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Adjutant and Inspector General Reports
Under General Order No. 191 of the War Department, dated June 25, 1863, and the orders supplementary thereto, authorizing the re-enlistment of men in service, who had less than one year of their original term of enlistment to serve, and offering a bounty and premium of $402,00 to all, who should thus re-enlist, there have been during the year, 1,943 re-enlistments in the regiments and detached companies from this State, as follows:
Second Regiment 167 Third Regiment 200 Fourth Regiment 210 Fifth Regiment 255 Sixth Regiment 198 Seventh Regiment 355 Eighth Regiment 322 First Cavalry Regiment 170 First Company Sharp Shooters 6 Second Company Sharp Shooters 20 Third Company Sharp Shooters 19 Second Battery Light Artillery 21 ----- Total, 1,943
Of these, twenty-three men re-enlisted and were mustered in within the State, and are included in the number of volunteers herein before stated. The residue, 1,920, re-enlisted and were mustered in the field.
Too much praise cannot be awarded to these veterans, who, having originally enlisted without local bounties, and having full knowledge and experience of all the perils and hardships of active campaigning, volunteered for a further term of three years, that they might assist in putting an end to this wicked and unjustifiable rebellion. The loyalty and patriotism of such men are beyond question. They are veterans, in every sense, inured to every hardship, thoroughly acquainted with their duties, men or iron, prepared to laugh at the perils of disease and battle, and to endure hardships which would send fresh recruits to the hospital, or the grave.
By the requirement of the War Department, those regiments, only, could preserve their organization, of which three fourths should re-enlist of the whole number entitled to re-enlist under the provisions of this order. The Fifth Regiment was the first to company with this requirement, and came home, as a regiment, on veteran furlough, the latter part of December. The Eighth Regiment was the next to secure the preservation of its organization by the re-enlistment of the requisite number, and returned home on veteran furlough about the fifteenth of April. The Seventh Regiment also preserved its organization by re-enlistment; but, from the operation of various causes, the furlough, which was promised to them as a part of the contract of re-enlistment, was not given to them until late in the Summer. They arrived at Brattleboro' on the twenty-sixth of August. These are the only "Veteran Regiments" in the Vermont line. The men of other regiments re-enlisted largely, but not in sufficient numbers to preserve their organizations, -- although several companies of different regiments did so, and came to the State on veteran furlough as companies. The Second and Third companies of Sharp Shooters, have also re-enlisted in sufficient numbers to preserve their organization. In some case it was impossible for regiments to preserve their organization, for the reason, that the order was so modified as to require that three-fourths of the number present should re-enlist, and there were not a sufficient number of original members, entitled to re-enlist, remaining in the regiment, to comply with the requirement.
These men were allowed to re-enlist to the credit of whatever town they might select; and a large number of those in the Army of the Potomac arranged in advance for the payment of local bounties. But others, and especially the men of the Seventh Regiment, were so far away, that it was impossible for them to communicate with the Selectmen, and they selected their towns without assurance of bounty. This has caused considerable difficulty, and occasionally great dissatisfaction, from the fact that some of the towns, notwithstanding they have received the credit, refused to pay the bounty. The question was submitted to the War Department, whether men thus situated could be allowed to change their credit from the town shown by the Muster-in Roll to have been selected by them, to some other town, which would pay a bounty. But it was decided, that the residence shown by the Muster-in Roll could not be changed for the mere purpose of obtaining a local bounty, -- but only in cases, where, by clerical error, the Muster-In Roll showed a residence different from that in fact stated by the recruit at the time. In the latter case it was held, that the error might be corrected by supplementary Muster-in Roll. Many changes of this character have been made, upon satisfactory proof being furnished of the error in the original roll. It is believed, that most of the towns, which at first refused a bounty to these veterans, have reconsidered their determination, and have provided for the payment to them of fair bounties. And it is certainly to be hoped, and expected, that every town will do the same. The enlistments have all been for three years, and the men the most valuable class of recruits, and the towns should remember, that they have served at least two years without local bounties, and that it is certainly mortifying as well as discouraging to such veterans to receive no recognition of their services from their towns upon their re-enlistment, while they see raw recruits, and in many cases a thousand, dollars for enlistment for a single year.
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