Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blog in Real Time - April 23, 1861 - Post #5

April 23, 1861.
    Washington was isolated due to the Baltimore riots which cut off communication and transportation to the capitol. Virginia voted to secede on the 17th.  The Harper's Ferry National Armory was evacuated and burned by its small garrison on the 18th, but much of the equipment was in tact.  It was seized and sent south by Virginia militia who marched on the town.  The Norfolk Navy Yard had been lost to the Confederates.  President Lincoln wondered if any more Federal troops would come to Washington, "Why don't they come?" he exclaimed.

     The people of Massachusetts were busy recruiting.

    The following is from the Regimental History, Three Years in the Army, but I have paraphrased parts of it for brevity:
     Summary of the formation of the 4th Battalion of Rifles; Boston. 

     In July, 1860 a committee consisting of James A. Fox, W.F. Davis, D. H. Bradlee, N.S. Dearborn, and A.N. Sampson were appointed to nominate a captain and third and fourth lieutenants to fill vacancies in the Boston Militia Company known as the "Boston City Greys" or, the "Boston City Guards."  A charismatic recruiter was sought after, who would inspire men to enlist under his command.  (James  A. Fox pictured).

     Samuel H. Leonard had moved from Worcester to Boston and was obliged to resign his commission as brigadier-general, as an officer could not hold a commission outside the limits of the district where he resided.  He was an officer of wide reputation as one of the most  skillful and thorough drill-masters in the State.

     The aforementioned committee offered General Leonard the captaincy of the Boston City Guards.  Leonard accepted upon condition that a second company be raised to be joined with the City Guards, forming a battalion, and changing the arms from muskets to rifles.

     This was agreed to, and General Leonard petitioned the Governor and Council to set off the City Guards from the Second Massachusetts Regiment (which included the "Boston Light Infantry (Tigers)," & the "New England Guards" for this purpose, and authority was given him to form a rifle battalion using the City Guards as a nucleus.

     The City Guard was called Company A in the new battalion.  On December 15th, 1860 they elected the following officers:

Captain ....Samuel H. Leonard.
First Lieutenant ....James A. Fox.
Second Lieutenant ....William F. Davis.
Third Lieutenant ....Charles S. Chandler.
Fourth Lieutenant .....George H. Bush.

     Immediately following this election, privates Thomas J. Little and Augustus N. Sampson, with fifty-one others, petitioned the Governor and Council to leave to form a new company, which was subsequently known as Company B.  When the company's ranks were full the following officers were elected on March 29th 1861:
Captain .....N. Walter Batchelder.
First Lieutenant  .....Joseph S. Cary.
Second Lieutenant .....David H. Bradlee.
Third Lieutenant  .....John G. Hovey.
Fourth Lieutenant  .....Augustus N. Sampson.

     On the 23d of April, Lieutenant Bradlee having been elected adjutant of the battlion, Horace T. Rockwell was elected Fourth Lieutenant and Messrs. Hovey and Sampson were each promoted. (Batchelder pictured).

(John Kurtz's company C was recruiting at this time, but will be included in post #8).    
      Company D was organized as follows:
     A military company was formed after the Mexican war composed of Massachusetts veterans, and known as the "Massachusetts Volunteers."  The company was attached to the 1st Regiment of Infantry M.V.M., Company I.  After two years the company changed its by-laws to include non-veterans so it could continue.  It was then voted to take men who had served not less than a year in the volunteer State militia.  The name of the company was changed to "National Guard."  Augustine Harlow was elected captain in the spring of 1854 and served until July 1860, when he resigned.

     April 15, 1861 he was asked to form a new company, and proceeded to do so at once.  The free use of a room in the Adams House was granted him by the  proprietors, and in a few days the required number of names was obtained for organization and the following officers were elected:

Captain .....Augustine Harlow.
First Lieutenant .....Samuel N. Chamberlain.
Second Lieutenant .....William H. Cary.
Third Lieutenant .....Charles H. Hovey.
Fourth Lieutenant .....James H. Mayo.

    It should be born in mind that in raising these companies the impetus given to enlistments by the startling events of the day, made it quite easy to obtain all the men needed to complete the organizations to the maximum number required.  As a matter of fact, so many men offered to enlist that it was decided to accept only those who were voted in and willing to pay $12.50.  This sum, added to moneys received by subscription, was expended in the purchase of uniforms, each man being measured to ensure their fitting.  The jacket was tight fitting, with a short skirt.  The shoulder knots and trimmings were red, and the uniform gray.  The cap was trimmed with scarlet and surmounted with a pompom.  It made a handsome, serviceable uniform, and gave a very effective appearance to the battalion.  Unidentified soldier in the uniform of the 4th Battalion.

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