The Winnacunnet Guards[From advance sheets of Adj. General Ayling's report.]
In October, 1860, in response to a call, signed by Charles F. Dunbar and others, several of the young men of Hampton met and took the preliminary steps for the formation of a military company. Thirty-six signed the roll and all but three became active members of the new company, which was called the Winnacunnet Guards. They chose the following officers: Captain, Charles F. Dunbar; First Lieutenant, Orrin M. Dearborn; Second Lieutenant, Amos J. Towle; and Joseph Warren Dow was appointed First Sergeant. Arms and equipments were secured from the state, the town furnishing a room in the town-house for an armory.
With the firing upon Sumter and the call from the President for troops, the company saw need of their services,s and at a special meeting called for that purpose, April 17, 1861, passed the following vote: "That we, the Winnacunnet Guards of Hampton, N.H., hereby volunteer our services to the Governor of this state and are ready to enter upon such duty as he may direct at notice; and that Captain Dunbar, Lieutenants Dearborn and Towle, with Sergeant Dow constitute a committee to so notify His Excellency, Governor Goodwin, forthwith."
In accordance with this vote the committee visited Governor Goodwin, at his residence in Portsmouth the next day, and presented him with a copy of the vote. He accepted the offer and promised that the company should be put upon the roster then forming for the First regiment; and he requested Captain Dunbar to report to Adj. General Abbott, at Concord, for further orders -- which he did April 19, 1861. Captain Dunbar that day enlisted for three months, was appointed a recruiting officer and ordered back to Hampton, to enlist his company for the same period, add recruits thereto and await orders.
For some unexplained reason they were not put into the First regiment but assigned to the Second, also organizing for three months, rendezvousing at Portsmouth and to be commanded by Thomas P. Pierce. Before the Second regiment was ready to take the field, orders came from Washington, for three years men, which resulted in changing the Second regiment's time to that period, and a change in its commander.
Captain Dunbar was ordered to discharge his company that he had enlisted for three months and enlist one for three years. Several who had enlisted for the former period refused to go further, although many of them were afterwards in service; but the majority reenlisted for three years unless sooner discharged, May 13, 1861 . . . . This company was the foundation of Company D, Third regiment New Hampshire Volunteers, and was mustered into United States service, August 23, 1861.