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United States Volunteers also known as U.S. Volunteers, U.S. Volunteer Army, or other variations of these, were military volunteers called upon during wartime to assist the United States Army but who were separate from both the Regular Army and the militia. Though volunteer units operated before 1812, starting in 1861 they were often referred to as the Volunteer Army of the United States but not officially so named (codified into law) until 1898. During the 19th century the U.S. Volunteers were the United States government's main way for raising large forces of citizen soldiers needed in wartime to augment the Regular Army and militias. The U.S. Volunteers were the forerunner of the National Army in World War I and the Army of the United States in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
The U.S. Volunteers did not exist in times of peace. Unlike the militia, which, under the United States Constitution, each state recruited, trained, equipped, and maintained locally, with regimental officers appointed and promoted by state governors and not kept in federal service for more than nine months nor sent outside the country, the U.S. Volunteers were enlisted for terms of one to three years, and between 1794 and 1902 fought outside the country.
Regiments and batteries became known as "Volunteers" to distinguish between state and regular army units.
An act of January 12, 1812 authorized the President to raise up to six companies of rangers, either volunteers or men enlisted for a one-year period, whenever he had evidence of actual or threatened invasion of any Indian tribes.In July an additional company was authorized, and in February 1813 ten additional companies.
On February 6, 1812 the Congress enacted the Volunteer Military Corps Act. This act provided for the raising of a large force, up to 50,000 soldiers, for a period of 12 months. This was a force directly under the Federal government; it was not militia and not under control of the several states.
The act of February 6,specified that the president were authorized to accept into federal service any volunteer company or companies of infantry, cavalry and artillery. They were to be clothed on their own expense but armed and equipped by the federal government when called into actual service. The cavalry were to provide their own horses. The commissioned officers were to be appointed according the laws of the several states. The volunteer units were to be called into service within two years after having been accepted and were then to serve for a 12 month period. While in actual service they were entitled to the same rules and regulations and receiving the same emoluments as the United States Army. In addition non-commissioned officers and men were to receive in money the cost of clothing themselves. Loss of horses and equipment furnished at their own expense were to be compensated. The president would organize the volunteer force into battalions, regiments, brigades and divisions as the case may be.Through the act of July 6, 1812 the right to appoint commissioned officers of the volunteers was given to the president with the advice and consent of the senate.
An exact count of the number of soldiers enlisted in the volunteer forces under the above act was never made.The most generally accepted figures are 3,049 volunteer rangers and 10,110 other federal volunteers. The act of February 6, 1812 was not successful; field officers were not appointed until sufficient number of companies had been formed into regiments. Companies from different states were never trained together before active operations.
In 1818, during the First Seminole War, General Edmund P. Gaines authorized Colonel David Brearley of the 7th U.S. Infantry to receive into the service of the United States Indians of the Creek Nation, to muster, inspect and provision them, and to order them to march to Fort Scott. Colonel Brearley met the Creek Nation at the Creek Agency and finding that nearly the whole force of the Nation was willing to serve began organizing them. The whole force was to be designed a regiment, with 18 companies, later 28 companies officered according to the regulations of the United States Army. The principal war chief, William McIntosh, to be full colonel; the two chiefs George Lovett and Noble Kennard to be majors. On February 24, 1818, 1,547 warriors entered the service of the United States and served until the beginning of May, the same year. Including Chief Onir Haujo and 75 warriors mustered into service on December 8, 1817, the whole Creek volunteer force 1,613 men.
William McIntosh held the rank of brigadier general. George Lovett, Noble Kennard, Samuel Hawkins and - Blue war majors. On April 18, by order of General Jackson Lovett and Kennard were promoted to full colonels, and Hawkins and Blue to lieutenant colonels. Two chiefs, John Bernard and - Mattey, who had served as captains, were promoted to majors. The staff further consisted of 1 assistant adjutant general and 4 assistant commissaries of purchase. The companies had 28 captains, 29 first lieutenants and 28 second lieutenants. These latter officers were appointed by the Creek Nation under the sanction of the commanding general.
Andrew Jackson authorized the raising of volunteers from Tennessee and Kentucky, and 1,286 men were mustered and organized as two mounted rifle regiments. The field and staff consisted of one assistant adjutant general, one assistant inspector general, one assistant deputy quartermaster general, one judge advocate, one chaplain, two colonels, four lieutenant colonels, four majors, four adjutants, one forage master, one assistant forage master, two surgeons, four surgeon's mates, four quartermasters and eight non-commissioned staff. The companies had 20 captains, 20 first lieutenants, 20 third lieutenants, 11 third lieutenants and 17 cornets. These troops served from January 31, 1818 to June 25, the same year.
Two companies of volunteer rangers of 145 men under Captains Boyle and Gist were also mustered into United States service by order of General Jackson. They were to be employed on search-and-destroy patrols between the Mobile and Appalachicola rivers.
At the time of the Black Hawk War, United States Army lacked cavalry due to downsizing of the army after the War of 1812. The opening of the Santa Fe Trail led to demands for military escorts of the annual trading caravans across the prairies. In 1829 four infantry companies from Fort Leavenworth were ordered to protect that year's caravan. This expedition demonstrated the inferiority of foot soldiers against mounted Comanches. At the end of 1831, Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri put forward a bill authorizing President Jackson to organize a mounted ranger unit of volunteers for frontier defense. The outbreak of the Black Hawk War meant that the bill was promptly passed by both houses of the Congress.600 mounted rangers were to be enlisted, for a period of one year. The decision to organize a volunteer battalion instead of a regular cavalry regiment, emanated from the prevalent attitudes of the ruling Democratic Party toward the United States Army. The Regular Army was seen as a stronghold of aristocratic West Pointers in contrast with the virtuous citizen soldiers of the militia.
At the beginning of the Florida War or Second Seminole War, Congress in 1836 authorized the President to accept 10,000 volunteers. The militia of Florida Territory and of adjacent states had then already been called out.Congress prescribed that the volunteers should serve either as infantry or cavalry for a period of sex or twelve months, furnishing their own clothes and their own horses (if serving in the cavalry). Arms and equipment would be provided by the federal government. Officers were to be appointed according to the laws of states or territories in which the volunteer units were raised, although if already organized military units tendered their volunteer service they would be officered by the same officers as before volunteering.
Rules for pay and other emoluments of the volunteers in federal service provided that volunteers (and militia in federal service) would receive the same monthly pay, rations, clothing or money in lieu of clothing, forage, and travel allowance as offices and men of the United States Army. The would also be furnished with the same camp equipage, including knapsacks as the regular army. Officers and men of cavalry would receive 40 cents per day for use and risk of private horses.
When the number of men in volunteers unit fell below effective strength, new volunteer organizations were raised to take their place. Many of the volunteer units were engaged for so short periods that their service were inefficient and expensive. The daily allowance of 40 cents for horses made cavalry very costly. In addition the government had to pay for horses that died for lack of forage. About half of the volunteers serving in Florida were cavalry.About 10,000 regulars and up to 30,000 short-term volunteers had served in the Second Seminole War.
The Mexican War brought a major shift in the national military policy of the United States, namely the replacement of the militia system - "the great bulwark of the national defence" - with the volunteer system. The war of 1812 had been fought with the bulk of the soldiers coming from the militia.For the Mexican War, the United States mobilized 116,000 soldiers. Of them, a total of 42,000 served in the Regular Army, 13,000 in the Militia and 61,000 in the Volunteers. Of the volunteers, only about 30,000 served in Mexico.
The declaration of war with Mexico, May 13, 1846, was followed by large military appropriations, an increase in the regular army, and the authorization of the President to raise 50,000 volunteers for a term of one year or the duration of the war.The volunteers would serve either as cavalry, artillery, infantry or riflemen, furnish their own clothing and (for the cavalry) their own horses and horse equipment, but be armed by the government. They would serve under the articles of war, and receive all the emoluments of the Regular Army, except clothing, for which the enlisted men would receive compensation, and in addition 40 cent per day for the risk of the horses furnished. The volunteers would be organized in companies, battalions or regiments before volunteering; the officers appointed according to the laws of the several states that offered volunteers. The President was authorized to organize the volunteers into brigades and divisions if required, and appoint the staff, field and general officers among the several states.
The states closest to Mexico were asked to immediately provide 20,000 one-year volunteers, other states to have 25,000 ready for later call; about one-third of the volunteer units to be cavalry. The state quotas were easily filled. Volunteer units were much more easily filled than the increase in the Regular Army also authorized by Congress. The short-term enlistment and the easy discipline of the volunteers won out in comparison with the Regular Army's five-year enlistment and strict discipline.Thirty regiments of one-year volunteers were mustered, but in November 1846 it was obvious that their enlistment would expire before the end of the war. The President issued a call for volunteers to serve for the duration of the war and at the end of 1847, 22 regiments and 5 battalions of infantry, 1 regiment and 5 battalions of mounted troops and 3 companies of artillery had been organized. Several regiments were mustered later, making a total of 32 regiments "for the duration". By the end of May 1847, when the American army under Winfield Scott stood at Puebla, Mexico during its advance from Vera Cruz, the enlistment of the one-year volunteers in his army expired and seven volunteer regiments of 3,700 soldiers departed for home. The army had to halt and for two months wait for fresh troops from the states.
During the whole war, regulars and volunteers showed a marked degree of antipathy towards each others.Regular officers did not serve in the volunteers. Although the volunteers had excellent field officers they had but very few competent company officers. Most of the junior officers had no military experience or very little. They were either commissioned by the state governors for political reasons or elected by the enlisted men of the company. The reverse was true for the Regular Army, where few of the field officers were trained at West Point and many were non-effective through old age or infirmity. At Matamoros in 1846, about two thousand "gentlemen" who had enlisted as private volunteers mutinied because they had to draw water and chop wood; something they expected the Regular Army to do for them.
The following is an excerpt from GENERAL ORDERS No. 15., WAR DEPARTMENT, Adjutant General's Office, Washington, May 4, 1861 (links added):
The President of the United States having called for a Volunteer Force to aid in the enforcement of the laws and the suppression of insurrection, and to consist of thirty-nine regiments of infantry and one regiment of cavalry, making a minimum aggregate of (34,506) thirty-four thousand five hundred and six officers and enlisted men, and a maximum aggregate of (42,034) forty two thousand and thirty-four officers and enlisted men, the following plan of organization has been adopted, and is directed to be printed for general information:
The following is an excerpt from GENERAL ORDERS, No 126., WAR DEPARTMENT, Adjutant General's Office, Washington, September 6, 1862:
I The following is the organization of Regiments and Companies of the Volunteer Army of the United States:
Each state was given a quota of "volunteer regiments" to be raised for service lasting from three months to three years, with quotas apportioned among the States according to population[ citation needed ] (see Military leadership in the American Civil War and American Civil War).
GENERAL ORDERS No. 30, HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, ADJUTANT GENERAL' S OFFICE, Washington, April 30, 1898 reads, in part (links added):
I The following acts of Congress and Proclamation by the President are published for the information and government of all concerned:
An Act To provide for temporarily increasing the military establishment of the United States in time of war, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all able-bodied male citizens of the United States, and persons of foreign birth who shall have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States under and in pursuance of the laws thereof, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, are hereby declared to constitute the national forces, and, with such exceptions and under such conditions as may be prescribed by law, shall be liable to perform military duty in the service of the United States.
SEC. 2. That the organized and active land forces of the United States shall consist of the Army of the United States and of the militia of the several States when called into the service of the United States: Provided, That in time of war: the Army shall consist of two branches which shall be designated, respectively, as the Regular Army and the Volunteer Army of the United States.
The law provided for a presidential call for two-year volunteers, with quotas apportioned among the States according to population, and that militia units volunteering as a body had to be accepted as units into the Volunteer Army.
The National Guard is part of the reserve components of the United States Army and the United States Air Force. It is a military reserve force composed of National Guard military members or units of each state and the territories of Guam, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, for a total of 54 separate organizations. All members of the National Guard of the United States are also members of the organized militia of the United States as defined by 10 U.S.C. § 246. National Guard units are under the dual control of the state governments and the federal government.
The United States Cavalry, or U.S. Cavalry, was the designation of the mounted force of the United States Army by an act of Congress on 3 August 1861. This act converted the U.S. Army's two regiments of dragoons, one regiment of mounted riflemen, and two regiments of cavalry into one branch of service. The cavalry branch transitioned to the Armored Forces with tanks in 1940, but the term "cavalry", e.g. "armored cavalry", remains in use in the U.S. Army for mounted reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) units based on their parent Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS) regiment. Cavalry is also used in the name of the 1st Cavalry Division for heraldic/lineage/historical purposes. Some combined arms battalions are designated as armor formations, while others are designated as infantry organizations. These "branch" designations are again, heraldic/lineage/historical titles derived from the CARS regiments to which the battalions are assigned.
The Regular Army of the United States succeeded the Continental Army as the country's permanent, professional land-based military force. Even in modern times the professional core of the United States Army continues to be called the Regular Army. From the time of the American Revolution until after the Spanish–American War, state militias and volunteer regiments organized by the states supported the smaller Regular Army of the United States. These volunteer regiments came to be called United States Volunteers (USV) in contrast to the Regular United States Army (USA). During the American Civil War, about 97 percent of the Union Army was United States Volunteers.
There were two Militia Acts enacted by the second United States Congress in 1792 that provided for the organization of militias and empowered the President of the United States to take command of the state militias in times of imminent invasion or insurrection.
The militia of the United States, as defined by the U.S. Congress, has changed over time. During colonial America, all able-bodied men of a certain age range were members of the militia, depending on the respective state's rule. Individual towns formed local independent militias for their own defense. The year before the US Constitution was ratified, The Federalist Papers detailed the founders' paramount vision of the militia in 1787. The new Constitution empowered Congress to "organize, arm, and discipline" this national military force, leaving significant control in the hands of each state government.
The U.S. Army was founded on 14 June 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized enlistment of riflemen to serve the United Colonies for one year.
The 19th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Three companies formerly with Col. Elmer Ellsworth's Zouave Cadets wore a zouave uniform consisting of a dark blue zouave jacket with red trimmings, red pants, leather gaiters, a sky blue shirt, red sash, and a red French styled kepi with a dark blue band. The jacket cuffs were trimmed in yellow-orange and red. Brass buttons went down both fronts of the jacket. They were organized into four separate companies on May 4, 1861, in Chicago. It was consolidated and mustered into Federal service as the 19th Illinois Volunteer Infantry on June 17, 1861. It was mustered out at Chicago on July 9, 1864.
The general officers of the Confederate States Army (CSA) were the senior military leaders of the Confederacy during the American Civil War of 1861–1865. They were often former officers from the United States Army prior to the Civil War, while others were given the rank based on merit or when necessity demanded. Most Confederate generals needed confirmation from the Confederate Congress, much like prospective generals in the modern U.S. armed forces.
The Militia Act of 1903, also known as the Efficiency in Militia Act of 1903 or the Dick Act, was legislation enacted by the United States Congress to create an early National Guard and which codified the circumstances under which the Guard could be federalized. It also provided federal funds to pay for equipment and training, including annual summer encampments. The new National Guard was to organize units of similar form and quality to those of the regular Army, and intended to achieve the same training, education, and readiness requirements as active duty units.
The military forces of the Confederate States, also known as Confederate forces, were the military services responsible for the defense of the Confederate States during its brief existence (1861–1865).
The history of the United States Army began in 1775. From its formation, the United States Army has been the primary land based part of the United States Armed Forces. The Army's main responsibility has been in fighting land battles and military occupation. The Corps of Engineers also has a major role in controlling rivers inside the United States. The Continental Army was founded in response to a need for professional soldiers in the American Revolutionary War to fight the invading British Army. Until the 1940s, the Army was relatively small in peacetime. In 1947, the Air Force became completely independent of the Army Air Forces. The Army was under the control of the War Department until 1947, and since then the Defense Department. The U.S. Army fought the Indian Wars of the 1790s, the War of 1812 (1812–15), American Civil War (1861–65), Spanish–American War (1898), World War I (1917–18), World War II (1941–45), Korean War (1950–53) and Vietnam War (1965–71). Following the Cold War's end in 1991, Army has focused primarily on Western Asia, and also took part in the 1991 Gulf War and war in Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan.
The structure of the United States Army is complex, and can be interpreted in several different ways: active/reserve, operational/administrative, and branches/functional areas.
The Veteran Corps of Artillery of the State of New York (VCASNY) is an American historic militia organization founded at the end of the American Revolutionary War for the purpose of preventing another British invasion of New York City.
On May 13, 1846 the United States Congress passed An Act providing for the Prosecution of the existing War between the United States and the Republic of Mexico, thereby declaring war against Mexico. The declaration resulted in the Mexican–American War (1846–48). The act laid out regulations for the size and organization of the militia to participate in the war, how they were to be recruited, and the amount of money appropriated for the war—10 million dollars. The act was amended on June 18, 1846 to clarify and expand the organizational structure provided for by the original law.
On April 15, 1861, at the start of the American Civil War, the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, called for a 75,000-man militia to serve for three months following the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter. Some slave states refused to send troops against the neighboring Deep South slave states of South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas with the result that most such states in the Upper South of Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee also declared secession from the United States and joined the Confederate States. Missouri and Kentucky did not fully secede themselves from Union control but they were admitted by the Confederacy as the 12th and 13th states respectively while Maryland and Delaware stayed in the Union throughout the duration of the war.
The Texas Army, officially the Army of the Republic of Texas, was the land warfare branch of the Texas Military Forces during the Republic of Texas. It descended from the Texian Army, which was established in October 1835 to fight for independence from Centralist Republic of Mexico in the Texas Revolution. The Texas Army was provisionally formed by the Consultation in November 1835, however it did not replace the Texian Army until after the Battle of San Jacinto. The Texas Army, Texas Navy, and Texas Militia were officially established on September 5, 1836, in Article II of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas. The Texas Army and Texas Navy were merged with the United States Armed Forces on February 19, 1846, after the Republic of Texas became the 28th state of America.
United States Mounted Rangers, or "Battalion of Mounted Rangers", was raised in 1832. The unit operated on the frontier, but proving itself to be lacking in discipline, and being very costly, it was disbanded and replaced by a dragoon regiment in 1833.
United States Rangers were originally raised for Tecumseh's War, but they continued to serve against hostile Indians after the United States declaration of war against Great Britain. A total of 17 independent companies were authorized from Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. The Rangers were neither militia, nor regulars, but formed part of the war establishment of the United States as volunteers.