The Capitol Grounds at Harrisburg turned into a camp [Theodore R. Davis sketch which first appeared in Harper's Weekly, October 4, 1862]. www.sonofthesouth.net
The Pennsylvania Legislature had created laws concerning the creation and utilization of a state militia back during the American Revolution, with periodic updates over the next eighty years. During the threatened Confederate invasion in September and October 1862, Governor Andrew G. Curtin used the Militia Act of 1858 as legal grounds to call out the militia for the duration of the emergency (he would again call them out in 1863 during the Gettysburg Campaign).
On September 4, the governor issued this directive:
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 33– In the name and by authority of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Andrew G. Curtin, Governor of the said Commonwealth.
Whereas, in the present position of affairs, it is expedient that measures should be taken to arm and prepare our people for defence. Now, therefore, I do earnestly recommend the immediate formation throughout the Commonwealth of volunteer companies and regiments, in conformity with the Militia act of 1858. Arms will be distributed to organizations so to be formed, agreeably to the provisions of that act.
It is further recommended that, in order to give due opportunities for drill and instruction, all places of business be closed daily at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, so that all persons employed therein may, after that hour, be at liberty to attend to their military duties.
The cheerful alacrity with which the men of Pennsylvania have hitherto given themselves to the service of the country, has pressed heavily on her military resources.
I am reluctant to ask her people to assume further burdens, but as their safety requires that they should do so, it is in their behalf that I put forth the recommendations herein contained and urge a prompt compliance with them.
Given under my hand and the great seal of the State at Harrisburgh, this 4th day of September, in the year of our Lord, 1862, and of the Commonwealth the eighty-seventh. By the Governor.
ELI SLIFER, Secretary of State.