MAJOR GENERAL HAMILTON HAWKINS - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 01/01/1862 - HFSID 22315
Sale Price $374.00
Signed autograph letter (1862) explaining the demotion of a sergeant
Autograph Letter signed: "Hamilton S. Hawkins/1st Lt. 6 Inf/Adj", 1 page, 8x9¾. Headquarters Adjutant Service, Fort Columbus (N.Y.), 1862 January 1. To Lt. G. W. Vanderbilt, 10th Inf. USA, Boston, Mass. In full: "Pursuant to instructions from the Adjutant General's Office, Washington, dated March 28, 1859, Sgt. Wm. Sexton was disrated as Sergeant of Company 'B' Music Boys at the date of his transfer to the Recruiting Service. It reads thus: 'Henceforth only lance non-Commissioned Officers can be sent with parties to rendezvous.'Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant". Hamilton Smith Hawkins (1834-1910) graduated from West Point in 1855. During the Civil War he was a quartermaster at Fort Columbus, in New York Harbor. While young Hamilton Hawkins left no memorable mark in the Civil War, he was destined to become a hero of the Spanish-American War. As a brigadier general of volunteers, he commanded the 1st Brigade, 1st Division, V Corps in the Cuban campaign, including the assault on San Juan Hill. While Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders received most of the credit for that victory, Hawkins' unit played an equal or greater role in the attack. Hawkins himself was seriously injured, shot four times while leading his own unit up the Hill, which guarded the approach to Santiago harbor. For this action he was promoted to Major General. Lance rank describes a military rank between that of private and corporal, a term which survives in the US Marine Corps as a Lance Corporal, the equivalent of what is now a US Army Private First Class. "Disrated" is defined in dictionaries as equivalent to "demoted," but it does not carry here the punitive connotation of "demoted." Nevertheless, Sergeant Sexton was probably not happy to learn that his transfer from an army band to the recruiting service would cost him two ranks (and pay grades) - thanks to the regulation Hawkins cites in this letter. Horizontal fold creases soiled on verso with minor show-through at left section. Left edge ragged from previous binding. Slightly creased. Otherwise, fine condition.
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