James K. Polk

Special Message

February 13, 1847

To the Senate of the United States:

I nominate the officers named in the accompanying communication for regular promotion in the Army of the United States, as proposed by the Secretary of War.



Washington, February 13, 1847.


SIR: I have the honor respectfully to propose for your approbation the following named captains* for promotion to the rank of major in the existing regiments of the Army, in conformity with the third section of the act approved February 11, 1847. which authorizes one additional major to each of the regiments of dragoons, artillery, infantry, and riflemen.

*List omitted.

The promotions are all regular with one exception, that of Captain Washington Seawell, of the Seventh Infantry, instead of Captain Edgar Hawkins, of the same regiment, who stands at the head of the list of his grade in the infantry arm. Captain Hawkins, who distinguished himself in the defense of Fort Brown, is passed over on the ground of mental alienation, it being officially reported that he is "insane," on which account he was recently sent from the Army in Mexico. He is now in New York, and is reported to be "unable to perform any duty." An officer just returned from the Army in Mexico, and who had recently served with Captain Hawkins, informed the Adjutant-General that he was quite deranged, but that he had hopes of his recovery, as the malady was probably caused by sickness. Should these hopes be realized at some future day, Captain Hawkins will then of course be promoted without loss of rank; meanwhile I respectfully recommend that he be passed over, as the declared object of these additional majors (as set forth in the Adjutant-General's report to this Department of the 30th of July last) was to insure the presence of an adequate number of efficient field officers for duty with the marching regiments, which object would be neutralized in part should Captain Hawkins now receive the appointment.

I am, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant,


James K. Polk, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/201239

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