First Dragoons

A site dedicated to the 1st US Dragoons 1833-1861 (What is a Dragoon?)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Dragoon Recruitment Advertisement 1847

On the front page of the Indianapolis Indiana Journal for February 8, 1847, there appeared the following notice:
Recruiting Service—Wanted for the United States Army,
able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 35 years, being
above 5 feet 3 inches, of good character, and of respectable
standing among their fellow citizens. None need apply to en-
ter service, but those who are determined to serve the period
of their enlistment, honestly and faithfully for the term of five years.
Table of established rates of pay agreeably to existing laws.
Monthly Pay
Sergeant Major, Quarter-
Master Serg’t. Chief Musician
and Chief Bugler, $17
1st Sergeant of a Company 16
Ordnance Sergeant 18
All other Sergeants, 13
Corporals 10
Buglers 9
Musicians 8
Farriers 11
Privates 8
Besides the monthly pay, as above stated, one ration per day
is allowed every soldier, which is amply sufficient for his sub-
sistence; also a large supply of comfortable and genteel cloth-
ing. Good quarter and fuel are at all times furnished; and
every attention will be paid to those men who may enlist and
are determined to serve their country in good faith. The best
medical attendance is always provided for the sick soldier; and
no deduction of pay is made during the period he is unable to
perform his duty. Should the soldier be disabled in the line of his
duty, the laws provide a pension for him.
By the above it is seen that pay and allowances are res-
pectably and that, with prudence and economy, the monthly
pay of the soldier may be laid up—as every thing requisite for
his comfort and convenience is furnished by the Government,
including sugar and coffee. The prudent soldier, therefore,
may readily save from $420 to $1020 during his enlistment of
Five years; and at the expiration of the term he can, if he
chooses, purchase a small farm in any of the Western States,
and there settle himself comfortably, on his own land, for the
rest of his life.
1st Lieut. 1st regt. Dragoons
Recruiting Rendezvous
Drake’s Hotel

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Horstmann 1851 Uniforms

This plate, taken from the Horstmann catalog, depicts the new French inspired uniforms that were authorized by the regulations of 1851.

In theory, the Regulations of 1851 gave a neat picture of what a suitably uniformed, dashing Dragoon should look like: dark blue frock coat, "flower pot" shako, and gray-blue trousers. The nine-buttoned frock coat had orange collars and cuffs. For troopers of the First Dragoons, a brass number, "1", was placed on the side of the collar. The first model (1851) shako bore a brass eagle and company letter, orange facing, and orange pompom. This uniform was prescribed by regulations for both dress and fatigue wear. The regulations called for the wearing of blass shoulder scales when "under arms."

The long-tailed frock coat was heavy, and generally scorned by the troops because it impaired the Dragoon when he mounted or dismounted. The shako was stiff, hot, and hard to balance on one's head while riding at a fast gait. The orange facings of the coat and shako faded rapidly beneath a bright southwestern sun and the cardboard-lined shako became misshaped after brief exposure to wet weather, thus, creating anything but a uniformed appearance to a line of troopers. Small wonder that the 1839 fatigue cap and jacket remained popular with the troops during the post Mexican War era.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Saltillo, Mexico 20 May 1848: Lt. Couts to Lt. Love

Dear Love,

I have come this far with the Capts. Whiltsey and Adams--the orphans of Chihuahua.
Through they leave for that forsaken community, I do not give them up until sufficient time shall have elapsed for them to pass Parral; for our Genl. is famous for countermanding orders. The old man Grier, however, will give you an account of him (the Genl, who is accused of all the vile things that could be heaped upon mortal man).
Cpt. Rucker comds. our squ'd at the Willow Spring near Monterey. Maj. Bragg, Comdg. Offr:--I presume you know Cpt. R. and knowing him, you may well fancy how subservient he is to Bragg.
I was very anxious to go up in place of Capt. Grier with "A" Compy--or for Capt. Rucker's Compy. to go--or for Capt. Grier to remain with us & not go, but things turned out in every way, contrary to my wishes.
When will any portion of the Regt. ever get together again. The Northern Hemisphere, at present, contains the whole of the Regt.--but in the course of time, the Southern may get a small portion of us, if lucky.
We are delighted to hear from Capt. Grier that you had nothing to do with "Cowpen Pen Slaughter" at Santa Cruz.
Something had been heard of it previous to the arrival of the Capt., which agreed with his version of the affair, viz: you penned up a number of Mexican regular greasers, and slaughtered them by file. We are all proud , and feel happy in learning that you gave countenance to no such inhumanity.
A letter was received from Franklin in Monterey, a short time since, and he states that Capts. Turner & Kearney, and a third one, whom he does not recollect, have resigned--the letter was written from Washington. Capt. Rucker is daily in a melancholy mood and always talks of resigning, but this is all in my eye--he is desirous (I believe) of getting a Paymaster's appointment!
As to the current news, slander too, Grier, Whittlesy & Adams will tell you all of ours.
I have my tail up for the 3d Dragoons; if I can get there as I wish, will have fair promotion--there is no doubt of its being retained--indeed there is a requisition in the War Office for a 4th Regt. of Dragoons.
Buford & Pat. Noble have transferred companies. Buford goes to Gibson & Pat. to City of Mexico.
There are some few in the states--so many indeed, that I cannot enumerate them. Carleton is in Maine exhibiting his various curiosities that he took during the Battle of Buena Vista--presenting them to museum etc.
I had forgotten at the commencement of my letter to congratulate you on your Captaincy--allow me to do so, in a few minutes, with a good gulp of Puros (1200) Ano, not least a keg of fine old Brandy (15 galls). Take a drink with all the fellows in Chihuahua also, for me.
If peace is not mde, we will probably meet in the next world, if not before. In haste.

Truly yr. friend,

Cave S. Couts