The First Public Act --- An Important Resolution --- Action of the Board of Supervisors Relative to Payment of Bounties --- The Committee of 1864 --- Money Borrowed for the County --- The Bounty Committee --- Further Sums Raised --- A County Bounty Offered --- The Call for 500,000 Men --- Bounties Increased --- Issue of Bonds --- Loans by the County to the Towns --- Statistics.

The first public act on the part of the officials of Cortland county; in aid of the Union armies for the putting down of the rebellion, was done on the 12th day of November, 1862, by the Board of Supervisors. It consisted of a resolution offered by Mr. S. A. Childs, of Scott, as follows:---

    "Resolved, That this Board request Hon. Henry S. Randall to proceed to Albany to make the necessary proofs to the governor and adjutant-general, in respect to the number of volunteers who shall be credited to this county, and to confer with those officers in respect to the draft to be made from this county."

    This resolution was the precurser of the long series of public measures, embracing the most prompt and vigorous action in aid of the government, embracing a liberal appropriation of money and the enlistment of hundreds of brave men, which followed during the period of the war.

    Mr. Randall made the visit as requested. The next measure was the passage of the following resolution on the 21st of November, 1862, which is self-explanatory:---

    "Resolved, That the Board of Supervisors of Cortland county do approve of and recommend the passage of an act by the Legislature, directing that in each of the towns of said county in which money has been raised, in pursuance of a vote in town meeting, or by the action of properly authorized persons, to pay bounties to or for raising volunteers who have enlisted from said towns into the service of the United States since July 2d, 1862, a tax shall be levied to repay the monies so raised and actually expended for said objects."

    The committee of the Board of Supervisors on military affairs for 1864 comprised Messrs. M. Van Hoesen, George W. Phillips and Solomon Goddard; they found plenty of work. Petitions began to come in from a majority of the towns of the county, asking the board to offer an additional bounty of $300 to all volunteers under the recent call of the president for 300,000 men. Upon these petitions a majority report was made to the effect, in brief, that owing to the comparatively small number of the petitioners, and that such action was contrary to a recent act of the Legislature, the board would decline to act. This report was adopted, and the committee were directed to go to Syracuse for conference with a like committee of that county. The several towns were instructed by the board to hold special town meetings on the 15th of December, for the purpose of getting the voice of the tax payers upon the proposition to raise money to pay a bounty of three hundred dollars to all volunteers. The town meetings were held and the board authorized to pay the bounty. The county treasurer was accordingly empowered to borrow a sum not to exceed $103,800, for which county bonds should be issued, to pay the proposed bounty to all volunteers enlisting after January 1st. A committee consisting of Messrs. S. E. Welch, George W. Phillips and M. Van Hoesen was appointed to supervise the payment of bounties and kindred matters.

    A special meeting of the board was called for February 10th, 1864, at which action was taken to raise $70,000, or as much as should be necessary, to pay bounties for volunteers under the calls of October 17th, 1863, and February 1st, 1864. This action was not intended to conflict with previous measures. At the same time recruiting agents were instructed to push their work as fast as possible.

    The next special meeting was held on the 6th of July, and a committee was appointed consisting of five members --- Messrs. Geo. W. Phillips, D. McGraw, M. Van Hoesen, P. Mallory and Silas Blanchard --- to take into consideration the propriety of offering a county bounty for volunteers under the recent call for 500,000 men. Town meetings were again recommended, and the offering of $150 for one year men, $250 for two year men, or greater sums, if deemed expedient. In this the towns concurred, and the treasurer was authorized to borrow the necessary amount for the proposed bounties; each town was made liable for its proper proportion of the amount raised. Messrs. George W. Phillips, M. Van Hoesen, D. McGraw, S. E. Welch and Hiram Crandall were appointed a committee to supervise the payment of bounties under this measure.

    At the annual meeting of this year (1864) the county treasurer was empowered to issue bonds payable in March, 1873, for a sum sufficient to pay all outstanding indebtedness on account of bounties.

    The report of the committee upon filling the quota under the call for 500,000 men stated, in effect, that in order to obtain volunteers, they were compelled from time to time to increase the amount of bounty offered until it reached the sum of $1,000; competition in other counties was also instrumental in necessitating this increase. To pay the bounties under this call, the treasurer issued bonds as follows:---

$31,700,  payableMarch1st, 1865,  with  interest.
40,300,""1866,  with   annual interest.
  32,500,  payableMarch 1st, 1869,  with  annual interest.
  44,000,""1873,  with   semi-annual int.

    A special meeting of the Supervisors was called for December 30th, 1864, at which a committee of five was appointed to take into consideration the payment of bounties for volunteers under the final call for 300,000 men, made December 19th, 1864. The committee was composed of Messrs. Phillips, Goddard, O. F. Forbes, M. Van Hoesen and D. O. Surdam. Special town meetings were recommended, with the offer of $400 for one year men, $500 for two year men, and $600 for three year men. The sum of $15 brokerage was also proposed for each enlistment procured. The treasurer was authorized to make another loan of the necessary amount for this purpose.

    At the annual meeting of 1865 a report of the committee acting on the last call was made. The resolutions passed by the board upon that call were adopted in all of the towns, except Marathon, Solon and Truxton. The committee also reported that they deemed it inexpedient or impossible to pay for filling the quotas in the several towns of the county by the sale of bonds by the treasurer; they, therefore, resolved to loan to the Supervisors of the respective towns the county bonds in sufficient sums to pay for the same. Most of the towns accepted this proposal.

    At the annual meeting in November, 1865, proceedings were had relative to reimbursements by the State for bounty moneys.

    The following table exhibits the amount paid in filling the quotas of the several towns of the county, under the various calls for volunteers in the War of the Rebellion, and that total amount paid for each, and the amount paid on the principal in 1864:---

TOWNS.Amount paid
on calls of
Ocotber, 1863,
March, 1864
Amount paid
on call of
July 18, 1864.
Amount paid
on call of
Dec. 19, 1864.
Total amount
Cincinnatus$ 6,600$23,050$ 5,235$ 34,885$ 3,218 88
Cortlandville27,60080,05026,443134,10511,684 04
Cuyler9,00010,0503,72031,7703,077 75
Freetown3,90014,0502,21320,1651,948 70
Harford6,90014,5755,43526,9102,331 38
Homer15,00053,67515,89084,5657,346 97
Lapeer2,10011,825-----13,9251,511 74
Marathon7,20031,775-----38,9754,231 23
Preble6,60022,1757,90536,6803,091 32
Scott9,3006,1502,60418,0901,678 29
Solon2,700----------2,700293 12
Taylor6,00023,6755,61536,2903,221 59
Truxton13,80013,900-----27,7003,007 18
Virgil12,60047,17516559,9406,380 76
Willet3,90022,5501,81528,2652,828 05
TOTAL$133,200$383,675$ 78,090$594,965$55,850 00

    The whole amount of bonds issued in the county for bounties was $610,070, falling due as follows:---

On or before March 1, 1865$ 57,600
On or before March 1, 1866126,300
On or before March 1, 186786,200
On or before March 1, 186877,700
On or before March 1, 186962,100
On or before March 1, 187067,200
On or before March 1, 187164,200
On or before March 1, 187259,770
On or before March 1, 18759,000
    Total $610,070

    The enlistments and bounties paid in each town will be found in the town histories in later pages.

Transcribed by Tim Stowell - May, 2006.

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