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General Order 17, New York State Adjutant-General, April 25, 1861

This information is from Vol. I, pp. 14-16 of A Record of the Commissioned Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Privates, of the Regiments which were organized in the State of New York and called into the service of the United States to assist in supressing the rebellion caused by the secession of some of the Southern States from the Union, A. D. 1861, as taken from the Muster-in Rolls on file in the Adjutant General's Office, S. N. Y., (Albany, N. Y.: Comstock & Cassidy, Printers, 1864). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 973.7 N531, and page images may be viewed at the University of Michigan's Making of America project.

General Head-quarters — State of New York,

Adjutant-General's Office, Albany, April 25, 1861.

General Orders, No. 17.

  1. The Commander-in-Chief, in accordance with an act passed by the Legislature of this State, April 16th, 1861, entitled "An act to authorize the embodying and equipment of a volunteer militia, and to provide for the public defense," and by a Resolution of the Board of State Officers specified in the first Section of said act, hereby directs the organization and enrollment of that part of the force authorized by this act, but not called for by General Orders, No. 13.
  2. The forces will be divided into:
    • Two Divisions,
    • Five Brigades,
    • Twenty-one Regiments,
    • Two hundred and ten Companies,
    • and will comprise two Major-Generals, each with two Aids-de-Camp (Majors), two Division Inspectors (Lieutenant-Colonels), five Brigadier-Generals, each with one Aide-de-Camp (Captains), five Brigade Inspectors (Majors), twenty-one Colonels, twenty-one Lieutenant-Colonels, twenty-one Majors, twenty-one Adjutants (Lieutenants), twenty-one Regimental Quartermasters (Lieutenants), twenty-one Surgeons, twenty-one Surgeon's Mates, twenty-one Sergeant-Majors, twenty-one Drum- Majors, twenty-one Fife-Majors; and each Company will be composed of one Captain, one Lieutenant, one Ensign, four Sergeants, four Corporals, two musicians and sixty-four privates.
  3. This force will be enrolled for the term of two years, unless sooner discharged.
  4. Privates and non-commissioned officers below the age of 18 years, or above the age of 43 years, will not be enrolled as volunteers, nor will any person of any age who is not "in physical strength and vigor." Minors will not be received into companies without the written consent of the parent, guardian, or master, which must be attested by at least one witness, to be forwarded with the muster roll.
  5. Company rolls, in the form prescribed by the Adjutant-General (who upon application will furnish the same), must be signed by those volunteering, who shall indicate, upon these rolls the names of the persons they shall desire to be commissioned as Captains, Lieutenants and Ensigns of their respective companies. The persons thus indicated for the several company offices will, in like manner, specify upon the same rolls the names of the persons as field officers under whom they desire to serve. Whenever any such roll shall have been signed by seventy-seven persons, inclusive of the indicated commissioned officers of the company, it shall be transmitted to the Adjutant-General, who, upon its acceptance by the officers named in the first section of the act, will direct some proper officer to inspect the company making the return, and to preside at an election, to be determined by written ballot, for the choice of persons to fill the offices of Captain, Lieutenant, Ensign, four Sergeants and four Corporals. Upon the return of such inspection and election, the Adjutant-General will transmit to the officers so elected their commissions and warrants, with a notification that the company has been accepted into the service of the State, pursuant to the above mentioned act, and will also direct the commandant of the company to report himself and his command to such Brigadier-General as he may designate in charge of a depot of volunteers.
  6. Upon the assembling, at any designated depot, of ten companies, thus organized, who shall have indicated the same persons as their choice for the field officers of the regiment to which they desire to be attached, the Brigadier-General in charge, will direct the assembling of their commissioned officers for an election, at which he shall preside, to determine, by written ballot, the choice of persons to fill such field offices. Should it so happen that companies assembled at any depot, without having indicated a preference for their field officers, on the reporting of ten of such companies, the Brigadier-General in charge will, in like manner, direct the assembling of their commissioned officers for an election to fill the field offices of such regiment, and make return of these elections to the Adjutant-General, for the commissions of the officers elected, who will at once be assigned to their respective regiments.
  7. Hereafter officers will not be commissioned until their companies are raised to the legal strength. Should the services of troops, accepted under General Orders No. 13 be required before the companies have been so filled, they will be consolidated into companies, and a new election for officers be held.
  8. The pay and rations of the general officers, staff officers of the divisions and brigades, and of the field and staff officers and non-commissioned officers of regiments, shall commence from the date of their commissions or warrants. That of the company officers, non-commissioned officers, musicians and privates, will commence from the date of the notification of the acceptance of the company by the Commander-in-Chief. The pay and rations will be the same as those of the officers and men of the same grade in the army of the United States, which will be discontinued on the part of the State when the force shall be mustered into the service of the General Government, and be resumed again by the State, on the return of the force to the State authorities. During the time the force is in the service of the United States the pay and rations will be furnished by the General Government.
  9. The requisite clothing, arms and accoutrements will be furnished at the expense of the State or the United States, to the non-commissioned officers, musicians and privates.

By order of the Commander-in-Chief.

J. Meredith Read, Jr., Adjutant-General.

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