14th Congress.]

No. 141.

[1st Session.



NAVY DEPARTMENT, April 11, 1816.


In compliance with the request of the committee of the House upon Naval Affairs, communicated by your letter of the 4th instant, enclosing a resolution of the House of Representatives, I have the honor to state, for the information of the committee, that the number of officers, non-commissioned officers, musicians, and privates, proper to be retained in the marine corps upon a peace establishment, ought not, under existing circumstances, to be less than one thousand men, exclusive of commissioned officers, the number to which the corps was reduced in January last, in pursuance of the order of this Department; copy of which, marked A, is enclosed.

It will be perceived, by an inspection of the representations recently made by Lieutenant Colonel Franklin Wharton, the commandant of the corps, of which copies are herewith transmitted, marked B, that to supply the wants of the service, and give effectual protection to the public property at the various depots, it would be impolitic, at the present time, to recommend a further diminutions and, as the number of commissioned officers is not disproportioned to the strength of the corps, and as resignations frequently occur, it is not considered necessary to suggest any reduction in the number of the officers.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, sir, your most obedient servant,


Hon. James Pleasants, Jun., Chairman of the Naval Committeeof the House of Representatives.


Navy Department, January 1816.


You are hereby authorized and, directed to reduce the United States' marine corps, under your command, to the number of one thousand then, including the non-commissioned officers, musicians, and privates; and retaining the commissioned officers and staff upon the present establishment.

I am, very respectfully, &c.


Col. Franklin Wharton,
Commandant U. S. Marine Corps, Head Quarters.

Navy Department, April 18, 1816.


In compliance with the request of the Naval Committee of the House of Representatives, communicated by your letter of the 16th instant, I have the honor to state, in reply; to the first inquiry of the committee, that the present number of officers, staff, non-commissioned officers, musicians, and privates of the marine corps, authorized by the several acts of Congress, passed July 11th, 1798, March 22d, 1799, April 22d, 1800, March 3d, 1809, and April 16th, 1814, is as follows, viz: 1 lieutenant colonel, 2 majors, 20 captains, 32 first lieutenants, 38 second lieutenants, 117 sergeants, 233 corporals, 92 musicians, and 2,180 privates. As it respect the second inquiry of the committee, I have to observe, that the marine corps has never been organized into regiments or companies; the guards requisite for the protection of the public property on shore, or the performance of duty on board the vessels of war, are considered as detachments, and vary in the number of


officers and men, according to the nature of the service on which they are employed. The law passed on the 3d of March, 1815, fixing the peace establishment of the army, directs a company to consist of one captain, one first lieutenant, one second lieutenant, four sergeants, four corporals, two musicians, and sixty-eight privates. This organization might be applicable to the marine corps while employed on shore; but the same number of privates of which a company in the army consists would form three detachments, each sufficient for a sloop of war, and would, consequently, require three lieutenants, and a proportional number of sergeants, corporals, and musicians.

The answer to the third inquiry of the committee may readily be deduced from the proportion of officers deemed necessary for the proper organization of the corps, conformably to the principles stated in the preceding article. The present officers of the marine corps, are one lieutenant colonel commandant, two majors, two captains, (majors by brevet,) twelve captains, exclusive of the three who form the staff, twenty first lieutenants, and eighteen second lieutenants, making the entire number of commissioned officers amount to fifty-eight.

The staff consists of an adjutant, paymaster, and quartermaster, selected from the captains. The duties of these officers are arduous, and considered, by the Department, to be of primary importance, and indispensable to the preservation of the corps. The non-commissioned staff consists of a sergeant major, quartermaster sergeant, drum and fife majors, with one sergeant or two corporals for the superintendence of the armory.

The staff being taken from the strength of the corps, leaves, of course, that number of effective officers and non-commissioned officers deficient for actual service; and the whole number now in commission cannot be reduced without inconvenience to the organization, taking into view the probable resignations which may occur in the course of the year.

Enclosed is a copy of an estimate relative to the expense of the marine corps during the year 1816.

All which is respectfully submitted.


Hon. James Pleasants, Jun.

Chairman of the Naval Committee of the House of Representatives.

Estimate of the expenses of the Marine Corps, (Paymaster's Department,) for the year 1816.

1 lieutenant colonel,

$75 per month,


2 majors,



20 captains,



32 first lieutenants,



66 sergeants,



86 corporals,



60 musicians,



780 privates,



Extra pay to adjutant, paymaster, and quartermaster, including forage,





Postage, travelling expenses of officers, with transportation of their baggage, &c. 1,500


Head Quarters of the Marine Corps, Paymaster's Office, January, 1816.


Captain and Paymaster of Marines.

N. B.

Of the above number or privates,

120 are on board of seventy-fours,

230 on board frigates and sloops of war.




Navy Yard, Gosport, Virginia, March 31, 1816.


My guard remains much as when I last wrote you, with the exception of one man dead, (Graham,) who Iregret much in consequence of his worth. The guard have very arduous duty to perform. I have lately had totriple my sentries round the yard, in consequence of an attempt being made to fire it, but was fortunately discoveredby sergeant Dentzell, my orderly. I am in hopes you will be enabled to send me some more men shortly;they are much wanted here. I should be much pleased if a wall could be put up round the yard; it would preventmany desertions, and all attempts of incendiaries. May I hope to hear from you shortly, relative to the prisonersI mentioned in my last? 

With respect, &c.

THO. R. SWIFT, Captain M. C.

Lieut. Col. Franklin Wharton,

Commandant Marine Corps, Washington.

Head Quarters of Marines, Washington, April 8, 1816.


The subjoined copy of an inquiry made of the officers of the corps in command of guards stationed at the navy yards at the time or discharging such men as came within your instructions on that subject, I beg leave to submit, and have now, in obedience to your orders latel received, made extracts from their reports in relation to it, which I presume will be satisfactory in showing what duty has been, and now is, required, from the detachments so stationed.

(Extract No. 1.)

The order for discharges will be immediately attended to. After filling up the guard of the Independence and Washington , I shall not, in my opinion, have anything like a sufficient number for this command. I have averaged ten sentinels; three reliefs will be thirty men; thirty, as a relief guard, will be sixty; taking into consideration sick, waiters, fatigue, cooks, deaths, and desertions, fifty more will be necessary; making the strength one hundred and ten privates. I shall not have forty.

ROBERT D. WAINWRIGHT, Captain commanding,

Stationed at the navy yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts.

[For the months of January and February, Captain Wainwright reports sixteen deserters, three of whom only have been regained.]


(Extract No. 2.)

In reply to your letter of the 24th instant, as respects the strength of the guard necessary for the protection of the public property in the navy yard at New York, I will state, that at no time since my command at that post could the public property be sufficiently protected without from eight to ten sentinels a days and I should be unwilling to hold myself responsible for the property of the United States unless I could have a guard of sufficient strength to protect it, and which, in my opinion, cannot, or ought not, to be a less number than two musicians, four sergeants, four corporals, and sixty-five privates, with their commissioned officers.

RICHARD SMITH, Major commanding,

Stationed at the navy yard, New York.

[Major Smith here makes no allowance for sick, prisoners, deaths, desertions, or discharges.]

(Extract No. 3.)

The number of sentinels posted daily is five: one at the barrack's gate, one at the hospital, one at the water gate, and two on the line of the rope walk, to prevent plundering in that quarter, which had commenced; the two last were particularly demanded by the commanding officer of the yard; the sentinel at the gates, and at the hospital, are essentially necessary. It is my opinion that the following number of officers, non-commissioned officers, musicians, and privates, will be required at this station for the security of the public property, viz: three officers, five sergeants, four corporals, four musicians, and fifty-five privates;

ANTHONY GALE, Major of Marines,

Stationed at the navy yard, Philadelphia.

[Major Gale deducts from this number fourteen private's, say waiters, those on the sick list, cooks, &c. but makes no allowance for prisoners, deaths, and desertions, or discharges.]

(Extract No. 4.)

Captain Cassin has stated to me, should the guards be competent, he would require five sentinels for the protection of the public property in the yard; these are independent of the one which is requisite in front of the barracks, and one at the marine battery; I should, therefore, say; six at the smallest calculation; that, from eighty to ninety effective men would not be beyond the number to be stationed in this yard, taking into consideration deaths, sickness, and desertions.

THOMAS R. SWIFT, Captain, commanding,

Stationed at the navy yard, Gosport, Virginia.

[Captain Smith here makes no allowance for prisoners and discharges.]

Extrdct of a letter from Major Daniel Carmick, stationed at New Orleans.

The draught you have made on me for men has reduced my number, so much as that to enable me to comply with the commodore's requisition, which has lately been increased on account of an attempt being made to burn the large ship at the navy yard, Tchefonctas , I must, therefore, request you to authorize my recruiting a sufficient number for that purpose.

[This draught was made before the return of the squadron from the Mediterranean, but was then revoked.]

Extract of another letter from the above-mentioned officer, since received.

I was pleased when I learned that your order for a detail from my command was revoked, as I have now barely sufficient to comply with the requisition of the commodore of this station. The Saranac brig came on this station without marines, which, of course, took a sergeant, a corporal, and twelve privates; which, with the other vessels on the station, leaves not more than sufficient for the guards on shore. Submitting, the foregoing for your consideration, I now beg leave to state, sir, that I have at head quarters scarcely a sufficient number for the guard there, at the navy yard, and magazine; and that the mechanics in the armory have been frequently required for duty on account of the number on the sick report and prisoners. In addition to the guards above staged, permit me to observe, that, at Baltimore a small guard has been stationed, and is now continued; that at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, I have been for several years required to keep one; and that at Sacket's harbor and Erie, guards, have been and still are stationed for the protection of the property; and that I believe, from the information received, one is essentially necessary on lake Champlain; but the reduced state of the corps, and having received no orders to that effect, I have never formed one for that station. Since the report of Captain Swift, at Gosport, Virginia, I have received the accompanying letter.

[In the order for reducing the corps, Major Carmick was directed to discharge from seventy to eighty men, to be taken from those whose terms of service were expiring.]

The corps reduced, it will be proper, in the disposition of our men, that I should be informed on certain points relative to guards. Report to me, therefore, the following: what number of sentinels on the average have you been required to post under requisition of the commanding naval officer of the yard, for the security of the public property, &c. and on that number deemed in future to be necessary; what, in your opinion, ought the number of privates to be on the station, to allow the performance of such guard duty as is usual at forts and fortifications, as to the relief of guards, calculating on deaths, desertions, &c. &c.

I have the honor to be &c.

FRANKLIN WHARTON, Lt. Col Com. of Marines.

The Hon. B. W. Crowninshield, Secretary of the Navy.

[To Captain Robert Wainwright and others, officers stationed at navy yards.]