Military History of Alstead New Hampshire

The first company of militia was formed here in 1973, of which Timothy Dilano was chosen captain, Samuel Chandler, lieutenant, and Jason Wait, ensign. “It is worthy of notice,” says Rev. Seth S. Arnold, in an historical sermon printed in 1826, “that a spirit of independence, and much decision of political character prevailed among the first settlers of this town, when the Revolutionary war commenced. In that time of doubt and peril; when it was so difficult to know what was expedient, and what would be the result of so great an attempt; when the friends of liberty might hesitate through ignorance or prudence, and shrink from the danger, there was only one man in the town who adhered to the cause of Great Britain; and a committee was appointed by the town to deprive him of fire-arms and to confine him to his farm, which duty they faithfully performed. There was, however, an unhappy division in town, before the boundaries between Vermont and New Hampshire were established. After much warmth of feeling, and general agitation the town began to transact business under the State of Vermont, in April,. . 1781, but returned to the authority of New Hampshire in January, 1782. In, 1786 the questions were agitated in town meeting whether the town would give encouragement to the county for becoming a shire town, and whether an agent should be chosen to petition the general court for the same. They were passed in the negative. The town voted, however, in 1802, to build a, court-house and jail, on condition that this be the shire town, and that the town have the county property at Charlestown and Keene.” It is needless to add that this latter vote was never acted upon.

During our late great war, Alstead furnished, under all calls, 135 men, including citizen volunteers 85, drafted men 2, and alien volunteers and substitutes 47, and 1 re-enlisted man, to whom was paid in bounties $34,600.00.

The expense incurred above bounties was $545.79, making a total of $35,545.79. With reference to votes on the subject of bounties, etc., we print the following: The first official action of the town was taken May 15, 1861, when it was voted “to appropriate $500.00 to fit out soldiers to go in defense of the country, and to aid their families.” August z5, 1862, it was voted “to pay each volunteer for three years $200.00 bounty, when mustered in, and to raise a sum not exceeding $8,000.00 to carry out the provisions of said vote.” On September 17, 1862, it was voted “to pay volunteers for nine months $200.00 bounty, and to raise for this purpose not exceeding $7,000.00.” September 5, 1863, it was voted “to pay each drafted man, or his substitute, who actually entered the service from Alstead, $300.00,” and on October 2, it was voted “to raise not exceeding $8,000.00 to carry out the provisions of said vote.” On December 29, 1863, it was voted “to pay United States and State bounties, and receive assignments of the same, and raise not exceeding $4,000.00 for same, and not exceeding $2,000.00 to pay bounties over and above United States and State bounties.” February 24, 1864, it was voted “to pay three men (named) $100.00 each from the town.” June 4, 1864, a vote was passed ” to pay drafted men, or their substitues, $300.00 each, and to raise not exceeding $10,000.00 for that purpose.” July 18, 1864, it was voted “to procure thirty volunteers and pay each $700.00,” and September 27th it was voted “to pay $800.00 for each one-year’s man (volunteer) and $200.00 in addition to the State bounty for each drafted man, and to raise $20,000.00 for the purpose.” Finally, December 24, 1864, it was voted “to each-man who will volunteer from the town of Alstead for three years, $1,000.00.”

Hurd, Duane Hamilton. History of Cheshire and Sullivan counties, New Hampshire. Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis. 1886.

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