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Re: Information about my TD

Posted by Ken Smith on Thursday, 28 April 2011, at 1:01 p.m., in response to Information about my TD, posted by Jeff on Thursday, 28 April 2011, at 11:26 a.m.

Hi Jeff, You make a very interesting point, to which I have few answers. I do know of one incident which would give evidence of inventory of arms, at least on a Company level. Captain Arthur MacArthur, Co. K, 13th Infantry, the father of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, was Post Commander of Fort Selden, New Mexico Territory from 1884-1886. Today, Selden is a State Monument. During that time there was an incident of desertion by a certain Private. Captain MacArthur telegraphed County Sheriffs in the general area to be on the lookout for this man. In the telegraph he gives the name of the deserter, a physical description, and Government property he would be in possession of, namely a Springfield rifle of which he included the serial number. I imagine that more records of arms issue can be obtained through the National Archives on microfilm. To narrow things down, documents such as Regimental Returns, Letters Sent/Received, Ordnance Returns, and Quartermaster Returns could provide a wealth of information. There is just one hitch though. This would require one to spend many, many hours in research at the Archives to locate certain documents of a certain Regiment, or a certain Company of Regiment, unless one knows specifically that what he seeks is located in a specific record group on a specific roll of microfilm. It only makes sense that the Government of the 19th century, being chinsey and economy-minded, would require accurate record keeping. It is entirely possible that arms were issued at a Company level, or individually issued to a soldier with a record of the serial number belonging to that man, as in the above case. In the 19th century Army, there was an Order Book for just about everything, and within, covering any topic noteworthy, from Courts Martial to "target practice will resume at this post on Thursday". So it would only stand to reason that records were kept at a Company level, to be passed up to Regimental Headquarters, which then to be passed to District brass, to Department brass, and finally to the Adjutant Generals Office. If someone had nothing but time on his hands, and could go to the National Archives and spend countless hours in the Old Army and Navy section, there is just no telling what he would find. Myself, I would begin with Ordnance Returns on the 13th Infantry. That entire Regiment was in New Mexico from 1881 to 1888, with Companies posted at various Forts and Camps throughout the State. Sometimes local Universities and Libraries, and some Museums will have microfilm of records if the Military was present in that area during a certain time period. I hope this helps you out some, Jeff. Regards, Ken


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