Gen. Winfield Scott Plans to Write His Authoritative book, “Infantry Tactics”, by Translating the New French Army Manual

He confides his plan to his friend Roger ap Catesby Jones, the Adjutant General of the U.S. Army, asking him to keep it secret from the bureaucrats.

Purchase $2,700

Scott, who spoke French, admits that France provided the U.S. Army systems: “Our system is founded on that of France originally published in 1791”

Scott fought on the Niagara frontier in the War of 1812, was captured by the British in that campaign during the Battle of Queenston Heights in 1813, but...

Read More

Gen. Winfield Scott Plans to Write His Authoritative book, “Infantry Tactics”, by Translating the New French Army Manual

He confides his plan to his friend Roger ap Catesby Jones, the Adjutant General of the U.S. Army, asking him to keep it secret from the bureaucrats.

Scott, who spoke French, admits that France provided the U.S. Army systems: “Our system is founded on that of France originally published in 1791”

Scott fought on the Niagara frontier in the War of 1812, was captured by the British in that campaign during the Battle of Queenston Heights in 1813, but was released in a prisoner exchange. In March 1814 Scott was brevetted brigadier general. In July 1814, Scott commanded the First Brigade of the American army in the Niagara campaign, winning the Battle of Chippewa decisively on July 5, 1814.. He was wounded during the American defeat at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane (july 25), along with the American commander, Major General Jacob Brown and the British/Canadian commander, Lieutenant General Gordon Drummond. As the American army retreated across the Niagara, Scott commanded the American forces at Fort Erie, another American victory. Scott’s success on the Niagara, combined with American naval victories at Lake Champlain and Lake Erie, guaranteed a stalemate on the northern frontier. Scott’s wounds from Lundy’s Lane were so severe that he did not serve on active duty for the remainder of the war. But his successes had made him a national hero.

Scott remained in military service after the war, studying tactics in Europe and taking a deep interest in maintaining a well-trained and disciplined U.S. Army. He earned the nickname of “Old Fuss and Feathers” for his insistence of military appearance and discipline. In his own campaigns, General Scott preferred to use a core of U.S. Army Regulars rather than volunteers whenever possible. In 1841, he became commanding general of the United States Army, and served in that capacity until 1861.

Scott’s interest in tactics and instruction led to his supervising the preparation of the first standard drill regulations for the Army. He served as president of Board of Tactics in 1815 three times. He visited Europe to study French military methods in 1815/1816, and translated several military manuals of Napoleon into English.

He wrote the standard army manual in 1825, entitled “Infantry tactics, or, rules for the exercise and manoeuvres of the United States infantry”. Scott again visited Europe in 1828, and in 1830 published  “Abstract of Infantry Tactics.” In 1835, he published his most complete and significant work on American tactics – the authoritative “Infantry Tactics”.

Roger ap Catesby Jones served with Scott in the War of 1812. He had caught the eye of General Jacob Brown, who brought Jones into his staff as his assistant adjutant general prior to his 1814 Niagara campaign. As Brown’s adjutant, it was Jones’s responsibility to collect and retain records, determine and detail casualties, manage correspondence, work with or supervise the other adjutants, and see to it that significant information and statistics were reported back to the War Department in Washington. In his capacity as adjutant to the commanding general, he came to know Scott, and the men began a lifetime friendship.

Jones fought conspicuously on July 5, 1814 in the victory at Chippewa, and was personally commended by Brown for his performance at the Battle of Lundy’s Lane on July 25. For these, he won a brevet promotion to major. He next served at the defense of Fort Erie on August 14, and received commendation from General Edmund Gaines. A month later, on September 17, he was involved in the sortie from Fort Erie, and performed so well he was given a brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel. Meanwhile, Jones prepared and sent reports of killed and wounded in the Niagara campaign to the War Department in Washington. He retained the originals of the reports and some copies for his own records as Adjutant General in the field.

You know that our system is founded on that of France originally published in 1791, from which time down to 1831 it had undergone not a single change.

In 1815, after the war, Brown had Jones join him as aide-de-camp and adjutant general. In 1818 Jones became a brevet colonel and then accompanied Brown on a tour of the Northwest defenses. In March 1825 he was appointed Adjutant General of the U.S. Army, a post he held for a record 27 years until his death. He was brevetted brigadier general in June 1832, and major general in May 1848.

As the Army’s overall chief of staff during that period, Jones was responsible for recruiting, training and administration. He worked with the Army’s commanding general, which until 1828 was Brown. After a period of contention with Brown’s successor, the top general’s post was assumed by Jones’s trusted friend and colleague Winfield Scott, who had fought with him in Canada, and they worked closely together to maintain the autonomy of the Army from bureaucratic intrigues. The Jones era is remembered for the reforms he introduced that modernized the Army. He died on July 15, 1852. President Fillmore was among the notables to attend his funeral.

Autograph letter signed, New York, September 11, 1833, to Jones, as he prepared to write his magnum opus, “Infantry Tactics”. “Have you the charge of the remaining copies of The Infantry Tactics, or the means for saying how many copies are on hand for this distribution? I suppose the edition of 1825 to be nearly exhausted, and that a new one will, in a year or less, be required. You know that our system is founded on that of France originally published in 1791, from which time down to 1831 it had undergone not a single change. In the latter year, however, a new & much improved edition was published under the auspices of Marshal Soult. I have a copy & and think of translating it for the government. Not a principle or a word of command has been changed. The great improvements consist in the suppression of some evolutions, the addition of others, & more perfect details. The work has been rendered admirable in all its parts, and should be translated by one & the same hand. In the translation it will be easy to embody the changes which our peculiar organization render necessary. I shall address the Secretary on the subject after hearing from you in reply to the question put above. In the meantime please say nothing of my purpose.” Jones has docketed and signed this on the verso. With its free franked envelope by Scott included.

Scott was already contemplating a new work in this letter, but clearly felt that to get the bureaucrats to sanction paying for one, he would need to show that copies of the earlier edition, published in 1825, were gone. His argument must have worked, as in 1835 his famous “Infantry Tactics” was indeed published.

This letter was part of the Roger Jones papers we have acquired, and has never before been offered for sale.

Purchase Now $2,700

Frame, Display, Preserve

Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.

Learn more about our Framing Services