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Raising Troops, Raising Money

Raising Troops, Raising Money

When war broke out, the regular army only had 16,000 men, many of whom were dispersed on the frontier. In calling for troops, Lincoln was relying on the northern state militias and the good will of governors to assist him. In New Jersey, the militia lacked training, arms, and ammunition. Furthermore, New Jersey did not have cavalry or artillery militia. Although young men initially rushed to volunteer, the task of preparing for war was daunting.

Portrait, Charles Olden, Governor of New Jersey, 1860 - 1863. Engraved by Emily Sartain, Philadelphia.

Governor Olden proved to be effective leader in the mobilization effort. He was able to work with the state legislature to raise revenue to pay for New Jersey’s share of the cost of the war. The legislature passed laws authorizing the state to borrow money from banks and to empower local governments to raise money for arms, military stores, and payment to soldiers’ families at six dollars a month.

Colonel G.W. McLean and Jos. W. Plume, Adjutant. Head Quarters, Second Regiment New Jersey Volunteers Camp Olden, Order No. 8. Trenton, New Jersey, June 13, 1861.

After reporting to recruiting posts throughout the state, most volunteers were divided up into companies of about one hundred and sent to Camp Olden in Trenton for swearing-in, medical examinations, uniforms, and two weeks of training. Soldiers reported that living conditions in the camp were poor, and discipline and security lax. Frequently, men slipped out of camp to forage for food in the surrounding towns, or for drinking sessions in the city of Trenton. Order No. 8 provides the schedule of a day of training.

An Act Authorizing a Loan for the Purpose of War, to Repel Invasion and Suppress Insurrection, and Appropriating the Same, and Providing for the Payment Thereof, May 28, 1861.

Leslie's Illustrated Magazine, 6th Regiment, Mass volunteers, leaving NJ RR station to defend the Capitol in DC. April 18, 1861.