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Area’s Aid. to Union

Footnotes to Long Island History

Areas Aid to Union

by

Thomas R. Bayles


          When the war between the States broke out in 1861, the towns of Suffolk County responded promptly to the call of the countries need. Sympathy for the Union cause was emphatically the popular sentiment and intense interest was felt in the events in the spring of 1861.

        Enthusiasm was manifested by raising the stars and stripes in every village in the county. As the was became an established fact the towns held special meetings to raise money and arrange for filling their quotas of volunteers.

         On August 18, 1862 the Board of Supervisors at Riverhead passed a resolution that each town should fill its own quota of men in the service or raise its own funds independent of any associated action of the county.

       At a meeting at Coram, August 21, it was voted that the Supervisors should raise money by a loan and pay a bounty of $150 to each volunteer who would enlist to the credit of the town. About this time the government was making loud calls for the men to carry on the war and it was thought that a draft might be necessary to fill quotas.

       The supervisor and assessors met at Coram August 26 and began making an enrollment of men liable for military service. A commission and a doctor sat at Coram November 1st to examine men claiming exemption from military duties for physical disability.

        Enlistments were sufficient to prevent draft, and the quotas of many towns being filled, the surplus of recruits was obtainable at a lower bounty than had been voted by the town.

        The supervisor at the time was Nathaniel Miller who on November 5 went to New York City and was able to make up the deficiency in the town's quota by securing 107 three year men in Corcoran's Irish brigade at $80 each and saved the town considerable money.

         After the meeting of August 21 the work of raising a loan began. A the time the town had no authority to borrow for this purpose or to raise money by tax to pay it. At the time political prospect was dark, party spirit was strong and the very foundations of government were trembling.

         The man who loaned money to the cause took all the risk himself and his only security was his faith in the final triumph of the Union and the integrity of the people and their government. There were each.

          The legislature of 1863 did sanction such loans, and granted the power to secure them after many men in Brookhaven town who staked their money on this and made loans of $50 to $200 which loans of larger amounts were made.

           Under the draft which took place in 1863, the town made no effort to provide for its citizens who were drafted, as the act of that year released any drafted man who paid $300.

           At a special town meeting held January 4, 1864 it was voted to raise a fund by the contribution of $25 from each man subject to a draft, the fund so raised to be divided among those who were drafted.

           A special town meeting was held on February 18, 1864 at which it was voted to raise $60,000 to secure the towns quota of men for the call which had been made. A town committee was appointed to collect and spend the money in employing men and finding substitutes in case of a draft.

           The draft occurred on May 11, taking from Brookhaven town 201 men.

          On January 12, 1865 a special town meeting was held at which it was decided to raise a loan to pay $500 to three year men, $400 to two year men and $300 to one year men. It was also voted that with the authority of the Legislature the amount should be raised by tax within the year which was done.

          Of those who went from Suffolk County a greater number enlisted in the 127th New York Infantry than in any other regiment. Several companies of this regiment were made up almost entirely from the county mainly from Southold, the Hamptons and Huntington.

          A company in the 12th New York was largely made up from the neighborhood of Patchogue, and a number from Huntington and other sections of the county joined the 102nd New York. The able number to the 81st New York of which Colonel Edwin Rose of Bridgehampton was in command.

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