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First at the Fort, 8th California LH at Fort Stevens, OR July 25-27

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  • First at the Fort, 8th California LH at Fort Stevens, OR July 25-27

    First at the Fort
    Sponsoring Group: THEM! In cooperation with the Friends of Old Fort Stevens
    Fort Stevens, Oregon Historical Area July 25-27, 2014

    Event facebook page:

    Time frame: July 1865

    Impression: Company B, 8th California Regiment

    Camp Type: Garrison, Regulation Army Camp – Historical records indicate that the US Army Engineers that constructed Fort Stevens had also built several structures for use by the garrison, but none are currently in existence. Therefore, the camp will be set up like a regulation army camp. Soldiers will be quartered in common tents. We are working with the fort to secure a nice shady spot immediately adjacent to the reconstructed earthworks.

    Food: Food will be prepared using a regulation company kitchen with implements that would have been available and issued to an infantry company in garrison. Soldiers garrisoned in Oregon at this time had access not only to the Army Commissary system, but could rely on local victuals from the fertile bounty of the Willamette Valley. Expect more than army beans and hardtack!

    Living History – Fort Stevens is one of the most visited parks in the state system. July will offer us the perfect time to interact with crowds visiting the park from all corners. We will have the run of the place as the only living history venue present that weekend, so this will be an excellent chance for us to truly educate the public with the best information possible.

    Guard Duty – As is required in garrison, soldiers will perform sentinel duty. This will be conducted atop the reconstructed Civil War era earthworks, with commanding views and lovely breezes.

    Drill – Breaks up the monotony of camp life. We will be conducting company drill maneuvers throughout the weekend in order to break free of the restraints of reenactorisms and return to the simple sanity of the manual.

    Road March – Saturday evening we will accouter ourselves in heavy marching order and set out on a road march to the sea. Those not participating in the living history presentation at the campground will continue on to the wreck of the Peter Iredale on the beach near the park.

    Skirmish Drill – We will conduct skirmish drill on the ample training grounds, and fire blank cartridges using ramrods and period correct loading and firing procedures. Later, we will be pushing a skirmish line through widely varied terrain across the park. There are many “accidents of terrain” for us to utilize in a realistic setting.

    Bayonet Drill – A great time waster and a crowd favorite!

    Manual of Arms – all attendees will receive instruction in the manual of Arms as found in Casey’s. Whether you are an old hand or a raw recruit, you will leave the event proficient in the manual of arms for the rifle musket.

    Uniform and Equipment Guidelines
    1865 California Volunteers in Federal Service – Company B was raised as an infantry company, and then trained in heavy artillery. While at Fort Stevens they acted in a garrison capacity. Uniform of the Day will reflect the “Fatigue” layout and reflective of the realities of garrison life.
    • Forage Cap (preferred)
    • Regulation Hat (Hardee)
    • US Issue Shirt
    • Civilian pattern shirt
    • US Issue trousers in Sky Blue Kersey (preferred) – JT Martin or Schuylkill Pattern
    • US Issue trousers in Dark Blue
    • US Issue 4-button fatigue blouse with proper materials and construction.
    • Regulation Issue Coat (Frock)
    • US Issue Jefferson Pattern Bootees
    • Documented Civilian pattern
    • 1861 Pattern cartridge box with proper Federal brass buckles and plates.
    • 1855 or 1861 pattern cap pouch
    • 2 or 7 rivet Springfield bayonet scabbard.
    • Waist belt, waxed flesh with sewn loop or brass keeper. US Oval plate only.
    • NY or PHL pattern canteen with proper sling and stopper
    • Federal painted cloth haversack (optional for garrison)
    • 1858 pattern US Issue blanket
    • Painted cloth or rubber blanket
    Mess Items
    • Tin drinking cup
    • Tin Plate
    • Period pattern utensils

    Camp Equippage/Baggage
    In garrison, soldiers will be allowed some leeway in baggage. However, we will allow only a minimum of impedimenta in order to present a realistic view of army life on a frontier posting.
    • Simple wood and canvas folding stool
    • Garrison issue mattress tick
    • Simple floor cloth
    • Simple candle holder with beeswax candle
    Dan Limb
    One of THEM!

    "In the moment of action, remember the value of silence and order" -- Phormio of Athens

    "Your first duty is to get a decent hat. You cannot hope to do more. You should never wish to do less"

    Direct Descendent of
    James M. Hergesheimer, Co. A. 20th Iowa Infantry

    Capt. James G. Campbell, Co. F., 19th Illinois Infantry. Wounded at Missionary Ridge

  • #2
    Re: First at the Fort, 8th California LH at Fort Stevens, OR July 25-27

    This section is a history of the 8th California's service at Points Adams, Mouth of the Columbia.

    8th California

    Chapter 5

    Units and command: 1865-1871

    Fort Stevens, conceived in minds of men long dead, was brought to reality by the momentum of a major war. It was first garrisoned by troops following the termination of that conflict after there was any immediate need for the post as first envisioned. Its strategic legitimacy admitted but not wholly resolved, the post was soon a child of doubt, its presence acknowledged, its future uncertain. It was occupied by military units for nearly twenty years, first by a Company of California volunteers, and then by successive companies and detachments of the United States Army.

    Early use of the fort may be credited to the thrust of its creation and possibly, to the lingering fear which brought it into being. The guns were serviceable for a time. Garrisoning with Artillery soldiers was easily justified. In addition these troops were readily available for duty elsewhere in the departmental command as events required. Later, the post provided for troops a station which may not have been otherwise available. Finally deterioration of wooden platforms made firing of heavy artillery impossible, and cost of repair to post facilities became burdensome. In fact, when continued erosion of the very point of land on which it stood made further investment a gamble, Fort Stevens was released for other use and lay dormant as a military installation until near the end of the century.

    As early as July 1864 Captain George Elliot of the Corps of Engineers had estimated 350 artillerymen would be required for the two new posts at the mouth of the Columbia River: 150 for Cape Disappointment and 200 for Point Adams. There were then only three small companies of artillery in the entire department of the Pacific and on one of these could be spared from its assignment. Major General Irvin McDowell, commanding the department and feeling pressed to mane new artillery installations in the San Francisco area as well as those on the Columbia River, requested authority from the Secretary of War to raise a regiment of volunteer artillery. His request was denied. The Secretary did not approve “…of raising troops for special or local purposes.” In addition, General Henry Halleck, then chief of staff under Grant, in preparing the reply, reminded McDowell that authority already existed for him to raise troops trough the Governor of California, and further that Infantry troops could be instructed in the mechanics of artillery firing.

    Having learned what he might expect from higher authority, General McDowell then proceeded to form an eighth regiment of California infantry. In mid-November he announced the intention of instructing the personnel of this regiment in the duties of artillerymen. But, bowing to War Department policy he added, “…it is to be distinctly understood…that it will be liable at any time to be used as infantry…” On 30 November 1864 he and Governor Low of California jointly informed the Secretary of War that they were “…for want of artillery, raising the Eighth California Regiment of Infantry,…”

    Companies A and B were the first two units of the 8th Infantry California Volunteers mustered into the United States service. Company A went in February 1865 to Cape Disappointment, Washington Territory. The following April Company B was directed to proceed to the same place but further ordered to be stationed at one of the forts at the entrance of the Columbia River, both of which were to be under the command of William Jordan.

    Jordan, a Major in the new Regiment of California Volunteers, already had at the Cape his company of 9th United States Infantry and Company A, 8th Infantry California Volunteers. Thus his decision to send company B across the river to Fort Stevens on Point Adams probably was not difficult. The Company disembarked Wednesday 26 April 1865 taking post as the first unit to garrison Fort Stevens.

    Company B, 8th Infantry California Volunteers
    Strength present and absent on arrival:
    1 Captain 5 Sergeants 2 Musicians
    2 Lieutenants 8 Corporals 66 Privates
    Company B was raised in Sacramento, California, by Captain Gaston d’Artois who had been a 1st Lieutenant in the 6th Infantry California Volunteers. During the short period of its existence, it held on its rolls a total of 102 enlisted men and three officers, including d’Artois. The officers and six of the enlisted men were enrolled at San Francisco. John Drum was a 1st Lieutenant and James F. Saunders a 2nd Lieutenant. The unit, mustered into Federal service 5 December 1864, was then and until departure for the Columbia River, stationed at Fort Point, California.

    Captain d’Artois issued several special orders on 26 April 1865. In the first he assumed command of Fort Stevens, becoming its first commanding officer. He designated Lieutenant Saunders as acting assistant quartermaster and assistant commissary of subsistence. Sergeant John Pomme he detailed to duty with the Quartermaster Department. Pomme, in addition, was ordered to perform the duties of Sergeant major and Ordinance Sergeant. Fortunately another Sergeant was discovered to relieve him of the later two assignments within a few days.

    Orders No. 2 called attention of the troops at Fort Stevens to the rather broad provisions of what was then the 32nd Article of War, under which any soldier guilty of interfering with the friendly Indians living in the vacinity of the post would be brought to trial.

    Military life was thus instituted at Fort Stevens, and living prescribed. There yet remained to detail, on 2 May, Corporal Francis Jaeger and Privates William R. Stewart and Jasper Terwillerger to extra duty as carpenters, and Privates James Monday and Erastus Gilbert as teamsters for the Quartermaster Department. Lieutenant Drum rejoined the unit after a short delay at Cape Disappointment and became Post Adjutant and acting Ordinance Officer.

    Later in the month a surgeons call was added to the daily schedule. Reveille, difficult at any time, was established at 5:00 A.M. and the first fatigue work call was moved up to 6:30 A.M. Not until late in July was time provided for an hours daily drill. This was to be drill in heavy artillery, Company drill, skirmish drill, and bayonet exercise. In addition “recitations” were scheduled in infantry tactics, heavy artillery tactics, regulations, and field fortifications. Drill was suspended in early September, however, and was evidentially not resumed during the unit’s stay at Fort Stevens.

    The 4th of July 1865 presented the first opportunity for an official celebration. In June Captain d’Artois had notified by letter Oregon Governor Addison C. Gibbs, of the presence of his unit at Fort Stevens. He told the Governor that guns provided for the defense of the entrance of the Columbia River had been mounted, and that he, Captain d’Artois, looked upon the 4th of July as an occasion for the “…dedication of the first fortification thrown up in Oregon against foreign foes and domestic traitors,…” He asked that”…the chief Magistrate of the Loyal State of Oregon…preside over our festivities.”

    Assuming the activities outlined in orders issued 3 July were successfully executed, a signal gun was fired at Fort Stevens at sunrise on the 4th. At 10:00 A.M. the troops were paraded under arms and, after passing in review, were marched to the earthwork fort. At noon, as required by Army regulations, the national salute was fired, one gun for each of the thirty-six states in the Union. A flag was then hoisted over the fort by Sergeant William A. Wilson and Private Thomas Hogan, “…to whom this distinction is due for the skill, intelligence and energy displayed by them in the mounting of the guns (sic) and erection of the flag staff.” Following the reading of the Declaration of Independence and an oration, the troops were returned to their quarters where were “…permitted to enjoy the day in a manner worthy of an American soldier”. (sic) In the evening the company quarters were “illuminated” and bonfires were lighted along the beach.

    The next day six of Captain d’Artois “American” soldiers were absent without leave. The absence of these men was not of special importance, but considering the isolation of the post, one might wonder where they went and how they got there. There were then no roads nor bridges leading to Astoria. The Corps of Engineers’ sloop “Belle”, used at that time for transportation of mail and supplies, was not yet berthed at Fort Stevens. It is unlikely that a visiting boat would have given passage to so many men. The only road leading from the post would have led them to sparsely populated Clatsop Plains down the beach, or to an upper landing on Skipanon Creek. In any case these men were, in a sense negative to the concept of the dutiful soldier, the first among those of a similar bent who were to follow.

    On the 6th of July the absentees were back on post. Charges were drawn and specifications cited. Corporal John Howard and Privates William Knowlton, James W. Dunn, Alfred Sullivan, John C. Smith had absented themselves without leave while they were on sick report. Private Barney Mott had absented himself without leave”…from the Roll Call of his Company at Retreat and Tattoo.”

    The first court martial appointed at Fort Stevens convened to hear their cases 7 July 1865. All except Knowlton pleaded guilty and all were found guilty. Four of the men were sentenced to forfeit $5.00 per month for one month. Private Dunn for some unexplained reason was fined $7.00 per month for one month. Knowlton was sentenced to be confined at hard labor under guard for seven days and to forfeit $5.00 per month for one month. It was an exercise in judicial procedure. There was as yet no guardhouse at the post. The forfeitures of pay were later remitted.

    This is the only record of trial by court-martial during the time the volunteer unit was at Fort Stevens though there were other alleged violations of Military law. Martin Bloomfield, one of the three colored undercooks, was dropped from the rolls of the Company as a deserter on 29 June. He was apprehended at Astoria 3 July and immediately returned to the post. Private Alexander Lattie was said to have been absent without leave and drunk, both on 20 July. Sergeant Joseph Baynard was accused of unlawful and careless handling in May 1865 of five gallons of “superior whiskey”, (i.e.: officers whiskey) the property of the United States worth about $30.00. Private John d’Bois was charged with malicious and disrespectful utterances, including that “…the Company Officers were a set of thieving rascals.” These men were brought to trial before a General court-martial which convened at cape Disappointment on 20 September 1865.

    During this period there were, too, other occasional problems and events peculiar to circumstances and to the habits of individuals. On 16 July the Commanding Officer prohibited the “Discharging of firearms in the vicinity of the quarters at the Post, or inside the enclosure around the Glacis…” The following month he denied dogs the free roam of the area. The Corporal of the guard was to take any such stray animals to the beach and shoot them. Orders No. 43, 5 September 1865 provided time in the forenoon of the following day for personnel to vote in a California general election. The polls were to be open from 9”00 A.M. to 12 noon.

    An order extending in effect beyond the confines of Fort Stevens was No. 20 which d’Artois issued in compliance with departmental instructions on 5 July 1865. It directed that “…all men having served in the rebel army who are or may become residents of Clatsop County will report immediately to these Head Quarters and take the Oath of Allegiance.

    This oath, a reminder of the War of the Rebellion so recently ended, was but a part of the post-war pattern of activities intended to place the national house again in order. For the Military it was a period of extreme adjustment. Soldiers of the North were rapidly being mustered out of the service to find their places once more in civilian living. Soldiers of the South were returning to their homes or elsewhere. Those remaining in the service could only wait to see want conditions inevitable changes would bring.

    The War Department had made certain organization and administrative adjustments on 27 June 1865. The United States was then divided into military divisions and these were subdivided into military departments. In the west the Department of the Pacific became the Military Division of the Pacific and the District of Oregon was named the Department of the Columbia. Headquarters of the Division and of the Department remained at San Francisco, California, and Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory, respectively. The area of the Department of the Columbia included the state of Oregon, and the Territories of Washington and Idaho. Major General Henry W. Halleck was to command the Division. Brigadier General George Wright was ordered to return to Fort Vancouver to take command of the Department of the Columbia. General Wright, however, lost his life when the steamer on which he took passage north, the “Brother Jonathan”, foundered off Crescent City, California, on 30 July 1865, and the Department remained under command of senior officers of the Oregon Volunteers.

    Captain d’Artois announced the news of General Wright’s death to his command on 4 August, directing that the Post flag be displayed at half-mast and that all labor be suspended for the day. A single gun was to be fired every half-hour from sunrise until noon. Again, on 3 September 1865, in compliance with instructions from Department Headquarters, honors were paid to the memory of General Wright by the firing of guns and the display of the flag at half-staff. Officers were instructed to wear “the prescribed badge of mourning” for thirty days.

    One of d’Artois first official acts at Fort Stevens had been to request District Headquarters top assign a Medical Officer to the Post. Surgeon Horace Carpenter reported for duty 24 May 1865. He a graduate of the University of Iowa and the Long Island College Hospital, New York, was mustered into service as Assistant Surgeon in the 1st Cavalry Oregon Volunteers in April 1862. Just prior to his assignment to Fort Stevens he had mustered out of that Regiment to accept the higher grade of Surgeon with the 1st Infantry Oregon Volunteers.

    Though as Medical Officer Carpenter encountered a severe shortage of facilities at his new station, he did not lack patients. Illness among the enlisted men of Company B, was unusually high, especially for summer months. These were volunteer soldiers unaccustomed to a military environment. Another factor to aggravate medical problems was the lack of a hospital building. From May through August an average of ten men were ill each month.

    Hospital Steward George Fisher reported for duty at Fort Stevens 11 July. He came from Company C, 1st Infantry Oregon Volunteers and had been in the service since the previous December. He was 21 when he enlisted at Salem, Oregon, and he claimed then the occupation of painter. By the end of July he was caring for twelve patients.

    Medical service in September was confused. On the 1st of the month Surgeon Carpenter was placed in arrest. This was an unusual circumstance for a medical officer unless his offense was extraordinarily flagrant, and Departmental Headquarters soon directed his release from that status. Nevertheless there was an interim when Carpenter was considered not to be on duty, at least by his commanding officer. Lieutenant Drum was ordered on 1 September to take sick call each morning “…until a Medical Officer be sent to this Post, too (sic) excuse from duty such men as may seem to him incapable of doing duty. By the end of September Captain d’Artois was in arrest at Cape Disappointment, and at Fort Stevens four men were listed as sick.

    One other staff officer was sent to Fort Stevens for duty during this period of garrisoning by the California Volunteers. This was captain David W. Porter, Assistant Quartermaster, U. S. Volunteers, who had entered the service in 1862 in the 1st Cavalry Oregon Volunteers. Upon arrival 1 May 1865 he assumed the duties of assistant quartermaster and assistant commissary of substance---duties to which Captain d’Artois had assigned Lieutenant Saunders only a few days before.

    When Porter left the post, later in the month to take quarters at Cape Disappointment, d’Artois immediately relieved him of the duties he had assumed. Major Jordan, however, almost swiftly directed him to rescind the order. This he did, but in reply to Jordan on 26 May he protested bitterly:
    I cannot…consider the assignment of Captain Porter, A. Q. M., US Vols, as quartermaster and commissary at two posts as distant as the Post at Cape Disappointment and Fort Stevens Oregon but as injurious to the public service, as it will necessitate the employment of Civilian employees for which there is no necessity…Captain Porter never reported at this post but informally and to this day I do not know of any authority for his being on duty here but that contained in his letter from Col. Maury (commanding the District of Oregon) directing him to report to you in case of Fort Stevens not being garrisoned and the Statement in your letter of instructions of yesterday that he was assigned here by directions of Col. Maury. Furthermore Since (sic) his arrival here Captain Porter has completely ignored my existence as Post Commander as shown by all he plans estimates and requisitions upon which I have never been consulted. My advice with regard to erection of company quarters having been entirely disregarded.

    Captain Porter nevertheless remained in nominal charge of quartermaster and commissary supplies at Fort Stevens, exercising his duties from Cape Disappointment through an acting quartermaster sergeant from Company B and through a civilian employee, Mr. John R. Bergen, Quartermaster clerk. This supply situation continued until the department commander on 21 August 1865 designated Cape Disappointment and Fort Stevens as separate posts.

    Transfer of property after receipt of the separation order took several days and descriptions of how this was accomplished differed according to the interests of the person relating the story. Captain Porter charged at the court-martial which ultimately followed that Captain d’Artois had taken “forcible possession” of the quartermaster and substance stores for which he, Porter, was responsible and which he had placed in charge of Mr. John R. Bergen, his authorized agent at Fort Stevens.

    d’Artois had his own version of what really happened. In detailing to the department commander 1 September 1865 some reasons for charges he made against Surgeon Horace Carpenter he wrote:
    On the day that the order was recd at this Post directing Lt. Saunders to assume immediately the duties of A. A. Q. M. on the 26th ultimo, this man (Bergen) in a fit of frenzy or malice towards Lieut. Saunders expelled the soldier detached for service…alleging that he had permitted Lieut. Saunders to inform him that as soon as the transfer of stores was completed, he should leave the Post never to return, and on the 29th the transfer being completed…this man left. Every officer of the Post…was informed…

    The day following Bergen’s departure, 30 August 1865, was, however, the date of Lieutenant Saunder’s wedding with Sarah Gearhart “…in the afternoon,…at a farmhouse on the plains a few miles back of the Fort. Under such an exceptional circumstance,” d’Artois continued, “I took the responsibility to permit every officer to attend the wedding provided they would return in the evening. Surg. Carpenter was to accompany us.” Carpenter, nevertheless, remained at the post and, according to Captain d’Artois, permitted Mr. John Bergen to land his boat at Fort Stevens, thereby violating a standing order of the post—an order about which he had knowledge.

    These briefly were key events which brought Surgeon Carpenter and his commanding officer both before a general court-martial which convened at Cape Disappointment, Washington Territory, 20 September 1865. That they were not the only matters of contention was evident in the variety of specifications to the charges which, if true as alleged, reflect, at the least some of the conflicts of pride and errors of judgement at Fort Stevens in this period.

    d’Artois charged Surgeon Carpenter with permitting John Bergen to visit the post, but he also accused him of refusing to explain officially why he did so. Other charges he made against Carpenter referred to his being absent without leave and attempting to leave without proper authority. When Lieutenant Saunders, Adjutant, told him he could not leave the post, the surgeon, it was said, threatened the adjutant with his stick—a walking cane; and at about the same time he had to be bodily restrained from striking Captain d'Artois. Specification two of the fifth charge related that at one point Surgeon Carpenter told d’Artois “…do you know that I am your superior,” and while thus saying, placing against the said Captain GASTON D”ARTOIS cheek.”

    Two of the charges against carpenter related to his alleged assault with a walking stick or cane on the person of Christian Humble, then 1st Sergeant of Company B, “…at or about the hour of midnight, at Fort Stevens, Oregon,…” and “…on or about the 21st day of July, 1865,…” Carpenter a few days later described Sergeant Humble’s statements of the assault which were furnished him by Captain d’Artois as “…mostly false, therefore unworthy of notice.” For this d’Artois charged him with making a disrespectful answer.

    Captain David Porter, the Assistant Quartermaster, initiated the first two charges against Captain d’Artois. These, outlined in twelve specifications, related, except for specification seven of the second charge, to d’Artois expressed unhappiness with buildings and supplies at Fort Stevens, to his dissatisfaction with the civilian employee, John Bergen, and to problems in connection with the ultimate property transfer to Lieutenant Saunders in August 1865. Specification seven accused d’Artois of at various times between 26 May and 29 August 1865 associating himself with Sergeant Joseph Baynard, Company B, who was in arrest during this period because of charges which Captain Porter had preferred against him for the alleged mishandling of government whiskey.

    The remaining three charges—termed additional charges—were signed by Surgeon Horace Carpenter. In five specifications of the first charge he accused d’Artois of (1) enlisting on or about 1 November 1864 a Private Mott who had been rejected by an examining surgeon, and telling Mott he, d’Artois, would find a doctor who would pass him; (2) receiving $100 more or less in U. S. gold coin from Private Charles Mitchell of Company B for safekeeping and not returning it; (3) obtaining from men in his company certificates of the first installments of the bounty paid by the state of California, saying he could get more for them, and failing to refund the certificates or pay money for them; (4) paying Captain Porter his private commissary bill of $58.06 out of the company savings of Company B; (5) receiving part of pay for a sack of government flour allegedly sold.

    His second additional charge referred in two specifications to d’Artois employment of Sergeant Baynard in the adjutant’s office after the sergeant was placed in arrest, and to d’Artois’ neglect to take notice of the alleged stealing of rations by Sergeants Baynard and Humlble.

    Carpenters third charge was that d’Artois committed breach of arrest at Fort Stevens after receiving from department headquarters 9 September 1865 an order to report himself under arrest. In addition to permitting himself limits of the reservation, the surgeon maintained, d’Artois transacted official business; and on the 17 September 1865, he resumed command of the post.

    Major William Jordan, 8th Infantry California volunteers, was president of the general court-martial which met at Cape Disappointment 20 September 1865. 1st Lieutenant Charles Hobart, 1st Cavalry Oregon Volunteers, was Judge Advocate. The court immediately considered charges against certain enlisted men, and the case of Surgeon Horace Carpenter. It was the end of the month before it met for the trial of Captain d’Artois. The cases of the enlisted men of Company B brought before this court have been mentioned. Surgeon Carpenter pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. The court found him not guilty of all charges.

    When it met 30 September 1865 to take up the case of Captain d’Artois, the Court agreed with the Judge Advocate, Lieutenant Hobart, that there was not enough evidence to prove criminality in the first two charges except for specification seven of the second charge, nor in the second additional charge, and it permitted these two to be dropped. Thus, d’Artois had to plead only to one specification of Captain Porter’s second charge, and to the first and third additional charges made by Surgeon Carpenter.

    He pleaded not guilty to all charges and specifications, but during the trial he admitted the circumstances of payment of his commissary bill from a company account, stating when he changed his plea to guilty that he would show in his defense the use of the money was merely “…to facilitate business, and that the money had been properly accounted for.”

    His explanation for the use of the money did not deter the Court from accepting his plea of guilty. In the same charge it found him guilty of keeping Private Mitchell’s gold coin. The Court also judged him guilty of the breech of arrest stated in the third additional charge.

    Thus Captain d’Artois was found guilty of the first and third additional charges. For this the Court on the last day of his trial, 3 October 1865, sentenced him “To be Cashiered and to be forever disqualified from holding any Office of Trust or Profit under the Government of the United States.”

    On 4 October 1865 Battery C, 2nd United States Artillery, arrived for duty at Fort Stevens. A week later Lieutenants Drum and Saunders met with 1st Lieutenant Henry C. Dodge, 2nd Artillery, as a post council of administration to determine the amount of post funds due Company B. The following day, 12 October, Company B, 8th Infantry California Volunteers, left to return to Fort Point, California, where it was stationed until mustered out of the federal service on 24 October 1865.

    Captain d’Artois traveled with his unit to Fort Point where, according to his accounts in letters of appeal about the sentence of the court-martial, he was released from arrest and returned to duty. When he marched his company to the pay table though he found the commander of the Department of the Columbia, then Colonel George Curry, 1st Infantry Oregon Volunteers, had not forgotten him. Opposite his name on the company rolls had been written”…cashiered and forever disqualified from holding any office of honor or trust under Gov’t, by sentence of G.C.M.”

    A few days later, after writing of his case to President Andrew Johnson, d’Artois requested the Commanding General, Military Division of the Pacific, investigate the proceedings of his court-martial. General Halleck immediately forwarded his letter to General McDowell commanding the Department of California. He pointed out that Colonel Curry had approved the sentence but had not carried it into execution, and asked for a comment about the entry made on the rolls of Company B. In reply McDowell claimed no knowledge of details of the affair but said he believed if in time of war a commander approved a sentence, it was effective. Halleck, however, in a letter to him the next day, 7 November 1865, formally directed that “inasmuch as the sentence in the case of Captain Gaston d’Artois…was not finally acted upon by the Commanding Officer of that Department,…the sentence ‘to be cashiered etc etc’ noted against Captain d’Artois name on muster-out roll of his company be cancelled, and that this officer be honorably mustered out of service.” At the same time he endorsed the court-martial proceedings to the Adjutant General of the Army, Washington D. C. Gaston d’Artois, already mustered out, had been a civilian for more then a week.

    The duration at Fort Stevens of Company B was short but significant. It was the first unit to garrison the post and the demands on it, an organization of inexperienced men, were undoubtedly heavy. But no matter how complete or well-done its labors, on this units’ departure the post was an establishment with a pattern of operation into which others could be joined. To compare this company of volunteers with the regular army units which were to follow would be unprofitable. It was an organization created out of necessity and placed in a position which would normally have been occupied by a unit of professional officers and trained men. When the need for its existence ceased, it was dissolved.
    Dan Limb
    One of THEM!

    "In the moment of action, remember the value of silence and order" -- Phormio of Athens

    "Your first duty is to get a decent hat. You cannot hope to do more. You should never wish to do less"

    Direct Descendent of
    James M. Hergesheimer, Co. A. 20th Iowa Infantry

    Capt. James G. Campbell, Co. F., 19th Illinois Infantry. Wounded at Missionary Ridge