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Essex County, New York
in the Civil War

The following is taken from Third Annual Report of the Bureau of Military Statistics of the State of New York, Albany: [The Bureau], (C. Wendell), 1866.

An energetic, and it is believed the earliest, response in Essex county to the first appeal of the President for volunteers, was made at a large and animated meeting held at Keeseville, in the town of Chesterfield. This meeting, like all others during, the war, in the valley of the Ausable river, which for some distance is the boundary of the counties of Essex and Clinton, embraced residents of both counties. It is wholly impracticable to estimate with accuracy the number of recruits or volunteers which might be claimed by these counties respectively, particularly those enlisted in the early stages of the war, who to a great extent were derived from their floating population. The lamented Lieutenant-Colonel Gorton T. Thomas, who fell at the second Bull Run, presided at the meeting referred to, and it is believed placed the name the first in that section of the State upon the roll of volunteers. The company he organized was formed about equally from Clinton and Essex, with a few hunters from Franklin county. In this company Gorton T. Thomas was elected captain and Oliver D. Peabody first lieutenant, both of Ausable, Clinton county, and Carlisle D. Beaumont, of Chesterfield, Essex county, second lieutenant. Another company (K) was raised in Moriah and other eastern towns, of, which Miles P. S. Cad well was captain, Edward F. Edgerly first lieutenant, and Clark W. Huntly second lieutenant. Another company (I) was organized in Schroon and other southern towns of Essex, and a part from Warren and possibly Hamilton counties. The officers of this company were Lyman Ormsby captain, J. H. Seaman first lieutenant, and Daniel Burgy second lieutenant. These companies were all at its organization embraced in the Twenty-second regiment New York Volunteers; of which Captain Thomas was elected Lieutenant-Colonel.

A company was raised in the town of Crown Point of two years' volunteers, numbering 108 men. They were uniformed before leaving for Albany, by private subscription, amounting to nearly $2,000. The latter company was mustered into service on the 14th of June, 1861, as company H, Thirty-fourth regiment N. Y. S. V. Its officers were: captain—Leland L. Doolittle; first lieutenant— Hiram Buck, jr.; second lieutenant—John B. Wright. This company was in camp near Washington during the first battle of Bull Run.

Another company was recruited in Elizabethtown and other towns in that vicinity, of which Samuel C. Dwyer was captain, William H. Smith first lieutenant, and A. C. H. Livingstone second lieutenant, This company was attached as company K to the Thirty-eighth regiment, and was one of the last companies accepted under the first call. It fought at Bull Run and suffered severely.

Individuals from the northern towns of Essex enlisted in the Fifteenth regiment, and others, forming a considerable aggregate, entered other regiments, while several residents of the county enlisted in the regular service.

Large numbers of the youth of Essex (and the remark applies to every county lying on the border of Vermont), were allured by the extra pay of seven dollars per month into the regiments of that State. It was estimated at the time that residents of Essex, whose names thus swelled the ranks of a sister State, were equal in numbers to those which enlisted in our own regiments. I am confident that such was the fact in my own locality.

From these statistics it is evident that Essex was second, in pro-portion to her population, to no part of the State in the energy and promptitude with which her people responded to the behests of patriotism. Subsequently, when counties began to claim credits on their quotas, it was felt that Essex had been prejudiced by this early zeal and alacrity, which had supplied troops far beyond her just proportion. Neither was this county surpassed in the fervor and enthusiasm with which the popular sentiment sustained the Government Public meetings, with no party distinctions, were held in every section of the county, to promote enlistment by both influence and contributions. Females of every class united their labors to provide clothing and every requisite for the comfort and efficiency of the volunteers. Few families declined to impart from their household goods, when called on by the committees who traversed every district, materials to relieve the wants of the soldiers, which the Government at that time could not adequately supply. The national flag floated from almost every dwelling, and the sentiment was nearly universal among the people of Essex comity that the military measures of the Government must be maintained and the Union preserved.


Civil War Newspapers
This is also available in PDF format. These are large files; however, they are exact images of the pages.
      Pages 1 - 5


See also The Communites of New York in the Civil War



New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: August 1, 2012

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