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To James Madison from Alexander J. Dallas, 4 May 1815

From Alexander J. Dallas

4. May 1815.

Dear Sir.

I send a third Report of the Board of Officers, containing a plan, for establishing a Northern and Southern Division of the United States, to be subdivided into nine military Departments; for the distribution of the rank and file of the Army, to the Corps and Regiments of the peace organization; and for apportioning the Corps and Regiments to the two great Divisions.1 It is proper to note, that the rank and file stated in the Report, are with reference to the existing numbers, making in all 12,709 men, to be reduced by selections to the 10,000 authorised by the Act of Congress.

The Accounts from France reach so low in March, that we cannot expect much later intelligence by the next arrivals. You will find it necessary, therefore, to decide upon suspending the departure of the Squadron, and the discharge of the Army, before the attitude of France and England towards each other, enables us to shape a certain course. The non-surrender of Castine &c becomes a serious difficulty; and we have thought it best that Mr. Monroe should talk with Mr. Baker on the subject. I am, Dr Sir, most respectfully & faithfully, Yrs.

A. J. Dallas

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM. For enclosure, see n. 1.

1The report, signed by Maj. Gen. Jacob Brown as president of the board and dated 3 May 1815, recommended that five military districts, including 1) “New York above the Highlands and Vermont,” 2) “New England except Vermont,” 3) “New York, below the Highlands and that part of New Jersey which furnishes the first Division of Militia,” 4) “Pennsylvania Delaware maryland that part of New Jersey which furnishes the second Division of Militia,” and 5) “Ohio, and the Territories of Michigan & Indiana,” constitute the Northern Division of the army, and that the remaining four districts, consisting of 1) Virginia and North Carolina, 2) South Carolina and Georgia, 3) Louisiana and Mississippi Territory, and 4) Tennessee, Kentucky, and Missouri and Illinois Territories, make up the Southern Division. The board also advised that forty existing infantry regiments, ranging from as few as 3 or 4 rank and file to more than 500, be amalgamated into seven infantry regiments, a regiment of light artillery, and a corps of artillery. The new infantry regiments were each to incorporate between 787 and 1,053 of the currently serving rank and file, the light artillery 778, and the corps of artillery 3,360. In addition, four rifle regiments were to be consolidated into one, totaling 998 rank and file. The second, third, fifth, and sixth Infantry regiments were assigned to the Northern Division, and the remaining infantry to the Southern Division; the light artillery to the Northern, the rifle regiment to the Southern, and the corps of artillery to be “equally divided” between the two. JM submitted a copy of the report to the Senate on 13 Feb. 1816 (DNA: RG 46, Executive Proceedings, Other Records, 14B–D1; 6 pp.).

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