CHAPTER LIII. THE FIRST DIVISION, NEW YORK NATIONAL GUARD.

The City is very proud of its military organization, and both the municipal and State governments contribute liberally to its support. The law organizing the First Division was passed in 1862, when the old volunteer system was entirely reorganized. Previous to this, the volunteers had borne their entire expenses, and had controlled their affairs themselves. By the new law, important changes were introduced.

The division consists of four brigades, and numbers thirteen thousand men. This includes a proper force of field artillery and cavalry. The United States provides the arms and uniforms, which are, when furnished by the General Government, those prescribed by the army regulations. The best regiments, however, prefer a handsomer dress, and provide their own uniforms. The city makes an appropriation of five hundred dollars per annum for each regiment, for an armory. The cost of parades, music, etc., is paid by the regiments themselves. Each regiment has its armory, in which are deposited the arms and valuable property. An armorer is in charge of the building, and it is his duty to keep the guns in good order. A reading room and library are attached to some of these armories, and are used as places of social reunion for the members of the command. Drills are held at stated times, and a rigid discipline is maintained. The men are, as a general rule, proud of their organizations, and enthusiastic in military matters. They are well drilled, and will compare favorably with any troops in the world, in both appearance and efficiency. Nearly all saw service during the late war, and there is not a regiment, we believe, that does not treasure some smoke-begrimed, bullet-rent flag, as its most precious possession. Out of the thirteen thousand men comprising the force, nine thousand were in the field, in active service, at one time during the war, and the division gave the country three thousand seven hundred and eighty officers for the struggle.

These troops are always ready for duty. They are scattered all over the city, pursuing various useful callings, but at a certain signal, sounded by the City Hall bell, they will rally at their armories, and in an hour, there will be thirteen thousand disciplined troops ready to enforce the laws in any emergency. The past services of the division prove that it can always be relied upon.