United States Assistant Secretary of War
The United States Assistant Secretary of War was the second-ranking official within the American Department of War from 1861 to 1867, from 1882 to 1883, and from 1890 to 1940. According to the Military Laws of the United States, "The act of August 5, 1882 authorizing the appointment of an Assistant Secretary of War was repealed by the act of July 7, 1884 (23 Stat L., 331) the power conferred by the act of August 5, 1882 never having been exercised," indicating that the post was not filled between 1882 and 1883 (p. 45, footnote 2).
In 1940, the new position of United States Under Secretary of War replaced this position as the number-two office in the department. Assistant Secretary Robert P. Patterson became the first Under Secretary.1
The office continued to exercise administrative duties until the department's end in 1947, when the United States Department of Defense was established.
This list only includes those persons who served as the Assistant Secretary, or First Assistant Secretary. At various times, there were also "second" or "third" assistant secretaries, ranking below the Assistant Secretary.
- Thomas Alexander Scott (March 10, 1861- Jan 24, 1862)2
- Peter H. Watson (Jan 24-28 1862)2
- John Tucker (Jan 29 1862-June 10 1862)2
- Christopher Wolcott (June 11, 1862-April 4, 1863) died in office2
- Charles Anderson Dana (Jan 28, 1864-July 26, 1866) 2
- Thomas Eckert (July 27, 1866-1867) -- under Edwin M. Stanton during Andrew Johnson's presidency, office abolished 18682
- Lewis A. Grant (c. 1890-1893) 3
- Joseph Doe (c. 1893-1897) 4
- George D. Meiklejohn (1897-1901) 5
- William Cary Sanger (1901-1903) 6 7
- Robert Shaw Oliver (1903-1913) 8 9
- Henry S. Breckinridge (1913-1916) -- under Lindley M. Garrison during Woodrow Wilson's presidency
- William Ingraham (c. 1916-1917)
- Benedict Crowell (1917-1920) 10
- William Reid Williams (1920-1921) 11
- Mayhew Wainwright (c. 1921-1923)
- Dwight Filley Davis (1923-1925) 12
- Hanford MacNider (1925- c. 1928) 13 14
- Patrick Jay Hurley (March–December 1929)
- Frederick Huff Payne (1930- c. 1933) 15
- Harry Hines Woodring (1933-1936) 16
- Louis A. Johnson (1937-1940)
- Robert Porter Patterson (1940)
- John J. McCloy (c. 1941-1945)
- Howard C. Petersen (c. 1945-1947)
The Air Corps Act of 1926 (44 Stat. 780), passed on July 2 of that year,17 created a Second Assistant Secretary position in the War Department variously called "Assistant Secretary of War for Aviation," "Assistant Secretary of War for Air," or "Assistant Secretary of War for Aeronautics." Those holding the office, with an eight-year vacancy between 1933 and 1941, were F. Trubee Davison (1926-1933), 18 Robert A. Lovett (1941-1945), 19 and Stuart Symington (1946-1947).20
- Arlington National Cemetery: Robert Porter Patterson
- Perley Poore, Benjamin (1878). The political register and congressional directory: a statistical record of the Federal Officials...1776-1878. Boston: Houghton, Osgood and Company. p. 232.
- SECRETARIES OF WAR AD INTERIM AND ACTING SECRETARIES OF THE ARMY
- General Doe, soldier and lawyer, was pioneer in baseball
- New York Times: G.D. MEIKLEJOHN IN NEBRASKA.; Assistant Secretary of War Speaks at Grand Island on the History of Imperialism
- New York Times
- Sanger Mansion
- Pennsylvania at Antietam: Report of the Antietam Battlefield Memorial commission (mentions Oliver as Assistant Secretary, and Acting Secretary, of War, as of 1904)
- Gallery of History (says that Oliver served as Assistant Secretary longer than any other individual)
- Time: "Crowell's Conspiracy," Oct. 15, 1923
- Time magazine
- Arlington National Cemetery: Dwight Filley Davis
- Time: "Change," Oct. 26, 1925
- Time: "The Hoover Week"
- Time: "Second to Hurley," 1930
- Guide to the Harry Hines Woodring Collection
- Time: "Job No. 2"
- Time: "New Amphibian"
- Time: "Methodists & Businessmen "
- Time: "Line-Up"
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