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Adjutant and Inspector General Reports

1863 Report

Pursuant to the statute entitled "An act relating to the organization, regulation and government of the militia of this State," approved December 2, 1862, instructions, blanks and blank books were prepared and distributed to the Selectmen of the several towns, and the militia were enrolled by them in the month of January, 1863, and the returns of the enrolment duly made and recorded. The instructions issued are annexed hereto, in Appendix A.

Medical Boards, for the examination of the enrolled men were appointed by the Governor, in pursuance of section thirty-seven of the same statute, as follows:

Addison County,--William S. Hopkins, S. A. Skinner and O. M. Bump.

Bennington County,--Edward N. S. Morgan, Martin J. Love and George L. Ames.

Caledonia County,--Ralph Bugbee, Royal M. Ayer and Charles S. Cahoon.

Chittenden County,--A. C. Welch, John F. Miles and J. H. Richardson.

Essex County,--P. Buckminster, C. G. Adams and T. T. Cushman.

Franklin County,--George M. Hall, Amasa M. Brown and William R. Hutchinson.

Grand Isle County,--H. H. Reynolds, A. H. W. Jackson, and Melvin J. Hyde.

Lamoille County,--Horace Powers, Salmon Brush and Benjamin F. Sutton.

Orange County,--William F. Lazelle, John Poore and Andrew E. Field.

Orleans County,--M. S. Baxter, David W. Blanchard and Frank Bugbee.

Rutland County,--Charles F. Adams, A. Sidney Houghton and Henry R. Jones.

Washington County,--Chauncey M. Rublee, Edwin Porter and Horace Fales.

Windham County,--George F. Gale, Frederic Temple and Joel Holton.

Windsor County,--Daniel W. Hazelton, William M. Huntington and Joseph S. Richmond.

Instructions and blanks were prepared and distributed to the several Medical Boards, and they held meetings and made examinations and returns, in accordance with the requirements of the statute. THe instructions issued to them are annexed in appendix A.

In accordance with the statute for enrolling the militia in the several gores and unorganized towns, Commissioners were appointed, as follows.

Henry Blake, Jr., for Goshen Gore by Wheelock.

Joel Orvis, for Buel's Gore.

Bartlett N. Adams, for Avery's Gore.

Charles H. Heath, for Harris' Gore, and Goshen Gore in Washington County.

James M. Davis, for Norton, Ferdinand, Averill and Lewis, and Avery's, Warren's and Warner's Gores, in Essex County.

Instructions and blanks and blank books were issued to these Commissioners, as required by the statute, and they performed the duty assigned to them. The instructions will be found in Appendix A.

The result of the enrolment in the entire State was as follows:

Whole number enrolled, 47,183
Exempted by certificate by Medical Boards,3,384 
In United States service,13,687--17,071
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Number liable to draft,30,112

This result shows a somewhat larger number than were really liable to draft at the time the enrolment was returned, arising from the fact that many persons, who were notoriously physically disabled from performing military duty, and who were entirely confident that if drafted they would not be accepted, neglected to present themselves before the Medical Boards for examination and exemption. If a draft had become necessary, under the State law, this would have caused much embarrassment. The quotas of the several towns would have been proportionally increased, which would have brought enhanced burden upon those liable to draft; and additional sessions of the Medical Boards would have been required, consuming much time, and at considerable expense, or a large per cent. added to the actual quotas, in order to compensate for the loss of those rejected by the military examining surgeon.

As it is obviously necessary the the State law should be continued in force, and an enrolment had upon which a draft can be made, whenever required,and that the enrolment should always show, as nearly as possible, the exact number of able bodied men liable to draft, I respectfully suggest that the law be so modified as to require only those persons to pay the fee of one dollar for examination by the Medical Boards, who present themselves for examination and are not exempted by the Board, and that the Medical Boards be directed to return to each person the fee advanced by him, if upon examination such person shall be found entitled to exemption. The Medical Boards should also be authorized, in their discretion, to increase the number of their sessions in each county, so as to render them more accessible to those who are entitled to claim exemption. The additional expense thereby incurred would be more than compensated by the saving of expense to the State, which would accrue in case a large number of men should be drafted, who, upon medical examination, were rejected.

It is important, also, that the enrolment should show correctly the entire militia force of the State, between the specified ages. Soldiers actually in the service of the United States should therefore be enrolled, although exempted from draft, and the proper remark, noted against their names upon the return of enrolment, showing them to be in the United States' service, would secure for them that exemption. This is the construction which was given to the second section of the statute, in issuing instructions for the enrolment in January last. If there is any doubt as to its being the true construction of the section, as it reads, it presents a subject for legislative amendment.

The duties imposed upon the Selectmen by the fifth section of the statute of Dec. 2, 1862, has been but partially performed,--owing, doubtless, to the fact, that a draft was ordered under the Act of Congress. It is obvious, however, that there should be, at all times, an accurate State enrolment, for State as well as National purposes; and under the system adopted by the legislature of this State, this can only be accomplished, by requiring the returns by selectmen to be made, as contemplated by the fifth section.

There is now no organized militia in the State. In case of resistance to the laws, or invasion from abroad, there is not a man, subject to the authority of the State, who can be called upon for military duty, except by means of the complicated machinery of a draft,with its attendant delay. The sweeping repealing clause, in the statute of December 2, 1862, even disbanded the companies of the Uniform Volunteer Militia, which had been organized in 1857 and 1858, and existed at the commencement of the war, and which have furnished the First and Twelfth Regiments of Vermont Volunteers. These companies have earned the right to be proud of the readiness with which they have responded to the call of the Government. They all have a pride in their organizations; and the towns, in which they existed, are proud of them, and of the distinction which they have acquired. I respectfully suggest whether it would not be well to so construe the repealing clause of the statute, as to allow such of those companies as do desire to do so, to retain their organization; and I must be allowed again to express the opinion, as I have heretofore, that the militia of the State should be organized,--either the entire body, or such number of companies of active militia as would give assurance of not being found entirely unprepared, in case of sudden emergency.

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