Posted By:James Brenner
Subject:Re: Ohio musters in 1812
Post Date:July 04, 2011 at 04:06:22
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Forum:War of 1812 Forum
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It's unlikely that Ohio either knew or cared if the Firelands militia
conducted their drill on Friday or Saturday and their status would have
remained unchanged. The state did not have an Inspector General to look at
such things and, more importantly, the state did enforce the militia
laws that were on the books. For example, Ohio's militia law required
all white males between 18 and 45 to be part of the enrolled militia. If
a person did not join, he was subject to a fine. But the state didn't
enforce that law and never collected the fines. BTW, the money collected
from the fines was supposed to purchase stands of colors for the
regiments, drums and bugles for the companies, and camp equipage for the
soldiers. Similarly, the state didn't enforce the requirement for every
militia man to appear at muster with a firelock, pouch, shot, and
powder. Nor did the state fine those members who failed to appear for
drill. This also explains why, when war was declared, some townships
asked the state to station a militia unit within their boundaries for
protection. In other words, the state was pretty loosey-goosey
(technical term) when it came to the militia and would have been happy
just knowing the Firelands militia mustered at all.

In terms of who the militia reported to, it's quite likely that the
Firelands militia did not belong to any regiment or brigade. Typically,
in areas where there weren't enough people to form a regiment, the state
authorized "Odd Battalions" in which 2 or 3 orphan companies were lumped
together for administrative purposes. A Lieutenant Colonel Commandant
was the commander of these battalions. My guess is that the Firelands
militia was so far removed from the closest companies in Portage county
that they were pretty much on their own. Many of the 4th Division, Ohio
Militia, papers (and muster rolls) are in the Western Reserve Historical
Society collection, and it may be possible to confirm/deny whether or
not the Firelands militia belonged to an Odd Battalion of the 4th

Speaking of muster rolls, it's difficult to recommend where to begin
looking. Unfortunately, there's no single repository for them. Some are
in the National Archives, some are in the Library of Congress, some are
in state and local historical societies, some are in published county
histories, and some are in private collections. Others have just
disappeared ... if they were submitted at all. For example, it's not
uncommon to come across letters in which a veteran is attempting to
verify his militia service in order to claim his long overdue pay. That
suggests that the appropriate muster roll was either not completed or
was otherwise lost.

Ohio law allowed any state official to call the militia into service.
Most of the time, Governor Meigs called out the militia, but there are
instances where militia captains called out the militia for a week or
two in response to some scare. If the state called out the militia, the
muster rolls were sent through the Division to the Adjutant General in
Chillicothe. However, if the federal government called upon the governor
to provide a militia quota, the rolls were sent to both Chillicothe and
Washington. For example, Secretary of War Eustis asked Meigs for 1600
militia to protect Detroit in April 1812. Ohio's Secretary of State
alerted the state Adjutant General who allocated quotas for each
Division: 1st Division, 7 companies; 2nd Division, 5 companies; 3rd
Division, 5 companies; and 4th Division, 3 companies. Those rolls were
going to be sent to both places, but the British captured all of Hull's
papers, to include the muster rolls. Campbell's Portage county company
finally settled its accounts with the War Department in 1814 for service
in 1812, two years after Hull's surrender. Those units that did not
participate in this First Army of Ohio mustered regularly for drill, but
did not leave home until actually called into service.

I hope this helps answer some of your questions. Ohio's militia in the
W1812 is, I think, a very interesting topic.