As 1864 opened, the only four operating recruiting stations were Cincinnati, Cleveland, Harrisburg and New York. Lieutenant Anson Doolittle of the 4th U.S. Cavalry added a fifth in Madison, Wisconsin on January 8th.
In April, the growing controversy surrounding repairs to the post reached a head. There were a number of issues concerning the contracts and materials needed to repair the post after July’s attack, and then-Captain Hastings wrote on several occasions for guidance and clarification from the Quartermaster General concerning the repairs. Naturally enough, those who did not receive contracts or orders for material were disgruntled. As post commander, Hastings was of course at the center of the storm. Unfortunately for him, he had unwisely pursued repairs without the specific approval of the Quartermaster General, and found himself in a great deal of trouble as a result.
Hastings, who had been promoted to major in the 5th U.S. Cavalry in September, was relieved of command on April 21, 1864. Charges were subsequently preferred, which led to a conviction by a General Court Martial. The sentence was initially very severe, but was later commuted to six months suspension of pay and benefits, causing a Congressional investigation. In December, Major Hastings was permitted to retire “for incapacity resulting from injuries received, or from exposure in the line of duty, in conformity with an Act of Congress, of August, 1861.” Lieutenant Hancock T. McLean of the 6th U.S. Cavalry, assigned to the post the month before, briefly assumed command of the post. Thomas Tousey, in his book Military History of Carlisle Barracks and Carlisle, provides a thorough discussion of the issues surrounding Hastings’ dismissal.
On May 19, 1864, Major William B. Royall of the 5th U.S. Cavalry assumed command of the post. Like the two officers who had preceded him, Royall was another very experienced cavalryman. He initially entered service as a volunteer officer at the beginning of the Mexican War, and had been assigned to the 5th (then 2nd) U.S. Cavalry when it was formed in 1855. He was severely wounded during fighting at Old Church, Virginia on June 13, 1862. He received six saber wounds in hand to hand combat, including “two sabre-contusions on the right side of the head; a cut two inches long on the forehead; a long cut on the left cheek which bled profusely; a cut on the right wrist, dividing a tendon; and an incised fracture, four inches long, of the left parietal bone.” He received a well-deserved brevet promotion for his conduct in the battle, but recovering from his many wounds took many months. He came to Carlisle after serving two months at the Cavalry Bureau in Washington.
As spring turned to summer, activity increased around the depot. The Madison recruiting station closed, and a new one opened in Rochester, New York. Since the regiments were involved in active campaigning, officers from Carlisle were ordered to conduct parties of recruits to their new regiments. If annotated on maps or in reports, these detachments were labeled with the regiment of the officer leading them. A detachment of recruits bound for the 1st U.S. Cavalry led by an officer of the 3rd, for example, would be noted as a detachment of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry.
Lieutenant Hancock McLean of the 6th U.S. Cavalry conducted a detachment of recruits to the 5th Cavalry in late May. Lieutenant Frank Stanwood of the 3rd Cavalry led a detachment of recruits to the 5th & 6th U.S. Cavalry in late June. During Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early’s advance on Washington the following month, Lt. Stanwood was ordered by the commander of the Department of the Susquehanna to scout south toward the Potomac. This seemingly errant band of regulars of the “3rd U.S. Cavalry,” which never served in the eastern theater during the war, has caused confusion among researchers, including this author.
The remainder of the summer and fall passed unremarkably. Captain Thompson of the 4th U.S. Cavalry opened a recruiting station in St Louis in August. Lieutenant Stanwood conducted another party of 155 recruits to the 5th U.S. Cavalry in October. An additional 135 recruits were transferred in November, and 142 more in December. Captain Thompson closed the recruiting station in St Louis in November, while stations reopened in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as the year’s campaigning drew to a close.
During the early months of 1865, the depot continued to forward recruits to the field: 129 in January, 134 in February, 123 in March and 94 in April. It is doubtful this last group reached its destination before the cessation of hostilities. At the end of the war, recruiting stations were still operating in Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Rochester.
The careers of several officers other the commanders were significantly affected by recruiting duty. Copley Amory of the 4th U.S. Cavalry was appointed a second lieutenant from Massachusetts on August 5, 1861. He returned to Carlisle from May to December 1862, when he was returned to his regiment. He was again assigned to the depot in June 1863, this time forwarded to the recruiting station in Boston. After six more months of recruiting duty, he resigned in December 1863.
Irish-born John McDonald enlisted as a private in Company K, 1st U.S. Dragoons in 1857, and was promoted to first sergeant prior to his appointment as a lieutenant in the same regiment. He was assigned to the depot in October 1862, remaining until ordered to rejoin his regiment on February 6, 1863. On June 15, 1863, he was ordered back to the depot, and remained on recruiting service the rest of the war.
Next is the oft-mentioned Frank Stanwood of the 3rd U.S. Cavalry. He joined at Carlisle as a new second lieutenant on September 27, 1861. He remained until transferred to his regiment as a first lieutenant on August 21, 1862. He served as the regimental quartermaster from his arrival until January 15, 1863. In April, he was ordered back to the mounted recruiting service, where he remained until February 1865. In all, Stanwood served only twelve months with his regiment during the war. Ironically, he received a brevet promotion to captain on March 13, 1865 “for coolness, energy and skill in battle.” He also received brevets to major and lieutenant colonel the same day for what was probably a more accurate description of “faithful and meritorious service during the war.”
Finally, Robert S. Smith was appointed a second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Dragoons on May 4, 1861. He remained on recruiting service through promotions to first lieutenant and captain. Smith did not actually join his regiment until September 5, 1864, over three years after his appointment! Two weeks later he saw his first combat while leading his company at the battle of Opequon, or 3rd Winchester on September 19th. Interestingly, his testimony of valor observed on the field in his first fight was later significant in the award of the Medal of Honor to First Sergeant Conrad Schmidt of Company K.
The concluding post of this series will discuss the recruiting stations and list the sources used to compile the article.