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Flexible gender roles during the market revolution: family, friendship, marriage, and masculinity among U.S. Army officers, 1815-1846.

After nearly thirty years of research, separate spheres, domesticity, and patriarchy remain the dominant conceptual categories in the historiography of gender in nineteenth century America. Despite introducing an array of nuances, scholars have devoted most of their attention to the social construction of female roles, while ideals of masculinity have largely been subsumed under the rubric of the self-made man struggling in the competitive capitalist marketplace. Historians have only just begun to investigate more varied male gender roles and identities.(1) Officers in the United States Army would hardly seem likely candidates for an essay in revisionism. Their most recent chronicler has given their relationships with women little attention, and he briefly dismisses them as conservative advocates of separate spheres for the two genders. The only explicit analyses of military commanders' conceptions of masculinity per se have dealt with the late nineteenth century, when men responded to growing stresses in Victorian gender roles by reasserting the most stereotypically masculine traits of courage and physical prowess. Military officers' functions as directors of organized violence and managers in a bureaucratic hierarchy have always appeared quite compatible with repressed emotions and the subordination of women, and one scholar has suggested that stereotypical Victorianism was almost precisely suited to the supposedly immutable demands of the military mission.(2)

This was not necessarily the case. U.S. army officers' relationships with family members during the "market revolution" in Jacksonian America often circumvented or expanded the limits of the rigid gender roles denoted by the historiographical archetype of separate spheres. Besides acting as affectionate fathers and companionate husbands, a number of soldiers encouraged the business and educational aspirations of their female kin, subverting the constraints and inequities of domesticity. Some officers also participated in a "male world of love and ritual," of intimate but usually platonic relationships between men, in sharp contrast to the emotional repression most of us would probably expect to find in soldiers and Victorian males. The influence of institutional, occupational, and psychological factors prevented military men from internalizing Jacksonian ideals of the self-contained man-on-the-make. Perhaps as a result, officers were sometimes surprisingly open to a less rigid gender division of labor than that embodied in the ideology of the separate spheres. This paper uses the personal correspondence of young U.S. army officers during the years between the end of the War of 1812 and the beginning of the war with Mexico to examine their behavior as sons, brothers, friends, husbands, and fathers, and it relates their occupational position and the motives that encouraged them to take up careers in the army to their attitudes about masculinity and female roles.(3)

We must begin by examining the institutional and occupational circumstances of army life, because they shaped soldiers' understandings of their masculinity in specific and nuanced ways. Career army officers clearly lagged behind civilian society in accepting the ideal and mentalite of self-made manhood. Like men in colonial New England, their ideal of masculinity was one of "communal manhood," in which "a man's identity was inseparable from the duties he owed to his community. He fulfilled himself through public usefulness more than [through] his economic success.... The line between public and private barely existed." The colonial New Englander's role as patriarchal head of household was replicated in the officer's role as troop commander. (In fact, generals referred to their staffs, and particularly their young proteges acting as aides-de-camp, as their "military family.")(4)

The seemingly rigid canons of Jacksonian masculinity melt into ambiguity when applied to army officers and their motives. Given the centrality of action and work in the cultural definition of manhood, a man's choice of career "was, above all, a choice about what sort of man one wished to be." Historians have noted the contrasts contemporary observers made between the different sorts of "masculine" values embodied in these choices during the nineteenth century, particularly between the competitive individualism of law and the quiet devotion to service and mediation encapsulated in the word "ministry." These impulses were linked in nineteenth century revivalism and reform through images of Christian soldiers fighting a holy warfare against apathy, subversion, and evil, while exponents of gentility sought to tame or redirect the wilder impulses present in the traditional ideal of the gentleman by stressing its softer side through new adaptations like "the Christian gentleman" and "sacred honor."(5)

The career choices and professional identities of aspiring officers presented very similar gendered considerations. Abolitionists, evangelicals, and other cultural radicals spoke a "language of fraternal love." For soldiers, the link between worldly masculine aggression and more spiritual feminine love was reflected in the military code of command and service. This ethos of responsibility and sacrifice permitted an officer to direct subordinates while presenting an altruistic self-image of disinterested asceticism. Published memorials composed by soldiers for their comrades who died during the Second Seminole War often used the language of Christian gentility and sentimentality (both Christian and romantic). This is not to say that the average army officer spoke the evangelical language of benevolence, charity, and piety, but that there are intriguing parallels between some of their core values and occupational circumstances and those that contemporaries attributed to women. Historian Julie Roy Jeffrey has observed that in the nineteenth century

Characteristics [thought] unique to women helped them to carry out their social mission. Unlike acquisitive and materialistic men, women were said to be disinterested. Sheltered from the business world, possessing few material goods ... women lacked resources and the reasons for pursuing selfish goals. They naturally devoted themselves to others.(6)

Although officers were not ostracized by civilian society in the way that abolitionists or early evangelicals were, they did share a certain degree of isolation or even alienation from its values, and a sense of community derived from their vital but seemingly thankless mission. The duties of an officer combined mental and manual labor, the physical and potentially irrational side of masculinity with the rational dimensions of intellection. Commanders admired system, order, and "regularity," but they wrote remarkably little about violence, force, and physical prowess, nor did they sing as many paeans to technology and speed as we might expect given the thorough education in mathematics and engineering they received at West Point. Many regulars held managerial jobs in staff posts, but being a career soldier was neither a choice of the competitive marketplace nor necessarily one of the virile physical exercise, domination, and aggression that is implicit in stereotypes of the frontier soldier.(7)

In fact, it appears that many officers in the years between 1815 and 1846 were attempting to insulate themselves from the market revolution that caused so much anxiety and stress in the civilian world. The army was the first major public sector employer on a national scale in the United States, and it offered a fixed salary that was not subject to the erratic fluctuations of the business world. Pensions were nonexistent at the time, but soldiers never went out of business - barring dismissal for misconduct it was virtually impossible for a career officer to lose his job during the quarter century between the force reductions of 1821 and 1848. The reductions were tempered by the retention of a disproportionately large officer corps to train men for higher command in case of future mobilization, and in 1848 most of the veterans who had entered the army directly from civilian life in 1846 resigned to return to commerce and farming. In contrast, very few soldiers from the pre-war army appear to have resigned at the time. Officers' remuneration gradually increased throughout the era (although slowly, particularly in comparison to their expectations) - salary scales were boosted on several occasions, and as commanders rose in rank they received a wider range of compensation beyond their pay. By the time they reached the rank of major most officers seem to have become reconciled to their lot materially and psychologically, though some continued to seek civil service posts.(8)

Unlike the paradigmatic Jacksonian man, U.S. army officers had few opportunities to pursue independent success within their profession. Career officers were deliberately socialized in an ethos of service, sacrifice, and duty to the nation that was largely foreign to civilians, and they were constrained by a highly structured bureaucratic hierarchy, probably the most rigid in the United States at the time. Promotion was slow; it almost always depended on seniority, in a force of no more than six hundred men without a retirement system. Soldiers constantly compared their salaries to the burgeoning opportunities available in the civilian world, but aside from the boom times of the mid-1830s relatively few resigned their commissions to pursue the economic boundlessness of Jacksonian America. Instead, such men reacted to individualism, egalitarianism, and anti-institutionalism with a strong distaste for disorder and an emphasis on structured advancement through a bureaucratic hierarchy - in short, through careerism in its organizational form. The key to alleviating this potential sense of constraint was the availability of a fledgling bureaucracy that could fuse their concrete material needs (for security at a "respectable" though not wealthy level) with their pretensions to social service, authority, and legitimacy. In the combination of their anxieties, aspirations, social attitudes, and means of ascent, U.S. army officers of the Jacksonian era appear to have prefigured the more general move toward "consolidation" in American culture and society that surfaced during the 1850s, and they later found it easy to adapt to the rise of corporate liberalism and the "new organizational society."(9)

Persistence was essential in a successful military career, and it may have served a function not only in stabilizing the officer corps' personnel, but also in stabilizing individual psyches and calming personal anxieties. The men who dominated the army's lower commissioned ranks once West Point began to provide the majority of the army's new lieutenants in the 1820s could not pursue their dreams of power and individual heroism as independently as their predecessors, however much they may have wished to do so. Though appointed through political influence, they were not politicians themselves. Younger, usually with smaller private resources than their predecessors, they increasingly made the army a long term career rather than a temporary avocation. The elite connections that had enabled an Andrew Jackson to bypass the normal channels of civilian authority in quest of personal aggrandizement, when the nation was dominated by the gentry and its ethos of deference and paternalism, were no longer sufficient guarantees of status once new means of connection, influence, and advancement were opened up by the market revolution and the growth of voluntary associations and the party system.(10)

Unrestrained individualism seemed a highly uncertain mode of personal action and advancement to young officers in a society that was rapidly becoming more fluid and less deferential than that of their gentry forebears. Whatever it lacked in opportunity, the army provided a great deal of security, and this was undoubtably reassuring to those overwhelmed by the ever-more competitive world of commerce. The "three squares and a bunk" that have always drawn men from the working classes to enlist had their middle-class counterpart in the security of a commission. As a result, army officers did not trumpet the virtues of the self-made man; for them independence usually meant the high regard for personal honor and integrity that the term had denoted in the eighteenth century, rather than an economic or financial state of autonomy.(11)

Army officers shared the belief in persistence, character, and rationally self-disciplined restraint characteristic of the growing middle class in the Jacksonian era, but they generally espoused them in ways that harked backward to the ideal of the eighteenth-century gentleman. Regular soldiers learned and espoused genteel values of hierarchy and social distance, personal decorum, and honor, to aspire to fame and reputation rather than great material wealth. They upheld tradition, cohesion, national service, and disinterestedness as ideals, despite frequent deviations from them as individuals. These attitudes were highly functional for army officers. They developed a closely knit professional community based on similar values and the day to day details of their mutual occupation. These tasks and values had ambiguous but complementary implications that facilitated the development of balanced gender identities among career soldiers. Career officers longed for the opportunity to distinguish themselves in combat, and courage and decisiveness were two of their core values, but the competitiveness and individualism that might seem to go hand in hand with such values were restrained by the same military imperatives of discipline and command that encouraged them in the first place. In their relationships with other social groups, officers' violent physical work deflected any imputation of "effeminacy" akin to that directed at ministers, and this may have permitted soldiers to admit greater autonomy in women and to occasionally express the "feminine" sides of their own personalities through homosocial intimacy.(12)

U.S. army officers of the 1830s and 40s were hardly feminists. They wrote little about women in politics and public affairs, and those who did condemned women who took up activist roles. After returning from a party in Washington, Lieutenant John Waller Barry asked his sister Susan Taylor whether "can there be anything as unfeminine as for a lady to be talking politics[?] ... I was very much disgusted." Lieutenant Maskell C. Ewing quoted Samuel Johnson, that "women preaching is like dogs walking on their hind legs." Lieutenant Alexander Swift even told his father (a retired commander of the Corps of Engineers) that he was shocked to see women without male escorts in French cafes.(13) Writers in professional periodicals like the Army and Navy Chronicle and the Military and Naval Magazine of the United States almost always envisioned women on pedestals with men to protect them. The only major exception came in a vigorous debate over a pension fund for officers' widows and families, which several unmarried regulars vociferously opposed as a tax on their pay.(14) Examples like these buttress traditional images of soldiers as conservative supporters of the gendered status quo, but the picture becomes more complex when soldiers are viewed as individuals within specific relationships with individual women. The most significant distinction that emerges from this personal perspective is between wives and kin, particularly sisters. Soldiers were much more receptive to the aspirations of their female kin (especially their sisters) than to those of their wives or of women in general, a pattern that points to a more nuanced conception of patriarchy and gender roles for scholars to assess.

The concept of family had potent ideological value for officers. Commanders frequently used familial and patriarchal metaphors to describe their relationships with enlisted men. An officer writing in the Military and Naval Magazine compared the army to a family, with a parallel between the subordination of enlisted men to officers and that of families to their (male) heads. Another author drew an analogy between Sunday inspections and a family's preparation for church. An epitaph published in the Army and Navy Chronicle for an officer slain in Florida lauded his stern but "truly parental" kindness toward the soldiers under his command.(15) Letters to the Chronicle stressed the family's role in moral and patriotic education, and officials at West Point, like those in civilian colleges during the period, considered themselves in loco parentis to their charges.(16) The importance of family was visible in the personnel policies and recommendations of many senior commanders, for whom it justified the retention of particular officers during periods of retrenchment. Family affairs were the most common reason for officers to leave the army, and the separations occasioned by the Mexican War and the Second Seminole War caused a number of resignations. (Indeed, commanders along the Mexican border just before the outbreak of war in 1846 often seemed more concerned with separation from their wives than with the army's mission or their probable enemy.) Senior commanders felt that younger regulars had to be able to marry and maintain families if they were to be convinced to remain in the service, so junior officers were often given lengthy furloughs to go east to marry and transfer their families back and forth between the frontier and the cities where their in-laws were located.(17)

Despite such evidence, career officers do not seem to have attempted to replicate military hierarchy in their families, at least as admittedly scattered letters on the subject suggest. Whether writing to their mothers, fathers, sons, or daughters, soldiers spoke a temperate language of duty and affection. They wrote to and about their mothers primarily while in their late teens and early twenties. Accused of cardplaying at the Military Academy in 1831, cadet Morris Miller sought to reassure his mother Maria that he was innocent:

"Your son is not yet so far lost to all sense of moral duty ... I have always endeavored to obey you in all respects & if I have not succeeded impute it rather to the heedlessness so natural to youth. I can not bear that you should have such an impression on your mind." He closed his plea, "your ever dutiful & affectionate son."

Several years later, as a lieutenant in Florida, Miller reminded his younger brother John of the boons conferred by their mother and the duties they owed her:

She has always endeavored to do everything for her beloved children and now she has a right to look to us for that gratitude and affection which every man of true greatness of mind delights in exercising.... young fellows when fairly fledged think sometimes that to do what Ma says is childish. Beware of this and you are safe.

Miller had clearly internalized the self-discipline nineteenth century mothers were expected to teach their children: "I still retain a most vivid recollection of a thousand things she has done for me, and whenever an instance of disobediance crosses my mind it causes a lasting sorrow. If you wish for a pleasing retrospect in after years obey our mother with alacrity, love her with fervor & anticipate her wishes when you can."(18) This tone of filial devotion and deference was common among army officers, whether writing to or about their parents. As one would expect, young officers (especially when cadets) often asked their parents for career advice. Though they often advocated personal independence in abstract terms, this rarely came at the expense of concrete ties to more experienced kin.(19)

There were significant differences in tone between letters to (and about) mothers and fathers. Young officers usually wrote more often to their mothers than their fathers, while praising the latter in letters to siblings. A number of cadets saw their apprenticeship at West Point as an obligation they owed their fathers, and the stress and anxiety of that spartan lifestyle must have produced tension (although it was usually well hidden) in some relationships. Indeed, the average officer seems to have written less about his professional life to his father than to any other family member, and this could indicate a degree of jealousy or fear of criticism that suggests limits to the affectionate family. This is probably a major reason why aspiring regulars wrote so much more to their female kin, who could usually be expected to be more sympathetic to the cadets' hardships given the conventions of nineteenth century gender roles. These kin were also seen as a more appropriate audience for veiled expressions of homesickness. Fathers have always tended to appear more forbidding than any other family member, and the anxious competitiveness of the Jacksonian era doubtlessly exacerbated this, as historians have observed. Given the growing separation of work and home, the cadets had been socialized primarily by their mothers and their peers rather than their fathers, so they turned to female elders before resorting to less familiar authority figures. (This was probably even more true for the officer corps than for young civilian men, because comparatively few cadets were from farming backgrounds, where they would at least have gone to work with their fathers in the fields.)(20)

When they did write to their fathers, cadets usually spoke in the idiom of duty and obligation. One of John Waller Barry's first letters to his sister as a cadet expresses the full range of emotions a new West Pointer could feel towards his father:

It would rend the heart of my fond and affectionate Parent should I disappoint the hopes and expectations which he has rested on my doing well here ... never could I bear to see a tear on the cheek of my beloved Father ... I will sacrifice everything like pleasure or amusement to please Papa and the only reward I ask is that I may succeed in doing so.

A note of discontent crept in when Barry discussed his feelings about West Point, "but I will not complain ... and should I never recover ... it was in conformity to my duty and the wish of my parents." Barry's devotion was real; when his father died nine years later he wrote to his brother-in-law that "we have lost our best and dearest friend - the loss is irreparable." Still, when the range of officers' attitudes are considered, cadet Samuel Raymond's words to his sister Mary sum up the locus of their filial affections: "mother is the only friend who never forsakes us."(21)

The period between leaving home and recreating it through marriage put intense emotional pressures on young men. These were exacerbated for soldiers because they left for the Military Academy around age eighteen, during an era when many middle class sons remained at home until their mid- or late twenties. Lonely officers and cadets isolated at West Point or the frontier corresponded with family and friends, especially their mothers, and they made new friendships among their comrades, but unmarried officers looking for empathy found it in their sisters more than anywhere else. The emotional motives behind these relationships were similar to those between husbands and wives, but the dynamic interplay between dependence, authority, and autonomy was clearly different, because neither individual was permanently tied to the other or responsible for economic provision or child-rearing within a common household.(22)

Historian E. Anthony Rotundo has shown that many civilian middle class men also had close relationships with their sisters while in their late teens and early twenties, but army officers maintained such relationships into their mid-twenties and beyond, at least until their sisters married and occasionally after their own weddings. This bond was apparently a common means of rehearsal for the intimacy of courtship and marriage among soldiers as well as civilians, but the relationship between soldiers and their sisters was not necessarily the training ground in gendered inequality that it seems to have been among civilian siblings. A number of officers encouraged independence in their sisters and wrote to them at length about public affairs, professional concerns, personal and family finances, and other substantive matters. Indeed, the letters that officers like Alfred Mordecai sent their sisters suggest a wider realm of autonomy than wives were usually granted. Ties with sisters satisfied similar emotional and psychological needs for tenderness and intimacy while teaching young men a gentler language and style than they were accustomed to among their male companions, but such relationships did not have the same functional character (of social and economic reproduction) or permanency as marriage. Without those imperatives to deal with, sibling bonds contained more potential for psychic equality through a mutual exchange of emotional intimacy. The possible significance of a brother-sister relationship is evident in one of Ulysses S. Grant's letters to Julia Dent, his future wife. Grant was envious of his best friend Frederick Dent, Julia's brother.

How fortunate he must feel himself to have a sister to correspond with. I know I should have been proud to have had such a one to write to me [in] all the years of my absence [at West Point]. My oldest sister is old enoug[h] to write now and I intend to direct all my home letters to her.(23)

Captain Alfred Mordecai and his sisters Ellen and Rachel illustrate the potential for female autonomy in such a relationship. Mordecai knew that the educations accorded to men and women were unequal, and he was definitely "not one of those who think that 'the better half of mankind' should be kept in ignorance of everything which tends to raise them above the level of parrots or talking machines." Like several other officers writing to or about their sisters, Mordecai advocated a more rounded education in "the liberal sciences" for women, "in order to extend to them the benefits of rational discourse."(24) A man of wide-ranging interests himself, he wrote to Ellen and Rachel about penal reform, institutional efforts to aid and educate the handicapped, and the particle theory of light.(25)

As a member of the Virginia gentry, the Corps of Engineers, and the Ordnance Board, Alfred Mordecai had access to details of politics and army news that he routinely shared with Ellen and Rachel. His letters were filled with news of congressional speeches, prospective Cabinet appointments, and army postings and promotions that he clearly expected his female siblings to understand and comment on intelligently. He also reported to his sisters about his private visit to Europe in 1833, providing detailed observations of society, commerce, and agriculture. Military subjects were not off limits either - Alfred often wrote to his sisters (and his wife Sara) about his professional activities, especially during an official tour of Europe in 1840. His attitudes were not unique. West Point cadet Richard Stoddard Ewell wrote to his sister Rebecca that "your idea of farming on your own account is capital." Like other officers, Ewell and Mordecai discussed business affairs with their sisters and supported their career goals, at least until they married and were expected to become dependent upon their husbands.(26)

The expectations fostered by family bonds and socially accepted gender roles did place limits on the autonomy Mordecai thought appropriate for Ellen. In 1832 he pleaded with her to return from Mobile to Virginia to take care of their parents and help manage the family finances. The following year, after a rejected marriage proposal, the man who said he preferred the freedom and "facility" of bachelorhood to the "silken bondage" of matrimony wrote that "my pleasantest dreams now are to have some of my sisters always with me." Similarly, he felt that sister Caroline would be more "useful" with brother George than in Mobile on her own, and Ellen could be equally "useful" aiding Alfred's wife Sara during her confinement. Overall, however, although Alfred was "not sorry for the failure of" Ellen's plans, "except in so far as you may feel interested in [their] accomplishment," it was because he thought that caution and the aid of their other sisters would be required for success and happiness. (Perhaps this represented his recognition of the importance of mutuality in domestic work and nineteenth-century womens' culture.) But it is much more remarkable that when the time came for a decision, Alfred wrote to Ellen "that you may be allowed the whole benefit of your individual exertions in the path you propose to follow ... You have certainly done enough for us all to be permitted to enjoy the fruits of your labours ... without feeling obliged to divide them with others." Such words approached according her the full autonomy of the nineteenth century liberal self.(27)

Officers also acted in unexpected ways as comrades and friends. Soldiers' correspondence reveals a desire for intimacy as sons and fathers and an openness to egalitarian gender roles for their sisters. Letters to their brothers focused on public, professional, and business life, with a wide array of news about family and friends. Letters to fellow officers were similar, but some regulars went beyond discussions of worldly affairs and created a homosocial male version of the much better known "female world of love and ritual." E. Anthony Rotundo has argued that ardent male friendships were common in nineteenth century America, and intimate male friendships of this sort have recently been discovered among Garrisonian abolitionists and the Virginia gentry,(28) but stereotypes would lead us to assume that hardened soldiers on the raw frontier would scorn such "effeminacy." This was not so, although the evidence is sparse. Lieutenant Napoleon Dana teased his wife Sue about his comradeship with fellow lieutenant Lafayette McLaws: "May I sleep with him? Do I keep my drawers on?" Cadet Stephen Dodson Ramseur shared a more serious attraction to his civilian friend David Schenck in the 1850s, and Alfred Thayer Mahan sent very demonstrative and affectionate letters to Samuel Ashe for forty years after the two met as midshipmen at the Naval Academy during the late 1850s. Mahan told Ashe of his "jealousy" when the two were separated by illness, and when another midshipman compared their friendship to marriage Mahan replied that "if I am to miss my wife so much, I will never get married." Mahan also became "intimate" with another serviceman while stationed off Japan, and he wrote apologetically about his new friendship to Ashe, for whom he professed a greater "attachment." Ramseur's and Mahan's letters read very much like nineteenth century love letters, and their tone is as "feminine" as it is masculine.(29)

When Alfred Mordecai became lonely after his first marriage proposal was rejected, he turned for face-to-face society to Lieutenant James Irwin, of whom Alfred wrote to Ellen, "if any man could be a sister, he would be." West Point cadet William Dutton told his fiancee (and cousin) Lucy Matthews that his roommate at the Military Academy "was passionately attached to me," and that "we both cried like children when we parted" after his friend was dismissed. When Alexander Swift visited France, one of the complaints he made to his father was of the lack of such relationships among the French officers with whom he was posted: "I find among the officers no friendships. They all appear to be on very good terms with each other but I observe nothing like intimate friendship." Numerous cases of intimate language are present in the letters received by Lieutenant Abraham Robinson Johnston of the First Dragoons, stationed in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and the Indian Territory in the 1830s and 40s. "You know too well my feelings toward you, to believe that I have been unmindful of you: I take infinite pleasure in corresponding with you, your letters assure me of your friendship, which it has been my happiness to enjoy for a period of ten years," wrote Lieutenant Henry S. Turner in 1841. In 1845 Turner lamented to "my dear John" (his customary salutation), that "it has been a long time since we met ... I long for a tete-a-tete.... My dear John write me long letters. I can't tell you with what impatience I look into your [official] monthly envelopes and how much disappointment not to find something private from you. Yours ever, Turner."(30)

Turner also asked, as in several other letters, for Johnston to "give my love to the plebe Gardiner." This statement may hold the key to the close ties among Turner, Johnston, Lieutenant J.W. Gardiner, and another officer, Lieutenant Thomas Swords, who signed several letters, "as ever, Dear John, Your Tom." Johnston and Turner had been together at West Point between 1832 and 1834, and "plebe" is a standard term for first year cadets there. The sentimentally romantic atmosphere at West Point surely contributed to the growth of affectionate relationships, perhaps not unlike some of those that developed in English public schools. Anthony Rotundo views the intimate relationships between nineteenth century men in their late teens and early twenties as products of a temporary stage in life during which they felt a particular need for emotional support that they could not derive from parents or wives - i.e., young adulthood - in which they turned to each other instead, as peers with similar circumstances and anxieties. All-male voluntary associations like debating clubs added a practical education in the exercise of organizational power and persuasion. The Military Academy at West Point placed prospective commanders in an environment where they were encouraged both to practice and support (although there were strict limits to their autonomy since the Corps of Cadets was under the command of older commissioned officers).(31)

Women were rarely seen at the Military Academy; exclusively male homosocial networks were necessarily the norm, and these were no doubt maintained and replicated on isolated frontier posts in the West, where wives and sisters living on post were also included. ("Sister Jo" [Josephine Ormsby, presumably related to Ormsby McKnight Mitchel, who had resigned in 1832] figures prominently in the letters Johnston received, as both friend and potential mate for several officers.) Anthony Rotundo suggests that the more intimate of these male relationships, like those with sisters, "offered a rehearsal for marriage," and were therefore considered only temporary. This argument seems plausible for civilians, but most of these officers had graduated from West Point five to ten years before, and Mordecai, Swift, and Turner were near or past thirty. Swords was as much as thirty-seven years old when exchanging intimacies with Johnston. None of the intimate male friendships Rotundo found survived marriage, but Swords married in 1838 and Turner in 1841. (Indeed, Turner may have been reassuring Johnston of his affection when he wrote that summer.)(32)

The choice of a careerer w another event that brought an end to the relationships Rotundo discusses, but army officers began these relationships during their career training and maintained them for years if not decades afterwards. Perhaps soldiers continued to speak in this way to one another because their world was more interdependent than that of most civilian men, and their associates remained essentially the same for much longer periods of time. The ego identities of career officers also included a social and ideological commitment to their colleagues via the ideal of officership and the medium of the army community, a sense of connection that was hard for many civilian men to maintain amid the stresses of the competitive marketplace. (There were civilian parallels to these soldiers, who were protected from the strain of competition by institutional security, among members of the gentry who were insulated by wealth or ideology and sustained similar friendships long after marrying and choosing a career.(33)) This ideal elevated cohesion and a shared sense of service and responsibility, in contrast to the preeminent nineteenth century masculine values of independence and self-distinction. Combat was rare, but when it came soldiers shared an experience of deadly peril utterly alien to most civilians. While the army community was often fractious, it did maintain and recreate peer networks rather than forcing soldiers to build new ones, and in this way it bears some significant similarities to the ethic of mutuality found in women's culture and experience in the nineteenth century. Most regulars eventually married, and we have seen how many of them turned to their sisters and mothers for empathy before then, but at several points during their lives most of an officer's close associates were bound to be other men. Although there is no evidence to tell us whether other soldiers considered such intimacy "unmanly," men like Mordecai, Swift, and the officers of the 1st Dragoon Regiment do not appear to have noticed any incongruity or felt any threat to their manhood.(34)

Even so, once soldiers were stationed far from home a more permanent companion usually took on the essential emotional role that mothers, sisters, and comrades had played during adolescence and young adulthood. Numerous scholars have suggested that the West served as an escape hatch for men smothered by female - especially maternal - affection and constraint, and we might expect army officers to provide excellent examples, given their tasks in western exploration and the expulsion of Amerindian communities east of the Mississippi. Although some younger regulars did see the West as a playground of sorts, the majority of the officer corps was stationed in urban garrisons along the eastern seaboard or in the densely populated "frontier" areas of northern New York and St. Louis, and most officers preferred the society and entertainment of eastern posts and disdained the primitiveness and raw materialism of the frontier. In any case, the urban market economy could also serve as a refuge from female demands, but army officers refused that route as well. The process began with new economic opportunities and their demands (the "pull") rather than with the wish to escape feminization (the "push"), and should not be characterized as a mass "flight," although this was psychologically true in many individual cases. After all, the gender ideologies of the period were created in response to the new economic circumstances, rather than vice-versa, and in cases where these did not apply the urge to escape feminine constraint was correspondingly diminished.(35)

Most officers married at approximately the same age as other professionals of the era, and their wives usually accompanied them west.(36) Young regulars like Ewell and Mordecai were interested in the introductions their sisters could provide to potential wives from their home area, and they often asked news and advice about particular prospects. This pattern points to the possibility of an intriguing difference between officers stationed in eastern cities and those on the western frontier. Because of their isolation the latter may have had to depend more on their kin (usually their sisters and mothers) for introductions to eligible women, who would thus tend to come from the officer's home district, whereas soldiers in more populated areas had greater opportunities to search for spouses themselves, and less need of the advice of their female kin. (There is an obvious parallel here to the potentially greater likelihood of a more exclusive companionate intimacy between spouses isolated together on the frontier, though they may also have been less compatible since they had had less opportunity to get to know each other during courtship.) This phenomenom suggests that commanders on the frontier may have retained closer relations with their families in general, which would have reduced the autonomy they gained or sought to gain when moving west. (Once again, this exchange of information took place largely before sisters married and their social contacts became more restricted.)(37)

Why did army officers marry, and what qualities did they look for in a spouse? There were certainly a number of personal and professional arguments against marriage. Poor finances and a preference for the autonomy of bachelor life were the most common reasons for avoiding what Alfred Mordecai called "silken bondage." Captain George Pegram warned Lieutenant Robert Anderson that wedlock would "make you unfit for a soldier" and a leader of men in combat. Captain Abner Hetzel advised his newly commissioned brother Calvin that marriage was the greatest obstacle to promotion, due to its expense (though how this mattered is unclear). The choice to seek marriage was largely determined by considerations of age and money. Younger regulars generally preferred the freedom of bachelorhood and the company of their male peers (often friends made at West Point), but as officers entered their mid-twenties, perhaps with a promotion and the additional pay provided by a staff post, they began to seek "companions for life," a "sweet soother of my care."(38) After years of joking about and cautioning each other against the perils of love and wedlock, they began to speak of "a marvellous change" and advised marriage "as soon as you can afford it." John Waller Barry wrote to his brother-in-law shortly after his wedding that "the only regret I feel is that I had not married long ago."(39)

Army officers married women from backgrounds similar to their own, and they sought the same qualities in their wives as did other middle-class American men. Soldiers wrote publicly and privately of women's delicacy, piety, and modesty. A wife was to be "a comforter." There is no evidence that officers wanted their wives to work outside the home, but they valued education in potential spouses as they did in sisters.(40) Three examples will serve to illustrate what officers were looking for. Lieutenant Philip Thompson advised Abraham Johnston to find:

amicability and sweetness. These ... probably tend more to a man's domestic happiness than any other traits of character - I confess candidly to the weakness of feeling much the want of a wife ... and also to my intention of making the search as soon as circumstances will justify ... as there is no prospect of distinction or promotion in our little Army why should not a man's attention be directed to his happiness in a domestic way? - besides everybody is getting married ... and it becomes somewhat necessary in self defense to follow the example so generally set.

West Point cadet Joseph Irons wanted to play the patriarch, but he recognized that women did not always accept male guidance, telling his mother that "there is one thing I hope to be able to do ... learn my wife to obey. You must not show that to any of the young ladies. It would ruin my prospects." Lieutenant Montgomery C. Meigs was less self-centered than either of these men in his choice of a companion he could rely on:

Her manners are elegant Her appearance pleasing without much beauty. She sings well - Is very amiable, intelligent, sprightly ... Of good judgement, with decision and energy ... We have similar tastes and views.... She has been ... the support and comfort of her mother in much affliction. Her advice has been taken almost as if they were sisters ... I have known her for three years ... And I am sure she is as pure as one of Scott's Ideals. I have as perfect confidence in her as in myself.(41)

"There is no happiness out of the married state," Captain John Burgwin warned Abraham Johnston, and West Point cadet William Dutton wrote to his fiancee Lucy Matthews that "fire-side happiness and a domestic cheerful hearth [are] the Alpha and Omega of my hopes."(42) Like civilians, regulars felt that marriage was a prerequisite for worldly happiness and success. Wealth and influential parentage were always desirable in an army wife, but most officers whose courtships can be traced in print seem to have married for love (or at least compatibility and empathy). Above all else, officers wanted permanent companions in a life that combined frequent movement with physical isolation on small posts far from the fashionable cities. Loneliness and lack of professional opportunity were prominent spurs to matrimony. Marriage provided army officers with an intimate companion who provided the attention and psychological stability that some felt was lacking in their professional careers.(43)

Prospective husbands often had to overcome the objections of parents who envisioned their daughters stranded in the Great American Desert. Ulysses S. Grant was one such suitor, and he tried to convince his fiancee Julia Dent that her parents were mistaken in their opposition: "No set of ladies that I ever saw are better contented or more unwilling to change their condition than those of the Army." Many historians have examined the detrimental effects of constant economic competition and male career anxiety on nineteenth-century marriages and sexual relations. Career officers often feared for their futures at the hands of what they considered a miserly government, which along with frequent relocation and frontier hardship certainly added to the stress of their marriages. On the other hand, army officers had one great advantage to counter-balance these malign influences, a secure salary. Security was an acknowledged advantage of military careers, and this may have permitted greater possibilities for companionate relations in army marriages than in those between civilians, because success as a "breadwinner" or "provider" was essentially assured. It also seems likely that officers' choice of career was in itself a choice of security over the independence and competition of entrepreneurship, an orientation that may have permitted and even encouraged a stronger desire for intimacy and a greater degree of empathy toward their wives and other intimate companions (whether sisters or fellow officers). No records exist to indicate the rates of separation and divorce among army families, nor whether these were higher or lower than the civilian numbers. Officers worked fewer than six hours a day, which reinforced cohesion but also spurred friction amid the isolation and enforced proximity of small frontier posts by stimulating or even necessitating the formation of close-knit communities. The frequency with which soldiers married the sisters and daughters of their comrades probably worked to sustain army marriages because of the dense network of ties within the army community. Like civilian women, army wives had to be working partners on the frontier, and many exercised substantial autonomy and decision-making power in that situation. The most thorough study of antebellum officers' wives suggests that "once married, soldiers and their wives seem to have had few romantic sentiments" due to the hardships of army life. Cohabitation reduced their correspondence, making this difficult to verify, and the shift from courtship to partnership probably had similar effects on most civilians. Like them, army couples lived out their unsuccessful marriages. On the other hand, at least one scholar has recognized that "a working partnership hardly precluded romantic ecstasy," and numerous memorials published for dead commanders attest to officers' public belief that affection was an ideal trait for husbands.(44)

Although this paper does not examine the reality of life for officers and their wives after marriage, one soldier's example will serve to show that army husbands did not take wives simply as housekeepers or career accessories. Lieutenant Napoleon Dana was remarkably frank in his advice to his wife Sue, whose menstrual period (her "courses") had been delayed:

I will be delighted if you are not pregnant. You must not forget to tell me all about it, and if you are so, bear it as well as you can and tell your husband all your feelings. If he cannot be with you to nurse you in your troubles, he can feel for you and sympathize with you.

Dana also advised her to "be careful about your diet," "to be very careful to prevent a miscarriage," to "be exceedingly careful about your courses," and "when it is time for your courses to come upon you, which is now, do not sit out in the evening air ... or expose yourself in any way." A month later he asked Sue to tell him more, and speculated that "it is possible that nursing may make your courses irregular, and they may come yet." They did, and Sue was not pregnant, but Dana took a leave of absence from his post on the Mexican border to return to her side for several months.(45)

Officers eventually became fathers. Their tone in that role mirrored their words as sons - affection and concern were the keynotes, embedded in a language of duty. "Officers shared in the contemporary trend toward the nurturing, child-centered middle-class family" as fathers, and collective resolutions in memory of dead comrades provide ritualized examples of officers' public support for affectionate parenting. Many regulars noted and admired affection in Indian families - Morris Miller was one of several who wrote (to his mother) of the solicitude he developed for an Seminole child while serving in Florida. Army officers had the usual range of attitudes towards physical discipline. Childless Lieutenant Robert Anderson told his mother Sarah that "you did not whip me as often as I deserved," but he promised to "have my boys whipped enough to make up for it." Colonel Alexander Macomb (the commanding general from 1828 to 1841), who already had a son, wrote to Major John De Barth Walbach in 1825 criticizing severity as a method of child-rearing, specifically referring to Sylvanus Thayer's strict regulations as Superintendant at West Point. Captain Joseph R. Smith summed up the genteel model of restrained parenting to his wife Juliet: "Punish them with judgment - not in anger. Do not show temper before them. In short, correct your temper on all occasions."(46)

Army officers shared civilian parents' determination to educate their children, their desire that their daughters' learning be "useful," their distress at separations, and their close watch over children away at school. The men studied herein were mostly junior officers (lieutenants and captains) in their twenties and thirties, so very few of them had children nearing maturity. In 1839, Joseph Smith (thirty-eight years old at the time) wrote to his "dear little Jo[e]" and Pamela from Florida:

Oh try to be good children. How often father thinks of you all and prays for you all! Be affectionate to your dear mother ... and be kind to one another, and in your intercourse with those around you ... Never do a mean action; oh never tell a lie; - or do such an act as you think will displease God. If you love God, he will take care of you.

Smith's letters illustrate the intersection of sentimental religion, the affectionate family, and the worries of a father far from his loved ones in the language of moral didacticism:

Oh how much comfort I could derive from the belief that my children (especially my boy whom I told especially to be kind and obedient, affectionate and respectful to his mother) have remembered and treasured up all the advice which I have given them.... Is he a dutiful affectionate son and nephew obedient to his mother and Aunt Louisa? ... Answer me these questions, my son - and while you do so be sure that the eye of God is upon you.(47)

As children grew older, parents' turned their interests to education but did not lose their stress on the childrens' manners and duties. For Captain Randolph B. Marcy, about to march against Mexico in 1846, this meant stimulating his daughter Mary Ellen's ambition and restraining her anger: "Learn to control your temper, be amiable and polite to all of your associates." Marcy felt that "it is a duty we owe to ourselves and our friends to maintain a position in society as exalted as possible," and to this end he extolled "the privilege of attending school," for "you must try and gain all the improvement you can ... you are studying for yourself ... [and] if you neglect your studies now you will regret it very much." As if to compensate for this dire warning, Marcy rather imploringly told his homesick child that "you must be very much gratified that your father is so near you ... you would like to see him very much ... [and] you must write me very soon."(48)

One of the most anguished examples of a worried father's concern and affection may have come in 1841, from Captain Edmund Brooke Alexander to his children:

tell James I am sorry and much hurt to hear that he is not attentive to his book, he does not know how hard I have to work and how saving I have to be to support and educate him and still he will not learn or try, should I be taken from him by death he would be left without any support, ... if he knew how often I think of him, and how I love him, he would not idle his time away, he must certainly write soon, I will not let him off.(49)

Statements like these suggest a certain resentment toward the children for whom soldiers felt they were sacrificing so much, when fathers feared being forgotten or disgraced. Colonel Abraham Eustis was an anxious parent with several adolescent sons. He wrote to them at Harvard after a student rebellion (which they had refused to join) in 1834:

I seize the earliest opportunity to thank you for the propriety of your conduct ... and to tell you how proud I feel ... Persevere, my good sons.... you cannot fail to reap the full reward of [your] exertions ... be satisfied with the approbation of your parents, and heed not the scoffs or the jeers of the thoughtless, the idle and the mischievous.

As time passed Eustis began to feel that his sons were ignoring him, and he asked Frederic, "am I only to hear of your plans indirectly, and cannot I assist you in carrying them out?" Officers' fears of criticism and rejection led to feelings of tension as well as affection whether they were writing to their fathers or sons, but as their children grew up fathers sought to become their friends and confidants through a reciprocal exchange of mutual respect and assistance.(50)

This pattern paralleled officers' more general search for empathy and emotional intimacy, which was also reflected in their relationships with mothers, sisters, comrades and wives. A substantial number of army officers resisted accepting some of the most fundamental norms of Jacksonian masculinity. Duty was their paramount value - a sense of obligation to others fostered by the officer corps' mission supplemented in personal relationships by affection, rather than the competitive individualism of the business world. Security rather than opportunity was their primary motivation. Occupational circumstances and the values they bred or accommodated had important implications for the ways in which officers defined gender roles (consciously or otherwise). Neither army officers nor the Virginia gentry explicitly set out to encourage overtly "unfeminine" behavior in their sisters, but they sometimes accepted and even advocated a degree of independence that may have emboldened or at least sustained their siblings in the face of socially restricted opportunities. We might expect such open-mindedness from abolitionists and other cultural radicals, but when security was available (whether through institutions or wealth) and the collective mentalite of a social or occupational group encouraged it, even supposedly "conservative" Victorian men appear to have been much more tolerant than we normally give them credit for. The potential for a less oppressive understanding of gender roles was there, though its full implications were usually beyond contemporary conception.

Like civilians, soldiers accepted the ideals of the separate spheres, companionate marriage, and the affectionate, child-centered family, but they did not do so unconditionally: the particular emotional and economic roles wives, mothers, and sisters played for officers differed, and the rigidity of Victorian patriarchal roles varied along with them. Wives were permanent companions and sexual partners who required ongoing material support; mothers were sympathetic, yet authority figures; while sisters were perhaps the perfect confidants, more intimate than mothers and at an earlier age (and often for longer periods) than recent wives, yet physically distant and undemanding. Mothers often required care in their old age after being widowed, while sisters would marry and become another man's responsibility. As a result soldiers turned to different women (and occasionally men) to satisfy different emotional needs at different stages of their lives. The women with whom officers had the longest and closest relationships, their wives, were also those who felt the burdens of patriarchy most heavily, while sisters and mothers, who remained at a distance and had other patriarchs, were accorded equal affection and greater autonomy.

The most remarkable pattern in officers' gendered behaviour was their homosocial intimacy and the potential for autonomy yielded to some women by men in one of the most stereotypically masculine of professions. Both phenomena suggest that although lines between masculine and feminine were not abandoned, they were fluid enough in particular circumstances to permit men and women to sample some of the emotional and behavioral roles conventionally restricted to the other sex. Whether this experience simply appeased anger and curiosity or spurred further boundary testing, the flexibility present in this pattern suggests more nuanced assessments of male gender and gendered relationships in nineteenth-century America. The complexities are apparent in the comments West Point cadet Samuel Raymond made about his sister Mary in a letter written to his brother Josiah. Samuel's words were predicated on the existence of separate spheres, but he hoped that Mary would realize her potential as an individual: "She has not [the] chances that any of her brothers have, not being able to meet this stormy world like them [but] let her make the best use she can of all her means and she will yet receive the reward of all her troubles."(51)

Department of History Houston, TX 77251


1. See e.g. Karen Lystra, Searching the Heart: Women, Men, and Romantic Love in Nineteenth Century America (New York, 1989), ch. 5, "Blurring Separate Spheres." For an invaluable survey of the historiography of women, see Linda K. Kerber, "Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Woman's Place: The Rhetoric of Women's History," Journal of American History 75 (1988): 9-39. Essential works in the growing historiography of masculinity include Ronald P. Byars, "The Making of the Self-made Man: The Development of Masculine Roles and Images in Antebellum America" (Ph.D. dissertation, Michigan State University, 1979); Leonard Ellis, "Men Among Men: An Exploration of All-Male Relationships in Victorian America" (Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1982); E. Anthony Rotundo, "Manhood in America: The Northern Middle Class, 1770-1920" (Ph.D. dissertation, Brandeis University, 1982); Rotundo, "Body and Soul: Changing Ideals of American Middle Class Manhood, 1770-1920," Journal of Social History 16 (1983): 23-38; David G. Pugh, Sons of Liberty: The Masculine Mind in Nineteenth Century America (Westport, CT, 1983); Peter N. Stearns, Be A Man!: Males in Modern Society, 2nd ed. (New York, 1990); and Rotundo, American Manhood: Transformations in Masculinity from the Revolutionary Era to the Present (New York, 1993). The Making of Masculinities: The New Men's Studies, ed. Harry Brod (Boston, 1987) contains important theoretical discussions, especially in Brod's "Introduction: Themes and Theses of Men's Studies," pp. 1-17, his "The Case for Men's Studies," pp. 39-62, and Peter Filene, "The Secrets of Men's History," pp. 103-119.

2. William B. Skelton, An American Profession of Arms: The Army Officer Corps, 1784-1861 (Lawrence, KS, 1992), p. 205; Donald J. Mrozek, "The Habit of Victory: the American Military and the Cult of Manliness," in Manliness and Morality: Middle-class Masculinity in Britain and America, 1800-1940, eds. J.A. Mangan and James Walvin (Manchester, UK, 1987), p. 233.

3. The parallel is drawn to Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, "The Female World of Love and Ritual: Relations Between Women in Nineteenth Century America," Signs 1 (1975): 1-29. I would like to thank my colleague Anya Jabour at Rice University for her insightful comments, and for the encouragement I felt when she told me she had found similar patterns in her own research. The classic statement of women's roles in the period is Barbara Welter, "The Cult of True Womanhood, 1820-1860," American Quarterly 18 (1966): 151-74; see also Kerber, "Separate Spheres"; Nancy F. Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood: "Woman's Sphere" in New England, 1780-1835 (New Haven, CT, 1977); Mary P. Ryan, The Cradle of the Middle Class: The Family in Oneida County, New York, 1790-1865 (Cambridge, Eng, 1981); and Welter, Dimity Convictions: The American Woman in the Nineteenth Century (Athens, GA, 1976). On marriage and the family in general, see Carl N. Degler, At Odds: Women and the Family from the Revolution to the Present (New York, 1980); Robert H. Wiebe, The Opening of American Society: from the Adoption of the Constitution to the Eve of Disunion (New York, 1984), pp. 265-78; and Steven Mintz and Susan Kellogg, Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life (New York, 1988), ch. 3, "The Rise of the Democratic Family." The sources used herein are part of the research for my dissertation, "Social Attitudes and Professionalism in the U.S. Army Officer Corps, 1815-1846," involving more than a hundred manuscript collections, primarily from West Point and the Library of Congress.

Officers' sexual relationships (including those with women of color and the working classes) are covered in Grady McWhiney, "Sex, Women, and the 'Old Army' Officers," in Southerners and Other Americans (New York, 1973), pp. 39-60; Skelton, An American Profession of Arms, pp. 188-90; and Edward M. Coffman, The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime, 1784-1898 (New York, 1986), pp. 106-108 and 104-136 passim. For an overview of the subject in general, see John D'Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman, Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America (New York, 1988), ch. 4.

4. Rotundo, American Manhood, pp. 2-3, and 10-18 in general.

5. Ibid., pp. 169 and 173; Stearns, Be A Man!, p. 115; Donald Yacavone, "Abolitionists and the 'Language of Fraternal Love,'" in Meanings for Manhood: Constructions of Masculinity in Victorian America, eds. Mark C. Carnes and Clyde Griffen (Chicago, 1990), pp. 85-95; Rotundo, "Learning About Manhood: Gender Ideals and the Middle Class Family in Nineteenth Century America," in Meanings for Manhood, eds. Carnes and Griffen (ch. 2); and Edward R. Crowther, "Holy Honor: Sacred and Secular in the Old South," Journal of Southern History 58 (1992): 619-36. Officers did not derive their acceptance of homosocial relationships and "feminine" styles from explicit ideology or worldview, unlike abolitionists or evangelicals (although they all shared a strong sense of mission, persecution, and solidarity). My colleague Lynn Lyerly discusses the gender identities of early Methodist ministers in the American South in her paper "Blurring the Boundaries: Methodist Gender Ideology, 1770-1810" (presented to the Houston Area Southern Historians, February 1994), and in her dissertation.

6. Rotundo, American Manhood, p. 176, and Julie Roy Jeffrey, Frontier Women: The Trans-Mississippi West, 1840-1880 (New York, 1979), p. 6. "The Late Captain S[amuel] L. Russell," Army and Navy Chronicle (hereafter cited as ANC) 8, no. 13 (March 28, 1839): 202-203, is an excellent example of such an epitaph.

7. Career army officers were often referred to as "regulars," and on occasion I have done the same.

8. See Skelton, An American Profession of Arms, pp. 190-92, regarding compensation, and 212-17 regarding resignations and other means of separation from service. An average of about three percent of the officer corps departed each year (roughly twenty men). See Skelton, Tables 11.1 to 11.4, pp. 182-83, 194, and 213, for median career lengths, promotion rates (time spent in grade), and means of attrition. In effect, a superior had to resign or die in order for promotion to occur, and resignations were extremely rare once officers reached the rank of major.

The most recent works on the Jacksonian era stress the dramatic expansion and impact of the liberal market and its values in all realms of life; see primarily Charles Sellers, The Market Revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815-1846 (New York, 1991) and Gordon Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (New York, 1992). Steven Watts, The Republic Reborn: War and the Making of Liberal America, 1790-1820 (Baltimore, 1987) adroitly examines an earlier period in this transformation. I have drawn heavily on John Higham, From Boundlessness to Consolidation: The Transformation of American Culture, 1848-1860 (Ann Arbor, MI, 1969) and similar works on the post-Civil War era for the broader direction of my thesis.

9. The wave of resignations in 1835 and 1836 was also stimulated by the advent of the Second Seminole War. My paper "'So disastrous and unfortunate a contest': U.S. Army Officers React to the Second Seminole War," (presented to the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, July 17, 1994) discusses the calculations of officers who resigned at this time.

The professional rhetoric of politically and ideologically neutral duty, service, and responsibility proved materially and psychologically attractive for army officers. As American society became more unsettled and democratic many officers felt a growing threat to their livelihoods and their ability to command individual and institutional respect. Army officers were not isolated from their society, though its values sometimes irritated and even alienated them. Their sense of social responsibility and accountability to the civilian political process was enhanced not by an ideological faith in the glories of democracy but by their occupational position as members of an organization dependent on those same processes for its survival. Their occupational role as the principal defenders of American national sovereignty fostered a strong personal and institutional interest in increasing the federal government's power and legitimacy. Their ongoing search for personal and organizational security bred a yearning for order and stability that regulars expressed in the stern idiom of legalism and national sovereignty. Their vocation challenged by Americans' fondness for the locally controlled militia, regular officers increasingly responded by stressing the need for centralized national control over the organized use of armed force. Like other aspiring professionals, army officers' motives and values were an amalgam of professional selflessness and careerist self-interest. Their function as the principal defenders of national sovereignty meshed easily with their individual and organizational searches for security, legitimacy, and authority.

This process of consolidation does not appear to have been a spur to a more passionate standard of manhood for army officers in the 1830s, however, unlike the pattern in the 1890s, when such a standard was adopted as an ideal throughout society. Regular officers were much less enthusiastic about war and expansion during the Jacksonian era than many historians have depicted; they did not sing the slogans of Manifest Destiny and Young America with the fervor or frequency that their occupation might lead one to expect. See my papers "'So disastrous and unfortunate a contest'" and "Attitudes of U.S. Army Officers Towards War With Mexico, 1842-1846" (presented to the Texas State Historical Association, March 3, 1994) for discussions of this tendency, which I consider another manifestation of officers' orientation toward security (including in one dimension domesticity). Though antipartisan and even antipolitical, officers were not romantic nationalists. The conception of politics they internalized at West Point was too unideological for them to develop any attachment to a volk.

10. Skelton, An American Profession of Arms, chs. 2-4, and Coffman, The Old Army, ch. 1, contain thorough and highly persuasive discussions of the officer corps before 1815. The years 1815 to 1821 (and in many ways those through the 1820s and throughout this era) were a transitional period for the army as an institution, in which new procedures were implemented and officers with marginal commitments to the service were weeded out.

11. Independence was an important value for many army officers, especially for those before about 1820. The "nascent individualism" of eighteenth-century America was still present in the nineteenth-century officer corps' collective mentalite, and officers commonly used the zealous (and jealous) republican language of personal rights and independence in their relationships with rivals (often including superiors).

The classic analysis of military professionalism and "the military mind" is in Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Practice of Civil-Military Relations (Cambridge, MA, 1957), chs. 1 and 3. I would argue that the emergent military "professionalism" of the Jacksonian era might better be labelled careerism, because army officers stressed their bureaucratic position and benefits far more than specifically military values and issues in their personal correspondence. The officer corps was becoming more expert, cohesive, politically neutral and nationalistic, and perhaps autonomous during this era. However, it was still rent by internal quarrels, both individual and institutional, and it lacked the institutions for professional training that were established later in the century. Despite the growing predominance of West Pointers, the army experienced periodic infusions of civilian appointees who lacked the socialization in professional norms that the Military Academy attempted with increasing success to inculcate. Above all, I believe that the officer corps' primary psychological orientation was toward security rather than expertise or service per se. In "Professionalization in the U.S. Army Officer Corps During the Age of Jackson," Armed Forces and Society 1 (1975): 443-71, William Skelton wrote that "professionalization meshed with the personal aspirations of American officers - their quest for career security and for public recognition of their superiority to the militia" (p. 465), and in "The Army Officer as Organization Man," in Soldiers and Civilians: The U.S. Army and the American People, eds. Garry D. Ryan and Timothy K. Nenninger (Washington, D.C., 1987), pp. 61-70, he wrote that "if there were a way of gauging mental energy, it would almost certainly determine that old army officers expended more of that resource in the pursuit of bureaucratic goals - promotion, higher pay, favorable assignments - than in any other phase of their professional lives" (p. 65).

In An American Profession of Arms Skelton writes that the foundations for American military professionalism were laid before the Civil War; most earlier studies of the army officer corps located its professionalization in the postbellum era. See e.g. Coffman, The Old Army; Russell F. Weigley, History of the United States Army (New York, 1967); and Alan R. Millett, Military Professionalism and Officership in America (Columbus, OH, 1977). I believe that the U.S. Army was in the process of professionalization before the Civil War (and was as a whole farther advanced along that route than any civilian profession) but had not yet achieved that status (insofar as this is possible), either among the majority of officers or in the consciousness of the nation at large.

12. Rotundo, American Manhood, p. 175, notes the importance of persistence in the ideal of manhood, particularly as an antidote to self-doubt. Many broadsides against the officer corps did accuse it of laziness, and such criticism was sometimes phrased in terms like "wasp-waisted dandies," but such rhetoric could hardly be sustained upon closer examination. See Harry Brod, "Introduction: Themes and Theses of Men's Studies," in The Making of Masculinities, ed. Harry Brod, p. 14; and Steams, Be A Man!, pp. 132-49, for discussions of the gendered dimensions of the rationality required in managers, particularly as a substitute for the command of property ownership. See Samuel Haber, The Quest for Authority and Honor in the American Professions, 1750-1900 (Chicago, 1991) and Daniel Calhoun, Professional Lives in America: Structure and Aspiration, 1750-1850 (Cambridge, MA, 1965), for discussions of the importance of self-restraint in the image of a gentleman and the reputation of a professional.

13. John Waller Barry to Susan Taylor, June 4, 1834, in "A Kentuckian in 'King Andrew's' Court: The Letters of John Waller Barry, Washington, D.C., 1831-1835," ed. Cheryl Conover, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 81 (1983): 181; Maskell C. Ewing Diary, May 19, 1827, United States Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, PA (hereafter cited as USAMHI); Alexander J. Swift to Joseph G. Swift, May 9, 1840, Alexander J. Swift Papers, United States Military Academy Library, West Point (hereafter cited as USMA). The research for this paper uncovered only a single mention of "organized" feminism, a brief expression of curiosity about Lucretia Mott in a letter from Colonel Abraham Eustis to his son Frederic (who was studying at Harvard) (Abraham Eustis to Frederic Eustis, April 27, 1841, Eustis Papers, USAMHI).

14. E.g., "Coelebs," "Provident Society," Military and Naval Magazine (hereafter cited as MNM) 3, no. 2 (April 1834): 94-99, and the letters in MNM 3, no. 4 (June 1834): 303-307, especially that of "An Unmarried Officer" (p. 303). The only official pensions available during this era were limited to five years and reserved for dependents of officers who died in combat. Such funds were common on an informal basis, usually by voluntary subscription among the officers of a particular unit or post. The antagonism by unmarried officers against married ones was often rooted in the favorable quarters and assignments married officers commonly received.

15. "Rapp," "The Soldier," MNM 4, no. 4 (December 1834): 300; "Mentor," "To the Commanding General of the Army," MNM 4, no. 3 (November 1834): 184; "The Late Captain S[amuel] L. Russell," ANC 8, no. 13 (March 28, 1839): 203. See also (Lieutenant) C[harles] E. Woodruff's letter in ANC 8, no. 18 (May 2, 1839): 281. Perhaps unconsciously, "Tim. Vent." turned the gendered dimension of the analogy on its head: Sunday inspections were more akin to the duty of "the fond mother" than the father ("Sunday Inspections," MNM 3, no. 3 [May 1834]: 183-87).

16. E.g., "An Officer of the Army," "Army Pay," ANC 2, no. 9 (March 3, 1836): 140; "A Subscriber," "Married Men in the Army," ANC 10, no. 23 (June 4, 1840): 361; Professor (and ex-lieutenant) Dennis Hart Mahan to Frederick Harris, April 5, 1834, David B. Harris Papers, Duke University; the "Opinion of the Court Charged With 'Investigating the Moral Condition of the Military Academy" (formally authored by Brigadier and soon to be commanding General Winfield Scott), July 6, 1840, Jasper Adams Papers (in the West Point Chaplains Papers), USMA, pp. 14, 24, and 39; and Colonel Alexander Macomb to Major John de Barth Walbach, September 30,1825, Macomb Papers, USMA.

17. See Richard D. Gamble, "Garrison Life at Frontier Military Posts, 1830-1860" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Oklahoma, 1956), pp. 168 and 218-19; and the Abraham Robinson Johnston Papers, USMA, which are an excellent source of officers' attitudes toward family and social life in general. See "The Officer's Friend," "The Army," ANC 3, no. 9 (September 1, 1836): 138-39, for a contemporary commentary on the relationship between marriage and resignation during the Second Seminole War. My papers "'So disastrous and unfortunate a contest'" and "Attitudes of U.S. Army Officers Towards War With Mexico, 1842-1846," discuss the salience of marital considerations in regular officers' personal decision-making and morale during these crises.

18. Morris S. Miller to Maria Miller and John Miller, April 8, 1831 and December 7, 1835, Morris Smith Miller Papers, USMA. See also John Waller Barry to his sister Susan Taylor, January 14, 1836, in Conover, ed., "A Kentuckian in 'King Andrew's' Court," p. 198. For discussions of this role, see Linda Kerbet, "The Republican Mother: Women and the Enlightenment - An American Perspective," American Quarterly 28 (1976): 187-205; Kerber, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America (Chapel Hill, NC, 1980); Ruth Bloch, "American Feminine Ideals in Transition: The Rise of the Moral Mother, 1785-1815," Feminist Studies 4 (1978): 101-126; Ryan, The Cradle of the Middle Class, ch. 4; Wiebe, The Opening of America, pp. 265-78; Jan Lewis, "Mother's Love: The Construction of an Emotion in Nineteenth Century America," in Social History and Issues in Human Consciousness: Some Interdisciplinary Connections, eds. Andrew E. Barnes and Peter N. Stearns (New York, 1989), pp. 209-229.

19. Cadet William Dutton's letters, for instance, expressed a constant tension between his hopes for conjugal happiness with his fiancee (and cousin) Lucy Matthews and his earnest wish to make her parents comfortable as they got older (Dutton Papers, USMA, passim). See also Cadet Samuel H. Raymond to his mother Mrs. Joshua Raymond, October 28, 1842, Raymond Papers, USMA; and Cadet George B. McClellan to his mother Elizabeth McClellan, March 18, 1846, McClellan Papers, Library of Congress (hereafter cited as LC).

20. See John Demos, "The Changing Face of Fatherhood: A New Exploration in American Family History," in Father and Child: Developmental and Clinical Perspectives, eds. S.H. Cart, A.R. Gurwitt, and J.M. Ross (New York, 1982), pp. 425-45; E. Anthony Rotundo, "Patriarchs and Participants: A Historical Perspective on Fatherhood," in Beyond Patriarchy: Essays by Men on Pleasure, Power, and Change, ed. Michael Kaufman (New York, 1987), pp. 64-80; Rotundo, American Manhood, pp. 25-30; and Robert L. Griswold, Fatherhood in America: A History (New York, 1993), ch. 2, for discussions of the roles fathers played in the socialization of young men. Antebellum U.S. Army officers came disproportionately from urban backgrounds, and almost exclusively from middle and upper class ones. See Skelton, An American Profession of Arms, Table 9.4 (p. 159); and Table 9.5 (p. 160) for comparisons with civilian men.

21. John Waller Barry to Susan Taylor, August 16, 1826, in "'To Please Papa:' The Letters of John Waller Barry, West Point Cadet, 1826-1830," ed. Cheryl Conover, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 80 (1982): 190; Barry to John Taylor (Susan's husband), October 13, 1835, in Conover, ed., "A Kentuckian in 'King Andrew's' Court," p. 194; Samuel Raymond to Mary Raymond, February 2, 1844, Raymond Papers, USMA. See also Cadet Washington Hood to John Hamilton (a civilian friend), July 2, 1823, Washington Hood Papers, USMA.

22. See Rotundo, American Manhood, pp. 93-96, and Buza, "'Pledges of Our Love.'" The atmosphere that produced such close connections was common in the families of the southern gentry; see Jane Turner Censer, North Carolina Planters and Their Children, 1800-1860 (Baton Rouge, LA, 1984), chs. 2-5; Jan Lewis, The Pursuit of Happiness: Family and Values in Jefferson's Virginia (Cambridge, 1983), especially ch. 5; and Daniel Blake Smith, Inside the Great House: Planter Family Life in Eighteenth Century Chesapeake Society (Ithaca, NY, 1980), especially pp. 178-86. Rotundo shows that this was also the case in the northern middle class.

23. Ulysses S. Grant to Julia Dent, August 31, 1844, in The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Volume I: 1837-1861, ed. John Y. Simon (Carbondale, IL, 1967), p. 35.

24. Alfred Mordecai to Ellen Mordecai, April 15, 1827, December 23, 1823, and November 27, 1822, Mordecai Papers, LC. See also Cadet Samuel H. Raymond to his mother Mrs. Joshua Raymond, October 8, 1843, Raymond Papers, USMA; and Alexander J. Swift to his brother Thomas and his sister Sally Swift, March 22, 1829 and November 4, 1840, Alexander Swift Papers, USMA.

25. Alfred Mordecai to his sister Rachel Lazarus, May 30, 1827 and December 10, 1822; Alfred Mordecai to Ellen Mordecai, November 23, 1823 and August 31, 1836, Mordecai Papers, LC.

26. Alfred Mordecai to Ellen, November 3, 1831, January 16, 1832, March 23, 1833, October 23, 1841, and passim, Mordecai Papers, LC; Richard Stoddard Ewell to Rebecca Ewell, May 6, 1838, Ewell Papers, LC. Alfred Mordecai wrote substantially less to his married sister Rachel than to Ellen, who was also closer to him in age. For further examples see Assistant Surgeon William Beaumont to his brother John, April 22, 1835, Beaumont Papers, USAMHI (suggesting that they consult with their sisters about family business affairs); Samuel Raymond to his sister Mary Raymond, May 5, 1844, Raymond Papers, USMA; William Dutton's letters to Lucy Matthews, Dutton Papers, USMA; the Robert Anderson Papers, LC (to his sister Maria); the James Wall Schureman Papers, LC and USMA (to Mary); and the Alexander J. Swift Papers, USMA (to Sally).

27. Alfred Mordecai to Ellen Mordecai, April 7 and June 27, 1832, January 3 and February 22, 1833, October 23 and 10, 1841, Mordecai Papers, LC (underlining in original).

28. Rotundo, American Manhood, p. 77. He notes that this phenomenom was only present in small groups of the gentry elite in eighteenth-century America, but he cites George Washington's aides-de-camp in the Continental Army as his primary example (p. 76). For parallels, see Melinda S. Buza, "'Pledges of Our Love': Friendship, Love, and Marriage Among the Virginia Gentry, 1800-1825," in The Edge of the South: Life in Nineteenth Century Virginia, eds. Edward L. Ayers and John C. Willis (Charlottesville, VA, 1991), pp. 9-36; Donald Yacavone, "Abolitionists and the 'Language of Fraternal Love'"; Yacavone, Samuel Joseph May and the Dilemmas of the Liberal Persuasion, 1797-1861 (Philadelphia, 1991), pp. 95-103; Rotundo, American Manhood, ch. 4; and Rotundo, "Romantic Friendship: Male Intimacy and Middle Class Youth in the Northern United States, 1800-1900," Journal of Social History 23 (1989): 1-25.

29. Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana to Sue (Susan Sandiford Dana), April 11, 1846, in Monterrey Is Ours! The Mexican War Letters of Lieutenant Dana, 1845-1847, ed. Robert H. Ferrell (Lexington, KY, 1990), p. 41; Grady McWhiney, "Sex, Women, and the 'Old Army' Officers," p. 42; Ronald T. Takaki, Iron Cages: Race and Culture in Nineteenth-Century America (New York, 1979), pp. 272-73. See Lystra, Searching the Heart, for a sensitive discussion of the form and meaning of nineteenth century love letters.

30. Alfred Mordecai to Ellen Mordecai, February 22, 1833, Mordecai Papers, LC; Dutton to Matthews, February 18, 1843, Dutton Papers, USMA (and March 6, 1843, in which Dutton reports the death of his "very intimate" friend); Alexander Swift to Joseph G. Swift, November 24, 1840, Alexander Swift Papers, USMA; Turner to Johnston, June 16, 1841 and February 2, 1845, Johnston Papers, USMA.

31. Turner to Johnston, October 30, February 2, and February 11, 1845; Swords to Johnston, November 10, 1844 and August 18, 1845. See also Lieutenant Philip R. Thompson to Johnston, February 20, 1841 (all in the Johnston Papers, USMA). For examples of cadets' sentimentality, see John H.B. Latrobe, Commonplace Book, 1818-1822, Latrobe Papers, USMA; Washington Hood, notebook, 1826, Hood Papers, USMA; and "The West Pointer," ed. Cadet James Wall Schureman, in Schureman Papers, USMA.

32. Rotundo, American Manhood, pp. 79, 86, and 88. Mordecai had graduated from West Point in 1823, Swift in 1830, Swords in 1829, Turner in 1834, and Johnston in 1835. Philip Thompson had graduated in 1835 with Johnston. The Johnston Papers provide a detailed glimpse of the inner lives of several garrison communities on the Plains frontier in the late 1830s and early to mid-1840s; my paper "Careerism, Social Attitudes, and Professionalism in a Frontier Military Community: The First Dragoon Regiment, 1837-1846" (presented to the Northern Great Plains History Conference, October 1, 1993) discusses these.

33. The correspondence between William Wirt and Dabney Carr, two members of the Virginia gentry, provides a good example. Wirt applied the metaphor of marriage to his relationship with Carr when he told Carr of his forthcoming wedding to Elizabeth Gamble. Anya Jabour deals with their life-long intimacy in her dissertation on the Wirt family. See also Buza, "'Pledges of Our Love,'" particularly pp. 28 and 30.

34. The army officer corps was not a community without contention. The gendered dimensions of their personal and occupational discourse were not derived from an exclusively military (and presumably more "masculine") perspective. Personal affairs were highly significant to army officers. Internal strife seems to have preoccupied many regulars, even (perhaps particularly) those socialized at West Point. Many, perhaps most, regular officers evaluated each other not in the functional (and putatively objective) terms of military expertise, but in the much more subjective - and social, even civilian - ones of gentility and honor. This propensity was conditioned by the boredom and lack of what they thought was socially suitable - meaning genteel - civilian company on isolated frontier posts, and the salience of good character and an honorable reputation among officers themselves. While this may have been an informal means of regulating behavior and establishing "professional" (which at the time essentially meant genteel) standards in tune with those of society at large, it was clearly detrimental to the cohesion of the officer corps. The result was a series of court-martials that took commanders away from their units for extended periods but rarely forced errant officers to leave the service or to conform to "professional" norms. My paper "Careerism, Social Attitudes, and Professionalism in a Frontier Military Community" discusses these patterns among the officers of the 1st Dragoon Regiment.

35. Pugh, Sons of Liberty, p. xviii, labels these the "neurotic attempts of men to escape ... female constraints and civilization." See also Steams, Be A Man!, p. 61. This is a common theme in recent studies of both the British Empire and nineteenth century American literature; but c.f. Skelton, An American Profession of Arms, pp. 297-98 and 312-13; Coffman, The Old Army, pp. 70-73; and Francis Paul Prucha, The Sword of the Republic: The United States Army on the Frontier, 1783-1846 (New York, 1969), pp. 199-205, regarding officers' generally negative attitudes towards the frontier and its white inhabitants.

36. Skelton, An American Profession of Arms, p. 190, gives six years as officers' median length of service at marriage. Thirty-nine percent of officers married while second lieutenants, and two-thirds did so before attaining the rank of captain. The median age at marriage was 28, and eighty-four percent married by age 35 (p. 403, n. 22).

37. E.g. Richard Ewell to Rebecca Ewell, November 14, 1841, Ewell Papers, LC. This idea came to me when reading Censer, North Carolina Planters and Their Children (of whom Ewell was one), ch. 4. On courtship in general, see Ellen Rothman, Hands and Hearts: A History of Courtship in America (New York, 1984), part 2.

38. Alfred Mordecai to Ellen Mordecai, June 27, 1832, Mordecai Papers, LC; Pegram to Anderson, January 18, 1841, Robert Anderson Papers, LC; Abner Hetzel to Calvin Hetzel, September 16, 1839, Hetzel Papers, USMA; William Dutton to Lucy Matthews, February 2, 1843, Dutton Papers, USMA; Cadet Joseph Engle to his mother Janet Engle, April 5, 1826, Engle Papers, USMA. See also Lieutenant Robert Allen to Thomas Berryman (a civilian friend), July 4, 1844, Robert Allen Papers, USMA; and Skelton, An American Profession of Arms, pp. 188-90 and 205-210; Coffman, The Old Army, ch. 3, passim; and McWhiney, "Sex, Women, and the 'Old Army' Officers," pp. 44-47 in general.

39. Henry S. Turner to Abraham R. Johnston, June 16, 1841, Johnston Papers, USMA; Lieutenant Montgomery C. Meigs to his brother John, June 23, 1841, Meigs Papers, LC; Barry to John Taylor, October 15, 1834, in Conover, ed., "A Kentuckian in 'King Andrew's' Court," p. 188. See Alfred Mordecai to Ellen Mordecai, December 2, 1832, Mordecai Papers, LC; Morris S. Miller to his brother John, December 7, 1835, Miller Papers, USMA; and the Abraham Robinson Johnston Papers, USMA, passim, for examples of teasing.

40. E.g., Lieutenant George Washington Cullum to Alfred A. Huidekoper (a civilian friend and perhaps cousin), January 9, 1835, Cullum Papers, LC, and Lieutenant H[enry] L[ane] K[endrick] to Cadet Joseph F. Irons, January 28, 1842, Irons Papers, USMA. The number of officers who married non-white women or those of the working classes was statistically insignificant.

41. Thompson to Johnston, August 27, 1841, Johnston Papers, USMA; Joseph F. Irons to Mrs. John Irons, March 10, 1841, Irons Papers, USMA; Montgomery C. Meigs to his brother John, February 21, 1841, Meigs Papers, LC (my emphases).

42. Burgwin to Johnston, August 13, 1840, Johnston Papers, USMA; William Dutton to Lucy Matthews, March 29, 1846, Dutton Papers, USMA.

43. E.g., Alfred Mordecai to Ellen Mordecai, October 21, 1833, Mordecai Papers, LC; Richard Stoddard Ewell to Rebecca Ewell, May 6, 1838, Ewell Papers, LC; and Robert Anderson to his mother Sarah Anderson, November 21, 1835, Anderson Papers, LC. On romantic love in this period see Lystra, Searching the Heart, and more broadly Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience, Victoria to Freud: The Tender Passion (New York, 1986) and Stephen Kern, The Culture of Love: Victorians to Moderns (Cambridge, MA, 1992).

44. Ulysses S. Grant to Julia Dent, October 1845, in The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant, Volume I, p. 59; Coffman, The Old Army, p. 112; Jeffrey, Frontier Women, p. 67. Examples of memorials can be found in "Proceedings at Fort Jesup," MNM 4, no. 2 (October 1834): 103, and ANC 8, no. 21 (May 23, 1839): 329. Many officers had relatives in the army; see Skelton, An American Profession of Arms, pp. 208-209, although the overall proportion he gives (roughly 40%) might have been lower at any particular time.

45. Napoleon Dana to Sue Dana, September 7, October 14, and October 10, 1845, in Ferrell, ed., Monterrey Is Ours!, pp. 8, 24, and 22.

46. Skelton, An American Profession of Arms, pp. 205 and 408 (n. 63); Morris Miller to Maria Miller, (?) 1835, Miller Papers, USMA; Robert Anderson to Sarah Anderson, November 21, 1835, Anderson Papers, LC; Alexander Macomb to John De Barth Walbach, September 30, 1825, Macomb Papers, USMA; Joseph R. Smith to Juliet Smith, November 20, 1837, in Mahon, ed., "Letters from the Second Seminole War," p. 333. See Major Sylvester Churchill, diary entry for March 8, 1837, Churchill Papers, LC, and "Mentor," (untitled letter) ANC 9, no. 16 (October 17, 1839): 245 for additional examples of officers' sentimental attitudes towards Seminole families and children.

Although perhaps ten percent of the officer corps were sons of officers themselves (Skelton, An American Profession of Arms, Table 9.4, p. 159), the junior officers of the 1830s and 1840s whose papers were available to me did not have fathers who remained in the army after the War of 1812, and they were too young to have adult sons themselves. None of the officers' collections available to me included letters to both fathers and sons. Rotundo, "Patriarchs and Participants," pp. 67 and 70, observes that "men seemed more comfortable expressing emotions to their daughters than to their [adult] sons," but the officers whose papers I examined lacked both adult sons and daughters for comparison. Several scholars have noted that this period was a"relatively androgynous moment" in the development of child-rearing literature. See Bernard Wishy, The Child and the Republic: The Dawn of Modern American Child Nurture (Philadelphia, 1968); Carol Z. Stearns and Peter N. Stearns, Anger: The Struggle for Emotional Control in America's History (Chicago, 1986), pp. 57-58; and Peter N. Stearns, "Girls, Boys, and Emotions: Redefinitions and Historical Change," Journal of American History 80 (1993): 36-74. (The quotation above is at p. 41, n. 13.)

47. Smith to "my dear children," May 10, 1839, and "to my dear son," March 22, 1840, in Mahon, ed., "Letters from the Second Seminole War," pp. 343 and 347.

48. Randolph B. Marcy to Mary Ellen Marcy, May 20 and July 31, 1846, McClellan Papers, LC.

49. Edmund Brooke Alexander to his children, June 19, 1841, Alexander Papers, USMA.

50. Abraham Eustis to Frederic Eustis, June 15, 1834 and April 27, 1841, Eustis Papers, USAMHI. Similar letters were dated November 2, 1834, February 12, 1837, and April 6, 1838. See Censer, North Carolina Planters and Their Children, pp. 59-60 and chs. 3 and 5 passim, for examples of similar behavior by parents. Eustis owned a plantation in North Carolina.

51. Samuel Raymond to Josiah Raymond, March 25, 1843, Raymond Papers, USMA.
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Date:Sep 22, 1995
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