New York in the Civil War

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New York in the American Civil War

New York and the Civil War (1861-1865)

New York (1861-1865), part 1

In the following pages it is proposed to set forth in brief com-
pass the important part played by the great State of New York
during the War of the Rebellion. Events occurring within the
State, and reflecting its military activities, will be described in
more or less detail, followed by a concise story of each military
organization raised by the state. As the best authoritative work
on New York in the War of the Rebellion is that of Capt. Fred-
erick Phisterer, a liberal use of that record has been made, as
well as of all available state and national records of an official
nature; also of the war histories of other states, and such stand-
ard works as "Fox's Regimental Losses," and Townsend's "Hon-
ors of the Empire State in the War of the Rebellion."
New York was in 1860, as now, the richest and most popu-
lous State in the Union, It was, therefore, only natural that the
attitude of her people and the action of her authorities should be
watched with grave concern by the whole nation. To her ever-
lasting credit be it said, the great Empire State failed not of her
full duty toward the government in the hour of its darkest peril,
but repeatedly gave an inspiring example to the people of the
other loyal states. Though the vote of the state had been gen-
erally Democratic in previous elections, in 1860 it gave Lincoln
353,804 votes, to 303,329 for Douglas. The total Republican
vote for Lincoln and Hamlin was only 1,866,452 throughout the
nation, while the total opposition vote was 2,823,741 — a majority
of almost 1,000,000 in a total vote of a trifle over 4,500,000.
While Lincoln's plurality was small, it was nevertheless decisive,
and the result was promptly seized upon by the Southern leaders
to hasten forward a movement for secession, predetermined upon
in the event of a Republican victory. The State of South Caro-
lina led in the movement and was shortly followed by Mississippi,
Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. As these
states withdrew from the Union they seized upon the Federal
forts, arsenals, etc., within their limits.
Despite the threatening posture of affairs, the loyal people
of New York were still strong in their belief that war could be
averted, though many suspected political trickery in the con-
ciliatory overtures of the Border States. The withdrawal of the
southern men from Buchanan's cabinet made room for more
loyal supporters of the government, but the president still ad-
hered to his belief that the United States was without constitu-
tional warrant to coerce a recalcitrant State, and was so advised
by his attorney-general.
New York had chosen a legislature which was overwhelmingly
Republican in its membership, but which nevertheless displayed
a remarkable unanimity in its counsels and action as threatening
events rapidly multiplied. The legislature convened on Jan. 1,
1861, and in his message Gov. Morgan counseled moderation and
conciliation. He said: "Let New York set an example in this
respect; let her oppose no barrier, but let her representatives in
Congress give ready support to any just and honorable settle-
ment; let her stand in hostility to none, but extend the hand of
friendship to all; live up to the strict letter of the constitution,
cordially unite with the other members of the Confederacy in
proclaiming and enforcing a determination, that the constitution
shall be honored and the Union of the states be preserved." He
further proposed the repeal of the personal liberty bill — one
source of bitter complaint in the South, and also suggested the
propriety of similar action by other states. A resolution was
promptly introduced in the senate by a leading Democratic mem-
ber proclaiming the sacred nature of the Union, and asking the
executive to tender the president, in behalf of the people, the
services of the state militia as an aid in upholding the consti-
tution and enforcing the laws. On Jan. 3, Mr. Robinson in the
assembly introduced a series of resolutions to the effect that,
after the admission of Kansas, all the remaining territories should
be divided into two states, and that the disturbing question of
slavery should be eliminated for the future by submitting it to a
plebiscite of the people of the new states. These failed of pas-
sage, but received considerable support. As the gloomy winter
of 1860-61 progressed, the aspect of affairs became darker and
more and more threatening. Still the people of the North did
not lose all hope of a peaceable solution and in both state and
nation compromise measures without number were brought for-
ward in the effort to heal the widening breach. The New York
legislature reflected the general sentiment of the state in its
attitude of conciliation, but was by no means neglectful of even-
tualities and united in passing many important measures to meet
the existing situation. As was generally true in the North, the
military spirit of the state was almost dead and general apathy,
if not actual hostility, toward things military prevailed. Ade-
quate appropriation bills for the support of the militia had failed
of passage for many years past, and the condition of military un-
preparedness was almost complete. Measures to correct this
situation were taken near the end of the session of the legisla-
ture, while in the meantime bills were introduced and passed,
providing for the more complete enrollment of the militia of
the state and to prevent the sale of war materials or the loan of
money to states in rebellion. When, on Jan. 9 the batteries in
Charleston harbor fired on the merchant vessel, the "Star of the
West," flying the Stars and Stripes and engaged in carrying sup-
plies and reinforcements to Maj. Anderson at Fort Sumter, the
North was aroused, and the legislature passed the following res-
olution with only three dissenting votes: "Whereas the insurgent
State of South Carolina, after seizing the post-offices, custom-
house, moneys, and fortifications of the Federal government,
has, by firing into a vessel ordered by the government to convey
troops and provisions to Fort Sumter, virtually declared war;
and, whereas, the forts and property of the United States gov-
ernment in Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana have been unlaw-
fully seized, with hostile intentions; and whereas, their sena-
tors in congress avow and maintain their treasonable acts; there-
fore — Resolved, That the legislature of New York is profoundly
impressed with the value of the Union, and determined to pre-
serve it unimpaired; that it greets with joy the recent firm, dig-
nified, and patriotic special message of the president of the United
States, and that we tender him, through the chief magistrate of
our own state whatever aid in men and money may be required
to enable him to enforce the laws and uphold the authority of the
Federal government; and that, in the defense of the Union,
which has conferred happiness and prosperity upon the Ameri-
can people, renewing the pledge given and redeemed by our
fathers, we are ready to devote our fortunes, our lives, and our
sacred honor." Thereupon the governor at once sent the fol-
lowing despatch to President Buchanan: "In obedience to the
request of the legislature of the state, I transmit herewith a copy
of the concurrent resolutions of that body adopted this day, ten-
dering the aid of the state to the president of the United States,
to enable him to enforce the laws, and to uphold the authority
of the Federal government." The resolutions were also com-
municated to the governors of the several states and to the New
York senators in Congress. The vigorous sentiments expressed
in the resolutions met with a hostile reception in the South. In
Virginia they were construed as a definite determination by New
York to sustain the United States in an attempt to coerce a state;
in Georgia, a defiant resolution was passed approving all that
state had done, and recommending the governor to retain pos-
session of Fort Pulaski until the relations between Georgia and
the United States should be settled; other governors returned
the resolutions without comment. While these resolutions of
New York expressed the overwhelming sentiment of the people
of the state and were a credit to its patriotism, yet the lamentable
weakness of the state's military organization at the time of this
tender of troops is now a matter of record. New York had
nominally a force of 19,000 militia, but it possessed only about
8,000 muskets and rifles with which to arm this force, and the
war department was in no condition to supply the deficiency, as
Sec. Floyd had, with sinister motive, sent many thousands of
muskets from the Watervliet arsenal to Southern points. More-
over, the state was nearly as destitute of cannon as of small
arms, as it could command only 150 smooth-bore field pieces of
every caliber. To remedy this condition of affairs the legisla-
ture, in response to the governor's request as embodied in his
annual message, passed a bill during the closing days of the ses-
sion appropriating $500,000 for the purchase of arms and equip-
ments. The hostile reception accorded the foregoing resolutions
of the legislature of New York by many of the Southern States
caused a strong reaction in favor of measures of conciliation.
The public mind was genuinely alarmed and a compromise memo-
rial, bearing the signatures of many leading capitalists, was for-
warded to Washington. The memorial suggested "an agreed ex-
planation of any uncertain provisions of the constitution; a clearer
definition of the powers of the government on disputed questions
and an adaptation of it in its original spirit to the enlarged di-
mensions of the country; an assurance, coupled with any required
guarantees, of the rights of the states to regulate, without inter-
ference from any quarter, the matter of slavery within their bor-
ders ; of the rights secured by the constitution to the delivery of
fugitives and the readjustment of the laws bearing on these sub-
jects, which are in possible conflict with it; some adjustment of
the rights of all the states of the Union in the new territory ac-
quired by the blood and treasure of all, by an equitable division,
in the immediate organization of it into States, with a suitable
provision for the formation of new states in their limits." The
memorialists prayed that these measures be brought about, either
by direct legislation, or by constitutional amendment. Nor was
this all; many and earnest efforts were made to bring about an
effective and lasting compromise of the questions in dispute at
the seat of government. A comprehensive plan of compromise
had been put forward by the Border States, through their sena-
tors and representatives in Congress, and a large meeting of
merchants at the New York Chamber of Commerce almost unan-
imously adopted a memorial in favor of mutual concession and
compromise, stating that the people of the North would ap-
prove of the general outline of compromise agreed upon by the
Border States as above. This memorial was signed by 40,000
people, after a thorough canvass of the state, and was carried to
Washington by a respectable delegation. It was there placed in
the hands of Mr. Seward, the Republican leader in Congress,
who was urged to use his great influence to promote legislation
by Congress which would satisfy every just demand of the South.
To promote conciliation Mr. Seward conceded some of the chief
points of Republican policy with reference to slavery in the ter-
ritories, but all without avail. Late in January, when the with-
drawal of the southern members had given the Republicans a
majority in the senate, Kansas was admitted as a state under her
latest free constitution, while the Territories of Nevada, Colo-
rado and Dakota were organized without any reference to slav-
ery. On Feb. 4, a Peace Congress, made up of delegates from
all but the seceding states, met in Washington to propose meas-
ures of accommodation. The Congress assembled in response
to resolutions passed by the general assembly of Virginia, in-
viting all states willing to "unite with her in the earnest effort
to adjust the unhappy controversies, in the spirit in which the
constitution was originally formed and consistently with its prin-
ciples, so as to afford adequate guarantees to the slave states for
the security of their rights." These resolutions were transmitted
by Gov. Morgan to the legislature and that body hastened to
appoint the following commissioners to represent New York:
David Dudley Field, William Curtis Noyes, James S. Wads-
worth, James C. Smith, Amaziah B. James, Erastus Corning, Ad-
dison Gardiner, Greene C. Bronson, William E. Dodge, John E.
Wool, John A. King. Francis Granger was later chosen in
place of Mr. Gardiner, who declined to serve. The commission-
ers sat until March 7 and drafted a plan of compromise, which
was submitted to Congress to be embodied in formal legislation,
but was there rejected after strenuous debate. The 36th Con-
gress adjourned on March 4, having enacted but one measure
bearing directly on the burning issue of the hour. This was a
joint resolution proposing an amendment to the constitution of
the United States as follows: "No amendment shall be made to
the constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the
power to abolish, or interfere, within any state, with the domes-
tic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor
or service by the laws of said state." This amendment failed
of adoption by the states, and it is now patent to all that the pro-
tracted sessions of the Peace Congress were necessarily barren
of results.
When a meeting was called at Syracuse for Jan. 30, to denounce
the institution of slavery, it was transformed into a Union meet-
ing for the support of the constitution and government, and the
view was freely expressed that by peace only could the Union be
preserved. The Abolitionists were driven from the hall and men
of that party were generally discountenanced, lest they be taken
as representative of Northern sentiment. The disposition in New
York, and in fact in the whole North, was to do nothing to fur-
ther irritate the South.
The people of the North had been much aroused over the con-
tinual shipment of war material to the Southern States and an
acrimonious correspondence over a question of this kind took
place in February between the governors of New York and Geor-
gia. The police of New York city were alert and had seized 38
boxes of muskets about to be shipped on the steamer Monticello
to Savannah, and deposited them in the state arsenal in New York
city. Gov. Brown of Georgia, on complaint being made to him
by the consignees, citizens of Macon, Ga., made formal demand
on the mayor of the city, and on Gov. Morgan, for the immedi-
ate delivery of the arms to G. B. Lamar, named as the agent of
Georgia. There was some delay in adjusting the matter, and
Gov. Brown, on Feb. 5, ordered the seizure of five vessels, owned
in New York but then in the harbor of Savannah, by way of
reprisal. Three days later they were released, but reprisals were
again ordered on the 21st, when other shipping from New York
was seized at Savannah, to be held pending the delivery of the
invoice. Gov. Brown made renewed demands on Gov. Morgan
for the arms and the New York executive replied: "I have no
power whatever over the officer who made the seizure, and had
no more knowledge of the fact, nor have I any more connection
with the transaction, than any other citizen of this state; but I
do not hesitate to say that the arms will be delivered whenever
application shall be made for them. Should such not be the case,
however, redress is to be sought, not in an appeal to the execu-
tive authority of New York to exercise a merely arbitrary power,
but in due form of law, through the regularly constituted tribunals
of justice of the state or of the United States, as the parties ag-
grieved may elect. It is but proper here to say, that the courts
are at all times open to suitors, and no complaint has reached
me of the inability or unwillingness of judicial officers to render
exact justice to all. If, however, the fact be otherwise, what-
ever authority the constitution and laws vest in me, for com-
pelling a performance of their duty, will be promptly exercised.
In conclusion permit me to say that, while differing widely with
your excellency as to the right or policy of your acts and of the
views expressed in your several communications, I have the honor
to be * * * etc." The matter was finally adjusted by the
delivery of the arms on March 16 to the agent of Georgia.
Throughout the period of the war, New York was represented
by many able men in the 37th and 38th Congresses. A number
of the members of the lower house served in the volunteer or-
ganizations of the state and many were active in the work of
recruiting volunteers. In the senate Ira Harris succeeded Sew-
ard when the latter entered the cabinet; his colleague until March,
1863, was the Hon. Preston King, who had taken a leading part
in the great constitutional debates in the months preceding the
war. The latter was succeeded by Ex-Gov. Edwin D. Morgan,
who had so ably served the state and nation during the first two
years of the rebellion as the war governor of New York.
Despite the grave aspect of affairs, the act which precipitated
actual war came with unexpected suddenness. The new admin-
istration at Washington had been in power for five weeks and
had made no movement to coerce any one of the recalcitrant
states. Early in April an expedition was fitted out in New York
to succor Fort Sumter, whose supplies were nearly exhausted.
The response to that expedition was the thunder of those guns
from Charleston harbor, in the early dawn of April 12, 1861,
which roused the whole North, and precipitated the bloodiest
war of history. Maj. Anderson and his brave little garrison
maintained the unequal contest for nearly 36 hours, when they
surrendered and the Palmetto flag of South Carolina displaced
the Stars and Stripes on the battered walls of the fortress. The
news of the surrender reached New York on Sunday morning,
the 14th, and aroused the most intense feeling everywhere. The
authorities of the state at once instituted vigorous measures to
meet the emergency. The legislature promptly passed a bill
providing for the enrollment of 30,000 volunteer militia for two
years and appropriated $3,000,000 to meet the expense. The
work of raising and organizing these troops was entrusted to a
military board consisting of the governor, lieutenant-governor,
secretary of state, comptroller, attorney-general, state engineer
and surveyor, and state treasurer. On the 15th came President
Lincoln's proclamation calling for 75,000 militia to serve for three
months. The quota assigned to New York was seventeen regi-
ments of 780 men each, or 13,280 men. The National Guard of
the state responded to the call to arms with the utmost enthusiasm
and were only animated by a rivalry as to which organization
could first secure marching orders. And indeed there was urgent
need of haste. Gov. Morgan had been advised by the war de-
partment that the men were wanted for immediate service and
that some of the troops were at once needed at the capital. In
the hope of capturing Washington, the enemy had severed all
communication by telegraph and railroad between that city and
the North, and were even attempting to prevent all supplies from
reaching that city from the surrounding country. On the 16th
Gov. Morgan issued orders for all the available organized mili-
tia to march. As no communication with the capital was possi-
ble, practically every arrangement for transportating and sup-
plying the troops was left to the state authorities. The military
departments of the state went to work with a will and the legis-
lature remained in session to meet the emergency. In addition
to the work of organizing the seventeen regiments, all the organ-
ized militia must be prepared to take the field. Recruiting de-
pots were established at New York, Albany and Elmira, with
branch depots at Syracuse and Troy. The patriotism of the peo-
ple throughout the state knew no bounds; political differences
were forgotten; the national emblem was everywhere to be seen;
the press voiced the loyalty of the people, and an industrious and
peaceful commonwealth was suddenly transformed into a vast
military camp. The state authorities were overwhelmed with
applications for permission to raise troops. April 18 Gov. Mor-
gan called for volunteers for the seventeen regiments under the
president's call, and a week later called for volunteers for twenty-
one additional regiments, all to be organized for two years' serv-
ice, thus completing the total force provided for by the recent
act of the legislature.
The merchants of New York city were especially prompt in
rallying to the support of the government. At a large meeting
held on the 19th, they enthusiastically voted to sustain the au-
thorities, and raised over $20,000 within ten minutes to assist in
moving to Washington some of the regiments then organizing.
The following day the largest meeting ever held on this conti-
nent assembled at Union Square, and over 200,000 citizens, with-
out distinction of party or nationality, pledged themselves to sup-
port their common government with their fortunes and their
lives. The sentiments of the nation's great metropolis here were
voiced in no uncertain tones and were echoed in numerous other
meetings elsewhere. The surging masses of people were ad-
dressed by J. A. Dix, Buchanan's secretary of the treasury, D. S.
Dickinson, Senator Baker of Oregon, Robert J. Walker, Mayor
Wood, Ex-Gov. Hunt, James T. Brady, John Cochrane, Hiram
Ketchum, D. S. Coddington, and a number of prominent Ger-
man and Irish citizens and the Union Defense Committee was
formed, composed of the leading men of the city. In every city,
town and village of the state similar meetings voiced the prevail-
ing patriotism, and devised ways and means of raising troops to
meet the country's call.

The news that the state's most famous militia regiment, the
7th, would leave for Washington on the 19th, created great ex-
citement. The regiment was to form in Lafayette Place and from
early morning the streets were filled with an expectant throng,
while from every vantage point floated the national emblem.
Before the arrival of the regiment, the waiting people were en-
livened by the march through their midst of the 8th Mass., ac-
companied by Gen. B. F. Butler, who had been placed in com-
mand of the first four regiments of Massachusetts troops. Soon
after the 7th regiment had formed in Lafayette Place in the
afternoon, the great crowds were wrought up to a high pitch
of excitement by the news of the attack upon the 6th Mass. in
the streets of Baltimore. To each man of the 7th was served out
48 rounds of ball cartridge, but when the regiment, commanded
by Col. M. Lefferts, reached Philadelphia it received orders to
deviate from the route through Baltimore, as it was highly im-
portant that the troops should reach the capital with the least
possible delay. Consequently, a steamer was chartered at Phila-
delphia for Annapolis, and the regiment arrived at Washington
on the 26th in company with the 8th Mass., after a toilsome
march from Annapolis. The 7th was but the vanguard of other
New York militia regiments soon to follow. The prompt arrival
of these troops, together with the money and provisions supplied
by New York, was of the first importance in relieving the situa-
tion at Washington and brought forth the statement from Presi-
dent Lincoln and Gen. Scott to the New York Union Defense
Committee, that "The safety of the national capital and the pres-
ervation of the archives of the government, at a moment when
both were seriously menaced, may fairly be attributed to the
prompt and efficient action of the state and city of New York."
Other regiments of the organized militia were rapidly prepared
to leave for Washington. The 6th, 12th and 71st departed on
the 21st; the 25th left on the 22nd; on the next day the 13th de-
parted from Brooklyn, and the 8th and 69th from New York city;
the 5th left on the 27th; the 20th on the 28th; the Ellsworth
Fire Zouaves, one of the first two years' regiments organized, lat-
er known as the nth, left on the 29th; the 28th on the 30th, and
still other militia regiments were about to go forward when the
state authorities received information from the war department
that no more three months' regiments would be accepted. There-
upon four companies of the 74th, of Buffalo, promptly volun-
teered for three years and became the nucleus of the 21st infantry,
then organizing at Elmira.
As has been previously stated, the state was almost entirely de-
pendent on its own resources for the means of raising, equipping
and moving its troops and all classes of people and all nationali-
ties vied with one another in the work. On April 23, the Union
Defense Committee opened its offices at 30 Pine street with Gen.
John A. Dix, president; Simeon Draper, vice-president; and J.
Depau, treasurer, most of the other committees being merged into
it. The readiness with which vast sums of money were sub-
scribed by all classes is a striking evidence of the prevailing patri-
otism. At a large meeting of the Bench and Bar of New York
city on the 22nd, many thousands of dollars were subscribed; on
the same day the common council appropriated $1,000,000 and
placed it at the disposal of the Union Defense Committee. Dis-
tinctive regiments of British, German, Irish, Scotch and French
were being organized by those nationalities and large sums were
subscribed for their equipment and transportation, and for the
support of their families at home. While money and men were
thus forthcoming there was a serious dearth of firearms. On
April 24, an agent of the state left for Europe armed with a let-
ter of credit for $500,000 with which to purchase 25,000 stands
of the latest improved arms and a supply of ammunition. On
his arrival in England he found that the British markets were
crowded with other orders from this country and from Spain.
He was able, however, to purchase 19,000 Enfield rifles at a cost
of $335,000, which were duly landed in New York.
Under the call of May 3, 1861, for 42,000 men for three years,
committees and individuals were authorized by the war depart-
ment to recruit regiments while the state was engaged in raising
the thirty-eight two years' regiments. Under this authority,
chiefly through the efforts of the Union Defense Committee,
there were organized the Garibaldi guard, the Mozart regiment,
the De Kalb regiment, the Tammany Jackson guard, the 2nd,
9th, 14th and 79th regiments of militia. Ultimately the thirty-
eight regiments of state volunteers were also mustered into the
U. S. service for two years and during July, at the request of
the government for some cavalry, the state furnished two com-
panies from the 1st and 3d regiments of cavalry (militia), who
served for three months. By the middle of July there had been
organized and left the state 8,534 men for three months' service;
30,131 two years' volunteers and 7,557 three years' volunteers —
a total of 46,224 officers and men. Many more men could easily
have been supplied, as thousands were still eager to enlist, but
the Federal government refused to accept any more men and all
recruiting was temporarily suspended.
The disastrous battle of Bull Run demonstrated that the war
was to be a long one, and in July Congress authorized the presi-
dent to accept the services of volunteers for three years in such
numbers, not to exceed 1,000,000, as he might deem necessary.
The legislature was not in session and Gov. Morgan, on his own
authority, at the request of the president, called for 25,000 vol-
unteers to be organized into twenty-five regiments of infantry;
also for two additional regiments of cavalry, and two of artillery.
The first offer of colored troops was also made at this time, three
regiments being tendered, but as authority to enroll negroes was
then lacking, the governor was forced to decline the tender. The
recruiting depots at New York city, Elmira and Albany were
again opened, numerous branch depots were established, and once
more the military department of the state was deluged with of-
fers to recruit companies, so that the work of raising the new
levy proceeded with despatch. Hitherto the state had borne most
of the expense, but now the Federal government was to supply
the money necessary to raise and equip the new troops, the of-
ficers detailed from the regular army to muster in the men, being
made disbursing officers. During the month of August the three
months' troops returned to the state and were received with
every mark of enthusiasm. While these men served only a short
term, it should be remembered that they performed the arduous
pioneer work and that they enlisted from motives of the purest
patriotism at the first call of their country, without thought of
personal benefit or pecuniary reward. Moreover, they served as a
splendid training school for many future officers and soldiers
and a large proportion of them reenlisted for a longer term of
service in other organizations. When Col. Lefferts of the 7th
begged that his regiment might be allowed to continue in the
service after the expiration of its term, Gen. Scott said, "Colonel,
yours in a regiment of officers." From the ranks of this regi-
ment were subsequently taken 603 officers for the volunteer army.
It was the "West Point of the New York volunteer service." In
addition to the work of recruiting new regiments, the war de-
partment in August authorized recruiting details for regiments in
the field, and it is estimated that about 11,000 men were secured
for this purpose by the end of the year. To prevent delays and
interference Gov. Morgan was appointed a major-general of
U. S. volunteers in charge of the military department of New
York. All persons who had received authority to recruit and
organize were ordered to report to him for orders and to com-
plete their several organizations subject to his approval. Late
in the fall orders were received from Washington to cease all
further recruiting. By the end of the year there had been organ-
ized and sent to the front, in addition to the troops previously
mentioned, forty-two regiments of infantry, ten regiments of
cavalry, one battalion of mounted rifles, nine batteries of artil-
lery, and four companies of Berdan sharpshooters, and in addi-
tion, regiments left in the state, complete and incomplete, num-
bered 14,283 men — a total of 75,339 men. Since the beginning
of the war the state had furnished upwards of 107,000 volun-
teers, this levy constituting about every sixth able-bodied man.
Besides this great drain on the able-bodied male population, New-
York capital had practically financed the war to date by advanc-
ing $210,000,000 out of the $260,000,000 borrowed by the secre-
tary of the treasury.
The State of New York continued its tremendous exertions in
support of the Federal government and continued to supply both
men and money with a lavish hand. The record of troops fur-
nished for the year 1862 or up to the close of Gov. Morgan's
administration, is as follows: twelve regiments of infantry (mili-
tia), for three months, 8,588 men; one regiment of volunteer in-
fantry, for nine months, 830 men; volunteers for three years, one
regiment of cavalry, 1,461 men; two regiments, four battalions,
and fourteen batteries of artillery, 5,708 men, and eighty-five
regiments of infantry, 78,216 men; estimated number of recruits
for regiments in the field, 20,000; incomplete organizations still in
the state, 2,000 men; total for 1862, 116,803; total since the be-
ginning of the war, 224,081. To obtain the full number of men
furnished by the state, there should be added to the above, 5,679
men enlisted in the regular army, and 24,734 in the U. S. navy
and marine, making the total number furnished, 254,494.
Among the important measures passed by the legislature which
met early in Jan., 1862, were bills authorizing counties, cities,
towns and villages to make appropriations for the purposes of
raising troops and the relief of their families; legalizing their
previous ordinances and acts for such purposes; providing for
the pay of volunteers still in the state and for the payment to
the families of soldiers of such sums as might be assigned from
their pay; providing for the payment of the direct tax levied by
the general government; for expenses incurred in raising troops,
and reimbursing the militia regiments for losses sustained while
in the service of the United States; a general law for the more
complete enrollment of the militia, and for the organization of
the National Guard, as the militia was now designated; thanking
the volunteers for recent victories achieved by the Union forces;
and finally, incorporating the Union home and school, under the
management of the patriotic women of the state, where the chil-
dren of volunteers could be cared for and educated.
On Jan. 1, 1862, the Federal authorities placed the recruiting
service in the state, for regiments in the field, in charge of a
general superintendent and assumed charge of the general depots
at Elmira and Albany, Maj. John T. Sprague, of the regular army,
being detailed for this purpose. The recruiting service for old
organizations was discontinued on April 3, and was not again re-
sumed until June 6, though the state authorities continued the
work. On Jan. 25, Col. George Bliss displaced Gen. Yates in
charge of the recruiting depot at New York city. The authorities
were busied until the end of April in completing the organizations
of troops left in the state at the end of 1861 and then turned over
to the general government a total of 19,003 men. They were fur-
ther occupied during this period in putting the defenses of New
York harbor in a better condition, as this matter had been a source
of worry for many months past. Provision was also made to care
for the increasing number of sick and wounded soldiers from
the front; ample hospital accommodations were provided in and
around New York city and at Albany; competent surgeons were
also sent to the front to assist in the work of transporting to the
state the sick and wounded. On May 21 the general government
asked for more three years' volunteers and the recruiting depots
at New York city, Elmira and Albany were again opened. A
few days later, after the serious reverse of Gen. Banks at Win-
chester at the hands of Gens. Ewell, Johnson and Stonewall
Jackson, when it was feared that an invasion of Pennsylvania
and the North was contemplated by the enemy, and when the
national capital was again endangered, Gov. Morgan was asked
to immediately forward regiments of the National Guard. The
response was prompt and patriotic and by June 4 twelve regi-
ments, numbering 8,558 men had left for the point of danger,
entering the U. S. service for three months. The advance of the
Confederate column having been checked by Gens. McDowell and
Fremont and the danger averted, no more regiments were des-
patched, though others were preparing to follow when their
marching orders were revoked. The secretary of war expressed
his lively appreciation of the alacrity with which the state re-
sponded to the call for its citizen soldiery during the crisis.
Toward the end of June, Gov. Morgan joined with the governors
of the other loyal states in an address to the president, urging
him to call upon the states for such additional troops, as were in
his judgment necessary to sustain the government and to speedily
crush the existing rebellion. The response of the president was
his call of July 2, 1862, for 300,000 more volunteers to serve
three years, the quota of New York being fixed at 59,705 men.
In his proclamation calling upon the people to give a loyal re-
sponse to this call, the governor voiced his belief that the "insur-
rection is in its death throes; that a mighty blow will end its
monstrous existence." He went on to say: "A languishing war
entails vast losses of life, of property, the ruin of business pur-
suits, and invites the interference of foreign powers. Present
happiness and future greatness will be secured by responding to
the present call. Let the answer go back to the president and to
our brave soldiers in the field, that in New York the patriotic list
of the country's defenders is augmented. It will strengthen the
hands of the one, and give hope and encouragement to the
other." Regimental camps were promptly formed and about 3,000
authorizations to recruit companies were given. To further stim-
ulate enlistments, the governor on his own responsibility offered
a bounty of $50 to each private soldier who volunteered, in ad-
dition to the bounty paid by the United States. This bounty was
discontinued at the end of September, and by Oct. 2 the gov-
ernor was able to announce that the quota had not only been filled,
but that there was a surplus of 29,000 men to the credit of the
On the return of the militia regiments called out in May, Gov.
Morgan warmly thanked them for their services. On Sept. 24,.
at a meeting of the loyal governors at Altoona, Pa., attended by
Gov. Morgan, the government was pledged the continued loyal
support of the state; it was recommended that a reserve army
of 100,000 men be created, and that the slaves be emancipated.
Under the call of Aug. 4, 1862, for 300,000 militia for nine
months' service, the state's quota was again 59,705 men. The or-
ganized militia of the state was limited to 20,000 men, of whom
some 8,000 were already in the field. Hence it was deemed nec-
essary to resort to a draft of the reserve militia. Delays ensued,
and finally the draft was altogether suspended. The result was
really beneficial, inasmuch as the number of three years' volun-
teers was thereby increased, the surplus of three years' men, each
of whom counted for four nine months' men in satisfying the
quota, giving the state an actual surplus to its credit, and the
country acquired a soldier of more value. One regiment of the
National Guard, the loth, volunteered for nine months and was
accepted, going into service as the 177th regiment of volunteer
In Dec, 1862, the governor established a bureau of military
statistics in the office of the adjutant-general. It received an ap-
propriation from the legislature in 1863 and the following year
was made an independent bureau. Its objects were declared to
be: "To collect and preserve in permanent form an authentic
sketch of every person from this state who has entered the service
of the general government since April 15, 1861; a record of the
services of the several regiments, including an account of their
organization and subsequent history; an account of the aid af-
forded by the several towns, cities and counties of the state."
In 1865, its name was changed to that of "Bureau of Military
Record." Hundreds of battleflags and many interesting war
relics have been deposited with the bureau, which was discon-
tinued as an independent office, and reincorporated with the ad-
jutant-general's office in 1868.
During the fall of 1862, the state elections resulted in the
choice of Horatio Seymour, the Democratic candidate, as gov-
ernor, over his Republican opponent, Gen. James S. Wadsworth,
by a small majority. The legislature elected at the same time
contained 23 Republicans and 9 Democrats in the senate, and 64
Republicans and 64 Democrats in the assembly. The change in
administration brought about no diminution in the state's sup-
port of the general government. Gov. Seymour was inaugurated
Jan. 1, 1863, and after complimenting his predecessor. Gov. Mor-
gan said: "In your presence I have solemnly sworn to support
the constitution of the United States, with all its grants, restric-
tions, and guarantees, and I shall support it. I have also sworn
to support another constitution — the constitution of the State of
New York — with all its powers and rights. I shall uphold it.
* * * These constitutions do not conflict; the line of separa-
tion between the responsibilities and obligations which each im-
poses is well defined. They do not embarrass us in the perform-
ance of our duties as citizens or officials." He further expressed
the hope that, before the end of two years, the nation would be
again united and at peace. The new legislature met on Jan. 6,
and in his message to that body the governor said: "While our
soldiers are imperiling their lives to uphold the constitution and
restore the Union, we owe it to them, who have shown an endur-
ance and patriotism unsurpassed in the history of the world,
that we emulate their devotion in our field of duty." Among the
important measures passed by the legislature at this session were
acts legalizing the ordinances and acts of cities, towns, villages
and counties in aid of recruiting and to assist the families of
volunteers; giving them authority to pass similar measures in the
future; confirming the action of Gov. Morgan in offering a
bounty in July, 1862, and making the necessary appropriation to
carry out his contract; providing a bounty of $150 for each mem-
ber of the two years' regiments, who reenlisted for another two
years or more, and a bounty of $75 for each volunteer who had
enlisted since Nov. 1, 1862, or would hereafter enlist, for three
years ; incorporating the "Soldiers' Home;" giving the governor
authority to appoint agents charged with the duty of transport-
ing and caring for the sick, wounded, and dead soldiers of the
state, and appropriating $200,000 for the purpose. The Soldiers'
Home was designed "to provide a home and maintenance for
officers and soldiers who have served, are now serving, or may
hereafter serve, in the volunteer forces raised or furnished by,
or from, the State of New York, who by reason of wounds or
other disabilities received, or produced, in the service of the
United States, or of the State of New York, shall be unable to
support themselves, and all who, having been honorably dis-
charged, shall be decrepit or homeless in their old age." Its 
model was the Home of the regular army at Washington, and the
present Soldiers' Home is the outgrowth. Under the last named
act the governor appointed agents, who not only furnished much
needed relief to the sick, wounded, furloughed and discharged
soldiers of the state, and aided their return to the state, but aided
the friends and relatives of dead soldiers in securing their bodies
and served as an exceedingly useful bureau of information to
all who sought information concerning the men in the service.
It also assisted discharged soldiers in obtaining their arrearages
of pay and bounty. A principal agency, known as the Soldiers'
Depot, was established in New York city, where suitable quarters
were provided, both for New York volunteers and for those of
other states passing through the city. Over 110,000 volunteers
received aid and comfort at this main agency, which did not
close its doors until March 25, 1866. On April 27, an appropria-
tion of $1,000,000 was made to put the harbor of New York and
the state's frontiers in a better condition of defense.

See also
Source: The Union Army, vol. 2


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