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New York State Historical Association - Research Library
Otsego County, N.Y. Civil War Military Records
1.75 cubic feet
The cataloging of this collection was made possible by a grant from the Community Foundation for South Central New York, Johnson City, N.Y. The finding aid was made available electronically through a Regional Bibliographic Data Bases (RBDB) grant from the South Central Regional Library Council, Ithaca, N.Y.
Coll. No. 351
Scope and Content Note
The Otsego County, N.Y. Civil War Military Records pertain to the enrollment and drafting of men for the 39th and 41st Regiments of the New York State Militia / New York National Guard. Originating in the office of the Otsego County Clerk, the records include 50 enrollment books with names of Otsego County men eligible for military duty for the years 1862, 1864, 1865, and 1866, and the registers of inspection and delinquent returns booklets of the reserve militia for the year 1866.
Also in the collection are requisition orders for the draftees, minutes of draft lotteries, militia inspection rosters, affidavits and letters concerning exemption from military service, and notices concerning drafting and enrollment.
Series 1. Enrollment Booklets for Persons Liable for Military Service. 1862-1866.
Series 2. Inspection Registers and Delinquent Returns. 1866.
Series 3. Requisition Orders for Draftees. 1864.
Series 4. Minutes of Draft Lotteries. 1864.
Series 5. Militia Inspection Rosters. 1862-1867.
Series 6. Affidavits, Notices, and Letters. 1862-1866.
The 39th and 41st Regiments of the New York State Militia / New York National Guard were comprised of men from Otsego County, the 39th drawing men who enrolled for duty in the eastern townships of Cherry Valley, Roseboom, Middlefield, Maryland, Westford, Decatur, Cooperstown, Otsego, Springfield, and Worcester; and the 41st from the western towns of Edmeston, Pittsfield, Hartwick, Milford, Laurens, New Lisbon, Butternuts, Morris, Oneonta, Otego, and Unadilla. Companies were usually formed of men from one or two townships who, after the Draft Act of 1863, were conscripted at the request of company captains through the Otsego County Clerk's office.
The 39th Regiment of the 18th Brigade of the 5th Division of the New York State Militia / New York National Guard had its headquarters in Cherry Valley before the Civil War began. In September 1861, the Regiment authorized its colonel, John D. Shaul, to offer its services to the governor to fight in the War Between the States. General George E. Danforth, the commander of the 18th Brigade, began recruiting the regiment in October of 1861 and by October 14th two companies, B and C, had been mustered into service. Recruitment continued in Otsego County. By January 8, 1862, only six companies (500 men) had been mustered into service, but the Regiment was ordered to proceed to Albany. The 39th, not being large enough on its own to constitute a full regiment, was divided up and transferred to other regiments. Two companies joined the 3rd New York Artillery and three consolidated with companies from Cortland County to become the 76th Regiment. A history of the Regiment's role in the Civil War can be found beginning on page 55 of the History of Otsego County, New York, by Duane Hamilton Hurd (Philadelphia: Everts & Ferris, 1878).
The 41st Regiment was also composed of men from Otsego County, who were enrolled for service as early as 1862. It is not mentioned in the History of Otsego County, New York or in any other publication listing Civil War Regiments. It is possible, however, that the 41st Regiment was combined with the 39th and then with the 76th. This assumption is based on the fact that members of the 76th Regiment are listed as having been mustered into service in towns which were a part of the 41st Regiment's district. Whatever the case, inhabitants of Otsego County were enrolled and drafted into the 39th and 41st Regiments throughout the Civil War, even if those regiments did not exist on their own at the front.
The 43rd Regiment, Company B, was recruited from Unadilla, Guilford (in Chenango Co), Oneonta, and Otego.
During the Civil War, the Otsego County Clerk was responsible for the county's drafting procedures. The enrollment books in this collection contain the names of individuals in Otsego County liable to military duty in 1862, 1864, 1865, and 1866 (including those who might later be deemed exempt), along with their age, residence, and class. The first class consisted of men between the ages of 18 and 30, who were to be drafted first. The second class consisted of men between the ages of 30 and 45. The names in these booklets were copied onto the ballots used in the draft lotteries. The men whose names had not yet been drawn made up the reserve militia that met for parades on the first of September each year. When more soldiers were needed at the front, the regiment commander would send a requisition order to the County Clerk who would then hold a lottery. Separate drawings were held for each company, using names only from that company's district. The names drawn were recorded by company and the draft orders sent out.
There were three copies made of the enrollment books for 1862 - the town clerk's copy, the Adjutant General's copy, and the Otsego County Sheriff's copy. After the draft act of 1863, four copies of the enrollment books for 1864-1866 were made, one of which was submitted to the County Clerk's office, one to the town clerk in the company's district, one to the Adjutant General's Office, and one was kept by the enrolling officer. After the draft act of 1863, names taken from the County Clerk's copies of the enrollment books (the volumes in this collection) were used in the draft lotteries.
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