Connecticut in the Civil War

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Connecticut in the American Civil War

Connecticut and the Civil War (1861-1865)

Connecticut (1861-1865)

The little State of Connecticut displayed in a striking manner
the many sturdy qualities of her people throughout the period of
the Civil War. Seldom, if ever, has any group of people found
themselves more unprepared for the stern call of war than were
the citizens of Connecticut when the final summons came. Prac-
tically all her sons had been trained to the peaceful walks of life
and were practiced only in the ways of commerce and agricul-
ture. Yet in the four long years of bloody strife, they developed
a readiness and aptitude for warfare which gave the regiments
of the state an individuality all their own, and gained for them
a reputation for discipline, cleanly behavior and splendid cour-
age, kindly remembered by the veterans of all the states. Her
people, as was generally true throughout the North, were slow
to believe that the Southern States were about to take the bold
and decisive steps that spelled disunion. They felt that in some
way, by some means, the demands of the South would be satis-
fied and war averted. But once the flag of the nation had been
assailed by traitor hands and "Old Glory" trailed in the dust, the
latent fires of patriotism leaped forth and no state gave a readier
or more generous response to the call to arms. Without dispar-
agement to the glorious services rendered by all the loyal states,
it is proper to say that the record of her volunteer soldiery dur-
ing the war will stand favorable comparison with that of any
during the struggle.
In the words of Croffut, the military historian of the state:
"The first great martyrs of the war -- Ellsworth, Winthrop,
Ward, and Lyon -- were of Connecticut stock. A Connecticut
general, with Connecticut regiments, opened the battle of Bull
Run, and closed it; and a Connecticut regiment was marshaled
in front of the farmhouse at Appomattox, when Lee surrendered
to a soldier of Connecticut blood. A Connecticut flag first dis-
placed the palmetto upon the soil of South Carolina; a Connecti-
cut flag was first planted in Mississippi; a Connecticut flag was
first unfurled before New Orleans. Upon the reclaimed walls
of Pulaski, Donelson, Macon, Jackson, St. Philip, Morgan, Wag-
ner, Sumter, Fisher, our state left its ineffaceable mark. The sons
of Connecticut followed the illustrious grandson of Connecticut,
as he swung his army with amazing momentum, from the fast-
nesses of Tennessee to the Confederacy's vital center. At An-
tietam, Gettysburg, and in all the fierce campaigns of Virginia,
our soldiers won crimson glories; and at Port Hudson, they were
the very first and readiest m that valiant little band -- every man
a Winicelreid, resolved to gather the shafts of flame into their
bosoms to make a path for Liberty to tread. On the banks of
every river of the South, and in the battle smoke of every con-
tested ridge and mountain-peak, the sons of Connecticut have
stood and patiently struggled. In every ransomed state we
have a holy acre on which the storm has left its emerald waves."
The state was most fortunate in keeping at the helm through-
out the struggle her great "war-governor," William A. Buck-
ingham, the friend of Lincoln. The best evidence of the disinter-
ested nature of his services, is the fact that during his eight
years' tenure of office, he never drew a dollar of salary -- an ex-
ample emulated by others. Gov. Buckingham's majority in the
hotly contested election of 1860 was 541, and placed the stamp of
disapproval on the secession movement; in the succeeding au-
tumn, Lincoln's majority in the state was 10,292. Connecticut
is a state where party majorities have long been small, and the
result in both the state and national elections was significant as
showing the trend of popular sentiment on the great issues of the
hour. Sympathy for the South ruled strong, and many of the
conservative and intelligent citizens of the state were willing to
go to almost any length to avert the impending crisis and ap-
pease the angry South. Among the prominent papers of the state
which had opposed the election of Lincoln were the Hartford
Times, the New Haven Register and the Bridgeport Farmer.
The two former afterwards modified their views and the latter,
which continued to serve as the organ of the "peace party" for
some months after the beginning of hostilities, was silenced, its
office being attacked and sacked by an indignant body of citizens
and soldiers on Aug. 26, 1861. Connecticut sent an able dele-
gation to the 36th Congress, to wit, Senators, Lafayette S. Fos-
ter and James B. Dixon; Representatives, Dwight Loomis, John
Woodruff, Alfred A. Burnham, and Orrin S. Ferry. The con-
servative sentiment of the state spoke through Senator Dixon
when he declared, "My constituents are ready to make any sac-
rifice which a reasonable man can ask or an honorable man can
grant." But events were hurrying on to precipitate the crisis,
and it is doubtful if any degree of forbearance, or any conces-
sions, short of absolute surrender of all the North had contended
for and won in the elections of 1860, would have satisfied the
South. As early as Jan. 9, 1861, the Star of the West, carrying
supplies to Maj. Anderson at Fort Sumter, was fired upon.
Though active military preparations had been going on for some
time in nearly all the Southern States, the North remained
strangely apathetic. To the Peace Conference, the last great
effort to adjust the strained relations between the sections, Con-
necticut sent a distinguished delegation, including ex-Gov.
Roger Sherman Baldwin, Hon. Charles J. McCurdy, and Hon.
Robbins Battell. The story of that futile convention, called
through the influence of Virginia, is now history, and the work
it attempted is now seen to have been impossible. Throughout
the war, Gideon Welles, a worthy son of Connecticut, served as
Lincoln's secretary of the navy. His efficient services and wise
counsel helped to efface the memory of his predecessor under
Buchanan, Isaac Toucey, also a son of Connecticut, who was
suspected of scattering the nation's warships in distant seas and
of allowing officers and naval stores to slip from under his con-
In the spring election of 1861, Gov. Buckingham received a
majority of more than 2,000, and Washington could count on the
loyal support of the state administration. But all else was now
forgotten amid the excitement of greater events. Actual war
was precipitated with unexpected suddenness. The news that
Sumter had been fired upon reached Connecticut on Sunday
morning, April 14, and the innate patriotism of her citizens was
at once exhibited. All hesitation was put aside and a wave of
spontaneous loyalty to the Union swept the state from border to
border. Disapproval of coercive measures was silenced amid
the excitement of great Union meetings and the active prepara-
tions for war which at once begun. A volunteer company was
started in New Britain and in West Winsted 100 men offered
their services, $700 being promptly subscribed toward
their proper equipment. Frank Stanley of New Britain,
afterward killed at Irish bend, was the first man to volunteer his
services. On the 15th was issued President Lincoln's call for
75,000 militia for three months, of which Connecticut's quota
was one regiment of 780 men. The governor found that the
laws of the state were such that a militia regiment could not be
ordered to leave the state and he assumed the responsibility of
enlisting a regiment of volunteers. Such was the enthusiasm
that three regiments were quickly recruited and within four days
the 1st regiment was encamped at New Haven. It was followed
by the 2nd within six days; the 3d going into camp at Hartford
two weeks later, and at the end of three weeks a total of fifty-
four companies were formed, all eager to go to the front. New
Britain and Danbury were the first to offer companies to the
state, while the West Meriden company was the first to be ac-
cepted by the governor. The first complete volunteer company
was that of Capt. Burnham from Hartford. The first volunteer
in Norwich, the governor's home, was James B. Coit, who organ-
ized the "Buckingham Rifles" as soon as the news of the attack
on Sumter was received, the company finally becoming a part of
the 2nd regiment. The Wooster Guards of Danbury proffered
their services two days before the governor issued his call and
were the initial company to arrive at New Haven. Illustrations
of the tremendous enthusiasm which everywhere prevailed and
of the feverish bustle of war preparations might be multiplied
almost indefinitely. Brooklyn, Windham county, raised 60 men
within 30 minutes, and the record was almost equalled in numer-
ous other towns. Five brothers, sons of Jared Dennis, enlisted
in Norwich, and Capt. Dickerson, of the Mansfield company, had
his men armed and equipped with full ranks over night. Much
of this haste was inspired by news from Washington, which
reported the town to be closely invested by the enemy and in
imminent danger of capture. All rail and wire communication
with the nation's capital was cut off, and the reception of the
6th Mass. in Baltimore augured ill for its quick relief. The gov-
ernor despatched William A. Aiken, quartermaster-general of
the state, on April 22, to see if communication with the capital
could be had, and to assure the president that help from Con-
necticut was on the way. Gen. Aiken returned after a trip full
of dangerous incident and afterward declared, "I believe there
has been no hour since, when messages of sympathy, encourage-
ment, and aid from the loyal government of a loyal state were
more truly needed, or more effective in the mind of the late presi-
dent, that these I had the honor to deliver." On the 18th the
few companies of unarmed Pennsylvanians had reached Wash-
ington, followed on the 19th by the 6th Mass., and on the 26th
by the 8th Mass., and the 7th N. Y. Word came on the 25th
that Washington was safe, and the next day the railroads adver-
tised that they would run a few trains.

During these trying days the state administration was con-
fronted by a condition of almost complete military unprepared-
ness. Through the wise foresight of Gov. Buckingham partial
equipment for 5,000 men had been provided during the winter
of 1860-61, but much was lacking. The state had only about
1,000 muskets of the latest pattern, and the necessary money to
properly arm and equip the men must be found. This was freely
proffered by the banks of the state. The Elm City bank of New
Haven offered a loan of $50,000; the Thames bank, $100,000;
each of the following- banks, Pahquioque bank of Danbury, the
Danbury bank, and the Mechanics' bank of New Haven, tendered
$50,000; the Fairfield County bank of Norwalk $25,000, and the
banks of Hartford, $500,000, or one-tenth of their combined
capital nor was money alone needed; all aided in the work of
preparation. Everywhere the women were busy making uni-
forms and other needed garments; tailors gave their services
without thought of compensation; caterers served lunches ; out-
fitters supplied underclothing, and in this way the work was done
in an incredibly short space of time. It is recorded that the
women of New Haven finished and distributed more than 500
uniforms in ten days. Substantial encouragement was also of-
fered by many towns in making provision for the families of
those who enlisted, thus anticipating the later work of the state.
Employers continued the pay of their employes and brother work-
men did the work of absent comrades.
By April 20 the 1st regiment was assembled in New Haven,
commanded by Col. Daniel Tyler, of Norwich, a graduate of
West Point. The 2nd, under Col. Alfred H. Terry, rendezvoused
at Brewster's park. Such was the scarcity of experienced offi-
cers, that the cadets from Gen. Russell's military school at New
Haven were employed in drilling the new recruits. The 3d regi-
ment encamped on Albany avenue, Hartford, May 9th, and left
for Washington a few days after the first two regiments. Noth-
ing was too good for "the boys in blue," and equipment of all
kinds was pressed upon them by an admiring and sympathetic
public. Even after the process of elimination had taken place,
the necessary accouterments, extra supplies of clothing, the Bible,
the photograph album, etc., gave each raw recruit a pack of
from 125 to 150 pounds. These early volunteers had little con-
ception of the terrible hardships before them, or of the stem
realities of war. Like the great majority of the people of the
North they believed that the war would be of short duration -- a
campaign of a few months at most. Both North and South were
soon to be cruelly undeceived on this score. The sight of men
proudly marching forth full of buoyant health and enthusiasm,
was ere long displaced by the spectacle of the returning regi-
ments, often mere shattered remnants, made up of haggard,
weary and footsore men. On May 10th the 1st marched to the
wharf and embarked for Washington on the "Bienville" by way
of the Potomac, which was then open. It arrived on the 13th
and is said to have been the first regiment to reach the capital
fully equipped to take the field. Through the personal solicita-
tion of Gov. Buckingham, who journeyed to Washington and
saw the president, two more regiments were ordered to the front.
The 2nd sailed on the steamer Cahawba on the 9th, and arrived
at Washington on the 14th. This regiment was fortunate in its
officers, most of whom were experienced soldiers of the state
militia, while three of its companies were old and popular militia
organizations. The 3d embarked on the Cahawba for Wash-
ington on the 23d, and all three regiments were brigaded under
Gen. Tyler, who had been made a brigadier-general of volunteers
on the day the 1st left the state.
The state legislature met on May 1, and at once took up the
work of providing for the public defense, by voting the needed
supplies for the steady stream of troops which were to leave the
state from this time forward. The message of Gov. Bucking-
ham announced that forty-one volunteer companies had already
been accepted, and that the 5th regiment would be ready in a
few days. None would leave the state until it was fully equipped
with camp and baggage trains, prepared to take the field. He
also recommended the organization of an efficient state militia
not to exceed 10,000 men. The legislature gave a prompt and
cordial response to these recommendations. On May 3 an act
to provide for the organization and equipment of a volunteer
militia and for the public defense passed both houses. This
volunteer force of not more than 10,000 men was to be in addition
to the present military organization, and was to be liable at all
times to be turned over by the governor to the service of the
nation. An appropriation of $2,000,000 was made to defray the
expenditures under the act, the treasurer being empowered to
issue six per cent, coupon bonds to that amount. Provision was
also made for the extra pay of the soldiers already departed, and
for the payment of a bounty of $6 a month for the wife, and $2
for each child, not exceeding two, under the age of 14 years, of
all volunteers. This was paid quarterly, even after the death of
the soldier, during his term of enlistment. The work of the
legislature was admirably done and only an extension of the
acts was needed during the rest of the war.
Of the three months' troops is should be said, that practically
all volunteered from motives of pure patriotism, and without
hope of bounty or reward. It fell to their lot to do the cruel,
pioneer work of the war, and to point the way for future im-
provements in the service. They served also as a training school
for the citizen soldiers, and provided many of the future officers
of the war as well as many of the veterans. In order to secure
the addition of two regiments to the quota of the state under the
first call, the state had promised that the other volunteers organ-
ized should enlist for three years, and the president's call of May
3 for 42,000 troops was for that length of time. Hence the men
who had enthusiastically responded to the first call and had
gathered at Hartford with the hope of being mustered in with
the other three months' troops as the 4th infantry, were reorgan-
ized as a three years' regiment and mustered in for that period
on May 22-23. The men composing the 5th infantry had also
enlisted for three years and were mustered in on July 23, 1861.
The first great reverse of the war at Bull Run, in which the
state's three months' troops had displayed conspicuous gallantry,
brought renewed confidence to the advocates of the peace policy
in the state. Peace meetings were numerous and many attempts
made to raise white flags. However, the great body of the people
were still enthusiastic for the war and the white flags were gen-
erally lowered in response to the indignant protest of the
majority. Frequent collisions took place between the two ele-
ments, which finally caused Gov. Buckingham on Aug. 31 to issue
a stirring proclamation, appealing to the patriotism of all and call-
ing upon the officers of the law to arrest and punish those guilty
of disturbing the public peace, sedition and treason, or of ob-
structing the due execution of the laws. His opening words
declared: "Eleven states of the Union are now armed and in open
rebellion against Federal authority; they have paralyzed the
business of the nation, have involved us in civil war, and are now
exerting their combined energies to rob us of the blessings of a
free government. The greatness of their crime has no parallel
In the history of human governments. At this critical juncture,
our liberties are still further imperilled by the utterance of sedi-
tious language; by a traitorous press, which excuses or justifies
the rebellion; by secret organizations, which propose to resist
the laws of this state by force; by the public exhibition of 'peace
flags' -- falsely so called; and by an effort to redress grievances
regardless of the forms and officers of the law. The very exist-
ence of our government, the future prosperity of this entire
nation, and the hopes of universal freedom demand that these
outrages be suppressed." Despite this sporadic opposition, the
v/ork of enlistment in obedience to the call of the governor in
August for four regiments of infantry for three years, or the
war, went on briskly. The ranks of these organizations, desig-
nated the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th infantry', were filled during the
summer and all had been mustered into the U. S. service and left
the state by the end of October. Under the call of April 15, the
state had furnished a total of 2,402 men; under the call of May
3, and the acts of Congress approved July 22 and 25, 1861, the
quota of the state was 13,057 men, so that there was urgent
need to provide more soldiers. Consequently the legislature met
in extra session on Oct. 9, 1861, to make liberal provision for
more troops, to rectify errors in the militia laws recently passed,
and to decide whether the state would assume its share of the
direct national tax, or leave the Federal government to collect
it. The governor stated in his message that the expense of
raising and equipping volunteers to Oct. 1 was $943,939, which
had been met by the sale of $800,000 worth of bonds and the
money in the treasury. He said: "The calls made upon volun-
teers for the national defense have met with a hearty response,
and but for a hesitancy on the part of the general government
to accept more troops, we might have had 12,000 or 15,000 men
in the field today. We have, however, organized, equipped, sent
into the field, and have now ready nine regiments of infantry.
Their camp equipage was complete, and their appointments
were highly respectable. About 5,000 Sharp's and Enfield rifles
have been purchased, and contracts made for an equal number of
the latter arms, which have not yet been delivered. Arrange-
ments have also been made to arm, uniform, and furnish complete
equipments for two other regiments now rendezvousing, and for
one not yet organized." After a session of one week, the legis-
lature gave the governor unlimited power to raise volunteers ;
authorized another loan of $2,000,000; and assumed the collection
of the national tax, thereby saving 15 per cent, to the state.
The loth infantry was mustered in for three years on Sept.
30, 1861; the nth was recruited in the fall and mustered in for
three years on Oct. 24. The 12th, known as the "Charter Oak
regiment," was recruited in the late autumn, as part of the "New
England division;" and the 13th was also recruited in the late
fall and early winter of 1861. In addition to the above organiza-
tions, the 1st squadron of cavalry was recruited and mustered in
in Aug., 1861. A battalion of cavalry composed of four com-
panies, one from each Congressional district, was recruited in
the fall, under a call issued on Oct. 1, 1861, and was eventually
recruited to a full regiment, designated the ist regiment Conn,
volunteer cavalry. It will thus be seen that by the end of the
year the state had raised and equipped thirteen full regiments,
besides a considerable body of men organized as cavalry; and in
addition one battery of light artillery was recruited in the autumn.
The year 1862 brought many reverses and disappointments
to the Union arms. The authorities were vacillating in their
plans, the South was full of confidence, and the friends of seces-
sion in the North once mo^e raised their voices. Gov. Bucking-
ham continued to exert himself to the utmost during this dark
period and was one of the loyal governors who advised the presi-
dent to issue his call of July 2, 1862, for 300,000 more troops for
three years. The quota assigned to Connecticut was 7,145.
Meanwhile, the people had reelected Gov. Buckingham by a
handsome majority in April, and chosen a legislature of which
the senate was unanimously Republican, and the house was
made up of 195 Republicans and 56 Democrats. During 1862
the state expended for war purposes $1,866,097. By Nov. 1,
1862 it had furnished 28,551 men for the volunteer army, con-
sisting of twenty-seven regiments of infantry, one regiment of
heavy artillery, two batteries of light artillery, one squadron and
one battalion of cavalry. At its regular session in May, 1862,
the legislature revised and modified the militia law of the previous
year, which now divided the able-bodied males of the state be-
tween the ages of 18 and 45 years, save for the usual exemptions,
into two classes -- the active and the inactive militia -- the former
to consist of all the volunteer companies then organized, or to be
organized, armed and equipped by the state and paid a per diem
of $2 together with mileage; the latter to be composed of all
other able-bodied persons not exempt, to be enrolled and (except
minors) to pay a commutation tax of $1 per annum, but to be
called into service only in case of rebellion or invasion of the state,
when they were liable to be drafted by the commander-in-chief
(the governor) to fill up the ranks of the active militia. The
law was by no means perfect and considerable complaint arose
in regard to it.

When the above mentioned call of July was issued, enthusias-
tic war-meetings were again the order of the day. Each town
was now called upon for its proper quota and under the liberal
bounties offered recruiting went on very rapidly. The small
towns exerted themselves to equal the liberality of the larger
ones, Bloomfield and Watertown going so far as to offer $250
per man. In the intense rivalry between the towns to fill their
quotas under this call and the succeeding one in August, and
thereby escape resort to the dreaded draft, the smaller and poorer
towns were outmatched by the large, wealthy ones. In many
particulars the whole bounty system resulted in great wrong and
injustice, though it was deemed necessary under the imperious
demands of the period. Connecticut was the first to fill its quota
under the July call, furnishing 9,195 men. It thus had a large
surplus to spare, which materially aided in the work of filling
the quota under the call of August. While the state was strain-
ing every nerve to promptly fill its July quota, came the call of
Aug. 4, 1862, for 300,000 militia for nine months' service. Con-
necticut's quota was again 7,145 and the men were to be drafted.
From the beginning to the end of the war, both the state and local
authorities labored strenuously to avoid the draft, and were in
the main successful. Under these two calls of July and August,
the state raised and equipped in less than five months, 14,797
men. The 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 20th, 21st infantry, and
the 2nd cavalry (originally recruited as the 19th infantry) were
three years' regiments and all had left the state by the middle of
September. The 22nd, 23d, 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th were nine
months' regiments, all of which had been mustered into the U. S.
service and left for the scene of war by Nov. 20, 1862. In addi-
tion, a large number of recruits had been enlisted and gone
forward to fill the depleted ranks of the regiments in the field.
There had also been organized under the three years' call of
July the 2nd light battery, which left the state for Washington on
Oct. 15, 1862. The July regiments were of unusually fine mate-
rial, and had on their rolls many of the finest names in the state.
Did space permit it would be a pleasure to enumerate the names
of many of those distinguished for their heroism and patriotic
and disinterested services. The fame of one man -- a private in
the 17th -- spread throughout the state. This was Elias Howe,
Jr., of Fairfield county. One of the richest and most patriotic
men in the state, prevented by chronic lameness from the per-
formance of ordinary duties, he nevertheless served as the regi-
mental postmaster and expressman throughout its term of service.
When the regimental pay was in arrears for four months, he gave
his personal check for $31,000 to the government, or for half
the sum then due the regiment. This is but one of many noble
instances of private generosity. With the exception of the State
of Iowa, Connecticut was the first state to fill her full quota under
the two calls of July and Aug., 1862. Some resort to the draft
was made to fill the quota of nine months' men, but in most
places it was escaped. Hartford drafted 421 men; but in New
Haven, the deficiency was made up by volunteers, just before the
dreaded moment arrived when the draft was to begin, $1,200
having been collected from the patriotic citizens to aid in raising
the full quota. Slight opposition was offered to the draft in
Fairfield and Newtown, but the disorders were soon quelled.
Altogether, 1,212 men were drafted, but of these only 218, of
whom 142 were substitutes, were mustered into the U. S. service,
81 deserted after reaching camp, 623 were exempted by the exam-
iners, 10 had previously volunteered, 34 were not subject to
military duty, and 166 were unaccounted for. Volunteers
eventually made up the number needed, which, on the whole, was
fortunate, as many of the conscripts made poor soldiers and were
not popular in the ranks of the volunteers. Many of them be-
longed to the despised class of "bounty- jumpers," enlisting only
to secure the reward and then desert.
The cost of raising and equipping this large body of troops
had drained the treasury and the governor called a special ses-
sion of the legislature, which met in Hartford on Dec. 9, 1862.
The governor's message stated the inefficiency of the draft;
again called attention to the defects of the militia law; advocated
the extension of the suffrage to the soldiers in the field; recom-
mended that the state bonds be issued for a definite number of
years; and that the towns be authorized to issue bonds. There
was a total state indebtedness of $1,338,553 to be provided for
and the legislature authorized a loan of $2,000,000, taken in
Feb., 1863, at a premium of 12 per cent. The militia law
was again modified and an act was passed authorizing the soldiers
in the field to vote, a law which the state supreme court subse-
quently declared to be unconstitutional.
The vote for governor in the spring of 1863 gave Bucking-
ham a majority of over 2,500 over his Democratic opponent,
Thomas H. Seymour. The strength of the opposition to the
war policy had been much increased by the disasters to the Union
arms in 1862, and party lines, nearly obliterated at the beginning
of the war, were again closely drawn. Many soldiers home on
furlough at the time of the election strengthened the majority
of the war party. The disastrous battle of Chancellorsville in-
creased the outcry against the continuance of the war, and the
spring of 1863 was the darkest period of the struggle. The
gloom was soon to be dispelled, however, by the great victories
achieved at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, both decisive events, and
marking the turning point of the war.
During the summer of 1863 occurred the principal draft of
the war in Connecticut, in conformity to a law passed by Con-
gress the previous winter. The final returns of this draft show
that 2,276 conscripts and substitutes were held to serve, and
1,252 paid commutation of $300 each -- amounting in all to $375,-
600. Every inducement was made to secure volunteers. The
national government offered in July a bounty of $402; the state
a bounty of $30 per annum, and if the volunteer was married,
$6 a month to the wife, and $2 to each child under 14 years old;
while liberal bounties were also paid by the several towns and
cities. Under the calls of Oct. 17, 1863, and Feb. 1, 1864, for
500,000 men for three years, the quota of the state was 7,919,
and she was credited with a total of 11,839 men, 1,513 of whom
paid commutation. Under the liberal inducements offered the
soldiers in the field to reenlist for another term of three years,
both by bounty and furlough, 2,850 Connecticut men reenlisted.
The legislature, which convened in extra session in Nov.,
1863, enacted that each colored volunteer should be paid out of
the state treasury such sum as should make his monthly pay
equal to the amount received from the United States by other
volunteers from Connecticut, and gave him an allowance of $3.50
per month in addition, for clothing. Every man securing a vol-
unteer was to receive $10, and $200,000 was appropriated for
this purpose. Another act provided for the payment of $300
bounty to each volunteer, in addition to all previous sums ordered,
and appropriated $1,800,000 for the purpose.
Recruiting for the 29th (colored) infantry began in Aug.,
1863, but most of the men enlisted during the last three months
of the year and the regiment was finally mustered in on March
8; 1864. Recruiting for the 30th (colored) infantry began in
Jan., 1864, but such was the need for men at the front, that when
only four companies were organized, it was sent to the front on
June 4, and consolidated with other companies to form the 31st
regiment U. S. (colored) infantry. The last organization formed
in the state was the 3d light battery, an independent body of
artillerymen which embraced many veterans, and which was
recruited during the summer and early fall of 1864. The state
provided additional bounties for troops required in any future
requisitions and an amendment to the constitution was adopted
permitting soldiers in the field and absent from the state to vote.
Connecticut was never called upon to furnish her assignment
under the call of Dec. 19, 1864, for 300,000 men, as she then had
a large surplus to her credit. According to the statistician, Phis-
terer, the total quotas of the state during the war amounted to
44,797, while she sent to the army a total of 54,349, and 1,515
paid commutation. She thus furnished a surplus of 11,067 men.
As there were only 80,000 voters in the state at this period, she
contributed nearly seven-tenths of her voting strength. These
54,000 men were distributed among twenty-eight regiments of
infantry, two regiments and three batteries of artillery, and one
regiment and one squadron of cavalry. As already noted, she
also furnished one squadron of cavalry which was included,
despite promises to the contrary, in the N. Y. Harris light cavalry
and credited to that state. The above enumeration likewise fails
to include over 2,000 men from Connecticut who enlisted in the
U. S. navy, as well as large numbers who served in the regular
army and in the regiments of other states. The total expenses
of the war to the state, exclusive of private contributions and
indirect losses, both very large, was $6,623,580. The largest
expenditures among the cities were made by New Haven, and
Hartford was second. The 1st regiment heavy artillery was
longest in service, 4 years and 4 months; the 13th infantry was
second, 4 years and 3 months; and the 8th and nth next, with
4 years and 2 months, and 4 years and 1 month, respectively.
Fifty-two of the generals in the several armies of the Union were
actual residents of the state, and many others were Connecticut

A revised list of the casualties of Connecticut troops during
the war shows that the losses in killed, wounded, missing, cap-
tured, and died of disease and in prison, amounted to 20,573,
of whom 209 were officers. This was more than one-fourth of the
voters of the state. The 14th infantry suffered the greatest loss,
with a casualty list of 1,467, of whom 188 were killed or mortally
wounded and 552 wounded. The total number of men killed or
mortally wounded in battle in the volunteer organizations was
1,981. The total number who died of disease was 2,801. The
9th infantry, which was sent south as a part of Butler's expedi-
tion for the capture of New Orleans, and was wretchedly equip-
ped, suffered the greatest loss from disease -- 218 men; the 5th
and 18th infantry show the smallest losses from this source,
losing 63 and 48 men respectively.
As the war dragged its weary length along the ranks of the
regiments in the field became sadly depleted and the labor of
satisfying the constant demands of the government for more men
became ever more and more difficult. Fortunately the state
eventually secured credit, under the amendment to the enrollment
act, approved July 4, 1864, for all men who had enlisted, or who
should thereafter enlist in the navy, the men to be credited to the
locality from which they enlisted. At the end of July a commis-
sion was appointed, consisting of Col. F. D. Sewall, on behalf
of the United States, and Robert Coit, Jr., of New London, on
behalf of the state, to pass upon the claim of the state for credit
for naval enlistments. After an exhaustive investigation Col.
Sewall passed to the credit of the state 1,804 enlistments prior
to the passage of the act by Congress, and 339 enlistments in the
navy were subsequently credited. Some slight benefit was also
derived from the act of Congress, approved July 4, 1864, pro-
viding that the governors of the loyal states might send agents
into the rebellious states to recruit troops. Six principal points
of rendezvous for recruiting purposes were accordingly estab-
lished by the war department: Camp Casey, Washington, D. C.,
"Fortress Monroe, Va., New Berne N. C, Hilton Head, S. C,
Vicksburg, Miss., and Nashville, Tenn. Almost no results were
secured at Washington, Vicksburg and Nashville, but a total of
1,144 recruits were secured at the other stations. The act grant-
ing authority to recruit in the South was repealed in Feb., 1865.
Before the war had lasted many months it began to be
realized that it would not be soon ended. The casualties from
death and disease among the soldiers at the front grew in volume
and the patriotic citizens of Connecticut exerted themselves
to afford every aid and comfort possible to the soldier boys.
To this end various relief associations and agencies were estab-
lished and before long the habit of the people exerted itself in
systematized effort to provide relief in every possible way. At
the very outset, the sons of Connecticut residing in New York
provided rooms where the soldiers could secure substantial
meals and other needed comforts. Robert H. McCurdy was the
president of the New York relief agency; W. H. Oilman, treas-
urer; and Charles Gould, secretary. This agency continued to
exert itself throughout the war. From the very outset the patri-
otic people at home, old and young, the women and the incapaci-
tated, exerted themselves to supply necessaries and comforts for
those who had gone to the front. Everything that could be trans-
ported to the field was sent and there was scarcely a household
that failed to do its share. Especially were efforts made to cheer
the soldiers with bountiful supplies at Thanksgiving and Christ-
mas time. During the early months, while the regiments were
still stationed near Washington, supplies were forwarded semi-
weekly by Craw & Martin, and later by J. M. Crofut, under the
name of the Connecticut Troops Express. Afterward, when the
U. S. sanitary and Christian commissions were organized, the
State cooperated fully and gladly in their famous work of relief.
Everything, from sheets, shirts and needle-books, to arm-slings,
bandages, medicines, jellies, pickles and pies was contributed and
a constant stream of gifts flowed out from the state. Great
sanitary fairs were held, and money was thus raised to secure
stores of sanitary supplies, on which the many army hospitals
might draw in times of need.
One of the most noteworthy relief agencies was started in a
small way, in Oct., 1861, by Alfred Walker of New Haven.
Having announced through the newspapers that he would re-
ceive, pack and forward any contributions for the sanitary
commission, the work soon grew to such proportions that in a
year the value of the boxes forwarded was estimated at $25,000.
He had forwarded 371 boxes to the commission and 44 to Con-
necticut regiments, the supplies having been secured from all
parts of the state. Mr. Walker not only devoted his own time
to the work, but also made use of his own store as an office,
and donated the services of his clerks, assisted by a number of
noble-minded ladies in keeping the accounts and packing the
boxes. In order to minimize expenses in every possible way,
he secured free transportation by boat to New York, where the
government took charge of the freight and sent it on to Wash-
ington. This benevolent and well systematized agency, once
started, was continued in perfect running order, and in all the
large towns and cities the women organized soldiers' aid societies,
which played an important part in supplying the soldiers with
necessities and even luxuries. Individuals, churches and socie-
ties obligated themselves for stated sums of money, in order that
the good work might go on. The aid societies in the larger
cities thoroughly systematized their work by means of committees
and the relief work was carried on with the method of regular
business. As an illustration of the volume of work done by the
women of the state in aid of the sanitary commission, it is re-
corded that "One lady in New Haven, Mrs. James D. Dana,
during two years, superintended in her house the cutting out of
7,000 shirts and pairs of drawers; while Mrs. William A. Norton,
the wife of Prof. Norton of the Sheffield scientific school, with
his full consent, devoted all her time to the work of corresponding
secretary, and was in communication with 100 places, including
New Haven." Nor were the wants of the soldiers neglected in
regard to reading matter, numerous regimental libraries being
supplied. When the Rev. Edward Ashley Walker, chaplain of
the 4th regiment wrote home for a chapel tent, he was provided
with a fine, large one, used as a gathering place for the men to
hold religious services until finally appropriated to the uses of an
army hospital. Moreover, in the work of caring for the soldiers
of the state, the unflagging zeal and interest of Gov. Buckingham
and of Adjt.-Gen. Morse and their able staff of assistants must
not be forgotten. The judgment with which the officers of the
various organizations of the state were selected and the knowl-
edge displayed in sending forth the regiments equipped to take
care of themselves in the field, is especially to be commended.
The general records of the Connecticut volunteer force in the
office of the adjutant-general was kept in admirable shape. Full
records of the services of each man, as far as possible, were
kept, including enlistment papers, muster-in and descriptive rolls,
muster-out rolls, etc. Opposite each name was entered all in-
formation to be obtained regarding him from regimental rolls
and returns, from hospital and prison reports, or from any other
official source. This office further rendered great assistance to
discharged volunteers and the relatives of those deceased in ob-
taining from the general government the arrears of bounty, back
pay and pensions due them, and after the close of the war con-
tinued the work to good advantage, thereby sawing them the
fees of agents.
After April 13, 1865, it was ordered that no more men be
enlisted, and by proclamation of the governor on April 17, state
bounties were ordered no longer paid. Immediately after the
order stopping further enlistments, the work of disbanding the
troops began. The men were mustered out of service, sent to
their respective states, paid off and discharged with an ease,
rapidity and facility second only to the promptness and zeal with
which the volunteers first sprang to arms in behalf of their
country. The torn and battle-stained flags borne by the brave
sons of Connecticut are now in the cherished custody of the
state, and the memory of the glorious deeds of the men will
live forever.
With many of her sons inured to a seafaring life and with
her miles of exposed sea coast, it is but natural to expect a large
degree of interest in the U. S. navy on the part of Connecticut.
As she is justly proud of the record of her soldier sons, so may
she point with pride to the honorable achievements of her
sailors during the War of the Rebellion. Mention has already
been made of the fact that one of her sturdiest and most honest
citizens, Gideon Welles of Hartford, held the portfolio of the
navy throughout the period of the war and was ever the trusted
and able adviser of President Lincoln. So, too, it fell to the
lot of Connecticut to furnish many naval officers of high rank,
distinguished for their valor and services. Among others, the
state gave to the navy Rear-Adm. Francis H. Gregory; Commo-
dores John and C. R. P. Rodgers, R. B. Hitchcock and Andrew
Hull Foote, the last named afterward an admiral; Lieut.-
Comdrs. Henry C. White, Edward Terry and Francis M. Bunce,
the last named also to achieve the rank of admiral. The gallant
and intrepid Foote, a native of New Haven and for a time com-
mander of the famous Cumberland, was one of the lamented
martyrs of the war. His honored name is indelibly associated
with the first great Union success on inland waters -- the capture
of Forts Henry and Donelson -- and his second great work,
undertaken in conjunction with the army -- the reduction of the
strong works of Island No. 10 -- was a highly important one in
the great problem of opening the Mississippi. Promoted to
admiral for his notable services, he was preparing to take com-
mand of the South Atlantic squadron, when he died in New
York, June 26, 1863, worn out by his labors and much enfeebled
by a severe wound. Nor should the unique service rendered by
another son of Connecticut, Cornelius S. Bushnell, be forgotten.
It was largely due to his splendid enthusiasm and untiring efforts,
to his ability to grasp the significance of a work of genius, to
his fine zeal in enlisting the halting cooperation of the authorities
at Washington, and finally to his patriotic assistance in the work
of private individuals, that gave to the inventor Ericsson his
opportunity and secured for the government the Monitor. Only
those who lived through that period of crisis when the great
iron-clad Merrimac was performing its work of devastation, can
adequately conceive the relief felt when the "little cheese-box on
a raft" met and conquered the hope of the Confederacy. All
honor to Ericsson, the man of
genius, but all honor also to the
man who devoted his best efforts to the work, and finally induced
a reluctant naval board to give Ericsson a hearing. In the light
of after events, the world speedily forgot that the wonder-working
craft was built and launched in the face of the utmost discourage-
ment and even under constant official protest.

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Source: The Union Army, vol. 1


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