Nauvoo Legion Senior Officers, May–August 1842

The charter for the city of , Illinois, enacted in December 1840 to take effect in February 1841, allowed for the formation of a unit of the state militia in Nauvoo. On 3 February 1841, the city council passed an ordinance officially organizing the . On the following day, JS and other commissioned officers of the Illinois state militia elected the general officers of the legion. A document titled “Officers of the Nauvoo Legion,” drafted by sometime in 1841, indicates that additional positions were created and staffed in the ten months following the formation of the legion. Courts-martial held on 12 March and 3 June 1842 resulted in further changes to the legion, affecting the staffs of both the major general and the brigadier generals. Further changes over the next few weeks included the cashiering of Major General John C. Bennett on 30 June and the passing of an ordinance on 12 July that allowed the lieutenant general to add a chief chaplain to his staff. Additional appointments followed, and on 13 August, a court-martial elected to replace John C. Bennett as major general.
The Nauvoo Legion comprised two brigades, or “cohorts,” each headed by a brigadier general. The first cohort consisted of cavalry and the second of infantry and artillery troops. Enlisted men served in one of these two brigades, which were subdivided into regiments (commanded by a colonel), then battalions (commanded by a lieutenant colonel or a major), and then companies (commanded by a captain). Officers retained their rank unless they were terminated by resignation, death, or cashiering out of the legion.
The following chart identifies the staffs of the lieutenant general, major general, and brigadier generals of the Nauvoo Legion as of 13 August 1842; it does not note the colonels, majors, and captains who commanded the legion’s regiments, battalions, and companies. New appointments made during this period are italicized in the respective sections of the chart. In cases where offices went unfilled or for which there is no extant record of who filled the position for the dates shown, the offices are marked “vacant.”
13 August 1842
Lieutenant General Joseph Smith
Lieutenant General’s Staff
Inspector General (previously )
Assistant Inspector General (Colonel) George Schindle
Drill Officer (Colonel)
Judge Advocate (Colonel)
Aides-de-Camp (Colonels)
Chief Chaplain (Colonel) [vacant]
Guard of Aides-de-Camp (Captains)
Herald and Armor Bearer (Captain)
Major General (previously )
Major General’s Staff
Adjutant General (Colonel)
Assistant Adjutant General—First Cohort (Colonel)
Assistant Adjutant General—Second Cohort (Colonel)
Surgeon Generals (Colonels)
George Cooke
Assistant Surgeon General (Colonel) Abel Underhill
Cornet (Colonel)
Quartermaster General (Colonel)
Commissary General (Colonel)
Paymaster General (Colonel)
Chaplain (Colonel)
Assistant Chaplain (Colonel)
Assistant Inspector General—First Cohort (Colonel)
Assistant Inspector General—Second Cohort (Colonel) John Bills
Aides-de-Camp (Colonels) Carlos Gove
George Schindle
Amos Dean
J. M. Binelo
War Secretary (Colonel)
Quartermaster Seargeant (Major)
Seargeant Major (Major)
Chief Musician (Major)
Musicians (Captains)
William Pitt
Herald and Armor Bearer (Captain) Samuel Hicks
First Cohort Second Cohort
Brigadier General [vacant] (previously )
Brigadier General’s Staff
Aides-de-Camp (Lieutenant Colonels)
Adjutant (Lieutenant Colonel) George W. Thatcher
Sergeant Major (Lieutenant Colonel)
Quartermaster Sergeant (Colonel) [vacant]
Assistant Quartermaster General (Lieutenant Colonel)
Assistant Commisary General (Lieutenant Colonel) Robert Ivins
Surgeon (Lieutenant Colonel)
Assistant Chaplains (Majors)
Brigade Inspector (Major) John Bills
Herald and Armor Bearer (Captain) William Whitmarsh
  1. 1

    Act to Incorporate the City of Nauvoo, 16 Dec. 1840.  

  2. 2

    Minutes, 3 Feb. 1841.  

  3. 3

    Minutes, 4 Feb. 1841.  

  4. 4

    “Officers of the Nauvoo Legion,” 1841, Nauvoo Legion Records, CHL.  

    Nauvoo Legion Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 3430.

  5. 5

    Minutes, 12 Mar. 1842; Nauvoo Legion Minute Book, 3 June 1842, 16–19.  

    Nauvoo Legion Minute Book, 1843–1844. Nauvoo Legion, Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 3430, fd. 1.

  6. 6

    JS, Journal, 30 June 1842; Letter from Thomas Carlin, 27 July 1842; Nauvoo Legion Minute Book, 12 July 1842, 21.  

    Nauvoo Legion Minute Book, 1843–1844. Nauvoo Legion, Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 3430, fd. 1.

  7. 7

    Nauvoo Legion, Proceedings, 13 Aug. 1842, Nauvoo Legion Records, CHL; Nauvoo Legion Minute Book, [13] Aug. 1842, 29.  

    Nauvoo Legion Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 3430.

    Nauvoo Legion Minute Book, 1843–1844. Nauvoo Legion, Records, 1841–1845. CHL. MS 3430, fd. 1.