Monday, May 2, 2011

May 1861: Warren Brigade of NJ Reserve Militia

In May 1861, the three months militia regiments from New Jersey and Pennsylvania traveled by train to Washington, D. C.  to defend the federal capital.  Colonel Elmer Ellsworth and his Fire Zouaves marched through Baltimore on their way to Washington on May 2.  Among the Zouaves were Lt. William Mathews, of Belvidere, in K Company and 14-year old Jacob H. Cole, of Paterson, in A Company.   Not all of the Zouaves had been issued firearms so the regiment formed a hollow square with officers and unarmed men in the center as they marched through Baltimore.  The Zouaves were aware that the 6th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment had been attacked by a mob eleven days earlier.  There were no attacks on the Zouaves who marched to Washington to set up camp on the lawn of the White House, the home of Ellsworth's friend Abraham Lincoln. The Zouaves called the White House lawn "Camp Lincoln."

In May, the Warren Brigade began to enlist county residents and train them for the reserve militia.  The Warren Brigade Board met in William R. Brocaw's Warren House hotel [now the Masonic Lodge] in Belvidere.  The following were elected officer of the Warren Brigade: William M. Warne, Judge Advocate; John Seagreaves, colonel of 1st Regiment; John Scherrer, major of 1st Battalion, 1st Regt.; William Carhart, major of 2nd Battalion, 1st Regt.; George W. Tunis, major of 1st Independent Battalion; John Loller, colonel of 2nd Regiment; Zadock Loller, major of 2nd Independent Battalion; William Everett, major of 1st Battalion, 2nd Regt.; Amos H. Drake, major of Warren County Cavalry Squadron; George H. Beatty, Brigade Inspector; and James Davidson, Brigadier General.  

The 1st Regiment was composed of men from Phillipsburg, Phillipsburg Township [now Lopatcong Township]   as well as men from Greenwich, Harmony and Franklin Townships.  The 2nd Regiment was composed of men from Washington, Mansfield Township, Hackettstown, Independence Township and Frelinghuysen Township.  A 3rd Regiment was later created for men from Pahaquarry, Hardwick, Blairstown, Knowlton, Hope and Oxford Townships and Belvidere.

Warren County authorized the raising of $100,000 to pay the county's share of the interest on New Jersey's $2 million war loan and to support the families of volunteers.  The NJ Legislature had authorized the counties to pay a share of the State's war loan, and Warren County's share was a total of $4,308.05. 

In Belvidere, many of the original members of Capt. Edward Campbell's Warren Guards had enlisted in state volunteer units   so a second Warren Guards company was created in May under the command of Captain George Washington Tunis, 1st Lieutenant Anthony A. Heminover, and 2nd Lieutenant Lycidius Hamilton.  By the time of the July 4, 1861 parade, there were 30 enlisted men within the ranks of the Warren Guards.  The uniform of the Warren Guards was a blue fatigue cap, red fireman's shirt and gray trousers.

The Belvidere Infantry Company was created by Captain Phineas B. Kennedy, 1st Lieutenant Calvin T. James, and 2nd Lieutenant Richard T. Drake.  This company later created the nucleus of I Company, 31st NJ Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1862.  The following non-commissioned officers were elected in May: 1st Sergeant Joshua Brokaw, Sgt. William Fisher, Sgt. Henry Cummins, Sgt. Edward T. Kennedy, Corporal Charles Wade, Corp. E. S. Young, Corp. John Person, Corp. George Fox, and Quartermaster Israel Harris.  Dr. Samuel C. Clark was elected Surgeon.  There were 64 enlisted men in the company by the time of the July 4, 1861 parade.  The uniform of the Belvidere Infantry was a blue fatigue cap, red fireman shirt, and white trousers.

The Belvidere Cornet Band accompanied the Belvidere Infantry during its marches and parades.  the uniform of the Belvidere Cornet Band was a blue cap, navy blue frock coat, and sky blue trousers.

 The Belvidere Zouave Company was the Belvidere militia company about which the least is known.  The company was organized in by Captain Robert Carhart, Lt. Andrew Hiram Ackerman (a member  of the original Warren Guards), and Orderly (Sgt.) Reuben Phillips.  [The uniform pictured in this author's blog profile is the Belvidere Zouave officer's uniform.]  There were 25 enlisted men in the Zouaves in May 1861.  The Belvidere Zouaves enlisted men wore a red kepi, dark blue roundabout coats with red collars and red zoauve trimmings, gray trousers, and leather leggings. 

In Asbury, the Musconetcong Rifle Guards company was formed. Officers elected were: Captain William Davis, 1st Lieutenant Richard E. Martin, 2nd Lieutenant Ephraim Waters, and Ensign Anthony Lunger (of Hunterdon County).  The company consisted of 50 enlisted men by June 1861 and was attached to the 3rd Regiment, Warren Brigade.

 Asbury's second company was the Musconetcong Guards was commanded by Captain George B. Hoffman, of Asbury; 1st Lieutenant Andrew Jackson Mutchler, of Phillipsburg; and 2nd Lieutenant Frederick Lunger, of South Asbury.  The company was assigned to the 1st Regiment, Warren Brigade and would later form the nucleus of H Company, 8th NJ Vol. Infantry Regt. 

In Phillipsburg, the Ellsworth Guards company of 1st Regiment, Warren Brigade was commanded by Captain James G. Draney, 1st Lieutenant John W. Pullman, and 2nd Lieutenant Henry Cooper.  The Warren Light Infantry Company  of the 1st Regiment was commanded by Captain John K. Small, 1st Lieutenant Enoch G. Prall, and 2nd Lieutenant Lewis Saphar.  The Warren Troop of Cavalry  was commanded by Captain Samuel L. Shimer, 1st Lieutenant William S. Kase, and 2nd Lieutenant Abraham O. S. Winter.

In Stewartsville, the Union Rifle Guards Company, 1st Regiment, Warren Brigade, was formed by Captain John W. Dean, 1st Lieutenant Thaddeus G. Price, 2nd Lieutenant William K. Tilton, and Ensign Alfred G. Weller. 

Copyright 1997-2011: Jay C. Richards

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