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Town of Horicon and the Civil War

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In Smithís 1885 History of Warren County, the last paragraph concerning Horicon states that the population in the town of Horicon diminished between the years of 1860 and 1865 ì due to the noble effort put forth by the town to aid in crushing the Rebellionî. It has been said that Horicon, in proportion to her population, furnished more men for the war than any other town in the State of New York.

The town paid $3,500 in bounties in one year, when her population did not exceed 1,500. It is estimated that two hundred volunteers went from Horicon into the various regiments made up in this county, principally the 22nd, 93rd, 118th and 142nd. Only one man was drafted, and I have yet to find who that one man was.

If one looks at the town of Horicon during this time, it is not difficult to understand why its men were enlisting. Its tannery, the largest in the state, had been and would soon again be in operation, but it had just burned to the ground. Horicon was an area where farms could be described as ìhardscrabbleî at best. Most of the men listed in the 1862 Enrollment of Persons Liable to Military Duty in the Town of Horicon were farmers. Making a living as such in this rocky, mountainous terrain was difficult, if not impossible.

While the men in Horicon were no less patriotic or opposed to slavery than those of any other town in the area, economics drove many into the military. Many of these men were not young, and had already established homes and families. In at least one case, that of Elijah and Ansell Taft, both father and son enlistedóElijah the father in the 93rd Infantry, and Ansell in the 22nd Infantry. Ansell was wounded at the Second Bull Run battle and died in September of 1862. Elijah mustered out with his unit after witnessing the surrender of General Lee.

Unknown Veteran of the Civil War Overall, 35 men who had enlisted through the Town of Horicon were killed or died from wounds in the war. Seven were lost in the battle of the Wilderness, four at the second battle at Bull Run, two at Dreweyís Bluff and four at Andersonville. Coming from an area where no matter how poor you were you never went hungry, this must have been a fate like no other. One prisoner was released after 11 months. Fourteen men from Horicon witnessed the Surrender of Richmond and sixteen, the Surrender of Lee. At a time when few people in the Town of Horicon had left Warren County, this must have been an amazing journey.

Twenty-six families sent two or more sons. Four familiesóthe Shermans, Smiths, Hastings, and Hayes, each sent four sons, with almost all of these losing at least one and in some cases two. In the very brief records I have concerning the Sons of Veterans from the Town of Horicon, it lists that many of the men from Horicon served only 9-10 months, at the end of the war, with many mustering out after the Surrender of Robert E. Lee. There were several soldiers, however, who were away for 34 months.

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