Buffalo Soldier Regiment: History of the Twenty-Fifth United States Infantry, 1869-1926

By John H. Nankivell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
THE ACT OF CONGRESS OF MARCH 3, 1869, AND THE ORGANIZATION
OF THE PRESENT 25TH INFANTRY, UNITED STATES ARMY—PRE-
VIOUS TWENTY-FIFTH INFANTRY REGIMENTS OF THE UNITED
STATES ARMY

The threat of foreign complications in Mexico having subsided and in keeping with our traditional policy of retrenchment at the conclusion of all our large wars, Congress, on March 3, 1869, passed an act reducing the number of infantry regiments of the regular army from forty-five to twenty-five. The reduction was to be accomplshed by the consolidation of all the infantry regiments then in the service into twenty-five regiments and in compliance with the provisions of the act the War Department in General Orders No. 16, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, D. C, March 11, 1869, detailed the procedure to be followed in accomplishing the purposes of the act.

This order, among its many provisions, directed that the 39th Regiment be consolidated with the 40th; and thereafter be designated the 25th. It also provided that, “The senior company officers of each grade present for duty with any two regiments to be consolidated, and fit for active service, will be the officers of the consolidated regiment. The supernumerary officers will be ordered to their homes to await further orders, and supernumerary non-commissioned officers will be’honorably discharged unless they elect to remain in service in a lower grade.” Section VI of the same order directed that no new enlistments were to be made until the number of men was reduced to the maximum number authorized by law for twenty-five regiments. This did not preclude the re-enlistment of men already in the service.

Further details for the consolidation of the infantry regiments were contained in General Orders No. 17, Headquarters of the Army, Adjutant General’s Office, dated at Washington, D. C, March 15, 1869, and of particular concern to the newly created 25th Infantry was the following paragraph:

“30. Twenty-fifth Infantry (Colored) to be composed of the’39th and 40th Regiments.

“The 39th and 40th regiments will be consolidated, and hereafter be known as the 25th Infantry. The 39th, now in North Carolina, will be relieved as soon as possible, and will proceed to New Orleans, there to be consolidated with the 40th, now in the Department of Louisiana.* The field officers will be:

Joseph A. Mower, Colonel;
Edward W. Hinks, Lieutenant Colonel;
Zenas R. Bliss, Major.”

The 40th Infantry arrived in New Orleans from its stations in North Carolina, on April 13th, 1869, and the following order was published by Brevet Major General Joseph A. Mower, commanding the Department of Louisiana:


HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF LOUISIANA,
New Orleans, La., April 13, 1869.

In pursuance of General Orders Nos. 16 and 17, current series, from Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D. C, the Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Regiments of Infantry will be consolidated, company by company, to be afterwards designated as the Twenty-fifth Regiment U. S. Infantry, in the following order:

* This statement is obviously incorrect because at the date of this order. March 15, 1869. the 40th Inf., and not the 39th. was in North Carolina. The 39th was in Louisiana at the time. See record of events for 39th and 40th Regiments on pages 7. 8. and 9.

-11-

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