Arrested for not returning runaway slaves.

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major bill

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Colonel Frederick w. Curtenius had an interesting military experience. At age 18 he traveled to South American and severed as a lieutenant. to help free South Americans from Spain. When he returned he as appointed as a colonel in the New York militia. He soon moved to Michigan and when Michigan sent a regiment to the Mexican American War, Curtenius went along. In 1855 Curtenius became the Adjacent General of Michigan.

Early in the Civil War he wanted to see active service and was appointed the colonel of the 6th Michigan Infantry. While at Baton Rouge in June of 1862 Colonel Curtenius protected some runaway slaves and when General Thomas Williams ordered him to sent them back to their masters, Curtenius replied that he had not been commissioned by the state of Michigan to return slaves to their masters. General Williams had Curtenius arrested. Curtenius resigned his commission and returned to Michigan.

Curtenius ended his long service because his conscience would not allow him to send slaves back to their masters.
 
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Karen Lips

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Colonel Frederick w. Curtenius had an interesting military experience. At age 18 he traveled to South American and severed as a lieutenant. to help free South Americans from Spain. When he returned he as appointed as a colonel in the New York militia. He soon moved to Michigan and when Michigan sent a regiment to the Mexican American War, Curtenius went along. In 1855 Curtenius became the Adjacent General of Michigan.

Early in the Civil War he wanted to see active service and was appointed the colonel of the 6th Michigan Infantry. While at Baton rouge in June of 1862 Colonel Curtenius protected some runaway slaves and when General Thomas Williams ordered him to sent them back to their masters, Curtenius replied that he had not been commissioned by the state of Michigan to return slaves to their masters. General Williams had Curtenius arrested. Curtenius resigned his commission and returned to Michigan.

Curtenius ended his long service because his conscience would not allow him to send slaves back to their masters.
What became of him after he returned to Michigan?
 
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major bill

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Served as state senator and then was president of a college.

Interesting life. Probably one of the more important things he did was take the outdated Michigan Militia of 1855 and rebuild it into a much better force. This greatly improved the Michigan Militia by the start of the Civil War. He was much responsible for the early Civil War response. For example he raised the 5-7 Michigan infantry Regiments prior to the federal government asking for them and sent the officers of the 5-7 regiments off to a camp of instruction, so that when the 5th-7th Infantry regiments were call up the officers and NCOs would be better prepared.
 
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major bill

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What was an Adjacent General?
Me posting from my smart phone and not rechecking the auto spell, I have change it to adjutant. That will teach me to not sit in the car typing on a small smart phone while my wife is in a fabric store. No wait, I will probably still sit in the car and play on my smart phone, while my wife shops in a fabric store
 
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major bill

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He did have a pre Civil War commpany named for him.

The Curtenius Guards a.k.a. Company A, Williams’ Battalion (Mason, Ingham County) became Company F of the 7th Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment. They formed sometime in early 1857. Arnold Walker was the first commander. They were named for Colonel Frederick W. Curtenius, a local Mexican War veteran, who in 1859 was the State Adjutant General. In 1859, they were armed with rifled muskets and 1 six-pound brass cannon with carriage and limber, and one artillery harness with lead and wheel sets. Before the Civil War they had their own armory, a wing had been built onto the Eureka Hall for this purpose. In 1859 they were ranked in Class I of the Michigan Uniformed Militia. Captain P. McKernon took thirty-four men to the 1860 Michigan Uniformed Militia encampment being held in Jackson. In 1861, they had 40 rifle muskets, 3 revolvers and 8 noncommissioned officer swords.

In June of 1859, they received ‘new’ national uniforms ([likely based on the standard U.S. Army artillery or infantry uniforms). The Ingham County News tells us they were the best drilled and best uniformed company at the Lansing 4th of July celebration.[ii] The Michigan Adjutant General’s Report of 1860 tells us they were wearing blue uniforms.

A September 1 1860 Detroit Free Press article indicates they wore blue coats and pants trimmed with scarlet and army hats.[iii] This may indicate that their hats were possibly U.S. Army regulation black felt hats.

In that same year, The Detroit Daily Advertiser reported that they wore blue and black uniforms with felt army hats.[iv] This could indicate that they were wearing black trousers; perhaps they had black fatigue trousers in addition to their blue trousers.

The company non-commissioned officers would have received state issued gray uniforms at the State Camp of Instruction in the fall of 1861. The whole company to include all new recruits would have received dark-blue uniforms with five-button state sack coats when the company was sworn in to federal service.

New Military, The Ingham County News (Mason), June 30 1859, p. 2, col. 2.
[ii] The Ingham County News (Mason), July 7 1859, p. 2, col. 5.
[iii] “The State Encampment”, Detroit Free Press, September 1 1860, p. 1, col. 2-4.
[iv] “The Encampment at Jackson”, Detroit Daily Advertiser, August 30, 1860, p. 1, col. 1.
 
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archieclement

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At that time he was breaking the law, no matter what he did in later life. When he was commissioned as an officer he took an oath and disobeyed the orders of a superior officer and due to that fact he was arrested.
His claim seemed somewhat disingenuous to me as well.......Michigan didn't expect it's troops to uphold U.S. Law? As they were in Louisiana they were also in federal service.

Michigan would seem somewhat unique if it's officers were neither commissioned to uphold U.S. Law or follow orders.
 
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archieclement

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If violating one's oath they voluntarily took, is honorable to follow one consience........wouldn't Lee also be honorable?

Or is this an example of a standard that only applies when convenient or one personally wants it to?

He did what he did.....but it had little to do with what the state of Michigan expected as he claimed. It should be noted the orders he disobeyed came from a general who was from a prominent Michigan family, whose father was the 1st mayor of Detroit.
 
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major bill

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A bit of an interesting side bar. General Thomas Williams father, John R. Williams, was a long serving Adjutant General of the Michigan Militia, a position he still held at his death in 1854. Frederick Curtenius replaced John R. Williams as Michigan Adjutant General.
 
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At that time he was breaking the law, no matter what he did in later life. When he was commissioned as an officer he took an oath and disobeyed the orders of a superior officer and due to that fact he was arrested.
The story doesn't provide any information about their masters or what type of work the slaves had been doing before reaching Union lines. The First Confiscation Act had been in effect since August 1861 but that Act applied only to slaves that made it to Union lines and were being used directly by the Confederate military. However on March 13, 1862, Congress enacted the Act Prohibiting the Return of Slaves as an article of war which prohibited any military person from returning an escaped slave to its master. So in June 1862, it appears that it was General William Thomas who was violating the law and not Colonel Curtenius.
 
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