Nevada in the Civil War

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Nevada in the American Civil War

Nevada and the Civil War (1861-1865)

Nevada (1861-1865)

Nevada was organized as a territory March 2, 1861, and had
a white population according to the U. S. census of 1860, of
6,857. James W. Nye was appointed governor of the territory
and Orion Clemens, secretary. After a territorial existence of
only a little over three years, Nevada was admitted as a state
on Oct. 31, 1864. In accordance with the enabling act passed
by Congress, the constitution of Nevada provided that "there
shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said
state, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the
party shall have been duly convicted." The loyalty of the people
of Nevada during the war was attested in many ways, and upon
one occasion her citizens sent $51,500 in silver bricks from her
mines to the U. S. sanitary commission. The vote of the state
at the presidential election of 1864 was 16,420, of which Lincoln
received 9,826 and McClellan 6,594; majority for Lincoln 3,232.
At the same election H. G. Blasdel, Republican, was chosen gov-
ernor by 9,834 votes over David E. Buell, Democrat, who re-
ceived 6,590 votes. A Republican member of Congress was
elected, and the legislature was overwhelmingly Republican.
Though Nevada was one of the latest organized territories, scant-
ily peopled and situated thousands of miles from the seat of war,
she nevertheless contributed 1,080 volunteers to aid in the pres-
ervation of the government. The above is the number of soldiers
credited to Nevada by the war department, though the official re-
port of Adjt.-Gen. John Cradlebaugh for 1865 claims a total of
1,190 men furnished. These volunteers were enlisted during
1863-64, organized into a cavalry battalion composed of six com-
panies and an infantry battalion of three companies, their aver-
age length of service being something more than two years.
Like most of the other troops from the far western states and ter-
ritories, Nevada's soldiers were not directly engaged with the
Confederate armies, but were engaged at home in the important
work of protecting the great overland highway and the settle-
ments upon the frontier from Indian incursions and depreda-
tions. In connection with other troops they made extensive cam-
paigns into the Indian country, explored many new sections of
country, and frequently chastised the hostile Indians of the Hum-
boldt region and elsewhere in their chosen retreats. Nor should
it be forgotten that most of the volunteers enlisted under the im-
pression that they would be ordered east to take an active part
in crushing out armed rebellion, though when the event proved
otherwise they cheerfully and patriotically performed their duty
in whatever locality or sphere the government's interest required.
To encourage enlistments the territorial and state legislatures
provided by law for the payment of a bounty of $10 to each re-
cruit enlisted and for additional pay to the officers and privates
as follows: colonel, $50; lieutenant-colonel, $45; major, $40; cap-
tain, $35; lieutenants, $25; privates, $5; this extra pay to con-
tinue from Feb. 20, 1864, until discharged from the service.
As a result of these laws Nevada incurred a total liability of
about $105,000 by Jan. 1, 1866, at which time a little over 300
men still remained in the service, at an estimated monthly expense
to the state of $1,875. The last four companies of cavalry were
finally mustered out in July, 1866.

See also Nevada Civil War History
Source: The Union Army, vol. 4


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