituting one simple body, and embracing so great a proportion of the citizens as will prevent a separate interest among them, inconsistent with the welfare of the whole. —Those principles, however, I conceive should equally apply to all the active citizens, within the age prescribed by law. —All are deeply interested in the general security; and where there are no invidious exemptions, partial distinctions or privileged bands, every Man, it is presumed, would pride himself in the right of bearing arms, and affording his personal appearance in common with his fellow-citizens. If upon examination you shall find, that the duties incident to our present system bear harder on one class of citizens, than on another, you will undoubtedly endeavour, as far as possible, to equalize its burthens.

      SOURCE: Harry Alonzo Cushing, ed., The Writings of Samuel Adams (New York, 1907), 4: 402–03.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Conscription and Volunteerism; European Military Culture, Influence of; Militarization and Militarism; National Guard



      The Rev. Mason Locke Weems (known as “Parson Weems”) published his famous Life of Washington in 1800, one year after George Washington died. It went through 59 editions before 1850. Best known for its tale of the young Washington chopping down his father's favorite cherry tree, the book contains this passage about the war in the mid-1790s with indigenous peoples of the Ohio Valley. Ask yourself whether such a passage on the loss of American military lives in a 21st century account of contemporary warfare would pass as unnoticed and unobjected to as this one did.

      Some of the Indian tribes, … were obliged to be drubbed into peace, which service was done for them by General Wayne, in 1794—but not until many lives had been lost in preceding defeats; owing chiefly, it was said, to the very intemperate passions and potations of some of their officers. However, after the first shock, the loss of these poor souls was not much lamented. Tall young fellows, who could easily get their half dollar a day at the healthful and glorious labours of the plough, to go and enlist and rust among the lice and itch of a camp, for four dollars a month, were certainly not worth their country's crying about.

      SOURCE: Mason Weems, A History of the Life and Death, Virtues & Exploits of General George Washington (New York: Macy-Masius, 1927).

      RELATED ENTRIES: European Military Culture, Influence of; Indian Wars: Eastern Wars; Militarization and Militarism



      Americans who called for war with Britain in 1812 often made use of the catch-phrase “Free Trade and Sailor's Rights.” The second of these two terms referred to the British practice during the Napoleonic Wars of impressing sailors found on vessels flying the flag of the United States who were suspected of being deserters from British warships. The ensuing War of 1812 was concluded with the Treaty of Ghent, which contained eleven articles. The text covers national boundaries, American conflict with Native Americans, and even slavery, but it does not mention the term impressment anywhere.

      Treaty of Peace and Amity between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America.

      His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America desirous of terminating the war which has unhappily subsisted between the two Countries, and of restoring upon principles of perfect reciprocity, Peace, Friendship, and good Understanding between them, have for that purpose appointed their respective Plenipotentiaries, that is to say, His Britannic Majesty on His part has appointed the Right Honourable James Lord Gambier, late Admiral of the White now Admiral of the Red Squadron of His Majesty's Fleet; Henry Goulburn Esquire, a Member of the Imperial Parliament and Under Secretary of State; and William Adams Esquire, Doctor of Civil Laws: And the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, has appointed John Quincy Adams, James A. Bayard, Henry Clay, Jonathan Russell, and Albert Gallatin, Citizens of the United States; who, after a reciprocal communication of their respective Full Powers, have agreed upon the following Articles.


      There shall be a firm and universal Peace between His Britannic Majesty and the United States, and between their respective Countries, Territories, Cities, Towns, and People of every degree without exception of places or persons. All hostilities both by sea and land shall cease as soon as this Treaty shall have been ratified by both parties as hereinafter mentioned. All territory, places, and possessions whatsoever taken by either party from the other during the war, or which may be taken after the signing of this Treaty, excepting only the Islands hereinafter mentioned, shall be restored without delay and without causing any destruction or carrying away any of the Artillery or other public property originally captured in the said forts or places, and which shall remain therein upon the Exchange of the Ratifications of this Treaty, or any Slaves or other private property; And all Archives, Records, Deeds, and Papers, either of a public nature or belonging to private persons, which in the course of the war may have fallen into the hands of the Officers of either party, shall be, as far as may be practicable, forthwith restored and delivered to the proper authorities and persons to whom they respectively belong. Such of the Islands in the Bay of Passamaquoddy as are claimed by both parties shall remain in the possession of the party in whose occupation they may be at the time of the Exchange of the Ratifications of this Treaty until the decision respecting the title to the said Islands shall have been made in conformity with the fourth Article of this Treaty. No disposition made by this Treaty as to such possession of the Islands and territories claimed by both parties shall in any manner whatever be construed to affect the right of either.


      Immediately after the ratifications of this Treaty by both parties as hereinafter mentioned, orders shall be sent to the Armies, Squadrons, Officers, Subjects, and Citizens of the two Powers to cease from all hostilities: and to prevent all causes of complaint which might arise on account of the prizes which may be taken at sea after the said Ratifications of this Treaty, it is reciprocally agreed that all vessels and effects which may be taken after the space of twelve days from the said Ratifications upon all parts of the Coast of North America from the Latitude of twenty three degrees North to the Latitude of fifty degrees North, and as far Eastward in the Atlantic Ocean as the thirty sixth degree of West Longitude from the Meridian of Greenwich, shall be restored on each side:-that the time shall be thirty days in all other parts of the Atlantic Ocean North of the Equinoctial Line or Equator:-and the same time for the British and Irish Channels, for the Gulf of Mexico, and all parts of the West Indies:-forty days for the North Seas for the Baltic, and for all parts of the Mediterranean-sixty days for the Atlantic Ocean South of the Equator as far as the Latitude of the Cape of Good Hope.ninety days for every other part of the world South of the Equator, and one hundred and twenty days for all other parts of the world without exception.


      All Prisoners of war taken on either side as well by land as by sea shall be restored as soon as practicable after the Ratifications of this Treaty as hereinafter mentioned on their paying the debts which they may have contracted during their captivity. The two Contracting Parties respectively engage to discharge in specie the advances which may have been made by the other for the sustenance and maintenance of such prisoners.


      Whereas it was stipulated by the second Article in the Treaty of Peace of one thousand seven hundred and eighty three between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America that the boundary of the United States should comprehend "all Islands within twenty leagues of any part of the shores of the United States and lying between lines to be drawn due East from the points where the aforesaid boundaries between Nova Scotia on the one part and East Florida on the other shall respectively touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such Islands as now are or heretofore have been within the limits of Nova Scotia, and whereas the several Islands in the Bay of Passamaquoddy, which is part of the Bay of Fundy, and the Island of Grand Menan in the said Bay of Fundy, are claimed by the United States as being comprehended within their aforesaid boundaries, which said Islands are claimed as belonging to His Britannic Majesty as having been at the time of and previous to the aforesaid Treaty of one thousand seven hundred and eighty three within the limits of the Province of Nova Scotia: In order therefore finally to decide upon these claims it is agreed that they shall be referred to two Commissioners to be appointed in the following manner: viz: One Commissioner shall be appointed by His Britannic Majesty and one by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, and the said two Commissioners so appointed shall be sworn impartially to examine and decide upon the said claims according to such evidence as shall be laid before them on the part of His Britannic Majesty and of the United States respectively. The said Commissioners shall meet at St Andrews in the Province of New Brunswick, and shall have power to adjourn to such other place or places as they shall think fit. The said Commissioners shall by a declaration or report under their hands and seals decide to which of the two Contracting parties the several Islands aforesaid do respectely belong in conformity with the true intent of the said Treaty of Peace of one thousand seven hundred and eighty three. And if the said Commissioners shall agree in their decision both parties shall consider such decision as final and conclusive. It is further agreed that in the event of the two Commissioners differing upon all or any of the matters so referred to them, or in the event of both or either of the said Commissioners refusing or declining or wilfully omitting to act as such, they shall make jointly or separately a report or reports as well to the Government of His Britannic Majesty as to that of the United States, stating in detail the points on which they differ, and the grounds upon which their respective opinions have been formed, or the grounds upon which they or either of them have so refused declined or omitted to act. And His Britannic Majesty and the Government of the United States hereby agree to refer the report or reports of the said Commissioners to some friendly Sovereign or State to be then named for that purpose, and who shall be requested to decide on the differences which may be stated in the said report or reports, or upon the report of one Commissioner together with the grounds upon which the other Commissioner shall have refused, declined or omitted to act as the case may be. And if the Commissioner so refusing, declining, or omitting to act, shall also wilfully omit to state the grounds upon which he has so done in such manner that the said statement may be referred to such friendly Sovereign or State together with the report of such other Commissioner, then such Sovereign or State shall decide ex parse upon the said report alone. And His Britannic Majesty and the Government of the United States engage to consider the decision of such friendly Sovereign or State to be final and conclusive on all the matters so referred.


      Whereas neither that point of the Highlands lying due North from the source of the River St Croix, and designated in the former Treaty of Peace between the two Powers as the North West Angle of Nova Scotia, nor the North Westernmost head of Connecticut River has yet been ascertained; and whereas that part of the boundary line between the Dominions of the two Powers which extends from the source of the River st Croix directly North to the above mentioned North West Angle of Nova Scotia, thence along the said Highlands which divide those Rivers that empty themselves into the River St Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean to the North Westernmost head of Connecticut River, thence down along the middle of that River to the forty fifth degree of North Latitude, thence by a line due West on said latitude until it strikes the River Iroquois or Cataraquy, has not yet been surveyed: it is agreed that for these several purposes two Commissioners shall be appointed, sworn, and authorized to act exactly in the manner directed with respect to those mentioned in the next preceding Article unless otherwise specified in the present Article. The said Commissioners shall meet at se Andrews in the Province of New Brunswick, and shall have power to adjourn to such other place or places as they shall think fit. The said Commissioners shall have power to ascertain and determine the points above mentioned in conformity with the provisions of the said Treaty of Peace of one thousand seven hundred and eighty three, and shall cause the boundary aforesaid from the source of the River St Croix to the River Iroquois or Cataraquy to be surveyed and marked according to the said provisions. The said Commissioners shall make a map of the said boundary, and annex to it a declaration under their hands and seals certifying it to be the true Map of the said boundary, and particularizing the latitude and longitude of the North West Angle of Nova Scotia, of the North Westernmost head of Connecticut River, and of such other points of the said boundary as they may deem proper. And both parties agree to consider such map and declaration as finally and conclusively fixing the said boundary. And in the event of the said two Commissioners differing, or both, or either of them refusing, declining, or wilfully omitting to act, such reports, declarations, or statements shall be made by them or either of them, and such reference to a friendly Sovereign or State shall be made in all respects as in the latter part of the fourth Article is contained, and in as full a manner as if the same was herein repeated.


      Whereas by the former Treaty of Peace that portion of the boundary of the United States from the point where the fortyfifth degree of North Latitude strikes the River Iroquois or Cataraquy to the Lake Superior was declared to be "along the middle of said River into Lake Ontario, through the middle of said Lake until it strikes the communication by water between that Lake and Lake Erie, thence along the middle of said communication into Lake Erie, through the middle of said Lake until it arrives at the water communication into the Lake Huron; thence through the middle of said Lake to the water communication between that Lake and Lake Superior:" and whereas doubts have arisen what was the middle of the said River, Lakes, and water communications, and whether certain Islands lying in the same were within the Dominions of His Britannic Majesty or of the United States: In order therefore finally to decide these doubts, they shall be referred to two Commissioners to be appointed, sworn, and authorized to act exactly in the manner directed with respect to those mentioned in the next preceding Article unless otherwise specified in this present Article. The said Commissioners shall meet in the first instance at Albany in the State of New York, and shall have power to adjourn to such other place or places as they shall think fit. The said Commissioners shall by a Report or Declaration under their hands and seals, designate the boundary through the said River, Lakes, and water communications, and decide to which of the two Contracting parties the several Islands lying within the said Rivers, Lakes, and water communications, do respectively belong in conformity with the true intent of the said Treaty of one thousand seven hundred and eighty three. And both parties agree to consider such designation and decision as final and conclusive. And in the event of the said two Commissioners differing or both or either of them refusing, declining, or wilfully omitting to act, such reports, declarations, or statements shall be made by them or either of them, and such reference to a friendly Sovereign or State shall be made in all respects as in the latter part of the fourth Article is contained, and in as full a manner as if the same was herein repeated.


      It is further agreed that the said two last mentioned Commissioners after they shall have executed the duties assigned to them in the preceding Article, shall be, and they are hereby, authorized upon their oaths impartially to fix and determine according to the true intent of the said Treaty of Peace of one thousand seven hundred and eighty three, that part of the boundary between the dominions of the two Powers, which extends from the water communication between Lake Huron and Lake Superior to the most North Western point of the Lake of the Woods;-to decide to which of the two Parties the several Islands lying in the Lakes, water communications, and Rivers forming the said boundary do respectively belong in conformity with the true intent of the said Treaty of Peace of one thousand seven hundred and eighty three, and to cause such parts of the said boundary as require it to be surveyed and marked. The said Commissioners shall by a Report or declaration under their hands and seals, designate the boundary aforesaid, state their decision on the points thus referred to them, and particularize the Latitude and Longitude of the most North Western point of the Lake of the Woods, and of such other parts of the said boundary as they may deem proper. And both parties agree to consider such designation and decision as final and conclusive. And in the event of the said two Commissioners differing, or both or either of them refusing, declining, or wilfully omitting to act, such reports, declarations or statements shall be made by them or either of them, and such reference to a friendly Sovereign or State shall be made in all respects as in the latter part of the fourth Article is contained, and in as full a manner as if the same was herein revealed.


      The several Boards of two Commissioners mentioned in the four preceding Articles shall respectively have power to appoint a Secretary, and to employ such Surveyors or other persons as they shall judge necessary. Duplicates of all their respective reports, declarations, statements, and decisions, and of their accounts, and of the Journal of their proceedings shall be delivered by them to the Agents of His Britannic Majesty and to the Agents of the United States, who may be respectively appointed and authorized to manage the business on behalf of their respective Governments. The said Commissioners shall be respectively paid in such manner as shall be agreed between the two contracting parties, such agreement being to be settled at the time of the Exchange of the Ratifications of this Treaty. And all other expenses attending the said Commissions shall be defrayed equally by the two parties. And in the case of death, sickness, resignation, or necessary absence, the place of every such Commissioner respectively shall be supplied in the same manner as such Commissioner was first appointed; and the new Commissioner shall take the same oath or affirmation and do the same duties. It is further agreed between the two contracting parties that in case any of the Islands mentioned in any of the preceding Articles, which were in the possession of one of the parties prior to the commencement of the present war between the two Countries, should by the decision of any of the Boards of Commissioners aforesaid, or of the Sovereign or State so referred to, as in the four next preceding Articles contained, fall within the dominions of the other party, all grants of land made previous to the commencement of the war by the party having had such possession, shall be as valid as if such Island or Islands had by such decision or decisions been adjudged to be within the dominions of the party having had such possession.


      The United States of America engage to put an end immediately after the Ratification of the present Treaty to hostilities with all the Tribes or Nations of Indians with whom they may be at war at the time of such Ratification, and forthwith to restore to such Tribes or Nations respectively all the possessions, rights, and privileges which they may have enjoyed or been entitled to in one thousand eight hundred and eleven previous to such hostilities. Provided always that such Tribes or Nations shall agree to desist from all hostilities against the United States of America, their Citizens, and Subjects upon the Ratification of the present Treaty being notified to such Tribes or Nations, and shall so desist accordingly. And His Britannic Majesty engages on his part to put an end immediately after the Ratification of the present Treaty to hostilities with all the Tribes or Nations of Indians with whom He may be at war at the time of such Ratification, and forthwith to restore to such Tribes or Nations respectively all the possessions, rights, and privileges, which they may have enjoyed or been entitled to in one thousand eight hundred and eleven previous to such hostilities. Provided always that such Tribes or Nations shall agree to desist from all hostilities against His Britannic Majesty and His Subjects upon the Ratification of the present Treaty being notified to such Tribes or Nations, and shall so desist accordingly.


      Whereas the Traffic in Slaves is irreconcilable with the principles of humanity and Justice, and whereas both His Majesty and the United States are desirous of continuing their efforts to promote its entire abolition, it is hereby agreed that both the contracting parties shall use their best endeavours to accomplish so desirable an object.


      This Treaty when the same shall have been ratified on both sides without alteration by either of the contracting parties, and the Ratifications mutually exchanged, shall be binding on both parties, and the Ratifications shall be exchanged at Washington in the space of four months from this day or sooner if practicable. In faith whereof, We the respective Plenipotentiaries have signed this Treaty, and have hereunto affixed our Seals.

      Done in triplicate at Ghent the twenty fourth day of December one thousand eight hundred and fourteen.

      GAMBIER. [Seal]


      WILLIAM ADAMS [Seal]


      J. A. BAYARD [Seal]

      H. CLAY. [Seal]

      JON. RUSSELL [Seal]


      SOURCE: National Archives and Records Administration. At our.documents.gov. http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=20&page=transcrip (July 22, 2005).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Impressment; Indian Wars: Eastern Wars; War of 1812



      This song, first performed in a Richmond, Virginia, theater, is one of a number of antebellum songs celebrating the tradition of the volunteer soldier. An instant “hit,” it was often sung at political rallies supporting Andrew Jackson for president:

      Ye gentlemen and ladies fair, who grace this famous city, Just listen, if you’ve time to spare, while I rehearse a ditty; And for the opportunity conceive yourselves quite lucky, For ’tis not often that you see a hunter from Kentucky.


      Oh, Kentucky! the hunters of Kentucky.

      We are a hardy free-born race, each man to fear a stranger, Whate’er the game we join in chase, despising toil and danger;

      And if a daring foe annoys, whate’er his strength and forces,

      We’ll show him that Kentucky boys are alligator horses.

      I s’pose you’ve read it in the prints, how Packenham attempted

      To make old Hickory Jackson wince, but soon his schemes repented;

      For we with rifles ready cocked, thought such occasion lucky,

      And soon around the general flocked the hunters of Kentucky.

      You’ve heard, I s’pose, how New Orleans is famed for wealth and beauty

      There's girls of every hue, it seems, from snowy white to sooty.

      So Packenham he made his brags, if he in fight was lucky, He’d have their girls and cotton bags in spite of old Kentucky.

      But Jackson he was wide awake, and wasn’t scared at trifles, For well he knew what aim we take with our Kentucky rifles;

      So he led us down to Cyprus swamp, the ground was low and mucky,

      There stood John Bull in martial pomp, and here was old Kentucky.

      A bank was raised to hide our breast, not that we thought of dying, But then we always like to rest unless the game is flying; Behind it stood our little force, none wished it to be greater, For every man was half a horse and half an alligator.

      They did not let our patience tire, before they showed their faces—

      We did not choose to waste our fire, so snugly kept our places;

      But when so near to see them wink, we thought it time to stop ’em,

      And ’twould have done you good I think to see Kentuckians drop ’em.

      They found at last ’twas vain to fight, where lead was all their booty,

      And so they wisely took to flight, and left us all our beauty, And now if danger e’er annoys, remember what our trade is, Just send for us Kentucky boys, and we’ll protect your ladies.

      SOURCE: “ The Hunters of Kentucky” (New York: Andrews, Printer).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Jackson, Andrew; Music and War



      The disdain men like Parson Weems had in the 1790s for U.S. Army regulars persisted well into the 19th century. In 1830, John Eaton, secretary of war under Pres. Andrew Jackson, wrestled with his department's inability to find enough able men “obtained upon principles of fair contract” to fill his enlisted quota of 6,000 men. Eaton noted that there were 12 million Americans in 1830. In other words, Congress had authorized the raising of an army of 1 enlisted man for every 2,000 persons. In 2005 the U.S. population was about 296 million, and the authorized enlisted strength of the U.S. Army was about 450,000 or about 1 enlisted man for every 660 persons. In 1830 the Army had more trouble recruiting a third as many men per capita in peacetime than it would in 2005 in wartime.

      Different feelings, altered habits, higher self-respect, and honorable incentive, in some form or other, must be produced, or the evils deservedly complained of in our army, will continue. Partial remedies are mere palliatives, and cannot answer any permanent good.

      The law-giver who would reach reform, must, in the adoption of his means, look for the approbation and sanction of society; and here allow me to say, that popular opinion, in the absence of war, is not with the existing law for the punishment of desertion. In time of peace, public opinion turns with abhorrence from the severity of the penalty, and renders the law a dead letter on the statute book. Milder punishments should be resorted to, carrying with them a more appropriate and certain effect.

      A more important consideration, however, than the infliction of punishment as a remedy, should be looked to. If we inspirit the soldiers of our army, rather than dishonor them, and excite them through the avenues of honorable emulation, may we not expect a return more in accordance with the dignity of human nature, the character of our people, and the genius of our institutions? There is a constant proneness in man to better his condition, and every obstacle that society interposes to check this, is impolitic and unwise.

      As our army is at present organized, the gallant and faithful soldier has no opportunity afforded him to rise above his enlisted condition. He may become a corporal, or sergeant, but, with that humble advance, his hopes and his ambition terminate. Knowing that impassable barriers exist, to prevent his elevation, all incentive is destroyed, and ambition is quieted. He feels that his country has placed on him the seal of abasement, and he sinks dispirited under its withering influence. But if the door to promotion be unbarred, and the law shall recognise no distinction except merit—that the highest honors may be reached by the humblest private—what a noble incentive would it create, what enthusiasm would not follow? Multitudes then would be found advancing, who now feel the stubborn interdiction which hangs upon their hopes and expectations. There is a buoyancy in hope, that sustains in adversity, and which leads on in prosperity; extend it to the soldier, and the creations of his own fancy will give a moral force and an elevated cast of character, to which, without it, he will be an alien.

      The graduates of West Point Academy, from established practice, and not by authority of law, have the exclusive privilege of entering the army. All other portions of the community are excluded. The private who has served faithfully through danger and privation, and who, from experience, has learned to obey, (thereby making himself the better qualified to command) on surveying the prospects before him, finds that each year brings a stranger to command him—a junior officer from the Military Academy. This state of things must weaken the inducements to a correct and faithful course of conduct. The non-commissioned officers, knowing that no servitude, however long or faithful; no deportment, however exemplary; no valor, however distinguished; entitle them to promotion—that they but serve only as instruments for the advancement of others—feel the injustice, and sink under the despondency it produces….

      Another suggestion, in connexion with this subject, deserves consideration. At present, the law allows a premium to the recruiting officer for every soldier he shall enlist: this, either in whole or in part, passes to the noncommissioned officer, who superintends the performance of this duty. Under the temptation presented, it operates as a bounty for the encouragement of frauds, as it leads to active efforts to entrap the young, the inconsiderate, and the intemperate, by improper allurements and vicious devices. This regulation ought to be abrogated, that every inducement to impropriety may be removed, that the citizen may not be imposed on, and that the Army may be composed of men who seek the service voluntarily, rather than those who have been entrapped in a moment of intoxication, and who awake from the stupor with abhorrence, anxious only to devise means how they are to escape from their dread condition. If none other present, desertion becomes the alternative; and this is sustained by the fact that more than half the desertions which take place are with the new recruits.

      A country possessing twelve millions of people, ought surely to be able at all times to possess itself of an Army of six thousand men, obtained upon principles of fair contract: if this cannot be effected, then will it be better to rely on some other mode of defence, rather than resort to the expedient of obtaining a discontented and besotted soldiery. To this end orders have been given to our recruiting officers forbidding any enlistments if the persons be in the least intoxicated.

      SOURCE: Senate Doc. no. 62, vol. 2, 21st Cong., 1st Sess., 1829–30.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Conscription and Volunteerism; Jackson, Andrew; Militarization and Militarism



      In the early 19th century, Congress passed a series of laws allowing pensions for veterans of the American Revolution. To apply, veterans went to their local courthouse and swore out a statement of their service. The pension office of the War Department retained their applications on file with other supporting documentation. Depending on the state, the courthouse, and the pension law in effect, various standardized forms were also used to aid in the processing of the pension. Certain vital statistics and statements of service were required, but occasionally some veterans took the opportunity to tell longer stories. What follows is a partial transcription of South Carolina veteran James Dillard's sworn affidavit (S6797), as well as an image of a common standardized form used for his application. It is representative of an average pension application. Note that the statement was usually delivered orally and recorded by the court clerk, thus the switching of pronouns from "he" to "I" and back again. The pension records are now filed in the National Archives as the "Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, 1800–1900, (M804).

      The State of South Carolina

      Laurens district

      To Wit

      On this Eleventh day of July Anno Domini 1833 personally appeared before the Honorable Henry W. Dessaussure one of the chancellors of the said state in open Court being a Court of Chancery now sitting for the district and state aforesaid, Capt. James Dillard a resident of Laurens district in the State of South Carolina aged Seventy seven or Seventy Eight years, who being first duly sworn according to Law, doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions made by the act of Congress passed June 7 1832. That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served as herein after stated.

      This applicant was born in Culpepper County in the State of Virginia in the year 1755 or 1756 according to the information derived from his parents, having in his possession no record of his age. That he was living at the time he entered the service in what was then called Ninety Six District in the state of S Carolina near where he now lives and where he has continued to live to this day.

      I enlisted under Capt _______ Perieuhoof [?] in Col William Thompson's Regiment of State Troops at Ninety Six otherwise called Cambridg in So Carolina for six months, some time in the month of September 1775 and at the time of Col Drayton's Campaign in that part of the State. That he was marched with a detachment of State Troops under the command of Col. Thomson from Ninety Six to Dorchester in So Carolina where he was stationed for the protection of the magazine of that place untill the expiration of his term of service which was in March 1776. Immediately upon the expiration of his first term of service, he again enlisted under Capt Perieuhoof in the same company and Regiment of State Troops commanded by the same officers for the term of eighteen months. During this term of service he was taken from Dorchester to the 10 mile house near Charleston where we were stationed for some time, and during that time Capt Perieuhoof died and was succeeded by Capt Brown. While stationed at the 10 mile house an express arrived and we were marched in the night time to Charleston where we arrived about sunrise in the morning and after receiving some refreshment we were carried over to Sullivan's Island (Fort Moultrie). Genl Lee was at this time Commander in Chief at Charlestown, Col. Moultrie had the immediate command at Fort Moultrie assisted by Maj. Marion. He was in the engagement in which Sir Peter Parker was repulsed in his attack upon Fort Moultrie in June 1776. Some time after this engagement we were removed to Charleston, from there to the 10 mile house, from the 10 mile house we were marched to Nelson's Ferry on Santee River, from thence to Purysburgh on Savannah River and after lying there a short time were were marched back to Nelsons Ferry on Santee River. From that place we were marched to [….] where we remained untill he was discharged to the best of his recollection in September 1777. During the next spring this applicant volunteered his services in Capt. Josiah Greer's company of militia, in Col James William's Regt, Robert McGrary Lieut Col. and Received the appointment of Sergeant Major, and served during the expedition to Florida under the command of Genl Andrew Williamson. This expedition proceeded beoynd [sic] St. Mary's River and then returned to So Carolina after a tour of better than four months when this applicant was again discharged. After his return from Florida he again voluteered under Capt McGrary and swerved [sic] a tour of one month in pursuit of Col. Boyd who commanded a detachment of Tories. He next volunteered as a private under Capt. Thomas McGrary and served three months on the Indian frontier as a militiaman to prevent the Tories and Indians from molesting the people of the State. After the fall of Charleston he took refuge in No Carolina untill about the first of August 1780 when he joined Col. James Williams and was elected a Captain in his Regiment and received a Commission signed by Governor Rutledge, which has been lost or mislaid. With this Regiment he was marched to Kings Mountain and with the commands of Cols Campbell, Shelby, Sevier & Cleveland participated in the Victory gained over Col. Ferguson at that place where his Col. James Williams was killed. After this action Col Joseph Hays succeeded to the command of the Regiment and this applicant continued in his command as captain with the same Regiment employed in almost constant service to the close of the war. During the time Col. Hays commanded the Regiment this applicant was engaged under the command of Col. Washington of the Continental Line in a battle in which the tories were defeated at Bush River and at the taking of Williams Fort. He was also at the Battle of Cowpens under the command of Genl Morgan in which Tarleton was defeated when he received a gunshot wound. He was also at the siege of 96 under Genl Green, and was in command of the same company. In the close of the year 1781 Col. Joseph Hays was killed and was succeeded by Col. Levi Casey. Under him the Regiment proceeded under Genl Andrew Pickens to Edisto River where they defeated the tories under Col. Cunningham and this applicant was again wounded. He also received two other wounds, saber cuts, in skirmishes with the Indians. After he recovered of his wound he was sent by Col. Casey with a part of his company to join Genl Pickens in an expedition to the Cherokee Nation to compel them to deliver up Tories who had taken refuge there. This tour was about two months and during the time a treaty of peace was made with the Indians. This was the last service this applicant performed and was in the year 1783. This applicant received a discharge but it has been lost or destroyed and has no other papers relating to his services than is herewith forwarded. He hereby relingquishes [sic] every claim whatsoever to a pension or annuity except the present and he declares that his name is not on the pension Roll of any agency in any state. He refers to the Revd John B. Kennedy and Robert Lord Esquire, Golding Tinsley, James Tinsley, & Thomas Entrick [?] to testify as to his services and character. Sworn to and subscribed on day and year aforesaid.

      X James Dillard [he has signed his own name, next to an X]

      SOURCE: “Selected Records from Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, 1800–1900.” Microfilm in the library of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, (M805).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Conscription and Volunteerism; Revolutionary War; Revolutionary War Pensions; Veterans Administration

      1835 (to 1854)


      Several 18th-century British (and late-18th-century American) Army officers not serving in active regiments declined invitations to serve in wartime with impunity on the grounds that they did not regard a war as "just." The creation of the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1803 steadily replaced the recruiting of officers in this fashion. By the 1830s officers in the U.S. Army increasingly regarded the military as a lifetime profession. Hence an officer with a troubled conscience faced a career dilemma as well as a moral one. Ethan Allen Hitchcock left a rich record of his wrestling with such moral questions in his diary, edited by W. A. Croffut. His first dilemma was with the way a fraudulent treaty with the Seminoles in 1832 (Payne's Landing) was being enforced while he served in Florida in 1835. (Others include what he viewed as the problematic nature of the war with Mexico, the treatment of Indians in the West, and possible war aimed at wresting Cuba from Spanish control in 1854.) During 1835, the Seminole treaty was sent to Gen. Wiley Thompson, the Indian agent in Florida, with orders to announce to the Indians that, in compliance with their treaty, they must go west.

      The king and his chiefs were called together at Fort King, but the moment they heard from the agent the object of the council, they loudly and earnestly denied that there was such a treaty as he alleged. The point of disagreement was upon the article in the treaty touching the deputation; and when they were informed that the six men sent to the West had signed the paper offered to them by Major Phagan, their authority to do so was utterly repudiated. It appeared to the officers of the garrison that the chiefs were entirely in the right; and it appeared also that the king had been kept in ignorance of what the deputation had done until it was disclosed by General Thompson. The Indians themselves, having been compelled to sign that paper in disobedience of the orders they had received, had maintained silence about it, never having informed the king of what they had done. At least this is the only rational solution of the matter.

      Councils were then held from time to time for several weeks while a correspondence was being carried on between General Thompson and the government, in which the President insisted upon the execution of the treaty; but on each occasion when it was presented to them they stoutly denied its validity, and on one occasion, while the treaty was lying open on the council table, Miccanopy, pointing to it, exclaimed, ‘That is not the treaty: I never signed that treaty!’

      ‘You lie, Miccanopy,’ said the agent Thompson, ‘Interpreter, tell him he lies, for there is his signature,’—putting his finger on his mark.

      But Miccanopy did not lie; for, although his mark was upon that paper, he meant only to deny that he had signed such a paper as was then interpreted to him.

      By this time these councils had become quite boisterous, and a young Indian in the council name Osceola, who was called in English by the name of Powell, stood up in council, and with much gesticulation denounced the treaty and everything done about it. This General Thompson imprudently construed into a disrespect to himself, and, not regarding the freedom of debate which the Indians are even more tenacious about in council than the whites, he signified his wish to the commanding officer to have a section of the guard placed at his disposal, which soon appeared, and General Thompson ordered the guard to seize Osceola and put him into confinement, in irons. This was accordingly done, but not without some difficulty, for the young Indian became frantic with rage, and if he had had weapons about him, it would have been very dangerous to approach him; but he was overpowered and carried to prison in irons.

      Upon this, General Thompson wrote desponding letters to the government, and it was uncertain for a time what was to be done or what could be done. Osceola, on his part, acted like a madman; he was perfectly furious when anybody came near him. After some days of frenzied violence he seemed to have formed his ultimate purpose and settled down into a perfect calm. He sent word to General Thompson that he wished to see him, and General Thompson, having been informed of his quiet disposition, permitted an interview. In this interview Osceola became exceedingly submissive; acknowledged himself to be entirely in the wrong; apologized for what he had done, and asked General Thompson's forgiveness; declared that he was now willing to go to the West with his people, and, as he had been made a sub-chief over a small band, he told General Thompson that if he would release him and allow him to go among his people, he would bring them all in, and deliver them to the agent.

      General Thompson then addressed a letter to President Jackson direct, in which, with great exultation, he informed the President that all the difficulties were now overcome; that Osceola had gone out to bring in his people, and that the treaty would be executed. But nothing was further from Osceola's intentions than compliance with his promises. He had resorted to them only for the purpose of gaining his liberty, that he might employ it in seeking revenge upon General Thompson for the outrage put upon him by arresting him for ‘words spoken in debate.’

      Osceola, being at large, armed himself, and lay in wait for an opportunity of taking the life of the man whom he regarded as the foe of his people. General Thompson had been in the habit of walking between the agency house and the fort, which were separated from each other a few hundred yards, with clumps of bushes here and there along the road, affording places of concealment. An opportunity did not offer itself for the execution of Osceola's purpose for some days, and he thought it necessary to give General Thompson some evidence of his fidelity, to throw him, or keep him, off his guard. With this object he gathered up a few of the women and children of his band, and exhibiting these he told General Thompson that his people had become so much scattered that he had not been able to find them, but that he would do so as soon as possible. General Thompson had no suspicion of his purpose, and allowed him to go out again; and, as he did not care to detain the women and children, they were allowed to go also.

      A few days after this, on the 28th of December, 1835, Osceola, with some of his band, concealed by bushes near the road leading from the fort to the agency house, saw General Thompson approach, accompanied by a lieutenant, Constantine Smith, and the Indians, securing their aim, at a signal fired, killing both the agent and his companion. Osceola immediately fled and took command of the Indians in the field [sending out a runner to all chiefs directing that no white woman or child should be harmed, “for this fight is between men.”]

      This tragedy happened on the very day on which the main body of the Indians under Miccanopy waylaid Major Dade, who was marching up from Tampa Bay to Fort King, with two companies of infantry and a piece of artillery. When within about thirty-five miles of Fort King this body of troops was ambushed, and the whole party destroyed except three who escaped from the massacre and got back to Tampa Bay.

      The Indians had taken the alarm from the disclosures made in the councils at Fort King, and had banded together resolved to resist any attempt at a movement of troops in their country for their expulsion from it. Many of them knew the officers at Tampa Bay….

      July 8, 1836…. I hardly know what it is proper to do. When I left General Gaines all was quiet on the Sabine. I was temporarily attached to his staff and had his orders to return to him from Washington, but I thought the order was for my accommodation, and believing active service in that quarter at an end, I did not hesitate to avail myself of Major Smith's offer to relieve him at New York. Now I hear that General Gaines has actually crossed the Sabine and gone with his army to Nacogdoches in Texas. I am puzzled what to do. I regard the whole of the proceedings in the Southwest as being wicked as far as the United States are concerned. Our people have provoked the war with Mexico and are prosecuting it not for ‘liberty’ but for land, and I feel averse to being an instrument for these purposes….

      July 1837…. Report to the Secretary of War, …

      I have crossed the purposes of a band of greedy speculators and brought upon myself the maledictions of many who will pretend an infinite degree of sympathy for the very halfbreeds whom they have cheated and almost robbed by what will be boldly put forth as a legal proceeding. Be the consequences what they may, I rejoice that I have, for a few weeks at least, suspended the execution of this business. One claim of $1800 was sold under duress for $400. Can such a transaction pass in review without condemnation because it may wear the color of law? It is monstrous; and, if lawful, the law is a scourge to the innocent….

      June 22 [1840]. “We are ordered to St. Louis (Jefferson Barracks) and then, after the sickly season, to Florida. I saw the beginning of the Florida campaigns in 1836, and may see the end of them unless they see the end of me. The government is in the wrong, and this is the chief cause of the persevering opposition of the Indians, who have nobly defended their country against our attempt to enforce a fraudulent treaty. The natives used every means to avoid a war, but were forced into it by the tyranny of our government….

      Nov. 1 [1840]…. The treaty of Payne's Landing was a fraud on the Indians: They never approved of it or signed it. They are right in defending their homes and we ought to let them alone. The country southward is poor for our purposes, but magnificent for the Indians —a fishing and hunting country without agricultural inducements. The climate is against us and is a paradise for them. The army has done all that it could. It has marched all over the upper part of Florida. It has burned all the towns and destroyed all the planted fields. Yet, though the Indians are broken up and scattered, they exist in large numbers, separated, but worse than ever…. The chief, Coocoochee, is in the vicinity. It is said that he hates the whites so bitterly that ‘he never hears them mentioned without gnashing his teeth.’ …

      Nov. 14…. General Armistead is entirely subdued and broken spirited. His confidence in his success has been boundless and his letters to Washington have doubtless been written in that temper. I cannot help thinking it is partly his own fault. If he had freely offered the Indians an ample reward to emigrate, or the undisturbed possession of the country south of Tampa Bay, he might have secured peace. I have suggested his making the overture now, but he declines. Not only did he refuse to make the offer he was authorized to make, but at the very time when Halec [Tustenugga] was here in amicable talk he secretly sent a force into his rear, threatening his people at home! … I confess to a very considerable disgust in this service. I remember the cause of the war, and that annoys me. I think of the the folly and stupidity with which it has been conducted, particularly of the puerile character of the present commanding general, and I am quite out of patience….

      29th Aug [1845]. Received last evening … a letter from Captain Casey and a map of Texas from the Quarter-masterGeneral's office, the latter being the one prepared by Lieutenant Emory; but it has added to it a distinct boundary mark to the Rio Grande. Our people ought to be damned for their impudent arrogance and domineering presumption! It is enough to make atheists of us all to see such wickedness in the world, whether punished or unpunished….

      1st Oct…. [T]his morning … as frequently of late, [General Zachary Taylor] introduced the subject of moving upon the Rio Grande. I discovered this time more clearly than ever that the General is instigated by ambition—or so it appears to me. He seems quite to have lost all respect for Mexican rights and willing to be an instrument of Mr. Polk for pushing our boundary as far west as possible. When I told him that, if he suggested a movement (which he told me he intended), Mr. Polk would seize upon it and throw the responsibility on him, he at once said he would take it, and added that if the President instructed him to use his discretion, he would ask no orders, but would go upon the Rio Grande as soon as he could get transportation. I think the General wants an additional brevet, and would strain a point to get it….

      2d Nov. Newspapers all seem to indicate that Mexico will make no movement, and the government is magnanimously bent on taking advantage of it to insist upon ‘our claim’ as far as the Rio Grande. I hold this to be monstrous and abominable. But now, I see, the United states of America, as a people, are undergoing changes in character, and the real status and principles for which our forefathers fought are fast being lost sight of. If I could by any decent means get a living in retirement, I would abandon a government which I think corrupted by both ambition and avarice to the last degree….

      25th March [1846]…. As to the right of this movement, I have said from the first that the United States are the aggressors. We have outraged the Mexican government and people by an arrogance and presumption that deserve to be punished. For ten years we have been encroaching on Mexico and insulting her….

      26th March…. My heart is not in this business; I am against it from the bottom of my soul as most unholy and unrighteous proceeding; but, as a military man, I am bound to execute orders….

      [Hitchcock became ill and was evacuated to recover in the United States.]

      Sunday, May 24…. I am necessarily losing, from a military point of view, all the honors of the field. I was hoping that no collision would take place…. My absence from my regiment at such a time as this is a species of death; yet the doctor says I must not think of going south in the hot weather, as he has another surgical operation to perform….

      10th Nov. I am very much disgusted with this war in all of its features. I am in the position of the preacher who read Strauss's criticism of the Gospel History of Christ. Shall he preach his new convictions? Shall he preach what his audience believes? Shall he temporize? Shall he resign? Here the preacher has an advantage over the soldier, for, while the latter may be ordered into an unjust and unnecessary war, he cannot at that time abandon his profession—at all events, not without making himself a martyr. In the present case, I not only think this Mexican war unnecessary and unjust as regards Mexico, but I also think it not only hostile to the principles of our own government—a government of the people, securing to them liberty—but I think it a step and a great step towards a dissolution of our Union. And I doubt not that a dissolution of the Union will bring on wars between the separated parts….

      [Having recovered, Hitchcock was ordered to join in a expedition under the overall command of Gen. Winfield Scott.]

      New Orleans, Dec 15, 1846. High time to use my notebook. Left Louis on 21st, and got here the 31st. With other officers have since waited for a steamer to take us to the Brazos at S. Lago in western Texas. Report is fully confirmed that General Scott will take the conduct of the war, and it is considered settled that the castle of San Juan at Vera Cruz is to be assailed. My regiment is with Taylor at Monterey.

      My feeling towards the war is no better than at first. I still feel that it was unnecessarily brought on by President Polk, and, not withstanding his disclaimers, I believe he expressly aimed to get possession of California and New Mexico, which I see, by his message received here today, he considers accomplished. Now, however, as the war is going on, it must, as almost everybody supposes, be carried on by us aggressively, and in this I must be an instrument. I certainly do not feel properly for such a duty, particularly as I see that my health is almost sure to fail me … I feel very much like making a sacrifice of myself and drawing the curtain between me and this life. I am convinced that no contingency connected with this war can affect that in me which, by its nature, is immortal, and the end must be the same be my passage to it what it may. As a matter of taste and choice, I should prefer a more quiet career, and one in which I could pursue my favorite studies, of philosophy. But this is not to be….

      February 27, 1847. Colonel Hitchcock to Rev. Theodore Parker in Boston: I coincide with you in your views of this abominable war. Humble as I am, I wish not to fall a victim to this war without entering my protest against it as unjust on our part and needlessly and wickedly brought about. I am here, not by choice, but because, being in this army, it is my duty to obey the constituted authorities. As an individual I condemn, I abominate this war: as a member of the government I must go with it until our authorities are brought back to a sense of justice….

      September 7, 1847….

      3 P.M. At 1, I was at the General's. He read to me his order for massing the troops by tomorrow noon. Quitman and Twiggs are ordered to Misquoique, but a brigade is this afternoon to threaten the city by the Piedad route (between San Antonio and the Chapultepec route), and tonight Worth, with his division and one brigade of Pillow's is to attack and destroy the foundry. Thus matters now stand. The foundry is under the guns of Chapultepec, and its destruction by daylight might be very difficult if not impossible without first silencing the commanding guns. Hence it is to be attempted tonight. So the orders contemplate….

      6 P.M. I am alone in the extensive garden attached to the house of the consul, in which I am quartered. I look upon the great variety of fruits and flowers in vast abundance and luxuriance, and I ask why the monstergenius of war is allowed to pollute such scenes.

      I have often entered my protest against this war, and today I hear, from very good authority, that our commissioner has said that if he were a Mexican he would die before he would agree to the terms proposed by the United States. He ought, then, to have refused the mission he has undertaken. A degrading proposition is alike dishonorable to him who proposes as to him to whom it is proposed….

      [In the early 1850s, Hitchcock commanded the army on the Pacific Coast.]

      August 5, 1852…. The wrong [at the headwaters of the San Joachim River] came, as usual, from white men. The Indian commissioner last year made treaties with these Indians, and assigned them reservations of land as their own. The whites have not respected the proceedings of the commissioner, but have occupied the reservation to a considerable extent and established a ferry within the lands assigned to the Indians. To this the Indians seem to have objected, and one of them told the ferryman that he was on their land and he would have to go away, because his boat and apparatus stopped the salmon from ascending the river. This, it is said, was considered a hostile threat, and a party of whites was raised to go among the Indians and demand an explanation. As what had been said to the ferryman was said by only one or two and was not advised by the tribe, the latter was taken entirely by surprise by this armed party, and, knowing nothing of its object and becoming alarmed, some it is said were seen picking up their bows, and this was considered a sign of hostile intent and they were fired on and fifteen or twenty were killed! Some of the Indians belonging to the tribe were, at the moment their friends were fired on, at work on a white man's farm some miles distant, without the smallest suspicion of existing causes of hostility.

      Affairs thereupon assumed a threatening aspect, and a great council has been appointed for Aug. 15th, at which all the surrounding tribes will assemble on King's River, to discuss the question of going to war with the whites. It is to overawe this council that I have sent the troops to Fort Miller. It is a hard case for the troops to know the whites are in the wrong, and yet be compelled to punish the Indians if they attempt to defend themselves….

      October 24, 1852…. I have today given away my landwarrant for 160 acres of land to my cousin. I have felt some disposition to locate this land in my own name and retain it, as it is for service in the field (in the Mexican War); but as it was in a detestable war, I have concluded to put it out of my hands….

      May 1854…. [We] make a quarrel with Spain, really for the purpose of seizing the island of Cuba. I have not the smallest sympathy with the movement. I think that republican principles would be injured by the annexation of Cuba to the United States.

      I have been seriously thinking of resigning from the army…. I consider the slavery in our country an element guided by passion, rather than by reason, and its existence among us is shaking the whole fabric of our government. Abolitionists would abolish the institution of slavery as the real evil, whereas the real evil is the want of intelligence from which slavery itself took its rise. Men in a passion, as Plato says, are already slaves.

      As to leaving the army: I may do so if I choose at this time and no one to notice me, for I am unknown except to a few friends. If I wait and a war with Spain be forced on us by the headlong ambition or false policy of the Cabinet at Washington it might be hazardous to retire, even though in principle opposed to the war, not only as unjustifiable toward Spain but as impolitic and injurious as respects ourselves. I do verily believe that such a war would be a downward instead of an onward step for our republican institutions, and might easily justify my own conscience in refusing to be an instrument in the unjust campaign.

      I might draw a line between my duty to remain in the army to repulse any attempt made from abroad upon us, and the questionable duty of going beyond our borders to inflict wrong upon another people, with probable injury to us in the end. I had this point in consideration on entering into the Mexican War, the grievous wrong of which was perfectly apparent to me, but I did not resign. My principles were not then so clear to me as they have since become, and it would have been more difficult to act freely then than now—in case I mean, of a war with Spain manifestly for the acquisition of Cuba….

      New York, May 31. I am in doubt as to leaving the army, wishing to do so, but uncertain as to the result. I do not wish to be moved by the slightest disposition to avoid service and responsibility. One point of weight with me is my personal opinions, after reading Plato, as I have, and finding myself more than ever a cosmopolite. The truth is, I am not sufficiently devoted to my profession, or even to my government, to make service a pleasure. I consider war an evil, whether necessary or not. It indicates a state of comparative barbarism in the nation engaged in it. I am also doubtful as to governments, and feel disposed to think that with my views I ought to live under what Plato, in the Statesman, speaks of as the 7th government. The question remains whether I can pass from a practical to a theoretical life, and whether, being a member of society, I am not bound to act with it. If I resign I wish to do so in such a frame of mind as to have no after regrets. This, in fact, is the principle which I wish to have guide me in whatever I do, for my eternity is here and now.

      St. Louis, Oct. 6, 1855. I have prepared a letter, now on the table before me, addressed to Colonel Thomas, Asst. Adj.-General to General Scott, tendering the resignation of my commission in the army. My leave of absence terminates today, and I have thought for several years that if circumstances should compel me to serve under [General Harney's] orders, I would resign. It has now happened. I have been placed under the orders of a man for whom I have not the smallest respect—a man without education, intelligence, or humanity. I have not acted hastily. I have not resigned in a passion. I am not under the influence of anger or pique, nor do I feel a sense of mortification because an unworthy man has been set over me. Least of all do I suppose that I shall be missed from the army, or that my country will notice my withdrawal to private life. I know how little a great nation depends upon any mere individual, and how still less upon so humble a person as myself. I am content to be unnoticed. If I could really do some great and glorious good I should be willing to take the reputation of it, but I have not the smallest desire for mere notoriety. It is a rare thing in our service for a full colonel (brevet brigadier-general) to resign, and thereby relinquish all contingent advantages, but I voluntarily surrender them all rather than to place myself under orders of such a man as I know [General Harney] to be.

      [W.A. Croffut, the editor of Hitchcock's diary, added this paragraph of his own.]

      Shortly after these words were written a messenger came galloping across the prairies towards St. Louis telling the story that our soldiers, under [General Harney's] command, had perpetrated the bloody butchery of Ash Hollow, in which, after a treacherous parley, and while they were negotiating terms of peace, they fell upon the Brules and exterminated the tribe. The New York Tribune characterized it as “a transaction as shameful, detestable, and cruel as anywhere sullies our annals,” and the St. Louis News said that the commander “divested himself of the attributes of civilized humanity and turned himself into a treacherous demon, remorseless and bloodthirsty.” When he read the horrible narrative General Hitchcock congratulated himself anew on having sent his resignation.

      SOURCE: W. A. Croffut, ed., Fifty Years in Camp and Field (New York: Putnam, 1909), 81–85, 111, 116, 120, 122, 123, 198, 202, 212, 214, 225, 228, 229, 237, 296, 396, 404, 411–12, 418–19.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Hitchcock; Ethan Allen; Indian Wars: Seminole Wars; Just War Theory; Osceola



      Benny Havens operated a tavern in the immediate vicinity of the United States Military Academy at West Point near Buttermilk Falls some time in the 1820s. Many cadets regarded an after-hours visit to this tavern as a true measure of one's daring and skill, and a number found their way there on the sly in the 1820s, 1830s, and 1840s. The tavern was not off-limits to officers stationed at the Academy, and in 1838 Lt. Lucius O’Brien penned a number of verses, sung to Thomas Moore's song “The Wearing of the Green,” that became popular with both officers and cadets. After O’Brien was killed in action in the Second Seminole War in 1841, each graduating class added a verse. The song has more than 50 known verses, but the most often sung are the first and the sixth of the nine given here:

      Come fill your glasses, fellows, and stand up, in a row, To singing sentimentally we’re going for to go. In the Army there's sobriety, promotion's very slow, So we’ll sing our reminiscences of Benny Havens, Oh!


      Oh! Benny Havens, Oh!

      Oh! Benny Havens, Oh!

      We’ll sing our reminiscences of Benny Havens, Oh!

      Let us toast our foster father, the Republic, as you know, Who in the paths of science taught us upward for to go; And the maidens of our native land, whose cheeks like roses glow, They’re oft remembered in our cups at Benny Havens, Oh!

      To the ladies of our Army our cups shall ever flow, Companions in our exile and our shield ’gainst every woe; May they see their husbands generals, with double pay also, And join us in our choruses at Benny Havens, Oh!

      Come fill up to our Generals, God bless the brave heroes, They’re an honor to their country, and a terror to their foes; May they long rest on their laurels, and troubles never know, But live to see a thousand years at Benny Havens, Oh!

      To our kind old Alma Mater, our rock-bound Highland home, We’ll cast back many a fond regret as o’er life's sea we roam; Until on our last battle-field the lights of heaven shall glow, We’ll never fail to drink to her and Benny Havens, Oh!

      May the Army be augmented, promotion be less slow, May our country in the hour of need be ready for the foe; May we find a soldier's resting-place beneath a soldier's blow, With room enough beside our graves for Benny Havens, Oh!

      And if amid the battle shock our honor e’er should trail, And hearts that beat beneath its folds should turn or basely quail; Then may some son of Benny's, with quick avenging blow, Lift up the flag we loved so well at Benny Havens, Oh!

      To our comrades who have fallen, one cup before we go, They poured their life-blood freely out pro bono publico; No marble points the stranger to where they rest below, They lie neglected far away from Benny Havens, Oh!

      When you and I and Benny, and all the others too, Are called before the “final board” our course in life to view, May we never “fess” on any point, but straight be told to go, And join the army of the blest at Benny Havens, Oh!

      This song, like “Army Blue,” we are printing here because it is dear to our friends and rivals, the Cadets of the United States Military Academy. In addition it is beloved by every alumnus of West Point; and there are few midshipmen or naval officers who have not become acquainted with it. Benny Havens, it is understood, was originally a sutler on the West Point reservation and very popular with the cadets of earlier days; but in the course of hallowing years the name has in a way become synonymous with West Point itself.

      SOURCE: Joseph W. Crosley and the United States Naval Institute. The Book of Navy Songs. Annapolis, Md.: United States Naval Academy, 1955. Reprinted by permission of the Naval Institute Press.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Military Academy, United States; Music and War

      1846 a


      This document is one of the earlier examples of the debate between the president and the Congress about the nature of executive secrecy, and the limits to which diplomatic activity could be kept secret. This letter from Pres. James K. Polk to the House of Representatives lays out one version of the executive branch's justification for preservation of at least some secrecy. The particular controversy referred to relates to the secretary of state who served under Polk's predecessor, specifically the secretary's negotiations with Britain over the northeastern boundary of the United States and Canada.

      WASHINGTON, April 20, 1846.

      To the House of Representatives:

      I have considered the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 9th instant, by which I am requested “to cause to be furnished to that House an account of all payments made on President's certificates from the fund appropriated by law, through the agency of the State Department, for the contingent expenses of foreign intercourse from the 4th of March, 1841, until the retirement of Daniel Webster from the Department of State, with copies of all entries, receipts, letters, vouchers, memorandums, or other evidence of such payments, to whom paid, for what, and particularly all concerning the northeastern-boundary dispute with Great Britain.”

      With an anxious desire to furnish to the House any information requested by that body which may be in the Executive Departments, I have felt bound by a sense of public duty to inquire how far I could with propriety, or consistently with the existing laws, respond to their call.

      The usual annual appropriation “for the contingent expenses of intercourse between the United States and foreign nations” has been disbursed since the date of the act of May 1, 1810, in pursuance of its provisions. By the third section of that act it is provided—

      That when any sum or sums of money shall be drawn from the Treasury under any law making appropriation for the contingent expenses of intercourse between the United States and foreign nations the President shall be, and he is hereby, authorized to cause the same to be duly settled annually with the accounting officers of the Treasury in the manner following; that is to say, by causing the same to be accounted for specially in all instances wherein the expenditure thereof may in his judgment be made public, and by making a certificate of the amount of such expenditures as he may think it advisable not to specify; and every such certificate shall be deemed a sufficient voucher for the sum or sums therein expressed to have been expended.

      Two distinct classes of expenditure are authorized by this law—the one of a public and the other of a private and confidential character. The President in office at the time of the expenditure is made by the law the sole judge whether it shall be public or private. Such sums are to be “accounted for specially in all instances wherein the expenditure thereof may in his judgment be made public.” All expenditures “accounted for specially” are settled at the Treasury upon vouchers, and not on “President's certificates,” and, like all other public accounts, are subject to be called for by Congress, and are open to public examination. Had information as respects this class of expenditures been called for by the resolution of the House, it would have been promptly communicated….

      If the President may answer the present call, he must answer similar calls for every such expenditure of a confidential character, made under every Administration, in war and in peace, from the organization of the Government to the present period. To break the seal of confidence imposed by the law, and heretofore uniformly preserved, would be subversive of the very purpose for which the law was enacted, and might be productive of the most disastrous consequences. The expenditures of this confidential character, it is believed, were never before sought to be made public, and I should greatly apprehend the consequences of establishing a precedent which would render such disclosures hereafter inevitable.

      I am fully aware of the strong and correct public feeling which exists throughout the country against secrecy of any kind in the administration of the Government, and especially in reference to public expenditures; yet our foreign negotiations are wisely and properly confined to the knowledge of the Executive during their pendency. Our laws require the accounts of every particular expenditure to be rendered and publicly settled at the Treasury Department. The single exception which exists is not that the amounts embraced under President's certificates shall be withheld from the public, but merely that the items of which these are composed shall not be divulged. To this extent, and no further, is secrecy observed.

      The laudable vigilance of the people in regard to all the expenditures of the Government, as well as a sense of duty on the part of the President and a desire to retain the good opinion of his fellow-citizens, will prevent any sum expended from being accounted for by the President's certificate unless in cases of urgent necessity. Such certificates have therefore been resorted to but seldom throughout our past history.

      For my own part, I have not caused any account whatever to be settled on a Presidential certificate. I have had no occasion rendering it necessary in my judgment to make such a certificate, and it would be an extreme case which would ever induce me to exercise this authority; yet if such a case should arise it would be my duty to assume the responsibility devolved on me by the law.

      During my Administration all expenditures for contingent expenses of foreign intercourse in which the accounts have been closed have been settled upon regular vouchers, as all other public accounts are settled at the Treasury.

      It may be alleged that the power of impeachment belongs to the House of Representatives, and that, with a view to the exercise of this power, that House has the right to investigate the conduct of all public officers under the Government. This is cheerfully admitted. In such a case the safety of the Republic would be the supreme law, and the power of the House in the pursuit of this object would penetrate into the most secret recesses of the Executive Departments. It could command the attendance of any and every agent of the Government, and compel them to produce all papers, public or private, official or unofficial, and to testify on oath to all facts within their knowledge. But even in a case of that kind they would adopt all wise precautions to prevent the exposure of all such matters the publication of which might injuriously affect the public interest, except so far as this might be necessary to accomplish the great ends of public justice. If the House of Representatives, as the grand inquest of the nation, should at any time have reason to believe that there has been malversation in office by an improper use or application of the public money by a public officer, and should think proper to institute an inquiry into the matter, all the archives and papers of the Executive Departments, public or private, would be subject to the inspection and control of a committee of their body and every facility in the power of the Executive be afforded to enable them to prosecute the investigation.

      The experience of every nation on earth has demonstrated that emergencies may arise in which it becomes absolutely necessary for the public safety or the public good to make expenditures the very object of which would be defeated by publicity. Some governments have very large amounts at their disposal, and have made vastly greater expenditures than the small amounts which have from time to time been accounted for on President's certificates. In no nation is the application of such sums ever made public. In time of war or impending danger the situation of the country may make it necessary to employ individuals for the purpose of obtaining information or rendering other important services who could never be prevailed upon to act if they entertained the least apprehension that their names or their agency would in any contingency be divulged. So it may often become necessary to incur an expenditure for an object highly useful to the country; for example, the conclusion of a treaty with a barbarian power whose customs require on such occasions the use of presents. But this object might be altogether defeated by the intrigues of other powers if our purposes were to be made known by the exhibition of the original papers and vouchers to the accounting officers of the Treasury. It would be easy to specify other cases which may occur in the history of a great nation, in its intercourse with other nations, wherein it might become absolutely necessary to incur expenditures for objects which could never be accomplished if it were suspected in advance that the items of expenditure and the agencies employed would be made public.

      Actuated undoubtedly by considerations of this kind, Congress provided such a fund, coeval with the organization of the Government, and subsequently enacted the law of 1810 as the permanent law of the land. While this law exists in full force I feel bound by a high sense of public policy and duty to observe its provisions and the uniform practice of my predecessors under it.

      With great respect for the House of Representatives and an anxious desire to conform to their wishes, I am constrained to come to this conclusion….


      SOURCE: James D. Richardson, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789–1897, 20 vols. (Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1897), 4: 431–36.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil–Military Relations; Intelligence Gathering in Wart; Polk, James K.

      1846 b

      Excerpts from the biglow papers

      Boston Brahmin James Russell Lowell, a foe of slavery and the Mexican War, penned a number of letters from fictitious plain Massachusetts folk upset with the Polk administration's Mexican War policies. He sent these letters to the Boston Courier throughout the course of the war. This, the first of them, begins with an introduction from farmer “Ezekiel Biglow,” offering the Courier a poem his son “Hosea” had “thrashed out” after an unpleasant encounter with an Army recruiting sergeant.

      No. I.

      A Letter






      JAYLEM, june 1846.

      MISTER EDDYTER: —Our Hosea wuz down to Boston last week, and he see a cruetin Sarjunt a struttin round as popler as a hen with 1 chicking, with 2 fellers a drummin and fifin arter him like all nater. the sarjunt he thout Hosea hedn’t gut his i teeth cut cos he looked a kindo's though he’d jest com down, so he cal’lated to hook him in, but Hosy woodn’t take none o’ his sarse for all he hed much as 20 Rooster's tales stuck onto his hat and eenamost enuf brass a bobbin up and down on his shoulders and figureed onto his coat and trousis, let alone wut nater hed sot in his featers, to make a 6 pounder out on.

      wal, Hosea he com home considerabal riled, and arter I ’d gone to bed I heern Him a thrashin round like a shorttailed Bull in flitime. The old Woman ses she to me ses she, Zekle, ses she, our Hosee's gut the chollery or suthin anuther ses she, don’t you Bee skeered, ses I, he's oney amakin pottery…

      THRASH away, you ’ll hev to rattleOn them kittle drums o’ yourn,—’Taint a knowin’ kind o’ cattleThet is ketched with mouldy corn;Put in stiff, you fifer feller,Let folks see how spry you be,—Guess you ’ll toot till you are yeller’Fore you git ahold o’ me ! …Ez fer war, I call it murder,—There you hev it plain an’ flat;I don’t want to go no furderThan my Testyment fer that;God hez sed so plump an’ fairly,It 's ez long ez it is broad,An’ you ’ve gut to git up airlyEf you want to take in God.’Taint your eppyletts an’ feathersMake the thing a grain more right;’Taint afollerin’ your bell-wethersWill excuse ye in His sight;Ef you take a sword an’ dror it,An’ go stick a feller thru,Guv’ment aint to answer for it,God’ll send the bill to you.Wut 's the use o’meetin-goin’Every Sabbath, wet or dry,Ef it 's right to go amowin’Feller-men like oats an’ rye ?I dunno but wut it 's pootyTrainin’ round in bobtail coats,—But it 's curus Christian dootyThis ere cuttin’ folks's throats.They may talk o’ Freedom's airyTell they ’re pupple in the face,—It's a grand gret cemetaryFer the barthrights of our race;They jest want this CalifornySo 's to lug new slave-states inTo abuse ye, an’ to scorn ye,An’ to plunder ye like sin.Aint it cute to see a YankeeTake sech everlastin’ pains,All to git the Devil's thankee,Helpin’ on ’em weld their chains ?Wy, it 's jest ez clear ez figgers,Clear ez one an’ one make two,Chaps thet make black slaves o’ niggersWant to make wite slaves o’ you.

      SOURCE: The Biglow Papers (Cambridge, Mass.: George Nichols, 1848).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Antiwar Movements; Conscription and Voluntarism; Just War Theory; Mexican War



      American “filibusters” launched several unlawful quasimilitary assaults on Sonora (Mexico), Nicaragua, Cuba, and Honduras in the 1850s. Most were Southerners hoping to expand the borders of slavery. This unsympathetic ditty spoofed the “filibustering” craze.

      One day, while walking down Broadway,What should I meet,Coming up the street,But a soldier gay,In a grand array,Who had been to Nicaragua!He took me warmly by the hand,And says, “old fellow, you’re my man.How would you likeA soldier's life,On the plains of Nicaragua?Then come with me down to the ship,I’ll quickly send you on your trip,Don’t stop to think, for there's meat and drinkOn the plains of Nicaragua.I scarcely knew what to do or say;No money I had,My boots were bad,Hat was gone,My pants were torn,So I was off for Nicaragua.He took me in, and did me treat,Gave me a cigar and grub to eat;And on his scroll did my name enroll,A soldier for Nicaragua.He took me down unto the ship,Quickly sent me on my trip;But, oh Lord! wasn’t I sea-sick,Going to Nicaragua.But after ten days of sailing away,We saw the land of San Juan;My heart beat light,For I thought it all right,When I got to Nicaragua.But when they got me on the shore,They put me with about twenty more,To fight awayOr be hanged, they say,For going to Nicaragua.Now, wasn’t I in a pretty fix:If I could only have cut my sticks,You’d never caught me playing such tricks,As going to Nicaragua.Next morning, then, in grand array,All fagged and jaded,We were paraded.At close of day,We were marched awayTo the army in Nicaragua.Not a bit of breakfast did I see,And dinner was the same to me.Two fried catsAnd three stewed ratsWere supper in Nicaragua.Marching all day with sore feet,Plenty of fighting and nothing to eat,How I sighed for pickled pigs’ feet,Way down in Nicaragua.The Costa Ricans tackled us one day;In the first alarm,I lost my arm;But we made them yield,On Rivas’ field,Way down in Nicaragua.The Yankee boys fought long and well,They gave those Costa Ricans—fits:But wasn’t I dryAnd hungry,Way down in Nicaragua!Marching all day, and fighting away,Nothing to eat, quite as much pay,Do it all for glory, they say,Way down in Nicaragua.But when I was on duty, one day,Give ’em the slip—Jumped on the ship,And bid good-by,Forever and aye,To the plains of Nicaragua.And, when I got to old New York,I filled myself with beans and pork;My friends I cheer, and in lager beerDrown times in Nicaragua.And now I tread Columbia's land,Take my friends all by the hand;And if ever I leave ’em, may I be—blessed,To go to Nicaragua.

      SOURCE: “I’m Off for Nicaragua” (New York: H. De Marsan).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Filibustering; Mexican War; Music and War



      Abiel Abbot Livermore won an American Peace Society prize for the best essay on how in the future the United States (and the rest of the developed world) might avoid wars like the one it had recently waged against Mexico. These excerpts are drawn from the society's publication of that essay.


      … What is needed is, that the idea of a great pacific tribunal to settle the disputes of the world, should be broached, familiarized to the people, sent abroad on the wings of the press, hammered by dint of heavy and oft-repeated arguments into the mass of admitted and accredited truths, and then the work is done. We have trained mankind to war, we must now train them to peace. When the spirit of peace is largely developed in the public sentiment of Europe and America, this institution will be born in a day. The tendency of these remarks is to show that the agitation of the subject is what is now most exigent. By books and pamphlets, by the living voice and the inspired pen, this theme must be brought home to the minds and hearts of men, and they must be made to feel that every individual, be he high or low, rich or poor, is vitally concerned in having the great quarrels of kingdoms justly and amicably settled, as he is that justice should be done between man and man, and peace and order prevail in his hamlet or village. For in the earthquake shocks of war a thousand homes are overturned, and the mark of blood is left behind on ten thousand spheres of life once usefully and happily filled by fathers, sons, husbands, brothers. Let us hope, and labor, and pray, that the day may not be far distant when civilized and Christian men will see the madness of war, its bald inconsistency with the theory of a republican government, its hostility to the spirit of the present age, and its nullification of every law, and promise, and prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ.


      … When we consider how little has been done to prevent war, and how much to cultivate its spirit, and to invest its feats with a factitious glory; how literature and the fine arts, and politics, and, sad to confess, even professed Christians have encouraged, applauded, and diffused the passion for arms, we wonder not at the frequency of battles, and the human blood that has stained half the land and sea of the whole earth. Indeed the martial spirit has been so prevalent, mankind have drunk it so greedily as if it were as innocent as water, that we are prone to forget what a thorough education we give our children for war, and how little we do for the pacification of the world.

      For when we inquire how this vast underlying passion for war has been educated and ripened in the heart of society, we shall be constrained to answer: It is by the war-songs of childhood, and the studies of the classics. It is by the wooden sword, and the tin drum of boyhood. It is by the trainings and the annual muster. It is by the red uniform and the white plume, and the prancing steed. It is by the cannon's thunder, and the gleam of the bayonet. It is by ballads of Robin Hood, and histories of Napoleon, and “Tales of the Crusaders.” It is by the presentation of flags by the hands of the fair, and the huzzas for a victory. It is by the example of the father and the consent of the mother. It is by the fear of cowardice, and the laugh of the scorner. It is by the blood of youth, and the pride of manhood, and stories of revolutionary sires. It is by standing armies, and majestic men-of-war. It is by the maxims of self defence, and the cheapness of human life, and the love of excitement. It is by novels of love, and the “Pirate's Own Book.” It is by the jars of home, and the squabbles of party, and the controversies of sects. It is by the misconception of the Bible, and ignorance of God. It is by the bubble of glory, and the emulation of schools, and the graspings of money-making. By one and by all, the heart of the community is educated for war, from the cradle to the coffin. When we sow the seed so copiously, we must not complain that the harvest is abundant.

      SOURCE: War with Mexico (Boston: W.M. Crosby and H.P. Nichols, 1850).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Just War Theory; Mexican War; Militarization and Militarism; Pacifism

      1861 a


      One old saw had it that virtually all southern-born West Point graduates “went South” when their home states seceded. In 1903 Francis Heitman found the records and “did the math.” Here are the results. Officers joined the Confederacy in greater proportion the further South their home state.

      JoinedStayedResigned &Region
      CSA (%)USA (%)Withdrew(%)Total
      Lower South 100 (79.4)20 (15.9)6 (4.8)126
      (N.C., S.C., Ga., Fla., Miss., La., Texas)
      Upper South 93 (58.9)57 (36.1)8 (5.1)158
      (Va., Tenn., Ark.)
      Border 48 (27.4)118 (67.4)9 (5.1)175
      (Del., Md., Ky., Mo., D.C.)
      North 28 (4.5)597 (95.1)3 (0.5)628
      Total 269 (24.7)792 (72.9)26 (2.4)1,087
      *Foreign-born officers and officers whose places of birth are unknown have been grouped by place of appointment.

      SOURCE: Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, from Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1903).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil War; Conscription and Volunteerism

      1861 b


      Some time after the Civil War, Samuel Clemens (“Mark Twain”) whimsically described his brief experience as a Confederate volunteer.

      IT WAS LATE, and there was a deep woodsy stillness everywhere. There was a veiled moonlight, which was only just strong enough to enable us to mark the general shape of objects. Presently a muffled sound caught our ears, and we recognized it as the hoof-beats of a horse or horses. And right away a figure appeared in the forest path; it could have been made of smoke, its mass had so little sharpness of outline. It was a man on horseback, and it seemed to me that there were others behind him. I got hold of a gun in the dark, and pushed it through a crack between the logs, hardly knowing what I was doing, I was so dazed with fright. Somebody said “Fire!” I pulled the trigger. I seemed to see a hundred flashes and hear a hundred reports; then I saw the man fall down out of the saddle. My first feeling was of surprised gratification; my first impulse was an apprentice sportsman's impulse to run and pick up his game. Somebody said, hardly audibly, “Good—we’ve got him!—wait for the rest.” But the rest did not come. We waited—listened—still no more came. There was not a sound, not the whisper of a leaf; just perfect stillness; an uncanny kind of stillness, which was all the more uncanny on account of the damp, earthy, late-night smells now rising and pervading it. Then, wondering, we crept stealthily out, and approached the man. When we got to him the moon revealed him distinctly. He was lying on his back, with his arms abroad; his mouth was open and his chest heaving with long gasps, and his white shirt-front was all splashed with blood. The thought shot through me that I was a murderer; that I had killed a man—a man who had never done me any harm. That was the coldest sensation that ever went through my marrow. I was down by him in a moment, helplessly stroking his forehead; and I would have given anything then—my own life freely—to make him again what he had been five minutes before. And all the boys seemed to be feeling in the same way; they hung over him, full of pitying interest, and tried all they could to help him, and said all sorts of regretful things. They had forgotten all about the enemy; they thought only of this one forlorn unit of the foe. Once my imagination persuaded me that the dying man gave me a reproachful look out of his shadowy eyes, and it seemed to me that I would rather he had stabbed me than done that. He muttered and mumbled like a dreamer in his sleep about his wife and his child; and I thought with a new despair, “This thing that I have done does not end with him; it falls upon them too, and they never did me any harm, any more than he.”

      In a little while the man was dead. He was killed in war; killed in fair and legitimate war; killed in battle, as you may say; and yet he was as sincerely mourned by the opposing force as if he had been their brother. The boys stood there a half-hour sorrowing over him, and recalling the details of the tragedy, and wondering who he might be, and if he were a spy, and saying that if it were to do over again they would not hurt him unless he attacked them first. It soon came out that mine was not the only shot fired; there were five others—a division of the guilt which was a great relief to me, since it in some degree lightened and diminished the burden I was carrying. There were six shots fired at once; but I was not in my right mind at the time, and my heated imagination had magnified my one shot into a volley.

      The man was not in uniform, and was not armed. He was a stranger in the country; that was all we ever found out about him. The thought of him got to preying upon me every night; I could not get rid of it. I could not drive it away, the taking of that unoffending life seemed such a wanton thing. And it seemed an epitome of war; that all war must be just that—the killing of strangers against whom you feel no personal animosity; strangers whom, in other circumstances, you would help if you found them in trouble, and who would help you if you needed it. My campaign was spoiled. It seemed to me that I was not rightly equipped for this awful business; that war was intended for men, and I for a child's nurse. I resolved to retire from this avocation of sham soldiership while I could save some remnant of my self-respect. These morbid thoughts clung to me against reason; for at bottom I did not believe I had touched that man. The law of probabilities decreed me guiltless of his blood; for in all my small experience with guns I had never hit anything I had tried to hit, and I knew I had done my best to hit him. Yet there was no solace in the thought. Against a diseased imagination demonstration goes for nothing.

      SOURCE: Mark Twain, “The Private History of a Campaign That Failed,” in The American Claimant and Other Stories and Sketches (New York: Collier, 1899), 276–79.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil War; Literature and War

      1861 c


      Henry Stanley, the future journalist and “rescuer” of Dr. David Livingstone in Africa, had been a young English resident of Arkansas in 1861. He later recalled the impulse that had led him to enlist in a regiment there.

      The young men joined hands and shouted, “Is there a man with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said—‘This is my own, my native land?’ ‘An honourable death is better than a base life,’ ” etc., etc. In the strident tones of passion, they said they would welcome a bloody grave rather than survive to see the proud foe violating their altars and their hearths, and desecrating the sacred soil of the South with their unholy feet. But, inflamed as the men and youths were, the warlike fire that burned within their breasts was as nothing to the intense heat that glowed within the bosoms of the women. No suggestion of compromise was possible in their presence. If every man did not hasten to the battle, they vowed they would themselves rush out and meet the Yankee vandals. In a land where women are worshipped by the men, such language made them war-mad.

      Then one day I heard that enlistment was going on. Men were actually enrolling themselves as soldiers! A Captain Smith, owner of a plantation a few miles above Auburn, was raising a Company to be called the ‘Dixie Greys.’ A Mr. Penny Mason, living on a plantation below us, was to be the First-lieutenant, and Mr. Lee, nephew of the great General Lee, was to be Second-lieutenant. The youth of the neighbourhood were flocking to them and registering their names. Our Doctor,—Weston Jones,—Mr. Newton Story, and his brothers Varner, had enlisted. Then the boy Dan Goree prevailed upon his father to permit him to join the gallant braves. Little Rich, of Richmond Store, gave in his name. Henry Parker, the boy nephew of one of the richest planters in the vicinity, volunteered, until it seemed as if Arkansas County was to be emptied of all the youth and men I had known.

      About this time, I received a parcel which I half-suspected, as the address was written in a feminine hand, to be a token of some lady's regard; but, on opening it, I discovered it to be a chemise and petticoat, such as a negro lady'smaid might wear. I hastily hid it from view, and retired to the back room, that my burning cheeks might not betray me to some onlooker. In the afternoon, Dr. Goree called, and was excessively cordial and kind. He asked me if I did not intend to join the valiant children of Arkansas to fight? and I answered ‘Yes.’

      At my present age [60] the whole thing appears to be a very laughable affair altogether; but, at that time, it was far from being a laughing matter. He praised my courage, and my patriotism, and said I should win undying glory, and then he added, in a lower voice, ‘We shall see what we can do for you when you come back.’

      What did he mean? Did he suspect my secret love for that sweet child who sometimes came shopping with her mother? From that confidential promise I believe he did, and was, accordingly, ready to go anywhere for her sake….

      About the beginning of July we embarked on the steamer ‘Frederick Notrebe.’ At various landings, as we ascended the river, the volunteers crowded aboard; and the jubilation of so many youths was intoxicating. Near Pine Bluff, while we were making merry, singing, ‘I wish I was in Dixie,’ the steamer struck a snag which pierced her hull, and we sank down until the water was up to the furnace-doors. We remained fixed for several hours, but, fortunately, the ‘Rose Douglas’ came up, and took us and our baggage safely up to Little Rock.

      We were marched to the Arsenal, and, in a short time, the Dixie Greys were sworn by Adjutant-General Burgevine into the service of the Confederate States of America for twelve months. We were served with heavy flint-lock muskets, knapsacks, and accoutrements, and were attached to the 6th Arkansas Regiment of Volunteers, Colonel Lyons commanding, and A. T. Hawthorn, Lieutenant-colonel.

      SOURCE: Dorothy Stanley, ed., The Autobiography of Sir Henry M. Stanley (Boston and London: Houghton Mifflin, 1909), 165–66.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil War; Conscription and Volunteerism

      1861 d


      A young Confederate officer and two enlisted men commented on the hardening effect of seeing dead soldiers on battlefields day after day:

      I felt quite small in that fight the other day when the musket balls and cannon balls was flying around me as thick as hail and my best friends falling on both sides dead and mortally wounded Oh Dear it is impossible for me to express my feeling when the fight was over & I saw what was done the tears came then free oh that I never could behold such a sight again to think of it among civilized people killing one another like beasts one would think that the supreme rule would put a stop to it but wee sinned as a nation and must suffer in the flesh as well as spiritually those things wee cant account for.

      Up on the bluff we saw the first dead Yankee—he lay stark and cold in death upon the hillside among the trees in the gloom of the gathering twilight; the pale face turned towards us, upon which we looked with feelings mingled with awe and dread. We had heard and seen many new and strange things that day. Later on in the war, we could look upon the slain on the battlefield with little less feeling than upon the carcass of an animal. Such are some of the hardening effects of war. I don’t think we were again as badly scared as on that day; I was not, I am sure.

      I saw the body [of a man killed the previous day] this morning and a horrible sight it was. Such sights do not affect me as they once did. I can not describe the change nor do I know when it took place, yet I know that there is a change for I look on the carcass of a man now with pretty much such feeling as I would do were it a horse or hog.

      SOURCE: W. H. Morgan, Personal Reminiscences of the War of 1861–65 (Lynchburg, Va.: J.P. Bell, 1911), 62.

      Two barely literate privates from Alabama wrote home during the Civil War, describing their horror at what Bell Irvin Wiley called their “Baptism of fire”:

      Martha … I can inform you that I have Seen the Monkey Show at last and I dont Waunt to see it no more I am satsfide with Ware Martha I Cant tell you how many ded men I did see … thay ware piled up one one another all over the Battel feel the Battel was a Six days Battel and I was in all off it … I did not go all over the Battel feeld I Jest was one one Winge of the Battel feeld But I can tell you that there Was a meney a ded man where I was men Was shot Evey fashinton that you mite Call for Som and there hedes shot of and som ther armes and leges Won was sot in the midel I can tell you that I am tirde of Ware I am satsfide if the Ballence is that is one thing Shore I dont waunt to see that site no more I can inform you that West Brown was shot one the head he Was sent off to the horspitel … he was not herte very Bad he was struck with a pease of a Bum[.]

      We have had every hard fite a bout ten miles from Chat ta nooga on Chick a mog ga creak in gor ga … i com out safe but it is all i can say i have all ways crave to fite a lit[tle] gust to no what it is to go in to a bat tle but i got the chance to tri my hand at last anough to sad isfi me i never wan to go in to an nother fite any more sister i wan to come home worse than i eaver did be fore but when times gits better i will tri to come home thare has ben agrate meney soldiers runing a way late ly but i dont want to go that way if i can get home any other way.

      SOURCE: Bell Irvin Wiley, Life of Johnny Reb (New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1943), 32–33.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil War; Combat, Effects of; Conscription and Volunteerism; Psychiatric Disorders, Combat Related

      1861 e


      Northern blacks tended to see the beginning of hostilities as an opportunity to bring an end to slavery. The New York Anglo-African editorialized thus:

      The outbreak of the war … is but another step in the drama of American Progress. We say Progress, for we know that no matter what may be the desires of the men of Expediency who rule, or seem to, the affairs of the North,—the tendencies are for liberty.

      God speed the conflict. May the cup be drained to its dregs, for only thus can this nation of sluggards know the disease and its remedy …

      The free colored Americans cannot be indifferent to the progress of this struggle…. Out of this strife will come freedom, though the methods are not yet clearly apparent…. Public opinion purified by the fiery ordeal through which the nation is about to pass, will rightly appreciate the cause of its political disquiet, and apply the remedy…. It must be that the key to the solution of the present difficulties, is the abolition of slavery; not as an act of retaliation on the master, but as a measure of justice to the slave—the sure and permanent basis of “a more perfect Union.”

      SOURCE: Editorials, Anglo-African, April 20 and 27, 1861.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Civil War

      1861 f


      Blacks performed important spying missions and functions for the Union Army. Allan Pinkerton, chief of the U.S. Secret Service, went to Memphis, Tennessee, posing as a Southerner in 1861. He recalled:

      Here, as in many other places, I found that my best source of information was the colored men, who were employed in various capacities of a military nature which entailed hard labor. The slaves, without reserve, were sent by their masters to perform the manual labor of building earthworks and fortifications, in driving the teams and in transporting cannon and ammunition…. I mingled freely with them, and found them ever ready to answer questions and to furnish me with every fact which I desired to possess….

      John Scobell undertook several missions for Pinkerton in Virginia. Pinkerton described Scobell's work as follows:

      Among the many men thus employed, was a negro by the name of John Scobell, and the manner in which his duties were performed, was always a source of satisfaction to me and apparently of gratification to himself. From the commencement of the war, I had found the Negroes of invaluable assistance, and I never hesitated to employ them when, after investigation, I found them to be intelligent and trustworthy….

      All refugees, deserters and contrabands coming through our lines were turned over to me for a thorough examination and for such future disposition as I should recommend. John Scobell came to me in this manner. One morning I was seated in my quarters, preparing for the business of the day, when the officer of the guard announced the appearance of a number of contrabands. Ordering them to be brought in, the pumping process was commenced, and before noon many stray pieces of information had been gathered, which, by accumulation of evidence, were highly valuable. Among the number I had especially noticed the young man who had given his name as John Scobell. He had a manly and intelligent bearing, and his straightforward answers to the many questions propounded to him, at once impressed me very favorably. He informed me that he had formerly been a slave in the State of Mississippi, but had journeyed to Virginia with his master, whose name he bore. His master was a Scotchman, and but a few weeks before had given him and his wife their freedom. The young woman had obtained employment in Richmond, while he had made his way to the Union lines, where, encountering the Federal pickets, he had been brought to headquarters, and thence to me….

      I immediately decided to attach him to my headquarters, with the view of eventually using him in the capacity of a scout, should he prove equal to the task…. I resolved to send him into the South, and test his ability for active duty. Calling him into my quarters, I gave him the necessary directions, and dispatched him, in company with Timothy Webster, on a trip to Virginia. Their line of travel was laid out through Centreville, Manassas, Dumfries, and the Upper and Lower Accoquan.

      John Scobell I found was a remarkably gifted man for one of his race. He could read and write, and was as full of music as the feathered songsters…. In addition to what seemed an almost inexhaustible stock of negro plantation melodies he had also a charming variety of Scotch ballads, which he sang with a voice of remarkable power and sweetness…. Possessing the talents which he did, I felt sure, that he had only to assume the character of the lighthearted, happy darky and no one would suspect the coolheaded, vigilant detective, in the rollicking negro whose only aim in life appeared to be to get enough to eat, and a comfortable place to toast his shins.

      … Carefully noting everything that came in his way he traveled through Dumfries, Accoquan, Manassas and Centreville, and after spending nearly ten days in these localities he finally made his way to Leesburg, and thence down the Potomac to Washington. His experiences on this trip were quite numerous and varied, and only a lack of space prevents their narration. Sometimes, as a vender of delicacies through the camps, a laborer on the earthworks at Manassas, or a cook at Centreville, he made his way uninterruptedly until he obtained the desired information and successfully accomplished the object of his mission.

      His return to Washington was accomplished in safety and his full and concise report fully justified me in the selection I had made of a good, reliable and intelligent operative.

      SOURCE: Allan Pinkerton, Spy in the Rebellion (New York: G.W. Carleton, 1883), 194, 344–46, 366.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Civil War; Intelligence Gathering in War

      1862 a


      During the war, slaves and free blacks did much of the work on Confederate fortifications and entrenchments, as these documents indicate.

      R. H. Chilton, Assistant Adjutant General, to General J. B. Magruder at Yorktown, Virginia, Feb. 15, 1862:

      The War Department finds it necessary to impress slaves and free negroes to extend and complete the fortifications in the Peninsula. You will therefore call upon the citizens of Dinwiddie County, by direction of the Secretary of War, to send forthwith one-half of their male slaves between the ages of sixteen and fifty to execute this work on the Peninsula.

      Jefferson Davis to Governor John Letcher of Virginia, Oct. 10, 1862:

      In accordance with an act passed by the Legislature of Virginia October 3, 1862, I have the honor to call upon Your Excellency for 4,500 negroes to be employed upon the fortifications…. It is unnecessary to call Your Excellency's attention to the importance of a prompt and efficient response to this call, in view of the necessity of completing the works for the defense of Richmond.

      SOURCE: War of the Rebellion … Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 128 volumes (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1880–1901), Series 1, vol. 51, part ii, 472–73, 633.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Civil War; Conscription and Volunteerism

      1862 b


      In 1862, President Lincoln threatened to veto a proposed confiscation bill that would have stripped those in rebellion of their property on the grounds of treason. The bill was criticized by moderate Republican members of Congress from slave-holding border states, but it also fell afoul, in Lincoln's eyes, of the provision in the Constitution (art. 3, sec. 3, cl. 2) that “no [congressional] attainder of treason shall work … forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.” In other words, slaves might be freed from their rebellious owners, but upon the death of those rebels, their children were to inherit all such “property.” Incensed by Lincoln's “strict construction,” Greeley excoriated him in a letter dated August 19, which was printed in the New York Tribune on August 20, 1862. Lincoln replied two days later.

      To ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the U. States:

      DEAR SIR: I do not intrude to tell you—for you must know already—that a great proportion of those who triumphed in your election, and of all who desire the unqualified suppression of the Rebellion now desolating our country, are sorely disappointed and deeply pained by the policy you seem to be pursuing with regard to the slaves of Rebels. I write only to set succinctly and unmistakably before you what we require, what we think we have a right to expect, and of what we complain.

      I. We require of you, as the first servant of the Republic, charged especially and preëminently with this duty, that you EXECUTE THE LAWS. Most emphatically do we demand that such laws as have been recently enacted, which therefore may fairly be presumed to embody the present will and to be dictated by the present needs of the Republic, and which, after due consideration have received your personal sanction, shall by you be carried into full effect, and that you publicly and decisively instruct your subordinates that such laws exist, that they are binding on all functionaries and citizens, and that they are to be obeyed to the letter.

      II. We think you are strangely and disastrously remiss in the discharge of your official and imperative duty with regard to the emancipating provisions of the new Confiscation Act. Those provisions were designed to fight Slavery with Liberty. They prescribe that men loyal to the Union, and willing to shed their blood in her behalf, shall no longer be held, with the Nation's consent, in bondage to persistent, malignant traitors, who for twenty years have been plotting and for sixteen months have been fighting to divide and destroy our country. Why these traitors should be treated with tenderness by you, to the prejudice of the dearest rights of loyal men, we cannot conceive.

      III. We think you are unduly influenced by the counsels, the representations, the menaces, of certain fossil politicians hailing from the Border Slave States. Knowing well that the heartily, unconditionally loyal portion of the White citizens of those States do not expect nor desire that Slavery shall be upheld to the prejudice of the Union—(for the truth of which we appeal not only to every Republican residing in those States, but to such eminent loyalists as H. Winter Davis, Parson Brownlow, the Union Central Committee of Baltimore, and to The Nashville Union)—we ask you to consider that Slavery is everywhere the inciting cause and sustaining base of treason: the most slaveholding sections of Maryland and Delaware being this day, though under the Union flag, in full sympathy with the Rebellion, while the Free-Labor portions of Tennessee and of Texas, though writhing under the bloody heel of Treason, are unconquerably loyal to the Union. So emphatically is this the case, that a most intelligent Union banker of Baltimore recently avowed his confident belief that a majority of the present Legislature of Maryland, though elected as and still professing to be Unionists, are at heart desirous of the triumph of the Jeff. Davis conspiracy; and when asked how they could be won back to loyalty, replied—“Only by the complete Abolition of Slavery.” It seem to us the most obvious truth, that whatever strengthens or fortifies Slavery in the Border States strengthens also Treason, and drives home the wedge intended to divide the Union. Had you from the first refused to recognize in those States, as here, any other than unconditional loyalty—that which stands for the Union, whatever may become of Slavery—those States would have been, and would be, far more helpful and less troublesome to the defenders of the Union than they have been, or now are.

      IV. We think timid counsels in such a crisis calculated to prove perilous, and probably disastrous. It is the duty of a Government so wantonly, wickedly assailed by Rebellion as ours has been to oppose force to force in a defiant, dauntless spirit. It cannot afford to temporize with traitors nor with semi-traitors. It must not bribe them to behave themselves, nor make them fair promises in the hope of disarming their causeless hostility. Representing a brave and high-spirited people, it can afford to forfeit anything else better than its own self-respect, or their admiring confidence. For our Government even to see, after war has been made on it, to dispel the affected apprehensions of armed traitors that their cherished privileges may be assailed by it, is to invite insult and encourage hopes of its own downfall. The rush to arms of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, is the true answer at once to the Rebel raids of John Morgan and the traitorous sophistries of Beriah Magoffin.

      V. We complain that the Union cause has suffered, and is now suffering immensely, from mistaken deference to Rebel Slavery. Had you, Sir, in your Inaugural Address, unmistakably given notice that, in case the Rebellion already commenced were persisted in, and your efforts to preserve the Union and enforce the laws should be resisted by armed force, you would recognize no loyal person as rightfully held in Slavery by a traitor, we believe the Rebellion would therein have received a staggering if not fatal blow. At that moment, according to the returns of the most recent elections, the Unionists were a large majority of the voters of the Slave States. But they were composed in good part of the aged, the feeble, the wealthy, the timid—the young, the reckless, the aspiring, the adventurous, had already been largely lured by the gamblers and negro-traders, the politicians by trade and the conspirators by instinct, into the toils of Treason. Had you then proclaimed that Rebellion would strike the shackles from the slaves of every traitor, the wealthy and the cautious would have been supplied with a powerful inducement to remain loyal. As it was, every coward in the South soon became a traitor from fear; for Loyalty was perilous, while Treason seemed comparatively safe. Hence the boasted unanimity of the South—a unanimity based on Rebel terrorism and the fact that immunity and safety were found on that side, danger and probable death on ours. The Rebels from the first have been eager to confiscate, imprison, scourge and kill; we have fought wolves with the devices of sheep. The result is just what might have been expected. Tens of thousands are fighting in the Rebel ranks today whose original bias and natural leanings would have led them into ours.

      VI. We complain that the Confiscation Act which you approved is habitually disregarded by your Generals, and that no word of rebuke for them from you has yet reached the public ear. Fremont's Proclamation and Hunter's Order favoring Emancipation were promptly annulled by you; while Halleck's No. 3, forbidding fugitives from Slavery to Rebels to come within his lines—an order as unmilitary as inhuman, and which received the hearty approbation of every traitor in America—with scores of like tendency, have never provoked even your remonstrance. We complain that the officers of your Armies have habitually repelled rather than invited the approach of slaves who would have gladly taken the risks of escaping from their Rebel masters to our camps, bringing intelligence often of inestimable value to the Union cause. We complain that those who have thus escaped to us, avowing a willingness to do for us whatever might be required, have been brutally and madly repulsed, and often surrendered to be scourged, maimed and tortured by the ruffian traitors, who pretend to own them. We complain that a large proportion of our regular Army Officers, with many of the Volunteers, evince far more solicitude to uphold Slavery than to put down the Rebellion. And finally, we complain that you, Mr. President, elected as a Republican, knowing well what an abomination Slavery is, and how emphatically it is the core and essence of this atrocious Rebellion, seem never to interfere with these atrocities, and never give a direction to your Military subordinates, which does not appear to have been conceived in the interest of Slavery rather than of Freedom.

      VII. Let me call your attention to the recent tragedy in New-Orleans, whereof the facts are obtained entirely through Pro-Slavery channels. A considerable body of resolute, able-bodied men, held in Slavery by two Rebel sugarplanters in defiance of the Confiscation Act which you have approved, left plantations thirty miles distant and made their way to the great mart of the South-West, which they knew to be in the undisputed possession of the Union forces. They made their way safely and quietly through thirty miles of Rebel territory, expecting to find freedom under the protection of our flag. Whether they had or had not heard of the passage of the Confiscation Act, they reasoned logically that we could not kill them for deserting the service of their lifelong oppressors, who had through treason become our implacable enemies. They came to us for liberty and protection, for which they were willing to render their best service: they met with hostility, captivity, and murder. The barking of the base curs of Slavery in this quarter deceives no one—not even themselves. They say, indeed, that the negroes had no right to appear in New-Orleans armed (with their inplements of daily labor in the cane-field); but no one doubts that they would gladly have laid these down if assured that they should be free. They were set upon and maimed, captured and killed, because they sought the benefit of that act of Congress which they may not specifically have heard of, but which was none the less the law of the land—which they had a clear right to the benefit of—which it was somebody's duty to publish far and wide, in order that so many as possible should be impelled to desist from serving Rebels and the Rebellion and come over to the side of the Union. They sought their liberty in strict accordance with the law of the land—they were butchered or reënslaved for so doing by the help of Union soldiers enlisted to fight against Slaveholding Treason. It was somebody's fault that they were so murdered—if others shall hereafter suffer in like manner, in default of explicit and public direction to your generals that they are to recognize and obey the Confiscation Act, the world will lay the blame on you. Whether you will choose to hear it through future History and at the bar of God, I will not judge. I can only hope.

      VIII. On the face of this wide earth, Mr. President, there is not one disinterested, determined, intelligent champion of the Union cause who does not feel that all attempts to put down the Rebellion and at the same time uphold its inciting cause are preposterous and futile—that the Rebellion, if crushed out tomorrow, would be renewed within a year if Slavery were left in full vigor—that Army officers who remain to this day devoted to Slavery can at best be but half-way loyal to the Union—and that every hour of deference to Slavery is an hour of added and deepened peril to the Union. I appeal to the testimony of your Embassadors in Europe. It is freely at your service, not at mine. Ask them to tell you candidly whether the seeming subserviency of your policy to the slaveholding, slavery-upholding interest, is not the perplexity, the despair of statesmen of all parties, and be admonished by the general answer!

      IX. I close as I began with the statement that what an immense majority of the Loyal Millions of your countrymen require of you is a frank, declared, unqualified, ungrudging execution of the laws of the land, more especially of the Confiscation Act. That Act gives freedom to the slaves of Rebels coming within our lines, or whom those lines may at any time inclose—we ask you to render it due obedience by publicly requiring all your subordinates to recognize and obey it. The Rebels are everywhere using the late anti-negro riots in the North, as they have long used your officers’ treatment of negroes in the South, to convince the slaves that they have nothing to hope from a Union success—that we mean in that case to sell them into a bitterer bondage to defray the cost of the war. Let them impress this as a truth on the great mass of their ignorant and credulous bondmen, and the Union will never be restored—never. We cannot conquer Ten Millions of People united in solid phalanx against us, powerfully aided by Northern sympathizers and European allies. We must have scouts, guides, spies, cooks, teamsters, diggers and choppers from the Blacks of the South, whether we allow them to fight for us or not, or we shall be baffled and repelled. As one of the millions who would gladly have avoided this struggle at any sacrifice but that of Principle and Honor, but who now feel that the triumph of the Union is indispensable not only to the existence of our country but to the well-being of mankind, I entreat you to render a hearty and unequivocal obedience to the law of the land.

      Yours, … HORACE GREELEY.

      New-York, August 19, 1862.

      SOURCE: Greeley to Lincoln, August 19, 1862. Transcribed and annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, Galesburg, Ill. Available at Library of Congress, Mr. Lincoln's Virtual Library, Abraham Lincoln Papers, Manuscript Division (Washington, D.C.: American Memory Project, 2000–02), http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/alhtml/alhome.html (June 13, 2005).

      Executive Mansion,

      Washington, August 22, 1862.

      DEAR SIR: I have just read yours of the 19th, addressed to myself through the New York Tribune. If there be in it any statements, or assumptions of fact, which I may know to be erroneous, I do not now and here controvert them. If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not now and here argue against them. If there be perceptible in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in deference to an old friend whose heart I have always supposed to be right.

      As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing,” as you say, I have not meant to leave any one in doubt.

      I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

      I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free. Yours,

      A. LINCOLN

      SOURCE: Greeley to Lincoln, August 19, 1862. Transcribed and annotated by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, Galesburg, Ill. Available at Library of Congress, Mr. Lincoln's Virtual Library, Abraham Lincoln Papers, Manuscript Division (Washington, D.C.: American Memory Project, 2000–02), http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/alhtml/alhome.html (August 3, 2005).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil War; Greeley, Horace; Lincoln, Abraham

      1863 a


      Jerry Sullivan spoke at a gathering of blacks in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 20, 1863, exhorting them to take up arms for the Union cause.

      God is in this war. He will lead us on to victory. Folks talk about the fighting being nearly over, but I believe there is a heap yet to come. Let the colored men accept the offer of the President and Cabinet, take arms, join the army, and then we will whip the rebels, even if Longstreet and all the Streets of the South, concentrate at Chattanooga. (Laughter and applause.) Why, don’t you remember how afraid they used to be that we would rise? And you know we would, too, if we could. (Cries of “that's so.”) I ran away two years ago…. I got to Cincinnati, and from there I went straight to General Rosecrans’ headquarters. And now I am going to be Corporal. (Shouts of laughter.)

      Come, boys, let's get some guns from Uncle Sam, and go coon hunting; shooting those gray back coons [Confederates] that go poking about the country now a days. (Laughter.) Tomorrow morning, don’t eat too much breakfast, but as soon as you get back from market, start the first thing for our camp. Don’t ask your wife, for if she is a wife worth having she will call you a coward for asking her. (Applause, and waving of handkerchiefs by the ladies.) I’ve got a wife and she says to me, the other day, “Jerry, if you don’t go to the war mighty soon, I’ll go off and leave you, as some of the Northern gentlemen want me to go home to cook for them.” (Laughter.) … The ladies are now busy making us a flag, and let us prove ourselves men worthy to bear it.

      SOURCE: The Colored Citizen, November 7, 1863.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Civil War; Conscription and Volunteerism

      1863 b


      Two of Frederick Douglass's sons were the first recruits from New York to join the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer (Colored) Infantry. Douglass himself asked:

      Shall colored men enlist notwithstanding this unjust and ungenerous barrier raised against them? We answer yes. Go into the army and go with a will and a determination to blot out this and all other mean discriminations against us. To say we won’t be soldiers because we cannot be colonels is like saying we won’t go into water till we have learned to swim. A half a loaf is better than no bread—and to go into the army is the speediest and best way to overcome the prejudice which has dictated unjust laws against us. To allow us in the army at all, is a great concession. Let us take this little the better to get more. By showing that we deserve the little is the best way to gain much. Once in the United States uniform and the colored man has a springing board under him by which he can jump to loftier heights.

      SOURCE: Douglass's Monthly 5, March 1863, 802.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Civil War; Conscription and Volunteerism; 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

      1863 c


      The 54th Regiment of Massachusetts was nearly annihilated in a courageous but unsuccessful assault of the Confederacy's Fort Wagner at the mouth of Charleston, South Carolina, harbor. Shortly after the assault, Frederick Douglass's son Lewis, a sergeant in that regiment, described the fighting in a letter to his future wife:

      My Dear Amelia: I have been in two fights, and am unhurt. I am about to go in another I believe to-night. Our men fought well on both occasions. The last was desperate we charged that terrible battery on Morris Island known as Fort Wagoner [sic], and were repulsed with a loss of [many] killed and wounded. I escaped unhurt from amidst that perfect hail of shot and shell. It was terrible. I need not particularize the papers will give a better than I have time to give. My thoughts are with you often, you are as dear as ever, be good enough to remember it as I no doubt you will. As I said before we are on the eve of another fight and I am very busy and have just snatched a moment to write you…. Should I fall in the next fight killed or wounded I hope to fall with my face to the foe….

      This regiment has established its reputation as a fighting regiment not a man flinched, though it was a trying time. Men fell all around me. A shell would explode and clear a space of twenty feet, our men would close up again, but it was no use we had to retreat, which was a very hazardous undertaking. How I got out of that fight alive I cannot tell, but I am here. My Dear girl I hope again to see you. I must bid you farewell should I be killed. Remember if I die I die in a good cause. I wish we had a hundred thousand colored troops we would put an end to this war.

      SOURCE: Lewis Douglass to Amelia Loguen, July 20, 1863, Woodson Collection, Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Civil War; 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry

      1863 d


      In early June, 1863, two regiments of recently raised Louisiana freedmen repelled a Confederate attack on Milliken's Bend, a Union outpost on the Mississippi River above Vicksburg, Mississippi. Soon after the battle, Capt. M. M. Miller of the 9th Regiment of Louisiana Volunteers of African descent wrote to his aunt in Illinois:

      We were attacked here on June 7, about 3 o’clock in the morning, by a brigade of Texas troops about 2,500 in number. We had about 600 men to withstand them—500 of them negroes…. Our regiment had about 300 men in the fight…. We had about 50 men killed in the regiment and 80 wounded; so you can judge of what part of the fight my company sustained. I never felt more grieved and sick at heart than when I saw how my brave soldiers had been slaughtered…. I never more wish to hear the expression, “the niggers won’t fight.” Come with me 100 yards from where I sit, and I can show you the wounds that cover the bodies of 16 as brave, loyal and patriotic soldiers as ever drew bead on a Rebel.

      The enemy charged us so close that we fought with our bayonets, hand to hand…. It was a horrible fight, the worst I was ever engaged in—not even excepting Shiloh. The enemy cried “No quarter!” but some of them were very glad to take it when made prisoners….

      What few men I have left seem to think much of me because I stood up with them in the fight. I can say for them that I never saw a braver company of men in my life. Not one of them offered to leave his place until ordered to fall back; in fact very few ever did fall back…. So they fought and died defending the cause that we revere. They met death coolly, bravely—not rashly did they expose themselves, but all were steady and obedient to orders.

      SOURCE: Letter printed in the Union, July 14, 1863.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Civil War

      1863 e


      Colonel Morgan, commanding a brigade of four black regiments in the battle of Nashville, gave the following account of his original regiment from the time it was organized in November 1863 until the battle of Nashville:

      November 1st, 1863, by order of Major Stearns, I went to Gallatin, Tennessee, to organize the 14th United States Colored Infantry…. There were at that time several hundred negro men in camp, in charge of, I think, a lieutenant. They were a motley crowd,—old, young, middle aged. Some wore the United States uniform, but most of them had on the clothes in which they had left the plantations, or had worn during periods of hard service as laborers in the army….

      As soon and as fast as practicable, I set about organizing the regiment….

      The complete organization of the regiment occupied about two months, being finished by Jan. 1st, 1864. The field, staff and company officers were all white men. All the non-commissioned officers,—Hospital Steward, Quartermaster, Sergeant, Sergeant-Major, Orderlies, Sergeants and Corporals were colored. They proved very efficient, and had the war continued two years longer, many of them would have been competent as commissioned officers….

      General George H. Thomas, though a Southerner, and a West Point graduate, was a singularly fair-minded, candid man. He asked me one day soon after my regiment was organized, if I thought my men would fight. I replied that they would. He said he thought “they might behind breastworks.” I said they would fight in the open field. He thought not. “Give me a chance General,” I replied, “and I will prove it.”…

      PULASKI, TENN.—September 27th, 1864, I reported to Major-General Rousseau, commanding a force of cavalry at Pulaski, Tenn. As we approached the town by rail from Nashville, we heard artillery, then musketry, and as we left the cars we saw the smoke of guns. [Confederate cavalry commander Nathan Bedford] Forest [sic], with a large body of cavalry, had been steadily driving Rousseau before him all day, and was destroying the railroad. Finding the General, I said: “I am ordered to report to you, sir.” “What have you?” “Two regiments of colored troops.” Rousseau was a Kentuckian, and had not much faith in negro soldiers. By his direction I threw out a strong line of skirmishers, and posted the regiments on a ridge, in good supporting distance. Rousseau's men retired behind my line, and Forest's men pressed forward until they met our fire, and recognizing the sound of the minie ball, stopped to reflect.

      The massacre of colored troops at Fort Pillow was well known to us, and had been fully discussed by our men. It was rumored, and thoroughly credited by them, that General Forest had offered a thousand dollars for the head of any commander of a “nigger regiment.” Here, then, was just such an opportunity as those spoiling for a fight might desire. Negro troops stood face to face with Forest's veteran cavalry. The fire was growing hotter, and balls were uncomfortably thick. At length, the enemy in strong force, with banners flying, bore down toward us in full sight, apparently bent on mischief. Pointing to the advancing column, I said, as I passed along the line, “Boys, it looks very much like fight; keep cool, do your duty.” They seemed full of glee, and replied with great enthusiasm: “Colonel, dey can’t whip us, dey nebber get de ole 14th out of heah, nebber.” “Nebber drives us away widout a mighty lot of dead men,” &c., &c.

      When Forest learned that Rousseau was re-enforced by infantry, he did not stop to ask the color of their skin, but after testing our line, and finding it unyielding, turned to the east, and struck over toward Murfreesboro….

      NASHVILLE, TENN.—November 29, 1864, in command of the 14th, 16th, and 44th Regiments U.S.C.I., I embarked on a railroad train at Chattanooga for Nashville. On December 1st, with the 16th and most of the 14th, I reached my destination, and was assigned to a place on the extreme left of General Thomas’ army then concentrating for the defence of Nashville against Hood's threatened attack….

      Soon after taking our position in line at Nashville, we were closely besieged by Hood's army; and thus we lay facing each other for two weeks….

      … [T]he first day's fight … had been for us a severe but glorious day. Over three hundred of my command had fallen, but everywhere our army was successful…. General Steadman congratulated us, saying his only fear had been that we might fight too hard. We had done all he desired, and more. Colored soldiers had again fought side by side with white troops; they had mingled together in the charge; they had supported each other; they had assisted each other from the field when wounded, and they lay side by side in death. The survivors rejoiced together over a hard fought field, won by a common valor….

      When the 2nd Colored Brigade retired behind my lines to re-form, one of the regimental color-bearers stopped in the open space between the two armies, where, although exposed to a dangerous fire, he planted his flag firmly in the ground, and began deliberately and coolly to return the enemy's fire, and, greatly to our amusement, kept up for some little time his independent warfare.

      When the second and final assault was made, the right of my line took part. It was with breathless interest I watched that noble army climb the hill with a steady resolve which nothing but death itself could check. When at length the assaulting column sprang upon the earthworks, and the enemy seeing that further resistance was madness, gave way and began a precipitous retreat, our hearts swelled as only the hearts of soldiers can, and scarcely stopping to cheer or to await orders, we pushed forward and joined in the pursuit, until the darkness and the rain forced a halt….

      When General Thomas rode over the battle-field and saw the bodies of colored men side by side with the foremost, on the very works of the enemy, he turned to his staff, saying: “Gentlemen, the question is settled; negroes will fight.”

      SOURCE: Thomas J. Morgan, “Reminiscences of Service with Colored Troops in the Army of the Cumberland, 1863–65,” in Personal Narratives of Events in the War of the Rebellion (Providence: Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors Historical Society, 1885), 3rd series, no. 13, 11–48.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Civil War

      1863 f


      William P. Powell, a black physician, barely managed to save himself and his family from an anti-draft/anti-black mob in New York City. He sent the following account to a newspaper:

      On the afternoon of [July 13] my house … was invaded by a mob of half grown boys…. [They] were soon replaced by men and women. From 2 P.M. to 8 P.M. myself and family were prisoners in my own house to king mob, from which there was no way to escape but over the roofs of adjoining houses. About 4 P.M … the mob commenced throwing stones at the lower windows, until they had succeeded in making an opening. I was determined not to leave until driven from the premises. My family including my invalid daughter … took refuge on the roof of the next house. I remained till the mob broke in, and then narrowly escaped the same way…. We remained on the roof for an hour; still I hoped that relief would come. The neighbors, anticipating the mob would fire my house, were removing their effects on the roof—all was excitement. But as the object of the mob was plunder, they were too busily engaged in carrying off all my effects to apply the torch….

      How to escape from the roof of a five story building, with four females—and one a cripple—besides eight men, without a ladder, or any assistance from outside, was beyond my not excited imagination. But the God that succored Hagar in her flight, came to my relief in the person of a little deformed, despised Israelite—who, Samaritanlike, took my poor helpless daughter under his protection in his house, where I presume she now is, until friends send her to me. He also supplied me with a long rope. I then took a survey of the premises, and fortunately found a way to escape, and though pitchy dark, I took soundings with the rope to see if it would touch the next roof, after which I took a clove-hitch around the clothes line which was fastened to the wall by pulleys, and which led from one roof to the other over a space of about one hundred feet. In this manner I managed to lower my family down on to the next roof, and from one roof to another, until I landed them in a neighbor's yard. We were secreted in our friend's cellar till 11 P.M., when we were taken in charge by the Police and locked up in the Station house for safety. In this dismal place we found upwards of seventy men, women and children—some with broken limbs—bruised and beaten from head to foot….

      All my personal property, to the amount of $3,000, has been destroyed and scattered to the four winds…. As a devoted loyal Unionist, I have done all I could to perpetuate and uphold the integrity of this free government. As an evidence of this devotedness, my oldest son is now serving my country as a surgeon in the U.S. army, and myself had just received a commission in the naval service. What more could I do? What further evidence was wanting to prove my allegiance in the exigencies of our unfortunate country? I am now an old man, stripped of everything, … but I thank God that He has yet spared my life, which I am ready to yield in defence of my country.

      SOURCE: Letter to the New Bedford Standard, reprinted in the Pacific Appeal, August 22, 1863.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Civil War; Conscription and Volunteerism; New York City Anti-Draft Riots; Race Riots

      1863 g


      Gen. Ulysses S. Grant penned the following letter to President Lincoln on August 23, 1863, about the enlistment of blacks to fight as Union soldiers.

      I have given the subject of arming the negro my hearty support. This, with the emancipation of the negro, is the heavyest [sic] blow yet given the Confederacy…. By arming the negro we have added a powerful ally. They will make good soldiers and taking them from the enemy weakens him in the same proportion they strengthen us. I am therefore most decidedly in favor of pushing this policy to the enlistment of a force sufficient to hold all the South falling into our hands and to aid in capturing more.

      SOURCE: Grant to Lincoln, August 23, 1863, A. Lincoln Papers, Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Civil War; Conscription and Volunteerism; Grant, Ulysses S.; Lincoln, Abraham

      1863 h


      At the invitation of Gen. Henry Halleck, Francis Lieber, a German-born jurist and professor of law at Columbia University, prepared a general order on the laws of warfare for all Union Army commanders in the field. Promulgated by the adjutant general's office in April 1863, it remained the code governing U.S. forces for the next 40 years and proved to be influential in the codes adopted at The Hague in 1899 and 1907. Here are its key provisions:


      Martial Law—Military jurisdiction—Military necessity—Retaliation

      Article 1.

      A place, district, or country occupied by an enemy stands, in consequence of the occupation, under the Martial Law of the invading or occupying army, whether any proclamation declaring Martial Law, or any public warning to the inhabitants, has been issued or not. Martial Law is the immediate and direct effect and consequence of occupation or conquest. The presence of a hostile army proclaims its Martial Law.

      Art. 2.

      Martial Law does not cease during the hostile occupation, except by special proclamation, ordered by the commander in chief; or by special mention in the treaty of peace concluding the war, when the occupation of a place or territory continues beyond the conclusion of peace as one of the conditions of the same.

      Art. 3.

      Martial Law in a hostile country consists in the suspension, by the occupying military authority, of the criminal and civil law, and of the domestic administration and government in the occupied place or territory, and in the substitution of military rule and force for the same, as well as in the dictation of general laws, as far as military necessity requires this suspension, substitution, or dictation.

      The commander of the forces may proclaim that the administration of all civil and penal law shall continue either wholly or in part, as in times of peace, unless otherwise ordered by the military authority.

      Art. 4.

      Martial Law is simply military authority exercised in accordance with the laws and usages of war. Military oppression is not Martial Law: it is the abuse of the power which that law confers. As Martial Law is executed by military force, it is incumbent upon those who administer it to be strictly guided by the principles of justice, honor, and humanity—virtues adorning a soldier even more than other men, for the very reason that he possesses the power of his arms against the unarmed.

      Art. 5.

      Martial Law should be less stringent in places and countries fully occupied and fairly conquered. Much greater severity may be exercised in places or regions where actual hostilities exist, or are expected and must be prepared for. Its most complete sway is allowed—even in the commander's own country—when face to face with the enemy, because of the absolute necessities of the case, and of the paramount duty to defend the country against invasion.

      To save the country is paramount to all other considerations.

      Art. 6.

      All civil and penal law shall continue to take its usual course in the enemy's places and territories under Martial Law, unless interrupted or stopped by order of the occupying military power; but all the functions of the hostile government—legislative executive, or administrative—whether of a general, provincial, or local character, cease under Martial Law, or continue only with the sanction, or, if deemed necessary, the participation of the occupier or invader.

      Art. 7.

      Martial Law extends to property, and to persons, whether they are subjects of the enemy or aliens to that government.

      Art. 8.

      Consuls, among American and European nations, are not diplomatic agents. Nevertheless, their offices and persons will be subjected to Martial Law in cases of urgent necessity only: their property and business are not exempted. Any delinquency they commit against the established military rule may be punished as in the case of any other inhabitant, and such punishment furnishes no reasonable ground for international complaint.

      Art. 9.

      The functions of Ambassadors, Ministers, or other diplomatic agents accredited by neutral powers to the hostile government, cease, so far as regards the displaced government; but the conquering or occupying power usually recognizes them as temporarily accredited to itself.

      Art. 10.

      Martial Law affects chiefly the police and collection of public revenue and taxes, whether imposed by the expelled government or by the invader, and refers mainly to the support and efficiency of the army, its safety, and the safety of its operations.

      Art. 11.

      The law of war does not only disclaim all cruelty and bad faith concerning engagements concluded with the enemy during the war, but also the breaking of stipulations solemnly contracted by the belligerents in time of peace, and avowedly intended to remain in force in case of war between the contracting powers.

      It disclaims all extortions and other transactions for individual gain; all acts of private revenge, or connivance at such acts.

      Offenses to the contrary shall be severely punished, and especially so if committed by officers.

      Art. 12.

      Whenever feasible, Martial Law is carried out in cases of individual offenders by Military Courts; but sentences of death shall be executed only with the approval of the chief executive, provided the urgency of the case does not require a speedier execution, and then only with the approval of the chief commander.

      Art. 13.

      Military jurisdiction is of two kinds: First, that which is conferred and defined by statute; second, that which is derived from the common law of war. Military offenses under the statute law must be tried in the manner therein directed; but military offenses which do not come within the statute must be tried and punished under the common law of war. The character of the courts which exercise these jurisdictions depends upon the local laws of each particular country.

      In the armies of the United States the first is exercised by courts-martial, while cases which do not come within the “Rules and Articles of War,” or the jurisdiction conferred by statute on courts-martial, are tried by military commissions.

      Art. 14.

      Military necessity, as understood by modern civilized nations, consists in the necessity of those measures which are indispensable for securing the ends of the war, and which are lawful according to the modern law and usages of war.

      Art. 15.

      Military necessity admits of all direct destruction of life or limb of armed enemies, and of other persons whose destruction is incidentally unavoidable in the armed contests of the war; it allows of the capturing of every armed enemy, and every enemy of importance to the hostile government, or of peculiar danger to the captor; it allows of all destruction of property, and obstruction of the ways and channels of traffic, travel, or communication, and of all withholding of sustenance or means of life from the enemy; of the appropriation of whatever an enemy's country affords necessary for the subsistence and safety of the army, and of such deception as does not involve the breaking of good faith either positively pledged, regarding agreements entered into during the war, or supposed by the modern law of war to exist. Men who take up arms against one another in public war do not cease on this account to be moral beings, responsible to one another and to God.

      Art. 16.

      Military necessity does not admit of cruelty—that is, the infliction of suffering for the sake of suffering or for revenge, nor of maiming or wounding except in fight, nor of torture to extort confessions. It does not admit of the use of poison in any way, nor of the wanton devastation of a district. It admits of deception, but disclaims acts of perfidy; and, in general, military necessity does not include any act of hostility which makes the return to peace unnecessarily difficult.

      Art. 17.

      War is not carried on by arms alone. It is lawful to starve the hostile belligerent, armed or unarmed, so that it leads to the speedier subjection of the enemy.

      Art. 18.

      When a commander of a besieged place expels the noncombatants, in order to lessen the number of those who consume his stock of provisions, it is lawful, though an extreme measure, to drive them back, so as to hasten on the surrender.

      Art. 19.

      Commanders, whenever admissible, inform the enemy of their intention to bombard a place, so that the noncombatants, and especially the women and children, may be removed before the bombardment commences. But it is no infraction of the common law of war to omit thus to inform the enemy. Surprise may be a necessity.

      Art. 20.

      Public war is a state of armed hostility between sovereign nations or governments. It is a law and requisite of civilized existence that men live in political, continuous societies, forming organized units, called states or nations, whose constituents bear, enjoy, suffer, advance and retrograde together, in peace and in war.

      Art. 21.

      The citizen or native of a hostile country is thus an enemy, as one of the constituents of the hostile state or nation, and as such is subjected to the hardships of the war.

      Art. 22.

      Nevertheless, as civilization has advanced during the last centuries, so has likewise steadily advanced, especially in war on land, the distinction between the private individual belonging to a hostile country and the hostile country itself, with its men in arms. The principle has been more and more acknowledged that the unarmed citizen is to be spared in person, property, and honor as much as the exigencies of war will admit.

      Art. 23.

      Private citizens are no longer murdered, enslaved, or carried off to distant parts, and the inoffensive individual is as little disturbed in his private relations as the commander of the hostile troops can afford to grant in the overruling demands of a vigorous war.

      Art. 24.

      The almost universal rule in remote times was, and continues to be with barbarous armies, that the private individual of the hostile country is destined to suffer every privation of liberty and protection, and every disruption of family ties. Protection was, and still is with uncivilized people, the exception.

      Art. 25.

      In modern regular wars of the Europeans, and their descendants in other portions of the globe, protection of the inoffensive citizen of the hostile country is the rule; privation and disturbance of private relations are the exceptions.

      Art. 26.

      Commanding generals may cause the magistrates and civil officers of the hostile country to take the oath of temporary allegiance or an oath of fidelity to their own victorious government or rulers, and they may expel everyone who declines to do so. But whether they do so or not, the people and their civil officers owe strict obedience to them as long as they hold sway over the district or country, at the peril of their lives.

      Art. 27.

      The law of war can no more wholly dispense with retaliation than can the law of nations, of which it is a branch. Yet civilized nations acknowledge retaliation as the sternest feature of war. A reckless enemy often leaves to his opponent no other means of securing himself against the repetition of barbarous outrage

      Art. 28.

      Retaliation will, therefore, never be resorted to as a measure of mere revenge, but only as a means of protective retribution, and moreover, cautiously and unavoidably; that is to say, retaliation shall only be resorted to after careful inquiry into the real occurrence, and the character of the misdeeds that may demand retribution.

      Unjust or inconsiderate retaliation removes the belligerents farther and farther from the mitigating rules of regular war, and by rapid steps leads them nearer to the internecine wars of savages.

      Art. 29.

      Modern times are distinguished from earlier ages by the existence, at one and the same time, of many nations and great governments related to one another in close intercourse.

      Peace is their normal condition; war is the exception. The ultimate object of all modern war is a renewed state of peace.

      The more vigorously wars are pursued, the better it is for humanity. Sharp wars are brief.

      Art. 30.

      Ever since the formation and coexistence of modern nations, and ever since wars have become great national wars, war has come to be acknowledged not to be its own end, but the means to obtain great ends of state, or to consist in defense against wrong; and no conventional restriction of the modes adopted to injure the enemy is any longer admitted; but the law of war imposes many limitations and restrictions on principles of justice, faith, and honor.


      Public and private property of the enemy—Protection of persons, and especially of women, of religion, the arts and sciences—Punishment of crimes against the inhabitants of hostile countries.

      Art. 31.

      A victorious army appropriates all public money, seizes all public movable property until further direction by its government, and sequesters for its own benefit or of that of its government all the revenues of real property belonging to the hostile government or nation. The title to such real property remains in abeyance during military occupation, and until the conquest is made complete.

      Art. 32.

      A victorious army, by the martial power inherent in the same, may suspend, change, or abolish, as far as the martial power extends, the relations which arise from the services due, according to the existing laws of the invaded country, from one citizen, subject, or native of the same to another.

      The commander of the army must leave it to the ultimate treaty of peace to settle the permanency of this change.

      Art. 33.

      It is no longer considered lawful—on the contrary, it is held to be a serious breach of the law of war—to force the subjects of the enemy into the service of the victorious government, except the latter should proclaim, after a fair and complete conquest of the hostile country or district, that it is resolved to keep the country, district, or place permanently as its own and make it a portion of its own country.

      Art. 34.

      As a general rule, the property belonging to churches, to hospitals, or other establishments of an exclusively charitable character, to establishments of education, or foundations for the promotion of knowledge, whether public schools, universities, academies of learning or observatories, museums of the fine arts, or of a scientific character such property is not to be considered public property in the sense of paragraph 31; but it may be taxed or used when the public service may require it.

      Art. 35.

      Classical works of art, libraries, scientific collections, or precious instruments, such as astronomical telescopes, as well as hospitals, must be secured against all avoidable injury, even when they are contained in fortified places whilst besieged or bombarded.

      Art. 36.

      If such works of art, libraries, collections, or instruments belonging to a hostile nation or government, can be removed without injury, the ruler of the conquering state or nation may order them to be seized and removed for the benefit of the said nation. The ultimate ownership is to be settled by the ensuing treaty of peace.

      In no case shall they be sold or given away, if captured by the armies of the United States, nor shall they ever be privately appropriated, or wantonly destroyed or injured.

      Art. 37.

      The United States acknowledge and protect, in hostile countries occupied by them, religion and morality; strictly private property; the persons of the inhabitants, especially those of women: and the sacredness of domestic relations. Offenses to the contrary shall be rigorously punished.

      This rule does not interfere with the right of the victorious invader to tax the people or their property, to levy forced loans, to billet soldiers, or to appropriate property, especially houses, lands, boats or ships, and churches, for temporary and military uses

      Art. 38.

      Private property, unless forfeited by crimes or by offenses of the owner, can be seized only by way of military necessity, for the support or other benefit of the army or of the United States.

      If the owner has not fled, the commanding officer will cause receipts to be given, which may serve the spoliated owner to obtain indemnity.

      Art. 39.

      The salaries of civil officers of the hostile government who remain in the invaded territory, and continue the work of their office, and can continue it according to the circumstances arising out of the war—such as judges, administrative or police officers, officers of city or communal governments—are paid from the public revenue of the invaded territory, until the military government has reason wholly or partially to discontinue it. Salaries or incomes connected with purely honorary titles are always stopped.

      Art. 40.

      There exists no law or body of authoritative rules of action between hostile armies, except that branch of the law of nature and nations which is called the law and usages of war on land.

      Art. 41.

      All municipal law of the ground on which the armies stand, or of the countries to which they belong, is silent and of no effect between armies in the field.

      Art. 42.

      Slavery, complicating and confounding the ideas of property, (that is of a thing,) and of personality, (that is of humanity,) exists according to municipal or local law only. The law of nature and nations has never acknowledged it. The digest of the Roman law enacts the early dictum of the pagan jurist, that “so far as the law of nature is concerned, all men are equal.” Fugitives escaping from a country in which they were slaves, villains, or serfs, into another country, have, for centuries past, been held free and acknowledged free by judicial decisions of European countries, even though the municipal law of the country in which the slave had taken refuge acknowledged slavery within its own dominions.

      Art. 43.

      Therefore, in a war between the United States and a belligerent which admits of slavery, if a person held in bondage by that belligerent be captured by or come as a fugitive under the protection of the military forces of the United States, such person is immediately entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman To return such person into slavery would amount to enslaving a free person, and neither the United States nor any officer under their authority can enslave any human being. Moreover, a person so made free by the law of war is under the shield of the law of nations, and the former owner or State can have, by the law of postliminy, no belligerent lien or claim of service.

      Art. 44.

      All wanton violence committed against persons in the invaded country, all destruction of property not commanded by the authorized officer, all robbery, all pillage or sacking, even after taking a place by main force, all rape, wounding, maiming, or killing of such inhabitants, are prohibited under the penalty of death, or such other severe punishment as may seem adequate for the gravity of the offense.

      A soldier, officer or private, in the act of committing such violence, and disobeying a superior ordering him to abstain from it, may be lawfully killed on the spot by such superior.

      Art. 45.

      All captures and booty belong, according to the modern law of war, primarily to the government of the captor.

      Prize money, whether on sea or land, can now only be claimed under local law.

      Art. 46.

      Neither officers nor soldiers are allowed to make use of their position or power in the hostile country for private gain, not even for commercial transactions otherwise legitimate. Offenses to the contrary committed by commissioned officers will be punished with cashiering or such other punishment as the nature of the offense may require; if by soldiers, they shall be punished according to the nature of the offense.

      Art. 47.

      Crimes punishable by all penal codes, such as arson, murder, maiming, assaults, highway robbery, theft, burglary, fraud, forgery, and rape, if committed by an American soldier in a hostile country against its inhabitants, are not only punishable as at home, but in all cases in which death is not inflicted, the severer punishment shall be preferred….


      Insurrection—Civil War—Rebellion

      Art. 149.

      Insurrection is the rising of people in arms against their government, or a portion of it, or against one or more of its laws, or against an officer or officers of the government. It may be confined to mere armed resistance, or it may have greater ends in view.

      Art. 150.

      Civil war is war between two or more portions of a country or state, each contending for the mastery of the whole, and each claiming to be the legitimate government. The term is also sometimes applied to war of rebellion, when the rebellious provinces or portions of the state are contiguous to those containing the seat of government.

      Art. 151.

      The term rebellion is applied to an insurrection of large extent, and is usually a war between the legitimate government of a country and portions of provinces of the same who seek to throw off their allegiance to it and set up a government of their own.

      Art. 152.

      When humanity induces the adoption of the rules of regular war to ward rebels, whether the adoption is partial or entire, it does in no way whatever imply a partial or complete acknowledgement of their government, if they have set up one, or of them, as an independent and sovereign power. Neutrals have no right to make the adoption of the rules of war by the assailed government toward rebels the ground of their own acknowledgment of the revolted people as an independent power.

      Art. 153.

      Treating captured rebels as prisoners of war, exchanging them, concluding of cartels, capitulations, or other warlike agreements with them; addressing officers of a rebel army by the rank they may have in the same; accepting flags of truce; or, on the other hand, proclaiming Martial Law in their territory, or levying war-taxes or forced loans, or doing any other act sanctioned or demanded by the law and usages of public war between sovereign belligerents, neither proves nor establishes an acknowledgment of the rebellious people, or of the government which they may have erected, as a public or sovereign power. Nor does the adoption of the rules of war toward rebels imply an engagement with them extending beyond the limits of these rules. It is victory in the field that ends the strife and settles the future relations between the contending parties.

      Art. 154.

      Treating, in the field, the rebellious enemy according to the law and usages of war has never prevented the legitimate government from trying the leaders of the rebellion or chief rebels for high treason, and from treating them accordingly, unless they are included in a general amnesty.

      Art. 155.

      All enemies in regular war are divided into two general classes—that is to say, into combatants and noncombatants, or unarmed citizens of the hostile government.

      The military commander of the legitimate government, in a war of rebellion, distinguishes between the loyal citizen in the revolted portion of the country and the disloyal citizen. The disloyal citizens may further be classified into those citizens known to sympathize with the rebellion without positively aiding it, and those who, without taking up arms, give positive aid and comfort to the rebellious enemy without being bodily forced thereto.

      Art. 156.

      Common justice and plain expediency require that the military commander protect the manifestly loyal citizens, in revolted territories, against the hardships of the war as much as the common misfortune of all war admits.

      The commander will throw the burden of the war, as much as lies within his power, on the disloyal citizens, of the revolted portion or province, subjecting them to a stricter police than the noncombatant enemies have to suffer in regular war; and if he deems it appropriate, or if his government demands of him that every citizen shall, by an oath of allegiance, or by some other manifest act, declare his fidelity to the legitimate government, he may expel, transfer, imprison, or fine the revolted citizens who refuse to pledge themselves anew as citizens obedient to the law and loyal to the government.

      Whether it is expedient to do so, and whether reliance can be placed upon such oaths, the commander or his government have the right to decide.

      Art. 157.

      Armed or unarmed resistance by citizens of the United States against the lawful movements of their troops is levying war against the United States, and is therefore treason.

      SOURCE: The Avalon Project at Yale Law School, “Laws of War: General Orders No. 100,” http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/lieber.htm (June 7, 2005).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil War; Geneva and Hague Conventions; Just War Theory; Philippine War; Prisoners of War; Spanish-American War

      1863 i


      Many supporters of the Union cause in the North delighted in songs written by well-known composers, including Julia Ward Howe's “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and George Root's “The Battle Cry of Freedom.” Root followed up his first hit with this hearttugger about a young lad writing to his mother on the eve of combat. Note how he folds the singing of his first song into this one:

      Just before the battle, Mother,I am thinking most of you,While upon the field we’re watching,With the enemy in view,Comrades brave are ’round me lying,Filled with thoughts of home and God;For well they know that on the morrow,Some will sleep beneath the sod.Chorus:Farewell, Mother, you may never,Press me to your heart again,But, oh, you’ll not forget me, Mother,If I’m number’d with the slain.Oh, I long to see you, Mother,And the loving ones at home,But I’ll never leave our banner,Till in honour I can come.Tell the traitors, all around you,That their cruel words we know,In ev’ry battle kill our soldiers,By the help they give the foe.Hark! I hear the bugles sounding,’Tis the signal for the fight,Now, may God protect us, Mother,As he ever does the right.Hear the “Battle Cry of Freedom,”How it swells upon the air,Oh, yes, we’ll rally ’round the standard,Or we’ll perish nobly there.

      This appears to have been “a bit too much” for some of the Union soldiers themselves, for they wrote parody verses of “Just Before the Battle Mother.” Here is an amalgam of the verses, sung in South Dakota by the son of a Civil War veteran to his grandson in the mid-20th century.

      Just before the battle, Mother,I was drinking mountain dew,When I saw the “Rebels” marching,To the rear I quickly flew;Where the stragglers were flying,Thinking of their homes and wives;’Twas not the “Rebs” we feared, dear Mother,But our own dear precious lives.Chorus:Farewell, Mother, for you’ll neverSee my name among the slain.For if I only can skedaddle,Dear Mother, I’ll come home again.I hear the bugle sounding, Mother,My soul is eager for the fray.I guess I’ll hide behind some cover,And then I shall be OK.Discretion's the better part of valor,At least I’ve often heard you say;And he who loves his life, dear Mother,Won’t fight if he can run away.Do not fear for me, dear Mother,That death shall claim your only son;For though I’m not a fighter, Mother,Bet your sweet life I can run.Just behind the battle, Mother,Foemen charge the live-long day.’Tis bad they didn’t charge me, Mother,For when I’m charged I never pay.Just behind the battle, Mother,That's the safest place to be.War and all its horrors, Mother,Never did appeal to me.When the enemy approaches,I turn about and fade away;For I’d rather live a live bum, Mother,Than a dead hero any day.

      SOURCE: Doug Weberg, having heard this sung by his grandfrather, shared it with the editor.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil War; Music and War

      1864 a


      George W. Reed, a black sailor serving on the U.S. gunboat Commodore Reed, Potomac flotilla, wrote this account of gunboat raids in northern Virginia:

      Sir, having been engaged in the naval service nearly six years, I have never before witnessed what I now see on board this ship. Our crew are principally colored; and a braver set of men never trod the deck of an American ship. We have been on several expeditions recently. On the 15th of April our ship and other gunboats proceeded up the Rappahannock river for some distance, and finding no rebel batteries to oppose us, we concluded to land the men from the different boats, and make a raid. I was ordered by the Commodore to beat the call for all parties to go on shore. No sooner had I executed the order, than every man was at his post, our own color being the first to land. At first, there was a little prejudice against our colored men going on shore, but it soon died away. We succeeded in capturing 3 fine horses, 6 cows, 5 hogs, 6 sheep, 3 calves, an abundance of chickens, 600 pounds of pork, 300 bushels of corn, and succeeded in liberating from the horrible pit of bondage 10 men, 6 women, and 8 children. The principal part of the men have enlisted on this ship. The next day we started further up the river, when the gunboats in advance struck on a torpedo, but did no material damage. We landed our men again, and repulsed a band of rebels handsomely, and captured three prisoners. Going on a little further, we were surprised by 300 rebel cavalry, and repulsed, but retreated in good order, the gunboats covering our retreat. I regret to say we had the misfortune to lose Samuel Turner (colored) in our retreat. He was instantly killed, and his body remains in the rebel hands. He being the fifer, I miss him very much as a friend and companion, as he was beloved by all on board. We also had four slightly wounded.

      SOURCE: Christian Recorder, May 21, 1864.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Civil War

      1864 b


      General Sherman wrote these words in his memoirs of his march from Atlanta to the sea:

      The next day [November 17, 1864, one day out of Atlanta on his march to the sea] we passed through the handsome town of Covington, the soldiers closing up their ranks, the color-bearers unfurling their flags, and the bands striking up patriotic airs. The white people came out of their houses to behold the sight, spite of their deep hatred of the invaders, and the negroes were simply frantic with joy. Whenever they heard my name, they clustered about my house, shouted and prayed in their peculiar style, which had a natural eloquence that would have moved a stone. I have witnessed hundreds, if not thousands, of such scenes; and can now see a poor girl, in the very ecstasy of the Methodist “shout,” hugging the banner of one of the regiments, and jumping up to the “feet of Jesus.”

      SOURCE: William T. Sherman, Memoirs of General William T. Sherman, 2 vols. (New York: D. A. Appleton, 1886), 2: 180.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil War; Sherman, William Tecumseh

      1864 c


      Some veterans recall their time in the service as so much time lost. Those who experience the intensity of combat initially fix upon the horrors they have witnessed, but, as time passes, they tend to focus on the camaraderie associated with those moments of horror, and later remember their service as the most significant and moving periods of their lives. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., served in a Massachusetts regiment with the Army of the Potomac. He was wounded at Ball's Bluff and left the war in 1864. The first passage is from his Civil War diary; the second is from a speech he delivered 30 years after the war.

      Diary Entry

      1864, exact date unknown

      … I WAS QUITE FAINT—and seeing poor Sergt Merchant lying near—shot through the head and covered with blood—and then the thinking begun—(Meanwhile hardly able to speak—at least, coherently)—Shot through the lungs? Lets see—and I spit—Yes—already the blood was in my mouth. At once my thoughts jumped to “Children of the New Forest.” (by Marryatt) which I was fond of reading as a little boy, and in which the father of one of the heroines is shot through the lungs by a robber—I remembered he died with terrible haemorrhages & great agony—What should I do? Just then I remembered and felt in my waist coat pocket—Yes there it was—a little bottle of laudanum which I had brought along—But I won’t take it yet; no, see a doctor first—It may not be as bad as it looks—At any rate wait till the pain begins—

      When I had got to the bottom of the Bluff the ferry boat, (the scow,) had just started with a load—but there was a small boat there—Then, still in this half conscious state, I heard somebody groan—Then I thought “Now wouldn’t Sir Philip Sydney have that other feller put into the boat first?” But the question, as the form in which it occurred shows, came from a mind still bent on a becoming and consistent carrying out of its ideals of conduct—not from the unhesitating instinct of a still predominant & heroic will—I am not sure whether I propounded the question but I let myself be put aboard.

      …. I was taken into the large building which served as a general hospital; and I remember … Men lying round on the floor—the spectacle wasn’t familiar then—a red blanket with an arm lying on it in a pool of blood—it seems as if instinct told me it was John Putnam's (the Capt. Comdg CoH)—and near the entrance a surgeon calmly grasping a man's finger and cutting it off—both standing—while the victim contemplated the operation with a very grievous mug … presently a Doctor of (Baxter's?) Fire Zouaves* coming in with much noise & bluster, and oh, troops were crossing to the Virginia side, and we were going to lick, and Heaven knows what not—I called him and gave him my address and told him (or meant & tried to) if I died to write home & tell ’em I’d done my duty—I was very anxious they should know that—…

      Much more vivid is my memory of my thoughts and state of mind for though I may have been light-headed my reason was working—even if through a cloud. Of course when I thought I was dying the reflection that the majority vote of the civilized world declared that with my opinions I was en route for Hell came up with painful distinctness—Perhaps the first impulse was tremulous—but then I said—by Jove, I die like a soldier anyhow—I was shot in the breast doing my duty to the hub—afraid? No, I am proud—then I thought I couldn’t be guilty of a deathbed recantation—father and I had talked of that and were agreed that it generally meant nothing but a cowardly giving way to fear—Besides, thought I, can I recant if I want to, has the approach of death changed my beliefs much? & to this I answered—No—Then came in my Philosophy—I am to take a leap in the dark—but now as ever I believe that whatever shall happen is best—for it is in accordance with a general law—and good & universal (or general law) are synonymous terms in the universe—(I can now add that our phrase good only means certain general truths seen through the heart & will instead of being merely contemplated intellectually—I doubt if the intellect accepts or recognizes that classification of good and bad). Would the complex forces which made a still more complex unit in Me resolve themselves back into simpler forms or would my angel be still winging his way onward when eternities had passed? I could not tell—But all was doubtless well—and so with a “God forgive me if I’m wrong” I slept—*The 72nd Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, under Colonel DeWitt Clinton Baxter, was commonly known as Baxter's Fire Zouaves.

      SOURCE: Reprinted by permission of Harvard University Press from Diary entry No. 2, as given in Touched with Fire: The Civil War Letters and Diary of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., ed. Mark DeWolfe Howe, 24–28 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1946). Copyright © 1946 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College; copyright © renewed 1974 by Mary Manning Howe.

      The Soldier's Faith

      Memorial Day Speech, Harvard University, May 30, 1895 … Now, at least, and perhaps as long as man dwells upon the globe, his destiny is battle, and he has to take the chances of war. If it is our business to fight, the book for the army is a war-song, not a hospital-sketch. It is not well for soldiers to think much about wounds. Sooner or later we shall fall; but meantime it is for us to fix our eyes upon the point to be stormed, and to get there if we can.

      Behind every scheme to make the world over, lies the question, What kind of world do you want? The ideals of the past for men have been drawn from war, as those for women have been drawn from motherhood. For all our prophecies, I doubt if we are ready to give up our inheritance. Who is there who would not like to be thought a gentleman? Yet what has that name been built on but the soldier's choice of honor rather than life? To be a soldier or descended from soldiers, in time of peace to be ready to give one's life rather than to suffer disgrace, that is what the world has meant; and if we try to claim it at less cost than a splendid carelessness for life, we are trying to steal the good will without the responsibilities of the place. We will not dispute about taste. The man of the future may want something different. But who of us could endure a world, although cut up into fiveacre lots and having no man upon it who was not well fed and well housed, without the divine folly of honor, without the senseless passion for knowledge out-reaching the flaming bounds of the possible, without ideals the essence of which is that they can never be achieved? I do not know what is true. I do not know the meaning of the universe. But in the midst of doubt, in the collapse of creeds, there is one thing I do not doubt, that no man who lives in the same world with most of us can doubt, and that is that the faith is true and adorable which leads a soldier to throw away his life in obedience to a blindly accepted duty, in a cause which he little understands, in a plan of campaign of which he has no notion, under tactics of which he does not see the use.

      Most men who know battle know the cynic force with which the thoughts of common sense will assail them in times of stress; but they know that in their greatest moments faith has trampled those thoughts under foot. If you have been in line, suppose on Tremont Street Mall, ordered simply to wait and to do nothing, and have watched the enemy bring their guns to bear upon you down a gentle slope like that from Beacon Street, have seen the puff of the firing, have felt the burst of the spherical case-shot as it came toward you, have heard and seen the shrieking fragments go tearing through your company, and have known that the next or the next shot carries your fate; if you have advanced in line and have seen ahead of you the spot which you must pass where the rifle bullets are striking; if you have ridden by night at a walk toward the blue line of fire at the dead angle of Spottsylvania, where for twenty-four hours the soldiers were fighting on the two sides of an earthwork, and in the morning the dead and dying lay piled in a row six deep, and as you rode have heard the bullets splashing in the mud and earth about you; if you have been on the picketline at night in a black and unknown wood, have heard the spat of the bullets upon the trees, and as you moved have felt your foot slip upon a dead man's body; if you have had a blind fierce gallop against the enemy, with your blood up and a pace that left no time for fear—if, in short, as some, I hope many, who hear me, have known, you have known the vicissitudes of terror and of triumph in war, you know that there is such a thing as the faith I spoke of. You know your own weakness and are modest; but you know that man has in him that unspeakable somewhat which makes him capable of miracle, able to lift himself by the might of his own soul, unaided, able to face annihilation for a blind belief.

      From the beginning, to us, children of the North, life has seemed a place hung about by dark mists, out of which come the pale shine of dragon's scales, and the cry of fighting men, and the sound of swords. Beowulf, Milton, Dürer, Rembrandt, Schopenhauer, Turner, Tennyson, from the first war-song of our race to the stall-fed poetry of modern English drawing-rooms, all have had same vision, and all have had a glimpse of a light to be followed. “The end of worldly life awaits us all. Let him who may, gain honor ere death. That is best for a warrior when he is dead.” So spoke Beowulf a thousand years ago.

      Not of the sunlight,Not of the moonlight,Not of the starlight!O young Mariner,Down to the havenCall your companions,Launch your vessel,And crowd your canvas,And, ere it vanishesOver the margin,After it, follow it,Follow The Gleam.

      So sang Tennyson in the voice of the dying Merlin.

      When I went to war I thought that soldiers were old men. I remembered a picture of the revolutionary soldier which some of you may have seen, representing a whitehaired man with his flint-lock slung across his back. I remembered one or two living examples of revolutionary soldiers whom I had met, and I took no account of the lapse of time. It was not until long after, in winter quarters, as I was listening to some of the sentimental songs in vogue, such as—

      Farewell, Mother, you may neverSee your darling boy again,

      that it came over me that the army was made up of what I now should call very young men. I dare say that my illusion has been shared by some of those now present, as they have looked at us upon whose heads the white shadows have begun to fall. But the truth is that war is the business of youth and early middle age. You who called this assemblage together, not we, would be the soldiers of another war, if we should have one, and we speak to you as the dying Merlin did in the verse which I just quoted. Would that the blind man's pipe might be transfigured by Merlin's magic, to make you hear the bugles as once we heard them beneath the morning stars! For to you it is that now is sung the Song of the Sword:—

      The War-Thing, the Comrade,Father of honorAnd giver of kingship,The fame-smith, the song master.… ….Priest (saith the Lord)Of his marriage with victory.… ….Clear singing, clean slicing;Sweet spoken, soft finishing;Making death beautiful,Life but a coinTo be staked in the pastimeWhose playing is moreThan the transfer of being;Arch-anarch, chief builder,Prince and evangelist,I am the Will of God:I am the Sword.

      War, when you are at it, is horrible and dull. It is only when time has passed that you see that its message was divine. I hope it may be long before we are called again to sit at that master's feet. But some teacher of the kind we all need. In this snug, over-safe corner of the world we need it, that we may realize that our comfortable routine is no eternal necessity of things, but merely a little space of calm in the midst of the tempestuous untamed streaming of the world, and in order that we may be ready for danger. We need it in this time of individualist negations, with its literature of French and American humor, revolting at discipline, loving fleshpots, and denying that anything is worthy of reverence,—in order that we may remember all that buffoons forget. We need it everywhere and at all times. For high and dangerous action teaches us to believe as right beyond dispute things for which our doubting minds are slow to find words of proof. Out of heroism grows faith in the worth of heroism. The proof comes later, and even may never come. Therefore I rejoice at every dangerous sport which I see pursued. The students at Heidelberg, with their swordslashed faces, inspire me with sincere respect. I gaze with delight upon our polo players. If once in a while in our rough riding a neck is broken, I regard it, not as a waste, but as a price well paid for the breeding of a race fit for headship and command.

      We do not save our traditions, in this country. The regiments whose battle-flags were not large enough to hold the names of the battles they had fought, vanished with the surrender of Lee, although their memories inherited would have made heroes for a century. It is the more necessary to learn the lesson afresh from perils newly sought, and perhaps it is not vain for us to tell the new generation what we learned in our day, and what we still believe. That the joy of life is living, is to put out all one's powers as far as they will go; that the measure of power is obstacles overcome; to ride boldly at what is in front of you, be it fence or enemy; to pray, not for comfort, but for combat; to keep the soldier's faith against the doubts of civil life, more besetting and harder to overcome than all the misgivings of the battle-field, and to remember that duty is not to be proved in the evil day, but then to be obeyed unquestioning; to love glory more than the temptations of wallowing ease, but to know that one's final judge and only rival is oneself—with all our failures in act and thought, these things we learned from noble enemies in Virginia or Georgia or on the Mississippi, thirty years ago; these we believe to be true.

      “Life is not lost,” said she, “for which is bought Endlesse renown.”

      We learned also, and we still believe, that love of country is not yet an idle name….

      As for us, our days of combat are over. Our swords are rust. Our guns will thunder no more. The vultures that once wheeled over our heads are buried with their prey. Whatever of glory yet remains for us to win must be won in the council or the closet, never again in the field. I do not repine. We have shared the incommunicable experience of war; we have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top.

      SOURCE: Reprinted by permission of the publisher from “The Soldier's Faith” in The Occasional Speeches of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, comp. by Mark DeWolfe Howe, 75–82 (Cambridge Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1962). Copyright © 1962 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College; copyright © renewed 1990.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Combat, Effects of; Memorial Day; Memory and War; Militarization and Militarism

      1865 a


      The New York Tribune summarized the importance of the performance of the 54th Regiment of Massachusetts at Fort Wagner in these words

      It is not too much to say that if this Massachusetts Fifty-fourth had faltered when its trial came, two hundred thousand colored troops for whom it was a pioneer would never have been put into the field, or would not have been put in for another year, which would have been equivalent to protracting the war into 1866. But it did not falter. It made Fort Wagner such a name to the colored race as Bunker Hill has been for ninety years to the white Yankees.

      SOURCE: New York Tribune, Sept. 8, 1865.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Civil War; 54th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry; Greeley, Horace

      1865 b


      By mid-1865 all Confederate forces had surrendered and a “reconstruction” of the rebellious southern states was about to begin. One reason that Congress's planned Reconstruction ultimately failed was the intransigence of the former rebels, captured well in this song, which was popular with most white Southerners for a century after the Civil War:

      O, I’m a good old rebel,Now that's just what I am,For this “Fair Land of Freedom,”I do not care a damn;I’m glad I fit against it,I only wish we’d won,And I don’t want no pardon,For anything I done.I hates the Constitution,The great republic too;I hates the Freedman's Buro,In uniform of blue;I hates the nasty EagleWith all its brass and fuss,The lyin’, thieving Yankees,I hates ’em wuss and wuss.I hates the Yankee nation,And everything they do,I hates the DeclarationOf Independence too;I hates the glorious Union,’T is dripping with our blood;I hates their striped banner,I fit it all I could.Three hundred thousand YankeesIs stiff in Southern dust;We got three hundred thousand,Before they conquered us.They died of Southern fever,And Southern steel and shot,I wish they was three million,Instead of what we got.I followed old Mas’ Robert,For four year near about,Got wounded in three places,And starved at Point Lookout.I cotched the roomatism,A-camping in the snow,But I killed a chance o’ YankeeI’d like to kill some mo’.I can’t take up my musketAnd fight ’em now no more,But I ain’t a-going to love ’emNow that is sartin sure;And I don’t want no pardonFor what I was and am,I won’t be reconstructed,And I don’t care a damn.

      SOURCE: National Society of Colonial Dames of America, American War Songs (Philadelphia: privately printed, 1925), 134–35.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil War; Music and War



      John Faller, a Union Army captive at the notorious Confederate POW camp at Andersonville, Georgia, later recalled the long-term consequence of the inadequate rations provided to prisoners there:

      We were all more or less afflicted with scurvy, and some of us were very bad. Our teeth became loose, and in many cases would drop out. Toby Morrison's legs began to swell and turn black. One day we dug a hole in the sand, and buried him up to his waist, and tramped the sand tight about him and left him in that position for hours. We were told by an old sailor that that would draw the scurvy out of him. I don’t know whether it did him any good or not, but he was very lame when we left Andersonville to go to another prison. He lived through it all and thinks he is a pretty good man yet.

      Comrade Sites was afflicted with scurvy, and sinews of his limbs were drawn up so that he had to walk on his toes. He would put a little piece of wood under the ball of the foot and tie a string around it, which would relieve the pain to some extent. He, too, managed to get home alive.

      J. Humer was left at Andersonville when we left in the fall on account of not being able to walk. The only meat he got to eat after we left was the half of a rat and he says he enjoyed it very much. He, too, managed to get home alive in July 1865. Broken down in health, he has since died.

      Comrades McCleaf and Natcher were left back in Andersonville. McCleaf died shortly after. Natcher lived to get home but died a few years after the war from the effects of the imprisonment.

      Jack Rhoads managed to pull through, after living on low diet for so long. He now lives in the country; and enjoys a good square meal, and has no more use for cow feed and water as he called it.

      Comrades Harris and Elliot, after starving and almost dying for many months, and partaking of the same hospitalities in the South as we all did, managed to reach home alive. If there is anything good to eat around, they prefer it to corn meal or [Captain] Otto [Wirz's] vegetable soup.

      While at Florence, Cuddy, Landis, Adams, Hefflefinger, Schlusser and the Walker boys died, and later Hal Eby died on reaching our line. Holmes died at Annapolis before reaching his home. Harkness Meloy, McCune, Natcher, Ruby, Humer have died since the war. Of those surviving today are Comrades Burkholder, Constercamp, Elliott, Faller, Gould, Harris, Morrison, Otto, Rhoads, Sites, Stoey and Vantelburg.

      SOURCE: M. Flower, ed., Dear Folks at Home (Carlisle, Penn.: Cumberland County Historical Society, 1963), 140–41. Courtesy of Cumberland County Historical Society, Carlisle, Pennsylvani.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Andersonville; Civil War; Medicine and War; Prisoners of War

      1899 (to 1902)


      The first of these songs, written by naval officers who served in the Philippine War, concerns a moment of “civil–military” tension in 1899 between the blustering and ineffective Gen. Elwell Otis, serving as U.S. governorgeneral of the Philippines, and Maj. Gen. Arthur MacArthur, serving as military commander, who replaced Otis in 1900. The second is an ethnic jibe at Filipinos. The sentences following the songs were provided by the Navy compiler in 1955 and speak for themselves.

      The Governor-General Or A Hobo

      Oh, I’ve been having a helluva time, since I came to the Philippines;I’d rather drive a bobtail mule, and live on pork and beans;They call me Governor-General, I’m the hero of the day,But I have troubles of my own and to myself I say—Chorus:Oh, am I the boss, or am I the tool?Am I the Governor-General or a hobo?For I’d like to know who's the boss of this show;Is it me or Emilio Aguinaldo?The rebels up at old Tarlac, four men to every gun—I think the trouble is at an end, they think it's just begun,My men go out to have a fight, the rebels fade away;I cable home the trouble's o’er, but to myself I say—Now General MacArthur, I have no doubt, can run the whole concern,All right, I’ll pack my trunk and go, and he can take his turn;But when the papers “cuss him out,” and lay him on the shelf,I only ask the privilege of saying to myself—Final Chorus:Oh, is Mac the boss, or is Mac the tool?Is Mac the Governor-General or a hobo?I’d like to know who’ll be boss of this show—Will it be Mac or Emilio Aguinaldo?

      This song was written on board the gunboat Pampanga during the winter of 1899. Aguinaldo was then the self-styled President of the Philippine Republic, and General Otis was Governor-General. The fact that an attempt was made to prevent the singing of the song only made it more popular. It was later introduced into Cornell University as a college song by one who had seen service in the Insurrection.

      The Philippine Hombre

      There was once a Filipino Hombre,Who ate rice, pescado y legumbre,His trousers were wide, and his shirt hung outside,And this I say was costombre.He lived in a palm-thatched bahai,That served as home, stable and sty,He slept on a mat with the dog and the cat,And the pigs and the chickens close by.His brother who was a cochero,En Manila busco el dinero,His prices were high when the cop wasn’t nigh,Which was hard on the poor pasajero.His sister, a buen lavendera,Smashed clothes in a fuerto manera,On the rocks in the stream, where the carabaos dream,Which gave them a perfume lijera.His padre was buen Filipino,Who never mixed tubig with vino,Said, “No insurrecto, no got gun nor bolo,”But used both to kill a vecino.He once owned a bulic manoc,A haughty and mean fighting cock,Which lost him a name, and mil pesos tambien,So he changed off to monte for luck.His madre, she came from the Jolo,She was half a Negrito and Moro,All day in Manila, she tossed the tortilla,And smoked a rotino cigarro.Of ninos she had dos or tres,Good types of the Tagolog race,In dry or wet weather, in the altogether,They’d romp, and they’d race, and they’d chase.When his pueblo last gave a fiesta,His familia tried to digest-aMule that had died with glanders inside,And now su familia no esta.

      This song is not only a wardroom favorite, but has found its way into practically every naval and military reservation in the United States and its dependencies, as well as into countless civilian homes which through friendship or blood relationship have ties with the Services. It was composed and first sung by the late Captain Lyman A. Cotten, U.S.N., about 1900, when Navy, Army and Marine Corps were busy “pacifying” the newly acquired Philippines.

      SOURCE: Joseph W. Crosley and the United States Naval Institute, The Book of Navy Songs. (Annapolis, Md.: United States Naval Academy, 1955). Reprinted by permission of the Naval Institute Press.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil–Military Relations; Music and War; Philippine War



      A black regular with the 24th or 25th infantry regiment poured out his anger at the racist views and conduct of his white counterparts during the Philippine War in this letter to his hometown paper in May 1900.

      Editor, New York Age

      I have mingled freely with the natives and have had talks with American colored men here in business and who have lived here for years, in order to learn of them the cause of their (Filipino) dissatisfaction and the reason for this insurrection, and I must confess they have a just grievance. All this never would have occurred if the army of occupation would have treated them as people. The Spaniards, even if their laws were hard, were polite and treated them with some consideration; but the Americans, as soon as they saw that the native troops were desirous of sharing in the glories as well as the hardships of the hard-won battles with the Americans, began to apply home treatment for colored peoples: cursed them as damn niggers, steal [from] and ravish them, rob them on the street of their small change, take from the fruit vendors whatever suited their fancy, and kick the poor unfortunate if he complained, desecrate their church property, and after fighting began, looted everything in sight, burning, robbing the graves.

      This may seem a little tall—but I have seen with my own eyes carcasses lying bare in the boiling sun, the results of raids on receptacles for the dead in search of diamonds. The [white] troops, thinking we would be proud to emulate their conduct, have made bold of telling their exploits to us. One fellow, member of the 13th Minnesota, told me how some fellows he knew had cut off a native woman's arm in order to get a fine inlaid bracelet. On upbraiding some fellows one morning, whom I met while out for a walk (I think they belong to a Nebraska or Minnesota regiment, and they were stationed on the Malabon road) for the conduct of the American troops toward the natives and especially as to raiding, etc., the reply was: “Do you think we could stay over here and fight these damn niggers without making it pay all it's worth? The government only pays us $13 per month: that's starvation wages. White men can’t stand it.” Meaning they could not live on such small pay. In saying this they never dreamed that Negro soldiers would never countenance such conduct. They talked with impunity of “niggers” to our soldiers, never once thinking that they were talking to home “niggers” and should they be brought to remember that at home this is the same vile epithet they hurl at us, they beg pardon and make some effeminate excuse about what the Filipino is called.

      I want to say right here that if it were not for the sake of the 10,000,000 black people in the United States, God alone knows on which side of the subject I would be. And for the sake of the black men who carry arms and pioneer for them as their representatives, ask them not to forget the present administration at the next election. Party be damned! We don’t want these islands, not in the way we are to get them, and for Heaven's sake, put the party [Democratic] in power that pledged itself against this highway robbery. Expansion is too clean a name for it.


      SOURCE: Unsigned letter, Wisconsin Weekly Advocate, May 17, 1900.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Philippine War

      1908 (to 1916)


      Gen. Leonard Wood, a veteran of the Indian wars in the West and the Spanish–American War in Cuba, later served as military governor of Cuba, commanding general in the Philippines, and Army chief of staff. In 1908 he offered his first call for universal military training. After the outbreak of war in Europe in August 1914, he became a Preparedness advocate as well.

      Our past military policy, so far as it concerns the land forces, has been thoroughly unsound and in violation of basic military principles. We have succeeded not because of it, but in spite of it. It has been unnecessarily and brutally costly in human life and recklessly extravagant in the expenditure of treasure. It has tended greatly to prolong our wars and consequently has delayed national development.

      Because we have succeeded in spite of an unsound system, those who do not look beneath the surface fail to recognize the numerous shortcomings of that system, or appreciate how dangerous is our further dependence upon it.

      The time has come to put our house in order through the establishment of a sound and dependable system, and to make such wise and prudent preparation as will enable us to defend successfully our country and our rights.

      No such system can be established which does not rest upon equality of service for all who are physically fit and of proper age. Manhood suffrage means manhood obligation for service in peace or war. This is the basic principle upon which truly representative government, or free democracy, rests and must rest if it is successfully to withstand the shock of modern war.

      The acceptance of this fundamental principle will require to a certain extent the moral organization of the people, the building up of that sense of individual obligation for service to the nation which is the basis of true patriotism, the teaching of our people to think in terms of the nation rather than in those of a locality or of personal interest.

      This organization must also be accompanied by the organization, classification and training of our men and the detailed and careful organization of the material resources of the country with the view to making them promptly available in case of need and to remedying any defects.

      In the organization of our land forces we must no longer place reliance upon plans based upon the development of volunteers or the use of the militia. The volunteer system is not dependable because of the uncertainty as to returns, and in any case because of the lack of time for training and organization.

      Modern wars are often initiated without a formal declaration of war or by a declaration which is coincident with the first act of war.

      Dependence upon militia under state control or partially under state control, spells certain disaster, not because of the quality of the men or officers, but because of the system under which they work.

      We must also have a first-class navy, well balanced and thoroughly equipped with all necessary appliances afloat and ashore. It is the first line of defense.

      We need a highly efficient regular army, adequate to the peace needs of the nation. By this is meant a regular force, fully equipped, thoroughly trained and properly organized, with adequate reserves of men and material, and a force sufficient to garrison our over-sea possessions, including the Philippines and the Hawaiian Islands. These latter are the key to the Pacific and one of the main defenses of our Pacific coast and the Panama Canal, and whoever holds them dominates the trade routes of the greater portion of the Pacific and, to a large extent, that ocean. The army must be sufficient also to provide an adequate garrison for the Panama Canal, which is an implement of commerce and an instrument of war so valuable that we must not under any conditions allow it to lie outside our secure grasp.

      The regular force must also be adequate to provide sufficient troops for our coast defenses and such garrisons as may be required in Porto Rico and Alaska. The regular force must also be sufficient to provide the necessary mobile force in the United States; by this is meant a force of cavalry, infantry, field artillery, engineers and auxiliary troops sufficient to provide an expeditionary force such as we sent to Cuba in 1898, and at the same time to provide a force sufficient to meet possible conditions of internal disorder. It must also furnish training units for the National Guard, or whatever force the federal government may eventually establish in place of it, and provide sufficient officers for duty under the detail system in the various departments, instructors at the various colleges and schools where military instruction is or may be established, attachés abroad and officers on special missions.

      The main reliance in a war with a first-class power will ultimately be the great force of citizen soldiers forming a purely federal force, thoroughly organized and equipped with reserves of men and material. This force must be trained under some system which will permit the instruction to be given in part during the school period or age, thereby greatly reducing the time required for the final intensive period of training, which should be under regular officers and in conjunction with regular troops. In brief, the system must be one which utilizes as far as possible the means and opportunities now available, and interferes as little as possible with the educational or industrial careers of those affected. A system moulded on the general lines of the Australian or Swiss will accomplish this. Some modifications will be required to meet our conditions.

      Each year about one million men reach the military age of 18; of this number not more than fifty per cent are fit for military service, this being about the average in other countries. Far less than fifty per cent come up to the standards required for the regular army, but the minor defects rejecting them for the regular army would not reject them for general military service. Assuming that some system on the general lines of the Australian or Swiss must be eventually adopted in this country, it would seem that about 500,000 men would be available each year for military training. If the boys were prepared by the state authorities, through training in schools and colleges, and in state training areas—when the boys were not in school—to the extent that they are in Switzerland or Australia, it would be possible, when they come up for federal training, to finish their military training—so far as preparing them for the duties of enlisted men is concerned—within a period of approximately three months. We should be able to limit the period of first line obligation to the period from eighteen to twenty-five, inclusive, or seven years, or we could make the period of obligatory service begin two years later and extend it to twenty-seven. This procedure would give in the first line approximately three and one-half millions of men at the age of best physical condition and of minimum dependent and business responsibility. From the men of certain years (classes) of this period, organizations of federal forces should be built up to the extent of at least twenty-five divisions. They would be organized and equipped exactly like the regular army and would be held ready for immediate service as our present militia would be were it under federal control.

      Men of these organizations would not live in uniform but would go about their regular occupations as do the members of the militia today, but they would be equipped, organized and ready for immediate service. If emergency required it, additional organizations could be promptly raised from the men who were within the obligatory period.

      There should be no pay in peace time except when the men were on duty and then it should be merely nominal. The duty should be recognized as a part of the man's citizenship obligation to the nation. The organizations to be made up of men within the period of obligatory service, could be filled either by the men who indicated their desire for such training or by drawing them by lot. This is a matter of detail. The regular army as organized would be made up as today; it would be a professional army. The men who came into it would be men who had received in youth this citizenship training. They would come into the regular army because they wanted to be professional soldiers. The regular army would be to a certain extent the training nucleus for the citizen soldier organizations and would be the force garrisoning our over-sea possessions. It would be much easier to maintain our regular army in a highly efficient condition, as general military training would have produced a respect for the uniform and an appreciation of the importance of a soldier's duty.

      The reserve corps of officers would be composed of men who had had longer and more advanced training, and could be recruited and maintained as indicated below, through further training of men from the military schools and colleges and those from the officers’ training corps units of the nonmilitary universities and colleges. There would also be those from the military training camps and other sources, such as men who have served in the army and have the proper qualifications. This would give a military establishment in which every man would be physically fit to play his part and would have finished his obligation in what was practically his early manhood, with little probability of being called upon again unless the demands of war were so great as to require more men than those of the total first line, eighteen to twenty-five years, inclusive. Then they would be called by years as the occasion required, and would be available for service up to their forty-fifth year. It would give us a condition of real national preparedness, a much higher type of citizenship, a lower criminal rate and an enormously improved economic efficiency. Pending the establishment of such a system, every effort should be made to transfer the state militia to federal control. By this is meant its complete removal from state control and its establishment as a purely federal force, having no more relation to the states than the regular army has at present. This force under federal control will make a very valuable nucleus for the building up of a federal force of civilian soldiers. Officers and men should be transferred with their present grades and ratings….

      … As has been recommended by the General Staff, there should be built up with the least possible delay a corps of at least 50,000 reserve officers, on lines and through means recommended by the General Staff, and by means of a further development of the United States Military Training Camps for college students and older men, which have been in operation for a number of years. These plans include the coordination of the instruction at the various military college and schools and the establishment of well-thought-out plans for the nonmilitary colleges at which it may be decided to establish officers’ training corps units on lines now under consideration.

      This number of officers, fifty thousand, may seem excessive to some, but when it is remembered that there were one hundred and twenty-seven thousand officers in the Northern army during the Civil War, and over sixty thousand in the Southern, fifty thousand will not appear to be excessive. Fifty thousand officers will be barely sufficient properly to officer a million and a half citizen soldiers. We had in service, North and South, during the Civil War, over four million men, and at the end of the war we had approximately one and a quarter million under arms.

      Under legislative provision enacted during the Civil War, commonly known as the Morrill Act, Congress established mechanical and agricultural colleges in each state, among other things prescribing military instruction and providing for this purpose officers of the regular army. There are nearly thirty thousand students at these institutions who receive during their course military instruction for periods of from one to two years. In some cases the instruction is excellent; in others it is very poor.

      There are in addition a large number of military colleges and schools; at these there are some ten thousand students, so that there are approximately forty thousand young men receiving military instruction, nearly all of them under officers of the army. This means a graduating class of about eight thousand, of whom not more than forty-five hundred would be fit to undergo military training.

      These men should be assembled in United States Military Training Camps for periods of five weeks each for two consecutive years, in order that they may receive that practical and thorough instruction which in the majority of instances is not possible during their college course. With these should be assembled the men who have taken the officers’ training course at the various nonmilitary universities. This course, as outlined by the General Staff, will be thorough and conducted, so far as the purely military courses and duties are concerned, under the immediate control of officers of the army.

      From all these sources we have practically an inexhaustible supply of material from which excellent reserve officers can be made. From the men assembled in camp each year, fifteen hundred should be selected and commissioned, subject only to physical examination, as they are all men of college type, for one year as second lieutenants in the line and in the various staff corps and departments of the regular army. They should receive the pay and allowance of second lieutenants, or such pay and allowance as may be deemed to be appropriate.

      The men who receive this training would furnish very good material for reserve officers of the grade of captain and major, whereas as a rule the men who have not had this training would qualify only in the grade of lieutenant.

      From this group of men could well be selected, subject to the prescribed mental and physical examination, the greater portion of the candidates from civil life for appointment in the army. We have the material and the machinery for turning out an excellent corps of reserve officers. All that is needed is to take hold of it and shape it.

      The prompt building up of a reserve corps of officers is one of the most vitally important steps to be taken. It is absolutely essential. It takes much time and care to train officers. Not only should students of the various colleges, universities and schools where military training is given, be made use of to the fullest extent, but the military training camps which have been conducted so successfully during the past few years should be greatly extended and made a part of the general plan of providing officers for the officers’ reserve corps. It will be necessary to place the instruction at these camps on a different basis and to combine certain theoretical work with the practical work of the camp. This is a matter of detail which can be readily arranged. The results attained at these camps fully justify their being given the most serious attention and being made a part of the general plan for the training of officers.

      SOURCE: Leonard Wood, Our Military History (Chicago: Reilly & Britton, 1916), 193–213.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Civil–Military Relations; Preparedness Movement



      William James, a Harvard philosophy professor, offered this influential essay in 1910 at the behest of the American Association for International Reconciliation. James had absorbed considerable Social Darwinian views of humankind. Hence his view that “our ancestors have bred pugnacity into our bone and marrow, and thousands of years of peace won’t breed it out of us…. ” A realist in that sense, James nonetheless believed that these warlike propensities, not as necessary as they once had been, could and should be redirected into more productive channels by drafting young men, not for military service, but for work within the nation for the common good. This “moral equivalent of war” in time inspired others to create the American Friends Service Committee, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Peace Corps, VISTA, Habitat for Humanity, and Americorps.

      We inherit the warlike type; and for most of the capacities of heroism that the human race is full of we have to thank this cruel history. Dead men tell no tales, and if there were any tribes of other type than this they have left no survivors. Our ancestors have bred pugnacity into our bone and marrow, and thousands of years of peace won’t breed it out of us….

      … Militarism is the great preserver of our ideals of hardihood, and human life with no use for hardihood would be contemptible. Without risks or prizes for the darer, history would be insipid indeed; and there is a type of military character which every one feels that the race should never cease to breed, for every one is sensitive to its superiority….

      …I do not believe that peace either ought to be or will be permanent on this globe, unless the states pacifically organized preserve some of the old elements of army-discipline. A permanently successful peace-economy cannot be a simple pleasure-economy. In the more or less socialistic future towards which mankind seems drifting we must still subject ourselves collectively to those severities which answer to our real position upon this only partly hospitable globe. We must make new energies and hardihoods continue the manliness to which the military mind so faithfully clings. Martial virtues must be the enduring cement; intrepidity, contempt of softness, surrender of private interest, obedience to command, must still remain the rock upon which states are built—unless, indeed, we wish for dangerous reactions against commonwealths fit only for contempt, and liable to invite attack whenever a centre of crystallization for military-minded enterprise gets formed anywhere in their neighborhood….

      … If now—and this is my idea—there were, instead of military conscription a conscription of the whole youthful population to form for a certain number of years a part of the army enlisted against Nature, the injustice would tend to be evened out, and numerous other goods to the commonwealth would follow. The military ideals of hardihood and discipline would be wrought into the growing fibre of the people; no one would remain blind as the luxurious classes now are blind, to man's real relations to the globe he lives on, and to the permanently sour and hard foundations of his higher life. To coal and iron mines, to freight trains, to fishing fleets in December, to dish-washing, clothes-washing, and window-washing, to road-building and tunnel-making, to foundries and stoke-holes, and to the frames of skyscrapers, would our gilded youths be drafted off, according to their choice, to get the childishness knocked out of them, and to come back into society with healthier sympathies and soberer ideas. They would have paid their blood-tax, done their own part in the immemorial human warfare against nature, they would tread the earth more proudly, the women would value them more highly, they would be better fathers and teachers of the following generation….

      … I spoke of the “moral equivalent” of war. So far, war has been the only force that can discipline a whole community, and until an equivalent discipline is organized, I believe that war must have its way. But I have no serious doubt that the ordinary prides and shames of social man, once developed to a certain intensity, are capable of organizing such a moral equivalent as I have sketched, or some other just as effective for preserving manliness of type. It is but a question of time, of skillful propagandism, and of opinion-making men seizing historic opportunities.

      The martial type of character can be bred without war. Strenuous honour and disinterestedness abound elsewhere. Priests and medical men are in a fashion educated to it, and we should all feel some degree of it imperative if we were conscious of our work as an obligatory service to the state.

      SOURCE: William James, The Moral Equivalent of War. Leaflet no. 27. (New York: American Association for International Conciliation, 1910).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Antiwar Movements; Conscientious Objection; Militarization and Militarism; Pacifism

      1915 a


      Charles Erskine Scott Wood graduated from West Point in 1874. He participated in campaigns in the Northwest against the Nez Percé in 1877 and the Paiute in 1878. He earned a law degree in the 1880s and resigned from the military to practice law in Portland, Oregon. A successful attorney and poet, and a self-proclaimed “social anarchist,” he associated with Mark Twain, Ansel Adams, Emma Goldman, Chief Joseph of the Nez Percé, Margaret Sanger, Robinson Jeffers, Clarence Darrow, John Steinbeck, and Childe Hassam. His first major poetry collection, The Poet in the Desert, was a great success when it appeared in 1915. The first section of these excerpts, reflecting his service fighting “my brown brothers,” is drawn from that edition; the second, an admonition to those facing death in the trenches, from his revised edition, published in 1918.


      I HAVE lived with my brown brothersOf the wilderness,And found them a mystery.The cunning of the swift-darting troutA mystery, also;The wisdom of voyaging birds;The gophers’ winter-sleep.The knowledge of the bees;All a mystery.I have lain out with the brown menAnd I know they are favoredAs all are favored who submitWillingly to the great Mother.Nature whispered to them her secrets,But passed me by.My savage brothers instructed my civilization.Tall, stately and full of wisdomHis face chiseled as Napoleon's,Was Hin-mah-too-yah-laht-kt;Thunder-rolling-in-the-mountains;Joseph, Chief of the Nez-Perces;Who in five battles from the ClearwaterTo Bear Paw Mountain,Made bloody protest against dishonorable Power.Ah-laht-ma-kaht, his brother,Who led the young men in battleAnd gave his life for his brethren:Tsootlem-mox-mox, Yellow Bull;Cunning White Bird, a brown Odysseus,And indomitable Too-hul-hul-soot,High Priest, dignified; unafraid; inspired;Standing half-naked in the Council Teepee,Insisting in low musical gutturals,With graceful gesture,“The Earth is our Mother.“From her we come;“To her we return.“She belongs to all.“She has gathered into her bosom“The bones of our ancestors.“Their spirits will fight with us“When we battle for our home“Which is ours from the beginning.“Who gave to the White Man“Ownership of the Earth,“Or what is his authority“From the Great Spirit“To tear babes from the nursing breast?“It is contemptible to have too much where others want.#x201d;He too gave his life for his people.And again at another time when the politiciansOnce more betrayed the promise of the RepublicSquat, slit-eyed Smokhallah,Shaman of the Wenatchies, and Chelans,Half-draped in a red blanket,Harangued his people to dieIn brave fight on the bosomOf the Mother who bore them.But wily Sulk-tash-kosha, the Half Sun,Chieftan, persuaded submission.“The White Men are more abundant“Than the grass in the Springtime.“They are without end and beyond number.“It is hopeless to fight them,“Right is feeble against many soldiers.”Where are those many-colored cyclonesOf painted and feather-decked horsesWith naked riders, wearing eagle-feathers,And bonnets of cougar scalps;Brandishing rifles, bows and lynx-skin quivers,All gleaming through the yellow dust-cloud,Galloping, circling, hallooing, whooping,To the War Council? They are stilled forever.The Christian Republic planted grass in their mouths.


      Just over there where yon purple peak,Like a great amethyst, gems the brow of the Desert,I sprawled flat in the bunch-grass, a targetFor the just bullets of my brown brothers; betrayedBy politicians hugging to their bosoms votes, not Justice.I was a soldier, and, at command,Had gone out to kill and be killed.This was not majestic.The little grey gophersSat erect and laughed at me.In that silent hour before the dawn,When Nature drowses for a moment,We swept like fire over the smoke-browned tee-pees;Their conical tops peering above the willows.We frightened the air with crackle of rifles,Women's shrieks, children's screams,Shrill yells of savages;Curses of Christians.The rifles chuckled continually.A poor people who asked nothing but the old promises,Butchered in the dark….Young men who are about to die,Stay a moment and take my hand,Who am also about to die.You have been carefully winnowed and selectedFor the banqueting of a Hooded Skeleton.Tell me by whom selected?—and for what?Not you alone die, but the childrenWho through you should enter Life.Fathers of these expectant generations,Tell me, for what are you selectedAnd by whom?Victims stretched upon hospital cots,You who see not the faces bending above you,Nor shall ever see the eyes of the beloved,Nor the face of your child.You between whom and the worldDoors have been shut,Who never will hear the April bird-song,Or squirrels throwing nuts into October leaves,Or sudden crack of a dry branchStartling the woody silences;You who, crumpled and twisted,Shall be frightful to children;You who never again shall spurnWith light, keen feet the rugged mountain-top,The level shore,Tell me, for what?—For what?Shall I applaud you?Shall I applaud gladiatorsWho stain the sands with each other's bloodIn a game of the Masters?Is not Death busy enough?None escapes his shaft.His muffled feet creep relentlessly to all.Why should we heap him with an unripe load?Take War by the throat, young soldier,And wring from his blood-frothed lipsThe answer,—why?—why should we die?Why should we die and not those who have made War?Young men,And even more than young men,Young women,Guardians of the Future,Is one man who toils for the Masters so much betterOr so much worse than another,So much richer or poorer,That he must kill his brother?Is it just to inscrutable NatureWho with mysterious care has brought youDown the Path InfiniteThat you should kill your brother or be killed by him?Tell me distinctly for what is the sacrifice?I demand that you refuse to be satisfied,That you unravel the old shoutings,That you peer to the very bottom.Draw in your breath delightedly,And confidently insist:“My life is my Own.“A gift from the Ages,“And to me precious“Beyond estimation.“I will deny Presidents, Kings, Congresses.“I will defy authority.“I will question all things.“I will obstinately be informed“Whence comes the battle?“Whose is the combat?“Why should I be pushed forward?”Alas, pitiful young men, you are without intelligenceAnd you die.

      SOURCE: Charles Erskine Scott Wood, The Poet in the Desert, 2nd ed. (Portland, Oreg.: privately printed, 1918).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Indian Wars: Western Wars; Literature and War; Religion and War

      1915 b


      Calls for greater “preparedness” in 1915 and 1916 resonated with some Americans, but met opposition from others who didn’t understand why the United States need concern itself with a war between kings, kaisers, tsars, and a Britain that had yet to grant “home rule” to Ireland. This song by Al Piantadosi and Alfred Bryan, recorded by Morton Harvey (and others), was a hit with such folk, who were not an inconsequential minority. After all, President Wilson's successful reelection campaign in 1916 included this tag: “He kept us out of [the] war!”

      Ten million soldiers to the war have gone,Who may never return again.Ten million mothers’ hearts must break,For the ones who died in vain.Head bowed down in sorrow in her lonely years,I heard a mother murmur thro’ her tears:Chorus:I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier,I brought him up to be my pride and joy,Who dares to put a musket on his shoulder,To shoot some other mother's darling boy?Let nations arbitrate their future troubles,It's time to lay the sword and gun away,There’d be no war today,If mothers all would say,I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier.What victory can cheer a mother's heart,When she looks at her blighted home?What victory can bring her back,All she cared to call her own?Let each mother answer in the year to be,Remember that my boy belongs to me!

      SOURCE: Al Piantadosi and Alfred Bryan, “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier.” Morton Harvey., recording: Edison Collection, Library of Congress.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Antiwar Movements; Committee on Public Information; Music and War; Preparedness Movement; World War I

      1917 a


      Once Congress declared war in April 1917, the views expressed in the song “I Didn’t Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier” (see document 1915 b above) were challenged. Here was a poetic response:

      Not to be a soldier?

      Did you then know what you, his mother, were raising him for?

      How could you tell when and where he would be needed? When and where he would best pay a man's debt to his country?

      Suppose the mother of George Washington had said, “I didn’t raise my boy to be a soldier!”

      Suppose the mother of General Grant, or the mother of Admiral Dewey had said it, or the mothers of thousands and thousands of brave fellows who fought for independence and liberty—where would our country be today?

      If the mothers of heroes had clung and sniveled and been afraid for their boys, there wouldn’t perhaps be any free America for the world to look to.

      Mother, you are living and enjoying America now—you and the boy you “didn’t raise to be a soldier.”

      Thanks to others, you and he are safe and sound—so far.

      You may not be to-morrow, you and the other women, he and the other men who “weren’t raised”—if Americans turn out to be Sons of Cowards, as the Germans believe.

      You want your boy to live and enjoy life with you—to make you happy.

      You don’t want to risk your treasure. What mother ever wished it? It is indeed harder to risk one's beloved than one's self. But there are things still harder.

      You don’t want your lad to meet danger, like Washington and Grant and Sheridan, and the rest whom you taught him to admire.

      You’d rather keep your boy where you believe him safe than have your country safe!

      You’d rather have him to look at here, a slacker, than abroad earning glory as a patriot.

      You’d rather have him grow old and decrepit and die in his bed than risk a hero's death, with many chances of coming back to you proudly honored.

      You’d rather have him go by accident or illness, or worse.

      There are risks at home, you know!

      Are you afraid of them, too? How can you guard him?

      Is it you who are keeping him back?

      Shame on you, Mother! You are no true, proud mother.

      It isn’t only the men who have got to be brave these days. It's the women, too. We all have so much to risk when there's wicked war in the world.

      Don’t you know this is a war to destroy wicked war?

      Don’t you want your son to help make the world over?

      This is a war to save our liberty, our manhood, our womanhood—the best life has to give.

      Mother, what did you raise your boy for? Wasn’t it to be a man and do a man's work?

      Could he find a greater Cause than this to live or die for?

      You should be proud if he can be a Soldier.You must send him out with a smile.Courage! You must help him to be brave.We must help one another to be brave and unselfish.For America!

      SOURCE: Abbie Farwell Brown, “I Didn’t Raise My Boy,” in Albert Bushnell, ed., Handbook of the War for Readers, Speakers, and Teachers (New York: Hart & Arthur O. Lovejoy, 1918), 100–101.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Antiwar Movements; Committee on Public Information; Preparedness Movement; World War I

      1917 b


      Popular Tin Pan Alley songwriter and performer George M. Cohan dashed off this lively tune shortly after war was declared. It was another response to the earlier Piantadosi–Bryan song (see documents 1915 b and 1917 a above).

      Johnnie get your gun, get your gun, get your gun,Take it on the run, on the run, on the run,Hear them calling you and me,Ev’ry son of liberty,Hurry right away, no delay, go todayMake your daddy glad, to have had such a lad,Tell your sweetheart not to pine,To be proud her boy's in line.Chorus:Over There, over ThereSend the word, send the word over ThereThat the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are comingThe Drums rum-tuming everywhere.So prepare, say a pray’rSend the word, send the word to beware.We’ll be over, we’re coming overAnd we won’t come back till it's over, over there.Johnie get your gun, get your gun, get your gun,Johnie show the Hun you’re a son-of-a-gun.Hoist the flag and let her fly,Like true heroes do or die.Pack your little kit, show the grit, do your bit,Soldiers to the ranks from the towns aAnd the tanks,Make your mother proud of you,And to liberty be true.

      SOURCE: Lyrics found at http://www.english.emory.edu/LostPoets/OverThere.html (August 10, 2005).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Committee on Public Information; Music and War; World War I

      1917 c


      John Simpson, head of the Farmer's Union of Oklahoma, wrote to his senator on March 31, 1917, offering a farmer's opinion on proposals to draft men to fight in France.

      My work puts me in touch with farmer audiences in country schoolhouses nearly every night. We always discuss the war question and universal military service. I know nine out of ten farmers are absolutely opposed to both. We farmers are unalterably opposed to war unless an enemy lands on our shores.

      SOURCE: George Tindall, The Emergence of the New South (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1967), 47.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Antiwar Movements; Committee on Public Information; Conscription and Volunteerism; World War I

      1917 d


      Conscious that the British government had not been able to continue to raise sufficient numbers of men by relying on volunteers, the Wilson administration almost immediately secured from Congress the nation's first full-fledged conscription act. Most who were selected for service reported without incident and served honorably. But opposition to conscription was strong in rural America. Some 300,000 failed to respond to the call altogether, and over 100,000 of those who did report deserted within the first month and remained at large.1 This account describes the response to conscription in rural northern Arkansas:

      When the United States entered the war with Germany, Cecil Cove did not. This little valley in the remote fastnesses of the North Arkansas Ozarks practically seceded from the Union for the duration of the war. The older men cooperated with the eligibles to resist the draft. They defied Uncle Sam, being well stocked with arms and prepared to hold out indefinitely in their hiding-places. When they finally gave up it was by no means an unconditional surrender, for the authorities accepted all the terms of the slacker gang, after a number of attempts to round them up had proved unsuccessful. A writer in the Kansas City Star attributes the incident to “a combination of plain ignorance, Jeff Davis politics, The Appeal to Reason, and mountain religion.” He adds that another fact may throw some light on the happenings in Cecil Cove, namely, that “it was a notorious hiding-place for men who were neither Federals nor Confederates in the Civil War,” and who “found a refuge in the caves and fastnesses of the Cove exactly as did the slacker gang of 1917–1918.”

      Cecil Cove—some twelve miles long and eight miles wide—lies high up in Newton County, which has not been penetrated by the railroad. The people there form an isolated mountain community, suspicious yet hospitable, reticent, “trained and accustomed to arms,” and also trained and accustomed, boys and girls, men and women alike, to using tobacco, as snuffers, smokers, and chewers. If we are to believe The Star, they are “unerring spitters,” and “the youngest of the family is considered deserving of a reprimand if he can not hit the fireplace at ten paces.”

      When the news of the draft came the Cove prepared for war, but not with Germany. To quote the Star:

      The country roundabout was scoured for high-power rifles. Stocks of the Harrison and Jasper stores were pretty well depleted. Repeating rifles of 30–30 caliber and great range and precision began to reach the Cove from mail-order houses. Quantities of ammunition were bought—report has it that “Uncle Lige” Harp bought nearly $60 worth at one time in Harrison.

      A number of young men were drafted, but refused to report for duty. The sheriff sent word he was coming after them, but seems to have thought better of it when he received the answer: “Come on, but look out for yourself!” Four United States marshals or deputies, several special investigators, and an army colonel all visited Newton County in turn, did some questioning and searching, and alike returned empty handed. We read in the Star that the people in the Cove were all related through intermarriage, and practically all of them were in sympathy with the slackers. They agreed to stick together, and it has been reported that some sort of covenant was signed. The Cove, we are told, “is a region of multifarious hiding places, studded with boulders and pocketed with caves; a searcher might pass within six feet of a dozen hidden men and see none of them.” It is reached and penetrated only by steep mountain-trails, which are easily threaded by the “surefooted mountain horses and mules and their equally surefooted owners,” but which are almost impassable to strangers. Moreover, continues the writer in the Star:

      So perfect were means of observation and communication a stranger could not enter the Cove at any point without that fact being known to all its inhabitants before the intruder had got along half a mile.

      Nearly all the families in the Cove have telephones. It is a remarkable fact that these mountaineers will do without the meanest comforts of life, but they insist upon having telephones. This and the other varied methods of intercourse, peculiar to the mountains, gave the Cecil Cove slackers an almost unbeatable combination. They always knew where the searchers were and what they were doing, but the searchers never were able to find anything except a blind trail.

      The telephone-lines might have been cut, but that would have served little purpose. News travels by strange and devious processes in the mountains. The smoke of a brush-fire high up on a peak may have little significance to the uninitiated, but it may mean considerable to an Ozark mountaineer. The weird, longdrawn-out Ozark yell, “Hia-a-ahoo-o-o” may sound the same always to a man from the city, but there are variations of it that contain hidden significances. And the mountaineer afoot travels with amazing speed, even along those broken trails. Bent forward, walking with a characteristic shuffle, he can scurry over boulder and fallen log like an Indian.

      A deputy marshal “with a reputation as a killer” spent a month in Newton County, but made no arrests, telling some one that it would be “nothing short of suicide” for an officer to try to capture the slacker gang. The officer second in command at Camp Pike, Little Rock, took a hand in the affair and told the county officials that some of his men who were “sore at being unable to go across to France” would be very glad to “come up and clear out these slackers.” But about this time the War Department offered something like amnesty to the Cove gang and apparently promised that a charge of desertion would not be pressed if the men were to give themselves up. Word was passed around, whether or not from official sources, that the boys would be “gone only from sixty to ninety days, that they would all get a suit of clothes and a dollar a day.” At the same time a new sheriff, Frank Carlton, came into office. He knew the neighborhood and its people. He got in touch with some of the leaders of the hiding men and finally had an interview with two of them. They agreed to give themselves up if certain concessions were made and finally told the sheriff to meet them alone and unarmed and thus accompany them to Little Rock. As we read:

      The next day the gang met the sheriff at the lonely spot agreed upon. They caught a mail-coach and rode to Harrison and then were taken to Camp Pike.

      The morning after their arrival Joel Arnold asked the sheriff:

      “Do they feed like this all the time?”

      The sheriff replied that they had received the ordinary soldier fare.

      “We’ve been a passel of fools,” Arnold replied.

      The slackers are still held in custody at Camp Pike, and, according to the writer in The Star, authorities there will make no statement as to the procedure contemplated in the case. In showing how such different influences as religion, socialism, and sheer ignorance operated, the writer lets certain of the Cove leaders speak for themselves. Uncle Lige Harp backed up the slackers strongly with all of his great influence in the community. “Uncle Lige” is now an old man, but in his younger days had the reputation of being a “bad man.” He tells with glee of a man who once said he would “just as soon meet a grizzly bear on the trail as meet Lige Harp.” In his heyday Uncle Lige “was accounted a dead shot—one who could put out a turkey's left eye at one hundred yards every shot.” Here are Uncle Lige's views:

      “We-all don’t take no truck with strangers and we didn’t want our boys takin’ no truck with furriners. We didn’t have no right to send folks over to Europe to fight; ’tain’t a free country when that's done. Wail till them Germans come over here and then fight ’em is what I said when I heard ’bout the war. If anybody was to try to invade this country ever’ man in these hills would git his rifle and pick ’em off.”

      “Aunt Sary” Harp, between puffs at her clay pipe, nodded her approval of “Uncle Lige's” position.

      France Sturdgil and Jim Blackwell say they are Socialists. They have read scattering copies of The Appeal to Reason. To be fair, it should be added that this Socialist paper, now The New Appeal, has taken an attitude in support of the Government's war-policy. Said Sturdgil:

      “It's war for the benefit of them silk-hatted fellers up in New York. We don’t want our boys fightin’ them rich fellers’ battles and gittin’ killed just to make a lot of money for a bunch of millionaires. Why, they own most of the country now.”

      To the writer of the Star article this sounds very much like the sort of argument which Jeff Davis used for many years in persuading the “hill billies” of Arkansas to elect him regularly to the United States Senate. George Slape, the Cove's religious leader, is “a prayin’ man.”

      “The good book says, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ We didn’t want our boys takin’ nobody's life. It ain’t right ’cause it's contrary to the Bible and the good Lord's teachin's,” declared Slape.

      Asked to explain the difference between fighting Germans and preparing to resist the draft authorities, both likely to result in death, Slape said:

      “The boys wasn’t goin’ to kill nobody unless they had to. It's different killing a man who tries to make you do wrong and killin’ somebody in war.”

      None of these leaders ever admitted they knew anything about where the boys were hiding. It was a common report that the slackers “lived at home except on those occasions when an officer was discovered to be prowling about.” It is the Ozark way: “nobody ever has seen a hunted man, tho a rustling of the leaves, the crackling of a dead twig, might betray the fact that the fugitive was there only a moment before.”

      Cecil Cove had its loyal men. At least one young man defied home opinion and threats of violence by reporting for duty when he was drafted. He was sent to France and became an excellent soldier. Loyal citizens living on the fringe of the Cove were shot at and threatened on a number of occasions, and several were ordered to keep away from the community. “Uncle Jimmy” Richardson, a Confederate veteran, loyal and fearless, was not afraid to go straight to some of the parents of the slackers and tell them what he thought of them.

      “You’re a gang of yellow bellies,” he said. “If you’ve got any manhood in you, them boys will be made to go and serve their country.”

      “Uncle Jimmy” got his answer one day when he ventured a little way into the Cove. A shot rang out and a bullet whistled past his ear.

      “The cowardly hounds wouldn’t fight fair,” he said. “In the old days of the Civil War them kind was swung up to the nearest tree. I’m past seventy-three now, but I’d have got down my rifle and gone in with anybody that would have went after them. I don’t like to live near folks who ain’t Americans.”

      “Uncle Jimmy” does not speak to the slacker folks in the Cove now. He says he never will again. If he did, he says he would feel ashamed of the more than a dozen wounds that he received in the Civil War.

      Loyalists in the Cove were forced by fear into what amounted to a state of neutrality. “We couldn’t risk having our homes burned down or our stock killed, let alone anything worse,” said one of them, who added “I’m not afraid of any man face to face, but it is a different proposition when you’re one against thirty-six, and them with all the advantage and willin’ to go anything.”…

      Note 1. Sec. of War Newton Baker to Woodrow Wilson, May 13, 1920, Baker Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.

      SOURCE: “Uncle Sam's Little War in the Arkansas Ozarks,” Literary Digest, March 8, 1919,. 107 ff.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Committee on Public Information; Conscription and Volunteerism; Draft Evasion and Resistance; World War I

      1917 e


      During World War I, army psychologists administered intelligence tests that they claimed measured ability. From these tests, psychologists concluded that the average mental age of the American soldier was 13. This example from a test given to literate recruits reveals that many questions measured familiarity with American culture and level of schooling.

      Test 3

      This is a test of common sense. Below are sixteen questions. Three answers are given to each question. You are to look at the answers carefully; then make a cross in the square before the best answer to each question, as in the sample:

      Why do we use stoves? Because

      • they look well
      • they keep us warm
      • they are black

      Here the second answer is the best one and is marked with a cross. Begin with No. 1 and keep on until time is called.

      • Cats are useful animals, because
        • they catch mice
        • they are gentle
        • they are afraid of dogs
      • Why are pencils more commonly carried than fountain pens? Because
        • they are brightly colored
        • they are cheaper
        • they are not so heavy
      • Why is leather used for shoes? Because
        • it is produced in all countries
        • it wears well
        • it is an animal product
      • Why judge a man by what he does rather than by what he says? Because
        • what a man does shows what he really is
        • it is wrong to tell a lie
        • a deaf man cannot hear what is said
      • If you were asked what you thought of a person whom you didn’t know, what should you say?
        • I will go and get acquainted
        • I think he is all right
        • I don’t know him and can’t say
      • Streets are sprinkled in summer
        • to make the air cooler
        • to keep automobiles from skidding
        • to keep down dust
      • Why is wheat better for food than corn? Because
        • it is more nutritious
        • it is more expensive
        • it can be ground finer
      • If a man made a million dollars, he ought to
        • pay off the national debt
        • contribute to various worthy charities
        • give it all to some poor man
      • Why do many persons prefer automobiles to street cars? Because
        • an auto is made of higher grade materials
        • an automobile is more convenient
        • street cars are not as safe
      • The feathers on a bird's wings help him to fly because they
        • make a wide, light surface
        • keep the air off his body
        • keep the wings from cooling off too fast
      • All traffic going one way keeps to the same side of the street because
        • most people are right handed
        • the traffic policeman insists on it
        • it avoids confusion and collisions
      • Why do inventors patent their inventions? Because
        • it gives them control of their inventions
        • it creates a greater demand
        • it is the custom to get patents
      • Freezing water bursts pipes because
        • cold makes the pipes weaker
        • water expands when it freezes
        • the ice stops the flow of water
      • Why are high mountains covered with snow? Because
        • they are near the clouds
        • the sun seldom shines on them
        • the air is cold there
      • If the earth were nearer the sun
        • the stars would disappear
        • our months would be longer
        • the earth would be warmer
      • Why is it colder nearer the poles than near the equator? Because
        • the poles are always farther from the sun
        • the sunshine falls obliquely at the poles
        • there is more ice at the poles

      Test 5

      The words A EATS COW GRASS in that order are mixed up and don’t make a sentence; but they would make a sentence if put in the right order: A COW EATS GRASS, and this statement is true.

      Again, the words HORSES FEATHERS HAVE ALL would make a sentence if put in the order ALL HORSES HAVE FEATHERS, but this statement is false.

      Below are twenty-four mixed-up sentences. Some of them are true and some are false. When I say “go,” take these sentences one at a time. Think what you would say if the words were straightened out, but don’t write them yourself. Then, if what it would say is true, draw a line under the word “true”; if what it would say is false, draw a line under the word “false.” If you can not be sure, guess. The two samples are already marked as they should be. Begin with No. 1 and work right down the page until time is called.

      a eats cow grasstrue…false
      horses feathers have alltrue…false
      1. lions strong aretrue…false 1
      2. houses people in livetrue…false 2
      3. days there in are week eight atrue…false 3
      4. legs flies one have onlytrue…false 4
      5. months coldest are summer thetrue…false 5
      6. gotten sea water sugar is fromtrue…false 6
      7. honey bees flowers gather the fromtrue…false 7
      8. and eat good gold silver to aretrue…false 8
      9. president Columbus first the was America oftrue…false 9
      10. making is bread valuable wheat fortrue…false 10
      11. water and made are butter from cheesetrue…false 11
      12. sides every has four triangletrue…false 12
      13. every times makes mistakes person attrue…false 13
      14. many toes fingers as men as havetrue…false 14
      15. not eat gunpowder to good istrue…false 15
      16. ninety canal ago built Panama years was thetrue…false 16
      17. live dangerous is near a volcano to ittrue…false 17
      18. clothing worthless are for and wool cottontrue…false 18
      19. as sheets are napkins used nevertrue…false 19
      20. people trusted intemperate be always cantrue…false 20
      21. employ debaters irony nevertrue…false 21
      22. certain some death of mean kinds sicknesstrue…false 22
      23. envy bad malice traits are andtrue…false 23
      24. repeated call human for courtesies associationstrue…false 24

      Test 8

      Notice the sample sentence:

      People hear with the eyes ears nose mouth

      The correct word is ears, because it makes the truest sentence.

      In each of the sentences below you have four choices for the last word. Only one of them is correct. In each sentence draw a line under the one of these four words which makes the truest sentence. If you can not be sure, guess. The two samples are already marked as they should be.


      People hear with the eyes ears nose mouth

      France is in Europe Asia Africa Australia

      • America was discovered by Drake Hudson Columbus Cabot
      • Pinochle is played with rackets cards pins dice
      • The most prominent industry of Detroit is automobiles brewing flour packing
      • The Wyandotte is a kind of horse fowl cattle granite
      • The U.S. School for Army Officers is at Annapolis West Point New Haven Ithaca
      • Food products are made by Smith & Wesson Swift & Co. W.L. Douglas B.T. Babbitt
      • Bud Fisher is famous as an actor author baseball player comic artist
      • The Guernsey is a kind of horse goat sheep cow
      • Marguerite Clark is known as a suffragist singer movie actress writer
      • “Hasn’t scratched yet” is used in advertising a duster flour brush cleanser
      • Salsify is a kind of snake fish lizard vegetable
      • Coral is obtained from mines elephants oysters reefs
      • Rosa Bonheur is famous as a poet painter composer sculptor
      • The tuna is a kind of fish bird reptile insect
      • Emeralds are usually red blue green yellow
      • Maize is a kind of corn hay oats rice
      • Nabisco is a patent medicine disinfectant food product tooth paste
      • Velvet Joe appears in advertisements of tooth powder dry goods tobacco soap
      • Cypress is a kind of machine food tree fabric
      • Bombay is a city in China Egypt India Japan
      • The dictaphone is a kind of typewriter multigraph phonograph adding machine
      • The pancreas is in the abdomen head shoulder neck
      • Cheviot is the name of a fabric drink dance food
      • Larceny is a term used in medicine theology law pedagogy
      • The Battle of Gettysburg was fought in 1863 1813 1778 1812
      • The bassoon is used in music stenography book-binding lithography
      • Turpentine comes from petroleum ore hides trees
      • The number of a Zulu's legs is two four six eight
      • The scimitar is a kind of musket cannon pistol sword
      • The Knight engine is used in the Packard Lozier Stearns Pierce Arrow
      • The author of “The Raven” is Stevenson Kipling Hawthorne Poe
      • Spare is a term used in bowling football tennis hockey
      • A six-sided figure is called a scholium parallelogram hexagon trapezium
      • Isaac Pitman was most famous in physics shorthand railroading electricity
      • The ampere is used in measuring wind power electricity water power rainfall
      • The Overland car is made in Buffalo Detroit Flint Toledo
      • Mauve is the name of a drink color fabric food
      • The stanchion is used in fishing hunting farming motoring
      • Mica is a vegetable mineral gas liquid
      • Scrooge appears in Vanity Fair the Christmas Carol Romola Henry IV

      SOURCE: Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 15 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1921).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Conscription and Volunteerism; World War I

      1917 f


      During World War I, many men who either did not speak English or were illiterate entered the military. To test their intelligence, Army psychologists developed special exams that still required the ability to write quickly and understand directions in English. Unsurprisingly, many men who took the Beta exam were classified as morons.

      [These were the instructions given for the following Beta test for illiterate soldiers:]

      Test 6, pictorial completion.

      “This is test 6 here. Look. A lot of pictures.” After everyone has found the place, “Now watch.” Examiner points to hand and says to demonstrator, “Fix it.” Demonstrator does nothing, but looks puzzled. Examiner points to the picture of the hand, and then to the place where the finger is missing and says to demonstrator, “Fix it; fix it.” Demonstrator then draws in finger. Examiner says, “That's right.” Examiner then points to fish and place for eye and says, “Fix it.” After demonstrator has drawn missing eye, examiner points to each of the four remaining drawings and says, “Fix them all.” Demonstrator works samples out slowly and with apparent effort. When the samples are finished examiner says, “All right. Go ahead. Hurry up!” During the course of this test the orderlies walk around the room and locate individuals who are doing nothing, point to their pages and say, “Fix it. Fix them,” trying to set everyone working. At the end of 3 minutes examiner says, “Stop! But don’t turn over the page.”

      SOURCE: Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 15 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1921).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Conscription and Volunteerism; World War I

      1918 a


      With conscription, opportunities arose for women to take work long denied them. Their fellow male workers were, generally speaking, uncomfortable with and opposed to the presence of women at “their” worksites. When an anonymous male machinist penned a sarcastic poem about female machinists employed during World War I, an anonymous female machinist responded with revealing zest.

      The Man's Poem

      The Reason Why

      The shop girls had a meetingThey came from far and nearSome came from Bryant's,J and L And some from Fellows Gear.But before inside the hallThey were allowed to lookThey had to take their bloomers off,And hang ’em on a hook.Then into the hall they went at once,With courage ever higherBut hardly were they seatedWhen someone shouted “Fire.”Then out they ran all in a bunch,They had no time to look,And each one grabbed a bloomerAt random from the hook.They got their bloomers all mixed up,And they were mighty sore,To think they couldn’t have the oneThey had always had before.And that's the reason that you seeAs you go ’round the streets,Each one will stop and take a lookAt every girl she meets.And hence the reason that the girlsWho are not so very stout,Have had to take ’em in a bit,And the fat ones, let ’em out.

      The Woman's Response

      She Hands Him a Lemon

      My man, you’re really out of dateAnd now before it is too late,I’ll try to set you right;We never mixed our bloomers, clown,They fit just like a Paris gown,They’re neither loose nor tight.The simple, tender, clinging vine,That once around the oak did twine,Is something of the past;We stand erect now by your side,And surmount obstacles with pride,We’re equal, free, at last.We’re independent now you see,Your bald head don’t appeal to me,I love my overalls;And I would rather polish steel,Than get you up a tasty meal,Or go with you to balls.Now, only premiums good and big,Will tempt us maids to change our rig,And put our aprons on;And cook up all the dainty things,That so delighted men and kingsIn days now past and gone.Now in your talk of shouting “fire,”You really did arouse my ire,I tell you, sir, with pride,That you would be the one to runWhile we would stay and see the fun,And I lend a hand beside.To sit by your machine and chewAnd dream of lovely Irish stew,Won’t work today you’ll find.Now, we’re the ones who set the pace,You’ll have to bustle in the raceOr you’ll get left behind.We’re truly glad we got the chanceTo work like men and wear men's pants,And proved that we made good.My suit a badge of honor is.Now, will you kindly mind your “biz”Just as you know you should.

      SOURCE: Wayne Broehl Jr., Precision Valley: The Machine Tool Companies of Springfield, Vermont (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1959), 98–99.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Committee on Public Information; Women in the Workforce: World War I and World War II; World War I

      1918 b


      The American Expeditionary Force headquarters created a soldier's newspaper, The Stars and Stripes, which published a number of poems written by military personnel. These are some of the more revealing ones.


      I want to go home; I am tired of stayingWhere people don’t savvy my tongue,Where I cannot tell what the waiters are sayingNor know just how much I am stung.I want to go back where I needn’t climb stairwaysOr grope to my room in the gloom.Or shiver in chambers like chill glacial airways,I gaze on the track to,I long to go back to,That better and greater place, swift elevator place,Hot radiator place—Home!I want to go home; I am tired of gettingThis fancy but camouflaged food,Pale substitute eats in a Frenchified setting—My tastes grow voracious and crude.I’m dreaming of meals without food-card restrictions,With much more of bodyless foam,Where sugar and pastry meet no interdictions,I dream of and yearn to,I pant to return to,That thrilling-to-utter land, makes-my-heart-flutter land,Milk-fat-and-butter land—Home!
      Anon. The Stars and Stripes (6 June 1919)

      Song of St. Nazaire

      Hurry on, you doughboys, with your rifle and your pack;Bring along your cooties with your junk upon your back;We’ll house you and delouse you and we’ll douse you in a bath,And when the boat is ready you can take the Western Path.For it's home, kid, home—when you slip away from here—No more slum or reveille, pounding in your ear;Back on clean, wide streets again—Back between the sheets againWhere a guy can lay in bed and sleep for half a year.Hurry on, you lousy buck, for your last advance;You are on your final hike through the mud of France;Somewhere in the Good Old Town, you can shift the load,Where you’ll never see again an M. P. down the road.For it's home, boy, home, with the old ship headed west;No more cooties wandering across your manly chest;No more M. P.'s grabbing you—No more majors crabbing you—Nothing for a guy to do except to eat and rest.Move along, you Army, while the tides are on the swell.Where a guy can get away and not the S. O. L.Where the gold fish passes and the last corned willy's through.And no top sergeant's waiting with another job to do.For it's home, kid, home—when the breakers rise and fall—Where the khaki's hanging from a nail against the wall—Clean again and cheerful there—Handing out an ear full there—Where you never have to jump at the bugle's call.
      Lt. GrantlandRiceThe Stars and Stripes (2 May 1919)

      The Ward At Night

      The rows of beds,Each even spaced,The blanket lying dark against the sheet,The heavy breathing of the sick,The fevered voicesTelling of the battleAt the front,Of Home and Mother.A quick, light step,A white-capped figureSilhouetted by the lantern's flame,A needle, bearing sleepAnd sweet forgetfulness.A moan—Then darkness, death.God rest the valiant soul.
      Anon. The Stars and Stripes (29 November 1918)

      As Things Are

      The old home State is drier nowThan forty-seven clucksOf forty-seven desert hens‘A-chewin’ peanut shucks.There everybody's standin’ sadBeside the Fishhill store,‘A-sweatin’ dust an’ spittin’ rustBecause there ain’t no more.The constable, they write, has wentA week without a pinch.There ain’t no jobs, so there's a gent‘At sure has got a cinch.I ain’t a-gonna beef a bit,But still, it's kinda nice,‘A-knowin’ where there's some to gitWithout requestin’ twice.
      Anon. The Stars and Stripes (26 July 1918)

      The Shepherds Feed Themselves And Feed Not My Flock

      We died in our millions to serve it; the cause that you told us was ours,We stood waist-deep in the trenches, we battled with Hell and its powers;And you? You have gathered your millions; you have lined your pockets with pelf,You have talked of the rights of Nations, while you worshipped the rights of self;Do you think we shall rise and smite you? Fear not. You shall garner your gain.And we? Will you give us our freedom, just those who have not been slain?Fooled tho we’ve been by your hierlings—you know that we fought for a lie—We fathomed a truth you see not, but one you must learn when you die,That silver and gold and raiment are things of but little worth,For Love is the heir of the ages, and the meek shall inherit the earth.
      Maj. Guy M.KindersleyThe Amaroc News (7 September 1919)

      SOURCE: Alfred E. Cornebise, ed., Doughboy Doggerel (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1985).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Literature and War; World War I

      1918 c


      Lt. John Jacob Niles, an Army aviator in France, was a musicologist and “song-catcher.” He recorded songs as he heard them sung in bistros and trains, and was especially taken by those that black doughboys had created. These are some of the more illuminating examples of those he published in Songs My Mother Never Taught Me.

      The Hearse Song

      Did you ever think as the hearse rolls byThat the next trip they take they’ll be lay in you byWith your boots a swingin’ from the back of a roan,And the undertaker inscribing your stone.’Cause when the old motor hearse goes rollin’ by,You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.For the grave diggers will get you too,Then the hearse's next load will consist of you.They’ll take you over to Field thirteen,1Where the sun is a shinin’ and the grass is green,And they’ll throw in dirt and they’ll throw in rocks,’Cause they don’t give a damn if they break your pine box.

      Tell Me Now

      I don’t know why I went to war,Tell me, oh, tell me now.I don’t know why I went to war,Or what dese folks are fightin’ for,Tell me, oh, tell me now.I don’t know what my brown's a doin’,Tell me, oh, tell me now.I don’t know what my brown's a doin’,With all dose bucks around a wooin’,Tell me, oh, tell me now.I don’t know why I totes dis gun,Tell me, oh, tell me now.I don’t know why I totes dis gun,’Cause I ain’t got nothin’ ’gainst de Hun,Tell me, oh, tell me now.

      Note 1: Field Thirteen was the Issoudun Graveyard. We had flying fields numbered up to 12, when some humorist hit onto the idea of numbering the graveyard 13.

      SOURCE: John Jacob Niles, Songs My Mother Never Taught Me (New York: Gold Label Books, 1927).

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Music and War; Niles, John Jacob

      1918 d


      As the United States and its allies prepared for making the peace at the end of World War I, Pres. Woodrow Wilson put forth the following principles that he hoped would help to establish the new international world order. Known as the “Fourteen Points,” it was a document that would help to define President Wilson's presidency and his postwar efforts at the peace conference in Paris, during which he tried to persuade his French and British allies to accept them. They did not, and neither did the Senate give its consent to the United States joining the newly-minted League of Nations.

      (Delivered in Joint Session, January 8, 1918)

      Gentlemen of the Congress:

      It will be our wish and purpose that the processes of peace, when they are begun, shall be absolutely open and that they shall involve and permit henceforth no secret understandings of any kind. The day of conquest and aggrandizement is gone by; so is also the day of secret covenants entered into in the interest of particular governments and likely at some unlooked-for moment to upset the peace of the world. It is this happy fact, now clear to the view of every public man whose thoughts do not still linger in an age that is dead and gone, which makes it possible for every nation whose purposes are consistent with justice and the peace of the world to avow nor or at any other time the objects it has in view.

      We entered this war because violations of right had occurred which touched us to the quick and made the life of our own people impossible unless they were corrected and the world secure once for all against their recurrence. What we demand in this war, therefore, is nothing peculiar to ourselves. It is that the world be made fit and safe to live in; and particularly that it be made safe for every peace-loving nation which, like our own, wishes to live its own life, determine its own institutions, be assured of justice and fair dealing by the other peoples of the world as against force and selfish aggression. All the peoples of the world are in effect partners in this interest, and for our own part we see very clearly that unless justice be done to others it will not be done to us. The programme of the world's peace, therefore, is our programme; and that programme, the only possible programme, as we see it, is this:

      I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.

      II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.

      III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.

      IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.

      V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.

      VI. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.

      VII. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.

      VIII. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.

      IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.

      X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development.

      XI. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.

      XII. The turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.

      XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.

      XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.

      In regard to these essential rectifications of wrong and assertions of right we feel ourselves to be intimate partners of all the governments and peoples associated together against the Imperialists. We cannot be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We stand together until the end.

      For such arrangements and covenants we are willing to fight and to continue to fight until they are achieved; but only because we wish the right to prevail and desire a just and stable peace such as can be secured only by removing the chief provocations to war, which this programme does remove. We have no jealousy of German greatness, and there is nothing in this programme that impairs it. We grudge her no achievement or distinction of learning or of pacific enterprise such as have made her record very bright and very enviable. We do not wish to injure her or to block in any way her legitimate influence or power. We do not wish to fight her either with arms or with hostile arrangements of trade if she is willing to associate herself with us and the other peaceloving nations of the world in covenants of justice and law and fair dealing. We wish her only to accept a place of equality among the peoples of the world,—the new world in which we now live,—instead of a place of mastery.

      SOURCE: U.S. National Archives & Records Administration. “Transcript of Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points.” http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=62&page=transcript (August 11, 2005).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Wilson, Woodrow; World War I

      1919 a


      Florence Woolston, writing in The New Republic shortly after the Armistice, described how her young nephew Billy, growing up in a suburb she called “one hundred per cent patriotic,” reacted to World War I.

      Billy, my nephew, is twelve years old. With the possible exception of the beef profiteers and a few superpatriots to whom life has been a prolonged Fourth of July oration, no one has got quite so much fun out of the war as Billy and his inseparable companions, Fritters, George and Bean-Pole Ross.

      Clad in the khaki uniform of the Boy Scouts, with United War Campaign, Red Cross, War Saving, first, second, third and fourth Liberty Loan buttons, small American flags and service pins spread across their chests, they have lived the war from morning until night. I did not understand Billy's passionate allegiance to the Scout uniform until I discovered the great game of hailing automobiles bearing the sign, “Men in Uniform Welcome.” Billy has never been willing to accompany his family on automobile rides but the pleasure of this boulevard game has been never ending.

      They call the suburb in which Billy lives one hundred per cent patriotic. Everybody is in war work. Even the children under five years have an organization known as the Khaki Babes. These infants in uniform assemble, kindergarten fashion and solemnly snip for the Red Cross. Billy's crowd is indefatigable in its labors. With the other Scouts, the boys usher at meetings, assist in parades, deliver bundles and run errands. They are tireless collectors of nutshells, peach pits and tinsel paper. As Victory Boys they are pledged to earn five dollars for the United War Workers. Since most of them expect to do this shovelling snow they are praying for a severe winter.

      One bit of voluntary war work was carried on through the periods of gasolineless Sundays when the four boys took positions on Commonwealth Avenue in such a way as to obstruct passing vehicles. If a car did not carry a doctor's or military sign, they threw pebbles and yelled, “O you Slacker!” It was exciting work because guilty drivers put on full speed ahead and Billy admitted that he was almost run over, but he added that the cause was worth it.

      In my school days history was a rather dull subject.

      … It is not so with Billy. Modern history is unfolding to him as a great drama. Kings and tsars and presidents are live human beings. War has nothing to do with books. It is a perpetual moving picture with reels furnished twice a day by the newspapers. Wars were as unreal as pictorial combats with painted soldiers and stationary warships. Even the Civil War belonged to historical fiction. Once a year, on the 30th of May, a veteran in navy blue came to school and in a quavering voice told stories of his war days. Thrilling as they might have been, they always seemed to lack reality….

      … Billy and his chums … know what boundaries mean; they pour over war maps and glibly recite the positions of the Allied troops. Billy has a familiarity with principal cities, rivers and towns that never could have been learned in lesson form. The war has created a new cosmopolitanism. The children of Billy's generation will never have the provincial idea that Boston is the centre of the world. They will see the universe as a great circle, perhaps, but all the Allies will occupy the centre.

      I must confess, however, that Billy, Fritters, George and Bean-Pole Ross have a rather vague idea of what the war is about, but then so do others with more years to their credit. I asked Billy what caused the war originally, and he replied in a rather large and lofty way, “You see, the French took Alsace and Lorraine away from the Germans a long time ago and Germany wanted it back. She thought it would be nice to get hold of Paris, too, and conquer the French people, then they would have to pay taxes and indemnities to support Germany. So they started to march to Paris and then all the other countries decided to stop them.”

      When I compare the anemic stereopticon travel talks of my school days with Billy's moving picture shows, I have the sense of a cheated childhood. We had nothing in our young lives like Crashing Through to Berlin, The Hounds of Hunland, Wolves of Kultur and The Brass Bullet. Billy's mental images have been built by such pictures as these with the additional and more educational films of the Committee on Public Information and the Pathé weekly where actual battle scenes, aeroplane conflicts and real naval encounters are portrayed.

      In the matter of books, too, Billy has had high revel. I sowed a few wild oats with Oliver Optic and Horatio Alger wherein poor lads were conducted from prairie huts to the Executive mansion. Of course we had Scott and Cooper to make medieval times or Indian days vivid. But think of reading Over the Top and going to shake hands with the author, a live, red-blooded officer in the army! Billy revels in Private Peat, Hunting the Hun, Out of the Jaws of Hunland, From Base Ball to Boches, and With the Flying Corps. I’m afraid he will never have a Walter Scott period and I am sure it will be years before contemplative literature can hold his attention.

      Of course, the war has given us all an enlarged vocabulary. Billy calls his school “the trench”; he and Fritters go “over the top,” “carry on,” play in dug-outs, move in units, carry kits, eat mess and have elaborate systems of wig-wagging and passwords. When he is unsuccessful in a parental encounter, Billy throws up his hands and cries “I surrender!” Hun, Boche and Bolshevik are terms of terrible opprobrium. There was a bloody fist fight at recess recently, when Henry Earl was called “O you Kaiser!” The mere suggestion of a German name brings forth expressions of loud disgust and none of the boys would use a toy made in Germany.

      At present it is in fashion to collect war posters. Billy has a remarkable collection of Food, Red Cross, Marine, War Savings, Navy and United War Work Campaign posters. He has trudged miles and spent much ingenuity in getting them. His room is papered with them and it is a matter of deep regret that the family is unwilling to have the entire house so placarded. A thriving business goes on in poster trading and a steady stream of small boys passes the house carrying large rolls of posters. From Billy's room, after a visitation, come delighted exclamations, “Gee! what a bute!” “Say, I’ll give you a Join the Gas Hounds for a Beat Back the Huns.” “Fritters has two Teufelhunden and he's going to swap it for a Clear the Way and a Tell That to the Marines.”

      Billy came to me with an ethical problem connected with his poster campaign. “I’ve got,” he declared, “five Joan of Arcs, three Must Children Starves, five Blot it Outs, a Britisher and a big Y. I can sell them and make lots of money. Would that be profiteering?” I thought it might be so considered by taxpayers. “Well,” he demanded, “If I sell them and buy Thrift Stamps that would be profiteering to help the war, and that would be all right, wouldn’t it?”

      When a campaign is on, the boys find it hard to wait until the posters have done their work as propaganda. Sometimes a lucky boy gets a whole new set. Recently, there had been much buying and selling of addresses where posters may be obtained, five cents for a plain address, ten for a “guaranteed.” I mailed a postal card for Billy addressed to the Secretary of the Navy which read, “Kindly send me a full set of your Marine and Navy posters. I will display them if you wish.” Billy's collection numbers about two hundred but he knows boys who have a thousand posters. As evidence of his great delight in them, he made the following statement: “If the last comes to the last, and we couldn’t get coal and we had to burn all the furniture, I’d give up one set of duplicates, but only if the last comes to the last.”

      Billy is a kind-hearted lad with humane instincts toward all creatures except flies. He feels, however, that the Kaiser can neither claim the protection of the S.P.C.A. nor demand the consideration usually afforded a human being. He loves to tell what he would do to the Kaiser. It is a matter of bitter disappointment that Mr. Hohenzollern is in Holland instead of in Billy's hands. At breakfast he issues bulletins of carnage. Some days he plans simple tortures like beheading, skinning, hanging, burning. At other times he concocts a more elaborate scheme such as splitting open the Kaiser's arms and putting salt on the wound, cutting his legs off at the knee and hanging his feet around his neck, or gouging out his eyes. A favorite idea is that of inoculating him with all the diseases of the world or to starve him for months and then eat a big Thanksgiving dinner in his presence.

      Billy has had a full course in atrocities and is keen for reprisals. He longs to fly with an aviation unit, dropping bombs on Berlin, he aches to destroy a few cathedrals and palaces, burn all the German villages and poison the reservoirs. His description of what he would do to the Huns makes the Allied armistice sound like a presentation speech with a bunch of laurel.

      There is a marked absence of patriotic sentiment with Billy and his chums. To them patriotism is action; they do not enjoy talking about it. When a Liberty Loan orator gushes about the starry banner, they roll their eyes expressively and murmur “Cut it out.” Of course, some of this is the self-conscious stoicism of the small boy. But there is a matter of fact attitude toward suffering and pain which is new and due to familiarity with the idea. Boys discuss the kinds of wounds, operations and war accidents as a group of medical students might refer to a clinic.

      Death seems to give them no sense of mystery and awe. “Gee! a thousand killed today,” “That Ace has got his,” “Say, John Bowers was gassed and he's gone now.” They look over the casualty lists as grown-ups might read lists of guests at a reception. It may be because youth cannot understand the tragedy and heartache back of the golden stars on the service flags, but I think it goes deeper than that. These boys have a sense of courage and gallantry that makes the risking of life an everyday affair. Self-sacrifice is not a matter of poems and sermons and history, it is the daily news. Billy's attitude is that going to war is part of the game; when you’re a little boy you have to go to school; when you’re older, you draw your number and are called to camp—it's all in a day's work.

      SOURCE: Florence Woolston, “Billy and the World War,” New Republic (January 25, 1919): 369–71.

      RELATED ENTRIES: Committee on Public Information; Militarization and Militarism; Rationing in Wartime; World War I

      1919 b


      W. E. B. Dubois, one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the editor of that organization's monthly newsletter The Crisis, was a vigorous proponent of the Wilson administration's war aims in 1918; he believed that black service in the war might be the catalyst for change in the attitudes of whites. His editorial, “Close Ranks,” in July 1918 advised NAACP readers that 1918 was “the great Day of Decision,” a year when his readers should “forget our special grievances and close our ranks shoulder to shoulder with our own white fellow citizens” to defeat “the menace of German militarism” which represented “death to the aspirations of Negroes and all darker races for equality, freedom and democracy.” He was not as sure in May 1919 after blacks, some of them returning black veterans, faced a new spate of brutal attacks in American streets.

      The Crisis, May 1919

      We are returning from the war! The Crisis and tens of thousands of black men were drafted into a great struggle. For bleeding France and what she means and has meant and will mean to us and humanity and against the threat of German race arrogance, we fought gladly and to the last drop of blood; for America and her highest ideals, we fought in far-off hope; for the dominant southern oligarchy entrenched in Washington, we fought in bitter resignation.

      For the America that represents and gloats in lynching, disenfranchisement, caste, brutality and devilish insult—for this, in the hateful upturning and mixing of things, we were forced by vindictive fate to fight, also.

      But today we return! We return from the slavery of the uniform which the world's madness demanded us to don to the freedom of civil garb. We stand again to look America squarely in the face and call a spade a spade. We sing: This country of ours, despite all its better souls have done and dreamed, is yet a shameful land.

      It lynches.It disfranchises its own citizens.It encourages ignorance.

      It organizes industry to cheat us. It cheats us out of our land; it cheats us out of our labor. It confiscates our savings. It reduces our wages. It raises our rent. It steals our profit. It taxes without representation. It keeps us consistently and universally poor, and then feeds us on charity and derides our poverty.

      It insults us.

      This is the country to which we Soldiers of Democracy return. This is the fatherland for which we fought! But is is our fatherland. It was right for us to fight. The faults of our country are our faults. Under similar circumstances, we would fight again. But by the God of Heaven, we are cowards and jackasses if now that that war is over, we do not marshal every ounce of our brain and brawn to fight a sterner, longer, more unbending battle against the forces of hell in our own land.

      We return.We return from fighting.We return fighting.

      Make way for Democracy! We saved it in France, and by the Great Jehovah, we will save it in the United States of America, or know the reason why.

      SOURCE: The Crisis 18, no. 1 (May 1919): 13–14.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Du Bois, W. E. B.; Racial Integration of the Armed Forces; World War I

      1919 c


      Whites viciously attacked blacks and the black community in Washington, D.C., in mid-July. Some 46 died and about 250 were wounded in these two riots. A black woman recalled her reaction to the way blacks, a number of them returned veterans, resisted the attacks:

      The Washington riots gave me the thrill that comes once in a lifetime. I was alone when I read between the lines of the morning paper that at last our men had stood like men, struck back, were no longer dumb, driven cattle. When I could no longer read for my streaming tears, I stood up, alone in my room, held both hands high over my head and exclaimed, “Oh, I thank God, thank God!” When I remember anything after this, I was prone on my bed, beating the pillow with both fists, laughing and crying, whimpering like a whipped child, for sheer gladness and madness. The pent-up humiliation, grief and horror of a lifetime—half a century—was being stripped from me.

      SOURCE: Francis Grimke, The Race Problem (Washington, D.C., 1919), 8, quoted in Arthur Barbeau and Florette Henri, The Unknown Soldiers (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1974), 182.

      RELATED ENTRIES: African Americans in the Military; Du Bois, W. E. B.; Race Riots; Racial Integration of the Armed Forces; World War I

      1919 d


      The American forces stationed in North Russia (the North Russia Expeditionary Force, or NREF) were severely demoralized in 1919. Stranded in the ice-locked area until spring, soldiers petitioned in February, protesting the American involvement in the Russian Revolution. This petition includes many of the reasons that caused President Wilson to withdraw the troops in June:

      • We officers enlisted and our men were drafted for the purpose of fighting Germany and her allies.
      • This force was sent to Russia to prevent Germany from establishing naval bases in the far North.
      • The American organisations have been split up and placed under British officers. England has undoubtedly many capable officers, but they are not in Russia. However we, ourselves, are woefully lacking in that respect. The manner in which this expedition has been mishandled is a disgrace to the civilized world.
      • Our original purpose having been accomplished we are now meddling with a Russian revolution and counterrevolution.
      • Is this consistent with the principles of American democracy?
      • The majority of the people here seem to prefer Bolshevism to British intervention. They mistrust the British. It is our opinion that British diplomats pulled the wool over the eyes of our representatives, to the end that we were sent with this expedition in an effort to take the curse off the British.
      • The few French here finally rebelled against British rule and have been given a French commander.
      • WHERE IS OUR MONROE DOCTRINE? If we stood by, while Mexico was torn by revolutions, the sanctity of our borders violated and Americans murdered, on what basis is our presence here justified? A British officer here, who is more human than most, quite aptly described this expedition as an effort to put on a show with two men and an orange.
      • We are fighting against enormous odds in men, artillery and material. Most of the men in the enemy forces have seen years of service. If they were not lacking in morale and discipline, we should have been wiped off the face of the earth ere this.
      • Due to a pending election in England, and the fear of antagonizing the labor parties, no reenforcements [sic] have been sent out. In fact before the election, certain British officials placed themselves on record as having no intentions [sic] of sending more troops to Russia.
      • We wonder what propaganda is at work in the States, which enables the War Department to keep troops here. It seems to us as though it is a question of potential dollars in Russia.
      • We, a porition [sic] of the civilian army of America, organized to fight Germany, wonder why we are called upon to spend American lives aiding and abetting a counter-revolution in Russia while the great majority of the people here sit idly by watching the show, not idly either, for the [sic] most of the natives here are Bolshevists in sympathy. We have no heart in the fight. We are fighting neither for Russia or for Russian wealth but for our lives. We have earnestly endeavored to find some justification for our being here, but have been unable to reconcile this expedition with American ideals and principles instilled within us.
      • We are removed 200 miles from our base, with an open country intervening, with no force except in a few villages to guard our lines and with the enemy within striking distance of the line. There is no military reason why we should be more than 20 miles from our base.

      [Note from officer who confiscated the pamphlet:] The above was written by an American officer with the Dvina force and it is reported that it is widely circulated among the American troops at the front and the men consider that it fully covers their ideas regarding the reasons why American troops are kept here.

      SOURCE: National Archives, Textual Records of the War Department General & Special Staffs, Record Group 165; Office of the Director of Intelligence (G-2), 1906–49; Security Classified Correspondence and Reports, 1917–41 (Entry 65); file 24–327 (59).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Antiwar Movements; Russia, Interventions in

      1919 e


      Returning veterans, having experienced a good deal of the world beyond their home counties for the first time, moved out of those counties in numbers considerably greater than had been the case in the decades before the war. The phenomenon was addressed in this popular song of 1919:

      Reuben, Reuben, I’ve been thinking,Said his wifey dear;Now that all is peaceful and calm,The boys will soon be back on the farm;Mister Reuben started winking,And slowly rubbed his chin;He pulled his chair up close to mother,And he asked her with a grin:Chorus:How ’ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm,After they’ve seen Paree?How ’ya gonna keep ’em away from Broadway,Jazzin’ aroun’, and paintin’ the town?How ’ya gonna keep ’em away from harm?That's a mystery.They’ll never want to see a rake or plow,And who the deuce can parley vous a cow?How ’ya gonna keep ’em down on the farm,After they’ve seen Paree?Reuben, Reuben, you’re mistaken,Said his wifey dear;Once a farmer, always a jay,And farmers always stick to the hay;Mother Reuben, I’m not fakin’,Tho’ you may think it strange;But wine and women play the mischief,With a boy who's loose with change.

      SOURCE: Lyrics (Sam Lewis and Joe Young) and music (Walter Donaldson) found at http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/usa/reubenre.htm (August 11, 2005).

      RELATED ENTRIES: Music and War; World War I

      1919 f


      Will Judy, a young Chicago attorney, kept a rich diary of his thoughts, impressions and experiences from the day he entered the military until some time after he was discharged after war's end. These selections capture what evidence from other sources indicates: a general lack of understanding of or enthusiasm for America's war aims, the development of camaraderie among military personnel, and the veteran's problem of how to deal with media-fed conceptions of the war held by those at home:

      3 May 1917:

      I fell asleep with the dread gone that in my old age the children might point to me and laugh among themselves that in the great war I stayed at home.

      15 November 1917:

      Hart looked up from the morning paper and inquired whether Belgium was for the Allies or Germany. I chided him but back in my thots was the belief that the heart of our people is hardly in the war. Every one tells a different reason why we are at war. Could we have a secret ballot tomorrow of the entire population, I believe the vote would be greatly in the favor of peace. Likely this is true in all wars. 27 August 1918:

      … [W]e are not shouting loudly about making the world safe for democracy.

      In truth I have not heard more than a half dozen times during my year in the army a discussion among the men or even the officers, of the principles for which we fight. We read of them here, there and everywhere but the men of their own accord and in an informal way seldom or never talk of them….

      Almost nine-tenths of the soldier's conversation concerns stories about women, the location of wine shops, the likelihood of being able to purchase cigarets, the next trip to the bath house, what the censor did to the last batch of letters, what is the popular song back in the United States, what's the idea of fighting for France when they charge us high prices, and above all other subjects—“when do we eat?” 18 January 1919:

      We talk much of comradeship in the coming civilian life. Like mystics, we are conscious of an association that will bind us into a passionate group different and superior, as we think, to all others.

      [back in garrison duty in the States:]

      1 June 1919:

      France has bred in us the habit of acting first and asking questions afterward. Here red tape, insolence and much ado about nothing are the order of the day. The camp officials have not learned as did we, on fields of war, where our mistakes wrought their cost first upon us, perhaps at price of our lives. They do not possess our qualities of swift action, daring effort and great labor.

      3 June 1919:

      Supervised the sorting and packing of the division's records for shipment to the Adjutant General of the Army at Washington for permanent file.

      We hear much about ourselves as heroes. A thousand questions are asked of us and we know now the answers they wish us to make. We must say that the enemy were fiends, that they butchered prisoners, that they quaked in fear as we came upon them in their trenches, that they were not nearly as brave as ourselves, that Americans are the best and bravest fighters of all nations, and that it was only necessary to shout “We are Americans.”

      We are somewhat surprised but soon we learn that the populace insists upon dubbing us heroes; then we are swept into the pose against our will and wishes. We do not talk about the war unless the civilians ply us with questions and drive us into stories about our life on the battlefield. We have come back hating war, disgusted with the prattle about ideals, disillusioned entirely about the struggles between nations. That is why we are quiet, why we talk little, and why our friends do not understand. But the populace refuses to be disillusioned; they force us to feed their own delusions.

      Soon we will take on the pose of brave crusaders who swept the battlefields with a shout and a noble charge. The herd among our own number will be delighted with this unexpected glory and within a few years, a cult will be made of it. An ounce of bravery on the battlefield will become a ton of daring in story as related time and again in the years to come. We as soldiers shall find ourselves made the patriotic guardians of our country, a specially honored class, against our will.

      The populace is not to be blamed. They never will get away from the effects of the propaganda in the press. To them every American soldier in France was a fighter, rifle and bayonet in hand, rushing mid shot and shell across No Man's Land, and plunging the knife into the cowering enemy. Indeed, they relate to us tales of our own bravery to our surprise; we subdue our astonishment and then obligingly add little touches of exaggeration to the already dropsied story.

      Four-fifths of the American soldiers in France never went over the top and scarcely a tenth of us saw a German soldier, other than a captured one….

      19 June 1919:

      … The twenty-two months in the army has taught many things to me. My experiences I would not trade for any ten years of my life. I have learned to like and to hate the army. At first I saluted grudgingly; then, as the spirit of the uniform won me, I took pride in saluting promptly and snappily. It caused me to be chivalrous in the presence of women and the aged; to conduct myself creditably to the flag; and to live up to the traditions of American honor.

      I could not forget that I was a civilian first and a soldier second. Perhaps I can tell best my thot of war by saying that it is as a painted woman, more attractive at some distance. I hate war, I am a man of peace; I hope there will never be another war; but if my country fights again, right or wrong, I shall be among the first to have the tailor remodel the old uniform.

      SOURCE: Will Judy,