Minutes, 12 March 1842

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  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

March 12th 1842.
Court Martial met pursuant to adjournment at the residence of Genl Joseph Smith’s
On motion of ,
1st Resolved that the City of be & is hereby divided into Four Company militia destricts [districts]; and that the bounds of each Ward of the be the bounds of the said company destricts; and that the said Companies be numbered according to the number of the Wards constituting said Company destrict.
2nd Resolved that the Four Companies that <​thus​> formed constitute the Fourth Regiment, Second Cohort , and be officered accordingly.
<​3rd​> Resolved that Captains & of the present Company Militia destricts, have the privilege of raising volunteers from their present Companies sufficient for two full Companies of volunteers; and ’s Company be a rifle & ’s Company a Light Infantry Company: retaining their present place and number in the line; together with the commissioned officers in their Companies: Provided That the said officers have the privilege of retaining the respective offices which they now hold in the militia destricts in which they live, after the aforesaid division of at their own option.
<​4th​> Resolved that if the Captains wish to remain in the militia with their [p. 10] Companies, that their places in the line First Regiment be filled by new Companies of volunteers raised from the militia for that purpose and that the aforesaid organizations be completed before the General Parade on the 7th of May proximo.
On motion of Captain ,
Resolved that the company of Artilery which is now being raised shall constitute the Second Company First Battalion, and that Captains ’s and ’s Companies of Light Infantry the Second Battalion of the First Regiment, and that the rifle companies bearing the oldest date shall constitute the Second Regiment of the Second Cohort &c. <​-[See Page 16 Resolution omitted]-​>
The following ordinance was then proposed by , who was also appointed to prepare the same for the press under the title of
Ordinance No. 1.
<​Sec 1​> Be it ordained by the Court martial of the Nauvoo Legion in General Court assembled, That the decipline, drill, rules, regulations, and uniform of the ’ Army, so far as applicable, be and they her[e]by are adopted for the Legion; Provided That each Company may adopt its own uniform for the noncommissioned <​officers​> and privates belonging to it.
<​Sec 2.​> That from and after the 15th day of April next, it shall be the duty of every white male inhabitant of the City of , between eighteen and forty five years of age, to enroll himself in some company of the Legion, by reporting himself to the captain thereof, within fifteen days; and every person neglecting or refusing to do so [p. 11] shall, on conviction thereof before a regular Court Martial, forfeit and pay the sum of one dollar, and the further sum of one dollar for every subsequent fifteen days’ neglect.
<​Sec. 3.​> That the Shall hold a general parade on the 1st Saturday of May and September, and on the 4th day of July (the 3rd when the 4th comes on Sunday,) in, or near the City of ; a battalion parade on the 3rd Saturday of June and October, in their respective precincts; a company parade on the 4th Saturday of April, June, and August, in their respective precincts; and an officer drill on the Thursday and Friday preceeding each general parade, in the City of ; and such other musters or parades as the Lieutenant General, and Major Gen— may jointly direct; in each year: and any non-commissioned officer, musician or private, who shall neglect or refuse to appear on said days, shall be fined in the sum of one dollar for each company, or battalion parade; and two dollars for each general parade— and the commissioned officers neglecting or refusing to appear in their appropriate places on parade shall be fined in the following sums, to wit: the Lieutenant General and the Major General thirty dollars; Brevet Major Generals, and Brigadier Generals twenty five dollars; Colonels fifteen dollars— Lieutenant Colonels and Majors ten dollars [p. 12] Captains— six dollars; Lieutenants four dollars; and every commissioned officer, non-commissioned officer, musician or private, who shall neglect or refuse to uniform himself in full, after the lapse of Eight months from the passage of this act, shall be fined in the same sums, in addition for each day of parade— every <​commissioned​> officer non commissioned officer, or musician, who shall neglect or refuse to attend officer drills, shall be fined in half the sums aforesaid— and any commissioned officer who shall neglect or refuse to attend their appropriate courts martial shall be fined in one half the sums aforesaid— and any commissioned officer neglecting or refusing, to discharge any duty devolving upon him shall, in addition, be cashiered and disgraced, by a general Court martial detailed by the Major General by order of the Lieutenant General: Provided, always, That all members of this corporation, who are unable to attend on account of sickness in their families, or any other reasonable excuse, satisfactory to the court martial, shall for the time being, be exempt from all such fines.
<​Sec. 4​> That no person whatever, residing within the limits of the City of , of fifteen days’ residence, between the age of eighteen and forty-five years, except such as are exemted <​by​> the laws of the , shall be exempt from military duty, unless exempted by a special act of the Court Martial of the ; or a certificate of inability, under oath, signed by the Lieutenant <​General​>, and countersigned by the surgeon General, and recorded by the Major General’s War Secretary. [p. 13]
<​Sec. 5.​> Each regimental court of assessment of fines shall be composed of the Major as President— the Adjutant as Secratary— and the Captains of companies as members: and the Court of appeals shall be composed of the Colonel as President— the Adjutant as secretary— and the Lieutenat Colonel & Major as members,— the court of assessments shall sit on the Saturday succeeding each general parade, and the court of appeals on the Second Saturday thereafter, at such places as the Colonel may direct.
<​Sec. 6.​> The regular court and law days of the court martial of the , constituting the law making department of the corporation, shall be the first Friday of March, June, September and December, and such other days as may be appointed by the joint general orders of the Lieutenant General, and the Major General, within the City of , on a notice of ten days.
<​Sec 7.​> The Staff of the Lieutenant General shall consist of an Inspector General with the rank of Major General, a Drill officer, a Judge Advocate, and four Aids de Camp, with the rank of Colonels; and a guard of twelve Aids de Camp, & a Herald and Armor-Bearer, with the rank of Captain.
<​Sec 8.​> The Staff of <​the​> Major General shall consist of an Adjutant General a Surgeon General, a Cornet, a Quarter Master General, Commissary General, a Pay [p. 14] Master General, a Chaplain, two Assistants Inspectors General, four Aids de Camp, and a War Secretary, with the rank of Colonel; a Quarter Master Sergeant, Sergeant Major, and Chief Musician, with the rank of Major; and four Musicians & a Herald and Armor Bearer, with the rank of Captain.
<​Sec. 9.​> The Staff of each Brigadier General shall consist of two Aids de Camp, an Assistant Quarter Master General, an Assistant Commissary General, and a Surgeon, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel; Six Assistant Chaplins, with the rank of Major; and a Herald and Armor Bearer, with the rank of Captain.
<​Sec 10​> The Staff of each Colonel shall consist of an Adjutant, a Quarter Master Surgeant and a Sergeant Major, with the rank of Captain.
<​Sec. 11​> Each Regiment shall be officered with a Colonel, a Lieutenant Colonel, a Major, and Company officers.
<​Sec. 12​> Eeach Company shall be officered with a Captain, three Lieutenants, five Sergeants, one Pioneer, and four Corporals.
<​Sec. 13​> The Lieutenant General, and the Major General may by their joint act, grant brevet commissions to such persons as may merit appointment and promotion at their hands.
<​Sec 14​> That all laws, and parts of laws inconsistent with this ordinance, be and they are hereby repealed.
[2 words illegible] Joseph Smith
Secretary President
Some of the minutes of the Court Martial above has been lost. . [p. 15]
-[See page 11. the following Resolution should have been inserted.[]-]
Resolved, by the Court Martial, that all the laws enacted by this Court, for the use of the , be added to and printed with, the proceedings of the City Council, of the City of as heretofore ordered by said Council.
Passed March 12th 1842.
, Joseph President Smith,
Secratary. President.
[p. 16]


  1. 1

    A month after the city of Nauvoo was created, the city council passed an ordinance dividing Nauvoo into four municipal wards of roughly equal size. The boundary lines that divided the city into four quadrants were Wells Street (running north and south) and Knight Street (running east and west). The wards were numbered clockwise beginning with the northwest ward. (Minutes, 1 Mar. 1841; Nauvoo City Council Minute Book, 1 Mar. 1841, 9–10.)  

  2. 2

    At the highest organizational level the Nauvoo Legion was divided into two cohorts, the first being a “horse” (or mounted cavalry) unit and the second a “foot” (or infantry) unit. The two cohorts were then divided into regiments, which were composed of battalions that were in turn composed of companies. (Minutes, 3 Feb. 1841; see also “Nauvoo Legion Senior Officers.”)  

  3. 3

    As reported in the text that follows, section 3 of the “Ordinance No. 1” that was passed during this same court-martial stipulated that the legion hold a general parade on the Fourth of July and on the first Saturdays in May and September of each year.  

  4. 4

    Wilber was commissioned as a captain in the legion’s Second (infantry) Cohort, First Regiment, First Battalion, Second Company, on 1 May 1841. (“1841 Abstract of Miltitay [Military] Return to Adgt. Genl,” 14 June 1841, Illinois Governor’s Correspondence, 1816–1852, Illinois State Archives, Springfield.)  

    Illinois Governor’s Correspondence, 1816–1852. Illinois State Archives, Springfield.

  5. 5

    Mandatory militia service obligations, including information about age ranges of those required to serve, outfitting of soldiers, and schedules of minimum mustering requirements, were codified and explained in detail in Illinois state law. (See An Act Organizing the Militia of This State [2 Mar. 1833], Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois, pp. 469–498.)  

    The Public and General Statute Laws of the State of Illinois: Containing All the Laws . . . Passed by the Ninth General Assembly, at Their First Session, Commencing December 1, 1834, and Ending February 13, 1835; and at Their Second Session, Commencing December 7, 1835, and Ending January 18, 1836; and Those Passed by the Tenth General Assembly, at Their Session Commencing December 5, 1836, and Ending March 6, 1837; and at Their Special Session, Commencing July 10, and Ending July 22, 1837. . . . Compiled by Jonathan Young Scammon. Chicago: Stephen F. Gale, 1839.

  6. 6

    Prior to the passage of this ordinance, the lieutenant general’s staff consisted of “two principal Aids-de-Camp, with the Rank of Colonels of Cavalry, & a guard of twelve Aids-de-Camp, with the Rank of Captains of Infantry, & a drill officer, with the rank of Colonel of Dragoons, who shall likewise be the Chief officer of the Guard.” (Minutes, 3 Feb. 1841; see also “Nauvoo Legion Senior Officers.”)  

  7. 7

    Prior to the passage of this ordinance, the major general’s staff consisted of “an Adjutant, a Surgeon in Chief, a Cornet, a quarter Master, a Pay Master, a Commissary, & a Chaplain, with the Rank of Colonels of Infantry; a Surgeon for each Cohort, a quarter Master Sergeant, Sergeant Major, & chief Musician, with the rank of Captains of light Infantry; & two Musicians, with the rank of Captains of Infantry.” (Minutes, 3 Feb. 1841; see also “Nauvoo Legion Senior Officers.”)  

  8. 8

    Prior to the passage of this ordinance, each brigadier general’s staff consisted of only one aide-de-camp, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. (Minutes, 3 Feb. 1841; see also “Nauvoo Legion Senior Officers.”)  

  9. 9

    In June 1842 JS printed a thirty-two-page pamphlet titled The City Charter: Laws, Ordinances, and Acts of the City Council of the City of Nauvoo. And Also, the Ordinances of the Nauvoo Legion: From the Commencement of the City to This Date (Nauvoo, IL: Nauvoo City Council, 1842). The subtitle of the pamphlet and this court-martial resolution notwithstanding, the pamphlet contained no Nauvoo Legion ordinances.