First Dragoons

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

Monday, April 30, 2007


John F. Hutchinson, a 5' 5" bookbinder from Dublin, joined the Dragoons at Ft. Union on 24 November 1851. At the time of the enlistment (his second) he was married and disclosed this to the recruiting officer. Army regulations at the time made it illegal for an enlisted man to be maried. Mrs. Hutchinson secured the services of lawyer James Quinn in Taos and on 3 July 1854, Judge James Deavenport granted a habeas order granting her husband a discharge. (Santa Fe Gazette July 8, 1854). Lt. John W. Davidson refused to honor the court order and Hutchinson did not secure his discharge until late in 1854.


Don Fernandez de Taos, New Mexico
March 24, 1854

Brig. Genl. John Garland
I have been employed as attorney by the wife of John F. Hutchinson at present serving as a private in Company I, 1st Dragoons. Lieut. Davidson, to obtain his discharge by Writ of Habeas Corpus before a Civil Court, and believing that it is proper to submit the case to you as Commanding General before taking any steps before a civil tribunal, I hereby make a statement of the case forwarded on undoubted evidence.

John F. Hutchinson served five years in Company E of the Seventh Infantry, Capt. Miles, and was honorably discharged on the fifteenth of December A.D., 1849. On the fourteenth October A.D. 1851, he was married to Ignacia Pacheco by Padre Martinez of this place. On the first day of November A.D. 1851 he enlisted in Company I. 1st Dragoons by and at the instigation of Lieut. Whittlesley, who afforded him guarantees and rations for his wife. He is now deprived of all of these privileges, and is unable to support his wife and claims his discharge under the 770 Section of the Regulations of the Army in relation to duties of Recruiting Officers. Lieut. Whittlesley knew of his marriage as can be proved, held out inducements to him to enlist but did not obtain the special authority required by law from Head Quarters. The section accepts re-enlisted soldiers. This is clearly not a case of re-enlistment, as nearly two years intervened
between the discharge and second Enlistment. I have stated the case fairly for your consideration, and beg you will give it attention at your earliest convenience.

Yours respectfully,

James H. Quinn,
Attorney for Claimant


Don Fernandez de Taos.Mexico
July 26th, 1854


I have the honor most respectfully to request that my Discharge and Final Statements be given me by Lieut. Jano. W. Davidson to whose company I formerly belonged, and from which Company I have been recently discharged by Civil Authority (a Copy of the Order of the Court which I enclose herewith.) I made a written application for my discharge &C. to Lieut. Davidson but he has not answered it directly or indirectly, for what reason I am not aware of. Lieut. Davidson told me in the presence of his First Sergeant that if I had not destroyed his Muster Rolls, that if I were discharged by Civil Authority, he would give me an honorable Discharge and all emoluments which the Government allows me. I proved to him when he took me out of the custody of the U.S. Deputy Marshall by force. I turned over all his Muster Rolls to his Orderly Sergeant, which he acknowledged, and after maltreating me and calling me the worst names he could think of. After I had left en route for Santa Fe, his musters were found in his Company Store Room where no person ever has access except his Orderly Sergeant.

My conduct as a Soldier can be well proven if necessary by all of the men of the Company to which I belong as of the Morning Report Book will show that I never have been in confinement for one hour until I undertook to procure my Discharge from the service in order to maintain my family. Now if the major will have the goodness to lay this before the General for his decision thereon, I will be obliged should the General order my discharge to be given me by Lt. Davidson, I would feel great indebtedness by your letting me know the action of the General thereon at your earliest convenience. And direct your communication in care of Mr. Solomon Beuthner, Merchant, Taos, N.M., by complying with the above you will greatly oblige.

Yours very respectfully,

Jno. F. Hutchinson

Bvt. Major W.A. Nichols, Asst. Adjt. Genl. U.S.A., Dept. New Mexico


Territory of New Mexico, County of Santa Fe
July 4th, 1854
John F. Hutchinson vs. John W. Davidson

Petition for Habeas Corpus

The case having been submitted to the Court yesterday, and under advisement, and the court now being fully advised in the premises, and of opinion that the said John F. Hutchinson was allegedly enlisted as a soldier in the United States Army and is entitled to his discharge:

It is therefore considered by the Court that the said John F. Hutchinson be discharged from further service in the United States Army, and that he go hence without delay, and that he pay the costs of the proceedings taxed at $19.50.