Regiment questions

MikeyB

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#1
Hi everyone. Had two questions, although not sure if this is the right place for it.
1) Is there any record of what the longest serving Union regiment was during the war? For instance, were there any units that just kept re-upping after their enlistment expiry?

2) Given the Confederate practice of replenishing versus creating, does this mean there were numerous regiments in existing that served from 1861-1865 (even if none of the men did)?

mike
 

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#2
Simple questions but difficult to answer well.
1. The U.S. Marine Corps is actually older than the Country is so I'm guessing they win on points.
2. Yes it does and a surprising number of their men did as well.
 
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#3
There were regiments that formed in 1861 and continued fighting until 1864. A lot of the regiments that formed in the spring of 1861 enlisted for 2 or 3 years so many were mustered out in 1863 or 1864. Some men reenlisted in 1864 but we're often times assigned to new regiments. Some states, like Massachusetts, formed Veteran Volunteer Infantry regiments which were for men who had reenlisted in 1864 (although some members were not veterans).
 

John Hartwell

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#4
A good number of the early 1861 regiments served to the end of the war. The 2nd Massachusetts, as an example, was organized in May 1861, to serve three years. At the end of 1863, the men were offered a 30 day furlough home if they re-enlisted for 3 more years or until the war ended. A majority of the officers and men agreed, and those who did were furloughed in shifts, between January and March 1864. Those who did not re-enlist remained on duty, until mustered out on May 22nd. The remainder, the "Veteran Volunteers" together with new recruits, kept the regiment "alive" and active until July 1865. The 2nd fought in most of the big battles from First Bull Run to Bentonville, and were present at the surrender of Johnston's army on April 26th.

Some Mass. Regiments did not have enough reenlistments to keep up a regimental organization, and were either reduced to a Battallion (with the same number), or merged with another regiment, maintaining their own companies
 
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#5
A good number of the early 1861 regiments served to the end of the war. The 2nd Massachusetts, as an example, was organized in May 1861, to serve three years. At the end of 1863, the men were offered a 30 day furlough home if they re-enlisted for 3 more years or until the war ended. A majority of the officers and men agreed, and those who did were furloughed in shifts, between January and March 1864. Those who did not re-enlist remained on duty, until mustered out on May 22nd. The remainder, the "Veteran Volunteers" together with new recruits, kept the regiment "alive" and active until July 1865. The 2nd fought in most of the big battles from First Bull Run to Bentonville, and were present at the surrender of Johnston's army on April 26th.

Some Mass. Regiments did not have enough reenlistments to keep up a regimental organization, and were either reduced to a Battallion (with the same number), or merged with another regiment, maintaining their own companies
John, I am actually working on a study of Veteran Volunteer Infantry regiments for a blog I will be publishing soon on Massachusetts in the Civil War
 

AUG

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#6
Actually, many Federal regiments reenlisted as "Veteran Volunteers" after their two or three-year terms of service expired. This was after the War Department issued General Orders No. 191 on June 25, 1863, so my understanding is that this was not just some states, but that all volunteer regiments could do so.

For a few examples of long serving regiments, the 1st Delaware, 2nd Iowa, and 7th Illinois infantry regiments all mustered in in spring of 1861, reenlisted as "Veteran Volunteer regiments" and continued to serve until summer of 1865. The 1st Delaware claimed to be the first to "veteranize," but I'm not sure if that is true.

2) Given the Confederate practice of replenishing versus creating, does this mean there were numerous regiments in existing that served from 1861-1865 (even if none of the men did)?
After the 1862 Conscription Act, most Confederate regiments were also serving two or three-year enlistments; however, I'm not aware of any regiments that were disbanded after their term of service came to an end. The 1864 Conscription Act was supposed to have extended their enlistments to the "duration of the war," although many units also voluntarily reenlisted when their formerly mentioned time was up. Either way, they ended up serving until war's end.
 

John Hartwell

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#7
John, I am actually working on a study of Veteran Volunteer Infantry regiments for a blog I will be publishing soon on Massachusetts in the Civil War
I'll be looking forward to that. I've done quite a bit of work on the Worcester regiments: 15th, 21st, 25th, 34th, 35th, 51st, 57th MVI. Of those, the 57th was a newly created Veteran Volunteer regiment, not the continuation of an old one (like the 2nd above).
 

MikeyB

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#8
A good number of the early 1861 regiments served to the end of the war. The 2nd Massachusetts, as an example, was organized in May 1861, to serve three years. At the end of 1863, the men were offered a 30 day furlough home if they re-enlisted for 3 more years or until the war ended. A majority of the officers and men agreed, and those who did were furloughed in shifts, between January and March 1864. Those who did not re-enlist remained on duty, until mustered out on May 22nd. The remainder, the "Veteran Volunteers" together with new recruits, kept the regiment "alive" and active until July 1865. The 2nd fought in most of the big battles from First Bull Run to Bentonville, and were present at the surrender of Johnston's army on April 26th.

Some Mass. Regiments did not have enough reenlistments to keep up a regimental organization, and were either reduced to a Battallion (with the same number), or merged with another regiment, maintaining their own companies
Sounds like a unit with a lot of interesting history. Is this also the MA regiment that Shaw was captain in before the 54th?
 
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#11
The longest serving volunteer regiment for the Union was probably the 1st Minnesota Infantry. They were offered to the federal government on April 14, 1861 and were officially mustered into service on April 29, 1861. Initially, they were offered for 3 months but that was changed on May 10 to 3 years. They served continuously until their muster out on July 15, 1865.

Ryan
 

AUG

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#12
The longest serving volunteer regiment for the Union was probably the 1st Minnesota Infantry. They were offered to the federal government on April 14, 1861 and were officially mustered into service on April 29, 1861. Initially, they were offered for 3 months but that was changed on May 10 to 3 years. They served continuously until their muster out on July 15, 1865.

Ryan
Although after the 1st Minnesota's 3-year enlistment ended there were only enough men to form a two-company battalion, so not truly a regiment until the end, but their name lived on.

Looks like the 1st and 2nd Michigan infantry regiments also saw a long service.
http://www.migenweb.org/michiganinthewar/infantry/1stinf.htm
http://www.migenweb.org/michiganinthewar/infantry/2ndinf.htm
 

drezac

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#13
At the start of the war, when they were accepting 3 month enlistments, the Ravenna Artillery, under command of Capt. Cotter, enlisted and served as Cotter's Independent Battery ( 2 guns). After their 3 month enlistment, the men re-enlisted, Cotter recruited to a 6 gun strength and they then were mustered in as Battery A of the 1st Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Light Artillery ( 3 year enlistment). At the end of the 3 years, they were offered a 30 day furlough and a bonus to re-enlist. Most re-enlisted, a few new members recruited to fill out the ranks, and then served until mustered out at the end of the war.

I suspect that there are many similar instances like this where regiments served a 3 month enlistment, then re-enlisted.
 



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