The outbreak of the Civil

Like the other military' services, the small US Marine Corps was crippled by resignations as men went south to join Confederate forces at the beginning of the Civil War. Although few enlisted men quit, 20 officers out of a total of 63 either resigned or were dismissed from the sen-ice. To make up for these losses and meet the demands of wartime, on July 27, 1861, Congress authorized that the Corps be increased to 93 officers and 3,077 enlisted men, thus nearly doubling its pre-war strength of 1,758. Nonetheless, without the offer of a bounty, and with a longer term of enlistment than that for the Volunteer Army, Marine recruits were difficult to attract; by June 1862 the Corps had only 2,355 men in its ranks. As the Union Navy expanded Cdt Harris continued to ask Congress for more men, and in 1863 he was granted a "paper" establishment of 3,600, but in fact actual strength remained at about 3,000. By the war's end it peaked at 3,882 officers and men. A total of 102 US Marines died in combat, while a further 233 died of accidents or disease.

The Marines were among the few Regular troops available to the Federal government in 1861. On January' 5, Secretary of the Navy Toucey ordered that Fort Washington, on the Maryland side of the Potomac River just south of Washington, be garrisoned "to protect public property." Forty Marines from the Washington Navy Yard, fully equipped for 15 days' service, under the command of Capt Algernon S.Taylor, were sent to the fort, a vital link in the defense of the capital by either land or water. Four days later another 30 Marines from the Navy Yard, commanded by 1st Lt Andrew Hayes, garrisoned Fort McHenry in Baltimore until the Army could relieve them.

In Florida, Capt Josiah Watson, commanding the Marine detachment at the Pensacola Navy Yard, surrendered on orders; but Marine ships' guards helped reinforce nearby Fort Pickens, which was still in Federal

Published in Harper's Weekly on September 14, 1861, this engraving depicts a detachment of Marines marching by the Washington Navy Barracks. They wear the pattern 1859 undress uniform complete with fatigue caps. (Anne S.K.Brown Military Collection, Brown University Library)

Capt Jacob Zeilen was wounded while serving with the Marine Battalion at the battle of First Bull Run in July 1861, but recovered to take part in the siege of Charleston in 1863. After the death of Col Harris on May 12, 1864, Zeilen was appointed Commandant of the US Marine Corps, and served in this capacity until 1876. (Courtesy David M.Sullivan)

Capt Jacob Zeilen was wounded while serving with the Marine Battalion at the battle of First Bull Run in July 1861, but recovered to take part in the siege of Charleston in 1863. After the death of Col Harris on May 12, 1864, Zeilen was appointed Commandant of the US Marine Corps, and served in this capacity until 1876. (Courtesy David M.Sullivan)

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