Benjamin Brice

Benjamin Brice

Infobox Military Person
name=Benjamin W. Brice
born= birth date|1809|11|30
died= death date and age|1892|12|4|1809|11|30
placeofbirth=Harrison County, Virginia
placeofdeath=Washington, D.C.
placeofburial=


caption=Major General Benjamin Brice
nickname=
allegiance=United States of America
branch= United States Army
serviceyears=1829-1832 1847-1872
rank= Brevet major general
commands=Paymaster General (1864-1872)
battles= Indian Wars
*Black Hawk War
Mexican-American War American Civil War

Benjamin William Brice (November 30, 1809 – December 4, 1892) was a lawyer and soldier who served in the United States Army during the Black Hawk War and Mexican-American War. Later employed as the Paymaster General of the Union Army during the American Civil War and postbellum periods, Brice had on his retirement in 1872 risen to the rank of brevet major general.

Early life and background

Brice was born in what is now Harrison County, West Virginia. In 1825, he entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1825. His classmates included future civil war generals Robert Anderson, Daniel S. Donelson, Benjamin Huger, William R. Montgomery, and Charles F. Smith. [" [http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/wpclasses.html Civil War Generals from West Point] ". Retrieved on March 5, 2008.] He graduated near the bottom of his class, ranking fortieth out of forty six cadets. Upon graduation he was commissioned as a second lieutenant and served with the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment on frontier duty at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. He served during the Black Hawk War expedition against the Sac Indians in 1831." [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9C00E7DD1638E233A25756C0A9649D94639ED7CF Benjamin W. Brice] ". "New York Times". December 5, 1892.]

Brice left the Army in 1832 and moved to Ohio. He passed the bar exam, began to practice law, and in 1846 was elected an associate judge of the court of Licking County, Ohio. Later in 1846, Brice was appointed Adjutant General of the state militia by Governor William Bebb and served until 1847, when he resigned to re-enter the army to serve in the Mexican War. Brice became United States Army Paymaster under President James K. Polk at the rank of major and served from March 3, 1847, to March 4, 1849. [" [http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/PublicAffairs/fedRoster.aspx?Section=1593 Adjutants General of the State of Ohio] ". "Ohio Secretary of State". Retrieved on March 5, 2008.] He saw service at Camargo in 1847, Monterrey, Saltillo, and Brazos Island in 1848, and was then stationed at Fort Brown, Texas, from 1848 to 1849. [http://books.google.com/books?id=UuUtAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA445&dq=army+%22paymaster+general%22+history&ei=JU_VR439Io7-iAGEnvSEBA Cullum, p. 445] ]

After the war with Mexico, Brice's command was disbanded. He was reappointed a Major in 1852, and saw service in the Pay Department at Fort Fillmore, New Mexico from 1852 to 1854; New Orleans, Louisiana, from 1854 to 1856; Paymaster of the Southern District of New Mexico, headquartered at Fort Bliss, Texas, from 1856 to 1859; as well as special service in Florida in 1859. He was made Paymaster of the Western Department under General David Hunter at Fort Leavenworth, Missouri in 1859 and served until the beginning of the Civil War. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=uhLSJBZ396AC&pg=PA49&dq=%22benjamin+william+brice%22&lr=&ei=kyXOR4GlCIP0iwHd-4WWBA&sig=iT4aUX2vApYkqNV79K7XeoxTHsg Miller, p. 49] ]

Civil War

At the outbreak of the rebellion, he became Paymaster General of the District of Kansas and the Territories. In 1862, he became chief of the pay district embracing New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, headquartered at Baltimore, Maryland, and served until 1864. On March 22, 1862, he was promoted to brigadier general, but the promotion was tabled by Congress on July 16, 1862, and Brice reverted to his regular army rank of major. [http://books.google.com/books?id=Fs0Ajlnjl6AC&pg=PA331&dq=%22benjamin+w.+brice%22&lr=&ei=IyXOR_bBIZmYiwGWudGZBA&sig=ZRCF_QY-_99B4PWCCyaoNP_1NTU#PPA144,M1 J. Eicher, p. 144] ] On November 29, 1864, he was called to Washington on to take command of the Pay Department. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=m88SoP-_yo0C&pg=RA4-PA874&dq=%22benjamin+w.+brice%22&ei=3iTOR9X3IYSkiQGGqeWXBA Reid, p. 874] ]

According to all reports and diaries, the paymaster's department was grossly inefficient at the beginning of the war in 1861.Moffat, William C. " [http://members.aol.com/CintiCWRT/soldier_pay.html Soldiers Pay] ". "The Cincinnati Civil War Round Table". 2000.] Col. Benjamin F. Larned was paymaster at the beginning of the war and had served since July 1854. He died September 6, 1862, and was succeeded by Col. Timothy B. Andrews, who served to November 29, 1864. After after the death of Colonel Larned, there was considerable pressure for a complete investigation of the problems in the pay department.

In 1863, the War Department finally began to check the suitability of deputy paymasters with a physical examination, and tests to evaluate mental and moral fitness. Most paymasters in the field were political appointees and those looking for a safer job away from the front lines. When Brice took charge in 1864, the regulations were finally brought up to date, and officially included the examination of candidates. This took the form of writing a business letter, solving mathematical problems, and knowledge of accounting and pay systems.

The statistics of the Pay Department show that during it disbursed $1,100,000,000, with discrepancies of less than one-tenth of one per cent. The overhead cost of paying the troops, including expenses, defalcations and losses of all kinds, was just three-fourths of one per cent of the amount disbursed. General Brice reflected on the massive endeavor of creating a modernized pay department from scratch in 1865:

Brice is among the group of capable Washington staff officers who have been largely forgotten by modern historians, even though there was a surprisingly low turnover. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=1p94XzYASDAC&pg=PA625&vq=brice&dq=%22benjamin+w.+brice%22&lr=&source=gbs_search_r&cad=0_1&sig=24Ku8sUjJmnK8CtaApWIh_vuqKs Eicher & Eicher, p. 625] ] While many have credited the North's victory in the conflict to President Abraham Lincoln's ability to create a cabinet of the brightest and most capable minds from a team of his political rivals, Ulysses S. Grant is recognized for reorganizing the staff departments under the finest officers in their fields, including Brice. [Goodwin, p. 599] Brice was brevetted to brigadier general on December 2, 1864, and major general on March 13, 1865, for his wartime service.

Postbellum career

In 1866, he was promoted to brigadier general in the regular army by General Grant during the reorganization of the staff corps. Brice's position as paymaster was often used for political leverage. In 1867, General Grant had the pay of Col. Gordon Granger suspended because of an unauthorized absence. [Grant, p. 142] Granger and Grant had been adversaries since the beginning of the war, and Grant hindered Granger's advancement, stating that he was "outspoken and rough in manner, kindly and sympathetic at heart ... His independence occasionally came near to insubordination, and at ordinary times he lacked energy." [" [http://www.aotc.net/Granger.htm Granger] ". " [http://aotc.net Army of the Cumberland and George H. Thomas source page] ". Retrieved March 5, 2008.]

Brice also officially interceded on behalf of his friend James Magoffin, a Confederate Quartermaster assigned to the far West supplying the forces of Henry H. Sibley and John W. Baylor. [Strickland, p. 33] In the fall of 1865, Magoffin went to Washington to seek amnesty from President Andrew Johnson for his activities on behalf of the Confederacy, but was unsuccessful until Brice's intervention in 1866. [" [http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/MM/fma13.html Magoffin, James Wiley] ". " [http://www.tshaonline.org The Handbook of Texas Online] ". Retrieved March 5, 2008.]

After the war, Brice remained in charge of the Pay Department in Washington D.C. until 1872, when he retired from active duty. He died in 1892 and was interred at the Soldier's Home National Cemetery in Washington. His brother in law was Bvt. Maj. Gen. William Scott Ketchum. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=Fs0Ajlnjl6AC&pg=PA331&dq=%22benjamin+w.+brice%22&lr=&ei=IyXOR_bBIZmYiwGWudGZBA&sig=ZRCF_QY-_99B4PWCCyaoNP_1NTU J. Eicher, p. 331] ]

ee also

* List of American Civil War generals

References

*Carey, A.B. " [http://www.history.army.mil/books/R&H/R&H-Pay.htm The Pay Department] ". New York: Maynard, Merrill & Co. 1896.
*Cullum, George Washington. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=UuUtAAAAIAAJ&dq=army+%22paymaster+general%22+history&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.] " 3d ed. vol. I. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Copmany. 1891.
*Eicher, David J. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=1p94XzYASDAC&dq=%22benjamin+w.+brice%22&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 The Longest Night: A Military History of the Civil War] ". New York: Simon and Schuster. 2001.
*Eicher, David J. & Eicher, John H. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=Fs0Ajlnjl6AC&dq=%22benjamin+w.+brice%22&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 Civil War High Commands] ". Stanford: Stanford University Press. 2001. ISBN 0804736413
*Grant, Ulysses S. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=ng81AAAAIAAJ&q=%22benjamin+w.+brice%22&dq=%22benjamin+w.+brice%22&lr=&ei=IyXOR_bBIZmYiwGWudGZBA&pgis=1 The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant: January 1-September 30, 1867] ". Carbondale: Souther Illinois University Press. 1991 ISBN 0809316927
*Goodwin, Doris Kearns. " [http://www.simonsays.com/content/book.cfm?tab=1&pid=511170&cid=OTC-GoogleBook0306 Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln] ". New York: Simon & Schuster. 2005. ISBN 0684824906
*Miller, Edward A. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=uhLSJBZ396AC&dq=%22benjamin+william+brice%22&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 Lincoln's Abolitionist General: The Biography of David Hunter] ". Columbia: Univ of South Carolina Press. 1997. ISBN 157003110X
*Reid, Whitelaw. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=m88SoP-_yo0C&dq=%22benjamin+w.+brice%22&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0 Ohio in the War: Her Statesmen, Her Generals, and Soldiers] ". vol. I. Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach & Baldwin: 1868.
*Strickland, Rex W. " [http://books.google.com/books?id=igMLAAAAYAAJ&q=%22benjamin+w.+brice%22+biography&dq=%22benjamin+w.+brice%22+biography&lr=&ei=xCXOR4OiF4zsjgGs-6yjBA&pgis=1 Six who Came to El Paso: Pioneers of the 1840s] ". El Paso: Texas Western College Press. 1963.

Notes

External links

* [http://members.aol.com/CintiCWRT/soldier_pay.html Cincinnati Civil War Round Table on Soldier's Pay]

Persondata
NAME = Brice, Benjamin
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = General
SHORT DESCRIPTION = United States Army Officer
DATE OF BIRTH = November 30, 1809
PLACE OF BIRTH = Harrison County, West Virginia
DATE OF DEATH = December 5, 1892
PLACE OF DEATH = Washington, D.C.


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