Thursday, July 12, 2012

Recruiting in Franklin County, Ohio: July-August 1862


On Saturday, 19 July 1862, the Daily Ohio State Journal, Columbus, Ohio, published an article entitled “Report on Recruiting”. The article was a detailed set of instructions for establishing and conducting recruiting stations in Franklin County, Ohio.

Its author, Captain Riley, had been tasked by the Franklin County Military Committee to provide a memorandum of standard operating procedures for orderly recruitment in Franklin County. This recruiting drive was a response to President Lincoln’s 2 July 1862 call for 300,000 volunteers. National defense policy, derived from the experiences of the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, 1846, established a small standing army but gave the President power to call for volunteers. How those volunteers would be recruited was the responsibility of individual states.

The process used by Franklin County, Ohio, is summarized below from Captain Riley’s memorandum of instruction.

First, Captain Riley’s memorandum instructed that there will be a recruiting office in each township in Franklin County. If the township is large, one or more recruiting stations may be established.

Second, the Military Committee will appoint a recruiting officer for each recruiting station. The appointed officer will take an oath and become an enlisted man in the United States Army.

Third, the appointed recruiting officer will be given the rank of Sergeant.

Fourth, each Recruiting Sergeant is authorized to rent a room and provide a drummer and a fifer. Those expenses will be paid by the Military Committee.

Fifth, the Recruiting Sergeant is also authorized to order recruiting posters from the County Committee for Posters and Circulars announcing the hours of the Recruiting Office and other pertinent information. He is also authorized the purchase of an American flag for the station, which, along with the posters, will also be paid for by the Military Committee.

Sixth, an Agent, who will be a member of the Military Committee, is authorized to visit Recruiting stations as often as possible. He may charge his travel expenses to the Military Committee. The Agent from the Military Committee is also authorized to arrange public meetings; instruct and advise the Recruiting Sergeant; inspect quarters to insure that recruits are provided the appropriate subsistence allowance; and pay for any transportation necessary. The Agent will submit all requests for reimbursement with duplicate receipts.

Seventh, each Recruiting Sergeant will prepare duplicate muster rolls that will include the full name of each recruit, his Post Office address; whether he is single or married; if married how many children he has; or if single whether his parents are living. A copy of the muster roll will be sent to the Secretary of the Military Committee to insure that he and his dependents receive relief or assistance from the County Military Fund.

The men who volunteered in Franklin County in July and early and August 1862 were assigned to the newly formed 95th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (95th OVI). When a sufficient number of men had been recruited, they were ordered to report to Camp Chase, which was located in southwestern Columbus, Ohio. The men were organized into companies, and issued arms and equipment. They were mustered under the command of Colonel William Linn McMillen (1829-1902) into Federal service on 19 August 1862. The regiment was assigned to Cruft’s Brigade, Army of Kentucky, Department of Ohio.

Ten days later they were ordered to attack Major General Edmund Kirby Smith’s veteran Confederate regiments at the Battle of Richmond, Kentucky (29-30 August 1862). That did not go too well for the 95th OVI.