Clark County, Ohio

History and Genealogy



"Training-Day" Perios


From The History of Clark County, Ohio
Chicago: W.H. Beers & Co., 1881 - Page 291


From 1825 or 1830, to about the time of the outbreak of the Mexican war, the militia interests of the State were at the height of their glory.

The law demanded that every able-bodied citizen of the State should "perform," etc.; also, that he, the said citizen, should be armed with a "good and sufficient musket, fusee, or rifle," and regulations defined "good and sufficient" to include "lock, stock, barrel and ram-rod." A small volume could be written upon the various capers that were indulged in at these meetings for "instruction." In fact these old muster days were the only real legal holidays ever provided for by law. The people were obliged to come out and "train," so they made the most of it. The men were each armed with any kind of a firelock that would pass muster; old, worn out, and broken guns were called into use to supply the demands of the law, which in its majesty defined what should compose a gun.

One case is related of a man who appeared with an ancient horse-pistol, minus the lock, but with a huge padlock fastened on in its place, and a broomstick driven into the muzzle to make the wapon long enough to be handled to good advantage. The "rig" was objected to by the minion who represented the dignity of the service, and the soldier was sent before the proper authorities to answer. The court decided that the man had furnished all that the law required, viz., lock, stock, barrel and ramrod, and let him off without fine, which decision was fatal to discipline, as the next muster found half of the men present with only pocket pistols with sticks driven into them.

There were various assemblages on account of militia matters, such as company training, regimental training, brigade musters, officer musters and many minor meetings.

Brigade musters or regimental training was looked forward to as an occasion of great importance. For weeks beforehand the note of preparation sounded through the country; arms and accouterments were put in order, and uniforms brushed; chickens, gingerbread, cakes, pies and all sorts of edibles and "drinkables" were prepared, and everything made ready for a general gala day. Sometimes a drenching rain would set in at the wrong time, and the plumed and befeathered officers forced to seek the cover of a sheltering tree, where dripping and crestfallen they resembled a lot of half-drowned and disappointed roosters. To be Captain in those days was to wear a title which amounted to a sort of target for the shafts of wit and cheap wisdom to butt against. The "Cap'n" was expected to furnish a dinner for his command, and this was often served under a "bower" of green leaves, made of limbs, crotches and poles, and covered with branches and twigs of the sugar or other convenient tree, in full verdure; under this was spread the tables. The dinner consisted of the "fat of the land," roast pig, roast beef, vegetables, etc., an enormous Indian pudding "with raisins in it," being an essential part of the feast.

In those days temperance consisted in not getting too drunk too often, and was practiced by the rank and file of "our army of citizen soldiery" to a liberal extent on training days.

The system included the establishment of divisions, brigades, regiments and battalions, with a full corps of commanders, staff officers, etc. This gave rise to a long list of Generals, Colonels and other war-like titles, and when "general musters," or "brigade training" brought out the forces, these magnates were on hand in full feather. The law required each officer to have a "good and sufficient sword," but was silent in regard to the dress or any of the equipments, leaving each individual to exercise his taste in those matters. This produced a confusion of gorgeousness not seen now-a-days, except at a circus or carnival. From what has been stated, it will be seen that the whole system tended rather to precipitate the serious duties it was intended to teach into a course of usefulness foolery, quite detrimental to the interests of the State. The frontier line had advanced to the "far West," and with it the Indian terrors of early times: the army musket in the hands of the reguliar [sic] soldier had taken the place of the settler's rifle — the trainings became useless wastes of time, the laws were repealed and nothing was left but the titles held by the officers, to be by them worn with their ripening years, as evidences of their worth and popularity in "ye olden times."

This article would hardly be complete without the names of some of the prominent officers of "ante-bellum" days.

Samson Mason, Major General Fifth Division; Edward H. Cumming, Lieutenant Colonel and Inspector, Fifth Division Staff, promoted to be Adjutant General of Ohio, with the rank of Brigadier General, under Gov. Thomas Corwin, John Kiefer, Brigadier General, Third Brigade, Fifth Division; Charles Anthony, Brigadier General, Third Brigade, Fifth Division; Peter Sintz, Colonel of "horse," Third Brigade, Fifth Division; Harvey Vinal, Lieutenant Colonel, Independent Battalion; Thomas Kizer, Lieutenant Colonel in the Fifth Division; William Moore, Quarter Master, Vinal's Battalion; James S. Christie, Major, Aid on Gen. Mason's Staff, promoted to Lieutenant Colonel; Edwin Barton, Major; Sampson Runyan, Captain Fifth Division; Horatio Banes, Brigadier General, Fourth Brigade; James Cheshunt, Colonel Fifth Division; Samuel Bechtle, Captain in Fifth Division; T.J. Barton, Captain Fifth Division; William T. Hough; Major Fifth Division.