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Oswego 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.

Friday, April 12th, 1861, Fort Sumter was attacked. The telegraph brought the startling intelligence to Oswego city, on Sunday morning about eight o'clock. The news spread like wild-fire, and by nine o'clock the streets were full, and crowds were gathered around the bulletin board.

The excitement became so great that the churches were nearly deserted by male worshipers in the morning, but in the evening they were thronged. In every pulpit the event of the day was the theme of the discourse. Just as the Rev. Dr. Ludlow's' sermon closed, the National flag was unfurled from the organ loft over the congregation, and the people by one consent rose to their feet and sang "My country, 'tis of thee.''

Five companies of the Forty-eighth Regiment New York State Militia were located in Oswego city. Col. Samuel R. Beardsley was then commandant. The Governor of the State issued his proclamation for seventeen regiments on the first call of the President. One of these companies, the Oswego Guards, held a meeting with a view of offering their services to go forward to the defense of Washington. The offer was not accepted. Col. Robert M. Richardson of Syracuse, had been to Albany, and brought back to Oswego, enlistment papers, with authority to the citizens to commence recruiting. Capt. Timothy Sullivan was commissioned by the Governor as mustering officer, and proceeded around the county mustering in the rapidly formed companies, ordering them to Elmira. Of the Oswego Guards, three gentlemen raised companies, Edward M. Paine, Francis C. Miller and John D. O'Brian ; out of the Washington Guards, another officer of our city companies, Archibald H. Preston, raised the company ; and out of the Rifles Levi Beardsly raised another company.

Capt. Melzer Richards, raised one company in the town of Parish; Capt. William D. Furguson, raised one company in the town of Sandy Creek ; Capt. Albert Taylor raised one company in the village of Fulton, and the towns of Volney and Granby ; Capt. O. J. Jennings, raised another in the same towns. These, together with one company raised by Capt. Andrew J. Barney, of Ellis' village, Jefferson county, formed the Twenty-fourth Regiment, New York State Volunteers.

One company was raised in the village of Pulaski, by Captain Peckham, but after being mustered in, were taken to New York instead of Elmira, where the men were all stolen away from him, Hence the addition of the Jefferson county company, who were at that time to Elmira, to this regiment.

These companies commenced leaving Oswego for Elmira about the 18th of April, and the last company arrived there on the 4th of May and immediately started, under Colonel Sullivan, for the seat of war.* [*The regiment was lying at Arlington Mill, during the first fight at Bull Bun, and were sent forward by Gen. Irvin McDowell, meeting and passing our returning troops from that disastrous field. Colonel Sullivan held his way, notwithstanding the warning of those he met, and encamped near the battle-field the same night.] Capt. Dan O'Brian commenced raising his company on Saturday afternoon, and the Monday following its ranks were full and men mustered. This, in the absence of bounties and the pay of only eleven dollars per month, shows the spirit which animated our people.

Out of sixty men composing the Oswego Guards, forty went to the war; and every man of them was promoted except three, two of whom, Sergeants Bell and Hand, were Color Sergeants, and were killed on Friday night August 29th, 1862, at the second Bull Run fight. General A. Bennett, late of Charleston, Col. Timothy Sullivan, Col. Samuel R. Beardsley, Col. Francis C. Miller and Colonel Duryea, of the Fifth Zouaves, were of the old Guards. Private Ratigan rose to a Captaincy ; first sergeant Bel-lender Hutchinson, also; every surviving man save one, who went from that company, rose to a commission. The character of the men, the excellence of their discipline, their familiarity with their duties, were at once recognized and distinguished on the field. No stronger argument can be adduced of the soundness and wisdom of Governor Fenton's recommendation in his late message of the utility of being well prepared against the day of necessity. Out of a population of a little over 75,000 inhabitants, Oswego county sent about 12,500 to the war from first to last.


Civil War Newspapers
This is also available in PDF format. These are large files; however, they are exact images of the pages.
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See also The Communites of New York in the Civil War



New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: March 12, 2013

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