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[28] organized and drilled, and paraded the streets; the governor telegraphed again and again for orders to enlist them in regiments; for more than a fortnight no reply came from Washington. At last on May 22 a letter was received from Secretary S. Cameron (dated May 15), authorizing the State, almost as a favor, to furnish six regiments, and adding: ‘It is important to reduce rather than enlarge this number, and in no event to exceed it. Let me earnestly recommend you, therefore, to call for no more than eight regiments, of which six only are to serve for three years or during the war, and if more are already called for to reduce the number by discharge.’1 It is plain from this that the loyal governors had to raise troops at the outset under the direct discouragement of the War Department itself; and that they were expected to repress, not stimulate, the patriotic zeal of the citizens. No one can read the reports of the early town meetings of Massachusetts, to which the second volume of Schouler's history is devoted, without recognizing that there was in these self-governing communities far more comprehension of the real greatness of the struggle then before us than was to be found among the so-called statesmen at Washington. Most wars in other nations have been the work of rulers or public men, who have drawn unwilling nations after them; but the American Civil War was at first, and remained for a long time, at the North, a war whose full importance was first recognized by the people, urging on a slow and reluctant government.2

The six regiments thus called for ‘were organized, armed, equipped, clothed and sent forward within four weeks after orders were received that they would be accepted.’3 The 1st (Colonel Cowdin) left the State on June 15 for Washington, and was the first three years regiment that arrived there; the 2d (Colonel Gordon) left the State July 8 for the front; the 7th left for Washington July 11; the 9th and 11th on June 24 and the 10th on June 25,—all for Washington. All these were three years regiments;

1 See the whole of this singular epistle in Schouler, I, 167. Compare also Schouler, II, 10.

2 General Sherman, in his Memoirs (I, 231), describes a conversation with Mr. Cameron in October, 1861, in which the former said: ‘I asserted that there were plenty of men at the North ready and willing to come, if he would only accept their services; for it was notorious that regiments had been formed in all the north-western States, whose services had been refused by the War Department, on the ground that they would not be needed. . . . I thought I had roused Mr. Cameron to a realization of the great war that was before us and was in fact upon us.’ For regiments declined, see Schouler, I, 148, 165, 167, 169; also Patterson's Shenandoah, p. 29. The 7th N. Y. Cavalry was organized, equipped, drilled for six months, and then disbanded as not needed. (Eyland's Evolution of a Life, p. 150.)

3 Schouler, I, 168.

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