15 June 2009

A Colonel Denied - The 73rd IL Regiment

From Camp Bradley*, formed after the Battle of Stones River near Murfreesboro, Tennessee:

Source: Record Series 301.018 ADMINISTRATIVE FILES ON CIVIL WAR COMPANIES AND REGIMENTS. 1861-ca. 1903. 117 cu. ft. No index. Illinois State Archives.

The document, addressed to Illinois Governor Yates, illustrated some behind the scenes minutia and political maneuvering during the Civil War. Although it does cast aspersions on Lt. Colonel Northcott's military ability, the document affirms Mr. Northcott's positive qualities as a person.

My ancestor, Capt. James A. Rice, is one of the signatories of the document.

(Transcript of the document):

73d. Reg.

Camp Bradley, Tenn.
Feby, 19, 1863

Officers of 73rd

Protesting against return of Lt. Colonel Northcott (resigned)
to Regt. He is utterly incompetent, and Regt. is bitterly opposed to his resuming position of Lt. Col. of 73rd

Head Quarters 73d Regt. Ill Vol. Infty
Camp Bradley Tenn. Feb 19th 1863

To His Excellency, Gov. Yates
Springfield, Ills.

Dear Sir!

We understand that Lt. Col. Northcott formerly of this Regt, now resigned, has represented his case, in such a manner, to you, as to procure your influence with the secretary of war in recommissioning him as Lt. Col. of the 73d.

Now we esteem Mr. Northcott as a man, and citizen but as a military commander, he has shown him - self utterly (underlined) incompetent. Hence we protest bitterly (underlined) against his return to the Regt. as Lt. Col. and moreover will not under any circumstances receive him.

P. McNutt Cap't Co. C., 73d Ill Infy
Tilmon D. Kyger, 1st Lt. " " [see a blog entry that mentioned him]
Thomas Motherspaw, Capt [see action in war] [died of wounds 18 Dec 1864]
Jonas Jones 1st Liuet.
Henry A. Bodman 2nd Lieut
W. E. Smith Capt
Emanuel Cross 1st Lieut.
Jas. D. Evans 2nd Lieut Co F
James I. Davidson Capt Comp H
Joseph L. Morgan 2nd Lieut "
C. R. Winget, 2nd Lieuten " I
R. W. Laughlin, Capt. Co K [the R.W. Laughlin whose wife died within hours of his death?]
James A. Rice 1st Lt Co K
Thomas J. Window 2nd Lt Co. K

(Second Column)

Capt John Sutton [Insert name in search boxes in link]
Lieut E. J. Ingersoll [Ezekiel]
" W. H Dodge [later of Vermontville, Eaton Co., MI, this one?]
Harry Pratt Capt Co B
Geo W. Patten 1st Lieut. Co. B
Wilson Burroughs Capt Co. E
B. Presson 2nd Lieut Co E [Butler]
Peter Wallace Capt. , Co I
Edward W. Bennett Capt Co F

A commentary on modern day incompetence in the military with a reference to conditions in the Civil War can be found here (though not specific to this case).

A transcript of Mr. Northcott's death notice can be found here:

Friday, 15 Feb 1895--Col. Benjamin Northcott of Linnues, MO, died last week of
paralysis, at the advanced age of 77 years. He was a very noted man a preacher of the M.E. church. In 62 he helped to raise the 73rd regiment, volunteer infantry, of Ill, and became Colonel of same. This regiment was composed entirely of preachers. He was a member of the board of curators of the state University at Columbia--Slater Index.

*Camp Bradley
1/7/1863 After the battle of Stones River, Tabler camped on Stones River, 3 miles
south of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Camp is named Camp Bradley, after the colonel
who replaced their former commander (Col. George) Roberts, who was killed at Stones River
while cheering forward his men.

Camp Bradley is also mentioned here, but I included the link because of this quote:

"Some one has said that the worst thing next to defeat is a victory...".

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