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Chapter 7:

  • Recruiting for the New regiments
  • -- the position of the armies in the field -- letters from the Adjutant-General to different persons -- establishment ofCamps -- departure of New regiments -- recruits for Old regiments -- letter to Secretary Seward -- suggestions adopted -- foreign recruits -- Letterto General Couch -- deserters -- want of mustering officers -- letter fromGeneral Hooker -- our sick and wounded -- letter to General McClellan -- General Fitz-John Porter -- call for nineteen thousand soldiers for Ninemonths -- appointment of Major Rogers -- preparing for a draft -- Militiavolunteers -- letter to the President -- great activity in recruiting -- liberality of John M. Forbes -- Colonel Maggi -- town authorities ask Civiliansto be commissioned -- First attempt to raise colored troops -- Letterto Hon. J. G. Abbott -- recommends Merchants and others to devote Halfof each day to recruiting -- hardship to Seaboard towns -- attempt to haveCredits allowed for men in the Navy -- difficulties -- earnest letter -- surgeons sent forward -- several recommendations -- battle of Antietam -- Dr.Hitchcock sent forward -- his report -- affairs at the front -- Recruitingbrisk -- Republican Convention -- sharp debate -- nominations -- People'sconvention -- General Devens nominated for Governor -- speeches -- Letterto General Dix -- contrabands -- complaints -- quotas filled -- departure ofRegiments -- invasion of Texas -- Major Burt -- State appointments, &c.

On the fourth day of July, 1862, the President of the United States issued a call for three hundred thousand men, to serve for three years or to the end of the war. Three days after,—on the seventh day of July,—General Order No. 26 was issued, by order of Governor Andrew, in which it was stated, that ‘a call has been made upon the Governor of this Commonwealth, by the President of the United States, for fifteen thousand volunteers, to form new regiments, and to fill the ranks of those of this Commonwealth now at the seat of war.’ At that time, the Thirty-second, Thirty-third, Thirty-fourth, and Thirty-fifth Regiments were being recruited in the State. To bring the matter of recruiting more nearly home to each city and town, and to invest it with a peculiar and local interest, the Adjutant-General suggested to the Governor, that it would be well to [339] show the number which each city and town should furnish as its proportion of the number called for, not taking into account the number which they had already furnished. This could be done by assuming, as a basis, the men enrolled liable to do military duty, as exhibited by the annual returns made to the Adjutant-General by the assessors of the cities and towns, as required by law. This suggestion met with the approval of the Governor; and therefore the number each city and town was to furnish was embodied in the general order.

This had a beneficial effect. The municipal authorities, knowing what they had to do, entered upon the work of recruiting with patriotic zeal. Town meetings were held, money appropriated, and committees appointed to assist in recruiting, and to carry into practical effect the call of the President. Many of our regiments at the seat of war had been decimated by losses in battle, and by sickness occasioned by exposure, a Southern climate, and the hardships of a great campaign.

The Army of the Potomac at this time, failing in its object, —the capture of Richmond, —was falling back on Harrison's Landing, on the James River. The command of General Banks occupied the upper waters of the Potomac. The army under General Burnside had captured Newbern, and other important places in North Carolina, and was holding its position. The command of General Butler occupied New Orleans, and other important posts in Louisiana. The Thirty-first Regiment, under Butler's command, on the first day of May, was the first to land, and take possession of the city. The landing was effected without difficulty, though threats and insults met them as they put their feet on the soil of Louisiana. Our great admiral, Farragut, had silenced Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and opened the Mississippi for the advance of the army. The Thirtieth Regiment had proceeded up the river to Baton Rouge, disembarked on the morning of June 2, and quartered in the State Capitol, and from its dome raised the stars and stripes, from which they were never struck. In these commands were centred all the regiments and batteries which Massachusetts had sent to the war.

Success had crowned the efforts of the Union arms, except [340] before Richmond. The losses in the Army of the Potomac were fearfully great. The newspapers, for weeks, had daily published the long lists of dead and wounded; many of our bravest and best had fallen. Homes had been made desolate; the maimed, with their ghastly wounds, crying for help, reached us daily. But never was the war spirit more determined and buoyant than at this time. Never was recruiting more active; never did men flock to our camps to enlist more eagerly. In Boston, many of our merchants closed their places of business at two o'clock in the afternoon, that they might devote the remainder of the day to recruiting. Meetings were held, and addresses made, on the Common and in Roxbury; recruiting tents were erected in Haymarket Square, Court Square, and on the Common. Meetings were held, and speeches made, in front of the Old South; and men, unused to public speech, were fired with eloquence. A general camp of rendezvous was established in the city of Worcester, and named ‘Camp Wool,’ in honor of the veteran, Major-General Wool. To this camp all recruits from the counties of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester, were sent. The old camp at Lynnfield was continued, and designated ‘Camp Stanton,’ which served as the general rendezvous of recruits from the counties of Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Nantucket, Plymouth, and Suffolk. Until further orders, Lieutenant-Colonel Lincoln, of the Thirty-fourth Regiment, which was then being recruited, was placed in command of ‘Camp Wool;’ and Colonel Maggi, of the Thirty-third Regiment, which was also being recruited, was placed in command of ‘Camp Stanton.’ Surgeon-General Dale was instructed to have a surgeon at each of the camps, to examine recruits.

These camps were intended for recruits who were to form new regiments; and ‘Camp Cameron,’ at North Cambridge, under the command of the United States military commander, Colonel H. Day, was the general rendezvous for recruits intended for regiments already in the field.

The necessity of filling the quota of Massachusetts in the shortest possible time was strongly pressed upon the Governor by the President and the Secretary of War, and by him urged [341] upon the people with all his power of eloquence and enthusiasm for the cause. We cannot better illustrate the interest felt, and the activity exercised, by the people of the State to recruit and send forward men, than by making a few extracts from letters written by the Adjutant-General in answer to others received by him from gentlemen in all parts of the Commonwealth, asking for recruiting papers and information to guide them in their patriotic work. From the eighth day of July to the first day of August, upwards of five hundred letters were written by him upon this and kindred subjects.

July 8.—He writes to J. N. Dunham, Adams,—

Thanks for your patriotic letter. You will see, by General Order No. 26, in this morning's papers, that your quota is sixty-eight men. Get them as speedily as possible, and I will furnish transportation as soon as notified. Why cannot Berkshire raise a regiment? We must have men at once. Let every good citizen take hold, and give his influence and money to the cause.

To P. W. Morgan, Lee,—

The quota of Lee is thirty-seven men. Raise them; and if you are qualified, and I doubt not you are, a lieutenancy will doubtless be given you; but we must have the men. The influential citizens of the town should take hold with heart and will. You will receive two dollars for every man you recruit. This letter is all the authority you require.

To Moody D. Cook, Newburyport,—

Recruit every man you can; take him to the mustering officer in Salem, and take a receipt for him. After he is mustered into the United States service, you shall receive two dollars for each man. The officer will furnish transportation to Lynnfield. Work, work; for we want men badly.


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