Recruiting in Albany in the Summer of 1862

Sean M.O'Mara


     "New" Company E, (the "Normal School Company") of the 44th New York State Volunteers Infantry Regiment was organized in Albany, New York during the summer of 1862. It was a product of a general community effort in Albany to reinforce the Union Army after the losses suffered in late June and early July. Because first hand accounts of the recruitment and organization of the Normal School Company have yet to be discovered, we must rely on other sources to put the recruitment and organization of this company into context.

     Two Albany newspapers, the Evening Journal and the Atlas & Argus, provide us with a window to the past through which we can view the events of that summer in Albany. By utilizing these two resources we can develop a picture of how the people of Albany responded to war related events of that summer. As part of the Albany community, the New York State Normal School shared in the city's experience of raising troops. Therefore, through these newspapers, we can develop a context in which to place the creation of the "New" Company E despite the lack of first hand accounts. Placing the organization of the Normal School Company into Albany's community context allows us to further illuminate the experience of the company. Specifically, it helps us to understand the environment in which it was raised and the community it represented.

So it came to pass that in the summer of 1862 a large number of the best and bravest of our young men left school and college- dropping their books only to pick up the sword and musket - rallied to the support of Freedom's flag, and offered themselves to fill up the now more than decimated ranks of the Union Army.

In September of that year, the "Normal School Company," numbering 100, was mustered in into the service of the United States "for three years of the war," and soon became an integral part of the "Army of the Potomac," then facing the rebel "Army of Northern Virginia"...

-A.N. Husted [1] 

      On July 3, 1862, professor Rodney Kimball and assistant teacher Albert Husted of the State Normal School in Albany, New York, were preparing their students for the "semi-annual examination of classes"[2]  less than a week away. Meanwhile, the citizens of Albany went about their daily business. Some may have been preparing for the Fourth of July celebration, others may have planned to take in an evening of entertainment at Tweddle Hall where the musical "Tremaine Family" was to give a "grand vocal and instrumental concert."[3]  That same day an Albany Atlas &Argus headline read: "The President Calls For Three Hundred Thousand More Troops."[4] 

      The President's call for troops came just as the people of the North were beginning to receive word that the Army of the Potomac had been turned back by the rebels outside of Richmond. When the Seven Days' battle began in late June, Union General George McClellan had ordered all reporters back from the front lines leaving the northern populous essentially blind to the situation. Between June 25 and July 3 news of the northern armies operations consisted only of "rumors and overoptimistic reports."[5]  Soon, northern newspapers were shocking their readers with reports that told of "stunning disaster" and of wounded and dead northern soldiers lying on the southern battlefields. On July 4 an article in the Argus relayed gloomy news from the New York 44th infantry regiment: "The Forty-Fourth Regiment is reported to have suffered in one of the battles with the enemy last week...they went in 400 strong and came out with only 250 men." The 44th was a regiment with which the people of Albany felt a connection, and followed closely. In the days to come both the Argus and the Albany Evening Journal would give further reports of the losses and the state of disarray of the 44th and the Army of the Potomac. To the citizens of Albany it may have looked as though the Union Army was in a position of great peril.

      The new Federal call for 300,000 troops came out of a period when northern recruitment had slowed to a trickle. In April, the new Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton had suspended all recruiting activities in order to reorganize the Union's inefficient system of recruiting.[6]  Stanton quietly resumed recruiting on June 6. However, it wasn't until the call for troops in early July that the process was set in earnest. The recruitment lull between April and July gave northern communities the mistaken impression that the Union Army had enough men in the field to deal with the rebel threat. When the call for troops finally came out of Washington, it was handed to each state as an order to fill a quota of volunteers according their population. New York State's quota of 59,705 men was the highest in the country. [7] 

     On the heels of Lincoln's call for troops, New York Governor Edwin S. Morgan issued a statement that was crafted to rouse a patriotic response from New Yorkers and make it clear that the local communities would ultimately be responsible for putting men in the field. The citizens of Albany saw Morgan's message in the Argus on July 3.

     This appeal is to the State of New York; it is to each citizen. Let it come to every fire-side. Let the glorious example of Revolutionary period be our emulation. Let each feel that the Commonwealth now counts upon his individual strength and influence to meet the demands of the Government... Let the answer go back to the President and to our brave soldiers in the field, that in New York the patriotic lists of the Country's defenders is being augmented... The details of organization will be in accordance with the orders from the Adjutant General of New York. The State will be districted, Local Committees will be appointed, and regimental Camps established.[8] 

      As Morgan's statement points out, recruiting responsibilities filtered down to the state's senatorial districts; Albany County represented the 13th Senatorial District. On July 10 a committee of citizens "designated by the Governor to promote the speedy enrollment of a Regiment of Volunteers in [Albany] County, had its first meeting."[9]  The meeting set in motion the recruitment of a regiment that would represent Albany County and dominate the local war effort for the rest of the summer. The committee called for a general public meeting to be held at the state capitol on July 15 for the purpose of facilitating the organization of the regiment. The Journal, owned by prominent Albany Republican Thurlow Weed, wasted no time in rallying Albany residents to the local task at hand. An article which covered the July 10 meeting and announced the following public meeting, turned into other patriotic call for action.

     ...It should be a grand mass meeting. Every man in the city should attend it, for much will depend on upon the numbers, spirit and enthusiasm of the occasion... And now, Fellow Citizens, what say you? Our patriotism is to be tested as never before. To raise this Regiment promptly will require large personal and pecuniary sacrifices. It will not do to depend upon the ordinary process of enrollment. Nor will it do for every man to rely upon his neighbor. Their is personal work for each of us, and that work must be performed with prompt vigor, here and elsewhere, if we would bring back to the country that peace and prosperity which has been broken and blasted by traitors now in arms.[10] 

      On the same day of the committee meeting (July 10), the State Normal School held its closing exercises. Earlier, on July 5, a notice had appeared in the Journal in which a schedule of the Normal School's "semi-annual examination of classes"[11]  was printed. The term ending exams commenced on Monday July 7 and concluded on that Wednesday. The notice in the Journal also reminded readers of the graduating exercises: "The exercises of the graduating class will be held In Tweddle Hall, on Thursday the 10th inst., at 8 P.M. The address, to the Graduating class will be delivered by the Hon. V.M. Rice, Superintendent of Public Instruction. The public are invited to attend"[12] 

     Had the students of the Normal School turned their attentions from their studies to the local newspapers during the final days of that term, they would have encountered various articles pertaining to disposition of the 44th New York Infantry Regiment. The 44th had been raised in Albany in the previous year and, while it's companies were comprised of men from all corners of the state, there were many citizens of Albany in its ranks. Consequently, the people of the city kept an eye on the actions of the regiment. During the early days of July 1862, the 44th appeared to be a state of disarray. Various reports of the losses of the 44th were printed in the press along with a July 9 Argus article that reported the resignation of the regiment's commanding officer Stephen W. Stryker. On July 10 the Argus printed a letter from Lt. Col. James C. Rice writing from City Point Landing, on the James River in Virginia, to ex-mayor of Albany George H. Thatcher. Through this letter the citizens of Albany, and perhaps the students of the Normal School, received a first hand account of the 44th's experience of the Seven Days.

     My dear sir: Twice since the battle at Hanover Court House has the 44th N.Y.V. made its name sacred. On the 27th ult. this regiment behaved most gallantly, capturing thirty of the enemy's force and repulsing the regiments he brought against us on the left. Our loss was sixty in killed and wounded... In the battle of the 1st[July], one of the severest of the present war...of the 225 men which we made this desperate charge , one hundred were killed and wounded... Gen. Porter's corps, in these two severe battles, has lost in killed and wounded very heavily- nearly two third of all its commissioned officers. I have not had time to sleep or eat scarcely for the last week, which has been a week of continual engagements, and such has been the case with the entire army-

Very respectfully yours,

     J.C. Rice, Lt Col.[13] 

      By July 10 the community of Albany had begun the process of raising a new regiment, while in Virginia the 44th regiment was coping with the losses suffered during the Seven Days and the resignation of it's leader. Amid these war related developments the Normal School had conducted its examinations and graduated 30 students. By the end of the summer five members of this graduating class would be members of the 44th.

     Echoing the earlier Federal and Gubernatorial appeals for patriotic action, Albany Mayor Eli Perry called for the citizens of the city to meet "en masse" at the state capitol for the purpose of handing over recruiting responsibilities to the people of the city wards and towns of the county. As the calls for troops continued to filter down to the local level they began to take on an accusatory tone. Perry's meeting announcement that ran in the Journal daily between July 11 and 15 was not as much a call for action as it was a condemnation of inaction. "Albany must respond. The Republic is in peril.... Hesitation is treason. Delay is death."[14]  The Mayor's announcement concluded with a final sentence that rang like the closing of a prayer: "Let the voice of Albany be heard in its majesty and power."[15] 

     The people of Albany responded enthusiastically to the mayor's call to action. On July 16 both the Argus and the Journal were recounting the success of the public war meeting. Large numbers of Albany citizens turned out to partake in what was an evening full of patriotic rhetoric and emotional diatribes. Ultimately, the purpose of the meeting was to shape public option in favor of a tax that was to be levied on the citizens of the county. This tax would make it possible for the county to add an additional $50 to the bounties being offered to new recruits. It appears that little opposition was made to this tax as reports of the July 15 meeting reveal a generally favorable sentiment among the people of the city. The Argus evaluation of that evening's mood is particularly positive.

     One of the largest meetings ever gathered together in our city, assembled in Capitol Park last night, in response to the call of the Union War Committee, to perfect arrangements to immediately raise a regiment of volunteers in this county. Long before the hour for which the meeting was called, people from every quarter o the city were pouring into the Park, and when eight o'clock arrived there could not have been less than ten thousand present. Much enthusiasm prevailed, and there seemed to be unanimous determination that our Generals shall have all the men they may need to secure victory to our arms what ever the cost or sacrifices that are necessary.[16] 

     This assembly primarily functioned as rally to stir up a pro-war sentiment. Speeches by several prominent Albany citizens were made, including one by Lyman Tremain. Tremain was a influential Albany Republican and a member of the Ellsworth Association, the organization responsible for the creation of the 44th Infantry Regiment. Tremain's speech on this night was intended to be yet another catalyst in the effort to spurn the community into a recruiting frenzy.

     ...Is there a man within the sound of my voice- is there a man within the bounds of the city of Albany- is there a human being any where, who hesitates to do his duty? To such he would say, you are a semi secession, which was half secession, or quadroon secession, which is one-quarter secession; he is joined to his idols, let him alone. In all future time a sympathizer with secession will be offensive in the nostril of patriotic people, as were, and ever have been, the tories of the revolution... if there still resides in Albany on who sympathizes with secession, there is no power short of that which converted Saul, when he went forth with his commission in his pocket to persecute the followers of our Saviour, which can reclaim him... What then fellow citizen shall be done by us? ...Shall we respond ?[cries of yes ! yes!] Shall we reinforce our army on the James river, and that speedily? [Yes, yes, of course we will] If we could go there and see regiment after regiment thinned out by sickness and from bullets of the enemy- if you could hear from the lips of those who were engaged in that week of constant war, from the men from with arms in there hands and without rest during the whole week of trial, fighting hourly greatly superior numbers- their comrades dropping around them by fatigue or bullets- ...they are they aid is demanded They will have it If we are not now prepared to reinforce that army and it is driven back, who is responsible? It will rest upon you and upon me... Our sacrifices thus far have been nothing- we have scarcely felt the war... If are any here cannot go himself, nor send a son, we ought to feel willing to devote half our property to the cause, and the whole if need be. Albany is called upon to raise $50 or $100 for each volunteer...shall the voice of Albany go out in doubtful tones- a city and a county true to her antecedents- to law, order, Union and the Constitution?[17] 

      Governor Morgan also addressed the crowd that evening . The Argus makes note of his presence and remarks:

     The Governor, stepping to the front of the stand briefly addressed the multitude, stating the objects of the meeting, expressing himself as perfectly confident that that the people of Albany would respond to with alacrity to the Government, and concluding with the remark that "our duty does not end with raising of the new Regiments. Our Regiments in the field must and shall be filled up."[18] 

      Morgan's final statement that evening served as a reminder to those present that this localized effort in raising troops was ultimately part of a national movement. The Governor did not want the people of Albany to forget about the need to reinforce pre-existing regiments such as the 44th.

     Despite the Governor's concern, the people of the Albany had become preoccupied with the raising a new regiment. The recruitment of what came to be known simply as the "Albany Regiment" was becoming more and more a personal issue to the people of the city. What had started as a national call for 300,000 men was now translated into numbers for each town and ward. The regiment was to be comprised of 1000 men; 548 from the ten city wards and 452 from the outlying towns.[19]  In the days following the city war meeting, each ward held its own meeting to organize their efforts to fill their quota of soldiers for the Albany Regiment. The tenth city ward was assigned the highest quota in the county, 94 men[20] , and consequently wasted no time in calling it's residents to organize and take action. "The Tenth Ward Aroused!" proclaimed a Journal notice on July 17. "The men of the Tenth Ward are awake. They are to meet at the County Court Room to-morrow evening, to initiate the organization of a company for the Albany regiment"[21] 

      While the Tenth Ward was "initiating the organization" of its company for the Albany Regiment, the members of the State Normal School had quietly begun the organization of a company to reinforce the "Ellsworth Avengers" of the 44th Infantry Regiment. Tucked away in the "Local Affairs" column on the third page of the July 18 Argus, a brief article made note of the Normal School's response to the appeals for troops that were now ringing through every neighborhood in the city.

     It is stated that Professors Kimball and Husted, of the Normal School, have resigned their positions as members of the faculty of that institution, for the purpose of organizing a company of Normal Students and graduates . One-third of the of the students of the term just completed have already enrolled themselves with these patriotic Professors. It is supposed that the Company will be prepared to be mustered in to service at the maximum standard by the 15th of August.[22] 

The Journal carried a similar notice on July 31 :

     Dr. Walworth[Woodworth] announced that Prof. Kimball, of the Normal School, had resigned his position, because he felt that his duty called him to the defense of his country's flag. He was about raising a company, and would desire recruits among the teachers; already thirty young men under his instruction had signified their intention to join him.[23] 

      Although the Journal's notice refers to "thirty young men under his instruction" that intended to join Kimball's company, twenty five "Normal School Boys" actually joined the company. Of these twenty-five men, twelve were still students and thirteen were graduates of the school. Five of these graduates had completed their studies that summer and participated in the graduation exercises on July 10.[24]  Thus, seventeen of these final twenty five men were still students and present in Albany in the early days of July while finishing the term.

      As students of the Normal School, these young men boarded in the homes of local people. Attending school and living amid the citizens of Albany, the students would have undoubtedly been aware of local events and surely witnessed the initial stirrings of Albany's effort to raise troops. Indeed Kimball and Husted, as residents of Albany[25] , were astutely aware of the local situation. As residents of Albany, it is likely that they attended the city war meeting on the July 15. William Kidd, who would be second in command of the Normal School Company when it finally left Albany, was also a resident of the city.[26]  Furthermore, Kidd was closely associated to the raising of the Albany Regiment as he was appointed to be its Quartermaster. Kidd passed up this appointment and ultimately received a commission as 1st Lieutenant in the 44th New York Volunteers, New Company E.[27]  While the Normal School Company was not a product of the effort to raise a Albany county regiment, it was part of the community's general response to reinforce the Union Army. Specifically, it was part of the community's response to Governor Morgan's reminder to the people of Albany that "our regiments in the field must and shall be filled up."

     The 44th Volunteers was one of the regiments of which the Governor was speaking. In a direct appeal for new recruits, Eugene Nash, acting adjutant of the 44th, wrote to the editors of the Journal on July 16. His letter was published in on July 22.

     The officers and privates of this regiment desire, through the columns of your extensively circulated paper, to call to attention of the friends of the Forty-forth New York Volunteers to the condition and wants of the same. It is now about nine months since this regiment. Left its rendezvous, at Albany, to join the Army of the Potomac...The casualties of war have greatly reduced its numbers, but it has been an honorable reduction... Will not the friends of the 44th and the citizens of the State of New York generously increase its numbers...Will not every town and ward, village and hamlet, throughout the great State of New York, send one good man from their midst to fill up our ranks? Are there not hundreds of young men throughout our state willing to make any sacrifice to preserve our country, when to outlive that county's safety and glory is worse than a thousand deaths? Young men of New York, we welcome you to or ranks. We ask you to join us, determined never to leave the field until our arms shall be crowned with victory, and peace be restored throughout our whole land.[28] 

      The people of Albany did not stop keeping track of the 44th; the papers continued to carry reports on the regiment on an almost daily basis. However, raising the Albany Regiment was the community's task at hand and filling its ranks overshadowed all other recruiting efforts. Far removed from the seat of the war and the plight of old regiments such as the 44th, the people of Albany were fighting a battle to fill their quota. Albany's strategy in meeting its quota followed a general pattern common to communities throughout the North. The first element of this strategy included vigorous fund raising campaigns to provide pecuniary incentives to prospective soldiers. At this stage in the war northern communities could not rely on a patriotic sentiment to get the job done.[29]  Before the towns and city wards had assumed their recruiting responsibilities, the federal, state, and county governments had all contributed to a portion of the total bounty a recruit would receive. In Albany this multitiered bounty came to $150.

      Placing the recruiting responsibilities on the lowest municipal level possible (town and ward) brought the issue directly into every neighborhood and made it a personal matter for county residents. With the newspapers giving daily progress reports of the recruiting efforts in each ward, the people faced public humiliation and ridicule if their ward failed to meet its quota. Therefore, the process of raising the Albany Regiment took on a competitive nature. Recruiting became a matter of civic pride as a race to fill quotas developed between the wards. This competitive tone is evident in a Journal article that sounds more like a piece on horse racing than report on the recruitment of troops.

     WHICH WARD WILL HAVE THE FIRST COMPANY? The Eighth intends to; but it may be beaten. The Second, the Third, and Fourth, and Fifth, and the sixth are doing nobly, while the old Ninth and Tenth hope, before the close of the week, to pass them all. Which ever succeeds will receive "all honors." A Banner, Music, Salute, and a "good time generally," will be awarded them.[30] 

      One recruiting tactic that was employed by the wards involved pledges that the men of the ward took to furnish one volunteer or personally enlist. For example, the Sixth Ward's quota was fixed at twenty-nine men and at a ward meeting on July 21, twenty-nine residents took a pledge to enlist if they could not fill the quota with other men.[31]  Furnishing men to fill up the ward's quota often boiled down to a pecuniary matter. Adding yet another layer to the financial incentives being offered to prospective soldiers, each ward increased the general bounty as they engaged in a bidding war for available recruits. Monetary donations made by residents to increase their ward's bounty were celebrated in the papers. Ninth Ward resident John Rathbone was recognized in both papers for his promise of $500. On July 29 several men of the Fifth and Ninth Wards were honored in the Argus for their contributions of $100 each.[32]  Such tactics suggest that a wards' response was not completely a patriotic one but also an effort to dispense with the quota by hiring men from outside the community. Wealthier wards could offer higher bounties and filled their quotas with men from other wards, towns, and counties . The Albany Regiment, while raised in the towns and wards of Albany County, attracted a large number of recruits from neighboring counties. For example: ninety-five men from Schoharie County enlisted in the Albany Regiment; enough men to fill the Tenth Ward's entire quota and form a single company.

      As the newspapers filled their pages with reports on local recruitment, recruiting offices opened up in every neighborhood. Recruiting tents popped up all over the city as musicians added their talents to the cause. "[R]ecruiting tents have been erected on State street, where drums and fife issue forth, from sunrise to sunset, martial strain."[33]  reported the Journal. Other enlistment offices opened on Washington Street, Green Street, South Pearl Street, Beaver Street, and at the corner Lark and Lydius (Madison) Streets. The Rainbow Saloon on State Street also functioned as a recruiting station as many recruiting officers were to be found congregating there. Captain Wallace, recruiting for the Eighth Ward, made the Saloon his official enlistment office.[34]  With recruiting tents erected in the middle in of State Street, and enlistment stations in virtually every neighborhood, downtown Albany resembled a "military camp."[35]  By mid August there were more than twenty recruiting stations operating in the city.[36]  Being located just off of State Street (on the northwest corner of Lodge and Howard Streets[37] ), the State Normal School was in the center of this carnival of recruitment.

      The federal government added another factor to the recruiting equation when on August 4 the War Department called for an additional 300,000 men to serve for nine months. This order gave each state until August 15 to meet its total quota or face a draft of the state militia to make up the deficiency.[38]  On the local level this meant that under both calls for troops, Albany County's quota doubled from 1753 to 3506.[39]  The effects of this second call for troops and threat of a draft served as an additional "stick"[40]  in the community's general recruiting efforts. The papers now included threats of conscription to the mix of enlistment motivation. Men were warned to enlist now and avoid the draft. The draft deadline was pushed back to September 1, and ultimately there was no draft in 1862 in New York State. However, as historian Matthew Gallman, points out, the threat of conscription worked by "giving the North's traditional localism an extra shove."[41] 

     The draft threat accelerated the completion of the Albany regiment. On August 7, 700 men had enlisted; by the August 9 the count was up to 750 men.[42]  On August 11, 850 men[43]  had joined and on August 13 the Argus reported "The Albany Regiment Full."[44]  Both the Argus and the Journal congratulated the people of the county for completion of the regiment. The Troy Whig also offered it's congratulations stating that "the citizens of Albany have every reason to rejoice over the "good time" made by them in organizing the regiment from that county."[45]  On August 15 over eleven-hundred men were enlisted in the regiment, and on August 18 they were mustered in to service.[46] 

     The Albany Regiment was designated as the 113th New York State Volunteers and on August 19 it left the city to join the Union Army.[47]  The regiment marched from the barracks located on the western edge of Albany to the docks of the Hudson River where the men boarded onto two barges that carried them South. According to the Journal, "Ten thousand men and women lined the streets through which the regiment passed. No equally intense enthusiasm has marked the departure of any regiment since the war began."[48] 

      With the completion and departure of the Albany Regiment, the county's efforts now shifted to filling up old regiments such as the 44th. With the city already mobilized in the recruiting of the 113th, each ward kept up their recruiting efforts. The recruiting that took place in latter portion of the summer was not carried out with the patriotic zeal that unified the community in raising the Albany Regiment. Despite the completion of the Albany Regiment, the county had not yet met it's full quota (under both calls for troops the county quota was 3,506[49] ). Now recruitment was a primarily a matter of numbers and avoiding the humiliation of a draft. Each ward operated independently as the men they enlisted would serve in different regiments already in the field. The Ninth Ward recruited for the 61st Regiment, the Fifth, Sixth and Tenth Wards raised troops for the 43rd, while the Eighth Ward recruited a company for "some old regiment."[50]  The Third and Fourth Wards engaged in recruiting for the 44th with the help of Captain E.B. Knox who was on leave from the regiment for this purpose. [51]  Just days after the Albany Regiment was completed, the newspapers were full of notices directing prospective soldiers to "old regiment" recruiting stations throughout the city. One such notice related to the 44th appeared on in the Journal on August 16th.

     THE FORTY-FOURTH REGIMENT.- Capt. E.B. Knox is recruiting for the Gallant Forty-fourth (Ellsworth) Regiment, in which all our citizens feel so deep an interest. He has three stations- No. 2 Green street, No. 65 State street and at the Steamboat Square. At all of these places the recruit will receive a bounty of TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS, in addition to the General and State Governmental Bounties. More liberal inducements will not be offered.[52] 

      As stated above, this second round of recruiting was not carried out with the enthusiasm of the raising of the Albany Regiment. "RECRUITING IS NOT LIVELY"[53] , read a headline in the Journal. The newspapers made note of the sluggish recruitment of the late summer and the printed numerous reminders that each ward would "be subjected to the ignominy of a draft"[54]  if they did not meet their total quota. In addition, they warned that the enlistment bounties would be discontinued. According to the Journal the question was: "will you volunteer and receive all the bounties, or wait to be drafted and receive nothing?"[55]  Earlier that summer the cry had gone out for the county to put a regiment in the field, now the wards cried out in the papers : "SHALL WE AVOID THE DRAFT?"[56]  By the end of the summer recruitment had slowed. On the last Sunday of that August, the city recruiting offices remained open "because of the stress"[57]  to avoid the draft. The city's clergy added their influence to the cause of that day by "delivering patriotic addresses" among the tents on State Street.[58] 

      On August 26 Schreiber's Band was engaged to march through the city playing patriotic tunes to stir up the passions of the residents.[59]  The significance of Schreiber's band was not merely in it's music. The band had officially mustered in as part of the 44th in September of 1861. It left Albany with the regiment in October of that year, and later that month led the 44th down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Eugene Nash remembered the band fondly when writing his history of the 44th regiment.

      The band lead the way when the regiment marched into the fortified works at Yorktown. It never missed an opportunity to cheer and encourage the troops during the Seven Days' battle in front of Richmond. In the midst of disaster, sorrow and gloom, on the 4th of day of July, 1862, it did not fail to kindle anew heroic purpose by its lofty patriotic strains.

Now, back in Albany, the band was still in the service of the Union Army as it marched through the city reminding residents that the old regiments in the field needed to be reinforced.

      The Normal School Company was a part of this movement to reinforce old regiments. After being absent from the papers for all of August, a recruiting notice appeared in the Journal on September 2 that told of the progress of Professor Kimball's Company. "Prof. Kimball, of the Normal School has sixty one men mustered in . They are mostly graduates of that institution. Those who wish to go to the field with a first rate class of men, can not do better than to join this company."[60]  Later that month the Journal briefly reported that Major E.B. Knox (he had been promoted from captain while in Albany) recruiting for the 44th had "secured two full companies for this regiment. Which will be sent off month."[61]  One of those companies was the New Company E, the Normal School Company.

      Similar to the recruitment of the original 44th Regiment and the Albany Regiment, the recruiting efforts of the Normal School Company were centered in Albany but attracted men from other parts of New York State. For example, among the among the final one-hundred-one men that made up the Normal School Company, sixteen were from Seneca County, and eleven were residents of Schoharie County.[62]  In addition, while the 25 Normal School students and graduates that joined the company were connected to the Albany community through their association with the Normal School, their homes were elsewhere.[63] 

      When the companies of the Albany Regiment left earlier that summer, the towns and wards they represented held ceremonies in their honor where the presentation of gifts were made. These gifts were usually in the form of a sword or revolver for the officers and some item of necessity for the enlisted men.[64]  These presentations upon departure served as a link between the soldiers and the communities they represented.[65]  Two days prior to departing , the Normal School Company took part in this departure ritual. The event that was reported in the Journal marked the State Normal School and Albany as the communities that the new company would most directly represent.

     Captain Kimball, formerly one of the faculty of the State Normal School, has organized a company of volunteers mainly from the pupils of that institution. They are as fine a body of men as any regiment can boast. This afternoon, mainly through the exertions of the ladies of the institution, presentation was made to each member of a rubber camp blanket. The company were marched to the institution where just before the school was dismissed, the presentation took place.[66] 

     On the morning of October 16, equipped with their rubber blankets, the men of the Normal School Company left the barracks on the western outskirts of the city. They proceeded through Albany down State Street and passed by the Normal School. Like their predecessors in the 44th, they were led on their march by Schreiber's Band. They boarded a train on the Hudson River Rail Road along with their officers; Captain Kimball, 1st Lieutenant Kidd, and 2nd Lieutenant Husted.[67]  They were also accompanied by Major Knox, who was to rejoin his regiment after a summer of recruiting in Albany. At nine o'clock A.M. the train left Albany. That evening the Journal reported the departure:

     REINFORCING THE ELLSWORTHS- Captain Kimball, with all his company numbering over one hundred strong, and composed of students attached to the Normal School, passed down State street this morning, preceded by Schribers Band, en route for the seat of war. The company left in the 9 o'clock train for New York. They are to be attached to the 44th(Ellsworth) Regiment.[68] 

      The Normal School Company had emerged out of Albany's general effort to reinforce the Union Army. While the Albany Regiment took center stage that summer, the Normal School Company further cemented the link between the community of Albany and the 44th New York State Volunteer Infantry Regiment. As members of the 44th, the men of the Normal School Company not only represented their various home towns, but also the city and the academic institution where the company was conceived, organized, and mustered into service.


[1]  Historical Sketch of the State Normal College 1844-1894. (Albany: Brandow Printing Company, 1894.) 91. Return to Text

[2]  Albany Evening Journal, July 5,1862, 3. Return to Text

[3]  Albany Atlas & Argus, July 2, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[4]  Ibid. Return to Text

[5]  Nevins, Allen. The War for the Union. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1960.) 140. Return to Text

[6]  Gallman, Matthew. The North fights the Civil War: The Home Front. (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1994.) 60. Return to Text

[7]  Nevins, 163. Return to Text

[8]  Albany Atlas & Argus, July 3, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[9]  Albany Evening Journal, July 11, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[10]  Ibid. Return to Text

[11]  Albany Evening Journal, July 5, 1862, 3. Return to Text

[12]  Ibid. Return to Text

[13]  Albany Atlas & Argus, July 10, 1862, 3. Return to Text

[14]  Albany Evening Journal, July 12, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[15]  Ibid. Return to Text

[16]  Albany Atlas & Argus, July 16, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[17]  Albany Evening Journal, July 16, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[18]  Albany Atlas & Argus, July16, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[19]  Albany Evening Journal, July 12,1862, 2. Return to Text

[20]  Ibid. Return to Text

[21]  Albany Evening Journal, July 17, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[22]  Albany Atlas & Argus, July 18, 1862, 3. Return to Text

[23]  Albany Evening Journal, July 31, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[24]  Historical Sketch, 17-19. Return to Text

[25]  Albany Directory for the year of 1862. (Albany: Adams Sampson & Co., 1862.) 73-80. Return to Text

[26]  Ibid., 79. Return to Text

[27]  Phisterer, Frederick. New York in the War of the Rebellion Vol. II.(Albany: J.B. Lyon Company, 1912.) 1386. Return to Text

[28]  Albany Evening Journal, July 22, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[29]  Gallman, 64. Return to Text

[30]  Albany Evening Journal, August 4, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[31]  Albany Evening Journal, July 22, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[32]  Albany Atlas & Argus, July 29, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[33]  Ibid. Return to Text

[34]  Albany Evening Journal, August 23, 1862, 3. Return to Text

[35]  Hilsop, Codman. Albany: Dutch, English and American.( Albany: Argus Press, 1936) 310. Return to Text

[36]  Albany Evening Journal, August 23, 3. Return to Text

[37]  Hilsop, 335. Return to Text

[38]  Albany Atlas & Argus, August 5, 1862, 1. Return to Text

[39]  Albany Evening Journal, August 13, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[40]  Gallman, 66. Return to Text

[41]  Ibid. Return to Text

[42]  Albany Atlas & Argus, August 9, 1862, 3. Return to Text

[43]  Albany Atlas & Argus, August 11, 1862, 3. Return to Text

[44]  Albany Atlas & Argus, August 13, 1862, 3. Return to Text

[45]  Albany Evening Journal, August 15, 1862, 3. Return to Text

[46]  Clark, Rufus W. Heroes of Albany. (Albany S.R. Gray Publisher, 1867.) 862. Return to Text

[47]  Ibid. Return to Text

[48]  Albany Evening Journal, August, 20, 1862. 2. Return to Text

[49]  Albany Evening Journal, August, 13, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[50]  Albany Evening Journal, August 16, 1862. 2. Return to Text

[51]  Ibid. Return to Text

[52]  Ibid. Return to Text

[53]  Albany Evening Journal, August 26, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[54]  Ibid. Return to Text

[55]  Ibid. Return to Text

[56]  Albany Evening Journal, August 16, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[57]  Reynolds, 627. Return to Text

[58]  Ibid. Return to Text

[59]  Albany Evening Journal, August 26, 1862, 2. Return to Text

[60]  Albany Evening Journal, September 2, 1862, 3. Return to Text

[61]  Albany Evening Journal, September 25, 1862, 3. Return to Text

[62]  Town Clerks' Registers of Soldiers and Seamen Composing the Quotas for troops Furnished to the United States During the Civil War, (series 13774). New York State Archives. Return to Text

[63]  Presidents Registration Book(1845-1867) of the New York State Normal School. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York. Return to Text

[64]  Albany Evening Journal, August 13, 1862, 3. Return to Text

[65]  Gallman, 79. Return to Text

[66]  Albany Evening Journal, October 14, 1862, 3. Return to Text

[67]  Ibid. Return to Text

[68]  Albany Evening News, October 16, 1862, 3.



Archival Sources:

Abstract of Civil War Muster Rolls(series 13775), New York State Archives, Albany, New York.

Civil War Allotment Records. Albany County Hall of Records, Albany, New York.

Minutes of the Executive Committee of the New York State Normal School, September 12, 1862. University Archives. M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York.

Presidents Registration Book (1845-1867) of the New York State Normal School. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, Univerity at Albany, State University of New York.

Town Clerks' Registers of Soldiers and Seaman Composing the Quotas of troops Furnished to the United States During the Civil War. (series 13774). New York State Archives, Albany, New York.


Albany Atlas & Argus, July-December 1862 Albany Evening Journal, July-December 1862

Secondary Sources:

Albany Directory, for the year of 1862. Albany: Adams, Sampson & Co., 1862.

Clark, Rufus W. Heroes of Albany. Albany: S.R. Gray Publisher, 1867.

Dornbusch, C.E. The Communities of New York and the Civil War. New York: The New York Public Library, 1962.

Florence and William French. College of Empire State.

Gallman, Matthew J. The North Fights the Civil War: The Home Front. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1994.

Hilsop, Codman. Albany: Dutch, English and American. Albany: The Argus Press, 1936.

Historical Sketch of the State Normal School. Albany : Brandow Printing Company, 1894.

Nevins, Allen. The War for the Union, Vol. II. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1960.

Parker, Amasa J. Ed. Landmarks of Albany County. Syracuse: D. Mason & Co, 1897.

Phisterer, Frederick. New York in the War of the Rebellion, Vol. II. Albany: J.B.Lyon Company, 1912.

Reynolds, Cuyler. Albany Chronicles. Albany: J.B. Lyons Co., 1906. 26