Monday, January 26, 2009

I Want To Keep My Rank And Pay.

Now here is a department of the armed services that many researchers over look, it’s that all important paymasters department. Now you wouldn't think this would be all that important to a researcher but set back and let me dazzle you with why this is such an intreiguing area of research. One of the first items I found was, it was by appointment only, now let me tell you this is in itself an honor to be nominated. I also thought how nice it would be to have a soft job and sit behind a desk all day, but here again I was wrong, these men were on the move most of the time and would face many dangers in their duties. These dangers would come about in many forms, the likes of which were indians, robbers, and in the time of war, the enemy. Then there were the dangers that nature would bring. No, this was not a job for a soft man, in fact I found by researching these men that many, if not all, were war harden veterans who had earned the right to this service with their honor on the battle field. So in reading about these men in 'unlikely areas of military duty' you begin to challenge your researching method of possibily looking in 'unlikely places'.....for that 'name' that has forever eluded your searching. Oh Yes!!....just because the name turns up on a paymasters "Paymaster"....and nothing else is noted....they are still very honored men. So, who knows what one can uncover in the most unlikely areas.....I would encourage you to look over the list, to do so may fill that empty space of family all can reap an reward the honor upon this person.

This is about the paymaster Department of the Army, this department is a branch of the army and is by appointment only. This duty was nothing less then a civilian job but with rank. This department is always listed on the army register with all the other branch’s of the armed services but as a non-active service, in other words they did not have to fight.

As this assignment was by appointment only the men were taken from different branch’s of the service, although some civilians were appointed based on their charter &c. Now I know your asking what has all this to do with the men listed on this page. All these men were taken from different branch’s of the army and militia, these men held higher rank by brevet. As a example one men was a Lieutenant and was given the rank of Major by brevet for his actions in battle, this was the same for all these men.

The problem came when the army stated that by taken the assignment it was the same as resigning their commission and could not hold a brevet rank or the less rank before brevet. The Paymaster General argued it did not matter what branch of the army they were in they should be able to keep their rank and all the honors that goes with that Rank. The argument was taken before Congress, and it stated that no mater was branch of the service they were in, they were still in the army and were to keep their rank and all that goes with that rank. There were a few exceptions, they could be court-martial being they held rank, but could not sit on a court-martial.

Congress felt that by keeping their rank if there was a need to call them back into active service there would be less problems with the transfer of power, and in traveling to remote posts with public funds under the escort of soldiers, in making payments to the troops, and upon various occasions of ordinary occurrence, the authority derived from military rank would be of great use in the discharge of their duties.

Memorandum of the services of the officers of the pay department of the army.

1. Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Towson, paymaster general, Appointed captain of artillery at the commencement of the late war, was engaged with the enemy and captured the brig Caledonia, under the guns of Fort Erie, in 1812; at the battle of Queenstown, the capture of Fort George, the battle of Stoney creek, the capture of Fort Erie, the battles of Ohippewa and Lundy’s lane, the assault on Fort Erie, during the siege of Fort Erie, and in a cannonade before Chippewa, in October, 1814. He was wounded in action, received two brevets for services in the fled, and has the acknowledgment of the Secretary of War that lie was entitled to two more; served in the line of the army until 1819, when he was appointed paymaster general.
Note. Became Lieutenant Colonel by brevet July 5, 1814.

2. William Plaitt, paymaster. .Appointed a captain in 1809; promoted to major in. 1814; served as quartermaster general, with the rank of colonel, at New Orleans; was distinguished for his gallant conduct, and was wounded at the battle of New Orleans, was commissioned paymaster on May 20, 1830.

3. David S. Townsend, paymaster, captain in the army early in the late war; assistant adjutant general, with the rank of major, in 1814; lost a leg in battle, and was brevetted a major in the campaign on the Niagara. If he had remained in the line he would have been at this time a major, with the brevet rank of lieutenant colonel. Commissioned paymaster on April 29, 1816, was appointed Paymaster to the 5th battalion of the corps of Artillery, was reappointed paymaster on April 26, 1826, and again on April 29, 1830, then again on April 29, 1834, also on April 29, 1838, then again on April 20, 1842 and April 29, 1846. In December of 1851 he declined his appointment. He died some where between 1851 and 1854, for in 1854 there was a petition by Eliza Gerry Townsend, praying a pension on account of the services of her late husband.

4. Abraham A. Massias, Appointed a captain in the rifle regiment in 1809; served through the war; was wounded, and brevetted a major for his gallant conduct in action. Became paymaster of the Battalion in 1820, commissioned paymaster on December 12, 1820. Became paymaster of the Army on December 12, 1828. During the late war was commandant of Amelia Island.
Note. There is more info on his time at Amelia Island, to much to put here. If you would like the info you can write to me. My address can be found in my profile. When asking for his info state the following; ( A. A. Massias, Military Affairs, Vol. 5, p. 812.)

5. Thomas Wright a lieutenant in the twenty-second infantry at the commencement of the war; served with his regiment through the war, on the Canadian frontier; was wounded during the campaign on the Niagara, in 1814. If he had remained in. the line to the present time he would have been a brevet major. Commissioned paymaster on June 22, 1815.

6. Alphonso Wetmore a lieutenant in the twenty-third infantry at the commencement of the war; served with his regiment on the Canadian frontier, and lost an arm in action. If he had remained in the line of the army he would at this time have been a brevet major. In 1817, he was asking Congress for a pension for his service in the 6th, regiment of the United States infantry, was a late paymaster of the 6th, became paymaster on October 14, 1815. Became captain of the 6th, regiment on December 25, 1819. Was reappointed again on September 13, 1826, and again on November 11, 1829. On May 11, 1836, there was a petition of Alphonso Wetmore, praying the re-consideration of his claim, arising from the accidental loss of a sum of money, with which he was charged for the purpose of paying certain troops of the United States. In 1850 there was a petition of Mary Smith Wetmore, widow of Alphonso Wetmore, deceased, an army officer, praying to be allowed a pension.

7. Benjamin F. Larned a lieutenant in the twenty-first infantry early in the war; served with his regiment on the frontier; was brevetted a captain for his gallant conduct at the assault on Fort Erie, in 1814; and if he had remained in the line he would at this time have been a brevet major. He was commissioned paymaster on November 24, 1815. He was commissioned paymaster on November 24, 1815, held this office till 1847, when is was appointed Deputy paymaster-General on March 3, 1847, became Paymaster-General on July 20, 1854.

8. Edmund Kirby was Ensign of the fourth regiment of infantry in 1812, became a 3d, Lieutenant on October 1, 1813. Was 2d, Lieutenant of the fifth infantry, became 1st., Lieutenant on May 1, 1817. Was a Captain in the Artillery, then was appointed Paymaster on August 24 1824, and held this office up to at lest 1848. Some time between 1824 and 1847 became a Major, then in 1847, was commissioned to Lieutenant-Colonel by Brevet. Served as adjutant of his regiment on the Canadian frontier, through the war; was in several engagements with the enemy; was more than five years aide-de-camp to Major General Brown, and more than a year acting adjutant general of the army at Washington.
Note. There is a report about his pay while being paymaster but the info is to long to put here. If you would like the info you can write to me. You can find my address in my profile, when asking for this info state the following; ( Edmund Kirby Military Affairs Vol. 7, p. 915.)

9. Asher Phillips a lieutenant in the ninth infantry at the commencement of the war; he served with his regiment on the northwestern frontier, through the war; and if he had remained in the line would at this time have been a brevet major. He was a late Paymaster of the 3d Infantry, became Paymaster on August 26, 1815. He was reappointed on August 30, 1839.

10. Lewis G. De Russey Educated as a cadet at West Point; served during the last campaign of the war as a lieutenant of artillery; was a captain of artillery when appointed paymaster, in 1826, and held this office up to at lest 1846. In 1846 there was a memorial presented for Lewis G. de Russey, late a paymaster in the army, praying to be released from a judgment obtained against him by the United States for certain public money lost while in his custody, by the explosion of a steamboat.

11. Robert. A. Forsyth Of Michigan, was cadet during the war; he volunteered and served with distinction upon the expedition from Detroit into Upper Canada, under Major Holmes, in 1814; was appointed a Lieutenant in the fifth infantry in 1815; resigned, and served in the Indian department until his appointment as paymaster, on September 10, 1835. If he had remained in the line he would have been at this time a captain. In 1830 he had a petition in Congress; Robert A. Forsyth, of the Territory of Michigan, praying compensation for his services in collecting Indians at Greenville, in the State of Ohio, in the year 1815, for the purpose of meeting and treating with Commissioners appointed by the United States. In 1858 was appointed postmaster at Columbus, in the county of Muscogee and State of Georgia, whose commission expired on the twenty-third of February, A. D. 1858.

12. Charles B. Tallmadge was in the service of the United States, with the rank of major in the militia of the State of New York, during the late war; was appointed assistant district paymaster in the army in 1814, and has served in the pay department until the present time. Became paymaster on March 27, 1818, and held this office to at lest 1830.

13. T. P. Andrews Served as volunteer on board Commodore Barney’s flotilla, in an action with the enemy in the Patuxent, during the late war. He was commissioned paymaster on May 22, 1822. I couldn’t find out how long he held this office, then in 1846, this was read in Congress; Resolved (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring), That the Senate advise and consent to the ratification of the articles of a treaty made and concluded at the agency on the Missouri River, near Council Bluffs, on the 5th day of June, and at Pottawatomie Creek, near the Osage River, south and west of the State of Missouri, on the 17th day of the same month, in the year of our Lord 1846, between T. P. Andrews, Thomas H. Harvey, and Gideon C. Matlock, commissioners on the part of the United States, on the one part, and the various bands of the Pottawatomie, Chippewa, and Ottawa Indians.

14. Daniel Randall of Maryland was appointed assistant district paymaster on June, 8, 1814, he was commissioned paymaster on July 21, 1818, and held this office till 1854, when this memorial was read in Congress; The executor of Daniel Randall, late deputy paymaster general of the army, praying compensation for the services of the testator in receiving and disbursing the duties and assessments levied in the city of Mexico for the support of the army during the late war with that republic. Then in 1858 this Bill was in Congress.

April 13, 1858.

Further explanatory of an act approved August eighteen, eighteen hundred and fifty-six, entitled “An act for the relief of Adam B. Stewart, and of Alexander Randall, executor of Daniel Randall.”

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the above recited act, as far as it relates to Alexander Randall, executor of Daniel Randall, be, and the same hereby, so construed as to authorize and direct the Secretary of the Treasury to pay to the said Alexander Randall, executor of Daniel Randall, a commission, at the rate stated in said act, upon the sum of two hundred and eighteen thousand four hundred and twenty-nine dollars and sixty-three cents, in addition to the commission heretofore allowed him under the said act, being. the residue of the amount received and collected by the said Daniel Randall in Mexico, as deputy paymaster general of the United States army during the war with that republic.

15. Charles H. Smith of Virginia became battalion paymaster on November 24, 1819, and held this office up to at lest 1843.

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