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In Northwestern Pennsylvania, 101 men who are mostly farmers, lumbermen and artisans organize a Company in Warren, PA. Many of them are hunters and skilled marksmen who have brought their own rifles. A six foot tall man with black hair, eyes and beard is elected as the Company’s Lieutenant. Hugh Watson McNeil has soulful eyes and a quiet manner; as someone who had recently moved to the state due to poor health, this frail bank cashier might seem an odd choice for a leader. It would be his job to take this group of rough men – who called themselves the “Raftsman Guards” – and turn them into one of Pennsylvania’s most highly regarded Civil War Regiments.
From Exchange Place in downtown Providence, Rhode Island, Colonel Ambrose Burnside and RI Governor William Sprague accompany 142 men of the Rhode Island Detached Militia towards Washington City. Sprague, who is the youngest governor at the age of 30, eagerly had offered his services to Lincoln and travels with his fellow citizens to support the Union cause. He is still an active Governor and has no notion of stepping down from his position to become a military leader; he is simply under the impression that any war will last a matter of days and wants to be a part of the action.
Military troops, mostly from New York, continue to make their way into Washington City through Annapolis, Maryland. There has been little thought put into long term housing, so the estimated 18,000 volunteers are camped out in and around government buildings.
“I know a good many will be displeased with my apparent apathy. I am and always have been an active defender of Law & the Constitution. Twice have I sacrificed myself thereto. In San Francisco to a northern mob, and in Louisiana to a southern Rebellion. I believe now I am a more Zealous friend of Government & order, than others who will find fault with me. I did think that war existed against the General Government from the date of the first seizure of property. I did resent it as an act of hostility & Treason.
I came north prepared to act any part which might be assigned me. I went to Washington & saw the President and heard him say that military men were not wanted. I asked for civil employment here in St. Louis, but it was denied me and when I reached Ohio, necessity forced me to seek work, and I found it here. I have undertaken a certain task from which I can not discharge myself, without a breach of Trust.