October 28, 1861
Neal Dow, commanding the 13th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, trains in Augusta for deployment to the war front as if his regiment will almost certainly be assigned one, if not two, Artillery Batteries. Dow continues to write to Governor Israel Washburn and Maine’s Adjutant General John Hodsdon, He indicates in an October 24 letter that he expects that General Davis Tillson will command at least one of the artillery batteries.
Dow’s letter campaign was not restricted to Maine, He even writes to the U.S. Secretary of War to apply for the artillery.
He asserts that "Artillery is needed far more than infantry. Most battles are now decided by the most and best served artillery."
Dow further proclaims that "the chief use of infantry will be to support that arm of the service" (artillery).
At the outset of the Civil War, a typical infantry regiment contained a thousand men, while a light artillery battery contained between 70 and 100 men. As Dow proposes his plan to Secretary Simon Cameron, he turns U.S. Army priorities upside down.
Another element that Dow considered to be important was the assignment of musicians to his regiment. In fact, Dow had earlier expected to be receive an entire band, but the War Department soon disallowed all bands below the Brigade level.
Under the revised program, infantry regiments were only to be allowed fifers and drummers.
Because his unit is still training in Augusta and awaiting orders to proceed to Washington and the war front, Dow believes that some of the details remain to be decided – such as, just how big a regiment might he command. He writes of a force the size of a "Battalion" but the distinction could just as easily have been that he was proposing that the 13th Maine be a double regiment under the "French System." Dow was to be denied. No American units were formed under the "French System" and no unit ever had 20 drums.
- Why did Dow invoke the French systems for organizing regiments and musicians?
- Who was Antoine-Henry Jomini, who influenced many American Civil War Civil War officers?
- Did the British Army distinguish itself in the Crimean War?