Guide to the Records of the U.S. House of Representatives at the National Archives, 1789-1989 (Record Group 233)
Chapter 4. Records of the Armed Services Committee and Its Predecessors: Committee on Military Affairs, 1822-1946
Committee Records discussed in this chapter:
- Committee on Military Affairs, 1822-1946
- Committee on the Militia, 1835-1911
- Committee on Naval Affairs, 1822-1946
- Committee on the Armed Services, 1947-68
Jurisdiction and History 4.2 The Constitution of the United States grants Congress the powers to raise and support armies, and to make rules for the administration and regulation of land forces under the command of the President. In the House, a succession of select committees considered legislation on military affairs from 1811 until 1822, w hen the House established a standing Committee on Military Affairs. Section 12 of House Rule XI covered the committee's original purview and provided that:
- It shall be the duty of the said Committee on Military Affairs to take into consideration all subjects
relating to the military establishment and public defense, which may be referred to them by the House, and
report, from time to time, such measures as may contribute to the economy and accountability in the said
4.3 Under the rule change of 1885 the committee was authorized to report the appropriation bills covering the military establishment, the public defense, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY. The committee reported the military appropriation bills until 1920 when that power was transferred to the Appropriations Committee.
4.4 Also included in the jurisdiction of the committee were subjects, such as the establishment and care of national cemeteries and battlefields; acquisition and conveyance of lands for military reservations and improvements upon such grounds; disposition of war trophies and distribution of obsolete weapons and armament; conduct of joint operations of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps; and promotion of military aviation and Army aeronautics. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 abolished the Committee on Military Affairs and transferred its jurisdiction to the newly-created Armed Services Committee.
Records of the Committee on Military Affairs, 17th-79th Congresses (1822-1946)
|Record Type||Volume||Congresses (Dates)|
|Minute Books||35 vols.||34th (1855-57), 37th-39th (1861-67), 42d-43d (1871-75), 45th-69th (1877-1927), 73d-79th (1933-46)|
|Docket Books||70 vols.||19th-64th (1825-1917)|
|Petitions and Memorials||25 ft.||12th-53d (1811-95), 55th-65th (1897-1919), 67th-71st (1921-31), 75th-76th (1937-41), 78th-79th (1943-46)|
|Committee Papers||74 ft.||12th-79th (1811-1946)|
|Bill Files||97 ft.||58th-62d (1903-13), 64th-79th (1915-46)|
|TOTAL:||196 ft. and 105 vols. (8 ft.)|
|Committee Records Summary Table|
4.5 There are no minute books for the period between 1822 and 1854, but minutes do exist for most Congresses from 1855-1899. The minutes show the dates of committee meetings and identify the members and witnesses present at discussions, debates, and hearings. They record motions made and resolutions introduced; referrals of petitions, bills, and other documents; votes on bills and resolutions; and reports adopted or rejected. Many of the books after 1909 also feature typewritten entries and memorandums and letters of committee members occasionally were inserted in the volumes. Beginning with the 64th Congress, the books contain proceedings of both open and executive sessions of the whole committee and its various subcommittees. Some of the minute books were transferred to the Armed Services Committee along with the committee's jurisdictional responsibilities, and those volumes have been retired as part of the Armed Services Committee's Library Collection.
4.6 The docket books are numerous. The format consists of the date of the bill or claim considered, the name of the member who introduced a measure, and occasional remarks by the chairman on the action taken on a particular item. The docket books for the 64th Congress contain typewritten entries providing a systematic numbering scheme for bills, resolutions, and reports. Some volumes are indexed, and other volumes include alphabetically arranged lists of the subjects and bills considered.
4.7 The petitions and memorials the committee received cover a wide variety of subjects relating to the management of the Army establishment and the promotion of American preparedness. Handwritten petitions and memorials from individuals, citizens' groups, or lobbying organizations are most common, but printed memorials and resolutions from State legislatures are also numerous. Legal documents, such as testimonies or notarized papers, often accompany claims for the relief of individuals or groups. During the 58th Congress (1903-5) the committee began filing some applications for pensions, compensation, or other forms of relief, in a newly created series of records called bill files. Because such claims had accounted for a large proportion of the petitions and memorials the number of documents filed in the petitions series is considerably reduced after 1903. With claims eliminated, the petitions and memorials consist primarily of resolutions and memorials received from State legislatures, complaints from trade associations, prayers of civic and veterans' organizations, and protests from religious societies and labor unions.
4.8 Some petitions referred to in the discussion that follows predate the establishment of the standing Committee on Military Affairs during the 17th Congress. Such petitions and memorials were received by predecessor select committees.
4.9 Claims of veterans for pensions, bounty lands, or compensation for services rendered, personal property lost, or injuries sustained in wartime account for a large proportion of the petitions and memorials. Veterans of the War of 1812 prayed for committee intervention in securing and settling Indian lands "conquered by" Maj. Gen. William Henry Harrison from the "faithless Indian nations" (12A- F6.1). Volunteer soldiers who served on the Canadian border similarly prayed for compensation for property losses sustained at the hands of marauding Indians (32A- G12.2, 36A-G11.1). Recurrent wars with the Seminole Indians, 1820-40, also led to claims from Regular Army officers or State militia members for relief or compensation from Congress (18A-F10.1, 29A-G10.2, 36A-G11.1). Between 1850 and 1857 members of State militias who had served in the Mexican War or had fought Indians in the Southwest, claimed compensation from Congress. The Civil War, however, produced the greatest number of veterans' claims. The records of every Congress between 1865 and 1885 contain petitions from Union veterans who either prayed for bounty lands in the West, asked Congress to amend the 1862 Homestead Act to authorize grants of 160 acres of land without the 5-year prior settlement requirement, or demanded an equalization of bounty money paid by the Government to wartime volunteers who had joined the Army at different times (31A-G11.1, 32A-G12.2, 33A-G12.1, 34A-G11.1, 41A.H7.10).
4.10 A large number of the claims are from widows or guardians of the children of deceased servicemen who asked for pensions, annuities, or other relief. For example, petitions recounting the plight of widows, mothers, and relatives of soldiers killed in the War of 1812 are among the records of several Congresses (14A-F7.2, 18A-F10.1, 23A-G11.1, 25A-G11.1, 27A-G12.1, 36A-G11.1). One petitioner, who wanted bounty land, was Maria Fabler, the widow of veteran Benjamin Fabler, a "West Indian or Mulatto" member of a regiment of black soldiers from Philadelphia, who had died in 1818 (24A-G11.1). Not all claims were war-related; Matilda B. Dunn prayed for congressional aid following the 1829 murder of her husband, Col. Thomas B. Dunn, Superintendent of the U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry, VA (21A.G12.1).
4.11 State legislatures and citizens' groups who backed or participated in various military actions sought compensation for expenses incurred during expeditions against the Spanish in Florida and the Southwest and the hostile Indians in the Northwest, Florida, the Southwest, and upper New York State (12A-F6.1, 13A-G7.1, 24A-G11.1, 25A-G11.1, 33A-D10.10, 35A-G12.1, 36A-G11.3, 41A-H7.1). Also among the petitions are claims from citizens who held the Army or militia forces either directly or indirectly responsible for damaged or destroyed private property (23A-G11.1, 30A-G12.1, 31A-G11.2, 33A-G12.14, 36A-G11.1). Such a claim came from Mexican rancher, Jose de Arquello of Santiago, CA, who demanded relief for extensive property losses sustained at the hands of Mexican troops in reprisal for his wartime support of the forces of the United States (32A- G12.2).
4.12 Another substantial number of petitions and memorials came from individual citizens, lobbying groups, State legislatures, and civic associations for improvements in the military establishment. Examples of these are petitions from Ohio militia (19A-G11.2), and the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont legislatures (14A-F7.3, 22A-G13.2) for a more efficient militia system. Numerous individuals like Aaron J. Booge (15A-G8.2) wanted more chaplains in the U.S. Army, a goal also sought by religious associations (16A-G11.2), 50A-H17.1, 53A-H20.1, 55A- H16.2), while aggrieved Jewish congregations asked for the repeal of legislation barring Jewish chaplains in the Union Army (37A-G8.4). Petitions called for the appointment of homeopathic surgeons in the Army (37A-G8.2, 55A-H16.3) and the creation of a chiropractic and a pharmacy corps (78A-H12.5, 78A-H12.10). Army doctors wanted the establishment of an ambulance and hospital corps (38A-G12.1), and the Samuel Hopkins Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Henderson, KY, asked for a "Women's Nursing Service" (55A-H16.4). In 1865, Union veterans from Clinton, NY, prayed for the perpetuation of the Veteran Reserve Corps (39A-H15.3).
4.13 More specific proposals for expansion of the military establishment after 1907 include a prayer from the Automobile Club of Maryland for the creation of a volunteer motor corps as part of the State militia (60A-H23.12); resolutions of the Florida legislature praying for the establishment of Army aviation schools in Florida (69A-H12.1, 70A-H9.10); and petitions from the American Legion for a division in the War Department to administer the Officers' Reserve Corps, Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), and Citizens' Military Training Camps (70A- H9.6).
4.14 The subject of education in the Army figures prominently in the records. Many of the documents concern the administration and operation of the U.S. Military Academy. The select committees considered the request of Col. William Duane to have the Army adopt his textbook on the elements of military discipline as well as his Military Dictionary (12A-F6.1), while J. R. Rumville asked for similar consideration for his Drummer's Instructor, or Martial Musician (15A-G8.2). Other documents concerning the Academy include a report on an investigation of complaints of harsh discipline and official harassment of cadets (16A-G11.1); resolutions from the Connecticut legislature and from citizens groups in various States calling for the closing of the allegedly elitist and undemocratic Military Academy (28A-G13.1); and a proprosal to establish a German professorship at the Academy (37A-G8.17). Other records include petitions both for and against proposals to initiate rifle practice and military training in schools and colleges (60A- H23.10, 62A-H20.2) and to establish more advanced aviation schools (62A-H20.2, 64A-H16.4, 69A-H12.3, 70-H9.10, 76A-H16.2).
4.15 Petitions and memorials involving military preparedness largely concern technological inventions and improvements of ordnance facilities, inland fortifications, and coastal defenses. Many petitions are pleas from American inventors who sought congressional approval of their inventions. During the 19th century, the committee was asked to consider the following inventions: an explosive mine for protecting ports, harbors, and navigable waters (13A-G7.1); a patented horse litter, pack saddle, and portable magazine, which was endorsed by Generals Winfield Scott and Henry Atkinson (24A-G11.1); an improved "Hand Grenade" (29A-G10.6); and other devices (14A-F7.1, 26A-G11.5, 28A-G13.6, 30A-G12.1, 32A-G12.3, 33A-G12.12, 34A-G11.3, 35A-G12.3). The petition promoting Dr. Solomon Andrews' "aerial ship" with inflatable cylinders includes a photograph of the machine (38A-G12.13). In 1904 the committee received C. Zeglen's proposals for the use of improved bulletproof cloth (58A-H16.2), and in 1939 John H. Smith of Texas asked the committee to recommend manufacture of his "Rigid Dirigible Airship" (76A-H16.2).
4.16 The construction of military facilities throughout the United States, particularly before the Civil War, was also an important part of military preparedness. State legislatures, civic associations, and former Army personnel unceasingly and unsuccessfully called upon Congress to establish a western armory (19A-G11.1, 23A-G11.1, 25A-G11.2, 26A-G11.3, 28A-G13.3, 29A-G10.1, 33A- G12.4, 36A-G11.2, 37A-G8.8). The committee did report favorably on petitions and memorials concerning the Federal armory at Harpers Ferry, the status of the armory's employees, and efforts of the Winchester and Potomac Railroad to obtain a right-of-way through Harpers Ferry (20A-G11.1, 21A-G12.1, 22A-G11.3, 27A- G12.3).
4.17 The committee also extended approval to the construction of seacoast forts, fortifications, and harbor defenses at Mobile, AL, and Pensacola, FL (18A- F10.1, 23A-G11.2, 29A-G10.3), and at New York City (17A-F9.2, 18A-F10.1). Proposals to build forts and posts to protect western frontiersmen and emigrants to California and Oregon, and to construct or improve roads to expedite the movement of troops and settlers westward also received committee consideration (27A-G12.2, 28A-G13.4, 29A-G10.3, 30A-G12.5, 35A-G12.6, 36A-G11.2, 37A-G8.7, 46A- G14.3, 55A-H16.4). In the 20th century, the Pennsylvania General Assembly called for improvements to the Frankford Arsenal at Philadelphia (63A-H19.4), and other organizations recommended improved aircraft defenses for the Pacific coast (76A- H16.6), and supported the expanded defense establishment proposed in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's military buildup plans (76A-H16.4). Numerous petitions also concern a controversy over postwar control of the Government-built World War I power and munitions plants at Muscle Shoals, AL (67A-H14.1, 68A-H13.2, 69A-H12.3, 70A-H9.5, 71A-12.1).
4.18 Another aspect of military preparedness--universal military training and the selective service--became an important issue in the 20th century. The Selective Service Act became law on May 18, 1917, and the records include petitions favoring the draft as a preparedness measure from groups such as students from Princeton University, the American Peace and Arbitration League, and the American Legion (64A-H16.3, 65A-H11.3, 68A-H13.3, 70A-H9.9, 75A-H12.2). Those who opposed conscription included 245 citizens of Belmont County, OH; virtually all professors at the University of Florida; and the Mennonites (64A-H16.3, 65A- H11.3). Members of Mennonite congregations also prayed for exemption from the law on religious grounds (65A-H11.5). After World War I, the Bridgeport, CT, post of the American Legion demanded that Congress permanently deny citizenship to all who had claimed exemption from military service in 1917 because they were aliens (67A-H14.3).
4.19 The committee also had to consider petitions and memorials concerning the Burke-Wadsworth Bill of 1940 which became the Selective Training and Service Act of September 16, 1940: the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and civic groups supported the draft, but some chapters of labor organizations such as the United Office and Professional Workers of America and the United Automobile Workers of America opposed conscription prior to American involvement in World War II (76A-H16.3). A proposed system of peacetime universal military training after the war faced bitter opposition from various church, labor, and citizens' groups (78A-H12.12), but a new Selective Service Act became law in June 1948.
4.20 Another large group of petitions and memorials pertains to the pay, promotion, and status of military personnel. Petitions about these subjects are among the records of most Congresses, including those of the 78th Congress (1943- 44), which contain petitions calling for the promotion of American prisoners of the Japanese in World War II (78A-H12.4). Some petitions concern the rank of officers and enlisted men (47A-H13.1, 55A-H16.1), while others involve proposed retirement laws for veterans (39A-H15.4, 47A-H13.3, 49A-H14.1); benefits for disabled veterans and civilian employees of the Army (60A-H23.7, 62A-H19.9, 64A-H16.2, 67A-H14.2, 70A-H9.3, 75A-H12.5); and the establishment and maintenance of an Army asylum and soldiers' homes (47A-H7.1, 47A-H13.4, 49A- H14.1). Researchers who are seeking information on the administration of the early 19th-century Army may find the document accompanying William Hobby's petition to be of interest. The disgruntled Hobby, a former clerk for the Army paymaster in Boston, MA, described his complaints in detail in his 1830 booklet, Exposition of a Part of the Frauds, Corruptions, and Improprieties Committed in the Pay Department of the Army of the United States Since the Year 1816, which he submitted with his petition (21A-G12.1).
4.21 State temperance societies submitted petitions expressing opposition to the sale and consumption of liquor in the Army (26A-G11.4, 27A-G12.3, 29A- G10.8, 37A-G8.18, 55A-H16.4). The widespread opposition and protest to the operation of canteens on Army posts led to the submission of many petitions and memorials to the committee. Methodist and Presbyterian churches, the Anti-Saloon League, and various chapters of the Women's Christian Temperance Union supported the Spaulding or "anti-canteen" bill passed in 1901 as a means to destroy the "death-trap of Satan" or "Army Beer Saloon" (56A-H16.3, 57A-H17.1, 58A- H16.1). Other organizations such as the Spanish American Veterans Association and the National German American Alliance just as vigorously demanded the repeal of the law and their efforts eventually were rewarded (59A-H17.1, 60A-H23.9).
4.22 Another subject that concerned the committee was the controversial use of the Army in labor disputes. Union-organized miners in Colorado demanded that President Theodore Roosevelt act to halt the use of State militia against them and to end their detention in "bull pens" (58A-H16.2), while citizens of Idaho's Coeur d'Alene Mining District asked the Secretary of War to allow Federal troops to remain in Osborne to end the "reign of terror" against the property interests there (56A-H16.4). Illinois socialists subsequently denounced Roosevelt's use of Federal troops in Nevada (60A-H23.12), and union workers in New York opposed a more Federally-controlled National Guard, considering it a potential weapon against strikes (62A-H20.3).
4.23 Miscellaneous petitions and memorials include complaints from victimized military personnel about unfair practices of post sutlers (29A-G10.8, 37A-G8.15), and from Quakers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Indiana protesting the use of Cuban-bred bloodhounds against the Seminole Indians in the Florida War (26A-G11.2). Other miscellaneous items include demands from Indiana citizens that Confederate prisoners in Northern camps be shown the same "diabolical and hellish brutality" and "barbarous treatment" that Union prisoners received in Rebel stockades in the Civil War South (38A-G12.12); a claim for compensation for Lt. William T. Sherman, who performed special duty on the Pacific coast (31A-G11.2); and the prayer of California citizens for money to finance a military expedition against the Mojave Indians to rescue Lorenzo D. Oatman's captive sister who had become the wife of a Mojave chief (34A-G11.1).
4.24 Miscellaneous petitions and memorials received by the committee during the 20th century are highly diverse. Most representative, however, are prayers of veterans of the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and the China Campaign (Boxer Rebellion) for special medals and badges (60A-H23.5); petitions from Gold Star Mothers of America for funds to enable them to visit the graves in France of their sons who died during World War I (68A-H13.1); and prayers of members of the American Bataan Club of Maywood, IL, for more substantial relief for American prisoners of war in Japan and on the Pacific islands (78A-H12.3). Another set of petitions and memorials include protests from citizens of San Diego and other California communities against the return of previously interned Japanese-Americans to their homes on the West Coast (78A-H12.8).
4.25 The committee papers consist of reports on petitions, memorials, resolutions, bills, legal documents accompanying claims, and some correspondence between committee members and War Department officials, State governors, attorneys, and private claimants. After 1899 other types of documents are in the files. These include technical publications, bound transcripts of committee hearings, and legislative calendars. The committee papers are related directly to the petitions and memorials and pertain to the same subjects. Like the petitions, the pre-1822 documents referred to below are from select committees.
4.26 Most of the committee papers relating to claims consist of committee reports on petitions, memorials, and resolutions from State Legislatures or private organizations. They cover claims of veterans for pensions, bounty lands, and compensation for services rendered, property lost, and injuries sustained in war. Widows of veterans, deceased servicemen or other military personnel sought pensions, annuities, or other relief. A typical early claims file is one for Pamela Adams, the widow of an Army officer who was killed in the Black Hawk War of 1832, which consists of a 2-page report on her petition (23A-D12.1). In sharp contrast is the substantial file relating to the claim of Anna Ella Carroll of Maryland who sought compensation for "military and other services" offered to the Union during the Civil War; she supported her claim with a copy of Sarah Ellen Blackwell's 1891 publication, A Military Genius, Life of Anna Ella Carroll of Maryland and several other documents (52A-F28.4). Also among these papers are claims pressed upon the War Department and Congress in 1854 by Mormon Governor Brigham Young, Utah Territory, for reimbursement of the Territorial government's expenses in suppressing Indian hostilities in the West--a claim rejected by Secretary of War Jefferson Davis (33A-D10.5). Also included is a subsequent and equally unsuccessful prayer of the Mormon Governor for indemnification for losses sustained during the U. S. Army's punitive expedition into Utah Territory (35A-D12.3).
4.27 Some committee papers concern the complex subject of the organization of the military establishment. They include bills, resolutions, and proposals to increase the efficiency and improve the organization of the militia and the National Guard (13A-D8.1, 18A-C10.2, 22A-D16.2, 36A-D14.4, 63A-F26.1, 66A-F27.1) and reports on proposed reorganizations of the Army (56A-F23.1, 64A-F24.2, 70A-F23.1, 79A-F26.1). Among the papers are bills proposing a reorganization of the Topographical Engineer Corps (12A-C6.1, 33A-D12.2, 38A- E12.2, 40A-F15.5) and the Corps of Artificers (12A-C6.1); a merger of the Marine Corps with the Army Infantry and Artillery (21A-D15.2); the creation of a special corps of sappers, miners and pontoon builders (27A-D13.3); a reorganization of the Surgeon's and Ordnance Departments (30A-D13.2); and a reduction of the number of officers in the Army Medical Corps (53A-F27.2). There are also hearings and reports relating to the establishment of the U. S. Air Service as an independent branch of the Army (66A-F27.4). Records relating to sundry Army appropriation bills are included in the committee papers for several Congresses (64A-F24.1, 66A-F27.1, 74A-F26.1, 76A-F28.1).
4.28 Also represented among the committee papers are records on education. Many of the early files concern the Military Academy, its academic program (22A- D16.2), and the need to improve its examination system (28A-D17.2, 38A-E12.4). The committee also considered the Academy's need for science professors (19A- D12.4, 44A-F20.3); a proposal to provide Academy educations for the sons of Army officers killed in the War of 1812 (14A-C7.1); a petition from graduating cadets praying that action be taken to secure them commissions (49A-F21.2); an investigation of allegations of congressional sales of cadet appointments (41A- F15.4), and a proposed Joint Resolution in 1910 calling for the special admission of Chinese students to the Academy (61A-F34.2). Some records pertain to discipline problems such as student infractions (20A-D13.4) and the dismissal of six cadets from the Academy in 1909 (61A-F34.2). Records of the 66th Congress include supporting documents for the Military Appropriations Bill in 1919 (66A-F27.1).
4.29 Other records relating to education include messages in 1911 from President William H. Taft asking for authority to send military instructors to Chile and to compensate instructors in Cuba (62A-F26.2) and a proposal in 1917 to exempt medical students from the draft (65A-F21.1).
4.30 The committee papers, like the petitions and memorials, contain records relating to technological inventions and the construction of more sophisticated military facilities. The papers include reports on such inventions as a "proposed floating battery" (12A-C6.1), a cannon-pointing device (24A-D13.1), an unsuccessful "propelling machine" intended as an improved version of the six-pounder cannon (25A-D15.2), a patented rifle (26A-D15.1), and a multicharge coastal artillery gun (48A-F21.6, 49A-F21.2). Also included are files on the contested patent claims of Robert P. Parrott and John B. Read for improved projectiles for rifled ordnance (54A-F26.1) and the testing of the Gathman Torpedo, which is documented by a printed report with photographs (57A-F23.1). Proposals for new or improved military and veterans' facilities include files on armories and arsenals (69A-F30.3) and soldiers' homes (71A-F26.1). The construction of an armory for ordnance manufacture in the West engaged the committee's consideration throughout the antebellum period (12A-C6.1, 14A-C7.1, 19A-D12.1, 23A-D12.2, 28A-D17.10).
4.31 The papers also include files on the construction of inland forts and posts for the defense of the Canadian, trans-Mississippi, and Southwest borders (21A-D12.2, 22A-D16.2, 23A-D12.2, 26A-D15.2, 27A-D13.2, 29A-D11.2, 33A- D10.6, 35A-D12.4, 40A-F15.2, 46A-F21.3) and the protection of westward bound settlers against Indians angered by the invasion of their homelands (24A-D13.2). The building of military roads west of the Appalachians also was a subject that constantly required the committee's attention given the importance of such roads to military operations and the westward movement of American settlers (19A-D12.5, 27A-D13.3, 33A-D10.11, 34A-D12.3, 35A-D12.4, 36A-D14.3, 51A-F23.1).
4.32 Records relating to military justice and discipline often include copies of proceedings of courts of inquiry and courts-martial. Such records are available in files on mutinous Tennessee militiamen (20A-D13.2), the military superintendent of the armory at Harpers Ferry (20A-D13.4), officials and cadets at the Military Academy (16A-D14.1), a Civil War officer accused of slander and voyeurism (53A- F27.3), and army officers charged with whoremongering (50A-F23.1), among others.
4.33 Of particular significance are the records concerning the case of Lt. Henry O. Flipper, the first black graduate of the Military Academy (Class of 1877). An 1882 court-martial dismissed Flipper for an alleged misappropriation of funds at Fort Davis, TX. Among the records are copies of Flipper's formal petition for restoration to rank and service and a 1898 brief of his case, a photograph of Flipper after his graduation from the Academy, testimonials supporting his reinstatement, letters from Flipper to members of the Committee on Military Affairs, and a favorable committee report on H.R. 9849--a bill that authorized the President to reinstate Flipper (56A-F23.3).
4.34 Other records relating to discipline include disciplinary regulations proposed by Gen. Winfield Scott and those of the War Department (16A-D14.2, 42A-F17.2). There are also records on the trial and punishment of black soldiers involved in a riot at Houston, TX in 1917 (67A-F28.1).
4.35 Papers on pay and promotions are extensive (19A-D12.6, 20A-D13.1, 22A-D16.1, 26A-D15.1, 33A-D10.2, 38A-E12.6). So too are the papers concerning rank (19A-D12.3, 42A-F17.1, 44A-F20.3), which include a file on Gen. Scott's unsuccessful demand for full rank and privileges based on his previous honorary appointment as a brevet major general (20A-D13.3). The papers also include files on the many proposed retirement pay laws introduced in Congress (37A-E10.1, 48A-F21.9).
4.36 A great variety of other subjects are covered by the committee papers. Examples of these are: War Department contracts and accounts of purchases (45A- F21.1, 47A-F16.1); protests against the Army whiskey ration (21A-D15.2); the cost of liquor and other supplies sold by the post trader at Fort Buford, ND (43A-F17.3); desertions and resignations from the Army (22A-D16.2, 28A-D17.2); a monument to the Revolutionary War soldiers and sailors who perished aboard British prison ships, particularly the notorious Jersey (28A-D17.2); the liquidation of Fort Brown, TX (50A-F23.3, 52A-F28.2) and Fort Yuma, Arizona Territory (45A-F21.5, 48A- F21.1); and occupational deferments for Federal employees, 1943-45 (78A-F25.1).
4.37 Other miscellaneous committee papers include correspondence and reports relating to Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson's execution of alleged spies Alexander Arbuthnot and Robert Ambrister during his invasion of Spanish Florida in 1818 (15A-D8.1); hearings on the depletion of domestic reserves of scrap iron and steel, the commissioning of bandmasters, and the adequacy of the United States national defense (76A-F28.1); and correspondence and transcripts of hearings documenting an investigation of irregularities involving the War Department's defense contracts with firms manufacturing armaments during World War II (78A- F25.2).
4.38 The bill files (97 ft.) form the bulk of the committee's 20th-century records. They consist of copies of printed bills and resolutions and committee hearings; correspondence between the chairmen and claimants or their legal representatives, the Secretary of War, and other War Department authorities; collections of testimonials and legal documents supporting claims for relief. The files for each Congress are in two groups: the public bills are arranged numerically by bill or reservation number; the private bills are arranged alphabetically by name of person or by subject.
4.39 Many of the bill files concern applications for relief from retired or disabled servicemen, veterans, widows, or dismissed military personnel. Among the files for the 59th Congress, 1905-7 (59A-D17), is a summary of the military service records of 84 officers from the Union volunteer forces prepared for H.R. 8989, which proposed a compilation of a "Volunteer Retired List" of former Civil War officers who would be entitled to receive an annuity from the Government. Related records are in the bill files for the 60th Congress (60A-D20) under H.R. 19250.
4.40 The bill files cover many subjects. Among them is the status of blacks in the Army during the World War II period. In 1941 Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson reported unfavorably on H.R. 34 to establish a separate "colored combat unit" within the Michigan National Guard (77A-D24) because the War Department had plans to organize "additional colored combat units" as part of an effort "to establish a well balanced military force." In 1945, Stimson also reported unfavorably on H.R. 2708 proposed by black New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., to desegregate the Armed Forces (79A-D25).
1 Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, 17th Cong., 1st sess., Mar. 13, 1822, p. 351.