Nearly 2,000 from Orleans County served in Civil War with 463 dying

Posted 26 May 2023 at 10:05 pm

By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian 

Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 3, No. 18

ALBION – This photo shows Orleans County Civil War veterans assembled on the County Courthouse steps, Albion in the 1890s. The observance of decorating the graves of the war dead with flowers on Memorial Day (originally Decoration Day) was initiated by the Grand Army of the Republic in 1868.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, the men of Orleans County quickly responded to President Lincoln’s April 15, 1861, request for 75,000 volunteers. Committees were formed to organize companies of men: three companies were soon enrolled. Two set out for Albany on May 18th, 1861, and were incorporated into the 28th Regiment.

Town Clerks were authorized to maintain Enrollment of Persons Liable to Military Duty, records of resident able-bodied men between the ages of 18-45 years, with the exception of “idiots” and “lunatics”. Three copies of these enrollment records were required, one to be retained locally, one sent to the Sheriff’s Office, and the third directed to the State Office of the Adjutant General.

Enrollment Record for the Town of Clarendon, 1862.

Supervisor: M.D. Milliken.

Assessors: Thomas Glidden, Loran Hill, Martin Evarts.

Commissioners: Benj. G. Pettingill, Albert J. Potter.

The Enrollment List recorded the person’s name, age and occupation. Reasons for exemption were entered under the column “Remarks”.

The Clarendon list includes such reasons as:

• Downs, William Jr., 20, Farmer, Has one leg cut off below the knee

• Harmon, Austin, 42, Farmer, Lost one eye

Enlistment information was also listed under “Remarks”:

• Curtis, Levi, 20, Farmer, Enlisted Aug. 30. In Capt. Pratts Co., 129th Reg.

A total of 1,928 Orleans County men served in the Civil War:

Albion: 105

Barre: 120

Carlton: 178

Clarendon: 147

Gaines: 268

Kendall: 113

Medina: 133

Murray: 147

Ridgeway: 296

Shelby: 222

Yates: 199

A total of 463, or approximately 25 percent were killed, or died from injuries or illness.

Inside the tower at Mount Albion Cemetery there are nine marble slabs with the names of 463 soldiers from Orleans County who were killed in the Civil War.

The imposing sandstone Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Mount Albion Cemetery, Albion, which was dedicated on July 4, 1876, is a somber memorial to the fallen, whose names are carved on the nine marble slabs that hang on the walls. A list is also accessible online (click here).

The Orleans County Genweb site also includes information on Orleans County’s Civil War involvement.

Interest in Civil War topics continues. Greg Kinal will present a program on The Battle of Gettysburg at Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina on Tuesday, May 30, at 7 p.m.