Discussion Some questions about state and territorial militias/guards

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Forgive my ignorance here, but I've got a few questions as to how the militia system worked during the Civil War in both north and south. I realize that the questions I'm asking probably have very different answers north and south of the line, and maybe even between states on either side ... I'm interested in any and all examples.

Question 1: What sort of oaths of enlistment / allegiance did state militiamen typically swear? For instance did they only swear loyalty to their particular state, or did their oaths also include pledges to the Union/Confederacy? And did this differ at all with militias raised in territories, such as Colorado or Confederate Arizona?

Question 2: How long were typical terms of enlistment in state militias?

Question 3: Am I right in thinking that state militias were typically supplied with uniforms and equipment at the expense of their own state government, or did individual unit commanders have to chip in for the costs? And if the latter, were there specific regulations set down by a state government as to what equipment a militia unit should be supplied with, or did unit commanders have a certain degree of autonomy in what they outfitted their men with?

Question 4: I've come across references to several units (particularly in the south) referred to as "state guards". Was this just another term for a state militia, or did it signify something different?

Question 5: The vast majority of militia units I've come across are land-based. Did any states organize their own naval militias?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_Home_Guard
Not a great article but it gives a general sketch of Confedrate Homeguards.
Leftyhunter
Forgive my ignorance here, but I've got a few questions as to how the militia system worked during the Civil War in both north and south. I realize that the questions I'm asking probably have very different answers north and south of the line, and maybe even between states on either side ... I'm interested in any and all examples.

Question 1: What sort of oaths of enlistment / allegiance did state militiamen typically swear? For instance did they only swear loyalty to their particular state, or did their oaths also include pledges to the Union/Confederacy? And did this differ at all with militias raised in territories, such as Colorado or Confederate Arizona?

Question 2: How long were typical terms of enlistment in state militias?

Question 3: Am I right in thinking that state militias were typically supplied with uniforms and equipment at the expense of their own state government, or did individual unit commanders have to chip in for the costs? And if the latter, were there specific regulations set down by a state government as to what equipment a militia unit should be supplied with, or did unit commanders have a certain degree of autonomy in what they outfitted their men with?

Question 4: I've come across references to several units (particularly in the south) referred to as "state guards". Was this just another term for a state militia, or did it signify something different?

Question 5: The vast majority of militia units I've come across are land-based. Did any states organize their own naval militias?
https://www.ncpedia.org/home-guard
This article is about the Confedrate North Carolina Homeguards who actually were paid when on duty but by 1863 Confedrate money wasn't worth much. The Nc Homeguards sometimes fought well against Union forces. The article doesn't mention that the Third North Carolina Mounted Union killed a fair amount of Homeguards also Unionist guerrillas killed some as well. For more details see " Kirks Raiders A notorious band of outlaw's and thieves" George Bumgardner Tar Heel Press and " War in the Mountains" I don't have the book with me know give the complete citation but it covers Unionist guerrillas vs the Confedrate Homeguards.
Leftyhunter
Forgive my ignorance here, but I've got a few questions as to how the militia system worked during the Civil War in both north and south. I realize that the questions I'm asking probably have very different answers north and south of the line, and maybe even between states on either side ... I'm interested in any and all examples.

Question 1: What sort of oaths of enlistment / allegiance did state militiamen typically swear? For instance did they only swear loyalty to their particular state, or did their oaths also include pledges to the Union/Confederacy? And did this differ at all with militias raised in territories, such as Colorado or Confederate Arizona?

Question 2: How long were typical terms of enlistment in state militias?

Question 3: Am I right in thinking that state militias were typically supplied with uniforms and equipment at the expense of their own state government, or did individual unit commanders have to chip in for the costs? And if the latter, were there specific regulations set down by a state government as to what equipment a militia unit should be supplied with, or did unit commanders have a certain degree of autonomy in what they outfitted their men with?

Question 4: I've come across references to several units (particularly in the south) referred to as "state guards". Was this just another term for a state militia, or did it signify something different?

Question 5: The vast majority of militia units I've come across are land-based. Did any states organize their own naval militias?
Any good book on Jones County Mississippi will have information about Newt Knight vs the Confedrate Army and
Militia units both US & CS had a variety of purposes and reasons for their creation. Some were created to protect a community from physical threats such as criminal gangs, Native depradations and slave revolts. Some originally started as Fire Brigades and would gain a military theme as well. In the slave holding regions militias maintained a very real presence due to the fear of slave revolts, especially after the Nat Turner Rebellion. In the West militia units were needed to deal with the very real threat of Native raids by aggressive tribes sucah as the Commanche, Kiowa, Lakota, Cheyenne etc. In all cases their effectiveness was varied. It's one thing to train with friends and neighbors when there is no real threat of violence, it's another thing entirely when it comes time to stand in a line of battle.

The practice of wealthy men or militia units arming and equiping themselves varied dramaticly as well. Men like Wade Hampton in particular did a superb job of creating units and taking them off to war with those units arriving well equipped and ready for a fight. Wheras others showed up with a self appointed Captain or Colonel leading a group of men with shotguns and squirrel rifles expecting the state to arm and equip them. It wasn't much better when a fire brigade of fraternity showed up but they at least, sometimes, had a degree of discipline and organization.

It has been said that the South had a better militia system than the rest of the country becuase they had the experiance of Slave Patrols. The reality was that escaped slaves rarely were able to shoot back and it's a whole nother matter when the enemy is shooting back.
Being in the Milita or Homeguards could be very dangerous. Escaped slaves most often didn't have guns but Unionist guerrillas sure did and the 3rd North Carolina Mounted Union had Spencer rifles and not always kindly regarding Confedrate Homeguards. Milita and Homeguards often fought by themselves. There were combined Union and milita patrols in Missouri some of the time. This concept was used in Vietnam by the USMC called " Combined Action Platoons".
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Forgive my ignorance here, but I've got a few questions as to how the militia system worked during the Civil War in both north and south. I realize that the questions I'm asking probably have very different answers north and south of the line, and maybe even between states on either side ... I'm interested in any and all examples.

Question 1: What sort of oaths of enlistment / allegiance did state militiamen typically swear? For instance did they only swear loyalty to their particular state, or did their oaths also include pledges to the Union/Confederacy? And did this differ at all with militias raised in territories, such as Colorado or Confederate Arizona?

Question 2: How long were typical terms of enlistment in state militias?

Question 3: Am I right in thinking that state militias were typically supplied with uniforms and equipment at the expense of their own state government, or did individual unit commanders have to chip in for the costs? And if the latter, were there specific regulations set down by a state government as to what equipment a militia unit should be supplied with, or did unit commanders have a certain degree of autonomy in what they outfitted their men with?

Question 4: I've come across references to several units (particularly in the south) referred to as "state guards". Was this just another term for a state militia, or did it signify something different?

Question 5: The vast majority of militia units I've come across are land-based. Did any states organize their own naval militias?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_Home_Guard
Not a great article but it gives a general sketch of Confedrate Homeguards.
Leftyhunter
Forgive my ignorance here, but I've got a few questions as to how the militia system worked during the Civil War in both north and south. I realize that the questions I'm asking probably have very different answers north and south of the line, and maybe even between states on either side ... I'm interested in any and all examples.

Question 1: What sort of oaths of enlistment / allegiance did state militiamen typically swear? For instance did they only swear loyalty to their particular state, or did their oaths also include pledges to the Union/Confederacy? And did this differ at all with militias raised in territories, such as Colorado or Confederate Arizona?

Question 2: How long were typical terms of enlistment in state militias?

Question 3: Am I right in thinking that state militias were typically supplied with uniforms and equipment at the expense of their own state government, or did individual unit commanders have to chip in for the costs? And if the latter, were there specific regulations set down by a state government as to what equipment a militia unit should be supplied with, or did unit commanders have a certain degree of autonomy in what they outfitted their men with?

Question 4: I've come across references to several units (particularly in the south) referred to as "state guards". Was this just another term for a state militia, or did it signify something different?

Question 5: The vast majority of militia units I've come across are land-based. Did any states organize their own naval militias?
https://www.ncpedia.org/home-guard
This article is about the Confedrate North Carolina Homeguards who actually were paid when on duty but by 1863 Confedrate money wasn't worth much. The Nc Homeguards sometimes fought well against Union forces. The article doesn't mention that the Third North Carolina Mounted Union killed a fair amount of Homeguards also Unionist guerrillas killed some as well. For more details see " Kirks Raiders A notorious band of outlaw's and thieves" George Bumgardner Tar Heel Press and " War in the Mountains" I don't have the book with me know give the complete citation but it covers Unionist guerrillas vs the Confedrate Homeguards.
Leftyhunter
Forgive my ignorance here, but I've got a few questions as to how the militia system worked during the Civil War in both north and south. I realize that the questions I'm asking probably have very different answers north and south of the line, and maybe even between states on either side ... I'm interested in any and all examples.

Question 1: What sort of oaths of enlistment / allegiance did state militiamen typically swear? For instance did they only swear loyalty to their particular state, or did their oaths also include pledges to the Union/Confederacy? And did this differ at all with militias raised in territories, such as Colorado or Confederate Arizona?

Question 2: How long were typical terms of enlistment in state militias?

Question 3: Am I right in thinking that state militias were typically supplied with uniforms and equipment at the expense of their own state government, or did individual unit commanders have to chip in for the costs? And if the latter, were there specific regulations set down by a state government as to what equipment a militia unit should be supplied with, or did unit commanders have a certain degree of autonomy in what they outfitted their men with?

Question 4: I've come across references to several units (particularly in the south) referred to as "state guards". Was this just another term for a state militia, or did it signify something different?

Question 5: The vast majority of militia units I've come across are land-based. Did any states organize their own naval militias?
Any good book on Jones County Mississippi will have information about Newt Knight vs the Confedrate Army and
Militia units both US & CS had a variety of purposes and reasons for their creation. Some were created to protect a community from physical threats such as criminal gangs, Native depradations and slave revolts. Some originally started as Fire Brigades and would gain a military theme as well. In the slave holding regions militias maintained a very real presence due to the fear of slave revolts, especially after the Nat Turner Rebellion. In the West militia units were needed to deal with the very real threat of Native raids by aggressive tribes sucah as the Commanche, Kiowa, Lakota, Cheyenne etc. In all cases their effectiveness was varied. It's one thing to train with friends and neighbors when there is no real threat of violence, it's another thing entirely when it comes time to stand in a line of battle.

The practice of wealthy men or militia units arming and equiping themselves varied dramaticly as well. Men like Wade Hampton in particular did a superb job of creating units and taking them off to war with those units arriving well equipped and ready for a fight. Wheras others showed up with a self appointed Captain or Colonel leading a group of men with shotguns and squirrel rifles expecting the state to arm and equip them. It wasn't much better when a fire brigade of fraternity showed up but they at least, sometimes, had a degree of discipline and organization.

It has been said that the South had a better militia system than the rest of the country becuase they had the experiance of Slave Patrols. The reality was that escaped slaves rarely were able to shoot back and it's a whole nother matter when the enemy is shooting back.
Being in the Milita or Homeguards could be very dangerous. Escaped slaves most often didn't have guns but Unionist guerrillas sure did and the 3rd North Carolina Mounted Union had Spencer rifles and not always kindly regarding Confedrate Homeguards. Milita and Homeguards often fought by themselves. There were combined Union and milita patrols in Missouri some of the time. This concept was used in Vietnam by the USMC called " Combined Action Platoons".
Leftyhunter
I have a question then about this - after the war, did any of these qualify for pensions from the Federal Government if they fought by themselves?
As far case I can tell only the Missouri State Milita.
Leftyhunter
 

RedRover

Corporal
Joined
Dec 16, 2019
I answered some inside your text but you have to expand it to see it.

Militia units both US & CS had a variety of purposes and reasons for their creation. Some were created to protect a community from physical threats such as criminal gangs, Native depradations and slave revolts. Some originally started as Fire Brigades and would gain a military theme as well. In the slave holding regions militias maintained a very real presence due to the fear of slave revolts, especially after the Nat Turner Rebellion. In the West militia units were needed to deal with the very real threat of Native raids by aggressive tribes sucah as the Commanche, Kiowa, Lakota, Cheyenne etc. In all cases their effectiveness was varied. It's one thing to train with friends and neighbors when there is no real threat of violence, it's another thing entirely when it comes time to stand in a line of battle.

The practice of wealthy men or militia units arming and equiping themselves varied dramaticly as well. Men like Wade Hampton in particular did a superb job of creating units and taking them off to war with those units arriving well equipped and ready for a fight. Wheras others showed up with a self appointed Captain or Colonel leading a group of men with shotguns and squirrel rifles expecting the state to arm and equip them. It wasn't much better when a fire brigade of fraternity showed up but they at least, sometimes, had a degree of discipline and organization.

It has been said that the South had a better militia system than the rest of the country becuase they had the experiance of Slave Patrols. The reality was that escaped slaves rarely were able to shoot back and it's a whole nother matter when the enemy is shooting back.
Per the US Constitution, the Militia of the Several States was engaged for federal purposes to resist insurrections, repel invasions, and enforce the laws of the Union. The Confederate Constitution stated the same (omitting the word "union" for laws of the Confederate States).

State Constitutions also required their militia to do the same at the state level, for example, Ohio's constitution:
1624421770418.png

Regardless, the Militia in the south, and throughout the country, was in a terrible state generally by 1861. During the 1850s some States, like Kentucky, dropped all muster and training requirements, or nullified the existing laws by not enforcing them; so only the small number of "volunteer" MILITIA uniformed companies of light infantry, riflemen, cavalry, or artillery were visible and kept up in most places.

In the 1830s South Carolina's militia (common and volunteer) was relatively well organized, especially after the nullification crisis of '32, etc. But in the 1850s was allowed to largely disorganize too. Camden (S.C.) Weekly Journal in 1859 dismissed the local militia as “among the veriest humbugs of the day.”

Hampton's Legion was raised in '61 by a wealthy planter, but while it was recruited from militiamen, the unit was not a militia unit, but one of Confederate States "volunteers" for the "Provisional Army of the Confederate States" raised in summer, 1861. In March, '61 the CSA passed this law:

That in order to provide speedily forces to repel invasion, maintain the rightful possession of the Confederate States of America in every portion of territory belonging to each state, and to secure the public tranquillity and independence against threatened assault, the President be and he is hereby authorized to employ the militia, military, and naval forces of the Confederate States of America, and to ask for and accept the services of any number of volunteers, not exceeding one hundred thousand, who may offer their services, either as cavalry, mounted riflemen, artillery, or infantry, in such proportion of these several arms as he may deem expedient, to serve for twelve months after they shall be mustered into service, unless sooner discharged.

The "Volunteers" who offered themselves for this service (nearly all militiamen in their States by federal and state law) were mustered for 12 months CSA service; and most later extended to three years or the war, etc. Many existing uniformed "volunteer militia" companies answered this call and entered CSA service; not as State militia, but as CSA volunteers for 12 mo. etc.
The same '61 law reiterated that Militia units called forth by Pres. Davis would serve only 6 months CSA national service at at time. US law limited militia units to 9 months when called forth by Pres. Lincoln...


The "patrol" laws enacted before the war in the Slave States did nothing to render their militia more efficient; evidently far from it.

Alabama's pre-war patrol law foisted the duty on the common "infantry companies" and declared at their common musters they had to organize the patrols. The uniformed volunteer militia companies of light infantry, riflemen, cavalry, and artillery were evidently exempted from this. I have also seen a reference that volunteer militia in South Carolina were also exempt from patrol duty...(and men who had served in the SC Volunteers in US service during the War with Mexico, among others).

From Alabama in 1835, a complaint that the militia was not patrolling certain districts, and enforcing the patrol laws:

“Is it not strange, is it not passing strange, that a country situated as this is, with a black population, fast approximating to one half of the whole,--a population dangerous at all times, under the deepest degradation, and strictest subjugation—should, without a seeming apprehension for the consequences, suffer that population to go at large, night and day, work-day, holiday, and Sunday,--scour the country in gangs, and meet in crowds at midnight revels, with no eye to watch their movements? Surely. And yet it is so. Such a thing as a patrol company coming to your kitchen or negro quarter, is never heard of now—or if at all, within the last few weeks since the stir of the abolition question commenced—crowds of negroes are seen in every direction on the sabbath, and to our own knowledge, fashionable parties at night have been almost as frequent if no more so, among the negroes of this town during the last twelve months, than among the whites. The thing goes on swimmingly to prepare the land for ultimate confusion and insurrection. Pride, insolence, a passion for dress—aping the language and fashions of the whites—a vast idea of his own personal consequence and importance—his rights—his honor—and all that, are all getting fast hold of the black man in such a state of relaxation and neglect, as we have had for a long time. One can see it plainly enough now in the great body of the Town negroes—the country ones will follow suit.
To come to the gist of the matter, we must have a patrol, a regular, efficient Patrol at all hazards, and upon any terms. It is madness to remain longer without it. And how is it to be obtained? This question let the next Assembly determine. We will here barely suggest it however, as our opinion, that it will never be had, until militia organization, discipline, and duty are vastly better enforced than at present, nor, until reasonable compensation be given to those who do patrol duty at public cost." [The Democrat, Huntsville, AL, 9-9-1835.]


And, consequently many throughout that State were going out of their way to avoid militia duty generally...

From under which each individual seeks to glide or extricate himself. Hence we find men of wealth (the very men whose situation best enables, and whose patriotism should stimulate them to accept office in the Militia) refusing to perform any of the Militia duties, and also catching at any opportunity to skulk themselves clear of Military fines... [Flag of the Union, Tuscaloosa, 11-14-35.]

Former slave R.R. Moton of Alabama stated in his autobiography that in many places the planters paid men by the hour to act as night patrollers. I have seen other account that the planters of the deep south frequently arranged the patrols themselves where the militia would not muster to do it.

The disordering of the militia by such laws etc. rendered them unable to enforce even the laws against cruelty to, or murder of slaves. I recall a captain of Louisiana Militia made some enemies by enforcing such laws. (see Roll Jordan Roll, by Mr. Genovese).

by 1860, a notice Alabama's militia was largely disorganized:
1624426098352.png
Daily Confederation, Montgomery, AL, 1-28-60.


In Florida, in 1861, there were 20 Regiments of Militia, and Florida citizens could not vote unless actively enrolled. Regardless, when the war kicked up, the Adjutant General reported that year that only 5 of the regiments were compelled to muster, and a few other companies from among the others, regardless of the State laws. Most of the able-bodied militiamen subsequently joined the CSA service as 12 month volunteers of the provisional army of the Confederate States... later extended to 3 years or the war...



J. Marshall,
Hernando, FL.
 
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