On the 13th day of August, General Order No. 13, (Appendix B,) was issued, providing for the enlistment and acceptance of such of the enrolled militia, as should voluntarily offer themselves, by companies. The labor of raising these companies was performed by the selectmen and patriotic citizens of the several towns, with great energy and success.
Thirty companies were enlisted, organized and accepted, under this order, as follows:
The Montpelier Company, from Montpelier, Waterbury, Barre, Berlin, Middlesex and other towns, and rendezvoused at Montpelier; organized September 25th.
The Moretown Company, from Waitsfield, Warren, Fayston, Duxbury, Moretown and Middlesex, and rendezvoused at Moretown; organized September 25.
The Bethel Company, from Bethel, Stockbridge, Rochester, Royalton and Pittsfield, and rendezvoused at Bethel; organized August 26th.
The Bennington Company, from Bennington, Pownal and Woodford, and rendezvoused at Bennington; organized August 27th.
The Wallingford Company, from Danby, Pawlet, Middletown, Clarendon, Wallingford, Shrewsbury, Tinmouth, and other towns, and rendezvoused at Wallingford; organized August 27th.
The Brattleboro' Company, from Brattleboro', Marlboro, Putney, Dummerston, Guilford and Westminster, and rendezvoused at Brattleboro'; organized August 28th.
The Manchester Company, from Manchester, Rupert, Winhall, Sunderland, Arlington and Dorset, and rendezvoused at Manchester; organized August 28th.
The St. Johnsbury Company, from St. Johnsbury, Waterford, Barnet, Kirby, Concord and Ryegate, and rendezvoused at St. Johnsbury; organized August 28th.
The East Montpelier Company, raised in East Montpelier, Berlin, Calais, Marshfield, Worcester, Plainfield and Orange, and rendezvoused at East Montpelier; organized Aug. 29th.
The Ludlow company, from Ludlow, Plymouth, Andover, Weston, Landgrove, Cavendish, and other towns, and rendezvoused at Ludlow; organized August 29th.
The Shoreham Company, from Shoreham, Cornwall, Bridport, Benson, Orwell, and other towns, and rendezvoused at Shoreham; organized August 29th.
The Townshend Company, from Wardsboro, Londonderry, Windham, Grafton, Townshend and Jamaica, and rendezvoused at Townshend; organized August 29th.
The Middlebury Company, from Middlebury, Salisbury, Addison, Cornwall, Whiting, Shoreham, Weybridge, Ripton, and other towns, and rendezvoused at Middlebury; organized August 30th.
The West Fairlee Company, from Vershire, Thetford, Stafford, West Fairlee and Washington, and rendezvoused at West Fairlee; organized August 30th.
The Springfield Company, from Springfield, Chester, Weathersfield and Reading, and rendezvoused at Springfield; organized Sept. 1st.
The Barton Company, from Barton, Irasburgh, Sutton, Albany, Craftsbury, Greensboro, Brownington, Westmore and Glover, and rendezvoused at Barton; organized September 3d.
The Castleton Company, from Castleton, Hubbardton, Fairhaven, Poultney and West Haven, and rendezvoused at Castleton; organized September 3d.
The Wilmington company, from Wilmington, Whitingham, Dover, Searsburg and Halifax, and rendezvoused at Wilmington; organized September 3d.
The Barnard Company, from Barnard, Pomfret, Sharon, Bridgewater and Hartford, and rendezvoused at Barnard; organized September 4th.
The Colchester Company, from Colchester, milton and other towns, and rendezvoused at Colchester; organized September 6th.
The Bristol Company, from Bristol, Starksboro, Monkton, New Haven, Hinesburgh, and other towns, and rendezvoused at Bristol; organized September 8th.
The Danville Company, from Danville, Hardwick and Walden, and rendezvoused at Danville; organized September 8th.
The Morristown Company, from Morristown, Stowe, Cambridge, Eden, Wolcott, Johnson and Westford, and rendezvoused at Morristown; organized September 8th.
The Richmond Company, from Jericho, Underhill, Essex, St. George, Bolton, Williston, Huntington, Richmond and Starksboro, and rendezvoused at Richmond; organized September 10th.
The Rutland Company, from Rutland, Sherburne, Mendon, Chittenden, Pittsfield, Mount Holly, Ira and other towns, and rendezvoused at Rutland; organized September 10th.
The West Randolph Company, from Northfield, Brookfield and Randolph, and rendezvoused at West Randolph; organized September 10th.
The Highgate Company, from Swanton, Highgate, Franklin, Grand Isle, Alburgh, North Hero, South Hero, and other towns, and rendezvoused at Highgate; organized September 11th.
The Bakersfield Company, from Berkshire, Bakersfield, Enosburgh, Richford, Montgomery, and other towns, and rendezvoused at Bakersfield; organized September 15th.
The Chester Company, from Springfield, Baltimore, Weathersfield, Grafton, Cavendish, Norwich and Chester, and rendezvoused at Chester; organized September 15th.
The Wait's River Company, from Barre, Orange, Topsham, Newbury, Groton, Corinth, Washington, Bradford, and other towns, and rendezvoused at Wait's River; organized September 15th.
As a necessary result from the assignment of quotas to towns, the subject of the credits, to which towns were entitled, became important. On the 14th of August, the Secretary of War directed, that in filling all requisitions for militia, the quotas of the several states should be so apportioned upon the several counties and subdivisions of counties, as to make allowance for all volunteers, theretofore furnished and mustered into the United States' service. It therefore became necessary, before assessing the quotas of the several towns, to determine, with as much accuracy as possible, how many volunteers had been actually furnished by each town in the State. And this, from the defective returns of enlistments, made during the year 1861, and the entirely unreliable character of the returns of the volunteers, made by the listers in April, 1862, presented a subject of great difficulty and complication.
For the purpose of obtaining as accurate town lists as possible, General Order No. 14, (Appendix B,) was issued August 15th, directing the listers to make new returns of the names of volunteers from their respective towns previous to May 1, 1862; and blanks were furnished for that purpose. These lists were made and returned within the time directed; but, upon verifying the lists by the Roster, it was still found, that serious difficulties were encountered, in determining the true residences of men at the time of their enlistment,-the residences of many men being claimed by two difference towns, and of some men by three towns. The whole number of men, in respect to whom controversy thus arose, was 861.
There was neither time, nor authority, for hearing and determining these controverted cases, and it became obvious, that some general rule must be adopted, which would do, as nearly as possible, equal justice to all, and would yet leave the question open for future adjustment, when any mode of adjustment should be provided by law. The rule, prescribed by the Governor, was in these words:
When two towns claim the same man, credit him to the town, from which he pretended to enlist, if ascertainable. When a town, by large bounties, has drawn men into it to enlist, that town should have credit agreeably to actual statement of residence in enlisting papers. Credit each town with each and every man it has sent into the service for three years, and who was mustered into the United States' service, whether the man is now in service or not.
Guided by this rule, the list of volunteers, furnished by each town, was carefully compared with the Roster, and such deductions were made as the rule required.
The enrolments of the militia were returned into this office, by the listers of the several towns, on the 25th of August, and the work of examining them, for the purpose of ascertaining the number of able-bodied men in each town liable to do military duty, and computing the quota of nine months' men due from each town, was at once commenced, and prosecuted with the utmost rapidity possible.
So many different forms and principles were adopted by the listers of the different towns, for making their returns, -- some including, in proper form, every able-bodied resident of their town, whether in the United States' service, or not, -- some including those enlisted previous to May 1, 1862, and omitting those enlisted subsequently, -- some including those enlisted subsequent to May 1st, and omitting those enlisted previously, -- some including all the residents in town, between the required ages, and noting their disability, if any were claimed, or existed, -- some noting every exemption properly, and some trusting to dots and marks, -- that errors unavoidably occurred in the original computation, as stated in General Order No. 20, as first published. But these were subsequently corrected, so far as ascertained, and whenever they were of any serious character, due notice was given to the town affected. Most of them were of minor importance.
In determining the whole number to be assessed upon the enrolled militia of the State, it became necessary to add to the quota of the State the sum of the credits, to which towns, which had furnished as excess of volunteers for three years, above their due proportion, were entitled, and then deduct from the quota of each town, thus obtained, the credit, if any, to which such town was entitled. This was rendered necessary by the fact, that no credit was given to the State towards its quota of militia -- that matter having been sufficiently adjusted in the number furnished under the second call; -- and by the order of the Secretary of War, credits only were to be given to towns, but deficiencies were not to be charged.
If a different course had been adopted, instead of obtaining 4898 men, only 3844 would have been obtained for service. The sum of these credits was 1054, which, added to 4868, gave 5852, as the number to be apportioned. This required one from every five of the enrolled militia, -- which amounted to 29,501 men, -- and that was taken as the ratio of apportionment.
On the 23d of August, in anticipation that the draft, if necessary, would be made on the third of September, General Order No. 17, (Appendix B,) was issued, providing for the draft on that day, and for the acceptance of volunteers from the enrolled militia enlisting individually.
But the labor of examining the returns of the enrolment and the lists of volunteers was so great, that it was found impossible to prepare drafting orders in season for that day. And the earnest anxiety of the people of the State to avoid a draft was so evident, and such assurance had been received, that it was believed, that a short delay would enable them to accomplish that purpose. Accordingly General Order No. 19, (Appendix B,) was issued September 1st, postponing the draft to September 10th.
On the ninth day of September, thirty-eight companies, containing about 3800 men, had been offered and accepted, -- including the companies of the Uniform Militia. This left about 1200 men to be raised Sept. 10th. But the towns, which had raised the 3800 men has exceeded their quotas of nine months' men by about 7600; so that the sum of the deficiencies was 1800 men, from which 1200 men were required. This only rendered it necessary, at that time, to call for two-thirds of the men remaining due from the several towns. -- But of these 1200 men, about five hundred had already been enlisted, by different towns, and the contracts sent to this office. These men were of course accepted, and, in the order addressed to each town September 9th, the number of men enlisted was inserted as the number, which such town was to furnish, unless it fell short of the number required, as above stated. The towns furnishing these men had also exceeded their quotas so much, that it was necessary to reduce the call upon the remaining deficient towns one for every even five of two-thirds of their quota, and to omit any calls, for the present, upon any town, from which no more than one man, or two men, were to have been required.
At first, an erroneous idea prevailed in the towns, last called upon in this manner, that their quotas had been reduced. This was incorrect. The quota of no town had been reduced, unless as the result of an error discovered in the computation of its quota. This resulted solely from the fact, that several towns had furnished men largely in excess of their quota. But the part of the quota not yet called for is still due, stands charged to the respective towns, and will be called for whenever the public service shall require the call to be made.
Although drafting orders were issued, on the 9th of September, for the twelve hundred men required to complete the number necessary to be raised, five companies were immediately thereafter offered, accepted and organized, under the provisions of General Order No. 13, and have been included in the enumeration above, -- leaving but seven companies to be organized otherwise.
The orders issued specified the places of rendezvous of these companies, and assigned to each its full complement of men. But the towns interested, in most cases, prevented a draft by enlisting the number of men required from each. In some were towns there was an actual draft, but less than fifty men were drafted, in all; and this number was disposed of by medical inspection, by acceptance of substitutes, and by drafted men themselves enlisting, -- so that, as the ultimate result, the State of Vermont has furnished five regiments, by voluntary enlistment, for service under the call of the President.
These last seven companies were organized, by officers detailed for that purpose, as follows:
The island Pond Company, raised in Brighton, Holland, Morgan, Newark, Burke, Lunenburgh, Canaan, East Haven, Lemington, Charleston, Brunswick and Maidstone, and rendezvoused at Island Pond; organized September 15th.
The Vergennes Company, raised in Charlotte, Addison, Vergennes, Ferrisburgh, New Haven, Huntington, Goshen, Panton and Granville, and rendezvoused at Vergennes; organized September 16th.
The McIndoes' Falls company, raised in Barnet, Peacham, Ryegate, Danville, Coventry, Greensboro, Barton, Waterford and St. Johnsbury, and rendezvoused at McIndoes' Falls; organized September 16th.
The Lyndon Company, raised in Sheffield, Wheelock, Lyndon, Sutton, Glover, Guildhall, Kirby and Victory, and rendezvoused at Lyndon; organized September 17th.
The Danby Company, raised in Danby, Pownal, Rupert, Sandgate, Shaftsbury, Stamford, Wallingford, Wells, Poultney, and other towns, and rendezvoused at Danby; organized September 18th.
The Felchville Company, raised in Reading, Hartford, Hartland, Weston, Royalton, Barnard, Sharon, Stockbridge, Windsor and other towns, and rendezvoused at Felchville; organized September 18th.
The Williamstown Company, raised in Newfane, Putney, Guilford, Peru, Stratton, Readsboro', Dummerston, Brookline, Searsburg, Windham, Wardsboro, Marlboro, Jamaica, and other towns, and rendezvoused at Williamsville; organized September 20th.
In making these computations, the enrolment, as returned by the listers was taken as the basis, since no legal power existed to go behind it. Both the order of the War Department and the Statute of this State required, that only able-bodied men should be returned. It is probable that the listers of some of the towns in the State have taken advantage of this provision and omitted men who were fairly liable to enrolment. While the listers of other towns, disregarding the provision entirely, have enrolled all between the required ages, without regard to their ability to bear arms. This has undoubtedly operated to the undue ease of some towns, and to the disproportionate hardship of others. Yet, from all the information obtained, it is believed, that the enrolment, as a whole, has been fairly and judiciously made.
The enrolment of April, 1862, made without reference to a draft, showed 41,610 enrolled militia, -- which included all the men then in the service of the United States, numbering nearly nine thousand. The enrolment of August, made with reference to a draft, showed 29,501 enrolled militia, omitting all the men then in the service of the United States, then amounting to about twelve thousand. The discrepancy between the two enrolments is so slight, that is is not probable, that any very extensive error, intentional, or otherwise, has occurred.
The selectmen of some of the towns have been embarrassed by the fact, that they were called upon by General Order No. 10, dated August 8, 1862, for a less number of men, than they now find to have been their full quota of three years' men.
General Order No. 10 was based upon the returns of volunteers, made by the listers in April. These returns showed many towns deficient upon the first quota, and the deficiencies were added together and charged to those towns, and the residue, only, assessed upon the whole State, -- thereby reducing from fourteen on a thousand to eight on a thousand the number required from the towns not thus deficient. But the April returns of volunteers proved notoriously defective, so much so, that they could not be regarded as a basis for any computation; and by General Order No. 14, dated August 15, 1862, the listers of the several towns were required to furnish new and corrected lists of volunteers. These having been received and verified, it became necessary, in determining whether the towns were entitled to credits, or were still deficient, to charge each town with its full quota of men for three years; and it was so done.
The table, in Appendix C, shows the results of the enrolment in August, made of the date of General Order No. 20, which was September 1st, corrected by examinations made since that date. It shows the whole number of men in each town liable to do military duty, -- the quota of militia, of each town, without reference to credits, the quota of each town upon the first call for 500,00 men, the quota of each town upon the second call for 300,000 men, the sum of these quotas, the whole number of volunteers furnished by each town for three years, and returned to this office previous to Sept. 1st, 1862, the excess, or deficiency, of each town, and the quota of men for nine months' service, required to be furnished by each town, after allowing the credit, to which each town was then entitle.
In case there would be a call for another draft of the militia, the present statutes make all necessary provisions for carrying it into effect, provided a perfect enrolment is made. If the present statute providing for an enrolment should be so charged, as to require all men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five to be enrolled, and provide a suitable and competent board for hearing and determining al claims for exemption, who should be free from all interest to be affected, many of the complaints and much of the dissatisfaction expressed during the present year would be obviated.