Skip to content

1861 April 15: Lincoln’s Call for Troops

April 15, 2011

The following appears in The Hudson North Star of April 17, 1861, and in The Prescott Transcript of April 20, 1861. The headline is from the Transcript.

C A L L  T O  A R M S ! !

75,000 VOLUNTEERS WANTED.
____

Washington, April 15.
The following is the form of call on the respective state Governors for troops, issued to-day:

Sir:—Under the act of Congress for calling out the militia to execute the laws of the Union to suppress insurrection, repel invasion, &c., approved February 28th, 1795, I have the honor to request your Excellency to cause to be immediately detached from the militia of your state, the quota designated in the table below to serve as infantry or riflemen for three months, or sooner, if discharged.

Your Excellancy [sic] will please communicate to me the time about which your quota will be expected at its rendezvous, as it will be met as soon as possible by an officer or officers to muster it into the service and pay of the United States; at the same time the oath of fidelity to the United States will be administrated to every officer and man. The mustering officers will be instructed to receive no man under the rank of commissioned officer who is apparently over 45 or under 18 years, or who is not in physical strength and vigor. The quota to each state is as follows: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Arkansas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, one regiment each; New York 17 regiments; Pennsylvania, 15 regiments; Ohio, 13; New Jersey, Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, four regiments each; Illinois and Indiana, six regiments each; Virginia, three regiments.

It is ordered that each regiment shall consist of an aggregate of officers and men of 1,780 men.

The total thus to be called out is 73,910 men, the remainder, which constitutes the 75,000 under the President’s proclamation will be composed of troops in the District of Columbia.

In The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,1 Series III, Vol. 1, pages 67-69, we find Lincoln’s Proclamation of April 15 and the official version of Secretary of War Simon Cameron’s communique to the various state governors, including the states that had not yet seceded— “Sent to the Governors of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota; and they were notified by telegraph, same date, of the requisition being made.” The official version has just a few differences from the version printed in the North Star.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas the laws of the United States have been for some time past and now are opposed and the execution thereof obstructed in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings or by the powers vested in the marshals by law:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth, the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of 75,000, in order to suppress said combinations and to cause the laws to be duly executed.

The details of this object will be immediately communicated to the State authorities through the War Department.

I appeal to all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government, and to redress wrongs already long enough endured.

I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union, and in every event the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of or interference with property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens in any part of the country.

And I hereby command the persons composing the combinations aforesaid to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within twenty days from date.

Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virture of the power in me vested by the Constitution, convene both houses of Congress.

Senators and Representatives are therefore summoned to assemble at their respective chambers at twelve o’clock noon on Thursday, the fourth day of July next, then and there to consider and determine such measures as in their wisdom the public safety and interest may seem to demand.

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington this fifteenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.

By the President:                ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

                                                    WILLIAM H. SEWARD,
Secretary of State.

____

WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington, April 15, 1861.

SIR: Under the act of Congress “for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, repel invasions,” &c., approved February 28, 1795, I have the honor to request Your State the quota designated in the table below, to serve as infantry or riflemen, for the period of three months, unless sooner discharged.

Your Excellency will please communicate to me the time at or about which your quota will be expected at its rendezvous, as it will be met as soon as practicable by an officer or officers to muster it into the service and pay of the United States. At the same time the oath of fidelity to the United States will be administered to every officer and man. The mustering officer will be instructed to receive no man under the rank of commissioned officer who is in years apparently over forty-five or under eighteen, or who is not in physical strength and vigor.

The rendezvous for your State will be: Maine, Portland; New Hampshire, Portsmouth; Vermont, Burlington; Massachusetts, Boston; Rhode Island, Providence; Connecticut, New Haven; New York, New York, Albany, Elmira; Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Harrisburg; New Jersey, Trenton; Delaware, Wilmington; Maryland, Frederick City, Baltimore; Virginia, Staunton, Wheeling, Gordonsville; North Carolina, Raleigh; Tennesse, Knoxville, Nashville; Arkansas, Little Rock; Kentucky, Lexington; Missouri, Saint Louis; Illinois, Springfield, Chicago, Indiana, Indianapolis; Ohio, Columbus, Cleveland; Michigan, Detroit; Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Iowa, Keokuk; Minnesota, Saint Paul.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

SIMON CAMERON,
Secretary of War.

1.  The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, 70 vols. in 4 series, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1880-1901. (Original books available in the UWRF University Archives and Area Research Center, E 464 .U6; also now available on Google Books.)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2012 10:00 am

    Perhaps you would consider adding my blog to you list. I can be found at http://salient-points.blogspot.com/. I have tried to take an even perspective on the war based on my northern roots and Texas residence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: