Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Recent Purchase: New York State Militia Regulations

On Sunday I attended the thirty-fourth annual McLean Antiques Show and Sale at the local community center.  After walking past several decorative arts booths, I finally located the stand of a dealer from New Orleans, The Sword and Pen/Le Petit Soldier Shop.  The seller had a multitude of Civil War books and artifacts for sale, many of which were unfortunately out of my price range!  However, I stumbled across the General Regulations for the Military Forces of the State of New York and could not resist.  This manual covers all aspects of military life, such as organization, drill, weapons, and discipline.  The book's elaborately illustrated title page indicates a date of 1863, but prior to the start of the main text, the book contains a reprint of a general order from the commander-in-chief of the militia dated May 21, 1864, meaning that the book was published at the earliest at the end of May 1864.  The volume, which is in relatively good condition for its age, has a leather spine with gold stamping, attached to marbled front and back boards.  The hinges are starting to crack, but the interior is still tightly bound and shows only light foxing.  The book includes several black-and-white plates, including diagrams of regulation caps, buttons, and swords.

The 22nd New York State Militia, Harper's Ferry, (West) Virginia, 1861 (courtesy of Corbis Images)

Incidentally, the New York State Militia provided units to the U.S. Government throughout the Civil War.  (The New York Legislature changed the name to the New York "National Guard" in April 1862.)  At the outbreak of hostilities, some entire regiments of militia were mustered into federal service for three-month, and even three-year terms. The U.S. Government also called on the New York State Militia for short periods during times of crisis.  Several regiments were sent to Maryland and Pennsylvania in June and July 1863 when General Robert E. Lee invaded the Keystone state.  The General Regulations fittingly contain an appendix of U.S. regulations with regard to militia in the service of the United States. 

I always enjoy owning such a connection to the past and look forward to displaying this book along with my other antique Civil War finds.


Anonymous said...

Ron, if I may, let me give a plug on your blog for the annual antiques fair at the McLean Community Center, which we attended. As you know, it's every October and includes a multitude of high-quality dealers, including always 2-3 book vendors. Some of your readers may want to check it out next year! Ken.

Ron Baumgarten said...

Yes, I would strongly urge readers to check out the show next year. Info will likely be posted on the McLean Community Center website ( If next year is like this past year, there will be lots to satisfy a Civil War, and history, buff's curiosity! Thanks to Ken for making me aware of this show.