Headquarters Army of the United States

St. Louis Mo. Nov 1st 1875

Colonel H.J. Hunt 5Th Artillery

Fort Adams ?


Your communication of October 12th, 75 has been received at these headquarters with the following endorsement of Major General Hancock ? ? ?Div of the Atlantic ? ? ? ? Oct 15 1875. All the companies of Col. Hunt’s regiment (some of them jointly with companies of other regiments ) occupy Posts in my division Col. Hunt is not responsible for any Posts accept his own. I am responsible for all of them. If I ? the ? ? of all the Posts, as I must endeavor to do, I do not see how I can do any practical injury to Colonel Hunt’s Regiment. In the case in point Col. Hunt’s Post was in no way concerned in the transfer, as neither of the officers transferred belonged to it. But not withstanding this the letter from Major Arnold Comdg Fort Independence setting forth the necessity of another officer on his Post, was sent through his Regimental Commander, and was forwarded by him ( Col. Hunt ) without any recommendation at all, because as Col. Hunt himself herein explains it the " distribution of graduates " ( which had long before been made ) " had been assumed by the Adjutant General" and not left to him as he thinks it should have been. I need not discuss the insufficiency of Col. Hunts reason for depriving me of his advice in this actual case. I should have been glad to have it. But being without it I felt at liberty to use my own best judgment and made a recommendation which met the wants of the Post and certainly is not shown to have injured Col. Hunts regiment. He however now complains that he was not specially called upon to do which he had failed to do when opportunity was fairly before him; that is make a recommendation as to which of the Graduates should be transferred to Fort Independence to meet the necessities which Col. Hunt admits, and which I know existed at that post. Having failed to advise me in this matter he should not complain that I overlooking his failure, advised my superiors to the best of my ability without further reference to him.

I do not feel called upon to follow Col. Hunt through his long argument upon the welfare of regiments in particular, or of the service in general.

I will only say that I shall be glad if any regulation or order can be made which will more clearly define the duties of Regimental Commanders and enable them to promote the discipline and efficiency of their Regiments. * * *


( signed, Winfield S. Hancock

Major General







The General of the Army is extremely anxious to do all he can to ? the Colonel of a regiment to fulfill his ? office as the father of his Regiment. But in this country it is simply impossible. Regiments must be broken up into Detachments to occupy small posts, and then the authority of the Department or Territorial Commander must often conflict with that of the Colonel. And when conflicts arise the superior must control i.e. the Department Commander.

If Col. Hunt objected to the particular transfer of the two Lieutenants, he should have noted the objection when the paper passed through his hands. Failing this he is " barred " from further objection- and the General of the Army naturally accepted the recommendation of the Division Commander- and ordered the transfer. This was final.

Officers are in the service of the U. S. and not of any particular person and it is for the rightful authority to use the service of each to the best advantage.

Organization is a conveinence and not a rule- and may always be departed from, when the General Service is advantaged, of which the senior, or officer charged with the detail must of necessity be the judge

I have the honor to be. Sir,

Very respectfully

your obdt servant

Wm D. Whipple

Asst Adjutant General