When the President of the United States, in April, 1861, issued his call for seventy-five thousand militia, to serve for three months, to aid in enforcing the laws, and suppressing the insurrection, which then gave but faint indications of its subsequent extent and proportions, the State of Vermont was destitute of a militia law of any practical value, was nearly destitute of an organized militia, and the officers of the State were entirely without experience in the raising, organizing, arming and equipping of troops for service.
By the act of October 30, 1844, all acts and parts of acts requiring the enrolled militia to do military duty, except in case of insurrection, war, invasion, or to prevent invasion, to enforce the laws, or suppress riots, were repealed. an attempt was made, by the same statute, to preserve and provide for the organization of an active militia, to a limited extent; but the attempt proved unavailing, and the several companies of the uniform militia, then existing, were from time time (sic) disbanded, or practically ceased to exist; so that, in the year 1855, there was not in the State, and had not been for ten years, even the semblance of a military organization.
Between the years 1855 and 1861 an attempt was made, in different parts of the State, to revive the militia, and in April, 1861, there were upon the Roster of this Office the names of twenty-two organized uniform companies. Several of the companies were unprovided with arms, and all were deficient in numbers. The enrolment of the militia, required by statue, had been defectively performed, from many towns no returns had been made, and neither records nor files existed, from which the number of able bodied men in the State, liable to do military duty, could be determined with even an approximation to correctness.
In this condition of the militia, and of the militia law, the officers of the State were required to raise, organize, arm, equip, and send into the service of the United States, the quota of troops called for from Vermont.
As no report has been published of the military operations in the State during the years 1861, it becomes necessary, that I should recapitulate briefly what troops were raised in the State during that year, and their condition at the commencement of the present year, as a preliminary to a full and perfect report of the military operations in the State during the year now closing.
The FIRST REGIMENT was organized from the companies of uniform militia existing in the State, as follows:
Co. A. Green Mt. Guards, Swanton, Capt. Lawrence D. Clark " B. Woodstock Lt. Infantry, Woodstock " William W. Pelton " C. Ransom Guards, St. Albans " Chas. G. Chandler " D. Bradford Guards, Bradford, " Dudley K. Andros " E. Cavendish light Infantry, Cavendish, " Oscar S. Tuttle " F. New England Guards, Northfield, " Wm. H. Boynton " G. Allen Greys, Brandon, " Joseph Bush " H. Howard Guards, Burlington, " David B. Peck " I. Union Guard, Middlebury, " Eben S. Hayward " K. Rutland Light Guard, Rutland, " Wm. Y. W. Ripley
The regiment rendezvoused at Rutland, May 2, 1861, and was mustered into the service of the United States, May 9, 1861, with 782 officers and men, under command of COlonel John W. Phelps. On the 9th of May the regiment left the State, and its first encampment was made at Fortress Monroe, May 13th. On the 27th of May, the regiment encamped at Newport News, Va., and remained there until August 5th. On the 10th of June, companies B. D. F. H. and K., under the command of the Lieutenant Colonel, were engaged i the battle at Great Bethel. August 5th the regiment left Newport News, and went into camp at Brattleboro, Vt., August 8th, and was mustered out of service August 15th. Colonel Phelps took command of the Post, at Newport News, May 27th, and was afterwards appointed Brigadier General, and did not return with the regiment.
Most of the officers and men of this regiment have since enlisted in other regiments from this State, a large number receiving commissions, and have done excellent service in the cause in which they are engaged.
The SECOND REGIMENT was raised in the State at large, by enlistment, and was the first of the three years' regiments. It rendezvoused at Burlington, and was mustered into the service of the United States on the 20th of June, with 868 officers and men, under command of Col. Henry Whiting, and left the States on the 24th of June. This regiment was engaged in the battle of Bull Run, July 21st, 1861. Recruits, to the number of 37, were afterwards added to the regiment previous to November 1, 1861.
The THIRD REGIMENT rendezvoused at St. Johnsbury, and was mustered into the United States' service on the 15th of July, 1861, with 882 officers and men, commanded by Lieut. Col. Breen N. Hyde, and subsequently by Colonel William F. Smith. The regiment left the State July 24, 1861. Col. Smith soon afterwards received the appointment of Brigadier General, and Lieut. Col. Hyde was commissioned as Colonel. Sixty two recruits were afterwards added to the regiment, previous to November 1, 1861.
The FOURTH REGIMENT rendezvoused at Brattleboro', and was mustered into the United States's service on the 21st of September, 1861, with 1042 officers and men, commanded by Col. Edwin H. Stoughton. The regiment was afterwards increased by enlistment to 1046. It left the States September 21st.
The FIFTH REGIMENT rendezvoused at St. Albans, and was mustered into the service of the United States on the 16th of September, 1861, with 1006 officers and men, under command of Colonel Henry A. smalley, and left the State September 23d. Thirty recruits were added to the regiment previous to november 1, 1861.
The SIXTH REGIMENT rendezvoused at Montpelier, and was mustered into the service of the United States on the 15th of October, 1861, with 971 officers and men, under command of Colonel Nathan Lord, Jr. The regiment was afterwards increased to 980 officers and men. It left the State about the 20th of October.
The FIRST REGIMENT OF CAVALRY was in camp at Burlington on the first day of November, 1861, and was afterwards, on the 19th of November, mustered into the United States' service, with 966 officers and men, commanded by Colonel Lemuel B. Platt, and left the State December 14th.
The FIRST COMPANY OF SHARP SHOOTERS rendezvoused at West Randolph, and left the State on the 4th of September, 1861, with 104 officers and men, under command of Captain Edmund Weston, Jr., and was mustered into the service of the United States at Washington, October 31, 1861. The company was attached, as Company F, to the First Regiment of Berdan's U. S. Sharp Shooters; and Capt. William Y. W. Ripley,of Rutland, was appointed Lieutenant Colonel of the Regiment, and was commissioned by the Governor of this State.
The SECOND COMPANY OF SHARP SHOOTERS was in rendezvous at West Randolph on the first day of November, 1861, and was mustered into the United States' service on the 9th of November, with ninety-one officers and men, under command of Capt. Homer R. Stoughton. This company was attached, as Company E, to the Second Regiment of U. S. Sharp Shooters.
Of troops raised in Vermont, for service in the Army of the
United States, previous to November 1, 1861.
Regiments. No. for 3 mo's. No. for 3 y'rs. 1st 782 2d 1105 3d 944 4th 1046 5th 1036 6th 980 1st Cavalry, 966 1st S. Shooters, 104 2d " 91 Total 782 6272