Jan 27, 1812: Navy and Army

On January 27, 1812, the House of Representatives defeats a bill to enlarge the navy that would have built 20 new frigates and a naval dockyard. The earlier votes to add the dockyard were amended out of the bill. It is a close vote with 62 members voting against the frigates and 59 in favour. The original bill had asked also asked for six 74-gun ships in addition to the frigates. 
On the same day, the Senate votes to confirm Henry Dearborn as Major-General  to command the American Army. The vote was yeas 27 and nays 9. Dearborn was probably superior to his predecessor, General James Wilkinson, but that is only because Wilkinson was in a completely different level of infamy, as described below.  In general, the American Army was a troubled institution. The problems started at the top with its commanders. John Back McMaster in his A History of the People of the United States  (New York, Cosimo Inc., 2006),  at pages 546-47 notes:
...the President had selected and the senate had confirmed a long list of officers. As a class, they were old, vain, respectable and incapable. Henry Dearborn, now made senior Major-General, was past sixty, had been a deputy quartermaster-general in the army of the Revolution, and colonel of a New Hampshire regiment after the peace, had sat in the Cabinet of Jefferson, and had been collector of the port of Boston…

...At the head of the list of brigadier generals stood the name of James Wilkinson, the most infamous man then wearing the uniform of the United States. He had just been tried by a court-martial on the ground that he was a pensioner of the Spain [paid spy], an accomplice of Aaron Burr, an officer insubordinate, negligent, wasteful, and corrupt. Every charge was well founded. But the Court had seen fit to acquit him, Madison approved the verdict, and he was retained in his old command.  
Winfield Scott, who was then a captain, greatly detested Wilkinson. Alan Tayor in The Civil War of 1812 ( New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2010) writes:  
Reckless in his contempt, Scott announced that serving under Wilkinson "was as disgraceful as being married to a prostitute. If they were in battle together, Scott vowed to bring two pistols, one to shoot the enemy and to shoot his general. Determined to be thorough, Scott also denounced Wilkinson as a liar, scoundrel, and traitor. In 1810 a court martial convicted Scott of insubordination and suspended him for one year without pay.
Scott's views seem reasonable except that he was unfair to prostitutes to compare them to Wilkinson.

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