Military history of Wayne County, New York
In the month of December, 1 880, the author of the present work was at Newburgh finishing the history of Orange county, upon which he had been engaged for several months, in company with Mr. E. M. Ruttenber, a gentleman of eminent qualifications. Urging him to write a chapter upon the part which the county had taken in the civil war, he replied: "A chapter!! Impossible! If the publishers will issue a volume, entitled 'Orange County in the Civil War,' I shall be glad to write it."
The suggestive remark led to the preparation of the work now submitted to the people of this county. To write Wayne county in the civil war was the original thought. The thought grew as it was studied. It seemed proper to give to such a work an introduction which should allude to previous military events in the history of the county.
As soon as the materials were examined they proved to be of too much importance to be compressed within the limits of a simple introduction; and hence what was intended to be an introductory chapter became an introductory part of nine chapters. This enlargement of the plan rendered the title as originally designed slightly inapplicable, the work having expanded to a general military history of the county.
It was evident, too, that any such historical work would be increased in value by including a notice of the civil organization of the county, with a list of officers, from the beginning to the present time. Hence the first chapter of the first part took its present form. It is believed that it now comprises within a few pages, easy of reference, clearer and more complete information upon the organization of the county and of the several towns than is found in any book heretofore published-
In chapters two, three, four and six of part first, several matters are treated of which are not exclusively military, but they are either closely connected with military matters or a discussion of them seemed necessary to explain actual military affairs.
The preparation of this volume has required extensive research and careful investigation. An examination of its contents will show the magnitude of the undertaking. In attempting to publish a book which contains names by the thousand, and so large a number of dates, it is too much to hope that perfect accuracy has been secured. It is scarcely, possible that every name will be found correctly written or every date correctly given. It has been the steady aim of the author, however, to reduce the ordinary errors found in names and dates to the smallest possible percentage.
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The earliest county organization extended over Western New York was that of Albany. This was one of the original twelve counties into which the province of New York was divided by an act of the Colonial Legislature, passed November 1, 1683.