Friday, January 09, 2015

One mystery solved - the reorganization of the 18th North Carolina Regiment

As part of the Conscription Act of April 1862, regiments that re-enlisted for the war were allowed to re-elect their commanding officers. Most regiments replaced a handful of officers. The 18th Regiment, replaced almost everyone. You might think I exaggerate, but I do not. The colonel, lieutenant colonel, and adjutant were defeated for re-election, while the assistant commissary of substance chose to resign on the day of the election (April 24, 1862). Seven of the ten company captains were replaced and in some companies, all the officers lost their bids for re-election.

My question, however, is this: how did the adjutant, which is an appointed position, lose his position through an election?

According to Confederate regulation, "The commander of a regiment will appoint the adjutant from the subalterns of the regiment...." (Article XII, section 68, Regulations for the Army of the Confederate States, 1862)

Prior to becoming adjutant of the 18th NC, Charles D. Myers was mustered in as a 1st Sergeant of the Wilmington Light Infantry on April 15, 1861. Myers was elected 1st Lieutenant on June 21, 1861, and in August 1861, appointed adjutant and transferred from Company G to the field and staff. (As an aside, Myers was born in New York City, was a 26-year-old merchant, and lived in New Hanover County.)

Ah, but wait, there is more. I was simply basing my assumption on the North Carolina Troop book (Vol. 6, page 306). When I went and looked up Myers's compiled service record on Fold3, I did find one record that stated Myers was "Not re-elected at reorganization." The card before that tells a different story. It reads: "Declined appt. at reorganization." That makes 1,000 times more sense. Since the colonel (James D. Radcliff) who gave Myers the job of adjutant was defeated for re-election, Myers refused to serve as adjutant under the new colonel (Robert H. Cowan). Of course, I cannot explain the too different entries in the Compiled Service Records. I also cannot explain why the editor of the troop book chose to go with "Not reelected at reorganization" and not "Declined appt. at reorganization." Maybe it is something as simple as the editor's not knowing adjutants were appointed and not elected....

Well, I believe this one mystery is solved. Only a million or so more to go now... Thoughts?

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