The Case of Hugh Marion Pickel

Faced with a vacancy for First Lieutenant in his company, Captain Abraham stumbled into a controversy associated with his desire to promote Armon L. Ogg to the position. On the 19th of September, Rufus Marion Pickel (1820-1878), the father of Hugh Marion Pickel (1841-1931), penned a letter to Capt. Abraham on  Internal Revenue stationary asking as series of questions in the form of a legal interrogatory. Rufus Pickel was an Internal Revenue Stamp Agent in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

Capt. Abraham was no doubt perturbed by the letter and scratched out the following thoughts (in draft) for a letter that he probably sent to his superior officers.

Lot Abraham's Draft Letter

Lot Abraham’s Draft Letter

…yet he [Hugh M. Pickel] has not been promoted to 1st Lieut neither does he deserve to be. (A. L. Ogg who does has been promoted properly). I know what I say to be too true, not that I have any predjudice against him. I know his military career well, and know that he deserves nothing of the kind. His father is trying to impose him on us here as an officer while we have other duties to perform and have no time to spare in opposing the tricks of Rufus M. Pickel.  And now the question is shall I have the man who fails to make a good private soldier certainly does not deserve such a promotion. I know not what you have been told about the case now. Your assertion is a broad one and based I know not how but I know what I say, and I demand an explanation of the matter.

Armon L. Ogg has been promoted to the vacancy properly and is only being kept out of his place by the tricks and rascality of Rufus Pickel.”

“…to make this assertion which I now declare to be false and I know what I say though he may think the trick a sharp one &c. We are not willing to be bored with his son who has been tried and failed to make a good 2nd class private. I know what I say and hope to see the matter corrected.

Here are men who deserve promothon and are only being kept down by this skullduggery. I know what I say about this & have said twice as much to0. ’Tis no more than I have told Mr. Pickel and always speak plain. — Lot Abraham

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