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[90]

Appointments to these positions were at first made by selection, on nomination by the Ordnance Bureau; but about October, 1862, Congress created fifty officers of artillery especially for ordnance duty, to which two hundred more were subsequently added. As selection for these offices involved much political contrivance, I obtained the order of the Secretary of War to hold examinations for appointment to the grade of Captain and First Lieutenant. This plan succeeded entirely, and relieved us from a thousand personal solicitations. The first examination was held at Richmond. Of some five hundred applications found on file for ordnance officers, less than one hundred came to the examination, and of these only some forty or fifty passed. The examination for Captain involved a fair knowledge of a college course of mathamatics, and none, I believe, passed this except the M. A.'s of the University of Virginia. That for First Lieutenant embraced only an ordinary English education, with a full examination on the Ordnance Manual. This gave us an excellent set of officers—educated men; and although a few of them were, as was said, ‘Virginia school-masters,’ and cannot be said to have distinguished themselves professionally, yet they were all respectable on account of their education; and I am sure there never were in any army a better class of such officers.

These examinations were extended, and were held at the headquarters of each army in the field by a commission, of which Lieutenant-Colonel Le Roy Broun and Lieutenant-Colonel S. Stansbury, Colonel T. A. Rhett and Major J. Wilcox Browne were the chief members. These, or one of them, went to an army and associated with themselves one or more officers detailed by the General at headquarters. In order to provide for that class of valuable officers distinguished for excellent qualities developed by service on the field, but not prepared for a somewhat technical examination, each General of an army designated one or two of this class, who were appointed on his recommendation alone.

Officers in the field were distributed as follows: To each army a ‘chief ordnance officer,’ with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel; to each army corps, an ordnance officer with the rank of Major; to each division a Captain, and to each brigade a First Lieutenant: all these attached to the staff of their respective Generals, but reporting also, directly if necessary, to the ordnance officer, through his superior, in the field, and receiving instructions as to special duties through the same channel. Every regiment had an ordnance Sergeant, charged with the care of the ordnance wagon, which contained the spare arms and the ammunition of each regiment.


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Smith Stansbury (2)
T. A. Rhett (2)
J. Wilcox Browne (2)
Le Roy Broun (2)
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October, 1862 AD (2)
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