The War Department was an executive department of the United States government from 1789 to 1947, when its name was changed and it was reorganized. It was created to supervise all military functions and aspects of national defense.In 1798, Congress separated the Navy from the Army, which created a new Department of the Navy. The War Department continued to supervise the Army. Both department secretaries were answerable to the president, were members of his Cabinet, and cooperated in joint committees and conferences.
Term of Service
1795 - 1796
1796 - 1797
1797 - 1800
1800 - 1801
|Samuel Dexter||Maryland||John Adams|
1801 - 1809
1809 - 1813
1813 - 1814
|John Armstrong||New York||Madison|
1814 - 1815
1815 - 1817
|William H. Crawford||Georgia||Madison|
1817 - 1825
|John C. Calhoun||South Carolina||Monroe|
1825 - 1828
|James Barbour||Virginia||J. Q. Adams|
1828 - 1829
|Peter B. Porter||New York||J. Adams|
1829 - 1831
|John H. Eaton||Tennessee||Jackson|
1831 - 1837
|Benjamin F. Butler||New York||Jackson|
1837 - 1841
|Joel R. Poinsett||South Carolina||Van Buren|
|John Bell||Tennessee||W. H. Harrison|
1841 - 1843
|John C. Spencer||New York||Tyler|
1843 - 1844
|James M. Porter||Pennsylvania||Tyler|
1844 - 1845
1845 - 1849
|William M. Marcy||New York||Polk|
1849 - 1850
|George W. Crawford||Georgia||Taylor|
1850 - 1853
|Charles M. Conrad||Louisiana||Fillmore|
1853 - 1857
1857 - 1861
|John B. Floyd||Virginia||Buchanan|
1861 - 1862
1862 - 1865
|Edwin M. Stanton||Pennsylvania||Lincoln|
1865 - 1868
1868 - 1869
|John M. Schofield||Illinois||A. Johnson|
|John A. Rawlins||Illinois||Grant|
|William T. Sherman||Ohio||Grant|
1869 - 1876
|William W. Belknap||Iowa||Grant|
1876 - 1877
|James D. Cameron||Pennsylvania||Grant|
1877 - 1879
|George W. McCray||Iowa||Hayes|
1879 - 1881
|Robert T. Lincoln||Illinois||Garfield|
1881 - 1885
1885 - 1889
|William C. Endicott||Massachusetts||Cleveland|
1889 - 1891
|Redfield Proctor||Vermont||B. Harrison|
1891 - 1893
|Stephen B. Elkins||West Virginia||B. Harrison|
1893 - 1897
|Daniel S. Lamont||New York||Cleveland|
1897 - 1899
|Russel A. Alger||Michigan||McKinley|
1899 - 1901
|Elihu Root||New York||McKinley|
1901 - 1904
1904 - 1908
|William H. Taft||Ohio||T. Roosevelt|
1908 - 1909
|Luke E. Wright||Tennessee||T. Roosevelt|
1909 - 1911
|Jacob M. Dickinson||Tennessee||Taft|
1911 - 1913
|Henry L. Stimson||New York||Taft|
1913 - 1916
|Lindley M. Garrison||New Jersey||Wilson|
1916 - 1921
|Newton D. Baker||Ohio||Wilson|
1921 - 1923
|John W. Weeks||Massachusetts||Harding|
1923 - 1925
1925 - 1929
|Dwight F. Davis||Missouri||Coolidge|
|James W. Good||Illinois||Hoover|
1929 - 1933
|Patrick J. Hurley||Oklahoma||Hoover|
1933 - 1937
|George H. Dern||Utah||F.D. Roosevelt|
1937 - 1940
|Harry H. Woodring||Kansas||F.D. Roosevelt|
1940 - 1945
|Henry L. Stimson||New York||F.D. Roosevelt|
1945 - 1947
|Robert P. Patterson||New York||Truman|
|Kenneth C. Royall||North Carolina||Truman|
War Department Collection of Confederate Records
Finding Aids: Elizabeth Bethel, comp., Preliminary Inventory of the War Department Collection of Confederate Records, PI 101 (1957) Henry P. Beers, comp., Guide to the Archives of the Government of the Confederate States of America (1968).
Related Records: Treasury Department Collection of Confederate Records, RG 365.
The War Department Collection of Confederate Records consists of records of the Confederate States of America acquired by capture or surrender at the close of the Civil War and those later acquired by donation or purchase. On July 21, 1865, the Secretary of War established a unit in the Adjutant General's Office for the collection, safekeeping, and publication of the "Rebel Archives." The records were used in protecting the U.S. Government against claims arising from the war, in establishing pension claims, and for historical purposes. After many changes both in location and custody, the records were placed in the Organization Records Section of the Old Records Division of the Adjutant General's Office, from which they were transferred to the National Archives in 1938. Certain federal records relating to Confederate soldiers, maintained with the Confederate records and in part interfiled with them, are included in this record group. Also included are records created by the custodians of the records.
109.2 COLLECTED BOUND RECORDS OF CONFEDERATE EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATIVE, AND JUDICIAL OFFICES ("REBEL ARCHIVES")
Textual Records (2,750 vols.): Bound volumes classified by the U.S. War Department roughly according to provenance into subgroups designated "chapters," the volumes numbered serially in each chapter. The chapters to which the volumes were assigned are I, Adjutant and Inspector General's Department (SEE 109.7.1) II, Military Commands (SEE 109.9) III, Engineer Department (SEE 109.7.2) IV, Ordnance Department (SEE 109.7.5) V, Quartermaster Department (SEE 109.7.3) VI, Medical Department (SEE 109.8) VII, Legislative Records (SEE 109.4) VIII, Miscellaneous Records (SEE 109.13) IX, Office of the Secretary of War (SEE 109.6) X, Treasury Department (SEE 109.10) XI, Post Office Department (SEE 109.11) and XII, Judiciary (SEE 109.5).
Note: Records included in these volumes are described in the appropriate subgroups that follow. See the references above for specific locations.
109.3 GENERAL RECORDS OF THE CONFEDERATE GOVERNMENT
Textual Records: Jefferson Davis papers, 1861-65. Returns of electors for President and Vice President, 1861. Journal of the constitutional convention of the Provisional Congress, 1861. Provisional and permanent constitutions of the provisional government and the Confederate States, 1861-62. Statutes at Large of the provisional government, 1861-62. Laws for the army and navy of the Confederate States, 1861. Tariff of the Confederate States, 1861. Indian treaties, 1861.
109.4 RECORDS OF THE CONFEDERATE CONGRESS
Textual Records: House journal notes, 1862. Journals and minutes of the Provisional Congress, Senate, and House of Representatives, 1861-65. Memorials and petitions, 1861-65, with registers. Bills and resolutions, 1861-65. Miscellaneous records of the Confederate Congresses, 1861-65. Messages of the President to Congress, 1861-65. Congressional messages, 1862-65. Credentials of members of Congress, 1861-65. Papers relating to elections, 1862-63, including a contested election. Nominations to Congress and related papers, 1861-64. Confirmation and assignment lists, 1861-65. Miscellaneous letters and reports, 1861-65. Copies of amendments, 1862-63. Estimates of funds, 1861- 65. Signatures of members of the House of Representatives, 1862- 65. Pamphlets, 1861-64.
109.5 RECORDS OF THE CONFEDERATE JUDICIARY
Textual Records (in Atlanta): South Carolina District Court sequestration case files and related records, 1861-64, with a docket. Miscellaneous records, 1861-64.
109.6 RECORDS OF THE OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR
Textual Records: Letters and telegrams sent, 1861-65. Letters and telegrams received, 1861-65, with index. Records relating to personnel and accounts, including War Department payrolls and requests for funds, 1861-65. Arrest registers and other records of the Richmond office of the Provost Marshal, 1862-64. Records relating to passports, including records of the passport office at Richmond, 1861-65, and records of passports issued at various locations, 1862-64. Letters sent, 1862-65, and other records of the Agent for the Exchange of Prisoners, including muster rolls of paroled and exchanged Confederates, 1863-65, and letters and reports on the Confederate prison at Andersonville, GA, 1864-65. Miscellaneous records, 1861-65, including record book of persons taking the Confederate oath of allegiance, n.d., and copies of military and naval laws and regulations, 1861-64.
Microfilm Publications: M409, M437, M522, M523, M524, M618, M901.
109.7 RECORDS OF CONFEDERATE WAR DEPARTMENT STAFF DEPARTMENTS
1861-76 (bulk 1861-65)
109.7.1 Records of the Adjutant and Inspector General's
Textual Records: Letters and telegrams sent, 1861-65. Letters received, 1861-65, with registers and index. Telegrams received and drafts of telegrams sent, 1861-65. Record of telegrams received, 1862-65. Account book relating to telegrams sent, 1862- 64. Inspection reports, 1863-65, with indexes, n.d. Records relating to courts-martial, 1861-65. General and special orders, 1861-65. Muster and pay rolls of Confederate military units, 1861-65 (510 ft.). Casualty lists, 1861-65. Records relating to appointments of military officers, 1861-65, with registers, rosters of officers, and lists of quartermasters. Records relating to army organization, n.d., with register. Records relating to conscription, exemption, and details, 1862-65. Register of slaves impressed, 1864-65. Miscellaneous records, 1861-76, including powers of attorney, 1861-65 records of boards of surveys, 1861-65 and Troops Tendered to the Confederate War Department, 1876.
Microfilm Publications: M410, M474, M627, M836, M935.
109.7.2 Records of the Engineer Department
Textual Records: Sketch and cash books, 1862-64. Miscellaneous papers, 1862-65. Letters and telegrams sent, 1861-64, with registers. Record of provisions issued from the commissary store of the Engineer Department, Richmond, 1862-64.
Microfilm Publications: M628.
109.7.3 Records of the Quartermaster Department
Textual Records: Letters sent, 1861-65. Letters received, 1861- 65, with registers and endorsements. Telegrams received, 1864. Orders and circulars, 1861-64. Records of the Pay Bureau, including letters received, 1864, and accounts of paymasters and record of payments to military personnel, 1861-65. Clothing, commutation, and miscellaneous rolls, 1861-65. Special requisitions, 1861. Miscellaneous quartermaster and commissary papers, 1861-65. Accounts with railroads, 1861-65. Bounty rolls, 1862-65. Payrolls of War Department civilian employees, 1861-65, with index, 1861-63. Slave payrolls, 1861-65, with index. Payrolls of extra duty men, 1861-65. Records relating to the valuation of horses and their equipment, 1861-65. Telegrams received relating to transportation, 1862-64. Estimates, 1864, and other records relating to the tax in kind, including abstracts of estimates, assessments, and collections of tax in kind received from assessors at Aberdeen, MS, and Tuscaloosa, AL, 1864-65. Description of uniform and dress of the Confederate States Army, 1861. Tax laws, 1863-64.
Microfilm Publications: M410, M469, M900.
109.7.4 Records of the Subsistence Department
Textual Records: Letters, telegrams, and orders received and sent, 1861-63. Regulations, 1861-64.
109.7.5 Records of the Ordnance Department
Textual Records: Letters sent and received, orders, account books, and other records of the Central Laboratory, Arsenal, and Armory (Macon, GA), 1862-65 arsenals at Nashville, TN, 1861-62, and Atlanta, GA, 1862-64 Richmond Arsenal and Virginia State Armory (Richmond, VA), 1861-65 Augusta Powder Factory (Augusta, VA), 1862-65 ordnance officer and depot at Savannah, GA, 1861- 63 ordnance depot at Dalton, GA, 1861-63 New Orleans Arsenal (New Orleans, LA), 1861-62 ordnance depots at Corinth and Columbus, MS, 1862 ordnance office and ordnance works at Tyler, TX, 1862-65 and the Little Rock Arsenal (Little Rock, AR), 1862- 65. Correspondence and reports of the Nitre and Mining Bureau, 1862-65.
Microfilm Publication: M119.
109.8 RECORDS OF THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT, CONFEDERATE WAR DEPARTMENT
109.8.1 Records of the Surgeon General's Office
Textual Records: Hospital muster and clothing rolls, 1861-65. Letters sent, 1861-65. Issuances, 1861-65. Regulations, 1861-63. Lists of medical officers, 1863-64.
109.8.2 Records of Medical Directors
Textual Records: Records of the Director at Richmond, VA, consisting of correspondence, 1862-65 lists of medical officers, 1861-64 registers and lists of patients in various hospitals, 1862-63 registers of furloughs and discharges, 1862-64 statistical reports, 1862-65 and record books, 1862-65. Records of the Director at Raleigh, NC, consisting of statistical reports concerning patients and attendants, 1863-65.
109.8.3 Records of Medical Purveyors
Textual Records: Records of the Purveyor's Office at Richmond, VA, consisting of accounts of medical and hospital supplies received and issued, 1862-65 and clothing accounts, 1863. Records of the Purveyor's Office at Macon and Savannah, GA, consisting of letters sent, 1862-64 letters, telegrams, and orders received, 1862-65 and records, invoices, inventories, abstracts, and accounts of medical and hospital supplies, 1862- 65. Letters sent by the Medical Purveyor's Office, Macon, GA, and Montgomery, AL, 1863-65.
109.8.4 Records of hospitals
Textual Records: Registers of patients receipt, account, and supply books correspondence issuances prescription books and general record books of hospitals in Alabama, including Fort Morgan Hospital, 1862-64, Ross General Hospital (Mobile), 1861- 65, Shelby Springs General Hospital, 1864-65, and Rock Hotel Hospital, Little Rock, AR, 1862-63 hospitals in Georgia, including Walker General Hospital (Columbus), 1864-65, General Hospital No. 1 (Savannah), 1862-64, and various hospitals at Dalton, 1862-63, and Macon, 1862-65 Bowling Green Hospital, KY, 1861-62 Shreveport General Hospital, LA, 1864-65 hospitals in Mississippi, including Lauderdale Springs General Hospital, 1862- 63, Way and Yandell Hospitals (Meridian), 1865, and St. Mary's Hospital (West Point), 1864-65 hospital at Fort Fillmore and Dona Anna, NM, 1861-62 hospitals in North Carolina, including General Hospital No. 7 and Pettigrew Hospital (Raleigh), 1861-65, Military Prison Hospital (Salisbury), 1864-65, General Hospitals No. 4 and 5 (Wilmington), 1862-65, and other North Carolina hospitals at Charlotte, Fort Fisher, Goldsboro, Greensboro, and Wilson, 1863-65 Overton General Hospital, Memphis, TN, 1861-62 General Hospitals at Franklin and El Paso, TX, 1862, and Galveston and Houston, TX, 1861-65 hospitals in Richmond, VA, including General Hospitals No. 1-27, 1861-65, Chimborazo Hospital and Chimborazo Hospitals No. 1-5, 1861-65, Howard's Grove Hospital, 1862-65, Jackson Hospital, 1861-65, and Camp Winder General Hospital, 1861-65 and other Virginia hospitals, including Danville, 1862-65, Orange and Farmville, 1861-65, Petersburg, 1861-65, and Williamsburg, 1861-64.
109.8.5 Miscellaneous records
Textual Records: Record of Virginia medical officers, 1861-65. Record of vaccinations, 1864-65. Prescription books, 1864-65. Receipts, invoices, and requisitions for medical and hospital supplies, 1861-65. Property returns, 1861-65. Reports of sick and wounded, 1861-65.
109.9 RECORDS OF CONFEDERATE MILITARY ORGANIZATIONS
109.9.1 General records relating to military commands
Textual Records: General orders, Headquarters of the Armies of the Confederate States, 1865. Post, department, and army returns, rosters, and lists, 1861-65. Battle reports, 1862-64.
Microfilm Publications: M861.
109.9.2 Records of armies and geographical commands
Textual Records: Letters and telegrams sent, registers of letters received, issuances, and other records of the Army of the Potomac (Confederate), 1861-62 Army and Department of Northern Virginia, 1862-65 Army and Department of the Peninsula, 1861-62 Department of Richmond, 1864-65 Department of Henrico, 1862-63 Department of North Carolina, 1861-62 Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia, 1862-65 Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, 1861-65 Department and District of Georgia, 1861-65 Army of Pensacola, 1861-62 Central Division of Kentucky, 1861-62 Central Army of Kentucky, 1861-62 Army of Kentucky, 1861-62 Army of the Kanawha, 1861 Departments of East Tennessee and Western Virginia, 1861-64 Army and Department of Tennessee, 1862-65 Department of Alabama and West Florida, 1861- 62 District of the Gulf, 1862-65 Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, 1864-65 Department of Alabama, Mississippi, and East Louisiana, 1864-65 Army of Louisiana, 1861 Army of the Mississippi, 1862-65 Department of the West, 1862-63 Army of the West, 1861-62 Western Department, 1861-63 Military Division of the West, 1864-65 Department of Texas, 1861-62 and Trans- Mississippi Department, 1862-65.
Microfilm Publications: M921.
109.9.3 Records of the commands of individual general officers
Textual Records: Letters, telegrams, and orders sent and received record books and other command records of P.G.T. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, J.C. Breckinridge, James R. Chalmers, T.H. Holmes, James Longstreet, Gideon J. Pillow, Leonidas Polk, Sterling Price, Earl Van Dorn, and others, 1861-65.
109.9.4 Records of Confederate mobile units
Textual Records: Company books, registers of sick and wounded, clothing account books, rosters, quartermaster records, order books, letter books, descriptive lists, and other records of regiments, battalions, and companies of the Confederate Army raised in the states of AL, AR, GA, KY, LA, MS, MO, NC, SC, TN, TX, and VA, 1861-65.
Related Records: Muster and payrolls of Confederate units in records of the Adjutant and Inspector General's Department UNDER 109.7.1.
109.9.5 Records of local commands
Textual Records: Records, principally letters sent and received and orders, of officers serving at fixed installations, or of troops raised exclusively for service within a single state, 1861-65.
109.10 RECORDS OF THE CONFEDERATE TREASURY DEPARTMENT
Related Records: Additional records of the Confederate Treasury Department in RG 365, Treasury Department Collection of Confederate Records.
109.10.1 Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Treasury
Textual Records: Letters and telegrams sent, 1861-65. Letters received, 1861-65, with register. Orders, circulars, and regulations, 1863-65. Requisitions on the Treasury Department for funds from the War Department, the Navy Department, and Customs, 1861-64. Disbursing journal, 1861-62. Record and stubs of War and Navy Department warrants, 1861-64. Record of balances on hand in depositories of public money, 1861-64. Accounts of Capt. and Assistant Quartermaster John H. Parkhill with the Treasurer, 1862.
Microfilm Publications: T1025.
109.10.2 Records of the Chief Clerk
Textual Records: Receipts for payment of contingent expenses of the Treasury Department, 1862-63.
109.10.3 Records of the Disbursing Clerks
Textual Records: Ledger of accounts, 1861-63.
109.10.4 Records of the Office of the First Auditor
Textual Records: Ledger of accounts for the navy and Marines, 1861-62. Memorandum of moneys received from depositories and list of certificates issued by the Funding Committee, 1863-64.
109.10.5 Records of the Office of the Second Auditor
Textual Records: Register of rolls, 1861-62. Registers of requisitions for army expenses, 1861-65. Register of letters received at Pay Division, 1862-65. Register of payments to officers and soldiers, 1861. Records of payments to soldiers, discharged soldiers, and troop units, 1861-64. Payrolls of officers, 1861-63. Letters sent relating to claims of deceased soldiers, 1862-65. Registers of claims, 1861-65. Returns of deceased soldiers and soldiers from hospitals, regimental and company officers, and others, 1861-65. Record of accounts reported to and returned from the comptroller, 1861-62. Record of bonded quartermasters and commissaries, 1861-65.
109.10.6 Records of the Office of the Comptroller
Textual Records: Accounts of disbursing officers of the Confederate States Army, 1861-65. Register of money received and counted, 1863-65. Digest of the comptroller's decisions, 1863.
109.10.7 Records of the Office of the Register
Textual Records: Letters sent, 1861-65. Journals and ledgers of various loans, 1861-65. Record cards of subscribers to Confederate States loans, 1861-64. Registers of loan subscriptions and unclaimed dividends, 1861. Records of loan interest dividends, 1861-64 maturing stock, 1864 issued coupon bonds, 1861 transferable stock, 1861 and interest issued, 1865.
109.10.8 Records of the War Tax Office and the Office of the Commissioner of Taxes
Textual Records: Letters received, 1861-65, with register. Letters sent, 1861-65. Returns of collectors and assessors of the War Tax, 1861-65. Reports of the Commissioner of Taxes, 1863. Miscellaneous records, 1861-65. List of collectors, sureties, and assessors of the War Tax, 1861-65. Sales tax registers for District No. 10, Richmond, VA, 1863-65.
109.10.9 Records of the Treasury Note Bureau
Textual Records: Registers of treasury notes, 1861-63. Schedule of note plates, 1861-64. Record book of treasury notes signed by J. Walter Jones, 1862. Memorandum of treasury notes, 1862-63. Record book of treasury note redemption, 1862-65. Certifications relating to the counting of notes returned for redemption, 1865. List of schedules of interest paid on 7/30 notes, 1864-65.
109.10.10 Records of depositories of public funds
Textual Records: Records of treasury depositories in various states, 1864-65. Letters received by the depository at Savannah, GA, 1863-64. Record book of cash on hand at Macon, GA, depository, 1863-64. Order book of the Macon, GA, depository for the five hundred million loan, 1864. Schedule of certificates for 4-percent registered bonds received by the depository at Columbus, MS, 1864.
109.10.11 Records relating to Confederate Customs
Textual Records: General records ("Custom Papers"), 1861. Account of bonds taken in the district of Savannah for duties on merchandise warehoused, 1860-62. Account book of the surveyor of the port of New Orleans, LA, 1854-61. Account book of B.F. McDonough, collector at Sabine, TX, 1861-64. Registers of vessels, port of Savannah, GA, 1856-64.
109.10.12 Miscellaneous records
Textual Records: Account of William B. Johnston for bonds sold, 1863-64. Statement book of funded debt for Mississippi, 1864. List of claims, 1861-63. Index to circulars and decisions, n.d.
109.11 RECORDS OF THE CONFEDERATE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT
Textual Records: Military telegraph accounts, 1864. Papers relating to unpaid accounts of mail contractors for carrying U.S. mail, 1861-62. Mail contracts and related records, 1864-65. Letters received by the Post Office Department in the Trans- Mississippi Department, 1864-65. Instructions to postmasters and special agents, 1861. List of post offices, n.d. Route books, 1861-65. Dead letter register, 1864-65.
109.12 RECORDS OF THE CONFEDERATE NAVY DEPARTMENT
Textual Records: Letters sent by the Office of Ordnance and Hydrography, 1864-65. Records of a Board for Examining Midshipmen, 1861-62. Printed registers of naval officers, 1862- 64. Payroll for the crew of the steamer Alabama, 1863. Miscellaneous records relating to the navy, 1862-64.
Microfilm Publications: M909.
Related Records: For additional records of the Confederate Navy, SEE RG 45, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library.
Engineering Drawings (3 items): Plans of the C.S.S. Alabama, 1861. SEE ALSO 109.15.
109.13 MISCELLANEOUS RECORDS
109.13.1 Records relating to states
Textual Records: Records relating to various states, 1861-65. Proceedings of a convention of the commissioners of appraisement, 1864. Copies of state constitutions legislative journals, statutes, and ordinances of secession correspondence, reports, and accounts of state officials and other records relating to AL, 1858-64 AR, 1859-61 FL, 1860-62 GA, 1858-65 KY, 1847-48 LA, 1856-65 MS, 1861-65 MO, 1861 NC, 1861-65 SC, 1825-63 TN, 1861 TX, 1859-64 and VA, 1859-65.
Microfilm Publications: M359, M998, T731.
109.13.2 Collections of papers of Confederate general officers
Textual Records: Letters and telegrams received by Robert E. Lee, 1861-65. Papers relating to J.B. Floyd, 1861. Papers of P.G.T. Beauregard, 1862-64 J.R. Chalmers, 1861-65 Jubal A. Early, 1861-65 S.G. French, 1861-65 T.C. Hindman, 1861-64 J.B. Hood, 1862-64 B.R. Johnson, 1862-65 Sam Jones, 1861-64 St. John R. Lindell, 1865 J.B. Magruder, 1862-64 Lafayette McLaws, 1861-65 J.C. Pemberton, 1862-64 G.J. Pillow, 1861-64 Leonidas Polk, 1861-64 C.L. Stevenson, 1863-65 E.C. Walthall, 1863-64 Joseph Wheeler, 1863-64 and W.H.C. Whiting, 1862-65.
109.13.3 Other records
Textual Records: "Citizens File," 1861-65 (1,300 ft.). Papers of and relating to military and civilian personnel, 1861-65 (480 ft.). Papers relating to Confederate sympathizers, deserters, guerrillas, and prisoners, 1861-65. "Vessel Papers," 1861-65. Manuscripts, 1861-65, with an index. Papers of George N. Sanders, 1860-63 Clement C. Clay, 1861-65 and Lt. Col. John Withers, 1840-60. Intercepted letters, 1861-65. Collection of Union, Confederate, British, and other foreign pamphlets, publications, and reprints, 1854-64. Original documents, 1860-65, selected for publication in The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington: Government Printing Office, 128 volumes, 1889-1901).
Microfilm Publications: M346, M347, M909.
109.14 RECORDS OF THE U.S. WAR DEPARTMENT RELATING TO CONFEDERATES
109.14.1 Records of the Adjutant General's Office relating to
military and naval service of Confederates
Textual Records: "Carded" records showing army service, 1861-65 (5,474 ft.), with indexes. Naval and Marine Corps service records, 1861-65. Hospital and prison records of persons serving in the navy and the Marine Corps, 1862-65.
Microfilm Publications: For a detailed list of microfilm publications of Confederate compiled service records and indexes, please consult the current edition of the National Archives microfilm catalog.
109.14.2 Records relating to prisoners, oaths, and paroles
Textual Records: Letters and orders sent and received relating to prisoners, 1861-65. Records of Confederates in Union prisons, 1861-65 (227 ft.). Registers, rolls, lists, and other records of Confederate, federal, political, and civil prisoners received, transferred, escaped, paroled, died, buried, discharged, and released, 1861-65. Descriptive lists of prisoners, 1862-65. Records relating to Confederates in Union hospitals, 1861-65. Hospital registers, 1864-65. Morning reports of prisoners, 1862- 65. Ledgers of prisoners' accounts, 1862-65. Cash books, 1863-65. Mess books, 1862-63. Records of articles received for and delivered to prisoners, 1864-65. Stubs, receipts, and records of prisoners' money received, 1862-65.
Microfilm Publications: M598.
Related Records: Confederate records relating to Union prisoners of war in RG 249, Records of the Commissary General of Prisoners.
109.14.3 Records of the Archive Office
Textual Records: Letters sent, 1865-80. Letters received, 1865- 81, with register. Report of Francis Lieber, Chief of the Archive Office, 1866. Record of answers to inquiries, 1882-94. Orders and regulations relating to the Archive Office, 1865-81. Memorandum relating to Confederate Archives, 1865-80. Time book of clerks, 1891-94. Newspaper clippings, 1874-94. Report and papers of Marcus J. Wright, 1876-86. Catalogs of Confederate military records, 1878-1900. Records relating to the exchange and treatment of prisoners in southern prisons, 1861-65, with schedules. List of accounts received by the Archive Office, 1865. Copies of miscellaneous correspondence for the period 1862-65, n.d. Index to local Confederate military organizations, n.d. "Index to Field Returns, Morning Reports, Organizations, Etc., C.S. Army, 1861-65," n.d.
109.14.4 Miscellaneous records
Textual Records: "Union Provost Marshal Citizens File," 1861-67 (479 ft.). Correspondence concerning property taken by Confederates in Missouri, 1864-65. Letters sent by Jacob Thompson, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, 1857-60. Ships' papers for vessels operating from various southern ports, 1850-60. Register of maps in possession of or prepared by the Engineer Office of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina (Union), 1865.
Microfilm Publications: M345, M416.
109.15 CARTOGRAPHIC RECORDS (GENERAL)
Maps: Civil War campaigns and fortifications, 1861-65.
SEE Engineering Drawings UNDER 109.12.
Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.
This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.
Peace Operations and Protecting Civilians in Conflict
The Stimson Center has a 30-year track record of leadership on peacekeeping and protecting civilians in conflict areas. Even as threats change, we have maintained our dedication to addressing the challenge.
From Whitepaper to the Real World: Building Solutions
Often, understanding a problem and making recommendations is not enough. That is why Stimson turns good ideas into reality by field-testing proposals and supporting implementations in the real world. We apply our research in numerous ways, from building tools, prototyping new technologies, and creating datasets, to working with local leaders and training government officials.
Cindy Vestergaard, Director of Stimson’s Nuclear Safeguards and Blockchain in Practice Programs, discusses how she is using Distributed Ledger Technology to strengthen nonproliferation of chemical, biological, nuclear, and radiological materials.
Lovely Umayam, Stimson Fellow, discusses how she is using the Governance Template to help implement security in nuclear facilities around the world in the face of developing modern threats.
Richard Cupitt, Director of the Partnerships in Proliferation Prevention Program, discusses the databases he is building to help states implement the nonproliferation requirements put in place by UN Resolution 1540.
Weapons of Mass Destruction & Nonproliferation
Stimson’s earliest work often focused on weapons of mass destruction, nonproliferation, and arms control – path-breaking work at the end of the Cold War. Today, with the cold war long gone but the WMD threat still very real, Stimson is a pioneer in new approaches to nonproliferation.
Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.
Anthony Eden, in full Robert Anthony Eden, 1st earl of Avon, Viscount Eden of Royal Leamington Spa, also called (until 1961) Sir Anthony Eden, (born June 12, 1897, Windlestone, Durham, England—died January 14, 1977, Alvediston, Wiltshire), British foreign secretary in 1935–38, 1940–45, and 1951–55 and prime minister from 1955 to 1957.
After combat service in World War I, Eden studied Oriental languages (Arabic and Persian) at Christ Church, Oxford. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1923 and was appointed undersecretary of state for foreign affairs in 1931, lord privy seal (with special responsibility for international relations) in 1934, and minister for League of Nations affairs (a cabinet office created for him) in June 1935. He became foreign secretary in December 1935 but resigned in February 1938 to protest Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
On the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Eden reentered Chamberlain’s government as dominions secretary. When Churchill became prime minister on May 10, 1940, Eden was named secretary of state for war, but from December 23, 1940, until the defeat of the Conservatives in July 1945, he served once more as foreign secretary. On October 27, 1951, after Churchill and the Conservative Party had been returned to power, Eden again became foreign secretary and also was designated deputy prime minister. In 1954 he helped to settle the Anglo-Iranian oil dispute, to resolve the quarrel between Italy and Yugoslavia over Trieste, to stop the Indochina War, and to establish the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).
In 1953 he became seriously ill, and, although he underwent several operations, he never fully regained his health. Succeeding Churchill as prime minister on April 6, 1955, he attempted to relax international tension by welcoming to Great Britain the Soviet leaders Nikita Khrushchev and Nikolay Bulganin. His fall began on July 26, 1956, when Gamal Abdel Nasser, head of the Egyptian state, nationalized the Suez Canal Company, in which the British government had been a principal stockholder since 1875. This action led to an Anglo-French attack on Egypt on November 5, one week after an attack on Egypt by Israel.
British public opinion was more favourable to Eden’s show of force than the Labour and Liberal parties had expected his supporters regretted, however, that he did not fulfill his intention of occupying the key positions of Port Said, Ismailia, and Suez. By December 22, partly through U.S. pressure, British and French forces had been supplanted by UN emergency units, but the canal was left in Egyptian hands rather than subjected to international control. The next month, on January 9, 1957, Eden resigned, giving ill health as his reason.
Eden was knighted (K.G.) in 1954 and created earl of Avon in 1961. Eden’s memoirs were issued in three volumes: Full Circle (1960), Facing the Dictators (1962), and The Reckoning (1965).
This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.
United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs
The United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs is the head of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the department in charge of taking care of the affairs of war veterans. The Secretary is a member of the Cabinet and second to last at 17th in the line of succession to the presidency (the position was last until the United States Department of Homeland Security was added in 2006  ). To date, all appointees and acting appointees to the post have been United States military veterans, but that is not a requirement to fill the position.
When the position of Secretary is vacant, the United States Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs  or another person picked by the President serves as Acting Secretary  until the President picks and the United States Senate confirms a new Secretary.
1 Anthony Principi served as Acting Secretary in his capacity as Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs September 26, 1992 – January 20, 1993.
2 Hershel W. Gober served as Acting Secretary in his capacity as Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs July 1, 1997 – January 2, 1998 and July 25, 2000 – January 20, 2001. 
3 West served as Acting Secretary from January 2, 1998  to May 5, 1998. 
4 Gordon H. Mansfield served as Acting Secretary in his capacity as Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs October 1 – December 20, 2007. 
Henry L. Stimson: The Ever-Present Presence
Key decisions involving the United States’ role in World War II, from the nonrecognition of Japan’s Manchurian conquest in 1931 to the bombing of the Hiroshima in 1945, were influenced by Henry L. Stimson. As President Herbert Hoover’s secretary of state, he created the main obstacle in Japanese-American relations before World War II, the Stimson Doctrine. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s secretary of war, Stimson backed the president’s forceful actions against the Axis powers. As the man responsible for home-front security, Stimson’s term “ military necessity” helped put Japanese Americans behind barbed wire. And as the cabinet member most knowledgeable about the Manhattan Project, Stimson told the newly sworn-in President Harry S Truman about the atomic bomb and later urged him to use it.
Henry Lewis Stimson was born in New York City on September 21, 1867. His ancestors had fought in every American conflict stretching back to King Philip’s War in 1675. His father, Lewis Atterbury Stimson, set a high example for his son by making a fortune as a young banker and then dedicating his life to the practice of medicine. Meanwhile, his uncle , the Reverend Henry Albert Stimson, taught the young boy the gospel of social reform, laying the foundation for his nephew’s future progressivism.
Educated at Yale and Harvard Law School, Stimson began his career in 1893 with the law firm of Root & Clark, where Elihu Root became his mentor and the model for Stimson’s later career in government. Investing wisely in the stock market, Stimson became a wealthy man. He also served as a National Guard sergeant during the Spanish-American War.
But the noblesse-oblige philosophy of his father and uncle led Stimson to the progressive wing of the Republican Party and particularly to his Long Island neighbor, Theodore Roosevelt. Stimson’s association with Root, Roosevelt’s influential secretary of war, brought Stimson within the president’s orbit.
In January 1902, while in Washington, D.C., Stimson was riding his horse near Rock Creek Park when he heard Roosevelt calling to him from the other side of the creek. The president wanted Stimson to swim across and join his group, which included Root. Looking at the rain-swollen creek, Stimson hesitated until he heard the voice of his former law partner: “The president of the United States directs Sergeant Stimson of Squadron A to cross the creek and come to his assistance by order of the secretary of war.” Stimson saluted smartly and shouted back, “ Very good, sir.” Stimson and his horse nearly drowned thanks to the swift current, but they made it to the opposite bank.The president said, “ I thought you could see the bank on the other side was impossible.” Stimson answered, “ Mr. President, when a soldier hears an order like that, it isn’t his business to see that it is impossible.”
After that incident , TR called Stimson “ young Lochinvar” and appointed him to his first public office as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. After trust busting for Roosevelt and making a failed bid for the governorship of New York, Stimson was appointed President William H. Taft’s secretary of war in 1911.
Stimson described himself politically as a “ progressive conservative.” Like his hero TR and mentor Root, he was also an unabashed internationalist, believing that the United States must take a leading role in world affairs. When World War I started in 1914, Stimson— now a private citizen — distrusted the German empire and hoped for an Allied victory, but backed President Woodrow I Wilson’s stand on neutrality. Stimson believed in pre paredness and supported his friend Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood’s Plattsburgh, N.Y., military camp for training businessmen as military leaders, attending the camp himself in the summer of 1916.
Following the April 1917 U.S. declaration of war, the nearly 50- year-old former secretary of war wangled his way into second-in-command of the 305th Field Artillery Regiment, 77th Division, with a rank of lieutenant colonel. After Stimson landed in France, he attended the 12-week officer staff school at Langres, where one of his classmates was George S. Patton Jr. Following the armistice, Colonel Stimson left the Army, viewing his experience as a “ lesson in American democracy.”
In 1927 President Calvin Coolidge sent Stimson to mediate the Nicaraguan civil war. His success in the Latin American country led to his appointment later that year as governor general of the Philippines. He served in that capacity until the end of the Coolidge administration.
President Hoover appointed Stimson secretary of state in 1929, placing him on a collision course with Japan’s expansionist policies. The Japanese army occupied Manchuria in 1931 and created a puppet regime the following year. The Hoover administration reacted with a nonrecognition policy and a demand for troop withdrawal. The Stimson Doctrine, adopted in 1933 by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration and invoked again when Japan invaded China in 1937, led to the American economic sanctions of 1940-41, which in turn led to Pearl Harbor.
Throughout the 1930s, Stimson— once again a private citizen— spoke out against fascism. He worked to repeal U.S. neutrality laws, believing they aided aggressors. In 1938 he became honorary chairman of the American Committee for Non-Participation in Japanese Aggression.
On June 19, 1940, 72-year-old Henry Stimson was summoned to duty by President Roosevelt — who offered him his old position as secretary of war. Trying to put a bipartisan veneer on his administration, FDR had just appointed Republican newspaper publisher and 1936 GOP vice presidential candidate Frank Knox as secretary of the Navy and wanted Stimson to join his cabinet. Stimson accepted.
Stimson immediately threw himself into the job of pushing through Congress the first peacetime draft in American history. Following the bill’s passage on September 16, 1940, Stimson and Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall began the long, slow process of building an army, then authorized at 1.4 million.
Equally daunting was the need to equip the new army with modern arms from an American industry just recovering from the Depression. The industrial problem also hampered aid to Great Britain, which needed American war goods. When, just two months before the 1940 presidential election, the Roosevelt administration proposed swapping 50 old destroyers to Britain in exchange for British bases in the Western Hemisphere, Stimson not only urged the president to do so but also used his Republican credentials to ensure no opposition from GOP presidential candidate Wendell Willkie. He then wrote in his diary, “ very possibly the turning point in the tide of the war…from now on we could hope for better things.”
Those better things came on December 29, 1940, when FDR made his “ Arsenal of Democracy” Fireside Chat— an overture for Lend-Lease. Five times the secretary of war went before Congress to testify on behalf of the Lend-Lease bill, which he described in his diary as an economic declaration of war against Hitler. On the day Lend-Lease became law, March 11, 1941, Stimson ordered the first supplies shipped to Britain.
By the winter of 1940-41, Stimson knew the United States would have to fight and was pushing the always cautious FDR in that direction. On April 22 he met with Roosevelt and spoke to him can didly, insisting that the president show leadership by preparing American public opinion for war. When FDR ordered the U.S. Navy to patrol the western Atlantic for U-boats, Stimson cheered, but felt the president needed to go further. At the next cabinet meeting, FDR called the increased patrol area a step forward. Stimson replied: “ Well, I hope you keep on walking, Mr. President. Keep on walking.”
In July Japan marched into French Indochina. Stimson believed the Japanese had embarked on their final course of Far Eastern conquest. He supported the president’s full embargo against Japan and the freezing of Japanese assets. Furthermore, Stimson believed the United States must immediately beef up defenses in the Philippines, while the State Department should continue its “ diplomatic fencing” with Japan. At the end of October, Stimson told Secretary of State Cordell Hull that he objected to an immediate declaration of war against Japan because the War Department needed extra time to build up the Philippines. He quoted his old friend TR, “ Speak softly and carry a big stick,” adding that he needed time to strengthen the stick.
In November 1941, fearing Japan was about to strike at British and Dutch possessions in the Pacific without attacking the United States, Stimson wrote in his diary, “ We should maneuver them into the position of firing the first shot.”
The Pearl Harbor attack put the patriotism of Japanese Americans in question. Racists, bigots and many fair-minded but shortsighted people clamored for the removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. Stimson, to his discredit, finally sided with the exclusionists, calling the removal policy a “ military necessity.” But lawyer Stimson knew the injustice of the order, writing in his diary that the Japanese Americans were being removed “ frankly…on the ground that their racial characteristics are such that we cannot understand or trust even citizen Japanese….I’m afraid it will make an awful hole in our constitutional system.”
Stimson’s most important mark on World War II and the postwar world lay in the war’s greatest secret— the Manhattan Project. In 1941 FDR appointed Stimson to a committee on the employment of nuclear fission. By 1943 Stimson was senior adviser, coordinating work between the War Department and the Office of Scientific Research and Development. Moreover, Stimson’s well-known integrity resulted in Congress pouring millions into a project the lawmakers knew nothing about. Shortly after Truman succeeded FDR, Stimson informed the new president about the nearly completed project.
On July 2, 1945, Stimson submitted a “ Memorandum for the President,” urging Truman to use all means available to force Japan’s surrender before launching a costly invasion.Two weeks later, when the atom bomb’s first test lit up the pre-dawn New Mexican sky, Stimson suggested a “ last chance warning” to the Japanese— the Potsdam Declaration. When Japan rejected the demand for surrender, Stimson approved the atom bomb target list and sent it to the president.
Less than a month after the Japanese surrender aboard USS Missouri, the 78- year-old Stimson retired to private life. He died at his Long Island home on October 20, 1950.
Henry Stimson’s influence on America’s role in World War II stretched from the war’s seedlings planted in Manchuria to the full flowering of its final tragedies at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Like most Americans, he hated war but believed it was the only way to destroy the warmongers. And that war transformed Stimson and the country he served. Japan’s air bombardment of Shanghai civilians in 1932 shocked and horrified Stimson and all Americans. But 13 years later two American bombs wiped out two Japanese cities in the blink of an eye. Forty-four months of vicious global warfare had profoundly changed Stimson and his countrymen.
Originally published in the August 2004 issue of World War II. To subscribe, click here.
Letter to Secretary of War Henry Stimson
After Germany’s surrender on May 7, 1945, the war continued in the Pacific, as did planning for the invasion of Japan. Allied military leaders believed invasion was the only way to force the unconditional surrender for which Allied policy called (see the Potsdam Proclamation). Intense bombing of Japan (on March 9-10, 1945, for example, bombs leveled nearly 16 square miles of Tokyo and killed 90,000 Japanese) had not moved Japan to surrender. Continued fighting in the Pacific (Iwo Jima, February-March, 1945 Okinawa, April-June 1945 and ongoing fighting in the Philippines) led to mounting American casualties. The experience of the invasion of Normandy June 4, 1944 also informed decision making about the use of the atomic bomb.
In May of 1945, Secretary of War Stimson set up a committee, the Interim Committee, to consider issues arising from the development of usable nuclear energy. The Interim Committee was chaired by Brigadier General Leslie Groves and J. Robert Oppenheimer, the two who led the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb. Among other things, this committee considered whether and how the atomic bomb should be used. A sub-committee consisting of scientists involved in the bomb project reported on this question on June 16, 1945. The Interim Committee recommended to Stimson on June 21 “that the weapon be used against Japan at the earliest opportunity, that it be used without warning, and that it be used on a dual target, namely, a military installation or war plant surrounded by or adjacent to homes or other buildings most susceptible to damage.”
On June 18, 1945, President Truman met with his civilian and military advisers to consider the plan for the invasion of Japan. At the subsequent Potsdam Conference, Truman and Allied leaders warned Japan of the consequences of further resistance.
On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing 80,000 people instantly. The American people learned about the new weapon from a White House press release. Three days later, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki that killed 35,000 people. Japan surrendered unconditionally on August 14. Devastating though these attacks were, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not the only factor that led the Japanese to surrender unconditionally. A blockade had fully isolated Japan from outside resources by the summer of 1945 and the Russians entered the war against Japan, August 9, 1945. The latter event was a factor considered on June 18.
Shortly after the first use of the bomb, Oppenheimer wrote to Secretary of War Stimson to express his growing concern, shared by many of the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project, about the military and political consequences of atomic weapons.
From: J R Oppenheimer
To: Henry Stimson, Secretary of War
Date: August 17, 1945
The Interim Committee has asked us to report in some detail on the scope and program of future work in the field of atomic energy. One important phase of this work is the development of weapons and since this is the problem which has dominated our war time activities, it is natural that in this field our ideas should be most definite and clear, and that we should be most confident of answering adequately the questions put to us by the committee. In examining these questions we have, however, come on certain quite general conclusions, whose implications for national policy would seem to be both more immediate and more profound than those of the detailed technical recommendations to be submitted. We, therefore, think it appropriate to present them to you at this time.
1. We are convinced that weapons quantitatively and qualitatively far more effective than now available will result from further work on these problems. This conviction is motivated not alone by analogy with past developments, but by specific projects to improve and multiply the existing weapons, and by the quite favorable technical prospects of the realization of the super bomb.
2. We have been unable to devise or propose effective military counter-measures for atomic weapons. Although we realize that future work may reveal possibilities at present obscure to us, it is our firm opinion that no military countermeasures will be found which will be adequately effective in preventing the delivery of atomic weapons.
The detailed technical report in preparation will document these conclusions, but hardly alter them.
3. We are not only unable to outline a program that would assure to this nation for the next decades hegemony in the field of atomic weapons we are equally unable to insure that such hegemony, if achieved, could protect us from the most terrible destruction.
4. The development, in the years to come, of more effective atomic weapons, would appear to be a most natural element in any national policy of maintaining our military forces at great strength nevertheless we have grave doubts that this further development can contribute essentially or permanently to the prevention of war. We believe that the safety of this nation – as opposed to its ability to inflict damage on an enemy power – cannot lie wholly or even primarily in its scientific or technical prowess. It can be based only on making future wars impossible. It is our unanimous and urgent recommendation to you that, despite the present incomplete exploitation of technical possibilities in this field, all steps be taken, all necessary international arrangements be made, to this one end.
5. We should be most happy to have you bring these views to the attention of other members of the Government, or of the American people, should you wish to do so.
J. R. Oppenheimer
A. When discussing bringing the war against Japan to a close, what factors did President Truman and his military and civilian advisers consider? Did their concerns differ from those of the committee of scientists who offered advice on when and how to use the bomb? How might these different considerations have affected the decision to use the bomb? Should the points made in Oppenheimer’s letter have led to the decision not to drop the bomb? Is the advice given in by report of the Interim Committee scientific advice? Why should anyone have listened to it?
B. Based on the documents concerning Progressive advocacy of eugenics and the documents on the atomic bomb, what is the proper relationship between science and politics? Does politics control science or does science control politics?
C. What do both the dropping of the atomic bomb and President Washington’s decision to call out the militia to end the Whiskey Rebellion tell us about the evolving understanding of executive power in the United States?
Secretaries of War - History
President Truman: Using Atomic Bombs against Japan, 1945
Digital History TOPIC ID 63
Every American president makes decisions with enormous repercussions for the future. Some of these decisions prove successful others turn out to be blunders. In virtually every case, presidents must act with contradictory advice and limited information. At 8:15 a.m., August 6, 1945, an American B-29 released an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan. Within minutes, Japan’s eighth largest city was destroyed. By the end of the year, 140,000 people had died from the bomb’s effects. After the bombing was completed, the United States announced that Japan faced a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which had never been seen on this earth." Background: In 1939, Albert Einstein, writing on behalf physicist Leo Szilard and other leading physicists, informed President Franklin D. Roosevelt that Nazi Germany was carrying on experiments in the use of atomic weapons. In October, 1939, the federal government began a modest research program which and later became the two-billion-dollar Manhattan Project. Its purpose was to produce an atomic bomb before the Germans. On December 2, 1942, scientists in Chicago succeeded in starting a nuclear chain reaction, demonstrating the possibility of unleashing atomic power.
It was not until April 25, 1945, 13 days after the death of Franklin Roosevelt, that the new president, Harry S. Truman, was briefed about the Manhattan Project. Secretary of War Henry Stimson informed him that "within four months we shall in all probability have completed the most terrible weapon ever known in human history."
Stimson proposed that a special committee be set up to consider whether the atomic bomb would be used, and if so, when and where it would be deployed. Members of this panel, known as the Interim Committee, which Stimson chaired, included George L. Harrison, President of the New York Life Insurance Company and special consultant in the Secretary's office James F. Byrnes, President Truman's personal representative Ralph A. Bard, Under Secretary of the Navy William L. Clayton, Assistant Secretary of State and scientific advisers Vannevar Bush, Karl T. Compton, and James B. Conant. General George Marshall and Manhattan Project Director Leslie Groves also participated in some of the committee’s meetings. On June 1, 1945, the Interim Committee recommended that that atomic bombs should be dropped on military targets in Japan as soon as possible and without warning. One committee member, Ralph Bard, convinced that Japan may be seeking a way to end the war, called for a two to three day warning before the bomb was dropped.
A group of scientists involved in the Manhattan project opposed the use of the atomic bomb as a military weapon. In a report signed by physicist James Franck, they called for a public demonstration of the weapon in a desert or on a barren island. On June 16, 1945, a scientific panel consisting of physicists Arthur H. Compton, Enrico Fermi, E. O. Lawrence, and J. Robert Oppenheimer reported that it did not believe that a technical demonstration would be sufficient to end the war.
- Ralph Bard, Under Secretary of the Navy: Ever since I have been in touch with this program I have had a feeling that before the bomb is actually used against Japan that Japan should have some preliminary warning for say two or three days in advance of use. The position of the United States as a great humanitarian nation and the fair play attitude of our people generally is responsible in the main for this feeling.
- James Byrnes: [Physicist Leo Szilard wrote:] "[Byrnes] was concerned about Russia's postwar behavior. Russian troops had moved into Hungary and Rumania, and Byrnes thought it would be very difficult to persuade Russia to withdraw her troops from these countries, that Russia might be more manageable if impressed by American military might, and that a demonstration of the bomb might impress Russia."
- General Dwight D. Eisenhower: "In 1945 . , Secretary of War Stimson visited my headquarters in Germany, [and] informed me that our government was preparing to drop an atomic bomb on Japan. I was one of those who felt that there were a number of cogent reasons to question the wisdom of such an act. During his recitation of the relevant facts, I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and second because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives. It was my belief that Japan was, at that very moment, seeking some way to surrender with a minimum loss of 'face.'
What consequences did the use of atomic weapons have on the American public?
1. Was Japan on the verge of surrender in August 1945?
2. What factors did the decision makers take into account when they evaluated the use of the atomic bombs?
3. Why did the United States and its allies inform the Japanese that their country could retain the emperor before the atomic bombs were dropped?
4. To what extent was the timing of the use of the bombs related to Soviet intervention in the war against Japan?
5. Identify each of the following and compare and contrast their views about the decision to deploy the bomb:
Before Rebranding, The US Dept. of Defense Was Called The “Department of War”
Some would say that the old title was more descriptive or honest. The US Department of Defense, which is commonly known as the DoD for short, actually used to be titled more bluntly, “Department of War.”
The name change occurred in the late 1940s. With World War II over, the United Nations was taking steps towards what it hoped would be a lasting peace. In its Charter, the UN outlawed wars of aggression (wars which aren’t fought in defense), and as a result, top US military brass felt the American bureau needed a name, if only for PR reasons.
Above: The official Dept of War seal
So, from 1947 through 1949, Congress adopted a series of laws renaming (and reorganizing) the American national military establishment to a more politically correct naming scheme. Accordingly, the Secretary of War was renamed the Secretary of Defense. Perhaps only one vestige of the old naming scheme remains: the US Army War College in Pennsylvania.
Following suit, several other countries also renamed their war departments around the same time. For example, Great Britain similarly used to have a War Office, which was renamed to the Ministry of Defence in 1963.
As Secretary of War under Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman, Henry L. Stimson (1867-1950) oversaw the entire Manhattan Project, and was responsible for appointing key project leaders and authorizing project construction sites across the US.
By the time Stimson became Secretary of War under Roosevelt, scientific processes behind the atomic bomb had been researched for nearly a decade, but no formal proposals suggesting a US organization to research and construct a nuclear weapon had yet been made. In 1941, President Roosevelt appointed Stimson, along with Vice President Henry Wallace, Army Chief of Staff George Marshall, and scientists Vannevar Bush and James B. Conant to a Top Policy Group dedicated to exploring nuclear technology and policy. As the potential strength and importance of nuclear weapons grew clearer, the Top Policy Group evolved into a separate entity dedicated to producing the atomic bomb--the Manhattan Project--with Stimson as its head.
Beginning in late 1942, Stimson authorized project sites and remained informed of all program ventures. Stimson also secured the necessary money and approval from Roosevelt and from Congress, and made sure the Manhattan Project had the highest priorities. He appointed General Leslie Groves to oversee all site planning, scientific research, and construction. His choice of Groves to lead the project ultimately proved of great importance, as Groves’ decisive, efficient, and blunt manner swiftly moved the project towards completion in 1945.
While Stimson grew ever older and more frail under Roosevelt’s administration--he was seventy-three at the time of his appointment as War Secretary--he refused to retire from the job, confiding to Groves that the Manhattan Project was in fact the only reason he stayed on. His devotion to the project spoke to his belief that the atomic bomb was of utmost importance to the US war effort.
Views on the Atomic Bomb
Although Stimson understood little of the science behind the bomb, he understood the complicated political and military implications the creation of the bomb would have on future international order. His dislike of what he viewed as the unethical war practices of city bombing and merciless attacks on civilians made him unwilling to use the bomb on Japanese cities, immediately rejecting Groves’ first suggestion to bomb Kyoto, a city he revered as the country’s ancient cultural hub. Ever careful with nuclear technology’s ability to irrevocably change international politics, Stimson also hesitated to support the dropping of the bomb without first warning Japan of its existence.
After Roosevelt's death in 1945, Stimson, under the approval of now-President Truman, established The Interim Committee to discuss nuclear issues. The committee voted to use atomic bombs on Japan without prior warning. Despite Stimson's doubts, however, he ultimately defended the use of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the attacks had been executed.