So ya think Lincoln was tall?

So goes the story right?  President Abraham Lincoln was a towering man of 6’4″ inches in his barefeet.  Well, my wife’s Great-Great Grandfather has him by 3 inches.

I give you the Descriptive Roll card for Sergeant Walker Garland Routt, Company K, 19th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry.

During the Civil War, if you were literate there was a very high likelihood that you would end up with some rank prior to your official mustering in.  This was because records had to be kept and officers couldn’t do it all.   We know that Sergeant Routt was literate prior to the war.  Now we have another reason that he may have been given Sergeant stripes.

Sergeants didn’t serve in the combat line.  They were assigned platoons in the company and, when in the fight,  fell back behind their platoons to keep the men in line, deal with weapons malfunctions and wounded soldiers, and to help deliver orders in the heat of battle.  Taller men were ALWAYS in the second rank of soldiers so they may see over the men in front of them.  Considering the average height of a man in 1860 was 5’6″ or so, a 6’7″ man was FAR taller than anyone else.  Even the average height Sergeants and Officers in the rear couldn’t see over a man THAT tall.  Wouldn’t surprise me a bit if Sergeant Routt, while literate and apparently of above average intelligence, still wouldn’t surprise me if his stripes also came to him by way of getting him the bleep out of the way!

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