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United States Provost Marshal (Rhode Island) records

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 1636-1847

Scope and Contents

Records of William E. Hamlin, United States Provost Marshal & President of the Board of Military Enrollment for the first congressional district of Rhode Island. Includes correspondence & orders; board proceedings, draft rolls & returns; surgeon's reports & recruit examinations; military exemptions submitted & approved on account of medical & physical disability, son of widow or of aged or infirmed parent, non residence or allegiance to a foreign government, etc.; muster & descriptive rolls of volunteers, substitutes & drafted men; deserter notifications, descriptive lists & returns; recapitulations of enrollments & musters / quotas; monthly reports of activity detailing summary statements of accounts / funds received & disbursed; persons employed or hired; pay rolls; articles expended, lost, destroyed in the public service; abstracts of indebtedness; transportation of drafted men, persons arrested; subsistence & apprehension of deserters, etc.; orders & quartermaster receipt rolls for clothing, camp & garrison equipage issued drafted men & substitutes for drafted men etc., 1862 – 1866; 11 cubic feet

System of United States Provost Marshals authorized by War Department General Order No. 140, dated September 24, 1862. System created to assist loyal states in the arrest, confinement & return of deserters or stragglers to their respective regiments, apprehending individuals enticing soldiers to desert & holding them for trial in civil courts, investigating frauds upon the government or involving enlistments, searching for government property embezzled or stolen, quelling disturbances occurring in army barracks, issuing certificates of identity & loyalty to enable citizens when at Washington to obtain passes to family or friends located within the lines of the army & maintain list of deserters, arrests made & record of all disbursement of rewards and expenses of the office. William E. Hamlin appointed special Provost Marshal for Rhode Island by the President of the United States, September 25, 1862. On December 19, 1862 he was also commissioned by Governor William Sprague as Major with the Sixth Rhode Island Volunteers (organization not completed) but immediately relieved of duty to continue in capacity as United States Provost Marshal. System of special state Provost Marshals remained until Conscription Act passed by Congress March 3, 1863. Act created a Provost Marshal General & established provost marshals to represent each congressional district with the rank of Captains of Cavalry. William E. mlin continued in his capacity as Provost Marshall and was chosen to administer the first congressional district. Alfred Blair Chadsey of Wickford was appointed Provost Marshall for the second district April 30l, 1863. Conscription Act of Congress also established Boards of Enrollment for each district for the purpose of administering the draft and examining recruits with provost marshals serving as president. William Y. Knight was appointed Commissioner for the first district & Dr. Charles G. McKnight Surgeon. In the second district, James H. Coggeshall served as Commission & Dr. F. H. Peckham Surgeon. All appointees received their commissions from the President of the United States.


  • 1862-1865

Language of Materials


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No special restrictions unless otherwise specified.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is in the public domain unless otherwise specified. We reserve the right to restrict reproduction of materials due to preservation concerns.


7.12 Cubic Feet