HISTORY OF THE FORTY-FIFTH REGIMENT MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEER MILITIA
FIRST DIVISION EIGHTEENTH ARMY COPRS DEP'T. OF NORTH CAROLINA
THE OLD SOUTH RECRUITING STATION OF THE 45TH MASSACHUSETTS, AUGUST, 1862
HISTORY OF THE
MASSACHUSETTS VOLUNTEER MILITIA
DEPT. OF 45 NO.CAROLINA MASS
“The Cadet Regiment”
THE CADET REGIMENT
drawing of rifles and backpack]
ALBERT W. MANN
Historian of the Regiment.
J.Y. JOYNER LIBRARY
EAST CAROLINA UNIV.
Copyright 1908 by Albert W. Mann
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
BROOKSIDE PRINT JAMAICA PLAIN, MASS.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY AMERICAN ENGRAVING CO. BOSTON, MASS.
PRINTED BY WALLACE SPOONER BOSTON, MASS.
Authorization of Distory
Whereas, Comrade Albert W. Mann, having been-selected and appointed by the Executive Committee of the Association of the 45th Mass. Regiment as Historian of the Regiment, by the adoption of this preamble said appointment by the Executive Committee is confirmed, and it is
Voted, At this Annual Meeting of the Association, held on June 23, 1908, that a book, purposed to be written, collated, printed and issued by said Albert W Mann, shall be known and considered by the present Association of the 45th Mass. Regiment as the authorized History of the Regiment, and that he may rightfully use such words as the title of his book.
It, however, being understood that the Association, as a body, or as individuals, are not to be held responsible or hable for any expense incurred through the publication of said book, or to be entitled to share in any profits which may accrue therefrom. —
Massachusetts in the Civil War
“THE Militia Regiments of Massachusetts were the first to respond to the call of the President; the first to march through Baltimore to the defense of the Capital; the first to shed their blood for the maintenance of our government; the first to open up a new route to Washington by way of Annapolis; the first to land on the Soil of Virginia, and hold possession of the most important fortress in the Union; the first to make the voyage of the Potomac and approach the Federal City by water, as they had been the first to reach it by land. The Soldiers of Massachusetts did their duty and the Nation owes them a debt of gratitude which can never be repaid.
“The dead who are buried in Virginia, the Carolinas, or the States of the Mississippi, at Andersonville, Salisbury, at home, or wherever they may rest; the sick, maimed, or wounded, who live among us; and those who escaped unharmed from a hundred battlefields,—their families, their names, their services, their sacrifices, their patriotism—will ever be held in grateful remembrance by a generous and enlightened people. And that ‘my father fought or fell in the great Civil War to maintain the integrity of our Union and the honor of our Nation’ will forever be an inheritance more precious than land, or riches, and a title of true republican nobility.”
Adjutant General of the State of Massachusetts during the Civil War.
GOVERNOR JOHN A. ANDREW
History of the Forty-Fifth Regiment, M. D. M. CONTENTS.
|A Brief Historical Sketch of the Independent Corps of Cadets||3|
|List of 185 Cadets who served in the Civil War||9|
|The services of the Cadets in the early part of the War and at Fort Warren in 1862||17|
|The Cadet Regiment and its friends in 1862||35|
|A Few Facts of interest to members of the Forty-Fifth Regiment||42|
|In Memory of Oliver White Peabody, Lieutenant-Colonel Forty Fifth Mass. Volunteers||48|
|In Memory of Russell Sturgis, Jr., Major Forty-Fifth Mass. Volunteers||51|
|The War Status when the Nine Months’ Troops were called||55|
|Camp Meigs, Readville||60|
|From Readville to Morehead City, N. C.||70|
|Camp Amory on the Trent||77|
|General John G. Foster||89|
|Colonel T. J C. Amory||93|
|The Signal Corps||94|
|Heroic Deeds of Heroic Men — The Expedition to Goldsboro’||102|
|The Official Reports of the March to Kinston and Battle of Kinston,||115|
|The Return March from Goldsboro’||142|
|Cavalry Operations on the Expedition to Goldsboro’||146|
|The Confederate Account of the Goldsboro’ Expedition||152|
|The Personal Experience of a Comrade wounded in the Battle of Whitehall, December 16, 1862||158|
|A Soldier's Letter||163|
|Regimental Colors and the Color Guard||165|
|A Sketch of the Life of Theodore Parkman||182|
|The Cadet Band||185|
|Four Months in Fort Macon — Department of North Carolina||198|
|Captain Joseph Murdoch of Company G||204|
|The Mud March: The Expedition to Jonesville, Pollocksville and Trenton||207|
|Provost Duty in New Berne||211|
|Chaplain Stone and the Religious Life of the Forty-Fifth Mass. Regiment||223|
|A Stirring Day: The Attempt of the Confederates to Retake New Berne, March 13-14, 1863||235|
|Scouting at Night beyond the Pickets on a Locomotive||245|
|The Fight at Dover Cross Roads||258|
|The Grand Review||262|
|As I Saw It||265|
|The Enlistment of Colored Troops||297|
|The Sergeant's Story||304|
|Under Marching Orders||313|
|War: The Romance and the Reality||314|
|The Medical and Surgical Department and Ambulance Corps||326|
|Memories of New Berne and the Massachusetts Forty-Fifth||341|
|The Rank and File||358|
|Memories of the Civil War and of Camp and Field in the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts Regiment||364|
|Reminiscences and Incidents of Army Life in North Carolina in the Eighteenth Army Corps||385|
|Arrival Home and Reception of the Forty-Fifth||425|
|The Draft Riot in July, 1863, and Services of the Forty-Fifth||432|
|After twenty-five years— Notes of a trip to Newbern||439|
|Tribute to the Memory of Hon. Edward W. Kinsley||444|
|Meetings and Re-unions of the Regiment since Muster-Out||452|
COL. CHARLES R. CODMAN
COMMANDING FORTY-FIFTH REGIMENT MASS. VOL. MILITIA
“Never, from the commencement of the war, was an officer sent from Massachusetts, better fitted for the responsibilities of his position than our noble Colonel,
Charles R. Codman
Perfect in his drill, firm in his discipline, yet free from all severity; brave in the hour of danger, yet without rashness; loved, and yet respected, he was truly a model officer. In these later years, it is the pride and boast of every member of the Forty-fifth Massachusetts, that he served for such a country, in such a cause, from such a State, in such a regiment, and under such a Commander.”
— Corporal Charles Eustis Hubbard.
A FEW months after the “Muster Out” of the Forty-Fifth Regiment, the members of Company A formed a permanent organization, known as the “Company A Associates of the Forty-Fifth Regiment M.V.M.,” and Re-unions have been held each year on the anniversary of the Expedition to Trenton.
In this way the old army ties have been strengthened, and the varied experiences of our service in North Carolina have been kept in fresh remembrance.
In 1882, under the auspices of this Association, a Diary of one of the members, Corporal Charles Eustis Hubbard, was published, bearing the title, “The Campaign of the Forty-Fifth,” which was illustrated with drawings by another member, that well-known Boston artist, the late Frank H. Shapleigh, from sketches made during his army life. By his permission several of these sketches appear in this History.
This book proved of such great interest to the members and friends of the Regiment that the small edition was soon exhausted. A few years later at one of the reunions of the “Associates,” it was decided to request members to furnish papers which should give the consecutive history of the Regiment from the formation of Company A to our “Muster Out,” and these papers were carefully prepared, and were read, one or more at each reunion, for several years. Not only did they prove interesting and entertaining to those who heard them, but to-day they possess an historical value, as they were read in open meeting and subject to the criticism of those who were participants in the scenes and events they described, and any inaccuracies of statement would have been corrected at once. They were afterwards entered upon the Records of the Association.
During his term of service the writer kept a diary and this has been freely drawn upon for dates and facts, in the papers which he and others have prepared for this volume.
With all this valuable nucleus at hand, the conviction impressed itself upon the mind of the writer that, although the long period of over forty years had elapsed since our army service, it was not yet too late to publish a “History of the Forty-Fifth.” We entered upon the work “with fear and trembling,” realizing the responsibility we had assumed, but as the work has progressed, the encouragement received from the officers of the Regiment and of the Association, and from “the rank and file” from far and near, has quickened our zeal in this self-imposed task and shown us the mettle and true comradeship of the men of the Forty-Fifth.
We gratefully acknowledge the receipt of valuable papers from our gallant Adjutant, Gershom C. Winsor, from the efficient Secretary of the Association, Mr. John D. Whitcomb, and many incidents and reminiscences from comrades whose names will appear annexed to their sketches. Nearly all of the papers received from Mr. Whitcomb were written many years ago, when the subject of a History of the Regiment was under consideration.
We earnestly hope that this “History of the Forty-Fifth” will meet with the cordial approval of our comrades-in-arms, and interest all who peruse its pages.
Comrades, in the words of our eloquent War Governor, John A. Andrew: “We have proud memories of fields of conflict; sweet memories of valor and friendship; tender memories of our fallen brothers, whose dying eyes looked last upon our country's flag; grand memories of heroic virtue, sublime by grief; thankful memories of a deliverance wrought out for humanity itself; immortal memories, with immortal honors blended.”
Albert W. Mann,
Historian of the Forty-Fifth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia.
LIEUT.-COL. THOMAS FRANKLIN EDMANDS
A Brief Distorical Shetch of the Independent Corps of Cadets
BY LIEUT. COL. THOMAS F. EDMANDS.
AMONG the documents of the olden time, sacredly preserved in Boston to the present day, is an ancient parchment which is, at once the Charter of the Independent Corps of Cadets, and the Commission of its first Commander, Colonel Benjamin Pollard. It bears the heading, “Province of Massachusetts Bay,” and was given at Boston, under the “Hand and Seal-at-Arms” of William Shirley, Governor, on “the 16th day of October, in the fifteenth year of the reign of His Majesty King George the Second, Anno Domini 1741.” It contained authority for the enlistment of sixty-four young gentlemen, who were to “observe and follow such orders and instructions as they should receive through their Commander from the Commander-in-Chief.” This was the origin of the military organization, which, under various modifications of its title of “Cadets,” now forms a part of the Volunteer Militia of the State of Massachusetts under the name of the “First Corps of Cadets.” Colonel Pollard, although appointed as Captain, was ranked in his commission as a Lieut. Colonel, “to roll on Duty, in the Field, and in Garrison, or otherwise, with all Lieutenant Colonels of Horse, or Foot,” according to the date of his Commission, in imitation, probably, of a similar custom regarding the rank of Captains in the household troops of the King of Great Britain, and for the reason that the Company as body guard of the Governor of the Province, were his household troops. At all events, the Company from 1741 until 1774 acted as body guard to the Governor of the Province. Its official records during this period were unfortunately destroyed by fire, but there are frequent allusions to its services to be found in contemporaneous records, documents and letters. It took part in all important parades, and was at one time, during the riotous proceedings attending the attempted enforcement of the Stamp Act, called
upon against the political sentiments of its members, to protect the servants and property of the British Crown, which service it performed in such a firm and soldierly manner as to quiet effectually a disturbance which threatened severe consequences to the whole town of Boston. On another occasion, however, the cadets, individually, were found taking part with the citizens, against the authorities. In May, 1774, Governor Gage arrived in Boston and was received and escorted by the Cadets. He presented them a flag, bearing the arms of the Province on one side, with his own arms on the other, and apparently endeavored to conciliate John Hancock, who then commanded the Company; but the liberal sentiments of this officer seem to have been too much for General Gage, and on the fifteenth of the following August, he caused his Secretary to acquaint Colonel Hancock that the Governor had no further service for him; whereupon the Company returned General Gage his standard and informed him that they retired from his service. The General retorted by saying that had he known sooner of their intention he would have disbanded the Corps himself. Troublous times were then in the town of Boston and they grew rapidly worse. British troops dominated the place and the local militia seems to have been deprived of all organization, a fate shared by the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, the Cadets, and other military companies, until after the reorganization of the State Government.
There was, however, a corps known as the Independent Company formed in 1776, immediately after the Evacuation of Boston, having officers ranking like those of the Cadet Company, and containing many persons who had been members thereof. This organization marched twice to Rhode Island, once in 1777, again in 1778, and was considered at the time as a combination of the old Company. No record or allusion to its subsequent service is extant, and if it survived as may have been done, until the peace of 1783, it doubtless fell into decay at that time in common with all the military institutions of the country. But in 1786, six years after the organization of the State Government, the military spirit had so far revived, that on the ninth of August, a petition
was sent to Governor James Bowdoin, by fifty gentlemen, praying that they might be incorporated “into a Military Corps by the name of the Independent Cadets,” and further praying that their officers might have the peculiar rank enjoyed by those of the older corps. This petition was granted by the House of Representatives October 17th and concurred in by the Senate on the following day. The next day, October 19th, on the Anniversary of the Surrender of Cornwallis, the “Independent Company of Cadets” (so designated in the Resolve) paraded, and has had an active, unbroken existence ever since. The corps in Salem, now known in the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia as the Second Corps of Cadets, was organized the same year. These two corps are the only organizations in the State Volunteer Militia that have had a continuous existence since the Constitution of the United States was ratified, and both are protected by the law which Congress enacted in 1792 “for the establishment of an uniform militia throughout the United States.”
Following the precedent of 1741, by which the officers of the Company in Boston ranked as field officers, those commissioned therein in 1786 received similar constructive rank; the Captain had the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, while the Lieutenant and Ensign each had the rank of Major. The Adjutant, an officer added to the original number by the resolve reorganizing the Company received a commission ranking therein as Captain. In 1803 a Surgeon was added.
The official titles of the Cadets have shown slight variation; for instance,—“Independent Company of Cadets,” “Independent Corps of Cadets,” “Independent Cadets,” “Divisionary Corps of Independent Cadets,” “First Company of Cadets,” and “First Corps of Cadets.” The word “Independent” disappears after the close of the Civil War of 1861 to 1865, and the numerical designation commences. The present title, last named above, was given in 1874 when the constructive rank of the field officers was changed to actual rank, and a battalion organization of four companies, with a staff and a proper complement of line officers was provided for. The transition from the company to the battalion system, was, however, gradual. It first shows in official
papers in 1845 when Lieutenant Colonel David Sears, then the Commandant, proposed a plan by which the Corps should be recruited to six companies with the necessary complement of Captains and Lieutenants. Had the plan proposed stopped there, it would probably have been successfully carried through; but it was hampered by conditions which made distinctions among the companies, one of which was to be parent to all, and the scheme as a whole fell through. The only part of it that survived was the foundation of the “Military Chest,” so called, which, in after years, furnished a large part of the funds used in the erection of the monument in Mount Auburn, raised by the Corps, to the memory of its dead who fell in the battles of the Civil War.
Nine years after the failure of Colonel Sears’ plan, that is in 1854, the Legislature gave the Governor authority to commission a Quartermaster and such number of First Lieutenants as he might deem from time to time expedient for the proper drill and discipline of the company in the school of the battalion. The same resolve also gave the Governor authority to determine the number of non-commissioned officers, privates and musicians necessary to the accomplishment of the same end.
The Quartermaster and six First Lieutenants were accordingly commissioned the same year, and the Corps was for about twelve years thereafter habitually divided into a battalion of six companies of infantry. This was, therefore, the organization existing in 1861 at the outbreak of the war. The Adjutant General's Report for that year gives the total strength as one hundred and thirty-seven officers and men.
Up to this time, with the exception of short tours at the time of Shay's Rebellion in 1786-1787, and again at the Burns’ Riot in 1854, the duty performed by the Corps of Cadets had been confined to peaceful escorts of distinguished personages, annual pilgrimages with the Governor and Legislature to church, occasional visits to neighboring places, and camp duty, all of which had given pleasure to beholders, and satisfaction to themselves, with the possible exception of an occasional slip upon election sermon day when the minister in the church finished his sermon before the Corps was ready to re-escort his congregation.
There were three of these tardinesses. Apologies were accepted for two of them, 1812 and 1828, and the end was peace and good will, but the third offence in 1832 was not condoned. It raised a fine tempest in a teapot, the result of which was that Governor Levi Lincoln had Lieutenant Colonel Grenville Temple Winthrop courtmartialled. The trial ended in a reprimand to that officer, officially and ponderously administered, but at the same time the affair bequeathed to the Corps a volume of considerable historic value, in which Colonel Winthrop published at length the proceedings and findings of the Court.
These peaceful days had their end for a time when the Civil War of 1861 burst over the land, calling the militia from parade to battle. The State began to raise regiments of raw recruits and needed officers to fit them for the field. Those officers were found in the ranks of the patriotic organizations of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, which then and there proved their value to the State as military schools, and repaid an hundred-fold all they had cost it.
The Cadets probably did no more in proportion to their strength than other companies and battalions, yet they furnished to the Army of Volunteers, from 1861 to 1865, over one hundred and fifty commissioned officers, ranking from a Major-General to a Lieutenant. Many of these officers it is true, knew in the beginning little of active service, but what little they did know of military custom was of inestimable value to the government. They learned their new duties rapidly, and as loyal gentlemen they gave their services with a zeal, intelligence and courage that quickly won honorable distinction for the troops they led.
Meanwhile, by the wisdom, foresight and perseverance of some of its older members who were themselves unfitted for service in the field, the Corps of Cadets was kept alive at home and so escaped the fate of extinction which unhappily overtook many of the other prominent militia battalions and companies in the State, notably the Fourth Battalion (New England Guards), the Second Battalion (Boston Light Infantry), and the Battalion of Rifles (City Guards), all of whom in friendly rivalry with each other and with the Cadets had earned honorable reputation as
soldiers in the years before the War. In these four organizations was centred a large part of the active military spirit of Boston. Each of them raised and officered a regiment for the field. Of the early Massachusetts Regiments (1861) the officers of the Second were mainly from the Cadets; the officers of the Twenty-Fourth were mainly from the New England Guards, while the officers of the Twentieth were taken about equally from the Cadets and the Guards. Rightly enough were the organizations of the Volunteer Militia called “Schools for Officers.”
In the summer of 1862 the Corps of Cadets was mustered into the services of the United States for about six weeks and was stationed at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor. The Forty-Fifth Regiment, often called the “Cadet Regiment,” was raised in the following autumn. This book tells the story of that regiment, and here this brief sketch of the Cadets may properly stop.
To the traditions of the olden time are now added the memories of those terrible years of war which tested the mettle of the citizen-soldier and proved his value to his country.
List of 185 Cadets Who Served in the Civil War
Adams, Zabdiel B., Asst. Surg., 7th Mass.; Surg. 32d Mass.; 1st Lieut., Capt. and Major 56th Mass.; Capt. 2nd Cav'y Mass. Vol.; Capt. and Major 5th Cav'y Mass. Vol.; Brevet Major U. S. V. 1865.
Alline, William H., 44th Mass.
Amory, Charles W., 2nd Lieut. 4th Mass. Cav'y; 2d Lieut., 1st Lieut., Capt. 2d Mass. Cav'y.
Andrews, George L., Lieut. Col. 2d Mass.; Col. 2d. Mass.; Brig. Gen'l U. S. V.; Col. 25th Regulars.
Appleton, John W. M., 2d Lieut., Capt. and Major 54th Mass.; Major 1st Batt. Heavy Artillery, Mass.; Brig. Gen'l and Adjt. Gen'l West Virginia, 1897; Col. 1st West Virginia in Spanish War.
Atkinson, R. P., drummer 12th Mass. and 56th Mass.
Ayres, O. H., Fort Warren.
Bagley, F. H., Fort Warren and Private 45th Mass., K Co.
Bailey, L. B., Fort Warren.
Baldwin, A. C., Major of Cadets at Fort Warren.
Bangs, G. P., 1st Lieut. and Capt. 2d Mass.
Bennett, C. H., Private Co. A 45th Mass.; Capt. Unattached Co. Mass. Vol.
Blagden, George, 2d and 1st Lieut. 1st Reg. Mass. Cav'y; Capt. and Major 2d Reg. Mass. Cav'y; Brevet Col. U. S. V.
Blagden, E. R., 2d Lieut. Co. I, 45th Mass; Signal Corps.
Bond, Henry M., Fort Warren; Ord. Serget. Co. B. 45th Mass.; 1st Lieut. and Adjt. 20th Mass.; killed at Wilderness.
Bond, William S., Fort Warren; 1st Lieut. Co. B, 45th Mass.
Bramhall, William F., Fort Warren.
Bumstead, N. W., Fort Warren; Capt Co. D, 45th Mass.
Burnham, J. A., Fort Warren.
Cabot, C. F., 1st Lieut. and Capt. 20th Mass.; killed at Fredericksburg.
Candler, W. L, 1st Lieut. 1st Mass, Infantry; Capt. and A. D. C., U. S. V.; Brevet Major, Lieut. Col. and Col. U. S. V., on General Hooker's Staff.
Carruth, F. W., 2d Lieut., 1st Lieut. and Capt. 1st Mass. Infantry.
Carruth, W. W., 1st Lieut. and Quartermaster 4th Mass.; 1st Lieut. and Capt. 6th Mass. Light Artillery; Acting Adjt. General U. S. V.
Carsley, A, Fort Warren.
Cassidy, A. J., Fort Warren.
Chessman, W. H., Fort Warren.
Chandler, C. L., 2d and 1st Lieut. 1st Mass. Inf'y; Capt. 34th Mass.; Lieut. Col. 40th Mass.; Col. 57th Mass.; killed at Anna River, Va
Chittenden, A. A., Corp'l Co. A, 45th Mass.; 2d Lieut. Co. H. 6th Mass.
Choate, Rufus, 2nd and 1st Lieut. and Capt. 2nd Mass. Inf'y; killed at Cedar Mountain.
Churchill, J. M., 1st Lieut. of Cadets, Fort Warren; Capt. Co. B, 45th Mass.
Clark, George A., Fort Warren.
Codman, Charles R., Capt. and Adjt. of Cadets, Fort Warren; Col. 45th Mass.
Coffin, H. P., Fort Warren.
Crehore, G. C., Fort Warren.
Cremin, W. H., Fort Warren.
Curtis, Hall, Asst. Surg. 24th Mass.; Surg. and Major 2d Mass. Heavy Artillery.
Curtis, Pelham, 2d and 1st Lieut. and Capt. 1st Mass. Cav'y; Major and Judge Advocate General.
Cutter, C. H., Fort Warren.
Daland, Edward F., Fort Warren; Capt. Co. F, 45th Mass.
Davis, Walter Scott, 2d and 1st Lieut. and Capt. 22d Mass.; Brevet Major and Lieut. Col. on the Staff.
Dehon, Arthur, 2d and 1st Lieut. 12th Mass.; killed at Fredericksburg, Va, Dec 13, 1862.
Dennett, Thomas Simmes, Fort Warren; Capt. and A. Q. M., 3d Div. 19th Army Corps.
Dennett, William Henry, Fort Warren.
Denny, George Parkman, Fort Warren; 1st Lieut. and Capt. 45th Mass., Co. A.
Dewson, Francis Alexander, 1st Lieut. and Quartermaster, 45th Mass.
Dexter, Thomas C. Amory, 1st. Lieut. on Gen'l Butler's Staff.
Dexter, Frederic, Fort Warren; Sergt. Co. B, 45th Mass.
Draper, George, Fort Warren.
Dupee, William R., Fort Warren.
Eaton, Edward G., Fort Warren.
Edmands, Thomas F., 2d and 1st Lieut. and Adjt., Capt., Major and Lieut. Col. 24th Mass.; Brevet Col. U. S. V.
Ellis, James Marsh, Fort Warren; 2d and 1st Lieut. and Capt. 2d Mass. Inf'y; Capt. and Commissary of Subsistence on General Banks’ Staff.
Ellis, S. Clarence, 1st Lieut. Co. F, 45th Mass.; Capt. 2d Mass. Heavy Artillery.
Emmons, Robert Wales, Fort Warren.
Emmons, Nathaniel Henry, Jr., Fort Warren.
Emmons, J. Frank, Fort Warren; 2d Lieut. Co. E, 45th Mass.; Acting Quartermaster.
Eustis, William Tracey, Fort Warren.
Everett, Manitou, Fort Warren.
Fisher, George J., 1st Lieut. Cadets, Fort Warren.
Fisk, George A., Jr., Private and Q.M. Sergt. 41st Mass.; 2d and 1st Lieut. 3d Mass. Cav'y; Capt. and A. Adjt. Gen'l U. S. V.
Fuller, Charles Emerson, Capt. and A. Q. M., U. S. V., Aug. 3, 1861, on Gen'l Rufus Saxton's Staff; Lieut. Col. and Chief Quartermaster of 10th Army Corps; Asst. Q. M. on Gen'l Sherman's Staff.
Fowle, William, Fort Warren.
Gardner, Harrison, Fort Warren; 1st Lieut. Co. C, 45th Mass.
Gilchrist, James, Corp'l, Co. B, 45th Mass.
Goodwin, Richard C., Capt. 2d Mass.; killed at Cedar Mountain.
Goodwin, Ozias, Jr., Fort Warren; 2d Lieut. 2d Mass. Inf'y.
Gore, Henry W., Fort Warren.
Gordon, George Henry, Col. 2d Mass:; Brig. Gen'l U. S. V; Brevet Major Gen'l.
Griswold, Charles E., Major, Lieut. Col. and Col. 22d Mass.; Col. 56th Mass.; Brevet Brig. Gen'l U. S. V.; killed at Wilderness.
Guild, George K., Fort Warren.
Hall, Rowland Minton, 2d and 1st Lieut. and Capt. 3d N. Y. Cav'y.
Hardy, Alpheus H., Fort Warren; 1st Lieut. Co. E, 45th Mass.
Hardy, Charles F., 1st Sergt. Co. E, 45th Mass.
Harris, Clarendon, Fort Warren.
Haven, Franklin, Jr., Capt. and A. D. C., U. S. V.; Lieut. Col. 2d California Cav'y.
Hawes, Marcus Martin, 1st Lieut. and Q. M. 2d Mass. Inf'y; Capt. and Asst. Q. M., U. S. V.
Haynes, Henry W., Fort Warren.
Head, George E., Jr., Lieut. Col. 14th Reg. Inf'y.
Herman, C. Henry, Fort Warren.
Hickling, Charles E., Private in Co. B, 45th Mass.
Hodges, George F., 1st Lieut. and Adjutant 18th Mass.; killed at Hollis Hill Va.
Hollis, Abijah, 2d Lieut Co. B., 45th Mass.; Capt. 56th Mass.; Brevt. Major U. S. V.
Hollingsworth, Amos L., Fort Warren.
Holmes, C. C., Lieut. Col. and Commander of Cadets, at Fort Warren.
Homans, George Henry, Fort Warren; Capt. Co. K, 45th Mass.
Horton, Charles, 2d and 1st Lieut 2d Mass. Inf'y; Capt. and A. A. Gen'l U. S. V.; A. D. C., U. S V.; Brevet Major and Lieut. Col.
Horton, William L., 2d and 1st Lieut. 24th Mass.
Howe, William G, 1st. Lieut. and Capt. 30th Mass.; Capt. and Provost Marshal 4th Dist. Mass.
Inches, Charles Edward, Fort Warren; Asst. Surg. 20th Mass.; Asst. Surg. 37th Mass.
Ingalls, William, Surg. 5th Mass. Inf'y; Surg. 59th Mass.
Jacobs, Asa, Jr., Fort Warren.
Jefferies, John Jr., Major of Cadets at Fort Warren.
Jefferies, B. Joy, Fort Warren.
Keith, James M., Fort Warren.
Kendall, Edward D., Fort Warren.
Kent, John, Fort Warren, Capt. 5th Mass. Inf'y.
King, John, Fort Warren.
Kinnicutt, Frank C., Fort Warren; Sergt. and 2d Lieut. 34th Mass.
Kuhn, W. P., Fort Warren.
Lawrence, William F., Fort Warren.
Leighton, Henry P., Fort Warren.
Lincoln, William H., Fort Warren.
Livermore, John M., Fort Warren.
Lothrop, Samuel K., Chaplain at Fort Warren.
Lunt, William P., Fort Warren.
May, Edward, Paymaster Regular Navy.
Maynadier, James E., Fort Warren; Sergt. Co. K, 45th Mass.
Merritt, Robert L., Fort Warren.
Merriam, Waldo, 1st Lieut., Major and Lieut. Col. 16th Mass.; killed at Spottsylvania.
Meyer, Joseph, Fort Warren.
Minot, Edward J., Fort Warren; Capt. Co. C, 45th Mass.
Murdock, Joseph, Fort Warren; Capt. Co. G, 45th Mass.; A. D. C. to Brig. Gen'l Amory.
Nickerson, Thomas W., Fort Warren.
Oliver, Samuel C., Brevet Col. U. S. V.
Otis, Theodore C., Sergt. 24th Mass.; 2d Lieut. 41st Mass.; 1st Lieut. 3d Mass. Cav'y.
Page, Calvin C., 1st Lieut. and Asst. Surg. U. S. V.; Major and Surg. 39th Mass.
Paine, William R., Fort Warren.
Palfrey, Frank, Lieut. Col. 20th Mass.; Col. 20th Mass.; Brevet Brig. Gen'l U. S. V.; Lieut. Col. Commanding Cadets, 1870.
Peabody, Oliver W., Capt. Co. H, 45th Mass.; Lieut. Col. 45th Mass.
Pierce, Henry L., Fort Warren.
Pond, Albert C., 1st Sergt. Co. C, 44th Mass.
Pond, George E., Fort Warren; 2d and 1st Lieut. Co. A, 45th Mass.
Post, Albert K., 1st Sergt. Co. H, 45th Mass.; 2d Lieut. Co. H, 45th Mass.
Pratt, Lowell, Fort Warren.
Quincy, Samuel M., Capt., Major and Col. 2d Mass. Inf'y; Col. U. S. C. Troops, and Governor of the City of New Orleans, La.; Brevet Brig. Gen'l.
Quincy, George H., Fort Warren; Supt. of Recruiting for City of Boston.
Raymond, Curtis, Quartermaster of Cadets at Fort Warren.
Rich, Charles Otis, 1st Lieut. of Cadets at Fort Warren; Capt. Co. I, 45th Mass.
Richardson, Edward Bangs, Fort Warren; Sergt. and 2d Lieut. Co. A, 45th Mass.; served on Signal Corps.
Richardson, Horace, Fort Warren. A copy of his “The Cadets at Fort Warren,” was one of the papers put in the copper box placed in the cornerstone of the Cadet Armory.
Schlesinger, Sebastian B., Fort Warren.
Sears, Cyms Alger, 2d Lieut. Co. D, 45th Mass.
Seaver, Charles Milton, Sergt. at Fort Warren.
Shelton, Stephen A., Fort Warren.
Shurtleff, Nathaniel Bradstreet, Jr., Capt. 12th Mass.; killed at Cedar Mountain, Va.
Shurtleff, Hiram Smith, Fort Warren; 1st Lieut. and Adjt. and Capt. 56th Mass.
Stedman, Daniel Baxter, Fort Warren.
Stevens, Charles Woodbury, Fort Warren.
Sturgis, Russell, Jr., Lieut. of Cadets at Fort Warren; Capt Co. A, and Major 45th Mass.
Tappan, Lewis W., Jr., Fort Warren; 1st Lieut. and Capt. Co. H, 45th Mass.
Thacher, William S., Fort Warren.
Thaxter, Samuel, Fort Warren; 1st Lieut. Co. D, 45th Mass.
Thayer, Edward Flint, Fort Warren.
Thayer, Theodore Austin, Fort Warren; 1st Lieut. Co. G, 45th Mass.
Thompson, George W., Fort Warren.
Thompson, J. Dixwell, Fort Warren; 1st Lieut. Co. I, 45th Mass.
Ticknor, Benjamin Holt, Fort Warren; 2d Lieut. Co. G, 45th Mass.; 2d Lieut. and Capt. 2d Mass. Heavy Art'y.
Tilton, William Stowell, 1st Lieut., Major, Lieut. Col. and Col. 22d Mass.; Brevet Brig. Gen'l U. S. V. Badly wounded at Gaines Mills and taken prisoner. Commander at Soldier's Home, Togus, Me.
Treat, Joseph B., Fort Warren.
Tuesley, Simon B., Fort Warren.
Underwood, James P., Fort Warren.
Underwood, Adin B., Capt. 2d Mass. Inf'y; Major, Lieut. Col. and Col. 33d Mass.; Brevet Brig. and Major Gen'l U. S. V. Badly wounded at Lookout Mountain, above the clouds.
Valentine, Henry C., Fort Warren.
Walcott, Charles F., Capt. 21st Mass.; Capt. 12th Unattached Co. Mass.; Lieut. Col. and Col. 61st Mass.; Brevet Brig. Gen'l U. S. V.
Walker, Charles Hayward, Fort Warren; 1st Lieut. Co. K, 45th Mass.
Walker, James R., Orderly Sergt. Co. K, 45th Mass.
Wales, Thomas Beals, Jr., Fort Warren; Capt. Co. E., 45th Mass.
Walley, Henshaw Bates, Fort Warren; Additional Paymaster in Navy.
Waters, Edwin Forbes, Fort Warren.
Webster, Ralph C., Quartermaster with rank of Major on Staffs of Gen'ls Peck, Foster and Thomas.
Webster, Fletcher, Col. 12th Mass.; killed at 2d Bull Run.
Weld, Richard Harding, Fort Warren; 1st Lieut. and Capt. Co. K, 44th Mass.
Weld, Franklin, Fort Warren.
Weld, George Walker, Fort Warren.
Weld, Stephen M., Jr., 2d and 1st Lieut. and Capt. 18th Mass.; Lieut. Col. and Col. 56th Mass.; Brevet Brig. Gen'l U. S. V.; A. D. C. to Gen'ls Wright, Fitz John Porter, Benham, Reynolds and Newton.
Wellman, Willard Lee, Fort Warren; Orderly Sergt. Co. D, 45th Mass.
Whitney, Charles J., Fort Warren.
Whitney, Joseph S., Fort Warren.
Whitney, Joel Parker, Fort Warren; Capt. Co. C, 2d Mass. Inf'y.
Whitney, Henry, Fort Warren.
White, John G., Fort Warren.
White, William Greenough, 1st Lieut. 12th Mass; killed at Antietam.
Wheelock, Henry Gassett, Sergt. Major 45th Mass.
Wild, Edward Augustus, Capt. 1st Mass. Inf'y; Major and Lieut. Col. 35th Mass.; Brig. Gen'l U.S. Colored V. Lost an arm at Antietam.
Willard, Sidney, Major 35th Mass.; killed at Fredericksburg, Va.
Williams, William Blackstone, Capt. 2d Mass. Inf'y; killed at Cedar Mountain, Va.
Williams, J. Otis, 1st Lieut. and Capt. 12th Mass.
Wilson, Charles Webster, Acting Master's Mate; Acting Vol. Lieut. in Navy.
Willson, Signey, Capt. 2d Mass. Inf'y; killed at Cedar Mountain, Va.
Winchester, Thomas B, Sergt. at Fort Warren.
Winship, Frederick W., Fort Warren.
Winsor, Alfred, Jr., Fort Warren; 2d and 1st. Lieut. Co. H, 45th Mass.
Winsor, Gershom Crayton, Sergt. at Fort Warren; 1st Lieut, and Adjt. 45th Mass.
Wyman, Powell T., Col. 16th Mass.; mortally wounded at Battle of Glendale, Va.
Young, Carlos L., Fort Warren.
The Services of the Cadets in the Early Part of the Mar and at Fort Marren in 1862
BY LIEUT. GERSHOM C. WINSOR, ADJUTANT OF THE 45TH.
WHEN I joined the Independent Corps of Cadets in 1860, I had very fixed ideas of what a recruit should be taught, and how he should be clothed. Much to my surprise the only instruction was a few changes with a musket and marching about a hall until he could keep step.
If the new recruit could turn out on the street and carry his musket and march so as not to draw unfavorable comment from the sidewalk committee he was “attend drill or not man,” as were the older members. When escorting the Governor we wore a gray uniform with black felt chapeau with a big red plume, which was very comfortable to the head except when the wind blew. In a rain storm it delivered the water well to the front and rear, so the rear rank was no better off than the front rank, from the drip. For parades of less moment, we wore a stiff leather shako with a red pompon and a white and red rosette in front that was the best bull's eye I ever saw, for it had a glint in the sun that could be seen for a mile. In the service this hat might have been of some use, for instance, on such a night as we had in the cornfields at Young's Cross Roads, where the downpour from noon to noon was such as we never witnessed in New England, by using it to bail the water from your side of a ridge to that of your comrade's side. You may have the idea that I have said this in derision. Not at all. I simply wish to impress on the mind of the reader that this Corps was fitted for, and its chief existence and dominating idea was, to escort somebody, dead or alive, and this extended over a period of one hundred and thirty years. The first check came when B. F. Butler was elected Governor of this State and ordered out two companies of the 9th Regiment to escort him to the State House from the Revere House. The next check was when the highly trained and practical
military mind of Thomas F. Edmands came to its command. He called me to become his Adjutant, but as I could not then well give the time, I declined. Escorting became a side show ever after, for now there is no Corps in the State that devotes so much time to matters pertaining to service in the field.
During the Presidential Campaign that resulted in the election of Abraham Lincoln, there was a great demand among the Wide Awake Clubs for men of some military knowledge, which led the active members of the Corps to confer on a uniform system of tactics, with bits of wood as the Company unit. After the election the study was kept up under Charley Griswold, and the times were such that it led to a good deal of talk about increasing the Corps to a Regiment, should war ensue, but this did not seem practical owing to its peculiar formation and history, so the talk changed to raising a regiment and officering it from the Corps. Meanwhile the studies were kept up.
The Civil War had been going on for a year when the Cadets were ordered into the United States Service. But during that year there were few weeks when no duty was required of them by the State, either as a Corps, or by details, so they were being gradually changed from men who slept in their own beds and did a few day's military duty at convenient hours during the year, to men who were glad to get their sleep when and where they could, and to render the exacting duties with resigned cheerfulness.
All had their professions or mercantile business to keep from loss, and so there were many exchanges of individual duty, but no shirking or leaving the Corps. Public affairs throughout the country were indeed serious, so it was no time to flinch, even if one's private interests suffered. The opportunity was given each member to retire from duty at the time the following order was issued, before War was declared.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Headquarters, Boston, January 16, 1861.
General Orders No. 4.
Events which have recently occurred and are now in progress, require that Massachusetts should be at all times ready to furnish her quota of troops, upon any requisition of the President of the United States
to aid in the maintenance of the Laws and the peace of the Union, His Excellency, the Commander-in-Chief, therefore orders:
That the Commanding Officer of each Company of Volunteer Militia examine with care the Roll of his Company, and cause the name of each member, together with his rank and place of residence to be properly recorded, and a copy of the same to be forwarded to the office of the Adjutant General. Previous to which Commanders of Companies shall make strict inquiry whether the men in their commands, who from age, physical defect, business, or family cause, may be unable, or indisposed to respond at once to the orders of the Commander-in-Chief made in response to the call of the President of the United States, that they may be forthwith discharged, so that their places may be filled by men ready for any public exigency which may arise, whenever called upon.
After the above orders have been fulfilled, no discharge, either of officer or private shall be granted, unless for cause satisfactory to the Commander-in-Chief. If any companies have not the number of men allowed by law, the Commanders of the same shall make proper exertions to have the vacancies filled, and the men properly drilled and uniformed, and their names and places of residence forwarded to Headquarters.
To promote the objects embraced in this Order, the General Field and Staff Officers, and the Adjutant and Acting Quartermaster General will give all the aid and assistance in their power.
Major-Generals Sutton, Morse and Andrews will cause this Order to be promulgated throughout their respective Divisions.
By command of His Excellency, John A. Andrew, Governor and Commander-in-Chief.
(Signed) William Schouler, Adjutant General.
At the meeting of the Corps in compliance with the above Order, in its Armory, then on the third and fourth floors of No. 98 Tremont Street, each member was requested to rise and answer “Yes,” or “No,” when his name was called. All anwered “Yes,” with one exception. There were quite a number of old members, unfitted physically to perform the increased duties. They were still retained, but simply not ordered on duty, as they were ever ready to render assistance to the Corps in many ways. Then each month our numbers were reduced by our most active and best members accepting commissions in regiments forming in the State, for service at the front, and as we were taking in
some new members, it was policy to retain the old members that the balance of power in voting might be maintained, which was wise as we shall note later on. For the benefit of the present members of the Corps, I will give in detail a tour or two of duty.
While the three month's men were being sent to the front, the Corps was on duty at the State House, with a regular guard established in and outside the building. Sacks filled with straw were put down at night in Doric Hall, and in the basement for the guard detail; each member was furnished with a blanket. In another part of the basement the Quartermaster had his caterer located behind pine tables where he was ever ready with his hot coffee, cold meats and bread. We had to furnish guards for all the supplies and material of the departing troops, and not only guard it to points of departure, but remain on duty until it was all loaded.
On the departure of the Fifth Regiment we had a particularly busy day and evening, so that there were but few Cadets not sound asleep before “taps” sounded. Soon after midnight, Lieut. Quincy (the late General Samuel M. Quincy) was rapping on the feet of his Second Company, and quietly ordering them below for coffee, as we were to go out on duty. “Forming Company” near the rear entrance, we marched out on Mount Vernon Street where stood a large double wagon loaded with ammunition. The driver had been brought up in the hay and grain business,—if the lettering on the side of the wagon was his apograph—and as it was down hill on Park Street, he was disposed to trot his horses, until threatened by Lieut. Quincy with arrest and his place supplied by one of his men.
A halt was made near the freight office of the Boston and Albany Railroad for orders. After a long wait we proceeded to the foot of Oak Street, and after the wagon was unloaded remained on duty in the freight-house until a train was loaded with the guns (Nims’ Battery), cannon balls, ammunition and material that had been there collected for the regiments of infantry and the battery. When the train passed out we re-formed for a silent march to the State House. The night was dark and very damp, with a thick fog low down to the pavement, so that drops of
water were continually dripping from the visors of our caps. As we neared Washington Street, near Bedford, we heard a band strike up directly ahead on West Street; we formed line across Washington Street, facing south, so as to “present” as they passed from West to Washington. On they came, just at early dawn, with the Brigade Band, led by Burditt, playing “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” It was the Fifth Regiment on its way from Fanueil Hall to the train. To our “present” Colonel Lawrence saluted with his hand. The men were too tired and wet to notice our presence, except as the rear wheeled, one of them turned, braced his feet on the pavement and seemed to wonder how any of his regiment could possibly, all of a sudden, get in his rear, then as he comprehended, he spoke—“A rr, if you stand there long enough and think it over you will come too!”
Later on, twelve men were notified to appear at the Armory for guard duty. Ammunition was served out and we marched under Sergeant B. Joy Jefferies across the Common to Braman's Boat House, foot of Chestnut Street, and there found a “Whitehall” boat ready, stored with tent, blankets, straw sacks, and a hamper of food, in charge of Quartermaster Raymond. One member remarked, “This looks as if we were to rehearse ‘Washington crossing the Delaware,’ but truly, Quartermaster, we don't see the ice.” The day was hot, and to be without ice was not to be thought of, if we could possibly get it, so the Quartermaster promised to send it to us by team. We took our turns at the oars, pulling up the Charles River, and soon after passing the bridges made a landing at the Powder House Wharf on the left bank where we set up our camp outside the high brick wall that surrounds the Powder House.
The new guard arrived each morning by boat, at about 9.30, the old guard returning to town, so that a tour of duty consumed a day and a half. A guard was also established at the State Arsenal in Cambridge, and both were maintained until all the material stored had been issued. Escort duty was ordered liberally by the State to all troops passing through the city, as well as to its own regiments leaving for the front, and to attend the funerals of both officers and men whose bodies were returned from the battlefields.
When the order came for the Corps to proceed to Fort Warren, it was in fine condition for the duty required, as it was now very proficient in guard duty. The uniforms were rather the worse for the hard service, and the color was altogether the worst that could be for the times. Patriotism is an exacting master in times of war, so it was evident that the gray, the uniform color of the Confederate Army, must be replaced by the blue of our own army. At Fort Warren the State had a battalion of six companies under Major Francis J. Parker, mustered there in November, 1861. This was at once designated the Thirty-Second Regiment Infantry and ordered to leave on Monday, May 26, 1862. Four companies additional were used and joined it from time to time. This order took from Fort Warrens garrison six hundred men. There were about eight hundred prisoners of war held there, including, from time to time such leading spirits as Confederate Ambassadors Mason and Slidell, Generals Tighleman and Buckner, Commodore Barron, Colonel Pegram, Major Brown and Chief of Police Kane of Baltimore. To replace this garrison the First Corps of Cadets (116 men), and the Second Corps of Cadets of Salem (130 men), were ordered to proceed to Fort Warren. It appears that the fear of disaster to our forces at the front was so great at Washington, that the President had called on Governor Andrew to muster the militia of the State for active service forthwith, so there was a call sent over the State on May 26, and within twenty-four hours four thousand men had reported to General Andrews, Division Commander, on Boston Common. By noon the order was rescinded and only the Independent Corps of Cadets retained.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Headquarters, Boston, May 26, 1862.
Special Order, No. 86.
General Andrews commanding First Division M. V. M. will cause the Corps of Cadets of said Division, and the Fourth Battalion of Infantry, of First Brigade, to report at these headquarters at twelve o'clock M. this day for Garrison Duty at Fort Warren.
So much of General Order of this date as directs these troops to report on Boston Common today is hereby countermanded.
By command of His Excellency, John A. Andrew, Governor and Commander-in-Chief.
(Signed) William Schouler, Adjutant General.
In compliance with the above order, the following members appeared at the Armory and were sworn into the United States Service by John M. Goodhue, Captain, U. S. A., and Chief Mustering Officer for Massachusetts, to serve “for the term as under Acts of Congress, approved July 29, 1861, unless sooner discharged.”
Lieut. Colonel, C. C. Holmes, Commanding.
Majors, A. C. Baldwin, John Jeffries, Jr.
Captain, Charles R. Codman, Adjutant.
First Lieutenants, Curtis B. Raymond, Quartermaster; Joseph M. Churchill, Commanding Company; Russell Sturgis, Jr., Commanding Company; Charles O. Rich, Commanding Company; William R. Paine, Commanding Company; George J. Fisher, Commanding Company.
Sergeants, William F. Fowle, Quartermaster-Sergeant; Joseph Murdock, Sergeant-Major; Charles M. Seaver, Thomas B. Winchester, Edward F. Thayer, Benjamin F. Jeffries, John T. Clark, William F. Lawrence, J. Dixwell Thompson, Gershom C. Winsor, Albert W. Adams, Andrew S. Webster.
Corporals, Horace Richardson, Henry W. Haynes, William P. Lunt, William H. Dennet, John Gardner White, Ozias Goodwin, Jr., George H. Homans, Lewis B. Bailey, Nathaniel W. Bumstead, Samuel Thaxter, Otis E. Weld, Lewis W. Tappan, Jr., George W. Thompson.
Privates, J. M. W. Appleton, Orlando H. Ayres, Frank H. Bagley, Henry M. Bond, William S. Bond, William T. Bramhall, Henry T. Bryant, John A. Burnham, Jr., Albion Carsley, William H. Chessman, George A. Clark, Henry P. Coffin, William H. Cremin, Charles H. Cutler, Edward F. Daland, George P. Denny, Thomas S. Dennett, Frederick Dexter, George Draper, William R. Dupee, Edward G. Eaton, James H. Ellison, John F. Emmons, Nathaniel H. Emmons, Robert W. Emmons, Maniton Everett, William T. Eustis, Harrison Gardner, Henry W. Gore, George K. Guild, Alpheus H. Hardy, Clarendon Harris, Cornelius H. Herman, Amor L. Hollingsworth, Charles E. Inches, Asa Jacobs, Jr., Edward D. Kendall, James M. Keith, Frank C. Kinnicutt, William P. Kuhn, Henry R. Leighton, William H. Lincoln, John M. Livermore, James E. Maynadier, Robert L. Merritt, Joseph Meyer,
Edward J. Minot, Thomas W. Nickerson, Henry L. Pierce, George E. Pond, Isaac L. Pratt, George H. Quincy, E. B. Richardson, Sebastian B. Schlesinger, Stephen A. Shelton, William S. Shurtleff, Daniel B. Stedman, Jr., Charles W. Stevens, Theodore A. Thayer, William S. Thacher, Simon B. Tuesley, James P. Underwood, Henry C. Valentine, Charles H. Walker, Henshaw B. Walley, Thomas B. Wales, Jr., Edwin F. Waters, Franklin Weld, George W. Weld, Richard H. Weld, Willard L. Wellman, Charles J. Whitney, Henry Whitin, J. Parker Whitney, Joseph S. Whitney, Alfred Winsor, Jr., Frederick W. Winship, Carlos L. Young.
Drummers, Joseph B. Treat, Andrew J. Cassidy, Richard P. Atkinson.
So much of above order as relates to Fourth Battalion of Infantry was countermanded.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Headquarters, Boston, May 26, 1862
Special Order, No. 94.
The Companies of Cadets of the First and Second Divisions of the M. V. M. are ordered to report forthwith for active service to Colonel Dominick, U. S. A., Commanding at Fort Warren in Boston Harbor.
Quartermaster General Reid will furnish the necessary transportation.
By Command of His Excellency, John A. Andrew, Governor and Commander-in-Chief.
(Signed) William Schouler, Adjutant General.
When this last order came to the Armory by General Reid, Quartermaster General, we at once formed and then marched out to the tapping of our three drummers, for a quiet march to the steamer. But State Street was crowded and feverish, gold was rising in value every hour, all mercantile operations were doubtful, the present was, and the future looked more than gloomy. The conclusion was forced that day of only one resource of safety for all interests, and that was the military. So when the Cadets appeared marching down the street in this quiet way to active service, the applause, cheers and shouts had an earnest that was beyond any greeting the Corps had ever experienced. All knew that the Corps had given liberally of its members for officers in
the regiments that had gone to the War, and now to see the Corps come forth with full ranks, and be the first to march on this call of emergency, seemed to overwhelm them. The War Record of the Corps was now fully established and will be freely acknowledged for all time.
On our arrival inside the Fort we were promptly assigned to quarters in the casemates on the east front. The outlook from the embrasure was down the ship channel with the outer lighthouse on the left and Point Atherton on the right. The casemates were very comfortable quarters, with one exception—the rats. Our presence seemed very acceptable to them, for they were not the least afraid, and established an ownership, individually, or collectively, on everything we possessed. Their chief detailed only his “Old Guard,” evidently, to look after us with our “Extras,” for none were on duty except those having grown a tail the thickness of a man's little finger. They were perfect reapers and mowers, that is, they did their own work and always wanted more.
After we had been in the Fort a few weeks, an undersized Cadet of the Fourth Mess., aged nineteen, who was given to prattling on his father's side, procured a pass for an outing in the city. He returned promptly on the afternoon boat, making an unusually neat appearance, with his black hair kept in place by a liberal supply of barber's oil. He was bantered a good deal and congratulated that he did not overdo everything during the day in the same way, for then he certainly would have returned drunk. As it was, he declared himself “very tired” and was sound asleep in his bunk long before “Taps,” to dream that mosquitoes had come. Nothing disturbed him, except the mos. quitoes of his dream, until the drum beat at five o'clock the next morning. Then he was more than surprised to behold as he slid from his bunk not less than a handful of his hair remaining on his improvised pillow. The rats had mowed the top of his head while he dreamed of the mosquitoes. He has always declared that from that moment he was doomed to baldness, for within a short time the top of his head was as smooth as an apple and has remained so ever since.
Our officers were quartered with the other officers of the garrison on the west front, to the left as you enter the Sally port. The prisoners were mostly quartered on the north front. The south front is now casemated, having its guns mounted en barbet, with rifle galleries underneath to sweep the ditch outside. This Fort is second in size, Fort Monroe being the first, so the spaces are great, requiring a large number of men to effectually guard it.
The Fort was commanded by Lieut. Colonel Justin Dominick, 2d U. S. Artillery. Colonel by brevet. Born in Connecticut, appointed to West Point from Vermont, entered the Army July 1, 1819.
The Post Adjutant was 2d Lieut. Justin E. Dominick (son of the Colonel), 1st U. S. Artillery, afterwards killed in battle ou the Peninsula. Born in New Hampshire, appointed to West Point at large; entered the Army June 24, 1861.
The Post Sergeant Major was William Ray. The Post Quartermaster was Captain George W. Pearson, U. S. V. The garrison was so small now, that Corporals and Sergeants had to take their turn at standing guard, as well as their turn as Sergeant and Corporal of the guard.
Our officers were very anxious that we should do well, but we did not go there to be “horsed” and “caught” by “Dim,” as we nicknamed the Post Adjutant, for we all knew what would, and what would not pass muster with the “regular.” United States uniforms were issued to us, and our expensive gray uniforms were discarded, never to be worn by the Corps again.
I have shown that the Corps was well up in guard duty, but there is a vast difference between guarding dead property and live persons. There were nearly eight hundred prisoners within the walls of the Fort, none above planning an escape, and so it was the custom at the Guard House, outside the Fort, to warn the guard, before posting, on every dark, stormy or windy night. We had not been long in the Fort before an easterly storm set in, lasting several days. When the third relief was turned out at a quarter before two, the first night of the storm, from the Guard House where it had been sleeping for four hours on the hard wood inclined shelf, to be inspected for posting, the Lieutenant
of the Guard stepped over from the little box on the other side of the roadway and said—“Now this is a very dark, stormy night, so it is fair to suppose that if the prisoners within the Fort have any matured plan for escape, they would choose such a night as this to attempt its execution. You must allow no boat to remain near the shore, warn them off. No boats allowed to land during the night, even at the dock. Remember no sane person, except he be a prisoner trying to escape, would approach a sentinel at night without promptly answering his challenge. Watch well the water along your beat to be sure no person swims or wades therein, never leave your beat, but challenge promptly and at good distance; challenge three times and then fire to kill. A sentinel on post at night is the highest and most despotic power known to civilized nations. No sentinel was ever shot or hung for shooting a man at night from his beat. I shall keep a Corporal and file of men ready to start at once if you send in a call. Be active, danger comes when it is least expected. Sergeant, post the relief!”
As the relief marched away into the darkness and storm, gusts of wind caught up their great coat capes and lashed their coat skirts about as if to try the quality of the thread in the contract-made garments. In due time the Sergeant returned with the old relief and there was more talk than usual before getting on the incline, about the quality of the night, and how, between the force of the wind and the noise of the waves, there was little to be seen or heard of a definite nature. “If the prisoners could get to the water tonight they would be all right, no living soul could see or hear them.”
Soon after came the call, “Coporal of the Guard, Post 10.” Off went the Corporal with his file of men, and the sentinel on the dock reported having heard a musket fired on the upper end of the island. The suspense made it seem that the Corporal was a long time away, but on his return he reported the alarm “nil.” When he arrived at Post 10, he found Private Ellison had reloaded and was walking his beat, still a bit nervous. It seemed that after he was posted he made himself familiar with the appearance of each tuft of sage grass, mound of sand, and the
rocks, so that if any moving thing came he would not mistake it for his surroundings. All of a sudden he heard a quick noise in the water just behind him and a few feet from the shore. He challenged—the head of a man disappeared beneath the water, but rose again only a few feet away. He challenged again and ordered him to come ashore. As quick as a flash the man ducked and exposed his body as he dove. He challenged again, cocked his rifle and just as the head came up, with the water running off its shoulders—fired. Could it be possible that he was mistaken? Yes! he said then he had fired at one of the rocks that the receding tide had just then set “awash.” In the afternoon while the “high grade” prisoners were taking their exercise on the west parapet, one asked the sentinel on duty there, just as the troops were forming for “dress parade” within the Fort—“Say, sentinel, can't you point out the man that fired at one of us in the water last night?” It was quite impossible to keep any bit of news from them, their eyes and ears were very keen. One day is a counterpart of another in garrison and the visitor who would take a peep at the inner phases of our life there must be an early riser.THE SUNRISE GUN.
The few clouds in the sky begin to show a rosy hue; the eastern sky is lighting up with the radiance of coming morn. We halt at the foot of the flag staff. The garrison lies still as the grave, dim and pulseless without the first moving thing in view. Soon you note a moving sentinel on the west parapet, then your attention is turned to four musicians coming to where you stand with fifes and drums, then a corporal and two men pass to your left, one has a leather bag slung over his shoulder; then comes a corporal with the garrison flag under his arm, done up in a “cocked hat.” “Come on,” says your officer, “we can get a better view at the gun.” So we climb a long flight of stone steps after the Corporal and his two men and stop near the first gun on the south parapet. As we approached we heard a dull thud or two as the gunners rammed home their cartridge and the low-tone chatter of the drummers below as they braced their batter heads and looked up expectantly to the gun we were nearing. As the
color in the east deepens, the Corporal orders “Ready!” and as the sun's deep red disk begins to show above the horizon, suddenly comes the order “Fire!” and with it a belching cloud of smoke and flame from the black muzzle of the gun, a thundering roar, and at the same instant the shrill music of the fifes and the resonant rattle of the drums as they break into the stirring roll of the “reveille.” It is enough to “rouse the Seven Sleepers,” to say nothing of the twelve hundred in the Fort who are at once astir. The Corporal at the flagstaff has done his part, for from the top flutters in the soft morning air, our nation's emblem. The soldiers immediately stream out from the casemates, “buttoned to the chin,” and form in front of their quarters. Once more the drums have resumed the closing roll of the reveille, then suddenly cease. Next comes the prettiest ceremony of the day—GUARD MOUNTING.
The old guard when relieved marches to the butts, and under the direction of the officer of the guard discharge their pieces at the bull's eye, then march up into the Fort, across the parade ground and are there dismissed to be again on the like duty after two days, and in some cases after one day. They are excused from that afternoon drill, but must turn out at Dress Parade. They have their guns to clean, and their equipments, shoes and clothes, to put in first-class order, which often takes hours of time, as they have to stand at their posts without shelter, day or night, and so it is possible to come off duty soaked to the skin.
My visitor is greatly interested in this daily routine of life in camp or garrison. After Dress Parade I suggest to him that after a light supper he had better get “forty winks of sleep,” if he is to do the “Grand Rounds” at midnight. As we come out from the officer's mess we hear a call being beaten at the outer guard house where all the calls are sounded. This is the drummer's call for “Retreat,” and you notice the drummers collecting at the foot of the flagstaff as they did in the morning, and the Corporal and two men on the south parapet. Presently the Corporal gives the chief drummer a signal and then comes the last music of the day, the closing rolls of the drums being the signal for
the evening gun to boom and the garrison flag to come gracefully to earth. Soon after, when the relief is changed, the big timber doors to the sallyport are closed and sentinels begin to challenge. The nap is given up and the visitor strolls over to the Cadet quarters to make a call on the boys.
“Well,” he says, “how long have you fellows got to follow this business?”
“That is just it,” one answers, “we have got to stay here until the Government at Washington gets good and ready to discharge us; and I notice they are not discharging troops, but trying to get more; men are not flocking to regiments now forming. Being sworn in ‘until relieved,’ means for the war.”
“But,” he replies, “you don't mean to say that the Government will not raise a company to relieve you when they know you left your business or professions to help them out of an emergency.”
The logical Cadet was equal to the emergency, for he replied—“Emergency!” War in this country is nothing but emergency from beginning to end. The Secretary of War would say that all enlisted men count alike, that he can relieve none. The more intelligent, the more he wants them. I don't want it given out from Washington that the Boston Cadets doing duty at Fort Warren are already kicking to —” At this point the door suddenly opened and Captain Cabot of the Artillery, in full uniform, with his red sash from shoulder to hip, stepped in and ordered, “Put out that light!” It went out as suddenly as he entered, for no one cared to pass the night in the Guard House and have charges preferred the next day for resisting an officer's authority by burning a light after “Taps,” and be made to stand on the head of a barrel for several hours holding a candle in his right hand extended, or put on extra policing duty. The fact was, the boys were so interested in the question under discussion that they neglected to regard “Tattoo” and the three taps that came fifteen minutes later from the drummers for lights to be put out. The Officer of the Day had caught them sure enough.
After this talk with the visiting friend, the chief topic of conversation among the Cadets was—How and when can we be
relieved from this duty? Every man was satisfied that they were booked for one or two years, and if they were to serve that length of time, they preferred to go to the front; then those who had left a practice or business must find some one to continue it, or their past labor would be lost to them entirely. It was decided to find out what our officers thought on the subject. It was found that Lieut. ">Colonel C. C. Holmes, commanding the Corps, would serve one or two months longer, and then if the Corps was not relieved, he would be obliged to resign and return to his practice. Major Jeffries thought we ought to know how long our term was so that each could make arrangements accordingly. The position of Captain Charles R. Codman, Adjutant of the Corps was, that he had returned from abroad to take some part in putting down the Rebellion, and almost upon landing was ordered to this Fort. He preferred duty at the front, and if the Corps was not relieved he hoped to get transferred to the field. He thought it foolish to ask the Government to relieve the Corps, for there could be but one answer. If the Corps would raise and officer a three-year's regiment, no doubt each one commissioned, or enlisted, would be relieved, but not the others. He favored raising a regiment and would take a commission. The five lieutenants commanding companies favored raising a regiment. It certainly looked as if some of the boys were going to get left. It was not a case of “growl” on the part of the Cadets.
The hard work, regular hours for work, meals and rest, with plain fare, were putting all in perfect physical condition. The Cadets were doing their work manfully and cheerfully, not a whimper was heard, but it was decided that this matter must be put before the Secretary of War in some shape, and it was placed in Governor Andrews hands. At first, the answer was not favorable but when he informed the Secretary that it was the purpose of the members to raise a regiment and officer it, the reply came that they would be allowed to relieve themselves for the purpose indicated. Captain Dalton was selected to raise the Company. To hurry matters the Cadets were to pay a bounty of ten dollars to each man enlisted. Recruits were very plenty for service of this kind—no marching, no battles, no earthworks to build, no
sleeping out in bivouac. “What a pudding,” thought those who had seen some service at the front. In two weeks the Company was full. After being sworn into the United States Service, it came to Fort Warren, and the Cadets went to town on the return steamer. They landed at Long Wharf. The Armory was open every day as those who proposed to take an active part in raising the Regiment congregated there.
Money was the next thing needed, or to know where money was to come from to pay the expenses of rent of recruiting offices, and of halls for recruiting meetings, advertising in the daily papers, travelling expenses, etc. It is here that we see the heads and hands of our old members that were not fit to do active duty, popping up. They formed themselves into an active Finance Committee and added a few enthusiastic friends of the Corps, such as Edward W. Kinsley, Esq., Alpheus Hardy, Esq., George W. Bond, Esq., John H. Emmons, Esq. This Committee was devoted to seeing that every want was supplied, even to replacing poor overcoats that were issued to the men of the Regiment with good ones of regulation pattern and color. Then they carried the vote, at a meeting of the Corps to turn over the Regimental Fund, the contents of the Cadet military chest—$1,200.
A general recruiting office was opened in Niles’ Block, School Street, next below City Hall, and put in charge of Captain George H. Quincy. This member was the most devoted of all. He could not go to the front, and not only recruited for the Regiment, but when it was full, he acted as its Home Agent during its term of service and continued on in his good work for other regiments until the end of the War.
Recruiting offices were established up and down Washington Street, at the West End and at the South End. Captain Codman was the leading spirit and took charge of affairs. Soon after our return from Fort Warren the Government made a call upon the State authorities for seventeen regiments to serve nine months, as it was thought that the War would be closed in that time or less. No new regiments were allowed to be enlisted for three years, only recruits for the old regiments could enlist for that length of service, so the question of whether the Cadet regiment should start out to serve for three years, was settled.
It now became necessary for the members in charge of recruiting offices to make trips to the surrounding towns to influence and convince the men enlisted by the town to fill its quota, and the Selectmen, that the best regiment about to take the field was the Cadet Regiment. In one town the Selectmen were very particular that their men should go only in a temperance Company. At a town meeting that evening the members of the Corps who expected to command the Company were called upon to speak, after one of the leading citizens had declared in a ringing speech that no Captain could have these men to command if he was not a temperance man. So when our member got up to speak, all the town was attention itself. He said, “I have visited several towns recruiting, but this is the first that I have found so in accord with my ideas of what the men should profess before going forth to do battle in this just cause of our Government. I wish it distinctly understood that I am to command my Company, and I will say here and now, that if any man in my Company is not a temperate man I will put him in the Guard House. Now if you mean what you say let every man of your quota step up here on the platform and sign the Enlistment Roll of my Company in the presence of the Selectmen and town people.” The speech was enough to convince the most exacting citizen and the Selectmen, so the men came up and signed the Enlistment Roll. That member made as successful a Captain in the field as he did Recruiting officer at home.
Barracks at the State Camp at Readville were designated as rendezvous for our Companies, and as none were yet full so that they could be sworn into the United States Service and draw rations and clothing, Captain Codman thought it would be a prudent move for the writer to take up his quarters there in the name of the Cadet Regiment. I did so in the latter part of August, 1862, and so reported to General Peirce, commanding the camp. My time was taken up with study and rehearsing for the position Captain Codman had tendered me, if he was elected Colonel.
On the 26th of September, 1862, eight Companies having reported for duty and elected their officers, were sworn into the
United States Service, and the other two, H and I, were sworn in October 7th. On the 8th of October there was a meeting of all the Company officers at headquarters, to elect field officers. The result was—Captain Charles R. Codman, Adjutant of the Independent Corps of Cadets was elected Colonel; Captain Oliver W. Peabody, Co. H, Lieut. Colonel; Captain Russell Sturgis, Jr., Co. A, Major. Immediately the Colonel appointed his staff officers—Samuel Kneeland, Surgeon; Joshua B. Treadwell, Assistant Surgeon; Gershom C. Winsor, Adjutant; Francis A. Dewson, Quartermaster; Rev. Andrew L. Stone, Chaplain.
The authorities at the State House had issued an order designating the official numbers of the nine months’ Regiments of which the following is an extract: “The Regiment commanded by Colonel Charles R. Codman will be known as the Forty Fifth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Militia.”
The birth of the Regiment had come. Others will write of its infancy and growth, but its older days should only be wrought and written by the future members of the First Corps of Cadets, M. V. M., and the descendants of those men who served satisfactorily and so well in camp, on the march, in bivouac, in battle and in hospital.
It is to be hoped that the members of the Corps in the future will, if occasion requires, have the courage and ability to go to the State House and ask for the colors of the old Forty-Fifth, that they may recruit, officer, take to the front, fight and uphold with honor, and augment, if possible, the devotion of the Corps in sustaining the Government so well established by its members during the Civil War of 1861-1865.
LIEUT. ALFRED WINSOR, JR., CO. H
LIEUT. ALPHEUS H. HARLY, CO. E
LIEUT. GEORGE E. POND, CO. A.
LIEUT. EDWARD B. RICHARDSON, CO. A
The Cadet Regiment and its Friends in 1862
BY LIEUT. ALPHEUS H. HARDY OF COMPANY E.
Extracts from Talk given at the Winter Meeting, February 14, 1900.
THE call of the President for three hundred thousand nine month's men revived the interest in the raising of a regiment, and on the 8th of August, 1862, an order was issued by Governor Andrew authorizing Charles R. Codman to raise a regiment for nine months’ service. On the evening of that day a meeting was held in the Cadet Armory then on Tremont Street, in the third story of the building now occupied by W. S. Butler & Co. The outcome was to raise a regiment rather than join others engaged in like attempts.
This meeting may be considered the genesis of the Regiment. Practically all the younger men present backed the plan. It was understood from the beginning that Adjutant Codman was to command, and that he should elect the field and staff and direct the formation of Companies. Informally the assignments were made of Company Commanders, and these in turn associated with them others as junior officers. I say informally, for under the call we were to be militia, and all officers were under the militia system elected, not appointed. Nevertheless, it was clearly understood who were to be elected. The officers and the positions they were to hold were to be satisfactory to Colonel Codman. This arrangement made it certain that fit men were to be in the right place.
No officer held a commission because of any “pull” at headquarters or elsewhere. The faults or weakness of the militia system did not obtain in the Forty-Fifth. The Cadet officers were accepted and commissioned because their Colonel believed them competent to fill the offices they held.
The original grouping was as follows: Captain Russell Sturgis, Jr., with George P. Denny and George E. Pond. They
opened a recruiting office at the rooms of the Young Men's Christian Association in the Tremont Temple, where the nucleus for a company was already formed. Later a sub-station was established in a tent on Franklin Street. This Company was the first to fill its ranks and became Company A, with the officers above named.
Captain E. J. Minot was associated with Harrison Gardner and had their office at 77 Washington Street. Captain T. B. Wales, A. H. Hardy and J. Frank Emmons recruited first at 181 State Street, and later at the corner of School Street and City Hall Avenue, where Percival's Drug Store now is. Captain N. W. Bumstead, Samuel Thaxter and Alfred Winsor, Jr., were located at 113 Washington Street. C. H. Walker and E. F. Daland were at 252 Washington Street, Captain Charles O. Rich with J. Dixwell Thompson were at 2 Congress Street. The first advertisement of Captain Rich associated with him Lieutenant Thaxter who later joined Captain Bumstead. Captain Joseph Murdock, who, by the way was the oldest man in the Corps at Fort Warren, and was mustered into the service of the United States at the age of fifty-two, recruited at 162 Washington Street with T. H. Thayer and B. H. Ticknor. Captain G. H. Homans, with L. W. Tappan, Jr., and Henshaw B. Walley were at 59 Milk Street. Captain J. M. Churchill with Lieutenant W. S. Bond recruited their Company in Milton. There is no record of their having a Boston Office.
The daily papers from which the foregoing facts were taken, generally refer to the Regiment as the “Cadet Regiment.” Many of the advertisements were so headed. No number had been assigned to it, for it was not yet in existence.
The original grouping of officers was somewhat changed under the conditions arising during the recruiting. Mr. H. B. Walley did not serve with us. He was in delicate health and unfit for field service, although he afterwards received a commission as paymaster. As the seniority of Company Officers was determined by the order of time in which they were mustered in, every exertion was made to secure men. The forms of advertisement were made to attract men to the various companies. One
CAPT. E. J. MINOT, CO. C
CAPT. GEORGE H. HOMANS, CO. K
CAPT. C. O. RICH, CO. I
CAPT. GEORGE P. DENNY, CO. A
designated itself as “Sharpshooters;” another, as “the best in the Regiment;” another urged men to volunteer and avoid being drafted.
Officers visited various towns to secure their quotas of men, and posters advertising the Regiment were placed in all parts of the State. The result was shown in the composition of the Regiment. Company B was largely recruited in Milton and Dorchester. C had ninety or more men from Franklin. Sandwich and Barnstable sent above fifty to D. Swampscott had thirty in E. Framingham and Sudbury placed fifty in F. Braintree and the South Shore had thirty in G. Nantucket and the Vineyard made a majority in H.
The record shows that more than two hundred towns and cities within and out of the State were represented in our ranks. Many of these town quotas were raised by gentlemen who properly represented their fellow townsmen, who came with them to the Forty-Fifth and served with usas commissioned or warrant officers. Among them were Hollis of B, from Milton, Sears of D, from Barnstable, Hurd of F, from Framingham, Whittaker of C, from Franklin. We received, too, smaller squads of men and drill clubs, who furnished many of our most efficient non-commissioned officers. We cannot follow this matter into detail, but enough has been given to show that the Regiment did not owe its existence to any organization other than the old Corps of Cadets. The origin was from it—its recruiting and organization was by them—fortunately it was cosmopolitan in its makeup, and was composed of the finest material to be secured in the whole Bay State. Twenty-eight of the Cadets served in the Forty-Fifth. The Adjutant of the Corps was Colonel Codman. Among the commanders of companies were Major Sturgis and Captains Churchill and Rich. Among the Sergeants were Captain Murdock, Lieutenant Thompson and Adjutant Winsor. Among its Corporals were Captains Homans, Bumstead and Tappan and Lieutenant Thaxter. In the ranks were Lieutenants Bond, Emmons, Gardner, Pond, Richardson, Thayer, Winsor, Walker, and Hardy, Captains Daland, Denny, Minot and Wales, and Sergeants Bond, Dexter, Wellman and Maynadier. Mere mention
of these is sufficient to explain why we were called the “Cadet Regiment.” Certain of the non-Cadet Officers have been named, and how they came to be with us, but there were still others.
On September 9, 1862, I find that a new advertisement appeared in the daily papers, “Massachusetts Rifle Association, O. W. Peabody, Recruiting Officer.” Men wanted for the “Forty-Fifth Regiment, M. V. M.” As has been said, Colonel Codman had the selection of his military family. His selection of his second in command was most fortunate, and brought to us that courtly gentleman and fine officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Peabody, who was mustered in as Captain of Company H, and in accordance with the military procedure, was elected by the Company officers as Lieutenant-Colonel.
This promoted Tappan to the Captaincy, made Winsor First Lieutenant and Post, then Orderly Sergeant, became Second Lieutenant. Mr. Post came from New York and was a student at Harvard and became interested in the Forty-Fifth, because of friendship with some of its officers.
The election of Captain Sturgis as Major gave Company A First Lieutenant Denny as Captain, and as Pond moved up, Lieutenant Richardson was promoted from First Sergeant. Among the other wise selections made by the Colonel was that of our efficient and faithful Quartermaster, F. A. Dewson, and our pioneer officer and accomplished engineer, Lieut. S. C. Ellis. Our Sergeant Major, H. G. Wheelock was a past member of the Cadets. The remaining non-Cadet line officers were Lieutenant Ticknor, a friend of Captain Murdock; Lieutenant Ware, promoted from First Sergeant; Lieutenant Blagden, a close friend, and later the brother-in-law of Lieutenant Thompson, and Lieutenant Robinson, who brought a number of men to Company K. All of these gentlemen were cordially received and contributed their full share to the efficiency of the Regiment and were afterwards made members of the Cadet Corps. It must be remembered that the Regiment was raised at a time when other organizations were forming in and about Boston. The Fourth Battalion was developing into the Forty-Fourth, the Tigers into the Forty-Third,
CAPT. THOMAS B. WALES, JR., COMPANY E
CAPT. LEWIS W. TAPPAN, JR., COMPANY H
CAPT. EDWARD F. DALAND, COMPANY F
CAPT. JOSEPH M. CHURCHILL, COMPANY B
and the Forty-Second was filling its ranks. Of the three-year regiments, the Thirty Third, Thirty-Fourth, Thirty-Fifth and Thirty-Sixth were about to go to the front as well as the Ninth and Tenth Battalions. The call of the President made on July 4th upon Massachusetts for fifteen thousand men was met within three months. On August 4th another call was made for nineteen thousand and ninety nine-month's men. They were to be “raised by draft.” By December this requisition had been met by volunteering. Sixty-nine thousand and seven hundred men had been raised in Massachusetts, and thirteen thousand had shipped in the Navy before the close of the year 1862.
On August 8th Colonel Codman received his authority to raise a regiment; on September 11th the camp at Readville was established; on the 12th, Company B was in camp; on the 13th, general orders officially designated the Regiment as the Forty-Fifth. On October 8, 1862, just two months from the meeting in the Cadet Armory, the Cadet Regiment was a part, a unit of the Grand Army of the Republic, and subject to the orders of the President of the United States.
Of the friends of the Regiment it is still more difficult to write. It is impossible to enumerate them. All contributed to our comfort, encouragement and success. You know their ministrations of love and kindly interest better than I, but there were a few incidents of helpfulness which may especially be mentioned.
Our guns—they were the best then obtainable—the new Springfield, with interchangeable parts, strong and accurate. We might have gone out with the English Enfields. The Forty-Fourth had them, I think. If a man lost a ramrod of one of them none but an armorer could replace it. A broken lock was a useless musket. We might have carried the Austrian musket which would hardly carry a ball clear of its muzzle and send it anywhere but in the desired direction. There is a legend that the Assistant Adjutant General of the State expressed great satisfaction when we broke camp. Our departure freed him from the insistence of the best all-round friend the Regiment had, who, it is said, blankly refused to take it out of the State until it was properly armed. Colonel Codman saw to it that we got what
was right for us to have. You must remember the thin, black, unserviceable overcoats worn by the men of the Forty-Sixth Regiment who joined us on the transport Mississippi. Our serviceable and neat blue coats were provided for us by the efforts and guarantee of payment by “Friends of the Regiment.” Not having names of guarantors, it may not be invidious to name a few whom memory recalls, while others are forgotten, but I am sure that Messrs. George William Bond, Thomas B. Wales and Alpheus Hardy were on the list, and that “Ned” Kinsley helped on the affair. A brother of his was one of our Sergeants, and another was in Company A, but “Ned” was a brother to the entire Regiment. A close friend and confidant of Governor Andrew, he kept the “Governor's Babies” always in mind. His keen interest and cheerful, enthusiastic face and manner is one of the pleasantest recollections of visiting friends in New Berne. There is also a legend that the friends of the Regiment paid for the instruments of the band, including Spofford's cornet, which blew backward its inspiring strains, and which is now an honored relic in the new Cadet Armory, together with the bass drum of the band. The Cadet Officers took a deep and helpful interest in us. Park Street Church, which gave us our devoted chaplain, Rev. Dr. A. L. Stone, was largely represented in Company A, and liberally contributed to our comfort by its gifts of goods and goodies. Captain Miles Blanchard of Swampscott, in his so'wester, bringing his lading of apples alongside the transport in the harbor, was likewise a friend of the Regiment, with many others, too many to name, many of whom indeed are to us now only names, their roll call like ours shortened by death or wide separation.
These details, trivial in themselves, and unimportant in fact may serve to quicken our memories, to bring back the days, when as boys, as many of us were, we chose to turn from home comforts to break in upon our life work, to set aside plans for the future and accept what there might be of trial and danger in the camp and field of battle. I have often envied the possession which the three year's men who have survived the War, of experience, of accomplishment, of wider and larger duty done.
SERGT.-MAJ. HENRY G. WHEELOCK
COMMISSARY SERGT. CHARLES F. RICHARDSON
QUARTERMASTER FRANCIS A. DEWSON
QUARTERMASTER-SERGT. ARTHUR REED
But there was no guarantee of exemption from sickness, danger and death for the nine month's militia men. They sickened in swamp and bayou, they were killed in battle and their bones lie at Fredericksburg, at Gettysburg, at Port Hudson, at Kinston, by the long seacoast, and the western rivers, with those of the men of longer enlistment, but no longer service.
A Few Facts of Interest to Members of the Forty-Fifth Regiment
BY L. HENRY WHITNEY OF COMPANY A.
IT is not my purpose to go into any extended history of the Independent Corps of Cadets, or of the Forty Fifth Regiment, as these topics have been fully covered in the excellent papers of Adjutant Winsor and Lieutenant Hardy. I only wish to give a few facts, not elsewhere stated, that may be of interest.
By way of introduction, I might say that the Forty-Fifth while in North Carolina had an experience very similar to that which the Independent Corps of Cadets had in quelling “Shay's Rebellion,”* which occurred during the unsettled period from 1783 to 1789. Before the Constitution of the United States had become operative, the farmers of Worcester and Hampden Counties, Massachusetts, undertook to start a little government of their own, with headquarters at Springfield, and one Shay, as leader. The Cadets were ordered to march to Springfield and suppress the rebellion. On reaching Worcester they learned that Shay and his followers having heard that the Cadets, whose reputation they well knew, were on their way and the object of the expedition, deemed “discretion the better part of valor,” laid down their arms and dispersed. When the Forty-Fifth Regiment in April, 1863, was hurried forward one dark night to the picket post at Batchelder's Creek to re-inforce the Fifty-Eighth Pennsylvania, whose Colonel was killed that day by a force of the enemy from Kinston, it was evident that these Confederates, who first met the Forty-Fifth at Kinston, December 14, 1862, did not care to renew the acquaintance, as they retired somewhat suddenly
The Rebellion by the Southern States of 1860 was to protect the social condition that slavery had produced in those States.[note]
WAR TIME POSTER
But the real question to be decided was that of each State and the right by Congress over the citizens, or in other words, “Are the United States a Nation or a Confederacy of States, from which a State may withdraw at pleasure?”
During the Civil War the status of the slaves changed to that of contrabands, because under the Constitution of the United States, slaves were made personal property and could not be treated as prisoners of war, if taken in battle. Later, by the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln, they were changed from personal property to citizens of the United States, and as such to be entitled to protection by the United States, and to be taught to read and write, and this change came during the term of service of the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts, the members of which became teachers of freed contraband citizens when not on duty as soldiers. Edward W. Kinsley, Esq., the Patron Saint of the Forty-Fifth, M. V. M., and special messenger of Governor Andrew to President Lincoln, visited New Berne and made soldiers of these freed citizens, promising the protection of the United States. While it is true that the Civil War commenced in April, 1861 and ended in April, 1865, it is also true that the question which that war decided was raised before the Constitution of the United States was adopted, namely: “Is the United States of America a Nation,” or “Are the rights of each State superior to the authority of the Congress?” By that Constitution every able-bodied man between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years is liable to be called upon to do military service. But every such man is also liable to be called upon by his own State. The first call upon Massachusetts for men was filled by order of the Governor, who sent State Militia to the aid of the General Government. The limit of time that the Governor could order State Militia beyond State lines was fixed by law as three months. The First Massachusetts Regiment was ordered to Fort Warren, a United States Fort in Boston Harbor.
The Government found it necessary to have in its service soldiers whose term was longer than three months and a call for Volunteers for three year's service was made, and the first Massachusetts Regiment volunteered for three years’ service. Then
there were in service Massachusetts Militia and Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. Other regiments were organized and sent to the front, and these others were Massachusetts Volunteers; none of them were organized as Massachusetts Militia. The law limited the number of Militia in Massachusetts, and no additions to that number was allowed until in 1862, the call for three hundred thousand three years’ Volunteers was quickly followed by a call for three hundred thousand Volunteers for nine months. Enlistments for nine month's service in the Forty-Fifth Regiment were made before the change in the law. The various engagements between the Union and Confederate Armies the first year of the War had shown that the Confederate Army was well drilled and commanded by competent officers. With the control of the railroad and telegraphic communications in their section, they could concentrate a large body of men at a given point in a short space of time. The Union Army, composed largely of raw recruits, commanded by inexperienced and incompetent officers, many of whom owed their positions to a political pull, were no match for the veterans of the Confederacy. It was becoming plainer every day that the Union Army must be better drilled and better led, or else the Confederate Government would obtain belligerent rights by being recognized as an Independent Government by some foreign power as able to maintain their right to command and protect their citizens. At this point a meeting was called of those members of the Independent Corps of Cadets who were willing to accept a commission and serve the United States for nine months in the Forty-Fifth Regiment as officers under Charles R. Codman, who was to be the Colonel. No thought of their being enrolled as Massachusetts Militia was suggested, and the meeting had been authorized by Governor Andrew.
At this meeting one hundred Cadets were present, and by their presence signified their willingness to accept commissions. As only ten companies could be formed, each having three commissioned officers, there could only be thirty commissions issued.
But Charles R. Codman, Adjutant of the Cadets, who presided at the meeting, was equal to the emergency. He proposed that each young man who was willing to enlist as a private in
the Forty-Fifth Regiment, come out on the floor. Several responded and these were divided into groups of three each and were then and there authorized to recruit a Company for the Forty-Fifth. For convenience each group organized by one of them assuming the title of Captain, the other two, as First and Second Lieutenants, and such commissions were issued to them. With this beginning and by calling the Regiment the Cadet Regiment, the Companies were quickly filled and sent out to Camp Meigs, Readville. Captain Churchill, of Milton, had the honor of opening the barracks built for the Forty-Fifth, he taking Company B into camp on Friday, September 12, 1862. On Monday, September 15, Captain Sturgis followed with one hundred and thirty-four men who had enlisted in Company G, one hundred and one being the limit of a Company, that Company organized in Boston under Massachusetts Militia Law, and was the first organized, and became Company A of the Forty-Fifth Regiment, M. V. M.
The surplus on list among those who went to Camp with Captain Sturgis helped to fill up Captain Churchill's Company, which being the second Company to complete its roll became Company B of the Forty-Fifth Regiment. Each Company took the letter that its Captain was entitled to by priority of his commission in alphabetical order from A to K; (no letter J,—I and J. being too much alike).
The change from Volunteers to serve nine months to members of Massachusetts Militia explains why the Pension Certificate does not give the date of enlistment of the recruit. In the case of the writer who enlisted August 9, 1862, his Pension Certificate gives September 15th as the date, because his Company was then organized. The demand for men grew faster than the Volunteers presented themselves, and a draft was ordered to fill the quota, and Massachusetts looking the situation in the face, decided to have the nine month's Volunteers organized under the Massachusetts Militia Law, thus providing for the possible situation in Massachusetts after the term of nine months had elapsed. Under the Massachusetts Militia Law, each man enlisted to serve the State five years, and the Governor had power
to order them beyond the State line for three month's service each year of the five, it being understood that the nine month's service should cover the three month's liability for outside of the State service for three years. This was not made plain to each man, who, having volunteered for nine months in the United States Service, was told that the Regiment was organized under Massachusetts Militia Law, by which each member of the Company would have a vote in electing the commissioned officers, and to gain this right every one signed the Massachusetts Enrollment without reading what they signed. The wisdom shown by the authorities of Massachusetts in this matter was made apparent July 14, 1863 when the Regiment was ordered out to suppress the Draft Riots.
The surprise of the members of the Forty-Fifth who had been discharged July 7, 1863 at the end of their term of service can be imagined, but curiosity led many of them to show up at Readville, July 15, to learn the meaning, and then and there Colonel Codman read the Sections of the Law under which the call was made, showing that each one who obeyed the Order was entitled to pay from the State, and whoever did not obey would be liable to a fine of fifty dollars for disobedience.
The emergency foreseen by the authorities in 1862 had come. The term of three hundred thousand Volunteers had expired, the Confederate Army had not been dispersed, more men must be had at once, and a Draft had been ordered, which the “copper-heads” of the North were vigorously resisting.
The Governor, by the enrollment of the nine month's men as Massachusetts Militia, having a right to order them into the State Service at any time during five years from enrollment, had at hand a sufficient force to quell all riots and maintain the peace of the State. The Cooper Street Riot in Boston gave to the public the first view of that force, and gave to the Forty-Fifth Regiment the first tangible reason why the services of the Regiment were not accepted on June 26, at Fortress Munroe, when offered, before the Battle of Gettysburg, namely, their services were likely to be needed very soon in Boston. The liability of the nine month's men to be ordered into the service of the State of Massachusetts
by the Governor at any time within five years of date of enlistment, did not make them “Minute Men,” for no one understood and held himself ready for a call for such service. The “Minute Men” of the Civil War were those men who served the United States under the first call. Some of them were enlisted under the Militia Law of the State several years before the election of Abraham Lincoln in November, 1860. Others were men who, before his Inauguration, March 4, 1861, joined Drill Corps or applied for a chance to take the place of any enlisted man who didn't care to be a soldier, when to be a soldier meant service in the face of an enemy.
It must not be forgotten that before November, 1860, patriotism was not the chief reason for enlisting in the Massachusetts Militia. Many did so to escape Jury Duty, and as stern war demands men who are ready to imperil their lives and limbs in the service of their country, any enlisted man was permitted to withdraw in favor of a man who was ready to take the risk of war. The organization was sent by the Governor, but it was made up only of Volunteers, either of the enlisted men or of substitutes, who took the places of those who did not wish to serve in war.
In memory of Oliver White Peabody, Lieutenant Colonel, forty-fifth mass. Volunteers, Died October 23, 1896.
Read by Colonel Charles R. Codman at a meeting of the Forty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers, March 18, 1897.
OLIVER WHITE PEABODY was born in Springfield, Mass., May 9, 1834. His parents were Rev. William Bourne Oliver Peabody and Elizabeth Amelia White. All his early associates were those of education, refinement, integrity and piety. His father, a minister, distinguished in his day for scholarship, and for power and earnestness as a preacher devoted to his sacred office, and of a most tolerant and catholic spirit, was universally respected and beloved in Springfield, where he preached for twenty-seven years until his early death at the age of forty-eight. His mother, a woman of beautiful character and saintly life, had died some years before her husband.
One of the Rev. Peabody's warmest friends was the Rev. Nathaniel Thayer, minister of the Unitarian Society in Lancaster, Mass. It was through this association that the late John Eliot Thayer and his brother Nathaniel Thayer became interested in the orphan children of their father's friend, and Oliver W. Peabody and his brother Francis E. were taken into their office as clerks. At the beginning of the Civil War Oliver Peabody was one of the chief and trusted assistants in the house of John E. Thayer and Brother, a position more than likely to lead at no very distant day to a partnership in a bright, successful business, and thus to distinction and affluence. It was as certain as anything in business can be, that with the abundant ability he possessed, he had only to work faithfully, and this he was sure to do, to become in time possessed of large means, comforts and luxuries, as well as the great opportunities of wealth. Bnt the War of the Rebellion broke out.
LIEUT.-COL. OLIVER W. PEABODY
Peabody had served in the militia of the State, and thus acquired some knowledge of military matters. As the war went on, he made up his mind that it was his duty to risk these prospects and to place the claims of his country above all others. The members of the patriotic firm, in whose service he was, assured him that his place should be kept vacant to await his return to it, if he should live through his term of service, so he proceeded to raise a company for the Forty-fifth Massachusetts Volunteers. This he succeeded in doing, and was prepared to go into the field as its Captain, but upon the organization of the regiment, he was made Lieutenant Colonel, and in that capacity he served until the Regiment, which was enlisted for nine months, was mustered out and disbanded.
His active service was in North Carolina in 1862 and 1863. He was in the actions at Kinston, Whitehall and Goldsboro, the regiment being a part of the Eighteenth Army Corps under command of Major General John G. Foster. During the rest of his life, Colonel Peabody remained, as long as his health permitted, active in business.
About the close of the War, the new firm of Kidder, Peabody & Co., was established, successors to John E. Thayer & Brother. The high character of the firm to which he belonged is well understood in this community. He became in time a rich man. It is no exaggeration to say of him, that no man ever made a better use of his opportunities, or had a keener sense of the responsibilities of wealth. His life has been a public benefaction. He has aided liberally in many good works, social, charitable and religious. The beautiful church in the district of Boston called Ashmont, built through Colonel Peabody's generosity, was the direct expression of his Christian faith and is his chief memorial.
In the military service Colonel Peabody had the warm esteem and affection of his fellow officers. The soldiers believed in him and trusted him, feeling that he was a man to be relied upon in any emergency. He showed himself brave, cool and very steady in action, and firm though considerate in discipline. Kindly and courteous he always was.
All who have been brought into relations with him, either in
civil or military life will bear testimony to his personal attractiveness. It was easy to see that he united intelligence and force to an extraordinary charm of manner and kindness of heart. Those who knew him best, however, and had the privilege of being intimate with him, always recognized that it was his absolute integrity and conscientiousness in everything that he said and did, that were his most admirable as they were the most characteristic of his good qualities.
MAJOR RUSSELL STURGIS, JR.
In Memory of Russell Sturgis, Jr., Major Forty-fifth Regiment Massachusetts Dolunteers.
Died October 14, 1899.
RUSSELL STURGIS, Jr., was born in the town of Milton, August 3, 1831. He came of an old Boston family, his ancestor, Edward Sturgis, emigrating to America from England in 1635. His father was one of the leading merchants of Boston in the East India and China trade, and was also a member of the well known banking house of Baring Brothers of London. At three years of age he went with his father and mother to China, spending a few years in that country and in Macao and Manila. His mother died when he was but seven years of age, and he then returned to this country and was placed in the school of Mr. Green at Jamaica Plain and he formed a warm attachment for that very worthy gentleman. At the age of fourteen he entered the Boston Latin School, from thence to Phillips Academy where he fitted for Harvard College, which he entered in 1848.
The next year his father started for China, but circumstances detained him for quite a length of time in England, and desiring to have his sons near him, the young men crossed the ocean and were placed by their father in a school in Brussels, Belgium, which was under the charge of a French Clergyman. In 1853, when twenty-two years of age he was offered and accepted a position in the American Consulate at Shanghai, China, then in charge of Mr. Cunningham. It was while he was performing the duties of this position that the great Rebellion in China occurred. In a very interesting sketch of his life, which he prepared for his children some years before his death, he gives a vivid description of many scenes of which he was an eye witness, and describes in a modest way his entrance into the city, which was held by the
rebels. His interview with a rebel officer at the gate of the city, his determined bravery in the presence of those fierce chiefs, and his demand for respect to the American flag and to all who owed allegiance to it, are all told most graphically and yet in few words. It is very evident that this young, brave, and high spirited American made a deep impression on those blood-thirsty Mongolians.
He narrates that in those troublous times the American residents secured two howitzers and formed a gun squad, and the English residents organized a rifle battalion, all for mutual protection. One of the pleasantest sounds he ever heard was the “fife and drum” playing “Yankee Doodle” announcing the approach of a Company of Jack Tars marching to their relief. There are several occasions where his courage was severely tested, and we, who knew him so well a few years later, are sure that he did not falter in the supreme moment.
In 1855, he returned to America and engaged in the East India business in Boston, with Mr. Henry Saltonstall. Mr. Sturgis had a decided leaning towards a military life, and seriously contemplated entering the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1861 he was a member of the Independent Corps of Cadets and served with that battalion for a few months at Fort Warren. Relieved from duty there, he still continued his deep interest in military matters and the war, and in 1862 when the President issued his call for three hundred thousand men for nine month's service, he resolved to recruit a Company to be attached to the regiment which was then being raised under the auspices of the Independent Corps of Cadets. He recruited Company A and was its first Captain. During the summer months he had his home at Manchester-by-the-Sea, and it is a tribute to his manly, upright character that twenty-one of the best citizens of that town, enlisted at his solicitation in Company A.
Before leaving Camp Meigs for the seat of war Captain Sturgis was promoted to, and received his Commission as Major of the Forty-fifth. Major Sturgis participated in most of the active work in which the Regiment was engaged, and in the Action at
Dover Cross Roads, N. C., he commanded the scouting battalion and videttes, driving the enemy into breastworks before which there was a brisk action by a considerable portion of the Eighteenth Army Corps. During our service in New Berne, Major Sturgis read the prayers for the day to his men and frequently read the service on Sundays in the Episcopal Church. While the Regiment was acting as “Provost Guard” in the city, he was a frequent visitor at the various hospitals where his bright smile and words of Christian cheer and counsel carried comfort and consolation to many a poor sufferer. He was greatly beloved in Manchester, taking a deep interest in its material prosperity and spiritual welfare and it was through his efforts that an Episcopal Church building was erected and on land donated by him.
On his retirement from the Army he devoted a large portion of his time and efforts to the work of the Young Men's Christian Association, and he stands in the front rank as one of its founders in America. “Few religious or secular movements have ever developed into such huge proportions from so small beginnings. Wherever this grand Association flourishes, there the name of Russell Sturgis is rightly held in veneration, and no where has the institution been more successful than in Boston.” He was very active in securing the former Association building on the corner of Eliot and Tremont Streets, and still later the present elegant building on Boylston Street, and he was always a liberal contributor to the funds of the Association and was a member of the International Committee. His services in aid of poor and struggling Associations were constantly in demand, and were given without stint.
He was for many years President of the Boston Association and up to his death, a member of the Board of Trustees. While at Portsmouth, N. H., he was stricken down with heart disease and died October 14, 1899. His death carried grief to the hearts of thousands of persons, whom he had met in the course of his busy life and who looked upon him as a personal friend. The esteem in which he was held by those who knew him, is well embodied in the following Resolutions of Company A Forty-fifth Associates passed at a meeting of the members:
Whereas: A Divine Providence has taken from our midst the President of this Association, Company A's first Captain, the Major of our dear old RegimentRUSSELL STURGIS
Resolved: That in the death of Russell Sturgis, the Company A Associates have lost a life long friend and most valued member; that by his devotion to the interests of Company A, in camp, and in the field, and by his thoughtful care of the sick and wounded in the hospital, he endeared himself to every member of our Company.
Resolved: That by his upright life, his never ending service to his Divine Master, both in the Army and in after years, he was a living example to us all of a true Christian soldier and Gentleman.
Resolved: That though we mourn his loss, we feel assured that he has gone to his reward in heaven, to continue in the service to which he devoted so much of his life while on earth.
Resolved: That these Resolutions be entered upon the Records of the Association, and that a copy be sent to the family with the heartfelt sympathy of the members.
The War Status, when the Nine Months’ Croops were Called
BY AN OFFICER OF THE FORTY-FIFTH REGIMENT.
IT is probable that in the year 1862, the greater part of the people of the Northern States, did not fully appreciate the greatness and difficulty of the work that they had undertaken in reducing the revolted States and people.
From the very beginning there had been illusions on this subject. Early in the war, Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, in public speech and diplomatic correspondence, had boldly stated his opinion that the efforts which the government was making would surely suppress the rebellion in sixty days’ time.
The first battle of Bull Run very rudely dissipated any hopes founded upon the opinion of even so distinguished and thoughtful a public man as Mr. Seward. It became evident that the southern white people were substantially united; and that they had a large territory, not easy to be overrun, and capable of subsisting and supporting for a long period, all the armies that the new Confederacy could put into the field.
It was clear that their troops were fired with enthusiasm, and that they could fight to the last.
And yet even as late as in 1862, the administration, if it may be judged by its official acts, did not seem fully to realize these facts. It may be that it doubted whether the northern people could yet be brought to realize them.
It is, of course possible, that Congress and the Executive, while fully appreciating the magnitude of the contest which was then approaching the high-water mark of intensity, feared that, if too great sacrifices were demanded of the people, they might falter and consent to some sort of disunion for sake of peace.
The existence of some such fear may have induced the Government to take measures which no Government that did not
absolutely depend upon popular support, and which was not at the same time uncertain of possessing that support, would have been likely to have attempted.
It was determined to call for Volunteers for three years, or the war, and to call for militia from certain states to serve nine months. It is easy to see now, that this last call was a military, if not a political, mistake.
It proposed to draw newly raised troops into the service of the United States for a period just long enough to train them to be good soldiers, and then disband them at the moment they had arrived at a high point of efficiency.
It was true that many trained men might re-enlist, as many did, but the loss of disciplined organizations, was a serious disadvantage. That the policy was wasteful and short-sighted, if judged exclusively as a military question, seems certain.
But when it is considered in its political aspects it must be admitted that there is much to be said to qualify such a judgment.
Abraham Lincoln, as well as any man of his time, or any public man that has ever lived in this country, understood the peculiar character of the American people. He knew their virtues and he knew their limitations.
That they were resolute when their blood was up, and capable of endurance and patience, he surely well understood. But he did not fail also to appreciate that his countrymen are of all men, the most optimistic, the most easy-going, and the most hopeful. Foreigners call them vain, and a well-known English writer has said, “that the American nation is the vainest and the most generous on the face of the earth.”* Mr. Lincoln himself though certainly as free from personal vanity, as any man that ever lived, may have shared to some extent the general opinion of his countrymen that the great superiority of the North in population and wealth, as well as the moral forces that underlay its cause, would give it a speedy triumph, without any approach to the exhaustion of its resources; and if the President did not himself share this confident expectation, he must have known that it[note]
existed, and that it was general; and that if the Administration was to take the attitude of an alarmist, it would lose the sympathy of the people and so be subjected to very great embarassment, in practically carrying out measures more vigorous than public opinion was ready to sustain.
While it is possible that the reasons which have thus far been adduced to account for the action of the United States government in resorting to apparently halfway and inconclusive measures are purely conjectural; there are other considerations relating to the attitude of foreign countries, which probably had a more direct bearing upon the action of Mr. Lincoln and his advisors.
They may very naturally have reasoned that to do anything which looked like calling for the last man or the last dollar might be interpreted abroad, if not at home, as a confession that the United States were at the end of their resources, at a time when their armies had made no very serious impression upon the revolted South; and might thus supply the motive and the occasion for European intervention.
It could hardly have been supposed that military observers in Europe, especially those whose prejudices tended to make them favor the Southern cause, would be disposed, at this time, to believe that the overthrow of the Rebellion was assured. Grant, it is true, had won his victories in Tennessee, and was beginning the campaigns which resulted in a little less than a year, in the capture of Vicksburg.
A lodgment upon the coast of North Carolina had been made by Burnside at New Berne. But hardly anywhere else in the theatre of operations had the forces of the United States made substantial progress; and the war had been going on for more than a year. McClellan's army had failed to take Richmond, and its only great victory had been that at Antietam; and this was rather a successful defence of Washington and the North, than an effective blow at the Confederacy. The object then of calling for troops, to serve for a short time may have been to announce in this way, not only to the country, but to foreign nations, that the American Government was far from doubting that its cause would triumph at no distant period.
It was no doubt necessary to keep up a bold front, and to show no signs of discouragement, or of lack of confidence. There was believed to be danger of intervention in favor of the South from both France and England. France, then under the rule of Louis Napoleon, a ruler absolutely devoid of moral, or political principle, and seeking only the aggrandizement of his dynasty, was placed in a position of jealousy and hostility to the United States.
It is now well known that, if he could have persuaded England to join him, the French Emperor was ready and desirous to establish a new power in America to counteract the influence and control the territorial limits of the great Northern Republic. A Southern Confederacy, owing its existence to him, might be depended upon to offer no resistance to the occupation of Mexico, which he, undoubtedly meditated as early as 1862, and which he subsequently undertook. That the full significance of the overthrow of the rebellion was at once recognized by Louis Napoleon, confirms this view.
Lee had hardly surrendered when the French troops were withdrawn from Mexico, leaving to his miserable fate the unfortunate Austrian prince, who had weakly permitted himself to be the instrument of a ruler, whose past record would appear to have demonstrated clearly enough, that neither oaths, nor promises, would ever restrain him in any political action that he deemed necessary to the attainment of his ends.
The danger of intervention by England in favor of the South was, probably, never very great. There was always a large body of Englishmen, that was outspoken in its sympathy with the North, and this body was fully able to deal with the sympathisers with southern secession. It was only when the British pride of nationality was aroused, which happened in the stoppage of the Trent by Captain Wilkes, and the seizure of the Confederate Envoys, that any serious danger of active intervention arose. Nevertheless, the fear of such intervention was always present to American statesmen, and it was a factor always to be taken into consideration in determining the public acts of the Administration.
It is not unreasonable, therefore, to suppose that the probable effect of the measures upon the public opinion of foreign nations, and especially upon the action of France and England, may have had deciding weight in the counsels of President Lincoln and his advisors, and may have convinced them that no policy should be proclaimed as that of the American Government which would imply any lack of confidence in the ultimate success of the National arms.
The Proclamation of the President calling militia into the service of the United States was issued in the summer of 1862.
Of these several regiments were from Massachusetts. The subsequent chapters of this work deal with the experiences and services of one of these regiments.
Camp Meigs, Readville
BY PRIVATE JOSEPH G. DALTON OF COMPANY F.
CAMP MEIGS was one of the ten camps of rendezvous formed in the State and mostly named after eminent American generals. It was doubtless so-called for Quartermaster-General Montgomery C. Meigs of Chattanooga memory and much important service. It was located in Norfolk County, about ten miles from Boston, a few rods from Readville Station on the Boston & Providence Railroad, within the limits of the town of Hyde Park, and three miles from Dedham Centre. It was upon a nearly level tract of high land bordering on Milton Street, of which our Regiment occupied a rectangular space of about eight or ten acres. To the south and east the field spread in a gentle slope to the Neponset River some three-quarters of a mile away, whose winding course forms the north-west boundary of Milton. It is a slow stream there about fifty feet wide, and unseen from the camp because of a belt of scrub oak and birch on the edge of the lowland. The Blue Hill Summit, a little east of south, and not far off on the other side of the river, was the prominent feature in the landscape, with its hilly range extending easterly.
Our barracks were ten parallel one-story buildings, about eighty feet long, of plain boards, with doors at each end, a spacious parade ground in front, and separated by a lane in the rear from the cook-houses. Near by in the same direction were the officers’ tents and mess rooms and the buildings of the Quartermaster and medical departments. Other regiments were similarly housed on the west of us, leaving the view unobstructed to the east and south. This encampment formed the principal school of the soldier for volunteers in the eastern part of the State. Here several other nine-month's regiments, of which were the Forty-Second, Forty-Third and Forty-Fourth had preceded us by some weeks.
Camp of 45th Regit.
at Camp Meigs.
ARRIVAL OF COMPANIES AT CAMP.
Early in September a part of the Forty-Fifth were gathered here; Company D came on the 12th, Company A on the 15th, and others at intervals. Company F was mustered into service on the 26th together with six other Companies, and one on October 7th. Many men were then hastening to enlist as only a few days remained of volunteering, for the paying of bounties was to cease and the draft to begin October 1st, afterwards postponed to the 15th.
Our field and staff officers and the last companies were sworn in on the morning of October 8, and we then became a United States Regiment, though still part of the State militia. Thereupon in the afternoon was the first regimental parade and drill. This, the birthday of the Corps had been very warm, eighty degrees even at its close. The sunset was the most splendid of the year and one of the most notable of a lifetime for its gorgeous variety of vivid and rare colors and contrasts, and their continuance for more than an hour.
If taken as symbolical, a sort of chromatic horoscope of our career, this was rather overdone, too bright and lasting for a short-term Regiment, and a future scene of action not where the war raged severest. Leaving fancy, I add here what other facts of the weather were recorded. Nearly all the latter part of September was fine, but on the twenty-eighth hard rain most of the day. The first ten days of October were clear and warm; the eleventh to thirteenth were rainy; the nineteenth, a bright day, and the last three or four days of the month were finest autumnal weather. The dampness of the ground in places and the frequent fogs affected the health of those on guard at night.
REGULATIONS FOR THE RENDEZVOUS OF THE FORTY-FIFTH REGIMENT AT READVILLE.
Reveille at 5 A. M., when the Company Rolls will be called, after which the quarters will be put in order.
Breakfast at 6 A. M.
Surgeon's Call at 7 A. M., when sick men will be conducted to the Surgeon, or reported to him by the First Sergeants, if unable to report in person.
Guard Mounting at 7.30 A. M.
First Sergeant's Call at 8 A. M., when they will report to the Adjutant for orders.
Drills from 8.30 A. M. to 11 A. M.; drum practice at the same time.
Dinner at 12 M.
Drills from 2 to 4 P. M., or longer, at the discretion of officers conducting drills, or according to such orders as they may receive.
Tea at 6 P. M.
Retreat at sunset, when the Company Rolls will be called, and if ordered, there will be a dress parade.
Tattoo at 9 P. M., when the Company Rolls will be called.
Taps at 9.20 P. M., when all lights must be extinguished, except those at Headquarters and at the Guard Tent.
Morning Reports of Companies signed by the Captains and First Sergeants, must be handed to the Adjutant before eight o'clock every morning.
Each cook-house will be in charge of a non-commissioned officer appointed by the Captain of the Company.
The greatest attention will be paid by all officers and soldiers to the cleanliness of the camp, and of its inhabitants..
The attention of all officers and soldiers is called to the following extract from the Army Regulations, which will be strictly observed in this Camp:
“Courtesy among military men is indispensable to discipline. Respect to superiors will not be confined to obedience on duty, but will be extended to all occasions. It is always the duty of the inferior to accost or to offer first the customary salutation, and of the superior to return such complimentary notice.
Sergeants with swords drawn will salute by bringing them to a present; with muskets, by bringing the left hand across the body so as to strike the musket near the right shoulder. Corporals out of the ranks, and privates, not sentries, will salute in like manner; and when a soldier, without arms or with side arms only, meets an officer, he is to raise his hand to the right side of the visor of his cap, palm to the front, elbow raised as high as the shoulder, looking at the same time in a respectful and soldierlike manner, at the officer, who will return the compliment thus offered.
A non-commissioned officer or soldier seated and without particular occupation will rise on the approach of an officer and make the customary
LIEUT. J. FRANK EMMONS, CO. E
LIEUT. LEWIS R. WHITAKER, CO. C
LIEUT. THEODORE A. THAYER, CO. G
LIEUT. WILLIAM S. BOND, CO. B
salutation. If standing, he will turn toward the officer for the same purpose. If the parties remain in the same place on the same ground such compliments need not be repeated.”
Sergeant G. C. Winsor of the Company of Cadets, 1st Division, Mass. V. M., has been appointed to act as Adjutant, and private Francis A. Dewson of Company A of the Forty-Fifth Regiment has been appointed to act as Quartermaster of this Encampment, and they will be obeyed and respected accordingly.
Doctor Cleveland, of Tisbury, has been appointed Acting Assistant Surgeon, and will be obeyed and respected accordingly.
The Commanding Officer expects and believes that the conduct of the soldiers will be creditable to themselves and to the Commonwealth; that the inevitable hardships of camp life will be cheerfully and patiently submitted to, and that rapid progress will be made in discipline and drill.
By order of
Capt. C. R. Codman, Com'g Rendezvous of 45th Mass. Vols.
G. C. WINSOR, Acting Post Adjutant. Readville, September 12, 1862.RECRUITS FROM ALL THE WALKS OF LIFE.
The recruits came, of course, from many classes and occupations. A few had got some previous training either in the Militia or in the Home Guards which had been formed in many towns. These often had some military touches in their dress, and in their talk were ready to take almost any position, preferably one of command. Only the test of time proved whether they made better or worse soldiers than the rest. The majority were raw recruits, who came in their ordinary dress from their usual pursuits, from the field and plow, the workshop, the factory and railroad, the nautical trades, the country store and the city office, and were generally endowed with the patriotic spirit and sound qualities of character. The really bad element was but slightly represented in our Regiment. The average morale in the Forty-Fifth and the Forty-Fourth was unexcelled by any other of the Massachusetts Volunteers. The very young men were numerous, and I believe there were a few who were past the age of exemption
from service, but who had been enlisted through their manifest devotion and capability, capable also of “remembering to forget” the exact date of their birth.
The formalities and restraint of army discipline were irksome at first to many of these free citizens, who were slow to realize the necessity of outward respect and prompt obedience to the officers over them, of whom some were their familiar acquaintances, and the need of precision and system everywhere in the machine of war which they were to form. Frequent and animated were the discussions and criticism on these points, wherein those of some prior experience were influential toward the contented subordination that on the whole soon prevailed. Free men finding themselves voluntarily under despotic rule, each willingly gave up some personal rights for the general good. The confinement within the camp lines was relieved, particularly in the last week or two, by liberal allowance of brief furloughs so necessary to many who had enlisted at very short notice, and all were given a chance to settle their business and family affairs before a departure which might know no return.REVEILLE AND THE BREAKFAST CALL.
Though the line of hills on the eastern horizon somewhat delayed the sunrise, our morning rise was none the less early, and the daily round began with the sounding of reveille at five o'clock, when to the rattle of drums the men were mustered and formed in line by the first sergeants in the company streets to answer the roll call, or inside the barracks in foul weather. Then being dismissed, they were busied in making up their bunks and putting everything about their quarters in proper order. Shortly came another signal from the drums, the welcome call to breakfast. For every meal, each man having a tin plate and cup provided by the Government, we marched in single file to the windows of the cook-house, wherefrom ample slices of bread and meat, and the beans or rice, were passed to us, and our cups filled with tea or coffee. These beverages may not have been of the very best, but thinking of the vile decoctions we got soon after on board the transport, I am willing, at this late date, to call them first-rate.
The rations thus served were usually partaken of in-doors, and the meal made sociable in parties about the barracks. Soon after breakfast the drums were heard again, this time for guardmounting to replace those on duty during the night, and a detail from each company were marched to the parade ground, the names of those to serve having been given out at roll call on the previous evening by the Sergeants.GUARD DUTY.
It was at Guard Mounting that we got some of the best of our first lessons in method and promptness. The quick, sharp way of the Adjutant in inspecting our rifles made us soon expert in handling and catching them, to avoid bruised fingers or toes; and when his critical eye found anything amiss in dress or equipment, the culprit was likely to be put upon the “police” detail to do scavenger work and dirty jobs, and wield a broom or rake instead of a musket for that day. The cordon of sentries around the camp, about forty yards apart, were relieved every two hours—easy duty compared to the tedious four hours on Provost Guard at New Berne afterward. Post One, at the main entrance, was a coveted place for its liveliness, but with duties more urgent and varied than at the other posts, for in pleasant weather the stream of visitors was unceasing all day. No raw recruit was stationed there except in the early days of such duty, when once a very verdant man at that post did not act and speak up aright, and the guard failed to turn out on approach of the Colonel. After that, such a man was posted at some other part of the line where a larger number denoted his post and his role was more simple.COMPANY AND REGIMENTAL DRILLS.
The next movement, in suitable weather (not actual rain), was the Company Drill. The drum-beat for this brought each company out, and all, save the men on guard were drilled by their Captains or Lieutenants for the rest of the forenoon until the recall was sounded shortly before dinner-time. Then again the lines marched on the cook-houses to the clattering din on the glittering tin things, signals of the sharp appetites for the principal feed of the day. The hour of noontide was the best opportunity
for intercourse with visiting relatives and friends, and parents came to see their boys; brothers, sisters and cousins, or wife and children of the recruit came, often bringing home-made dainties to add to the camp rations, and all dining together in groups about the barracks,—groups lively indeed to the casual eye and ear, but betraying tokens of natural anxiety more and more as the day of separation drew near.
Our military training, so novel to most of us, was, in the pleasant autumn and on our own “native heath,” much less arduous than the hard service we saw soon after in the enemy's country. Yet there was much to do and learn in the process of transforming new recruits into efficient soldiers. One principal work was, of course, the drilling; at first in marching and facing, by squads or by company, nearly every day and sometimes twice a day, and afterward in the manual of arms also. Strange to say, there was no target practice during our whole term, so that surely not one in ten of us was a fairly good shot with his weapon. The battalion and regimental drills, less frequent than the others, occurred in the afternoon under command of the Colonel or Lieutenant-Colonel. Being very important ones the strictest attendance of officers as well as men was enforced by Colonel Codman, many of the former needing instruction and practice as much as the enlisted men. To the latter these occasions gave a certain satisfaction when their own tutors got a touch of the same discipline and reprimand undergone by themselves.
The first drills by the Colonel in person were, I think, on the fourteenth and fifteenth of October. These drills closed about half an hour before the dress parade, in time for all to appear there looking their best. The dress parade concluded the evolutions of the day, and was enlivened by music of the full band, and made interesting by the company reports of the First sergeants, and the reading of papers drawn from his belt by the Adjutant, which might include marching orders or notice of a court martial, and confirm or refute the various rumors always afloat. Finally we march off, the band in advance, the companies going to quarters separately by tap of drum. The parade was
LIEUT. ABIJAH HOLLIS
LIEUT. THEODORE C. HURD
LIEUT. SAMUEL THAXTER, JR.
LIEUT. BENJ. H. TICKNOR
followed by supper, and all except the guard were at liberty within the lines until “taps” at 9 P. M., when lights in the barracks must be put out.SOCIAL LIFE IN THE BARRACKS.
The evenings were passed in recreative ways and lively scenes in the buildings were common. In some were music and dancing, or games of cards, etc.; the familiar war songs of the time were sung by many voices, and the chorus being often caught up from one part to another, the whole camp rang with the inspiring strains. Religious meetings were also frequent in one or other of the buildings, and many joined in the services by speaking or singing. These were real union meetings, no one denomination prevailing.
Permission to pass the lines was often given, and in the leisure parts of the day we had various diversions, such as going in swimming at the river or a pond near by, when the weather was warm enough, as on September 27, October 7, 8 and 9, with occasional football games (the Colonel did not join in these, though good at it when in college), and gymnastic feats, where the stouter muscle of the sailor-man was oft excelled by the slim civilian. Some took long pedestrian trips in the vicinity, and the band playing on top of the big hill one day. We were sportive enough, but not so much so as a regiment within one of us, which decorated its barracks with Chinese lanterns, flags, and many gay devices, mottoes and ornaments, and while in the service got up a song-book, newspaper, magazine, debating club, concerts, and even dramas, balls, masquerades, and opera.RELATIONS OF OFFICERS AND MEN.
In due course of time officers and men became well acquainted with each other and with their several duties, and the esprit de corps grew to a unity of purpose and fellow-feeling in a common interest and ambition to win a good record for the Regiment. Of the large number who met at first as strangers, individuals were soon influenced by sundry affinities or contrasts, and attachments began which lasted through the campaign, at least; or after often sharing each other's blankets and rations
and experiencing perils, hardship and adventure in the wild scenes of bivouac, march and battle together, resulted in friendships to be cherished during life.A VISIT FROM GOVERNOR ANDREW.
On October 15th we were reviewed by Governor Andrew, who, with his staff and medical men, was on a tour of inspection of all the camps at Readville. On the morning of the twenty-second the Regiment marched to the railroad depot to see off for New Berne the Forty-Fourth, which had been at Camp Meigs since August 29th. One pleasant Sunday morning our Regiment attended service at the Park Street Church in Boston, and heard a discourse by our Chaplain, Rev. A. L. Stone, who afterward became endeared to all. Our first marching drill with muskets was on October 27th. About the twenty-ninth a case of varioloid appeared somewhere in the camps, and a general vaccination was ordered. Each company of us filed to the hospital where every man received the lancet and virus in his arm—fortunate those who suffered no worse wound or disease during the service. This operation had its compensation for who those “took” it severely, as they were excused from drill or got their leaves of absence at that time. On the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth the new rifles and some clothing, such as blouses, gloves, etc., were distributed; on the thirtieth the height, weight, and a detailed description of each man were recorded.MARCHING ORDERS.
We were now under marching orders and it was known that our destination was North Carolina, not the Army of the Potomac as had been supposed. November 1, each man's gun was stamped with a number to identify it as his special charge to keep, and to maintain in prime order and a high state of polish. We were armed with the Springfield rifles. The Forty-Fourth carried Enfield rifles captured in a blockade runner.
November 1st was a gala day. The Governor was again present with General Pierce, Commandant of the Post, and the grounds were en fete with our best display, and a throng of visitors in carriages and on foot. The occasion was chiefly the presentation
of a handsome blue silk banner to the Regiment from ladies, personal friends of the officers. Most of those present were visiting us for the last time.GOOD-BY TO CAMP MEIGS.
The final days here were busy with the preparation for leaving, and early in the morning of November 5th blankets were rolled up and knapsacks packed. Many trifles that had accumulated in our quarters had to be left, or were cast into the fires, where the camp kettles hung, cooking our parting meal. The sentries on their well-worn paths were relieved for the last time, and at ten A. M. the Regiment was ready to march. We left the fire still burning by the guard tent, where at night we had smoked our pipes and tended the potatoes roasting in the ashes for our midnight lunch, or, wrapped in our blankets, feet to the fire, had slept till aroused to go upon guard at our several posts.
The deserted barracks remained in memory as the scenes of an active and mostly pleasant life, with comforts often lacking in camps occupied afterward. To the tunes of “Auld Lang Syne” and the like by the band, we marched to the station, whence the train bore us away about eleven A. M., and we embarked the same day, with the Forty-Sixth Regiment, on the iron steamer Mississippi for transfer to New Berne.
From Readbille to Morehead City, N. C.
BY PRIVATE FRANKLIN H. DEAN, COMPANY A.
DOUBTLESS the least interesting portion of the experience of the Forty-Fifth Regiment is the history of its trip from Readville to Morehead City, N. C. Not that the passage was devoid of incident, but because it was evidently free from inspiration. Dull and eventless camp life sometimes becomes monotonous, but lying between decks in bunks, dark and comfortless, is stagnation.MARCHING ORDERS AND DEPARTURE FROM READVILLE.
On the first days in November, it began to be rumored about Camp Meigs that “marching orders” had come. Many were the speculations as to the Regiment's destination, and various arguments were advanced to the effect that it must be, as each disputant presented his case, the Potomac, New Orleans, Texas, and New Berne. At last the official order was read at “Dress Parade” and general satisfaction seemed to prevail that New Berne was to be our destination. After this all was activity in our camp, and to the untried soldier it was the great question how all the accumulations of comforts of a month in camp could be transported in knapsack, haversack, or canteen, to a new camp facing the enemy in North Carolina. The sequel proved that these accumulations must remain behind for the benefit of those who were to follow us in the occupation of the Readville barracks. The last evening in camp was spent as had been the custom by the presence of many friends of the Regiment. “Taps” were sounded, and the boys slept for the last night where they first formed their army associates and friendships. On the morning of November 5th, the Forty Fifth Regiment fell into line, equipped for the march, and went directly to the little station on the Boston and Providence Railroad at Readville, where they boarded the train for Boston.
Fort Macon, N.C.
Morehead City, N.C.
Drawings of local sights]
FRANKLIN H. DEAN, CO. A
ARRIVAL IN BOSTON AND RECEPTION ON THE COMMON.
After the usual delays attending such movements, the boys formed in line at the Park-Square Station, about noon, to march to the Charles-Street Mall on the Common. Drawn up in line to receive us, and accompanied by many past officers and members, was the Independent Corps of Cadets, who honored the regiment by performing escort duty for the day. Taking up the line of march, the Regiment came to a halt near the Beacon Street end of the Mall. The Parade Ground of the Common was roped off, and some five thousand or more people standing outside greeted the boys. The Boston Journal commenting said, “the men wore their new overcoats, and looked in fine condition.” An abundant repast of sandwiches, cake and coffee had been prepared by Boston ladies, and appetites whetted by keen November air caused those good things to disappear in a very brief time. Then those who were fortunate enough to have family and other friends present managed to bid them “good-by.”
Colonel Codman, having the natural and pardonable pride of a Bostonian in his own city, then put the Regiment through some manœuvres to the delight and applause of friends gathered outside the ropes. Then, forming the men in a hollow square, the officers stepped to the centre and John A. Andrew, to be known in all history as the War Governor of Massachusetts, stepped into the square and presented the Regiment with the colors of the old Commonwealth. Among the many inspiring utterances coming from his lips, Governor Andrew said in part—“I know, whatever future may betide you, the people of Massachusetts will always maintain in their hearts the unfailing certainty that the honor of the Commonwealth, the dignity of their own character, the fidelity of their own purpose will be fitly represented whether in the police or morals of the camp, or in the sharp conflict of the battle-field; wherever your swords are drawn, louder than the din of battle, let your exulting shout crown the hour of Victory; higher than our Eagle soars, let the flame of your patriotism ascend toward the skies and pure as the white field of the flag of the Commonwealth shall be the firmness of your patriotic loyalty. Go Sirs! Go Gentlemen! Go
Soldiers! The sympathy of the old Bay State accompanies you to the field, and the prayers of good men whom you leave behind you shall attend in every conflict, and the blessing of God himself be with you and our Holy Cause forever!” Colonel Codman said on receiving the colors, “The future will tell you how much we deserve the enconium you have passed upon us.” After this the Regiment, under the escort, passed off the Common, marching through Beacon, Tremont, Court, State and Commercial Streets to Battery Wharf where the transport steamship Mississippi lay waiting to receive our command.
The sidewalks along the line of march were thronged with people, and the balconies and windows crowded with ladies who vied with each other in giving the Forty-Fifth Regiment evidence of their esteem and affection. The Transcript of that day said, “As the Cadet Regiment was marching through Tremont Street, Colonel Chickering's command, escorting the distinguished General Banks, moved along Washington Street, affording an excellent opportunity of viewing both regiments.”EMBARKATION FOR NORTH CAROLINA.
On reaching Battery Wharf, a strong guard was placed to keep the public away, and as quickly as possible, the whole Regiment, and three companies of the Forty-Sixth, with line officers, baggage, horses, etc., were placed on board, and, as the sun descended below the New England hills, the huge transport swung into the stream and steamed down the bay to its anchorage in President Roads. During the night the wind came squarely round to the east, and in the morning a severe storm was raging. The steamers Mississippi and Merrimac, which now lay near each other, had been fitted up with bunks, three tiers deep, with narrow aisles between the tiers, the whole space dimly lighted, and the means of ventilation anything but satisfactory. Added to this was the mysterious character of the rations dipped from a large caldron, and the tepid water, condensed for drinking, the tea, black in color and oily in taste, said by the growlers to be made from the black overcoats of our friends of the Forty-Sixth;
all this, with the rolling of the steamer, produced, in many, a nausea that was anything but romantic.
This state of affairs continued for five days, until the writer's condition reminded him of the Hibernian woman who said, “By me faith, I lay spacheless, six wakes in the hot month of Arugust, flat on me back, face downwards, and me only cry was—‘wather, wather’.” Some of the men soon discovered that by taking one of the lanterns that shed its dim rays on the scene, ascending to the deck and passing down a narrow staircase forward, they could have it replenished with oil, and themselves replenished with an abundant supply of ice water. Never before in the history of the lighting did lamps need replenishing so often! The Boston Journal of the 8th, said, “So many men having been gathered together in a small space scarcely any of whom have been at sea, has been productive of considerable sea-sickness and suffering among the men, and it has been desirable and necessary to cleanse and purify the vessels before proceeding to sea. One private, named Snell, who was sick when the Regiment embarked, died yesterday, and the body was brought to the city this afternoon.”
The following “General Order” was issued by the Adjutant General—“The Forty-Third, Forty-Fifth and Forty-Sixth Regiments Massachusetts Volunteer Militia on board the transports Merrimac and Mississippi in Boston Harbor will be at once taken from their transports and placed in Forts Warren and Independence, and wherever accommodations can be found for them, where they will remain until the ships are cleaned of filth, and made ready again to receive the troops. Colonel Codman of the Forty-Fifth will promulgate this order to the officers commanding the Forty-Third and Forty-Sixth Regiments, and will see to the execution of it. General Schouler has gone down the harbor to personally attend to the condition of the men.” The writer finds upon consulting the different authorities that this order was not carried out because of the unwillingness of the commanders of the forts above mentioned to receive the troops. The matter was finally adjusted by taking the Forty-Sixth Regiment to the city and quartering the men at Faneuil Hall.
The Boston Journal of the 10th said, “The all prevailing topic of this week is the condition of the troops on board the Merrimac and Mississippi, and a great deal of anxiety is felt and expressed for the comfort of the troops.
There are not two finer transport steamers in the employ of the Government than the Merrimac and the Mississippi.”
In ordinary weather the steamers could have carried the troops embarked on them much more comfortably than the British soldiers were transported. As soon as the facts of the above-named “General Order” were made known, Quartermaster McKim took possession of the steamer Saxon, Captain Matthews, of the Boston and Philadelphia line of steamers, that was to have sailed Saturday at four o'clock, P. M. The freight was discharged, and she was quickly made ready to receive the Forty-Sixth Regiment. On the 18th, there appeared in the city dailies a letter from Chaplain Stone in reference to a sensational article appearing in the Evening Express, which represented the Forty-Fifth in a state of open rebellion. He said, “No statement could have been more unfounded in fact. Their cheerfulness, their harmony, their perfect obedience to orders, their unmurmuring consent to all that is disagreeable and trying in their situation, have been the delight and pride of their officers. There is considerable intelligence in these regiments, and not a few of the men are capable of wondering why they were hurried away from Readville, and packed on board a transport ship with hardly room to draw a long breath, to wait here four days for a convoy, the necessity for which was as well understood before they left as since. The commander of this vessel, the veteran Captain Baxter, remarked to-day at table, ‘Well, Colonel, I must give your men the palm above all I have yet carried, for orderly and peaceful conduct on board, because they have been through severer trials than any others.’ ”
A pleasant incident associated with the Boston Harbor experience is worthy to be recalled. When the Swampscott boys enlisted, they suffered in common with others while waiting to make their trip to the South. Captain Blanchard, learning of their state, came home and related it to the people. Immediately
he collected a large store of goods, among them being many barrels of apples, which the farmers supplied. The Captain took them to Boston over the water, during a terrific storm. It was so bad that the crew asked many times to return, and thought he was crazy to venture further. He kept on, and successfully landed his cargo, which was greatly appreciated by the boys.
When the Forty-Sixth Regiment joined the rest down the bay on board the Saxon, the men were greeted with, “Did you dine at Parker's?” “How are the girls?” “Is Faneuil Hall in Dock Square now?”
Aggravating replies of an exaggerated character were given. One had a good night's rest, but didn't sleep a wink. On the 10th, the convoy Huron having arrived, the fleet was, towards evening, at last ready to sail. Shortly after a signal from the warship, the Mississippi led off the column followed by the Saxon a half mile distant, and close upon her was the Merrimac, and bringing up in the rear was the Huron, having on board ample means with a gallant crew to defend the fleet against Confederate cruisers. It was ordered that the fleet keep as close as possible to each other for the purpose of protection, should any danger occur.
The next morning we sailed past Gay Head, and by noon were out of sight of land. On the 12th, the sea was rather rough for landsmen, and considerable sickness prevailed. On the 13th, the sea was again calm. In the evening many of the comrades were on deck singing when the light of Hatteras appeared. At an early hour, those on deck caught their first sight of the low coast of Carolina. Previous to this a suspicious craft had been seen, and the transports had lain by awaiting developments. For this reason the vessels had changed position somewhat, the Merrimac having the lead upon entering the harbor of Morehead City, and taking on board the only pilot, she steamed towards the railroad wharf, closely followed by the Mississippi, both making a chase for the first occupation of the wharf. Luckily for the Forty-Fifth, the Merrimac struck a sandbar, and while struggling to get off, the Mississippi steamed by and reached the wharf in advance, much to the chagrin of the other
fellows. Nearly nine days had been spent in our narrow quarters, and the men set foot on Confederate soil with the greatest pleasure, to face an enemy whose power they knew not, and the exigencies of battle that none could foresee.
ALBERT W. MANN, CO. A
Drawing of Camp Amory]
Camp Amory on the Crent
BY PRIVATE ALBERT W. MANN OF COMPANY A.
ON our arrival at Morehead City, North Carolina, November 14, 1862, there were no crowds of enthusiastic friends to welcome us, but on the wharf were a few whites, whose cold and stony countenances seemed in accord with the bleak and dreary landscape of sand and water that stretched for miles on either side of us. We disembarked at four o'clock, clambered on to platform cars, and started on our forty mile ride to New Berne. As we entered the woody district the signs on every hand indicated that we were in the enemy's country and that this railroad was closely guarded by our troops. There were numerous camps and picket stations, and here and there a blockhouse, commanding a road or a bridge. A swampy country extended for many miles on either side of the railroad track, covered with a heavy growth of pines, in whose depths were stores of tar and turpentine, about the only source of wealth in this desolate looking district. At eight o'clock that evening our train rolled over the long bridge which spans the river Trent, and we entered the town of New Berne. We were cold and hungry and appreciated the “hot coffee” provided for us by our friends of the Forty-Fourth, who had been awaiting our arrival.
Our wing of the Regiment had been assigned quarters for the night in a government warehouse, and to many of the boys no feather bed on the old farm ever seemed so inviting and comfortable as did those bags of oats on which we rested our weary bodies that first night in New Berne. We were up bright and early the next morning and took a brief stroll around the town, which we found to be pleasantly situated at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse rivers, its streets regularly laid out and shaded by graceful elms. Many of the old and well-to-do citizens left the town when it was taken by the Union forces, and their
large and handsome residences were taken possession of by the Government and occupied by the general officers of our Army Corps and the Provost Guard.
The city was one vast camp with but few white civilians. A few enterprising citizens remained and did a thriving business in various lines, often making serious inroads on the pocketbooks of the Yankee invaders.
Before taking up the march for our quarters across the Trent, our Springfield rifles, which had been shipped to New Berne in cases were unpacked and delivered to the men. Then, in heavy marching order, we formed our regimental line and started for our camp ground, crossing the long railroad bridge and following the road along the edge of the river. On our way we passed the camp of the Seventeenth Massachusetts who were quartered in tents. They turned out en masse and greeted us with hearty cheers. After a tramp of a mile and a half, over a sandy road and under a hot sun, we reached the barracks assigned to us on the east bank of the river Trent. In my mind's eye I can see those long, rough wooden sheds, standing parallel to each other, and at right angles to the river, which we were to occupy and which would ever after be known to us asCAMP AMORY ON THE TRENT.
In our fatigued condition it was a welcome resting place, a very haven of rest. In the rear of our barracks was the main road from New Berne to Beaufort, crossing the Trent at this point, over the county bridge, its approach guarded by Fort Gaston, a little earthwork. The river Trent formed one boundary of our camp ground. The officers’ quarters were directly opposite, a short distance beyond the ends of the barracks. There were five rooms in each shed, one for each company. The detail for camp guard was made at once after our arrival and the guards posted. Then the command, “Break Ranks” was given and there was a grand scramble for bunks. The quarters for each company were roomy and comfortable, and a little later we each had large open fire-places around which we spent many pleasant hours in the long winter evenings. Our barracks occupied the
site of a former Confederate Cavalry Camp, and was originally a portion of a large cotton plantation, whose owner was an officer in the Confederate Army. Camp Amory received its name in compliment to Colonel Amory of the Seventeenth Massachusetts, commanding our brigade, which was composed of the Seventeenth, Twenty-Third, Forty-Third, Forty-Fifth and Fifty-First Massachusetts regiments. Our camp became more and more comfortable and pleasant with every day's occupation, but we soon realized that our long holiday was over and we were now engaged in the stern duties of soldiers in the field. A pleasant memory in the early days of our camp life there, is a little excursion that twenty of us made to the brick mansion, once the home of the owner of the plantation, having been detailed to get bricks to build a chimney for our barracks. It was only a few minutes’ walk from our camp. The mansion house was a sad ruin, the front wall nearly demolished, the windows broken, and the bats flying in and out. In front of the house was a lawn, once finely kept, which sloped gradually down to the river, and scattered here and there were some noble old trees. In the rear were the negro quarters, also a large cotton press and cotton gin, all going to decay. Under the shade of a holly tree was a tomb from which I copied the following beautiful epitaph:
Here are deposited the remains of Gen. Richards Dobbs Spaight who departed this life on the 6th September, 1802 Aged 44 years.
He is gone, lamented by the good and revered by the brave.
He is gone, loaded with the honors of his country and the bendictions of his friends.
- So sleeps the brave who sink to rest
- By all their country's wishes blest.
- When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
- Returns to deck his hallowed mold;
- She there will find a sweeter sod,
- Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
- By fairy hands his knell is rung
- By forms unseen his dirge is sung,
- There Honor comes, a pilgrim gray,
- To bless the turf that wraps his clay,
- And Freedom shall awhile repair,
- And dwell a weeping hermit there.
The tomb was built of brick, five feet high and twelve feet square, and there were the indications of a house having covered it at one time. History informs us that General Richards Dobbs Spaight was a delegate from North Carolina to the Convention which framed the Constitution of the United States, and he was one of the signers of that memorable document.
One of the bright spots in our life at Camp Amory was the arrival of the steamer from New York, bringing the mail for the soldiers in the department. It came to pass that the names of those steamers, the Dudley Buck and Ellen S. Terry became as familiar as household words. On one occasion, soon after our arrival, Captain Denny entered the barracks with three hundred letters for the members of Company A. I seem to hear the sharp, clear voice of Sergeant Barstow as he read off the names, and can see the eager, expectant look on the faces of my comrades. They were tender, encouraging messages which came to us from the loved ones at home, and it was an inspiration to right action to know that our friends in New England were thinking of us, praying for us, and at the same time sending us so many substantial tokens of their affection, for the cargo of every steamer from New York was largely made up of boxes for the Massachusetts boys in the department, and we of the Forty-Fifth received our full proportion. They were full of just such eatables as our good mothers knew we were particularly fond of, every one expressive of deep love, while tucked away here and there was a leaflet, a paper, or a book, showing their anxiety for our mental and spiritual welfare. While these good things lasted, the sutler's business, was almost at a standstill. Occasionally some of us were favored with brief visits from relatives and friends from the North. At such times the rigor of military discipline was somewhat relaxed by our kind-hearted Colonel, and we were permitted to enjoy their society for a while.
BATTLE OF GOLDSBORO
Life at Camp Amory proceeded according to strict military rules. When the “reveille” sounded there was no loitering in bunks, but an instantaneous gathering on to the floor of our barracks. Sergeant Barstow was a model of promptness and regularity, and in our opinion was one of the best Orderly Sergeants in the Regiment. His quick eye seemed to take in everything at a glance, and his clear ringing voice commanded instant attention.
Three days after our arrival we had a “general inspection.” We were ordered out in “heavy marching order” as if we were going to leave our camp. Some thought we were going to New Berne, but we were halted out on the plain, half a mile from our barracks, and were reviewed by Major General Foster and Staff. Early in December in obedience to orders from headquarters, Colonel Codman detailed two companies for special service. Company C went to Morehead City, and on the following day Company G, under command of Lieutenant Thayer, left for garrison duty at Fort Macon. Several of the officers and men were also detached from the Regiment for special service. Captain Joseph Murdoch of Company G, went on Colonel Amory's Staff as aid, and Lieutenant Dewson as Brigade Quartermaster, his place as Regimental Quartermaster being filled by Lieutenant Emmons of Company E. Lieutenants Richardson of Company A, and Blagden of Company I, went into the Signal Corps and never rejoined their commands. The men were variously distributed, some on signal service, many as clerks at the various headquarters, assistants in the hospitals, teamsters, etc., thus materially weakening the Regiment in point of numbers by these heavy details.
Colonel Codman was a thorough and persistent drill master and seemed determined that we should become proficient in every movement laid down in the “tactics,” and the Forty-Fifth earn the name of being one of the best drilled regiments in the department. Company drills were always in order for the forenoon, and in the afternoon regimental, and frequently brigade drills. There was an immense level field back of the officers’ quarters, and Colonel Codman made the most of it, and we
tramped many miles over it in our daily drills. Fortunately the weather was favorable for such active out-of-door exercise, the days being quite mild, like our Indian summer in New England, but the nights were cold and damp. We shall never forget those brigade drills on those burning sands in company with the Seventeenth, Twenty-Third, Forty-Third and Fifty-First Regiments, Colonel T. J. C. Amory in command. Colonel Codman in the regimental drills had a very plain and direct way of addressing the line officers when they blundered, which greatly amused us “high privates” and increased our respect for his clear-sightedness. Just before sunset the day's duties closed with a dress parade, which was a very different exhibition from that given at Readville. Not only had the constant drilling improved the bearing and marching of the men, but our band, by constant practice had also made a great advance, and gave us some very good music.
When the Seventeenth Massachusetts was detailed for Provost Duty in New Berne, we were obliged by General Orders to furnish a detail for picket duty across the river. The preparations for this service were as extensive as if we were bound on an expedition, instead of a simple bivouac for the night. It was quite a different duty from that on the Potomac, and was in some degree a relief from the monotonous daily round of camp life. There were six stations across the river under the com mand of a Corporal. The Picket Guard with rations and blankets went out one morning and were relieved the next. There was no expectation that an enemy would approach in that direction, and yet one night we had a practical example of its great advantage as told by Sergeant Barry in “The Sergeant's Story.” When relieved from our ordinary camp guard we had a little target practice and the best shot was exempted from guard duty for a while.
This routine of drill, guard and police duty, led many to think that our term of service would be an inactive one, but in the army, the “unexpected” frequently happens. These rigid drills and high state of discipline, were, after all, preparing us for the stern realities of war which we were to experience in a few
short weeks. These fears of inactivity were dispelled by rumors, which spread through the camp, that our Regiment would soon take part in an aggressive movement, and on the 8th of December, 1862, “Marching Orders” were read on “Dress Parade.”
Early in January, after our return from the Goldsboro Expedition, we had a welcome visitor, in the shape of Uncle Sam's Paymaster, and we drew the munificent sum of $19.95, our pay from September 15th, to November 1st. The paymaster's table was between the two lines of barracks, and close at hand was the happy Sutler, who scooped in a good full portion of the cash, for he had given the boys a pretty full line of credit. The sudden acquisition of so much ready money, gave some of us a desire to spend a portion of it, and two of us secured passes to New Berne. We were tired of “hard-tack” and “salt-horse,” and even of the excellent baked beans, with which company-cook Davenport used to regale us; so we made a “bee-line” for Mrs. Morse's boarding-house on Middle Street, a restaurant well patronized by members of the Forty-Fifth. My comrades who have been there, will testify that it was a good dinner which she served to her patrons. The bill of fare included oysters, stewed chicken, ham, sausages, fish-balls, sweet potatoes, hoe-cakes, biscuits, and custard pudding, all for fifty cents. She was thoroughly “Secesh” in her sentiments, and used her tongue freely, but her sarcasm never spoiled our appetites. After dinner we visited the Masonic Hospital, and saw several of our Regiment who were wounded in the recent battles. These little excursions to New Berne and to neighboring camps, were pleasant features of our army life.
Our life at Camp Amory was full of incidents, amusing and entertaining. As we became better acquainted we took greater liberties with each other, and then the fun increased. It is no secret, that one member of Company A was pulled out of his bunk in the middle of the night, when he shouted with nightmare, rousing us all from sound slumber, then riding his nightmare he rushed out of the barracks onto the parade ground, followed by others, all in “undress uniform.” The contrabands in
our vicinity of all ages, sizes and colors, and of both sexes, paid us daily visits in great numbers; and our camp was a veritable bonanza to them, for we were liberal purchasers of their pies, cakes, biscuits and sweet potatoes. There was old “Gatsy” with her sweet potatoes, pies and cakes, and “Caleb” with his long cotton bag full of dough bullets. They took our persistent and practical jokes good naturedly, knowing that we were their friends and protectors. Once in a while a runaway slave from within the Confederate lines found his way into camp, and would be taken before Colonel Codman. One came into camp just before we started on the Goldsboro Expedition, who reported that since sunrise of the previous day, he had travelled from Jacksonville, forty miles distant, and that there was a large Confederate force in that vicinity. A day or two after our return from the mud-march to Trenton, some of the results of that raid came straggling through our camp, a hundred or more contrabands, escaped from slavery. Once under the “Stars and Stripes” they could claim, and were entitled to our protection.THANKSGIVING DAY IN CAMP
will long be remembered. The companies were formed during the forenoon, marched to the parade ground, formed battalion line, then hollow square, the men four deep. Colonel Codman then read Governor Andrew's proclamation, as follows:—
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.
BY HIS EXCELLENCY JOHN A. ANDREW, GOVERNOR.
A PROCLAMATION FOR A DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE.
By and with the advice and consent of the Council, I do hereby appoint Thursday, the twenty-seventh day of November next, to be observed throughout this Commonwealth as a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Praise. And I do earnestly invite and request all the people of Massachusetts to set apart that day for the grateful and happy remembrance of the boundless mercies and loving kindness of Him, in whose name our fathers planted
this Commonwealth, and to whose services they consecrated their lives and devoted their posterity. “The Lord has established His Throne in the Heavens and His Kingdom ruleth over all.” He is the Sovereign Commander of all the world, in whose hand is power and might; which none is able to withstand, and to Him only belong ascriptions of glory, who is the only Giver of Victory. Let our hearts therefore ascend higher than all the interests that entangle, all the doubts that bewilder, the passions that ensnare, and the prejudices that obscure, consenting to be led, illumed and governed by His infinite intelligence and love. In the meditations of the House of Praise let us take comfort, and be thankful for the numberless manifestations of heroic and manly virtue, which, amid the distractions of War, in the duties of the camp, and in the perils of battle, have illustrated the character of the sons of Massachusetts, and for the serene and beautiful devotion with which her daughters have given the dearest offerings of their hearts to the support of their country, and for the defence of mankind.
Let us not forget the bountiful bestowments of the year, filling the granaries of the husbandman, and rewarding the toil of the laborer, the enterprise, thrift and industry of all our people.
No pestilence hath lurked in the darkness, nor assailed us in the light of day. Calamity hath not overwhelmed us, nor hath any enemy destroyed.
Rising to the height of our great occasion, reinforced by courage, conviction and faith, it has been the privilege of our country to perceive in the workings of Providence the opening ways of a sublime duty. And to Him, who hath never deserted the faithful unto Him “who gathereth together the outcasts of Israel, who healeth the broken in heart,” we owe a new song of Thanksgiving. “He showeth His word unto Jacob, His statutes and His judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation.”
Putting aside all fear of man, which bringeth a snare, may this people put on the strength which is the Divine promise and gift to the faithful and obedient, “let the praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.” Not with
malice and wickedness, but with sincerity and truth, let us keep this feast, and while “we eat the fat, and drink the sweet, forget not to send a portion to him for whom nothing is prepared.”
Let us remember that day the claims of all who are poor, or desolate, or oppressed, and pledge the devotion of our lives to the rescue of our country from the evils of rebellion, oppression and wrong, and may we all so order our conduct, hereafter, that we may neither be ashamed to live, nor afraid to die.
Given at the Council Chamber in Boston, this twenty-seventh day of October, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and the eighty-seventh of the Independence of the United States.
John A. Andrew.
By His Excellency the Governor with the advice of the Council.
God save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!
After the reading of this Proclamation, Chaplain Stone made an earnest and fitting address, taking for his text the One Hundred and Forty-Sixth Psalm.
At the conclusion of the Chaplain's address, Major Sturgis called for three cheers for home, and good old Thanksgiving, then three more and three more, all of which were given with a good will. Again forming our regimental line, we faced a newly erected flagstaff, and, at a given signal, the flag at the top was loosened and floated in the breeze; our band struck up “The Star Spangled Banner,” and Colonel Codman called for three times three cheers for the “Stars and Stripes” to which every man responded heartily. We were then dismissed and had the privilege of passing our camp lines, keeping inside the picket lines. Long after “Taps” sounded that night we sat around the log-fire in our barracks, and thought and talked of home, and how we usually passed Thanksgiving Day in old Massachusetts.SUNDAY IN CAMP
was not wholly a day of rest. In the forenoon, according to Army Regulations, there came an inspection, when our guns,
equipments and uniforms must be in the best possible condition. If the inside of the barrels of our rifles revealed an atom of dirt on the white glove of the inspecting officer, it called for a reprimand. To prepare for this inspection occupied the most of our Sunday forenoon. At three o'clock the “Assembly” sounded for “Divine Service.” The band, stationed on the “Parade Ground,” played the air of some familiar hymn and we marched by companies forming a hollow square enclosing the field officers and the band.
Then Chaplain Stone, with the same ease and reverence, that marked his manner in Park-Street Church, stepped forward, and with uncovered head, conducted the services, closed with the Doxology, “Old Hundred,” sung by the whole Regiment.
The whole scene is photographed on my memory. I have a distinct recollection of a sermon he preached in January, 1863, just after our return from the Goldsboro Expedition, and of the practical application he made of the text which was from Psalm 66: XIII. “I will pay Thee my vows.” His sermons were always interesting and of practical value. Without any long preamble he could touch and influence all hearts, and I am sure his memory is honored and revered by every man in the Regiment.
The loss of so many comrades in battle, and the illness of others, which in many cases proved fatal, naturally induced a deep seriousness among the members of the regiment.
Prayer meetings were held in the different company barracks, which were largely attended and very interesting. Many of the officers were in hearty sympathy with the movement, and some of them, at times, conducted the meetings.
A malarial fever carried off many of our comrades. In Surgeon Kneeland's article on the Medical and Surgical Department, he gives the cause of so much of the sickness at this time.
I have touched somewhat briefly on a few of the incidents and experiences which marked our life at Camp Amory.
As I have recalled them, doubtless many others have been in the minds of comrades, some of a personal, and some of a general nature, and perhaps more interesting than any here related, and more worthy a place in this Memorial Volume.
Looking at the picture from this distance of time, there are many lights and but few shadows. We were young, hopeful and patriotic, and, as a rule, accepted the trials and discomforts of army life in a philosophical spirit. If there was a “silver lining to the cloud,” we had a few buoyant souls who were sure to find it, and they inspired the rest of us, who took a more sombre view of things.
I cannot close without alluding to the enlivening influence exerted upon us by those who possessed the gift of song.
There were many splendid voices in our Regiment, and in those long winter evenings, when the log fire burned brightly in our barracks, and we gathered around it for warmth and sociability, those clear voices rang out, in songs that were comic, songs that were pathetic, songs that were patriotic, songs tender and sacred that carried our thoughts and hearts back to the old homestead in dear New England. I believe they made us better, braver and truer men. The sharing of common dangers and hardships, bound us closely together in ties of comradeship. It is a peculiar tie which perhaps none of us can clearly define, but we do know that our hearts respond most quickly to a greeting from a member of the “Old Forty-Fifth.”
The soldier's life is one of change. In the Civil War he had no fixed abiding place. Therefore we were not surprised when orders were read on “Dress Parade,” January 24, 1863, detailing our Regiment for “Provost Duty” in New Berne.
And thus ended our ten weeks’ sojourn at Camp Amory on the Trent.
MAJ.-GEN. JOHN G. FOSTER, COMMANDING 18TH ARMY CORPS
DEPARTMENT OF NORTH CAROLINA
General John G. Foster.
OUR Corps Commander, John G. Foster, Major General of Volunteers, was a native of New Hampshire and born May 27, 1823. He graduated at West Point in 1846, and was appointed a brevet second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers.
Among his classmates were Generals McClellan, Couch, Gordon, Oaks, Reno, Stedman and Sturgis of the Union Army; and Stonewall Jackson and Wilcox, of the Confederate Army. He served in the Mexican War, and was brevetted first lieutenant for gallantry at Contreras and Cherubusco, and as captain, for gallantry at Molino del Rey, where he was one of the party that stormed the Mexican works, and where he was severely wounded. In 1854, he was Assistant Professor of Engineering at West Point, became a captain July 1, 1860, and was brevetted major, December 26, 1860. April 28, 1858, he had charge of the fortifications in North and South Carolina, which duty he was performing when the Civil War broke out in 1861.
He was second in command in the garrison of Fort Sumter under Major Robert Anderson, and participated in the defence of that fort. After its surrender he was employed upon the fortifications of New York. October 23, 1861, he received a commission as Brigadier-General of Volunteers, commanding a brigade in the Burnside Expedition to North Carolina, and took a leading part in the capture of Roanoke Island and New Berne.
After the capture of New Berne he was made Governor of the place. In August, 1862, he was commissioned Major-General of Volunteers, and when General Burnside left North Carolina to join the Army of the Potomac, General Foster became the Commander of the Department, and on the creation of the Eighteenth Army Corps he was appointed to the command.
The following despatch was sent by General Foster after the Goldsboro Expedition:
Headquarters Department of North Carolina December 20, 1862.
Major-General Halleck, General-in-chief, Washington.
My expedition was a perfect success. I burned the railroad bridge at Goldsboro and Mount Olive, and tore up several miles of the track of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad. We fought four engagements, viz: at Southwest Creek, Kinston, Whitehall and Goldsboro, and whipped the enemy handsomely each time.
(Signed) J. G. Foster, Brigadier-General Commanding.
By a General Order dated New Berne, January 12, 1863, the following named officers were announced as constituting the Staff of the Major-General Commanding:
Brigadier-General, Edward E. Potter, Chief-of-Staff; Lieutenant-Colonel Southard Hoffman, Assistant Adjutant-General; Captain James H. Strong, Aide-de-Camp and Assistant-Adjutant and Inspector General; Major J. L. Stackpole, Judge Advocate; Major John F. Andrews, Senior Aide-de-Camp; Major Edward N. Strong, Aide-de-Camp; Captain George E. Garrard, Aide-de-Camp; Captain Louis Fitzgerald, Aide-de-Camp; Captain Daniel Messenger, Provost-Marshal; Lieutenant-Colonel Herman Briggs, Chief-Quartermaster; Captain J. C. Slaght, Assistant-Quartermaster; Captain Henry Potter, Assistant-Quartermaster; Captain William Holden, Assistant-Quartermaster; Captain J. J. Brown, Assistant-Quartermaster; Lieutenant Joseph A. Goldthwaite, Acting Commissary of Subsistence; Lieutenant T. W. Farquhar, United States Engineer Corps, Chief Engineer; Lieutenant M. F. Prouty, Acting Ordnance-Officer; Lieutenant J. Myers, United States Ordnance Corps; Surgeon F. G. Snelling, Medical Director.
From July 15 to November 15, 1863, General Foster was in command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina, and from December 12, 1863 to February 9, 1864, he commanded the Department of the Ohio. This command he was obliged to relinquish on account of severe injuries, resulting from a fall from his horse. After remaining on “sick leave” two months in Baltimore, he assumed command of the Department of the South, retaining it from May 26, 1864 to February 11, 1865. From August, 1865, to December, 1866, he commanded the Department of Florida.
He was made Lieutenant-Colonel in the Engineer Corps of the Regular Army, March 7, 1867, and brevetted Major-General of the Regular Army. He was mustered out of the Volunteer service September, 1866. “After thirty-two years of continuous service he retired to his home in Nashua, where, suffering for six months as a consumptive (a disease which had carried off most of his family) he died September 2, 1874, and was buried with military and civic honors due his rank and services.
“It was his fortune to hear the first gun that ushered in the Civil War, and when at its close the news arrived in Florida of the surrender of Lee and Johnston, he was still pressing marauding bands infesting that State.” We take the liberty of quoting here the excellent tribute to his memory and services, by the Historian of the Twenty-Seventh Massachusetts Regiment.
“Major-General Foster was regarded as one of the most accomplished, brave and prudent officers in the army, and during his long and varied service never suffered a defeat on the field.
“He was endowed with wonderful foresight and fertility of resource, enabling him to provide for any emergency, so that his troops never were found in false or fatal positions. This was in part due to his military training, and in part to a trait asserting itself in all his acts, that what was worth doing at all was worth doing well. As a result, whatever field he entered, he became conversant with all its features and detail. As engineer on the coast defences of North and South Carolina, previous to the war, he had not only acquainted himself with the fortifications, but the topography of the surrounding country during the Rebellion. As commander of New Berne he built its fortifications so well that though the enemy several times drove the garrison into the intrenchments they never dared assault them. John G. Nicolay, private secretary to President Lincoln, commenting on the bombardment of Fort Sumter thirty-six hours, without the loss of a single life, says, ‘Captain Foster, the accomplished engineer of the fort, by many expedients known to military science, had pushed its defences to a state of relative completeness, with the limited means within the fort. Most of the embrasures of the lower tier of casemates were closed, and here the garrison were securely housed.’
“His nature was more inclined to aggression than defence. By restless activity with a small force, he was able to inflict serious losses upon a larger one, and by surprises and reconnoisances, to hold them constantly on the defensive. He was a strict disciplinarian; but his genial nature cultivated a most cordial relation with subordinates. His wise, humane, and yet determined course, secured the fear and respect of both friends and foes.
His remains now rest in the Nashua Cemetery, a plain marble shaft, bearing the following inscription, marks his last resting place:
To my Husband, John Gray Foster, Lieut. Col. U. S. Engineers, and Brevet Maj. Gen'l United States Army, Died at Nashua, Sept. 2, 1874. Aged 51.
Post No. 7, Grand Army of the Republic, Nashua, N. H., has the honor of bearing his name.
COL. T. J. C. AMORY, COMMANDING 17TH REGT. MASS. VOLS.
ACTING BRIGADIER GENERAL
Colonel T. J. C. Amory.
From Army and Navy Journal, October 22, 1864.
THE Army will read with deep regret the announcement of the death, at New Berne, N. C., on the 6th instant, of Colonel T. J. C. Amory, late of the Seventeenth Massachusetts Volunteers, and the Seventh Infantry. His disease was yellow fever, which reached a fatal termination a few days after the same malady had deprived him of his devoted wife.
Colonel Amory was graduated at the Military Academy in 1851, and was assigned to the Seventh Infantry, in which he obtained a first lieutenantcy in 1855, and in 1861, a captaincy. In the latter year he was appointed colonel of the Seventeenth Massachusetts Volunteers, with which regiment he took part in Burnside's North Carolina Expedition, where he remained stationed up to the time of his death.
Colonel Amory was a quiet, unobtrusive, cultured gentleman, and in every respect a fine soldier. During nearly the whole of his service in North Carolina, he was in command of a brigade or a sub-district equal to a brigade. He had been frequently recommended to promotion to volunteer rank more proportionable to the importance of his command and his worth as an officer, but for some reason he failed to obtain what was generally felt to be his due. But to one of Colonel Amory's temperament who was far more devoted to duty than to fame, the absence of the star from his shoulder was no great source of discontent or uneasiness. He earned what was better than rank, the respect and confidence of every comrade, officer and soldier in his command.
The Signal Corps.
BY GEORGE W. ESTABROOK OF COMPANY A.
Entrance into the Corps.
ONE day while at Camp Amory on the Trent, I had a summons from Lieutenant Pond of Company A, and on reporting, was told by him that a detail would soon be made from our Company for the Signal Corps and he asked me if I would like to be detached for that service. I had an old college friend in the Corps, and a member of another Massachusetts Regiment, a man whom I knew intimately and liked extremely. From what I had learned, it seemed as if there would be more liberty of action, that I could see and do more than would be possible as a private in the line, that the life would be more full of adventures than ordinary service.
I concluded to accept the offer, telling the Lieutenant that if he and the Colonel thought the Rebellion could be put down more easily and efficiently, I was willing to be detached for the service, and I reported at once for duty at the Corps Headquarters in New Berne. I don't remember where our officers were quartered, but we men were in an old building, which was used at one time as an undertaker's or a carriage-builder's shop, and located on one of the main streets of the town. It was a loose-jointed old structure, not nearly as tight as our barracks at Camp Amory, and no way of warming it except by a sheet-iron stove, and I recall how bitter cold it was there.
There were no commissioned officers there with us, but we all were in charge of one of the older men. There was no “Guard mounting” nor visible authority, and everything was done in a “go as you please” manner. The instruction and drill in our duties were given by older men, and but a short time was required to give us a fair inkling of their scope and to remove any illusions with which we regarded them, and our privileges and opportunities. In regard to illusions. First, I supposed we were
CORP. AUGUSTUS S. LOVETT, CO. A
GARDNER GILMAN, CO. A
GEORGE W. ESTABROOK, CO. A
THOS. W. SHAPLEIGH, CO. A
a mounted body, and so I believe we should have been, but there were not horses enough to go around, and thus I never had one. To be sure I did not know how to ride, and it was therefore just as well for me that I did not become a cavalryman, but I never regretted not being mounted. My friend Bancroft on the strength of the reputation the Corps enjoyed of being mounted, got on tick from the Sutler or some other person, a fine pair of top-boots, with spurs, and that was as far as he got, for he never had a horse, at least not while I was in the Department of North Carolina. He used to walk about a great deal, with those boots on, and presented a very gallant and martial appearance.
For arms, we had Colt's revolvers. I don't think I ever had occasion to fire mine. For uniform, cavalry jackets, as well as our usual regimentals, and cavalry trousers, with reinforced seats. The privileges of the Corps were quite substantial, as the Corps jackets commonly passed us all over the city during the day, and a written pass was easily obtained, running for an indefinite time. I do not think I was ever turned back by a sentry for want of a pass. We went out when we liked, and where we liked, after we had learned our work, doing pretty much as we chose, which was a very pleasant change from the monotony of camp.THE FLAGS, TORCHES AND MANNER OF SIGNALLING.
I presume you are more or less familiar with the tools of our branch of the service, and to some extent with the method of their use, but a brief description may be of interest, and there may be some points you do not know about. Signalling with us was done by flags and torches, as messages were sent by day or night. The flags were of two sizes, four feet and six feet square, and were on jointed poles, twelve and sixteen feet in length. The flags usually had a colored square in the centre to distinguish them, I suppose, from other flags which might be used in the exigencies of the service.
Night work was done with torches attached to staffs, similar to those used with the flags. Beside the swinging torch, another and a larger one was placed on the ground before the operator to
indicate his position, and help in reading the motions by affording a fixed point relative to the swinging torch. The large torch held about two quarts, and the swinging torch about half as much. We used camphene for filling them, and had a gallon canteen for carrying it. The grounded torch was not to be let go out while a message was being sent, and filling such a one from a gallon canteen while a high wind was blowing, was often a necessary, and always a rather unpleasant incident of the night work.
The harder the wind blew the larger the flag had to be, as in a wind, it would double over itself and reduce the field exposed to the watchers at the other stations. Officers, of course, had field glasses for field work, but on stations, large spy glasses were used, which were fixed in place when the stations were far apart, as it would be hard to train them accurately. If the stations were not too distant from each other, the glasses could be lined by fixed marks in the home stations. I believe it is claimed that signalling has been done between points more than twenty miles apart, although I never saw it done. I have known of it being done between stations a dozen miles apart.
The first day after I reported for duty, I was taken into the yard back of our quarters by one of the old men, who gave me a flag and told me I must take position holding it erect before me, and when he called “One!” I must move it in a quarter circle to my left and return it to the upright position. This was a continuous movement, without pausing when the flag was at its lowest point. The order “Two!” required a corresponding motion to my right. There could be a I and II and a III and IIII made by making one, two, three or four of these left hand movements. There could not be a 12, though there might be a 14, which was made by the movement over a quarter circle to the left, and then by a half circle to the right. So 23 was made to right a quarter, and then to the left a half circle. Thus we obtained 1—14—142 or 143—141 without our making in fact more than four arcs of circles. At any time we were able to get thirty different and easily distinguishable movements, furnishing one for each letter in the alphabet, and four which were used for abbreviations, such as “ing” or “tion.” There were combinations
of five arcs used for numerals, but this was very seldom done, it being as easy and quick to spell the words out as to employ them.
There was another set of motions consisting of dropping the flag to the front. These were called 5—55—555, and they were employed to mark the end of a word, of a sentence, and of a message. The call to attract the attention of an observer was made by a continuous waving of the flag or torch from one side to the other until noticed and acknowledged by a similar swinging. Of course in signalling the operator faced the observing station, as otherwise the direction of motion could not be well distinguished by the observer. As you will realize, a constant watch had to kept up by day and by night at all stations, changing the eye from glass to glass, or point of the compass to point of the compass at short intervals.
When we entered the Corps the idea prevailed that the privates were not to be instructed in the meaning of these various movements.
- “Ours not to reason why,
- Ours but to do, or die;”
or at any rate, ours was simply to obey orders. I suppose the theory was that a private would be more likely than an officer to betray the code, as it was called, that is, to tell the enemy what the motions meant, or perhaps to tell one another or others of our soldiers. This, I think, was very silly for reasons I will state. In the first place we soon found out that the older men knew the code perfectly, and could read the messages with ease whenever they could see them; but they could not tell us new men anything. I never knew whether this was because of jealousy of us or to retain their superiority, or whether they were ordered to observe such reticence. The principal objection to such a course was its absolute futility. It is true that to the uninitiated spectator who saw the swiftly moving flags, or watched the gleaming lines of light, the whole thing looked very complicated and mysterious, but it is in fact very simple, unless a cipher is used far more complicated than the system employed while I served, and requiring a key for its translation. Where a symbol is constantly
employed in place of a letter, the possession of a hundred or so words used consecutively in a communication is enough to work out a translation in a very short time. I think I could do it in a half hour or so.
Everyone has noticed how much more frequent the use of some letters is than others. Then the short words of common occurrence used, all contain at least one vowel, so from the little words, the “its,” “has,” “at,” and “ises,” one can soon determine which are the vowels, and after half a dozen letters are learned, the rest is very easy. For this reason, I say, unless a pretty complicated cipher is used, the communications are easily read by any intelligent friend or foe who is in a convenient location and is willing to take a little trouble. My friend Ingraham and I soon puzzled the whole thing out. I believe we first determined the meaning of 5s, indicating, as I said, the end of a word, sentence, or message. If I remember right, we next noticed that the preliminary orders were usually first—1 and then 14 then 5. This we guessed meant, as it actually did, “To” with the address of the message. “To” Captain “so and so,” or Lieutenant “such a one.” We never wrote anything down, but would remember the series of numbers between two fires (?) and try and piece out the word with what we already knew and guessed. I think we had it all in a fortnight. There were at that time, in all probability, messages sent in cipher, but I never knew of one to be used after I had picked out the code. I could always tell what the officer was sending as well as if he had handed it to me in writing, or told it and left me to send it. I remember one of the new officers calling the letter by name instead of its number once or twice like this “t,” number “one.” Of course we all remembered such give-aways.
I surprised one of the old men once by translating for him in a very short time, a page he had written down with a variation of meaning of numbers from that on the code. He thought it could not be done. Of course, as we got informed in our duties, we found things pleasanter, especially after we got so familiar with the code that we could tell the message sent. Occasionally we had news of interest. I was on duty one night in South Carolina
when a vessel came into Hilton Head Harbor, and the signal officer on board called up a station at headquarters, not my station. I was so located that I could see the torch motions perfectly well, and read that the monitors had crossed the bar into Charleston Harbor. Sometimes we caught an officer tripping in his grammar, or spelling, at which we were amused, and felt our self-complacency restored in some degree; and that leads me to say that I thought then, and still believe, we could have officered the corps from the ranks fully as well as it was officered.
The men were a very intelligent set, more so than the average Massachusetts companies I think, and you must bear in mind that the corps was made up from regiments from almost everywhere. We had men from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and some from the Western States. One, a Pennsylvania Dutchman, a solid-looking man, but very bright, stayed in the corps and, I believe, rose to a Captaincy. He went on the Goldsboro Expedition and came back leading a blind mare which belonged to some rebel general, and which he gave to one of the officers who sent it North, using it for breeding purposes, as it was a very fine animal. It was said that he took a rebel Major or Colonel prisoner on the Goldsboro Expedition. He rode up to him and demanded his sword, and on getting that said, “Now give me your haversack,” and he got that too, with cookies in it. He was a fine cribbage player, and I played many a game with him. Rogers was a capital man. He was frequently sent on duty alone, or with a man or two under him. No officer was more expert than he. Hardy of the corps was a bright old man. He had been on a New Bedford whaler in the Pacific for a long time, and could speak the Spanish language quite fluently, having picked it up in the South American ports.
I found the old men of the corps very good fellows, and we had a mutual liking for each other. Since the war, we have formed a Signal Corps Organization, and have an annual dinner for the New England Branch. My service in it was not very extensive. When the Goldsboro Campaign took place I was just being instructed in my duties, and the older men were so much
more experienced, they were sent and I was left behind in New Berne. After that, there was nothing of that nature in North Carolina.
In January I was sent with two or three other men under a Lieutenant down the railroad towards Morehead City. We were told to take three day's rations and our blankets, expecting to be gone only two or three days. Our station was set up on a stiltlike scaffolding, straddling the railroad where it made a curve, so we could look either way along the line. It was a very swampy and desolate place. Nearby was a block-house occupied by a company, or part of a company from one of our regiments. It was here I first saw blood shed. A soldier in the block-house shot a pig and gave me a piece of the meat. This was the first, and also the last blood I saw shed. This, however, was my good luck, and not due to the nature of the service. I believe that members of the Signal Corps were rather more exposed to capture, or being picked off by sharpshooters or guerillas, than those engaged in other branches of the service, for the nature of the duty requires that they should frequently be put into isolated positions with insufficient support, and their swinging flags and torches were an advertisement of their position by day and night, while an enemy, of course, feels that gobbling a post may seriously cripple his antagonist.
I remember that at this station we sent messages as to the arrival at Morehead City of government transports and ships of was This was impressed upon me, because from there we were ordered direct to Morehead City and sent to Hilton Head, South Carolina, on the transport Guide with the Twenty-Fourth Massachusetts. I thought the men of that regiment a pretty tough set. We had no opportunity to get our things from New Berne, and we went to South Carolina with only what we had on, and blankets, except perhaps an extra pair of stockings and handkerchief or so. After landing, we were sent off into camp, and on station, and as the paymaster did not get around and we had no credit with any sutler, we had pretty hard times. While there I had a slight attack of fever, but not enough to send me to the hospital. After being there five or six months, I was sent back to New Berne, and rejoined the regiment.
In regard to the utility of the corps, I would say I believe it capable of being made of extreme advantage, if properly officered and manned. It should have for its officers not only good soldiers, capable of observing what is going on in the field and judging of the presence, movements and plans of the enemy from the indications which present themselves, but they should be men of scholarship and acuteness enough to readily use a pretty complicated cipher system, not easily puzzled out and capable of quick change. Such systems exist, but require ability of a peculiar kind in the officer using them, and I think a special education should be pursued by the practitioner. Of course in the field a single code must be used, as the information must be immediately available, and equally, of course, it is often of little importance if the enemy does know what is being said. When Sherman signalled Corse, and Corse sent his famous reply that he would hold the Fort, the facts so communicated were enough for each of them, and the Confederates might have known them without detriment to the communicants. Then in the attacking of fortified places, the attack on the fortifications of New Orleans by Farragut, for instance, the artillery fire was directed and regulated without its being necessary for the attacking vessels to expose themselves to the fire of the forts. Signalling, bear in mind, can be made like the eye or the ear. It bridges impassable spaces, and moves with the rapidity of sound and light. I regard a well disciplined and intelligent organization for this purpose as indispensable in modern warfare by sea or land, and I have no doubt such advances have already been made, that another war would find our forces far more completely and effectively assisted by it than it was while I was a member and knew of its operations.
Heroic Deeds of Heroic Men — The Expedition to Goldsboro
BY JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.
From Harper's New Monthly Magazine December, 1864, published by permission.
“ON Tuesday, the 9th of December, 1862, a division of the army in North Carolina under General John G. Foster, received orders to put three days’ rations in their haversacks, and prepare for an immediate march; but where they were not informed; neither was it supposed to be any of their business to inquire. Blind, unquestioning obedience is the law of the army. The rising of the sun on Thursday, the 11th, found these troops vigorously on the move from New Berne, directly west, towards Goldsboro, along what is called the Trent Road, a road running a few miles west of the River Trent and almost parallel with it. The force consisted of four brigades, composed of nineteen regiments. The line of march was formed by two hundred cavalry in advance; then followed the several regiments of cavalry, infantry, and artillery, while the rear was composed of one hundred and fifty baggage wagons. The entire line, in easy marching order, extended about five miles, filling the whole road.
It was a splendid wintry morning, mild and serene. As the vast army was beheld from an eminence moving along the winding road, with the fluttering of innumerable banners, and the gleam of burnished arms, the sight inspired the most phlegmatic with enthusiasm. The army numbered in all thirteen thousand infantry, eleven hundred cavalry, with fifty-one pieces of artillery. The troops that day marched eighteen miles over a heavy, sandy road, with occasional sloughs to wade, and, as night approached, they prepared for their encampment in a large plain of about three hundred acres, which they found opened in the forest.
As the twilight faded away hundreds of camp-fires, brilliant
with the blaze of the resinous pine, lighted up the scene with wondrous beauty. The soldiers drank their hot coffee from their tin cups, ate their frugal supper of hard bread, and the camp resounded with jokes and laughter as the most of them threw themselves down for a shelterless bivouac, with the sand for a mattress, and a knapsack for a pillow. Wearied with the long day's march the reign of silence soon commenced. All of the men were provided with rubber blankets which they spread upon the ground. Over that a woolen blanket was spread. And then, three cuddling together, with their feet to the fire and with their united three blankets and three overcoats spread over them, enjoyed more luxurious slumber than is usually found in ceiled chambers and on beds of down.
At five o'clock the next morning, Friday, the 12th, the drum beat the reveille, roused all from their slumbers. It was a bitter cold morning, so cold that the water in the canteens of the soldiers was found frozen. The icy ground seemed solid as a rock. The fires, from piles of pitch-pine, were immediately brightly blazing, the ever-welcome coffee was boiling, and after their breakfast of hard bread the soldiers were again upon the move. Marching rapidly along a level country covered with pine forests, and where few dwellings were found, at noon they reached a road turning nearly at right angles to the north. This road led directly to Kinston, one of the most important towns in North Carolina, situated on the northern bank of the Neuse, about forty miles above New Berne. The soldiers by this time had supposed that Kinston was their destination. But much to their surprise, they found that they were not guided upon that road, but leaving it on the right, pressed directly forward in a westerly course. The soldiers subsequently ascertained that which the officers already knew, that half-way between this crossing and the town of Kinston, there was a stream called South-west Creek, where the rebels, in anticipation of an attack, had erected formidable intrenchments.
General Foster, one of our boldest and most efficient officers, sagaciously sent forward a small force of cavalry to deceive the rebels by the feint of an attack upon their elaborate
works at the creek. At the same time the main body pressed vigorously forward on the road towards Goldsboro, and with the setting sun sought their second night's bivouac, having effected a march of nearly twenty miles. The wearied soldiers, after a hurried meal, again threw themselves on the frozen ground and slept soundly. Scarcely had the morning dawned ere the beat of the drum aroused the slumbering host. They replenished their waning fires, in haste prepared their breakfast of fragrant coffee with hard bread, and at six o'clock the tramp of armed men and the rumbling of carriage-wheels again resounded through the solitude of the forest. All day long they continued their march, until about the middle of the afternoon, when, having passed several miles beyond Kinston, they came to another cross-road, which at a very sharp angle led back, in a northeasterly direction, toward that city.
The head of the long column turned sharply round and entered this road. By it they could cross the Southwest Creek at a point farther up the stream by a bridge which was feebly defended. The rebels, however, fearing this movement, and yet not daring to vacate their intrenchments on the main road, had sent forward a small force and burned the bridge. They had also placed two 12-pounders on an eminence on the north side of the creek, to prevent the reconstruction of the bridge or the floating of pontoons. Here the Union troops were brought to a stand. While the advance of the column waited for the artillery and the wagons to come up, pioneers were sent forward, under strong protection of artillery and musketry, to attempt to rebuild the bridge.
The creek was here but a few rods wide, with somewhat precipitous and densely-wooded shores. The road from that point to Kinston, a distance of about fourteen miles, ran all the way through an almost unbroken forest. A few pieces of Union artillery were sent ahead, to engage the attention of the rebel battery, while the Ninth New Jersey Regiment secretly forded the stream above and below, and rushed upon the hostile cannon from either flank so impetuously and unexpectedly that guns, horses, and men were all taken, almost before there was any consciousness of danger.
BATTLE OF KINSTON
It was Saturday night, the third day of the expedition. Again the troops bivouacked in the open air, but all night long working parties of engineers and pioneers were busy rebuilding the bridge. Before the dawn of Sunday it was completed, and at five o'clock the troops were again upon the march. As before, a body of cavalry led the advance along the narrow road, with pine forests on either side. They frequently encountered the pickets of the enemy, and in slight skirmishes, easily dispersed them. The cavalry was followed by a strong body of artillery, who shelled the woods wherever there was any suspicion that the foe might be lurking.
It will be remembered that the line of the army, filling the whole capacity of the road, occupied an extent of about five miles. At nine o'clock in the morning those in the rear of this long column heard the roar of the artillery among the advance, shot answering shot. It announced that the enemy had been found, and it sent an electric thrill through the eager host. Every man pressed forward. The whole army soon found themselves in a clearing of the woods of about twenty acres, on the right-hand side of the road. There was here opportunity for the army to deploy and make ready for action. The enemy were so effectually concealed in the woods that not a man could be seen; and their batteries, commandingly posted under the protection of an apparently impassable swamp, were constantly pitching their shells over the tree tops into the midst of our advancing troops. Six Parrot guns were brought forward by the patriots and placed in position to return the fire. It was a blind battle of invisible foes; but the two hostile parties had discovered each other's position, and bloody scenes were at hand.
The Ninety-Second and Ninety-Sixth New York Regiments filed into the woods on the left of the road, to charge the rebel batteries on their right flank. The Ninth New York plunged into the woods on the right of the road, to advance upon the batteries under shelter of the thicket, between the road and the swamp. The Forty-Fifth Massachusetts rushed boldly into the swamp itself, and toiling onward through a tangled net-work of roots and stumps, and up to their knees in mire, sought to traverse
it, that they might attack the batteries on their left flank. The swamp was densely covered with huge old trees, whose gnarled roots were twisted in all possible contortions beneath the ooze and slime of the bog. But a few moments elapsed before the whole forest was alive with the rattle of musketry, for the heads of each of these divisions had met the foe. Our troops keeping up a constant fire, steadily advanced, driving the rebels before them, who were fighting, Indian-fashion, behind stumps and trees.
At length the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts, who had penetrated the swamp, forced their way through it, and ascended a little knoll beyond covered with shrub oaks. But they had hardly formed in line before a shower of bullets, as well as shot and shell, came rattling in among them, a rebel battery having got their precise range. The Tenth Connecticut and One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania came up at the same moment, having followed through the swamp. The rebel guns (cannon) opened upon their left flank, raking their position. The fire of these guns was so concentrated and powerful that it cut a perfect path, two rods wide, for some distance through the forest. No flesh and blood could stand such a storm. The Union troops threw themselves on their faces and hugged the ground as their only protection.* They could not move in any direction without the utmost peril.
While in this terrible situation they heard the well known cheer of their comrades announcing triumph on their left. The Ninety-Sixth and Ninety-Second New York had come up, flanked and successfully charged the rebel battery. At that shout the Tenth Connecticut, Forty-Fifth Massachusetts, and One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania sprang to their feet, and rushed to join their comrades in the charge. The rebels waited not for the impetuous onslaught, but abandoning everything, fled pell-mell for the bridge which crossed the Neuse, opposite Kinston, which was not far distant. The retreat of five hundred and fifty of the[note]
foe was cut off, and they were taken prisoners. *The Union artillery came rushing up along the road, shelling the fugitives in their flight. The rebels, in their consternation, had no chance to destroy the bridge, and the patriot troops, following closely upon their heels, crossed the river and took possession of Kinston. The brunt of this battle—and it was truly a heroic fight—was met by the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts, Tenth Connecticut, and One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania, essentially aided by the Ninety-Sixth and Ninety-Second New York. Five Union Regiments drove six thousand rebels from their intrenchments.
The rebel prisoners stated that they considered their position quite impregnable, for they had not supposed it possible for any advance to be made through the swamp. They had consequently massed their forces to block up the passage of the road. The first intimation they had of the position of the regiments who had dashed through the swamp, was from the storm of bullets which swept their ranks. There was an old church near the range of the hostile batteries, which was thoroughly riddled with shot. As our troops occupied the ground vacated by their foes they found sixteen dead bodies in the church. The prisoners confessed they carried off as many dead bodies as they could, and had thrown them into the river to conceal their loss.
Most of the prisoners were South Carolinians. They were ferocious in their hate, declaring that they would fight forever. They said they had received orders from General Evans that morning to give no quarter. They had not entertained the idea that they could be beaten. Our troopsfound that the rigor of rebel conscription had stripped the country of every man capable of bearing arms. Many of the prisoners said they had been dragged away from their families without any process of law, and without an hour's delay. The general aspect of the region through which the army passed testified to the truth of these statements. Wide fields remained uncultivated, and in not a few cases ripened crops were left to perish unharvested. Vast barns and granaries were left entirely empty. On the most extensive plantations but few signs[note]
of life were visible. A few aged negroes, too old to run away and too valueless to be removed, were loitering about, bewildered by the sudden and inexplicable change. Now and then a few women were found who had been left behind. They did not exhibit the ferocity which had been generally displayed by female rebels; they were generally anxious for the war to end on any terms, asserting they were living under a reign of terror, and that they had more to fear from the rebel than from the Union troops.
The retreating rebels had stripped the houses of most of their movable furniture and of all eatables. In the little dilapidated city of Kinston, desolation and starvation reigned. The women and children who alone remained all looked care-worn and hungry. Many of the poorer class came rambling through the Union camp, begging bread of the soldiers, and eagerly picking up the fragments which our surfeited troops had thrown away. The women, accustomed only to the brutal aspect and bearing of the Southern soldiers, expressed much surprise at the gentlemanly appearance and demeanor of the Northern troops. But three white men were found left in Kinston, and they were Union men who had hidden themselves from rebel rule. All the rest had been carried off, either voluntarily or involuntarily, by the rebels.
“On looking around the town, we found every evidence of our large and small shot having taken excellent effect. By the time two or three regiments had crossed the bridge, Major-General Foster dispatched Colonel Potter, under a flag of truce, to communicate with General Evans, and to demand a surrender of his forces. The flag was recognized. We found the rebel regiments retreating up the railroad and on the road, and in various ways, straggling or otherwise, towards Goldsboro. General Evans refused to comply, on high military grounds, etc. Soon after our artillery commenced anew to shell the rebels across the town, firing low, in fact so low, that some of the shells swept very closely over our heads.
General Evans then sent by a flag of truce, his compliments, etc., to General Foster, and requested a place of safety for the women and children, as he intended to return the fire from his artillery. Our artillery ceased firing, and the women and children
that could be found, were conducted to a place of safety, when we found, on preparing again for action, that the bird had flown; that General Evans had succeeded, during the flag of truce operations, in safely conducting off what remained of his entire command. The Ninth New Jersey captured the regimental flag of a South Carolina regiment before crossing the Neuse bridge, and are now carrying it as a trophy of their gallantry. On the road after crossing the bridge, we found the following letter (it evidently had been dropped during the course of the enemy's hasty retreat;)
Goldsboro, December 14, 1862.
All the men I have here have been sent to you. You received them last night. Rogers is nearly with you, four hundred strong. I understand from rumor that three other regiments are on their way here from Petersburg. J. A. J. Bradford.
The rebels destroyed some eighty or ninety bales of cotton. This we found burning as we entered the town. Most of it belonged to a Scotchman named Nichols. Four companies of the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts were detailed to patrol the town.
The battle of Kinston was fought on Sunday. These were strange scenes for our Puritan boys, who had been trained in the Sabbath-schools and churches of the North. The victorious Union troops passed over the bridge into Kinston, and encamped in a large field on the north side of the village, built their fires, boiled their coffee, and sat down to review the labors of the day. The Massachusetts Forty-Fifth lost eighteen killed and had fifty wounded. Large numbers had bullet-holes through their hats and part of their clothing. The Tenth Connecticut met with a still more severe loss, as did also the One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania and the Ninety-Sixth New York. The rebels lost, in addition to the prisoners we have mentioned, eleven pieces of artillery, a large quantity of small-arms and ammunition, and an immense depot of provisions, which they set on fire to prevent it from falling into the Union hands. The battle in the swamp lasted four hours. A young soldier of the Massachusetts Forty.
Fifth, who had never before been under fire, thus graphically describes his sensations in a letter to his friends:
“When we first filed into the woods I would have given all I was worth to have been once more safely at home. But after the first shot was fired I could not restrain myself. I had no thought of any personal danger. The balls would whistle and hum over our heads, and every now and then a shell would explode and cover us with mud, and too often with blood. But it seemed to me as though something told me not to fear. I said one little short prayer for myself, thought of each one of you, imagined I heard the sweet church bells of Framingham, and shut my eyes for an instant and saw you all. It could have been but an instant, and then I thought of nothing but pushing the rebels out of the swamp. As we drove the rebels before us I cannot describe the exultation we felt that we had helped win a victory for the Stars and Stripes. But the sad times were at night, when we missed from the camp fires the faces of those whom we had learned to love, or when we went back to the woods to bury the dead or to save the wounded.”
Early the next morning—Monday the 15th—the army recommenced its march. Filing rapidly again back across the bridge they pressed along a road which skirted the southern banks of the Neuse, toward Whitehall, which was directly west upon the river, at the distance of about twenty miles. It required nearly five hours—from daylight until 11 o'clock—for the whole army to defile across the narrow bridge. They then, to prevent pursuit and the harassment of their rear, smeared the bridge over with tar and set it on fire. The structure, of wood, twenty rods long and forty feet above the water, was speedily enveloped in rushing billows of flame, and disappeared in smoke and ashes. Such a long line of troops, with its ponderous artillery and heavily-laden wagons, necessarily moves slow. But by vigorously pushing forward they traveled seventeen miles that day, and again bivouacked by the road-side, about three miles from Whitehall. The weary soldiers did not need beds of down to enable them to sleep soundly that night.
Tuesday, 16th, at 5 o'clock in the morning the troops were
again upon the march. They had been in motion scarcely an hour when the roar of battle was again heard at the head of the column. The cavalry and one battery were in the advance. As they were approaching the little village of Whitehall, which is on the south bank of the stream, they found that the enemy had stationed themselves on the opposite side of the river, having destroyed the bridge, and were strongly posted, with ten guns in battery on the opposite bank. The guns were protected by long lines of rifle pits. A brief but spirited conflict here ensued.
The conflict at Whitehall lasted about an hour and a half, one brigade only of the Union troops being called into action. It was found on almost all occasions that our artillery practice was far superior to that of the rebels. Not infrequently the Union batteries would take position in an open field and silence a rebel battery carefully intrenched, of the same number of guns. While this artillery battle was raging, the main body of the army moved rapidly along the road at a little distance from the river, to gain the stream at a point which the rebel guns did not command. While thus moving, a shell fell into the ranks of the Forty-Fourth Massachusetts, instantly killing four men. The patriot batteries at length silenced the rebel cannon, and our troops advancing to the river, destroyed two gun-boats which the rebels were building there. The village of Whitehall, which stood between the hostile batteries, was literally knocked to pieces. The dense woods which fringed the opposite bank of the stream were mown down by our deadly fire as the scythe mows the grass. For a quarter of a mile back from the river, and half a mile up and down the banks, scarcely a tree was left standing.
The shell is a terrible and remorseless engine of destruction. Nothing can be imagined more demoniac than the yell with which they swoop through the air. It is heard the moment the shell leaves the gun, and with the larger size, now often used, is so shrill and piercing that even if a quarter of a mile distant it seems directly upon you. Many of these massive bolts are hurled with such velocity that if they pass within ten feet of one's head they produce a vacuum which takes away the breath; and
as it whirs by the scream grows fainter and fainter, till it expires in a thundering explosion. The noise which these shells make is indescribable. There is nothing with which to compare it. It can only be imagined by those by whom it has been heard.
Having dispersed the rebels at Whitehall, our victorious little army, under their vigorous leader General Foster, without crossing the river, aud with scarcely an hour's delay, pressed forward toward the west, still ascending the banks of the Neuse. Night overtook them twelve miles beyond Whitehall. Here they found their sixth encampment. Scarcely had the dawn of Wednesday morning the 17th appeared, ere the troops were again in motion. A party of cavalry had been sent in advance by a crossroad on Monday to a place called Mount Olive, twenty miles south of Goldsboro, to destroy as much as possible of the railroad there, and a long trestle railroad bridge. This enterprise the intrepid cavalry had successfully accomplished. They now returned to the main body, having ridden seventy miles in twenty-four hours.
The great object of this whole military expedition was to destroy the railroad running south from Goldsboro, which was the principal line of northern communication for the rebels. Like most villages in a slave-holding country, Goldsboro is an insignificant hamlet, not important enough even to be noticed in a general gazetteer. It is but little more than a railroad station, where the Wilmington and Weldon road crosses the Atlantic and North Carolina track. There was a costly high bridge an eighth of a mile long, which here crossed the river, which had been a long time in process of construction. It was an important object of the expedition to destroy this bridge. The rebels, fully appreciating its importance, made a vigorous stand for its defense. But General Foster on this expedition as much out-generaled the rebel officers in strategy and tactics as his soldiers out-fought the rebel rank and file in the open field. At eleven o'clock Wednesday morning, our soldiers were within five miles of the bridge. The rebels were found there in force, and the battle was renewed. A few miles below the railroad viaduct there was a small stream called Sleepy Creek, where there was a
common road bridge across the Neuse. A portion of the army was sent down to this bridge to make a feint, with as much noise as possible, of crossing at that point.
The rebels deceived by the supposition that it was our main object to seize the railroad junction at Goldsboro, had assembled a large force at this bridge, superior to our own, to guard the passage. General Foster adroitly compelled them to divide their force between this upper and lower point, and kept the river between him and the foe to prevent being overwhelmed by any sudden assault. To prevent the Union troops from crossing the river the rebels made their first stand at Kinston. Here, as we have mentioned, the Union troops drove them back, and destroyed the bridge. They next made a stand at Whitehall, destroying the bridge themselves. Here the patriots silenced their batteries and destroyed two of their gunboats. The rebels then drew back their forces to the vicinity of Goldsboro, and established themselves at the two bridges of which we have spoken, five miles apart. While a part of our troops followed down Sleepy Creek to the bridge the main body moved on to the railroad bridge, the object of the expedition.
General Foster had no wish to cross either of these bridges. He was well aware that there was a sufficient force of rebels on the other side, gathered from Wilmington, Weldon, Raleigh, and even Virginia, to overwhelm the force at his disposal. The assault commenced at both bridges at the same time. From eleven o'clock in the morning until three o'clock in the afternoon there was the continuous roar of battle. The rebels had taken position on the south side of the railroad bridge. They were however, soon driven in confusion from their position and across the bridge, and the bridge was utterly destroyed. The flames consumed its frame, and its buttresses were demolished by shot and shell. The great object of the expedition having been thus effectually accomplished, the army immediately commenced its return. The rebels now began to comprehend the true position of affairs. They had assembled in such force as vastly to outnumber the patriots. But there was a wide and rapid river, with all the bridges destroyed, flowing between them. In this emergency
the rebels went back, ascending the river about five miles, and crossed in the vicinity of Waynesborough. Then marching down the southern bank of the stream, they vigorously set out in pursuit of our leisurely retiring columns. They overtook the patriot rear-guard in the vicinity of Sleepy Creek.* As the rebels came on in solid mass the patriot batteries, in good position, remained quiet until they were within three hundred yards, and then with double-shotted guns, they poured in so tremendous a volley that no mortal strength or valor could breast it. Three times the rebel ranks were broken by the awful carnage, and three times they rallied anew to the onset. Finally they broke beyond recovery, and fled in wildest confusion back among the forests and the hills. Some prisoners who were taken said that they lost in this terrific storm of war, which lasted but a few moments, eight hundred men. It was a very bold attempt of infantry to storm batteries up to the muzzle of their guns.
The patriots now retired unmolested, and encamped Wednesday night on the same spot where they had encamped the night before. The next morning, at four o'clock, they were again upon the march, and thus they tramped along, singing songs of victory, until six o'clock Saturday night, when they encamped about six miles from New Berne. The Sabbath morning sun rose cloudless over the North Carolina pines. The day was mild and beautiful, as though nature had no voice or feature in harmony with the discord of war. The patriot troops resumed their march with waving banners and pealing bugles, and thus rejoicingly re-entered the camp from which they had marched but ten days before. They marched into their encampment to the dear old tune “Home Sweet Home.” The distance these iron men had travelled, over often the worst of roads, and through a series of battles, was about two hundred miles.”[note]
CORPORAL CHARLES EUSTIS HUBBARD, CO. A
The Official Reports of the March to Binston and Battle of Binston
BY CORPORAL CHARLES EUSTIS HUBBARD OF COMPANY A.
THE story of our first expedition and battle, with its various incidents was written long ago, and our individual adventures are still fresh in our memories. It seemed to me, therefore, that the history of the expedition, as detailed in the official reports and correspondence of the officers, both Union and Confederate, would be more instructive and interesting than to repeat mere personal recollections of these eventful days.
I have accordingly copied such portions of the official records as pertain especially to the history of the march to, and the Battle of Kinston.
The Department of North Carolina was under the command of Major-General John G. Foster, then but thirty-eight years of age, and the forces at his disposal December 10, 1862, consisted of the following troops, viz.:
|Present for Officers||Duty Men||Aggregate Present||Aggregate Present & Absent|
|First Brigade, Col. T. J. C. Amory||137||3456||4417||8010|
|Second Brigade, Col. T. J. Stevenson||113||3083||3802||6998|
|Third Brigade, Col. Horace C. Lee||148||3408||4141||7697|
As General Foster deemed this number of troops insufficient, he had requested that re-inforcements might be sent him.
Headquarters Department of North Carolina, New Berne, November 18, 1862.
Major-General H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief United States Army, Washington, D. C.
Referring to my report of recent reconnoisance, I have the honor to make the following statements. The enemy have much increased their
force and their activity in the State. We have engaged at different times in one way or another, seven old regiments, viz.: the Eighth, Tenth, Seventeenth, Twenty-Sixth, Thirty-First, Fifty-First and Fifty-Ninth North Carolina, and I am informed, by what I consider reliable authority, that Governor Vance has had a difficulty with President Davis, as regards conscripts, the consequence of which is that the Governor is raising or has raised, two brigades of conscripts, within assisting distance of Goldsborough.
Their artillery force I think to be inferior to mine as yet. There were at Tarborough sixteen pieces and I found threatening this town on my return ten other pieces. These, with the supporting force, retired on my return. And in the same connection I would state that I heard near Tarborough of the appointment of General Longstreet to the command of this Department. This report has since been confirmed both here and in the Richmond papers. In addition, Governor Vance in person was with the forces in Tarborough. I would respectfully remark that the above simple statements prove the reliability of my opening paragraph, and, in addition, show the determination of the enemy to withstand my advances in their rich country of the Eastern counties, and, also if possible, to diminish my hold on that section. On the other hand the weakening influences of the past malarious season, has so weakened the strength of my old regiments, that for hard, active service, I have, scarcely available one-half their nominal strength at the moment.
The new regiments, nine months’ men, arrived here, viz.: the Third Fifth, Forty-Third, Forty-Fourth, Forty-Fifth and Forty-Sixth Massachusetts are good troops, but are new, and some have never had their arms, and I should wish some drill before trusting them in a fight. Admiral Lee has been here, and with him I had a full and free talk, and am happy to say that he fully coincides with me in my views as to co-operation, and as to force required. Referring to the above simple statements, I would most respectfully suggest, that, if possible, I should be allowed ten thousand old troops in addition to the few new troops ordered here, and would express my hopes and wishes that those old troops should be the men of the North Army Corps, with whom I have been associated, and of which corps I was the senior officer under General Burnside. The sooner I have the force, the sooner I will endeavor to perform my plans, and, I think, the views of the Government, viz.: the cutting of the railroad (Wilmington & Weldon), and the taking of Wilmington, and the works of New Inlet, and the mouth of the Cape Fear River. I most respectfully request, in addition to the officer recommended for promotion to Brigadier-General, that three regular Brigadier-Generals be sent me, and as a matter of choice, I would suggest General Gillmore, and if none be available, now appointed, call your attention to Captains, Morton and Casey of the Engineer Corps, and Lieut. Col. Briggs
or Captain D. W. Flagler, Ordnance Corps, as most acceptable to me. I would also ask an engineer officer, of which I have none, and an ordnance officer. I have received from General Dix a letter as to his co-operation with me in any attempt to cut the railroad communications, and would say that such co-operation would be most desirable as proved at Tarborough, where the re-inforcements came even from Petersburg. I can act, and he assist. If the line be cut south of Weldon, and he act and I assist, if at Weldon, which point he can reach more easily than I. I have the honor to be General, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant, J. G. Foster, Major-General Commanding.
General Wessell's Brigade, composed of New York and Pennsylvania Volunteers, was sent in response to this request.
The last of November General Foster went to Fortress Monroe to confer with General Dix as to the expedition, as appears from the following.
Fortress Monroe, Va., December 1, 1862.
General H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief, United States Army, Washington, D. C
I have just arrived here to confer with General Dix in regard to operating in offensive movements against the enemy. I shall return early tomorrow morning unless you wish me to remain longer to give me some special orders.
J. G. Foster, Major-General Volunteers.
Major-General J. G. Foster, Fort Monroe, Va.
I have no special instructions to give. Possibly the Secretary of War may have tomorrow.
H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief.
Major-General Peck, Suffolk, Va.
I expect an officer from General Foster to-night. If not too late you had better defer any strong demonstration until he arrives.
John H. Dix, Major-General.
Major-General Dix, Fortress Monroe, Va.
The interview with General Foster today was all that could be desired. He is an old friend, and we canvassed matters fully. Have memorandum which will govern moves some day. I proposed to demonstrate strongly on a given day which he did not expect, and which pleased him very much. I very much desire that new troops should arrive before Wessell's Brigade moves.
John J. Peck, Major-General
War Department, Washington, D. C., December 6, 1862.
Major-General Dix, Fortress Monroe, Va.
The Adjutant General informs me that Jourdan has been restored. You speak of sending a brigade of your troops to General Foster. By whose authority is this done? General Foster asked for more troops but they were refused by the War Department. All available troops will immediately be wanted in your department.
H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief.
Fort Monroe, Va., December 6, 1862.
Major-General H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief.
When in Washington on October 30th you desired me to communicate with General Foster, and to co-operate with him in harassing the enemy. I wrote to him, but he being absent, did not receive my letter for some time and his answer did not reach me until November 27th. I advised you of these circumstances by letter of the 29th ultimo, and that I had sent an officer to him. He came here immediately, and on conferring with him, I agreed to let him have a brigade for ten days to attack Goldsboro and cut the railroad at that place.
I directed General Peck to meet him at Norfolk and arrange the time. The brigade under General Wessells left Suffolk yesterday to
march to Gates Ferry near Gatesville, where transports will be ready to receive it. I shall regret greatly, if, in this, I have mistaken your wishes or exceeded my authority. If it is not too late to recall General Wessells, if it be thought best and if I receive your order at once. I did not know that General Foster had been refused troops by the Secretary of War.
John H. Dix, Major-General.
Major-General Dix, Fort Monroe, Va.
The temporary detachment of the brigade to assist General Foster is approved. Have all your other troops ready to move by the time the brigade returns, or before. The transportation will be mainly by water.
H. W. Halleck, General-in-Chief.
Before the expedition had started General Foster had quite a correspondence with General French, Confederate Commander of Department of North Carolina, regarding the conduct of the Union troops in North Carolina.
Headquarters, Department of North Carolina.
Petersburg, Va., November 27, 1862.
General J. G. Foster, U. S. A., New Berne, N. C.
Dear Sir: During the march of the army under your command up the valley of the Rounda River in the early part of the month, many wanton acts of destruction of private property and many depredations were committed by the troops under your command. Negroes were forcibly abducted from their owners, many isolated houses in the village of Hamilton and Williamston were wilfully burned; parlors of private residences were used for stables; family carriages were taken to your camps, abandoned and destroyed; bedding was carried into the streets and burned, doors and windows broken, women were insulted by your soldiers, and robbed of all the money and valuables on their persons, and all their clothing and that of their children, except what they had on, was cast into the fire, or torn to pieces. In general terms, your soldiers committed many robberies, and practiced a wanton and malicious destruction of private property.
Having been over a portion of your line of march, and examined these evidences of destruction, I reported them to my Government, and
I am instructed to address you and inform you, that such outrages are considered as forfeiting the right of yourself and officers to be treated as prisoners of war, and to inquire of you, whether these outrages were committed with your knowledge and sanction.
The action to be taken in the case will depend on the answer you may make, and if no answer be returned in ten days after the delivery of this letter, it will be considered by the Government that you admit and hold yourself responsible for the acts charged.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, S. G. French, Major-General Commanding.
Headquarters, Department of North Carolina, New Berne, December 4, 1862.
Major-General S. G. French, Commanding Department of North Carolina Petersburg, Va.
Your favor of November 27th I have the honor to acknowledge. I had previously received word from General Martin on the same subject, and as my answer to him covers most of the ground in yours, I beg leave to enclose a copy.
I beg to say in relation to postscript of your letter, that not a negro, to the best of my belief, was forcibly abducted from his owner, and, indeed I only suffered those to follow me who insisted upon so doing.
There were fifteen houses (says General Martin) burned at Hamilton; the fact I deplore. At Williamston, two were burned from the defect in the flue of the chimney, as shown by investigation, and one small house pulled down to prevent the spread of fire. Members of my staff were in each house and none of them saw horses in the parlors, though in one or two instances on piazzas. Family carriages (not over three) may have been taken to transport sick men, not to destroy or abandon.
That houses of peaceful citizens with the families in occupancy were entered, women and children insulted and robbed, I do not believe, as the Provost Marshal heard nothing of the kind so gross as you report. In respect to that part of your letter as to the treatment of any officers not as prisoners of war, I would say, that if after my letter your Government proposes to act on that principle, I beg that you will have me informed for the regulation of my own course.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant, J. G. Foster, Major-General Commanding.
Richmond, Va., December 10, 1862.
Respectfully forwarded for the information of the War Department.
G. W. Smith, Major-General.
Headquarters, Department of North Carolina, New Berne, N. C., December 4, 1862.
Brigadier-General J. G. Martin, Commanding.
Your letter of November 25th inclosing an extract from the Boston Traveller describing the alleged depredations of the Army under my command in their late march up the country, I have received. In reply to your request to know whether these things were done by my order, I have to state that draught animals, and in some cases, carriages to be used as ambulances, beeves and pigs to subsist my men when short of provisions, and forage to subsist cavalry, were taken by my order.
Every other depredation was not only not done by my orders, but against them, and against the strongest efforts to prevent them. On the march we found all the towns almost entirely abandoned by their inhabitants, the houses, in some cases, cleared of their furniture, in others, partly so, and in some, not at all. I quartered my troops in the abandoned houses only. The principal cause of the depredations which I know were committed, was, I think, that so many houses contained apple brandy and which escaped the eye of the Provost Marshal. I trust sincerely, that in the future marches in this State you will be pleased to find a marked improvement, in all these respects, and I earnestly recommend that you urge all peaceable citizens to remain on their estates, as that course will aid me greatly in protecting their property.
I have the honor to remain, General, your obedient servant, J. G. Foster, Major-General Commanding.
Headquarters, Department of North Carolina.
Petersburg, Va., December 13, 1862.
Major-General J. G. Foster, Commanding United States Army, New Berne, N. C.
Your letter of the 4th inst. inclosing a copy of one addressed by you to General J. G. Martin has been received. War, even when conducted
by the acknowledged rules of Christian nations, inflicts so many evils on society, that they should not be increased by the lawless acts of soldiers. It affords me much gratification to learn that the acts of depredation referred to in my letter, were not only not done by your orders, but against them and against your strongest efforts to prevent them, and it is to be hoped no future cause for complaints will be given by your forces.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. G. French, Major-General Commanding.
Headquarters, 18th Army Corps, New Berne, N. C., December 27, 1862.
Major-General S. G. French, Commanding Department of North Carolina, Petersburg, Va.
Your favor of the 13th inst., received to-day. I most fully agree with you that war is most horrible in the misery and ruin it must cause, even when waged according to the acknowledged rules of Christian nations and therefore beg to call your attention to, and ask if it was by your approval, that in the recent attack on Plymouth, many houses and other buildings were fired, and to that extent families ruined and made homeless; that only want of time prevented other damage being done. I would also call your attention to the case of Mrs. Philips, who was shot dead by a Confederate soldier. On occupying the town of Kinston recently, the streets were found in many cases full of burning cotton, naval stores, etc., a destruction of property, which I do not know your approval or disapproval of. The effect was that one house was set on fire, and that it was only by the greatest efforts of officers and soldiers that a large portion of the town was saved from destruction. Trusting that by our united efforts the war within our Department may be robbed of some of its horrors, I am General, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
J. G. Foster, Major-General Commanding.
December 10, 1862. General Foster reported to General Halleck as follows, viz:
Headquarters Department of North Carolina, Kinston, N. C., December 14, 1862.
I have the honor to inform you that I left New Berne for this place on the 11th, but, owing to the bad roads and consequent delays to train, etc., I did not reach South West Creek (five miles from this town), till the afternoon of the 13th. The enemy were posted there, but by a heavy artillery fire in front, and vigorous infantry attack in either flank, I succeeded in forcing a passage and without much loss. This morning I advanced on this town and found the enemy strongly posted at a defile through a marsh bordering a creek. The position was so well chosen that very little of our artillery could be brought in play. The main attack, therefore, was made by the infantry assisted by a few guns pushed forward on the roads. We succeeded after five hours’ hard fight in driving the enemy from their position. We followed them rapidly to the river; the bridge over the Neuse at this point was prepared for firing, and was fired in six places, but we were so close behind them that we saved the bridge.
The enemy retreated precipitately by the Goldsboro Road. Their force was about six thousand men with twenty pieces of artillery. The result is, we have taken Kinston, captured eleven pieces of artillery, taken four or five hundred prisoners and found a large amount of quartermaster's and commissary stores. Our loss will not probably exceed two hundred killed and wounded. I march tomorrow at daylight on Goldsboro. From that point I return to New Berne, whence I will make a more detailed report.
I am, General, with great respect,
Your obedient servant,
J. G. Foster Major-General Commanding.
To Major-General H. W. Halleck.
Headquarters Department of North Carolina, New Berne, N. C., December 29, 1862.
Referring to my letters of December 10th, 14th and 20th, I have the honor to report that I left this town at 8 A. M. of the 11th, with the following forces, viz:
General Wessell's Brigade of General Peck's Division (kindly loaned me), Colonel Amory's Brigade, Colonel Stevenson's Brigade, Colonel Lee's Brigade, in all about ten thousand infantry; six batteries, Third
New York Artillery, thirty guns; Belger's Battery, First Rhode Island Artillery, six guns; section of Twenty-Fourth New York Independent Battery, two guns; section of Twenty-Third New York Independent Battery, two guns; total forty guns. The Third New York Cavalry, 640 men.
We marched on the first day on the Kinston Road about fourteen miles, when finding the road obstructed by felled trees, for half a mile and over, I bivouacked for the night, and had the obstructions removed during the night by the pioneers.
I pushed on the next morning at daylight. My cavalry advance encountered the enemy when about four miles from the bivouac of the previous night, and after a sharp, but brief skirmish, the enemy were routed with some loss. On arriving at the Vine Swamp Roads, I ordered Captain Hall with three companies of cavalry to push on, up the main Kinston road as a demonstration, while the main column proceeded by the Vine Swamp Road to the left, thereby avoiding the obstructions, and the enemy on the main road. Captain Hall encountered the enemy in some force, but after a severe fight whipped them, taking eighteen prisoners and killing a number of the enemy.
The march of the main column was somewhat delayed by the bridge over Beaver Creek having been destroyed. This was rebuilt and I pushed on, leaving a regiment, Fifty-First Massachusetts, and a section of artillery, the Twenty-Third New York, at the bridge to hold it, and to protect the intersection of the main road, and the road I was on, to support Captain Hall, and to prevent any force driving him back and occupying the cross-roads in the rear. The main column pushed on about four miles and bivouacked for the night. There was cavalry skirmishing during the day. On Saturday, the 13th, we again started, leaving the second main road, the one I was on, to the right, and leaving at this intersection the Forty-Sixth Massachusetts and one section of artillery, the Twenty-Fourth New York, to hold the position and feint on the second main road. We reached South West Creek, the bridge over which was destroyed, and the enemy posted on the opposite bank some four hundred strong, with three pieces of artillery.
The Creek was not fordable, and ran at the foot of a deep ravine, making a very bad position for us. I ordered a battery in as good a position as could be obtained, and under their fire, the Ninth New Jersey, which had the advance, pushed gallantly across the creek by swimming, by fragments of the bridge, and by a mill dam, and formed on the opposite bank. At the same time the Eighty-Fifth Pennsylvania of General Wessell's Brigade, forced a passage by the felling of trees, and fording about half a mile below the bridge, and engaged the enemy's left, who thereupon retired and deserted his breastworks. I had ordered the Twenty-Third Massachusetts of Colonel Amory's
Brigade, to cross at the mill to support the Ninth New Jersey, and also crossed the remainder of General Wessell's Brigade.
Colonel Hickman, with the Ninth New Jersey, advanced and was fired upon when about one mile from the creek, with cannister and musketry. The regiment charged at double quick, drove the enemy, took some prisoners, and captured a six pounder gun, caisson, etc., complete. General Wessell's Brigade bivouacked on the further side of the creek, with the Ninth in the advance. The balance of the command with the artillery remained on this side of the creek. The Ninth New Jersey, Company K, Third New York Cavalry, and Morrison's Battery, Third New York Artillery, had quite a skirmish with the enemy, but drove him, and encamped for the night. From the south side of the creek, I sent a company of cavalry to strike and proceed up the Kinston Road No. 2 (I was on No. 3.) The company proceeded on the road toward Kinston and found the enemy posted by a bridge which was prepared to be destroyed. The company charged them and they retired with some loss, destroying the bridge. The enemy's force at this place was estimated at one regiment, and four pieces of artillery. Major Garrard with three companies of cavalry and one gun in section of Allis’ section of artillery, proceeded on a reconnoisance on a road leading to Whitehall. After following the road about ten miles and having met with no opposition they rejoined the main column. Sunday, the 14th inst., I advanced the column, and when about one mile from Kinston, encountered the enemy in strong force. They were posted in strong position in the wood, taking advantage of the ground which formed a natural breastwork. Their position was secured in their right by a deep swamp, and their left was partially protected by the river. The Ninth New Jersey was deployed as skirmishers and General Wessell's Brigade with Morrison's Battery, Third New York Artillery, was ordered to advance to the right and left of the road, the battery being sent to our extreme right, supported by one of General Wessell's regiments. Colonel Amory's Brigade was then advanced, the Seventeenth Massachusetts Volunteers being sent to support Colonel Hickman on the right, and two regiments, the Twenty-Third and the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts regiments, advanced up the road. My artillery, three batteries, I posted on a large field, on the right of the road, and about three-fourths of a mile in rear of our line of attack, the only position they could be placed in. I then ordered Colonel Stevenson's Brigade, with Belger's Rhode Island Battery, forward. The Twenty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment supported this battery, and the Fifth Rhode Island, Tenth Connecticut and Forty-Fourth Massachusetts were ordered forward, the two former on the left of the road, and the latter on the right, to support the regiments there, in pushing the enemy and turning that flank.
The Tenth Connecticut advanced steadily to the extreme front, relieving
two of General Wessell's brigade, which were short of ammunition, and after receiving a terrible fire for twenty minutes, made a most gallant charge in conjunction with the Ninety-Sixth Regiment, New York Volunteers of General Wessell's Brigade, which with the advance already made (slowly but surely) of the entire line, forced the enemy to retreat precipitately for the bridge over the Neuse which they crossed, firing the bridge, which had been prepared for that purpose. Several regiments were so close, however, that about four hundred prisoners were taken from the enemy. One line was formed to the river and the fire extinguished before great damage was done.
The Ninth New Jersey and the Seventeenth Massachusetts Regiments and General Wessell's Brigade were at once crossed, pushed into the town and halted. I ordered the bridge to be at once repaired for the crossing of cavalry and artillery. General Evans retired about two miles from town with his command, and formed line of battle.
I sent a flag of truce to inquire whether he proposed to surrender. He declined. I immediately prepared to attack him, but knowing that he had three light batteries, and one section to start with, was unwilling to sacrifice my men, and waited for my artillery to cross. I ordered Batteries E and Third New York Artillery to shell the enemy with their twenty pounders (four in number) from the opposite bank, and crossed Colonel Amory's Brigade with all despatch, but before I could attack the enemy they had retired, and it being night by this time, I was unable to pursue, moreover my object was not accomplished.
The troops bivouacked in the field beyond the town that night, a provost guard was established for the protection of the town and all necessary precautions were taken. I sent Captain Cole, Company K, Third New York Regiment of Cavalry down the east bank of the Neuse to a work commanding the river. He reported it deserted with six guns in position, and the work to be of great strength.
I sent the Company back with teams to bring up the guns and blow up the magazine. Captain Cole being unable to remove the two heavy guns, one inch columbiad and one thirty-two pounder, destroyed them, and brought four field pieces complete. These with two others deserted by the enemy and one taken by the Ninth New Jersey, I sent to New Berne. under escort of Captain Cole's Company K, Third New York Cavalry.
I am, General, with great respect, Your obedient servant, J. G. Foster, Major-General Commanding.
General Orders No. 81.
Headquarters Department of North Carolina, New Berne, December 26, 1862.
The Commanding General desires to thank the troops under his command for the new proof of their courage and steadiness afforded by the recent expedition. The Veteran Brigade of General Wessells and the troops of this department alike, did their duty as soldiers, well.
By order of Major-General J. G. Foster.
Southard Hoffman, Assistant Adjutant General.
General Orders No. 18.
Headquarters Eighteenth Army Corps, New Berne, January 15, 1863.
In consideration of, and as a reward for their brave deeds at Kinston, Whitehall and Goldsboro, the Commanding General directs that the regiments and batteries, which accompanied the expedition to Goldsboro inscribe on their banners those three victories.
Kinston, December 14, 1862.
Whitehall, December 16, 1862.
Goldsboro, December 17, 1862.
The Commanding General hopes that all future fields will be so fought, that the record of them may be kept by inscription on the banners of the regiments engaged.
By command of Major-General J. G. Foster.
Southard Hoffman, Assistant Adjutant General.
Officers killed:—Captain Henry A. Wells, Lieutenants William W. Perkins, Theron D. Hill, Tenth Connecticut, and Colonel Charles O. Gray, Ninety-Sixth New York, at Kinston, December 14, 1862.
Officers mortally wounded:—Lieutenants John C. Coffin and John M. Simms of the Tenth Connecticut.
The foregoing list of casualties embraces the losses on skirmishes in the Kinston Road, December 11th and 12th, skirmishes at South West Creek, December 13-14, engagements at Kinston, December 14th, at White Hall, December 16th, skirmish at Thompson's bridge and engagement at Goldsboro Bridge, December 17th.
Report of Colonel Thomas J. C. Amory, Seventeenth Massachusetts Infantry, Commanding First Brigade, First Division of Engagements at Kinston, White Hall and Goldsboro Bridge, December 14, 16, and 17.
Headquarters First Brigade, First Division.
Department of North Carolina, New Berne, Dec. 21, 1862.
I have the honor to submit the following report of the part taken by the brigade under my command in the several actions of the 14th, 16th and 17th inst. The First Brigade, consisting of the Seventeenth, Twenty-Third, Forty-Third, Forty-Fifth and Fifty-First Massachusetts Regiments (the last three being nine months’ volunteers), marched from New Berne with the army under Major General Foster on the morning of the 11th inst.
The brigade numbered at this time nearly thirty-five hundred men. Of these, about one hundred were sent back on our second day out, being mostly convalescents from the hospitals who were found unfitted to continue the march. On our arrival at South West Creek on the 13th, I was ordered to form my brigade into two lines on the left of the road, detaching one regiment to line the bend of the Creek, the passage of which was disputed by the enemy.
I sent forward the Twenty-Third Massachusetts, which crossed at the mill dam, the bridge having been destroyed; this regiment remained on the opposite bank, and rejoined my command on the march the next morning. The Fifty-first Massachusetts had previously been detached with orders to remain at Beaver Creek guarding our rear; this regiment joined my command in the evening of the 14th.
On approaching the battlefield of Kinston on the morning of the 14th, by order of the Commanding General, I detached the Twenty-Third and Forty-Third Massachusetts to the right and left of the road respectively, in support of batteries.
The Seventeenth was sent to the extreme right to support Colonel Hickman, Ninth New Jersey in advance. While superintending that movement on the right, the Twenty-Third and Forty-Fifth were ordered forward in the centre, and opened fire in the wood, gradually advancing, as did the entire line, driving the enemy to the bridge. On the right I posted the Forty-Third to cut off the forces of the enemy on the river road from the bridge and a portion of these, some sixty in number, shortly after surrendered to Major Chambers, Twenty-Third Massachusetts. In this action the Forty-Fifth suffered most severely, as indicated by their return of killed and wounded, hereto annexed, together with the reports of regimental commanders, to which I beg leave to refer for particulars.
The different regiments of my brigade were, during most of the actions, scattered through the wood, or separated in support of batteries. All who came under my observation conducted themselves with commendable steadiness and gallantry.
Report of Colonel Charles R. Codman, Forty-Fifth Massachusetts Infantry, of Engagements at Kinston and White Hall, December 14th and 16th.
Headquarters Forty-Fifth Massachusetts Militia.
December 22, 1862.
I have the honor to report that eight companies of this regiment (two being on detached service) were engaged in two actions during the late expedition into the interior of North Carolina.
On the 14th inst., the regiment being on the march towards Kinston, I received orders from Major Haffman, chief of the staff of the Commanding General, to advance into the wood on the south side of the Neuse River to support the troops of Wessell's Brigade, then engaged and said to be hard pressed. I was directed to act under General Wessell's orders. In compliance with this order, the regiment proceeded along the road until directed by General Wessells to file to the right, when it proceeded to enter a wood, which, as afterwards appeared, was exposed to a cross fire from the enemy.
Upon entering the wood the regiment opened fire upon the enemy, who were found to be in my front and whose fire, for a time, was very sharp. The regiment continued to advance, occasionally lying down to rest, and to avoid the enemy's fire, when hottest, and finding after penetrating the wood, that the enemy had fled. I should add that the Tenth Connecticut Regiment, during one of those periods, when this regiment was engaged, advanced gallantly through the wood to its assistance and both regiments penetrated the wood at nearly the same time.
The conduct of the troops was excellent throughout. The action continued for more than an hour, during which time the regiment suffered the loss of one Corporal, and twelve men killed, or who have died of their wounds, and one Sergeant, five Corporals and thirty-eight privates wounded. On the 16th, in the battle near Whitehall, this regiment was ordered by Colonel Amory, commanding the brigade, to form upon the Whitehall Road, to act as circumstances might require. By further orders from Colonel Amory, the men were directed to lie down. The regiment did not move from this place during the action except to take position a few feet in rear of the road, but, nevertheless, met with some casualties, sustaining the loss of one Sergeant, and three privates wounded. The conduct of the men in this instance was also admirable.
I beg to add that, from the statements of prisoners, and from other circumstances, I am satisfied that in the Battle of Kinston it was the fire of this regiment that first made untenable the position of the enemy upon the road on the south side of the Neuse River. The present effective state of the eight companies now in camp at New Berne is twenty-nine officers and 582 men, a total of thirty-three officers and 763 men.
I have the honor to be, respectfully, Charles R. Codman, Colonel Commanding Forty-Fifth Massachusetts Militia.
Lieut. E. T Parkinson, A. A. A. G., First Brigade, Department of North Carolina.
Report of Brigadier-General Henry W. Wessells, United States Army, Commanding Third Brigade, General Peck's Division of Operations, December 5-21, 1862.
No serious obstacles were interposed by the enemy until arriving at South West Branch, six miles from the town of Kinston, where it was found that the main road crossing the creek was well watched and strongly guarded both by artillery and infantry. A skilful feint having been made toward this point, the main body moved by an upper road crossing the creek, about half a mile below on a mill dam. The bridge was found to be partially destroyed, and the enemy covering it with two guns and a force of infantry. This position was at once reconnoitered by the Ninth New Jersey Volunteers with their usual intrepidity, and a crossing was effected by the mill, threatening the enemy's right. At the same time by direction of the Commanding General, I detached the Eighty-Fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Howell, with orders to force a passage below the bridge, by felling trees, or fording and engage him on the right. This difficult duty was handsomely performed. Howell's skirmishers, led by Captains Hooker and Phillips, pushed boldly through the swamp, engaged the enemy's battery under a shower of grape, and by a well directed fire of musketry, drove the cannoneers from the ground, and Hickman's advance appearing simultaneously from the left, the enemy fled, leaving one of his guns in our possession. The brigade in the meantime crossed at the mill, and being joined by the Twenty-Third Massachusetts Volunteers, moved forward about three miles and bivouacked for the night, the Ninth New Jersey Volunteers with Morrison's Battery, taking up a position about one mile in advance. On the following day, December 14th, the line of march was resumed at an early hour, and in the usual order. Colonel Hickman's skirmishers were soon engaged with the enemy's outposts, and to support
him, I directed the Eighty-Fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers to move through the wood on the left of the road, with a view to act against the enemy's right. A section of Morrison's Battery was also ordered forward, supported by the One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel Maxwell, with directions to take a suitable position and open fire. The Eighty-Fifth New York, Lieutenant-Colonel Wellman, was then thrown forward and to the right of the road, with instructions to engage the enemy on the flank, and press him vigorously toward the left. This regiment was soon followed by the One Hundred and First Pennsylvania Volunteers, Colonel Gray, with similar orders. In the meantime being informed that a portion of the Ninth New Jersey Volunteers were failing in ammunition, I directed the Ninety-Second New York Volunteers, Colonel Hunt, to move down the road and relieve or support Colonel Hickman, as circumstances might require. All these movements were executed by the several regiments with alacrity and precision deserving the highest praise. My whole brigade was now in position before the enemy's line; the fire was heavy and almost incessant; the wounded were being rapidly brought to the rear, and the enemy concealed by the wood, and posted behind an almost impassable swamp, maintained his position with stubborn obstinacy. All this time and on my application to the Major-General Commanding, I was reinforced in succession by the Seventeenth, Twenty-Third and Forty-Fifth Massachusetts Volunteers. These fine regiments took their positions with the coolness and precision of veterans, and the whole line was directed to advance and push the enemy at everypoint. The Major General Commanding, having arrived on the ground made further disposition of the troops, and conducted the affair to a rapid and successful termination.
Under my orders to advance, the whole brigade supported on the left by other regiments, moved gradually forward, covering towards the enemy's line of retreat, driving him from the church and throwing him back toward the bridge, over which the main body escaped, leaving several hundred prisoners in our hands.
The retreat of the enemy was closely followed by the Eighty-Fifth and One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania Volunteers on the left (the latter suffering severely in crossing the open field) while the Ninety-Sixth and Eighty-Fifth New York and the One Hundred and First Pennsylvania Volunteers charged from the right. The Ninety-Second New York moved along the road in support of the battery. The bridge was fired in several places by the enemy, and exposed to a destructive fire of artillery and musketry from the opposite bank, but every regiment including those from other brigades, seemed to vie with each other in emulation and pressed forward with unflinching determination. That gallant officer, Colonel Gray, Ninety-Sixth New York Volunteers, with his face
to the foe, and the colors of his regiment first on the bridge, fell mortally wounded in the hour of victory.
The flames were extinguished without serious injury to the bridge, and my brigade being formed on the opposite bank of the river continued its march through the village of Kinston and bivouacked for the night on the Goldsboro road.
Report of Lieutenant Colonel Wilson C. Maxwell, One Hundred and Third Regiment, Pennsylvania Infantry, of Engagement at Kinston, December 14, 1862.
Headquarters, One Hundred and Third Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Camp near New Berne, N. C., December 25, 1862.
I have the honor to report the action of the One Hundred and Third Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers in the engagement at Kinston, Sunday, December 14th at 9.40 A. M. I was ordered to move my regiment forward as a support to one section of Morrison's Battery, having the right wing rest on the right, and the left wing on the left of said section, with orders to direct our movement with the battery. After advancing gradually for over fifty rods with said battery we halted, when the Ninety-Second New York Volunteers moved past us, and filed off in front of the right wing of the One Hundred and Third. After remaining not more than one hour in advance they fell back across the right wing and re-formed their line in our rear At this time Captain Stewart, Assistant Adjutant General, came up and ordered me to move my regiment forward through a swamp of thick undergrowth and water from one to two feet deep and about twenty rods wide. Immediately after crossing said swamp we received a volley of musketry from the enemy's line, which we then learned, was but a few rods in our advance. We delivered a volley, lay down under cover of a small knoll, reloaded and fixed bayonets, rose, delivered another volley, and charged up over the bank. At this time an order from the Eighty-Fifth Pennsylvania, which was moving up in rear of the left wing, demanded us to cease firing into our own men. The enemy's fire in front of our left, was immediately directed on our right, making a connection with the fire from our strong line in front, a heavy cross fire, also we were in danger of a fire in the rear from the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts whose line was immediately in rear of our right wing. Under this combined fire, I gave the order to lie down and from this position we again rose, charged after the enemy some twenty rods, when the fire was completely silenced.
We were then ordered to halt and await the arrival of the battery. During this time the Ninety-Sixth New York moved the flank from our right and reached the bridge. From the time we first formed our line as a support to the battery, until we reached the bridge was from 9.40 A. M. to 2 P. M. Our loss during this time, out of four hundred and thirty actually engaged, was fourteen killed and fifty-eight wounded, some of the latter, mortally. During the whole of this time, all of the officers and men of the regiment behaved in an exemplary manner, showing entire coolness. I will mention that when we made our first charge the Tenth Connecticut overlapped our extreme right, two companies from the second charge, we moved past their line, passing their left. Accompanying this, you will find a complete list of the killed and wounded made from the Surgeon's report.
I have the honor to be, sir, respectfully, Your obedient servant, W. C. Maxwell.
Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania Volunteers.
To Captain Andrew Stewart, Assistant Adjutant General, Third Brigade, Peck's Division.
Report of Lieutenant-Colonel Horace A. Manchester, First New York Marine Artillery, of Naval Operations on the Neuse River, December 12-15.
Headquarters, Marine Artillery. New Berne, N. C., December 16, 1862.
In accordance with your instructions, on the 12th inst., after waiting until 4 P. M. at Willis Landing, and learning that your boats could not reach me for want of water, I proceeded on the Steamer Allison, accompanied by the Steamers Ocean Wave, Port Royal, Wilson and North State to ascend the Neuse River on a reconnoissance toward Kinston. At dusk I anchored in the neighborhood of Lee's Landing, about twenty miles from New Berne by the river, making all disposition for defence in case of attack. At daylight on the 13th, got under way and with much difficulty and labor, worked our way up to within two miles of Kinston, meeting with but slight opposition from the guerillas on shore, by whose fire, one man of the Allison's crew was seriously wounded. About two miles from Kinston upon a turn in the river, we suddenly found our boats in face of a 10-gun battery and penned up within the banks of the river about one hundred feet wide.
I immediately ordered the Port Royal, Ocean Wave and Wilson to retire, the North State now having arrived, and interposed the Allison between the battery which had opened fire and the boats. The boats had to be backed down, as the river would not admit their turning, and it took twenty or thirty minutes.
We replied to the enemy's fire with one Parrott gun, the first fire being within cannister range. These shells were exploded within the batteries with apparent effect, as the enemy ceased their fire for sometime after. It was sunset when the firing commenced and it became dark so soon that I was scarcely able to get the boats under the protection of the trees, before we were left to grope in total darkness. The enemy's shell exploded over and around us, with but little damage. The Allison received three shots, one taking off the top of the pilot house; the next passing through the roof and through the smoke stack, and the third, cutting away some fender and light work. Our boats were moved in double line, hay, beef, bread, etc., being packed along the sides. The guns were put into battery on the decks, and bags of oats spread over the decks. In this position we waited until morning in expectation of the enemy's appearance. Several attempts were made to reconnoitre our position in the early morning, which were promptly defeated by the sentinel's fire. A reconnoisance was made on theirs by Lieutenant Doane, but little information gained. Soon after taking up our position for the night, we heard heavy firing a few miles to the westward of us, which continued about an hour. At daylight the next morning, upon examination, I found the largest boat on the bottom and that the water had fallen during the night over nineteen inches. I immediately ordered a lighter boat to hitch on to the Ocean Wave and drag her off, and then drop down the river to deeper water. This was a slow operation, as we had to go stern foremost and our boats often grounded. The forenoon was consumed in getting five miles. Here we found the North State, and learned that a force of the enemy was about three miles below to dispute our passage down. We turned all our boats but the Ocean Wave, and dropped down, two miles farther, when we succeeded in turning her. The North State was sent forward to find the enemy's position, the others following, to shell them out. About a mile from an old dam, at a turn where the water was swift, we found the first party, after one of their number had been tumbled into the water by a shot. Occasional firing was kept up by the enemy for five miles, when we came upon a party lodged behind a log house. They stood but one fire from our Parrotts and ran, leaving, as we learned, several of their number killed and wounded. Here we learned from a contraband that a party of seventy had crossed early that morning to obstruct the river at Oldfield Bank Landing, and that, by the addition of others, we might expect to meet one hundred and forty men there.
We proceeded at once to the place, the enemy keeping up an occasional shot at us. Here we found them in possession of both sides of the river and occupying the turn, so as to fire in the stern of our boats. They opened on the Ocean Wave, with a volley, which was returned with interest, and the other boats seeing their position for the fire, opened with grape and cannister with such effect that the last boat coming up could find no one to fire at. The boats after a brief delay passed on to Street's Ferry, where meeting the boats of the Navy, reported to you. In the last fight, Edwin J. Perkins of Artillery was killed, another of that regiment, and a member of the Signal Corps were seriously wounded. Our loss was one killed, and three seriously and several slightly wounded. Of the enemy, one was shot from the bridge and fell into the water, and two were blown to pieces on the bank. At the log house, thirty men are said to have been in it, when two 30-pounder Parrotts loaded with cannister were fired through it at a distance of two hundred feet, and at the Oldfield Bank, the fire of the Ocean Wave, North State and Port Royal was direct and within four hundred feet of the enemy. The Ocean Wave and Allison are somewhat disabled, both by shot and contact with trees; the North State has lost her rudder. The other boats are in good order for use.
Respectfully, H. A. Manchester, Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding, Marine Artillery.
Commander A. Murray, U. S. Navy.CONFEDERATE REPORTS.
Report of Major-General Gustavus W. Smith, C. S. Army, Commanding Department of North Carolina and Southern Virginia, of Operations, December 13-18, 1862.
Petersburg, Va, December 13, 1862.
“The force of Suffolk is believed to be still strong and threatening. Evans has been fighting all day in advance of Kinston, principally artillery. We were retiring slowly and at night the enemy were near the bridge at Kinston. Evans called for reinforcements. One regiment started from here at 8 o'clock, and one more will start at 6 o'clock in the morning from this place, and one from the Blackwater. I will probably not leave this place.
Is there anything from Fredericksburg?
G. W Smith Major-General.
Hon. James A. Selden, Secretary of War.
Goldsboro, N. C., December 15, 1862.
I arrived here at 3 P M. The telegraph with General Evans is cut off. By latest information he was at Falling Creek, six miles this side of Kinston. Enemy now estimated at thirty thousand, and scouts report reinforcements constantly arriving from New Berne. Governor Vance is here. He tells me that all accounts agree in stating that our troops behaved admirably in the engagement yesterday.
G. W. Smith Major-General.
Hon. James A. Selden, Secretary of War.
Hon. James A. Selden, Secretary of War.
P. S. A good many of Evans’ troops were cut off, and are now coming straggling in across the river. The heavy guns in the battery at the obstructions below Kinston had to be abandoned when General Evans fell back. They had previously beaten back the gunboats. The two hundred men composing the garrison with the field battery, retired toward the North and arrived here with their pieces last night. General Evans has not furnished me with an estimate of his losses.
Reports of Brigadier-General Nathan G. Evans, C. S. Army, Commanding Brigade of Operations, December, 13-17.
Kinston, N. C., December 14, 1862.
General Foster attacked Kinston yesterday with fifteen thousand men and nine gunboats. I fought him ten hours. Have driven back his gunboats. His army is still in my front. I have only four regiments and will await his attack this morning. I think I can hold my position.
N. G. Evans, Brigadier-General.
General S. Cooper.
Headquarters, Evans’ Brigade.
Near Goldsboro, N. C., December 20, 1862.
I have the honor to submit the following report of the action of the troops under my command in the recent engagements near Kinston, White Hall, and the railroad bridge near this place.
On Saturday, the 13th inst., the enemy approached Kinston in considerable
force, and attacked the line of our forces under the immediate command of Colonel James D. Radcliffe, North Carolina troops, who had taken position in the west side of Southwest Creek. At 10 o'clock I arrived on the ground and assumed command, and ordered Colonel Radcliffe to take command of the left wing, at the crossing of the upper Trent road. The enemy was then attacked at Hines’ Mills, while he attempted to cross the creek. After a sharp engagement of an hour I fell back toward the Neuse River, keeping line of battle, and arresting his approach about two miles from Kinston bridge. He then attacked in considerable force, but retired after an engagement of ten hours. I rested on my arms that night in this position, the enemy ceasing fire after nightfall.
“On the morning of the 14th (Sunday) being informed by Colonel Radcliffe that the enemy was approaching his position, I directed him to open fire, while I would attack his left. I ordered an immediate advance, and soon became engaged with my whole line, with the enemy in heavy force, supposed to be about twenty thousand men.
The action lasted three hours, when ascertaining his greatly superior force, I retired with my command across the Neuse Bridge, when the enemy pursued with heavy fire, stormed the bridge, and drove me back to the town of Kinston, capturing about four hundred, including a number of sick prisoners. Reforming my line with the additional reinforcements of Colonel S. H. Rogers, Forty-Seventh Regiment North Carolina troops, in a commanding position in the rear of the town, I again awaited the attack. About 3 P. M. Major-General Foster sent his staff officer, Colonel Potter, to summon us to surrender, which I promptly declined. In an hour he commenced shelling the town, but hesitated to renew his direct attack. Taking advantage of my position I retired in column to Falling Creek, where the Major-General Commanding had forwarded me additional reinforcements. At this point, a very strong position, I encamped for the night.
Report of Colonel Peter Mallett, North Carolina Battalion, of Engagement at Kinston, December 14, 1862.
Fayetteville, N. C., February 20, 1863.
Confinement to my bed for the last two months will, I trust, be sufficient apology for the delay in reporting to you the part taken by my command in the battle at Kinston, Sunday, December 14th, 1862. I arrived at Kinston by railroad, Sunday morning at 7 o'clock and immediately reported to, and was ordered by you to take position with my
battalion, consisting of eighteen officers and men in rifle pits on the bank of Neuse River to support a South Carolina Battery commanding the county bridge.
At 8.30 we were in position, and in a few moments musketry firing commenced on the left of the line of battle, which was formed on the west bank of the river, and at 9 o'clock the first gun was fired by the artillery.
At 9.15 I received an order through one of your aids to march at double quick across the bridge. You ordered me to take my command through the field on the right of the White Hall road, and engage the enemy. We passed through the field, under a fire of shell from the enemy (losing one man) to the distance of a quarter of a mile, to a fence on the edge of a swamp, on the other side of which the enemy appeared to be in force. Here we engaged the enemy for some time, but the principal point of attack appeared to be the church, known as Harnet's Chapel, on my left where was stationed a section of Starr's battery, supported by the Sixty-First Regiment North Carolina troops under Colonel Radcliffe.
At length the firing upon my part of the line ceased almost entirely. Being anxious to charge the enemy and drive him back, I sent Lieutenant Little to the section of artillery on my left, to ascertain the real position of the enemy, and of our forces, it being impossible to charge through the swamp in my front. About the time of Lieutenant Little's return (without any accurate information) I received by courier a written order from you as follows, “Colonel, Let me know if the enemy are in your front. If not, join me at the bridge.”
At this time there being no indication of the enemy in front, I drew off in good order, and returned to the bridge, but to my surprise you were absent, leaving no order, or instructions for me. Observing that the South Carolina battery commanding the bridge, had been removed, and the bridge apparently deserted, I considered you were waiting for me on the east side, and retreating toward Kinston, I proceeded across the bridge. In a few moments, after crossing, I was met by an officer of your staff with orders to go back.
This order I promptly obeyed, marching again at a double quick through the same field to my former position under the enemy's artillery, and was almost immediately hotly engaged with his infantry. In about an hour I was with eighty to one hundred men from the Sixty-First North Carolina, Lieutenant-Colonel W. S. Evans, commanding, who took position on my right. The enemy made a vigorous charge at this time on my left and was as vigorously repulsed. Old veterans would not have met the foe with more coolness and determination than these newly tried men. He appeared determined to force his way through my lines. At the church I ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Devane
to reinforce my left. He took his position promptly and did good service, and I here take pleasure in testifying to his coolness and undoubted bravery.
With his assistance, and the company of my right flank, commanded by Lieutenant MacRae, also ordered to the left, we held the enemy in check for some time. My ammunition now began to fail, and after sending repeatedly to the rear, could not be replenished. Apprehending an attempt to turn my right, Captain MacRae acting as my lieutenant-colonel, was directed to observe closely and give me immediate notice of any advance in that direction. He reported the enemy in force, but no attempt was made to flank me, owing, I suppose, to the impenetrable swamp between us.
At this time having held the enemy in check for about three hours, looking in vain for reinforcements, the section of artillery near the church retired, I since have learned, for want of ammunition.
Immediately after, Lieutenant-Colonel Devane sent us word that the enemy was flanking us on the left, and withdrew his men toward the bridge. Finding myself alone, and the enemy pressing upon us, I ordered a retreat, which was made in good order, the men continuing their fire with effect. At the bridge I intended to make another stand, but on approaching it found it on fire, and crowded with men endeavoring to cross. A panic ensued The enemy pressed upon us from two directions at double quick in large force, and the bridge, the only means of escape. While endeavoring to keep the men back, fearing the bridge would fall every moment, I was wounded in the leg and obliged to relinquish the command to Captain MacRae whose self-possession and bravery should not be left unnoticed.
Being under a heavy cross fire, from an overwhelming force, my men and ammunition exhausted, and the bridge impassable, I advised Captain MacRae to surrender. The enemy now directed his fire upon the retreating troops on the Kinston side. The enemy's force was between twenty thousand and twenty-five thousand men, with seventy-two pieces of artillery. General Foster admitted to me that we had repulsed three of his veteran regiments with a loss of one hundred men, since ascertained to be about two hundred and fifty.
I regret to report the loss of two of my best officers, who fell at the close of the engagement, Lieutenant J. J. Reid, commanding Company A, fell by my side near the bridge, and Lieutenant J. H. Hill, commanding Company C, while retreating on the Kinston side. Both led their companies gallantly through the entire engagement. Braver or more gallant young men never drew a sword. Our loss was seven killed, twenty-two wounded, eight missing, and one hundred seventy-five taken prisoners. After diligent search and inquiry for Adjutant E. N. Mann and Lieutenant R. K. Williams, I am reluctantly forced to include them in the list of killed.
Officers and men, nearly all of whom were under fire for the first time, behaved with the coolness, determination and bravery of veterans. It would be almost invidious for me to discriminate but I cannot refrain from mentioning the conspicuous gallantry and bravery of Lieutenant J. R. McLean, commanding Company F.
Enclosed please find a list of killed and wounded. Twelve killed and thirty-four wounded.
Hoping I may be allowed to engage the enemy under more favorable circumstances, I am General, Your obedient servant, Peter Mallett, Colonel Commanding Battalion.
RETURN OF CASUALTIES IN THE UNION FORCES.
Compiled from nominal lists of casualties, returns, etc.
|COMMAND.||Killed||Wounded||Captured or Missing|
|Officers||Enlisted Men||Officers||Enlisted Men||Officers||Enlisted Men||Aggregate.|
|9th New Jersey||5||1||85||4||95|
|3rd N. Y. Cavalry||6||4||10|
|3rd N. Y. Light Artillery|
|Batteries B, E, F, H, I, and K||5||2||25||32|
|New York Light Artillery|
|24th Battery (section)||1||1|
|N. Y. Marine Artillery||1||2||3|
|85th New York||3||3|
|92nd New York||3||1||15||19|
|96th New York||1||1||5||7|
|1st R. I. Light Artillery|
|5th Rhode Island||1||3||4|
The Return March from Goldsboro.
BY PRIVATE FRANK A. FIELD OF COMPANY A.
YOU have already learned that the Expedition to Goldsboro started from New Berne early in the morning of December 11th, 1862, the force consisting of the three branches of the service, Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery, about twelve thousand strong, and an army train large enough to carry “our knitting work and slippers.” We started for a ten days’ tramp with three days’ rations in our haversacks, and seven days’ in the army trains. Our cartridge boxes, haversacks, etc, were loaded: and with these our rifles, overcoats and blankets; it could also be truthfully said, that we were loaded, but I am happy to state, not in the “Gold Cure” sense. The object of this expedition (as we afterwards learned) was to keep the confederate forces in North Carolina so busily engaged, that they could not reinforce General Lee's Army in Fredericksburg, where General Burnside was preparing to attack them. Battle was offered wherever and whenever we could get at them. On our outward march, the careless use of fire arms by the confederates in the battles of Kinston, Whitehall and Goldsboro made, at times, the return march of those engaged in the fights a something of very doubtful quantity. However, after five days’ marching and fighting, the column appeared before Goldsboro, had a fight, did the work it was sent to accomplish, destroyed the bridge, etc., and on the afternoon of the fifth day started on the return trip. In starting from Goldsboro, the confederates, whom we had fought and driven, didn't seem to be perfectly satisfied with our short sojourn and came across the river and attacked our retiring column. The challenge was quickly accepted by the Federal forces. The second engagement seemed to put a quietus on their ideas of insisting upon our accepting more of their hospitalities in the way of shot, shell, and infantry fire.
I remember, comrades, as no doubt you do, when the word
came down the line that the object of the expedition had been accomplished, and we were ordered to take up our line of march for New Berne; at that time, we were in a short strip of woods and had just fairly got started, when the word came that the rebels had crossed the river and attacked our forces. Of course, the return order was countermanded and orders given to advance on Goldsboro. The movement not being done very quickly on account of our long line stretching down through the woods, Colonel Codman put us through a sharp drill in the manual of arms at that point. Our Colonel was a good one, and meant, and did keep the regiment up to the mark of duty and discipline every time. The second engagement did not last a great while, as the confederates were soon settled, and then we began our return march in earnest.
We soon went into camp, as it was getting along towards night. Of course, the rail fences around our camp paid tribute in the way of furnishing wood for camp fires, and rations of hard tack and coffee were at once in order. As near as I can remember, the boys slept pretty soundly that night, as they were pretty tired after the marching and fighting of the previous days. Our camp was in an open cornfield. The snoring of the regiment in an ordinary hall might be objectionable, but on that particular night it doubtless proved a gentle lullaby to those North Carolina owls roosting in the trees nearby, enjoying the brilliancy and novelty of the scene, and picking their teeth by the light of our bivouac fires. Next morning “Reveille” was sounded early, our blankets were rolled and rations taken care of, and then we started on our tramp.
The thrilling incidents of the outward march were not re-enacted, as we had in the three fights shown the enemy that we were equal to the occasion of taking care of them, and for that reason they probably concluded to let us alone on our return trip. I remember that when we arrived at Whitehall where the fight occurred at the fork of the roads, at the foot of a small hill in a clump of trees, I saw Colonel Codman standing by the new made grave of Color Sergeant Parkman. He felt most keenly, as did all the regiment, the loss of our noble and brave color sergeant.
The position of the regiment in that fight was in a large field at the foot of a small hill. We were supporting the Twenty-Third Massachusetts, which was stationed on the opposite side of the road, in the woods where we first took up our position, but later were ordered over the fence and further back. We went over and under that fence pretty lively, as we were under a very heavy fire. Had our favorable position of lying down been interfered with by the driving back of the Twenty-Third Regiment—which regiment bravely held its ground—both regiments would have been badly cut up, as we were in direct line of the fire of the confederate batteries, and also had a battery of our own stationed in our immediate rear, raining shot and shell over us into the confederate ranks and stronghold. Our position was a very trying one, as we could not fire a shot, and had to lie very close to the ground to prevent being like a pepper box, full of holes.
On the return trip, as on the advance, chickens and other live stock that attempted to stay the onward march of our column, were, of course, taken care of, as the army claimed the right of way. The result of that claim was that our bivouac fires put some of the aforesaid live stock in shape to add greatly to the material strength of individual members of the corps. When we arrived at the battle field of Kinston, we learned of the death of comrade Elbridge Graves of our company, who was shot in that action, and of whom it can be said, that his company and the country could claim no comrade more honest, true and faithful. We also learned that the dead of that action had been buried, and the wounded were sent to the hospitals at New Berne.
We had been ten days on the march, and in three short engagements, and the boys looked worn and tired as we entered New Berne. I remember noticing some of them coming in chafed and footsore, looking more like old men of seventy, leaning on their staffs, than young men temporarily used up by the fatigues of the march. The Invalid Corps which had charge of our camp during our trip, received us with open arms. The boys soon began to wash up and dig themselves out, so as to be ready for the
active duties of camp life; also to be in readiness for further orders from headquarters, which were liable to come at any moment for another expedition, tramp or fight. From this ten days’ experience we learned that war had its light and dark shades by which the makeup of the individual soldier and the army as a whole could be tested as regards manhood, heroism and patriotism. An army in active service is an excellent place to learn the exact measure of its component parts whether taken individually or collectively.
Cavalry Operations on the Erpedition to Goldsboro.
COMPILED BY PRIVATE ALBERT W. MANN OF COMPANY A.
WHILE we were engaged wi:h the enemy before Kinston, the cavalry were busy in another direction. Captain Jacobs, with his company of the Third New York Cavalry and some light (Third New York) artillery, advanced on another road, to the right of the main column, and attracted as well as distracted, the attention of the enemy. Captain Jacobs came upon a regiment of rebel infantry, engaged them, drove them off with artillery, and then charged his men across, thereby saving quite an important bridge. Another diversion was created by Major Garrard, who sent on another road with a portion of his battalion of Third New York Cavalry, one piece of Allis’ flying artillery and two or three light field pieces. By this means General Evans was so mystified, regarding our order of movements, that he could not bring the entire force under his command into operation in such a manner as to unitedly affect our main column.
After our main column had entered Kinston, Captain Cole of Company K, Third New York Cavalry, was ordered to proceed down the river to the blockade, and where a battery had been erected to play upon our gunboats if they attempted to ascend the river. Captain Cole, on arriving at the place—a sort of half circular fort with breastworks, a mile and a half long—ascertained from a negro that the rebels had moved six brass pieces about six hours before he reached there; that they had more guns there; and that a guard had been left to protect them until they could be secured, the rebels not having horses enough to get them all away. Captain Cole attempted to surround the fort and capture what there was remaining in it, when the guard discovered his force and decamped for the woods without firing a shot. Company K charged on the fort and took possession
thereof, capturing everything in it. The armament remaining was found to consist of seven guns, including one eight inch Columbiad, two thirty-two pounder iron guns, and four six-pounder iron guns. The four latter were found to be loaded, primed and ready to be fired, but the brisk movements of Captain Cole and his daring company prevented the execution of the latter deadly operation. Company K and its commander were highly complimented by the Commanding General for their gallantry on this occasion. A small amount of provisions, clothing, etc., was found in the fort, which was left. The four six pounders were brought away; the Columbiad and the thirty-two's being too heavy to be removed, were spiked and the carriages burned. Captain Cole reached Kinston about midnight with the trophies.
The next morning at five o'clock he received orders from General Foster to return to New Berne with the seven pieces—two brass and five iron—captured with other trophies. The two brass pieces were the same captured from us at Little Washington three months previous. On his way down, Captain Cole captured eight rebels and brought them into New Berne.
December 16th, under cover of the action on both sides, Major Garrard, with his command, pressed on past Whitehall, and made a rapid march (a distance of over twenty miles) to Mount Olive Station, a small place situated on the line of the Wilmington & Goldsboro Railroad. Before reaching the town, they passed through a swamp and then struck a turpentine path and after a full gallop of a distance of over four miles, came out at Mount Olive Station at three o'clock in the afternoon. This action was a perfect surprise to the people of the place. The ticket agent was selling tickets; passengers were loitering around waiting for the cars, the mail for Wilmington laid already on the platform, and a few paroled prisoners were in readiness to go to Wilmington, probably to fight again. As a matter of course, for the time being Major Garrard put everybody under arrest. The telegraph wire was immediately and afterwards effectually cut and destroyed by Captain Wilson of the Third New York Cavalry. Mount Olive is seventeen miles from Goldsboro. Captains Wilson and Pond with their respective commands, of the Third
New York Cavalry, were sent seven miles in the direction of Wilmington, to destroy an extensive bridge and trestle work. This they accomplished with great labor, after a few minutes’ skirmish, and joined our main force at dusk. In connection with the destruction of the bridge and trestle work, they also destroyed the track and set fire to the cross ties in several places.
At Mount Olive Station, among the private papers of the Postmaster, was found the following:
“Whereas, we the people of the counties of Wayne and Dublin have seen a proclamation from the black republican President, Abraham Lincoln, calling for seventy-five thousand men, (and a call made on North Carolina among the rest,) for the purpose of subjugating brethren of the Confederate States, who are asking nothing but for their rights to be respected and their institutions let alone, the interest of North Carolina being identified with the said Confederate States, we, as her citizens, deem it highly necessary to express our views to the world, irrespective of former party ties; therefore
Resolved, that the example of our patriotic forefathers is too plainly set before us to be unmindful of our duty. We know the cause of the Confederate States to be the supreme interest of North Carolina; therefore, we pledge our fortunes, our lives, and our most sacred honors, in the maintenance of the said cause.
Resolved, that, for the aid and furtherance of said cause and the defence of our homes and our rights, we will form a military company for the purpose of drilling that we may be the better prepared to defend our homes and our country.
Resolved, that we call upon all good citizens to sustain us and give us their aid for the support of our company.
Resolved, that the manly and patriotic courage of His Excellency, John W. Ellis, in ordering our forts taken and held by troops of this State, and his independent denial of troops to Abe Lincoln to sustain him in his diabolical policy, meets the entire approbation of this company and this community.”
While this was being done, Captain Jacobs with a company of the Third New York Cavalry, and one piece of Allis’ Flying Artillery, was sent three and a half miles in the direction of Goldsboro, on the line of the railroad, to destroy the track, some culverts and a bridge. Just as Captain Jacobs reached the three and a half mile point, the mail train from Goldsboro came rattling down. The engineer on the train, in coming around a sharp
turn, observed ahead a heavy, dark smoke, and immediately whistled down brakes and reversed his order of proceeding. Notwithstanding this, Captain Jacobs was enabled to bring his piece of artillery into such a position as to give the retreating train the force of three shells. After doing his work, and well and ably developing the bump of destruction in North Carolina, he joined Major Garrard at Mount Olive Station at sundown. The force at Mount Olive Station in the meanwhile had taken up a large extent of the track, destroyed the switches and did all the damage they could; then about eight o'clock they set out for a change of base, made several strategetical movements through woods and swamps, and reached the great army about midnight, having cut across, as explained above, without moving on any main road more than five minutes at a time. We had hardly left Mount Olive Station, when the enemy came down as near as he could with a so-called “Merrimac Railroad Car” and shelled the woods for quite a while. A newspaper correspondent who accompanied the cavalry on this little raid says: “On leaving Mount Olive I paused for a moment to behold the sight presented to our view. I saw the railroad apparently on fire for miles in extent, huge fires of ties and warping rails, and the blank amazement that was but too evident in the faces of our now released prisoners. The woods were bright and radiant with the reflected light; our hidden road was also illuminated, and all nature seemed changed, as the light reflected on the waters in the swamp, if not to one of beauty, at least, to a great degree of attractiveness. As we left the place, the boys gave three cheers for the Major's success, and later he was highly complimented by General Foster on making his report of this action.”
“In the battle of the bridge at Goldsboro, the rebels had, as prisoners report, between eight and ten thousand troops engaged. We never had over one-third of our force engaged. While the battle was progressing at the bridge, Major Fitzsimmons, with his battalion of the Third New York Cavalry, made a dash against Dudley Station, on the line of the Wilmington Railroad, five miles from Goldsboro railroad bridge, took several rebel pickets prisoners, captured and destroyed a train of four
cars, took up three miles of the railroad track, burned some trestle-work, a bridge and some little et ceteras, including a most complete destruction of the line, and joined the main column without loss to his command. The Major also repeated a similar experiment at Everett Station, on the line of the same railroad. Major Garrard with his battalion of the Third New York Cavalry, went (while the main army was moving) early in the morning to Tomkins’ Bridge, over the Neuse River. He took with him a section of Ransom's Twenty-Third New York Artil lery. On arriving in the vicinity of the bridge, Captain Jacobs, with his company of cavalry, was ordered to charge down to it. He did so, found the bridge in flames, and received fire from the enemy. The Major immediately opened fire with his artillery, and at the same time dispatched a messenger to inform General Foster with regard to his position, condition, etc. As soon as General Foster received the information, he re-inforced the Major with four pieces of artillery from Angell's Battery and the Forty-Third Massachusetts Regiment under Colonel Holbrook. After a fight of over two hours they silenced the enemy's heavy guns and musketry and returned to the main column with a loss of one killed and four wounded. Before leaving, our forces could go anywhere in that neighborhood, along the bank of the river without being fired at. The rebels had eight pieces of artillery and four regiments of infantry at this bridge. About ten o'clock Allis’ Flying Artillery and Companies G, A and D of the Third New York Cavalry, in attempting to join the main column from another direction, were attacked by two pieces of the rebels’ artillery, and, as is supposed, about a regiment of rebel infantry. In less than fifteen minutes our artillery silenced that of the enemy.
In the account of the engagement at Goldsboro railroad bridge, no mention is made of the fact that the enemy, on finding that our troops were outflanking them by wading through a mill-stream, hoisted the gate at the mill and let the water rush down with astonishing impetuosity. By this means one or two of our men were drowned, while the others still pushed on, with the water up to their armpits, regardless of the difficulty. On our
return march we learned by flag of truce from the rebels at Kinston, that their loss was between eight and nine hundred, and that the two South Carolina Regiments that charged Morrison's Battery, lost in that charge three hundred and fifty men. Their color bearer was shot three times.
In the Eighty-Sixth Pennsylvania, one of the privates at the battle of Kinston had a pack of playing cards in the breast pocket of his coat. A musket ball from the rebels passed clear through the pack, hardly bruising the skin.”
The Confederate Account of the Goldsboro Expedition.
FROM CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY, VOLUME IV.
Edited by General Clement A. Evans of Georgia.
DECEMBER 11th, 1862, two days before the battle of Fredericksburg, General Foster left New Berne, N. C., with a force of ten thousand infantry, six batteries having in all forty pieces of artillery, and six hundred and forty cavalry. On the 13th, Foster had reached South West Creek not far from Kinston. The confederates had destroyed the bridge, and Colonel Radcliffe's Sixty-First North Carolina Regiment was posted on the west side to delay Foster's advance.
The Ninth New Jersey and Wessell's Bridgade crossed over the creek and after an engagement of about an hour General N. G. Evans, commanding the confederates, was obliged to withdraw. He took position on the Neuse river about two miles from Kinston bridge. To oppose Foster's ten thousand men, General Evans had the Seventh, Twenty-Second, Twenty-Third South Carolina Volunteers and Holcombe's Legion, also South Carolinians; in addition, he had the Sixty-First North Carolina Regiment, Mallett's North Carolina Battalion, and Boyce's South Carolina, and Starr's and Bunting's North Carolina Batteries, in all two thousand and fourteen men. While Evans was moving from the creek to the river, a fleet of small gunboats that had come up from New Berne to attack the works at Kinston, under Commander Murray, endeavored to get in reach of the works. Owing to too low water, only one of the boats, the Allison, came into action, and Colonel S. D. Pool's Battalion of heavy artillery soon drove it back.BATTLE OF KINSTON.
On the 14th, General Evans with his South Carolina Brigade on the left and the North Carolinians under Radcliffe on the
right, awaited Foster's attack. Foster sent in Wessell's Brigade and batteries, supporting Wessell's by Amory's Brigade, and then by Stevenson's Brigade. The odds were, of course, too great for Evans, and after two hours and a half of stubborn contention, he was forced back across the bridge and followed so closely, that, at the crossing, four hundred of his men were captured. Evans reformed his broken lines, and was joined by the Forty-Seventh North Carolina Regiment which had just arrived, under Colonel S. H. Rogers. General Foster sent in a demand for the surrender of the Confederates, but, of course, General Evans promptly declined compliance. General Evans retreated to Falling Creek. General Foster did not pursue but recrossed the river and continued on towards Goldsboro.BATTLE OF WHITEHALL.
On arriving at Whitehall, eighteen miles from Goldsboro, General Foster found the bridge burned, and General B. H. Robertson of General Evans’ command, posted on the opposite side of the river ready for battle. General Robertson having under his command the Eleventh North Carolina, Colonel Leventhorpe, the Thirty-First, Colonel Jordan; six hundred dismounted cavalry men from Ferrebee's and Evans’ regiments, and a section of Moore's battery, under Lieutenant N. McClees, had been sent to burn the bridge. General Foster sent forward the Ninth New Jersey Regiment, followed by Amory's Brigade and eight batteries took position on the river bank. A heavy artillery and infantry fire commenced at nine thirty on the 16th. General Robertson says in his report: “Owing to the range of hills on the Whitehall side, the enemy had the advantage of position. The point occupied by his troops being narrow, not more than one regiment at a time could engage him. I therefore held Leventhorpe, Ferrebee and Evans in reserve, leaving the artillery (two pieces,) Thirty-First Regiment, and two picked companies in front. The cannonading from the enemy's batteries became so terrific that the Thirty-First Regiment withdrew from their position without instructions, but in good order. I immediately ordered Colonel Leventhorpe forward. The alacrity with which
the order was obeyed by his men, gave ample proof of their gallant bearing, which they so nobly sustained during the entire fight, which raged with intensity. The conduct of this regiment reflects the greatest credit on its accomplished and dauntless commander.” The two guns of McClees were no match for the many batteries across the Neuse, but he served them with coolness and gallantry. Captain Taylor, of Foster's Signal Corps reported that “the fire from the Eleventh was one of the severest musketry fires I have ever seen.”
Colonel W. J. Martin, historian of the Eleventh Regiment, says of the conduct of his regiment: “Posted along the river bank, from which another regiment had been driven back, it was pounded for several hours at short range by a terrific storm of grape and cannister, as well as musketry; but it never flinched and gained a reputation for endurance and courage which it proudly maintained to the fateful end.” The Eleventh Regiment that thus distinguished itself was the first regiment organized in North Carolina, and while known as the First North Carolina, fought in the Battle of Bethel. General Robertson reported his loss at ten killed and forty-two wounded. The Federal loss eight killed and seventy-three wounded.BATTLE OF GOLDSBORO.
After this brush with Robertson, Foster moved on towards Goldsboro, his main object being to burn the railroad bridge there.
At and near the bridge were stationed General Clingman, with the Eighth, Fifty-First, and Fifty-Second North Carolina Regiments, under Colonels H. M. Shaw, W. A. Allen and J. K. Marshall; Companies B, G, and H, Tenth Artillery, acting as infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel S. D. Pool, and Starr's Battery. Other troops were in the vicinity, but for reasons not now apparent, were not moved to the bridge in time to assist the men engaged. The Sixty-First Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Devane arrived on the field during the engagement and reported to Brigadier-General Clingman, in time to take part in the afternoon action.
When General Foster reached a point near Goldsboro he ordered five regiments to move down the railroad track and burn the bridge. A regiment was sent with them to protect the flank. General Wessell's Brigade was advanced to be in supporting distance of the advance. The Federal regiments and artillery attacked promptly. All the Federal artillery seems, according to Foster's report, to have been engaged at the bridge. The attack fell principally on the Fifty-First and Fifty-Second Regiments, on the south side of the bridge, and on Pool's four companies on the north side of the bridge. Starr's two pieces opened. The two regiments were unable to hold their own, broke, were reformed again by General Clingman, and then driven back to the county bridge. As these regiments were in retreat, Lieutenant George A. Graham, of the Twenty-Third New York Battery, rushed gallantly forward, and in spite of the efforts of Pool's men to reach him with their rifles, set fire to the bridge. General G. W. Smith reported that as Clingman's Regiments fell back, General N. G. Evans arrived on the field with his South Carolina Brigade and assumed command. By his direction the Fifty-First and Fifty-Third supported by Holcombe's Legion, made a charge against H. C. Lee's Brigade, of which that officer said: “A portion of the enemy, instantly, with loud cheers, charged up the hill towards the battery, and bore up steadily in the face of a well directed and most destructive fire. . . . . The enemy, meanwhile, had been staggered by the crushing fire of the batteries, and at sight of my supporting regiments broke and fled in disorder to the woods. His retreat was covered by a heavy fire from the battery on his right which inflicted on my command a loss of three killed and nineteen wounded.” “This battery,” as Colonel Lee calls it, was one gun of Lieutenant Fuller's section of Starr's, the other gun was overturned. Lieutenant Fuller acted with great coolness, and showed a soldier's aptitude for finding and striking the enemy. General Clingman said of the determined manner in which Lieutenant Fuller fought his solitary gun: “Lieutenant Fuller with the greatest gallantry continued to reply until darkness put an end to the contest.”
After the afternoon engagement General Foster withdrew his troops and returned to New Berne. The total Federal losses during this expedition was five hundred and ninety-one killed and wounded.* The total Confederate loss, as reported by General Smith, was three hundred and fifty.
What some of the southern papers had to say about our Expedition to Goldsboro, at the time.
The Raleigh State Journal, of the 18th. inst. (December, 1862,) states that nine regiments and two batteries of artillery arrived there on Tuesday, and several brigades are on their way. By this time the force in and around Goldsboro is sufficient to battle, if not capture the invaders.
The Richmond Examiner states the Confederate forces at Goldsboro, on Wednesday evening (December 17th,) to be about seventeen thousand, with reinforcements hourly arriving and expected. General Smith is represented as sanguine of success, and it is reported, that General Lee telegraphed him that he could spare him, if necessary, thirty thousand men.
The railroad south of Goldsboro has been torn up for some distance by the enemy, and all communication with Wilmington is cut off.
A later dispatch to the North Carolina Standard states that the enemy have disappeared from south of Goldsboro.
The Richmond papers of the 20th, state that an official dis-[note]
patch was received at the War Department yesterday, from General Lee, stating that there were symptoms that the enemy were retiring to the Potomac.
Goldsboro, N. C., Dec. 19, P. M.
Colonel Fremont, Chief Engineer on the Wilmington Railroad, has arrived from Wilmington. He passed over the entire track on a hand car, and says he can repair all damages in two days, and the bridge over the Neuse, in six or eight. All quiet here.
A reconnoissance last night by a squadron of the Third North Carolina Cavalry, under Captain Canoway, found the enemy encamped about two miles below Whitehall.
Rumor in the streets this morning says reinforcements passed Kinston, on the south side of the Neuse river, to succor their skedaddling friends.
The Personal Experience of a Comrade Mounded in the Battle of Whitehall, December 16th, 1862.
CORPORAL LUTHER F. ALLEN OF COMPANY A.
THE day after the Battle of Kinston, December 15th, after burning the bridge, we marched on along the river road towards Whitehall. A night's rest in bivouac, and we resumed our march the next morning and soon heard the roar of battle in our front.
The location of the battle field of Whitehall was on a level piece of ground with slight elevations on our left and rear. As our Regiment was being brought into position, our worthy Colonel saw, or thought he saw, something out of order, and immediately began to put us through a drill to straighten us out, and I distinctly remember one of his orders, namely, “On the right by files into line,” and the way it was executed was lively indeed, and must have pleased our Captain, as it was done “with a snap,” the air meanwhile, being heavily impregnated with shot and shell. Soon we were stationed immediately in front of one of our batteries, as support, in case of a sudden charge of the enemy.
This position was one of great peril, as this Artillery Duel, as it is called, was in full play, and the noise of the combined batteries, composed of forty-six guns, was something awful. We could feel the windage of every shot that passed over our heads, and it was soon found necessary for our gunners to train their guns for lower fire, and we were ordered to “lie down,” which we did very quickly, as the iron hail was growing fiercer every minute. It is needless to say that not a man had any objection to obeying the order. As soon as we were stretched on the ground, it seemed as if the artillery had gained a great advantage, and were bound to make the most of it, for they worked their guns for all they
HENRY R. THOMPSON, CO. A
CORP. LUTHER F. ALLEN, CO. A
DANIEL W. FISHER, CO. I
L. HENRY WHITNEY, CO. A
were worth and the noise was enough to satisfy any one. We were soon made to understand that we were not on a “picnic.”
While in this position, I was struck on the neck near the spine by a piece of a three or four inch shell, which paralyzed me as far down as my waist, and to my finger's ends, so that I did not know when it was done. As I gradually came to consciousness, I found that I was bleeding freely, with a pool of blood under my chin, and my clothing soaked with blood. I found near my head a piece of iron about a third of a shell, which was, no doubt, the cause of my trouble. After examining it, I threw it away. I immediately spoke to Captain Denny, and he detailed Orderly-Sergeant Barstow and Comrade Merriam to help me to the rear a little way, where members of the Band took me on a stretcher still farther to the rear, and placed me in a gravel pit, where the wounded were being cared for, and where I saw our noble Color Sergeant, Theodore Parkman, dying from the effects of a shot in the head.
After this episode the Regiment was ordered to fall back behind a rail fence so that the artillerymen could train their guns still lower. I can remember the position of but one other regiment, that of the Twenty-Third Massachusetts, which was on our left and in advance, lying flat on the ground, as we were. Soon after the Third Rhode Island Battery occupied our first position, and began to pour a deadly fire across the river. While in our first position I saw the working of the Signal Corps, stationed on rising ground at our left, where they could see the position of the enemy and signal to General Foster and Staff who were on the right, and in advance just out of the line of fire.HOW WE GOT BACK TO NEW BERNE.
As I said before, I was placed in a gravel pit with the other wounded men. When the firing ceased, two comrades of Company A came to the rear to find me, and seeing an ambulance near they helped me into it. I had just got comfortably fixed, when the driver came along and said I must get out, as that was a New Jersey ambulance, so that I was put on the ground again,
and laid there until about dark when I was taken to a small house where the surgeons were busy as bees, attending to the wounded, who were there in great numbers. I was placed on the floor of a small room with two other men, one of whom I soon found was a New Jersey artilleryman, named Manchester. After the worst cases were disposed of, the surgeon and a helper dressed my wound at about 9 P. M. The next day, Wednesday, the 17th, we were loaded into one of the empty army wagons that were coming back from the front, not very comfortable vehicles, but all that could be had.
I was put in with two other men. One was named Johnson, a Third New York artilleryman, who had lost both hands by the premature discharge of his gun, and the other a Dutchman, of the One Hundred and Third Pennsylvania, whose back was broken by a falling tree.
Having the use of my hands, and the other men being completely used up, I attended to them, as best I could, but there was little to do, as neither of us had anything to eat or drink, and our appetites were becoming ravenous. We jogged along in our United States gig until we reached the burned bridge at Kinston, where a hospital had been improvised in the building nearest to the bridge. Here many who had fallen out from various causes together with wounded men, were being cared for. As we halted here for a rest, some of the men came out to see us, and among others, Comrade Wilmonton of Company A., whose feet were so chafed that he was unable to march farther. He was acting as nurse. I asked him if he had any “hardtack,” and he went into the house and brought out one whole tack and a few pieces, which I soon divided and fed to Johnson, the Dutchman and myself. We called it a treat. Soon the train of wagons began to move again toward New Berne, and continued down the Neuse road until darkness came upon us when the train stopped in the road, and the drivers unhitched their horses, put up their feed troughs, at the back of the wagons, fed their horses and fastened them there for the night.
With this train was a small army of those who were disabled in various ways, but could travel and look out for themselves.
These were soon busy building fires and making coffee for their supper, but there was none for us in the wagon. The sight of the road for a long distance was weird in the extreme, with men moving about the fires, the wagons in the midst of the road, and with all, no noise, as we were in the enemy's country, without a guard.
Finally we began to get settled for the night, but as our driver had captured a young goat the day before, and its continued bleating did not conduce to sleep, we were ready to put an end to its little life. All things have an end, and so that night wore away and we began to move again. Continuing the march without rations, we reached a small house near the river, where we were to wait for steamers, that were coming down with wounded men from the front. At this house, which had no conveniences for taking care of wounded men, we waited one day and two nights. The nurses detailed to care for us found that the owner of the place had a small pig and some corn meal, so we fared sumptuously on boiled pork without salt, and corn bread—a fare that we would loathe at home, but hunger made it a sweet morsel.
Many of the men were camped in the yard by the day, but as darkness came on they filed into the house and packed it full. On Saturday, December 20th, two wheelbarrow steamers arrived about 10 A. M., from up the river, and we were placed on board wherever we could. The boat was so crowded that the nurses could move around only by stepping over and between men, who were lying wounded on the deck in every conceivable manner. The worst cases were cared for in the cabin, where one or more died, on the passage to New Berne.
I was fortunate in getting a seat on the rail of the boat, and found a Manchester man, George A. Brown, Jr., a member of the Twenty-Third Massachusetts, who was disabled by a shot striking under his feet in the ground, making it impossible for him to march further. Food was scarce, and if ever in my life I was hungry, it was on the 20th of December, 1862. The captain of the boat was a pompous individual, trimmed in gold lace, but so intoxicated he did not seem to know what he was doing. We
steamed along very well for a while, when the boat with its load of suffering men struck the shore, and swung around in such a manner that the trees on the bank scraped the poor fellows on the deck like a brush harrow. The captain swore, and gave his orders in a thick voice, and then the boat would reach the opposite bank and strike in the same manner. This went on for some time until a negro, who was sober, took the helm, then we proceeded all right until about nine o'clock in the evening when we arrived off the city of New Berne. Here there were no wharves for such steamers, so we all had to be taken in boats to the shore. I was fortunate in getting ashore in one of the first boats, and my Twenty-Third Massachusetts friend, being posted in the city, directed me to the Foster General Hospital while he went to his camp beyond the city.
This hospital, a fine stone structure, was originally the head-quarters of the Masonic Fraternity of the State of North Carolina. I went to the office, and one of the attendants asked me if I was to be in Bennett's Ward. I said “Yes, I guess so,” not knowing or caring who Bennett was. I was numb and cold, and weak from loss of blood and as hungry as a man could be, so this man told me to go into the kitchen, and the cooks would give me something to eat. The sight of that kitchen, with a large cauldron of beans, hot and steaming for the wounded, who were expected to come in at any moment, the warmth of the room, the great dipper of stewed beans, will never be forgotten to my latest day.
After getting warm and doing justice to the ample meal, I went back to the office and was put to bed in Bennett's ward, his first arrival. As my clothing was taken off my vest was like a piece of tin, and would stand upright, being saturated with blood.
The next day, Sunday, General Foster and his young daughter called and had pleasant words for the men. This ward was the hall of the Grand Lodge of Masons. It walls were covered with the emblems of the Order painted very artistically. The ceiling, dome shaped, was covered with paintings and gold stars and was a pleasanter sight than bare walls. In a short time all the beds throughout the building were filled.
In the Boston Evening Transcript of January 22, 1863, appeared the following beautiful poem, which is inserted here, as an appropriate place. It was signed “Co. A. 45th Mass.” The author is unknown but it is generally believed that it was written by the late Lieutenant George E. Pond of Company A.A Soldier's Letter.
- “Our van had pressed onward the whole weary way,
- The boys were all hopeful, and some few were gay,
- As we neared the thick wood which covered the foe,
- We halted at last;
- And pulses throbbed fast,
- As each felt the cold dread
- That before the day fled
- Some one of our number in death might lay low.
- Soon the artillery passed by at full speed;
- Soon followed the horsemen, each urging his steed;
- Then while we at the front stood waiting the sign,
- Up rose the Soul's prayer!
- “Oh God! my life spare!”
- Now shoulder to shoulder,
- Each brave heart grew bolder,
- As “Forward,” came thundering along the line.
- We had heard this same order the long march through,
- But now it was freighted with import anew;
- The Onset was ours; who the End could foretell?
- All death fear was gone,
- All thought of self flown,
- And not a step faltered,
- And not an eye altered,
- As we closed in the track of our pioneer shell.
- How the next command thrilled us, “Advance and Fire!”
- With the enemy's shot whizzing faster and nigher;
- One sole duty was ours, to hear and obey.
- We loaded and fired.
- We loaded and fired.
- My good limbs did their part,
- But my spirit dispart
- From the terrible Conflict sped far away.
- I was with you, dear friends, in the old hallowed spot,
- I traced each loved feature, each scene unforgot.
- You were sad, my heart was o'erflowing with joy.
- My smiles met your tears.
- Hopes mingled with fears.
- You dreamed not, dear brother,
- Dearest father and mother,
- That near you was hovering your own soldier boy.
- Well, the batile was fought - we carried the day;
- The whisper now ran, “Who had fallen in the fray?”
- In low accents, the name of poor ‘Graves’ was given,
- Of our bravest and best,
- One had gone home to rest;
- And the while we marched through
- Conquered Kinston, we knew
- Our beloved young Comrade had passed into Heaven.”
CORP. ALBERT A. CHITTENDEN, COMPANY A
Regimental Colors and the Color Guard.
BY CORPORAL ALBERT A. CHITTENDEN OF COMPANY A, A MEMBER OF THE COLOR GUARD.
ABOUT the middle of September, 1862, in response to this notice, and others similar to it, several companies recruited for the Forty-Fifth Regiment, M. V. M., were occupying new barracks at Readville, Mass.
Headquarters, Company G, Forty-Fifth Regiment, M. V. M. Tremont Temple, Boston, September 12th, 1862.
You are hereby ordered to report at this Office, on Monday, September 15, promptly at 1.30 P. M., to proceed to Camp at Readville.
As there may be a delay in getting Government Blankets, each man is advised to bring one, and an overcoat. He will also bring his Surgeon's Certificate. Also 2 woolen shirts and 3 pairs stockings.
Per order of
Note. Company G afterwards became Company A.
The barracks at Readville were soon equipped with flagpoles, each flying a national flag contributed by the several companies. Every morning there was a friendly competition as to which company should have its colors first at the peak, after the firing of the sunrise gun. Some of these flags are still in existence. Company A had the pleasure, at a recent reunion in Boston, of seeing their old Company flag brought from St. Louis by Orderly-Sergeant Barstow, to whom it was donated upon our muster out. The 1st day in November was a very busy and interesting day at Camp Meigs, being the occasion of the gift from lady friends of the Regiment, of a Massachusetts State Banner. The following is a copy of the correspondence and a description of the occasion.
PRESENTATION OF COLORS TO THE CADET REGIMENT.
The largest number that has yet visited Camp Meigs, at Readville, attended yesterday, Saturday afternoon, November 1, 1862, to witness the presentation of a beautiful Regimental State flag to the Forty-Fifth Cadet Regiment,—a gift from the ladies of Massachusetts; of which the following correspondence affords an explanation:—
Boston, Oct. 30, 1862.
Col. Charles R. Codman, Forty-fifth Regt. Mass. Vols.
It is our pleasing duty, on behalf of nearly one hundred ladies (whose names we will send you in a day or two,) to offer to the regiment under your command a stand of regimental colors.
We hope it may give the regiment as much pleasure to receive them as it gives these ladies to offer them.
Will you please name a day and hour when it will be convenient to receive these colors at your camp with the usual formalities?
Rev. Dr. Lothrop will make the presentation.
F. H. Peabody, Committee.
E. W. Kinsley, Committee.
Boston, Oct. 30, 1862.
Messrs. F. H. Peabody and Edward W. Kinsley.
Gentlemen,—In behalf of the Forty-fifth Regiment of Massachusetts troops, I beg to thank you, and, through you, the ladies you represent, for their kindness and thoughtfulness in desiring to present a stand of colors to the regiment.
That such a kindly thought has been entertained, is a source, I am sure, of the greatest pride and pleasure to every officer and soldier under my command.
In their name, I accept the standard; and, in compliance with your request, would designate Saturday next, Nov. 1, at three and a half P.M., as the day and hour for making the presentation.
Very gratefully and truly yours,
Charles R. Codman,
Colonel commanding Forty-fifth Mass.
The donors were from all parts of the State; and many, with their sympathizing friends, were present to witness the ceremony. Governor Andrew and a number of military gentlemen were in attendance; comprising
General Samuel Andrews; General Pierce, commandant of the post; Colonels Burrell, Holbrook, and Holmes, with members of their staffs.
The regiment was formed in three sides of a hollow square, on the parade-ground, at four o'clock; and the Rev. Dr. Lothrop, on behalf of the ladies, presented the flag in the following eloquent speech:—
REV. R SAMUEL K. LOTHROP'S ADDRESS.
Colonel Codman—It is with mingled pleasure and anxiety that I find myself honored with the duty of presenting to you, and, through you, to the regiment you command, this standard in behalf of the ladies whose subscriptions have procured it, and of whose patriotic principles, of whose interest in your welfare, and of whose sympathy in all you may do or dare, suffer or sacrifice, in your country's cause, it is a noble emblem and a blessed testimony.
It is expected of me that I should say something appropriate to this occasion. Yet what language, what forms of speech that rhetoric could coin or mortal lips utter, can be so eloquent or so impressive as the stern facts of which this presentation is the indication, or the circumstances, solemn and touching in their appeal to all our hearts, under which it is now made?
Our country is at war,—a war within its own borders; at war with a portion of its own citizens; at war to preserve its institutions from destruction, its government from overthrow, its union from being broken and severed: and no language can add to the force with which this fact appeals to every thoughtful mind and patriotic heart. You and the officers under your command have felt the force of this appeal, and have been organized, under the authority of the Government, to serve in the Volunteer Army of the United States; all of you, I believe, from the most patriotic motives, and many of you, as I know, at large sacrifices of personal interest and convenience, and from a deep sense of duty,—deep enough to triumph over all the strongest and tenderest affections of your hearts.
From my long connection as chaplain of the Independent Company of Cadets,—at whose suggestion and through whose influence this regiment has been raised, and out of whose ranks it has been so largely officered,—I have, from the beginning, felt a deep interest in its character and success as a military organization. I know, as you do, how gladly, when this enterprise was first started, some of the officers of that old and honorable corps would have given themselves to this service, and taken the places which naturally belonged to them in this regiment, had they not been restrained, some of them by physical infirmity, others of them by domestic relations of such a character, that to join you would have been the neglect and the dereliction of a higher
duty. I know also, what you do not, and what your modesty may have concealed from you, that there is no man whom the commander and the superior officers of that corps would have so confidently designated for the responsible post you occupy, as yourself. They know that you are a good soldier, of some experience, well instructed in military tactics, in the discipline of the camp, and competent to command men. They know you to be just, firm, considerate, independent, reliable. They know and believe that you will watch over these one thousand men, and take care of them in all the ways and in all the interests in which, as their commander, it is your duty; and that, whenever the dread hour comes,—as come it soon may,—you will lead them into battle, cool, calm, with undaunted courage, and with that fear of God, that fear of failing and shrinking from duty, which shall banish all other fear from your soul.
While I thus allude to the confidence reposed in yourself, I may congratulate you on the material of your regiment,—the officers and men whom you have to command. I know very many of them. I know the high tone of their character and the purity of their principles. I know their substantial worth as men, as citizens, and as Christians. I know and have observed the order, the dignity, the temperance, the manifest conscientiousness, that have prevailed, and been exhibited in this camp from its formation. I know, what many outside do not, that you may go through these barracks in the evening, and that often you will hear the voice of prayer.—not from the reverend chaplain (though his voice, God Almighty bless him in his work! will never be wanting either in prayer or instruction), but from the men, who are brothers in arms and brothers in Christ; and I tell you, sir,—I speak it not professionally, but from a deep conviction, founded on the philosophy of human nature,—that the men who pray are the men to fight. They fear God; in a righteous cause, they fear nothing else; and surely this is a righteous cause.
I may not detain you to dwell upon the character of this war, nor is it necessary: but I may be permitted to say very briefly, that if ever there was a rebellion utterly, absolutely, without any justifying cause, in any oppression endured, any wrong done by the Government to those who have instigated it,—if ever there was a rebellion ignoble and unworthy in its objects, it is this. If ever there was a political crime worthy the sternest condemnation of the civilized world, and against which the cry of outraged humanity should go up from all corners of the earth, it is the crime of disturbing the peace of thirty millions of people, and deluging this continent with blood and tears; it is the crime of attempting to overturn this Government to break up and destroy the union of these United States, and to raise on its ruins and over a large portion of its territory a government, which, from its very nature and institutions, must be adverse to the liberties and progress of mankind.
The thing has grown upon us so gradually, that its wickedness does not shock us as it ought; and the Government, and the people at the North, seem to me never to have been moved by the feeling of intense Christian indignation against the authors and abettors of this war which they would be justified in feeling, and which they must feel before they can go into it, and conduct it with the energy that will triumph. There should be on your part a fixed, earnest, indomitable determination that this crime shall not prosper, that this rebellion shall not succeed, that this Government and country shall not be broken up and ruined; and, however dark the present hour,—and it is not dark to the hopeful,—however gloomy our prospects,—and they are not gloomy to those who trust and have faith,—and whatever of failure or defeat may have overtaken our arms—and yet they have done much and often triumphed nobly,—we must not give way to despondency, nor seek to effect by compromise what should be done by force, or reach through policy what should be achieved through victory. If millions of treasure have been expended, millions more must be spent if need be; if thousands and tens of thousands of lives have been sacrificed, thousands and tens of thousands more must be ready for the sacrifice if demanded. No amount of treasure that can be calculated or measured, no amount of treasure, whether of money or of life, is to be put in the balance against the awful necessity that rests upon us to rescue our country from the grasp of this gigantic Rebellion, the success of which, if permitted, will be to the shame of our manhood, to the dishonor of our principles, and we know not what amount of misery, degradation, and ruin to our country.
Shut up to a terrible necessity, with sharp and terrible passages of conflict before us, God commands us now, as, long ages ago, he commanded through Moses, “Say to the children of Israel that they go forward.” You and your officers and men have understood that command, and are ready to obey; and the hour of your departure is at hand. I need not say to you, that departure is a matter of as deep interest to us as to yourselves. You are our friends, our neighbors, our fellow-citizens Among you are, to some of us, fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh. Our hearts go with you; our tenderest sympathies will follow you. Our prayers shall ascend continually to the Almighty for your safety,—earnestly, for your safety,—but more earnestly that you do your duty well and bravely: for there is something of the Spartan mother in all our hearts; and we would rather have any of you brought home dead upon his shield, than know that you had failed in duty,—had saved life, but tarnished it with an unmanly cowardice and a base dishonor.
You will fight under the banner of the Union,—the glorious Stars and Stripes,—that good old flag which carried our fathers through the
Revolution, and in whose grand folds there still slumbers the power of a free people. But you will fight also under a Massachusetts flag for the preservation of the Union and the honor of the old Bay State; and we ask you to carry with you all that inspiration which comes from the associations and memories that enrich the history of our State,—from the Rock at Plymouth, from the plains of Lexington and Concord, from the shaft on Bunker Hill,—and unite it with that which the names of Saratoga, Yorktown, and Trenton, and Marion and Moultrie, and all other names glorious in our country's annals, may impart.
Therefore the banner which I present to you is a State banner On one side it bears the arms of the State, with the motto, whose deep significance we are at this moment illustrating, “Ense petit placidam sub Libertate quietam:” on the reverse, the pine-tree, the device on the coin and the flag of the old Colony, with the motto “God speed the Right!” Let the motto give strength to your arms, and energy to your hearts; and, whenever the banner is unfurled to the breeze, let it be a holy incentive to such noble courage and faithful duty as shall ever guard it from dishonor. Let it speak to your hearts of home, of kindred, of honor, of country, with a power that shall make you irresistible over all enemies. As you take this banner, sir, henceforth let the cry of your regiment be,—
- “Onward, then, the pine-tree banner!
- Let it kiss the stripes and star,
- Till, in weal and woe united,
- They for ever wedded are.
- We will plant them by the river,
- By the gulf, and on the strand,
- Till they float, and float for ever,
- O'er our free, united land!”
As the flag, at the close of the speech, was unrolled, the regiment greeted it with clapping of hands, and the band played a patriotic air. Colonel Codman, receiving the flag from the hands of Dr. Lothrop, spoke as follows:—
COLONEL CODMAN'S REPLY.
I accept from your hands, sir, in behalf of the mothers, wives, and sisters of the officers and soldiers of the regiment, this beautiful banner. We could not have received our colors from a more acceptable source. The sympathies of the women of Massachusetts must always be prized by her soldiers; for, sir, this is a war for women as well as for men, for the
poor and the rich alike, for Protestant and for Catholic, for the native-born and the adopted citizen. It is emphatically the people's war. The cause of the people is at stake: their right of self-government, and all their rights, are the issues of the hour.
You present this standard to a regiment devoted to that cause, fighting as they do for the unity and nationality of the country; determined as they are, that, by the blessing of God, there shall be, as there has been, but one nation between the St. Lawrence and the Gulf of Mexico; and that all men, all combinations of men, and all social and political institutions, that stand in the way of this cause, shall be put down by force of arms.
We go, sir, to the seat of war, prepared, every one of us, to do our duty; to meet any fate that may befall us, confident of the final success of our arms and the triumph of the right.
Once more, sir, I thank the ladies for this banner. It may float over many a well-fought field; and, before you see it again, it may be tattered and torn. Be assured, however, that to whatever perils we are exposed, and through whatever dangers we may pass, among our pleasant and most inspiring memories will be the recollection of the incidents that mark the close of this glorious autumn day.
After a salute by the band, the regiment presented arms. Colonel Codman gave the banner into the hands of the color-sergeant—Theodore Parkman, of Company H,—saying he trusted in his courage and fidelity to maintain the flag and the honor of the Forty-fifth Regiment.
The flag is an elegant specimen of skill. It is of blue silk, fringed with orange. Its inscriptions are as described by Dr. Lothrop in his address, with the addition, “Presented by the Women of Massachusetts.”
After the presentation services, the regiment performed sundry marches and military evolutions on the field; concluding with a fine dress-parade,—a fitting close to a very interesting occasion.
List of Names of the Subscribers for the Purchase of the Regimental Flag presented by the Women of Massachusetts to the Cadet Regiment, Forty-fifth M. V. M.
|Mrs. C. R. Codman, Boston.||Mrs. B. C. Clark, Boston.|
|Mrs. O. W. Peabody, Boston.||Mrs. H. J. Gardner, Boston.|
|Mrs. Russell Sturgis, Jr. Boston.||Mrs. T. W. Tuttle, Dorchester.|
|Mrs. Daniel Denny, Boston.||Mrs. S. P. Dexter, Boston.|
|Mrs. Daniel Denny, Jr., Boston.||Mrs. John Jeffries, Jr., Boston.|
|Mrs. Geo. P. Denny, Boston.||Mrs. Dr. John Jeffries, Boston.|
|Mrs. H. A. Rice, Boston.||Miss C. A. Jeffries, Boston.|
|Mrs. J. C. Howe, Boston.||Miss A. M. Jeffries, Boston.|
|Mrs. James Lawrence, Boston.||Mrs. Dr. John Homans, Boston.|
|Mrs. F. W. Lincoln, Canton.||Miss H. B. Homans, Boston.|
|Mrs. H. P. Kidder, Boston.||Miss S. W. Clark, Boston.|
|Mrs. W. H. Davis, Milton.||Mrs. John M. Forbes, Milton.|
|Mrs. Charles Larkin, Milton.||Mrs. T. B. Wales, Jr. Boston.|
|Mrs. Moses B. Williams, Brookline.||Mrs. Daniel Kimball, Boston.|
|Mrs. Jacob Wendell, Jr., Boston.||Mrs. Alvah Burrage, Boston.|
|Mrs. Samuel R. Payson, Boston.||Mrs. G. W. Wales, Boston.|
|Mrs. Edward W. Kinsley, Boston.||Mrs. W. G. Brooks, Boston.|
|Miss M. L. Kinsley, Springfield.||Mrs. Edward W. Codman, Boston.|
|Miss S. A. Kinsley, Springfield.||Miss Leslie W. Codman, Boston.|
|Mrs. John Stetson, Boston.||Mrs. C. H. French, Canton.|
|Mrs. E. O. Tufts, Boston.||Mrs. F. H. Peabody, Boston.|
|Mrs. C. C. Holmes, Milton.||Mrs. Gardner Brewer, Boston.|
|Mrs. J. M. Call, Jamaica Plain.||Miss Brewer, Boston.|
|Mrs. T. P. Rich, Boston.||Miss T. C. Amory, Boston.|
|Miss Susan D. Rogers, Boston.||Miss A. A. Plnkham, Boston.|
|Mrs. Edward Wigglesworth, Boston.||Mrs. W. F. Whitney, Boston.|
|Miss S. N. Wigglesworth, Boston.||Mrs. Thomas Lee, Boston.|
|Miss M. G. Wigglesworth, Boston.||Mrs. L. M. Keith, Newtonville.|
|Mrs. C. H. Parker, Boston.||Mrs. J. Worcester, Newtonville.|
|Mrs. George Hayward, Jr., Boston.||Mrs. John A. Bird, Boston.|
|Mrs. G. M. Dexter, Boston.||Mrs. C. D. Homans, Boston.|
|Mrs. Frank Hodgkinson, Jamaica Plain.||Mrs. Samuel H. Hunneman, Boston.|
|Mrs. Otis Rich, Boston.||Mrs. Jno. H. Hunneman, Boston.|
|Mrs. H. W. French, Easton.||Mrs. Francis A. Dewson, Boston.|
|Mrs. Oakes Ames, Easton.||Mrs. Mary E. Badger, Newtonville.|
|Mrs. John Lowell, Brookline.||Mrs. Julia Rice, Greenfield.|
|Miss Olivia B. Lowell, Brookline.||Mrs. T. B. Wales, Boston.|
|Mrs. Curtis B. Raymond, Boston.||Mrs. M. A. Wales, Boston.|
|Mrs. J. B. Palmer, Boston.||Mrs. B. Welles, Boston.|
|Miss Lothrop, Boston.||Mrs. A. L. Stone, Boston.|
|Mrs. A. D. Weld, W. Roxbury.||Mrs. M. L. Hale, Boston.|
|Mrs. John Brooks Parker, Boston.||Miss Anna E. Rousseau, Boston.|
|Mrs. John E. Thayer, Brookline.||Mrs. Manton Eastburn, Boston.|
|Mrs. W. H. Lane, Newtonville.||Miss Adi Bigelow, Boston.|
|Mrs. R. B. Forbes, Milton.||Mrs. Horatio Bigelow, Boston.|
|Mrs. J. H. Wolcott, Boston.||Mrs. James Horswell, Boston.|
|Mrs. R. H. Bond, Jamaica Plain.||Miss Carrie Churchill, Boston.|
|Miss L. O. Bond, Jamaica Plain.||Miss Alice L. Hale, Newburyport.|
|Miss S. E. Bond, Jamaica Plain||Miss E. T. Parker, Roxbury.|
|Miss M. L. Bond, Jamaica Plain||Mrs. S. K. Bayley, Milton.|
|Miss Annie Jackson, Boston.||Mrs. Joseph Murdoch, Roxbury.|
|Miss Sarah G. Dalton, Boston.||Mrs. J. W. Sever, Boston.|
|Mrs. A. A. Shapleigh, Boston.||Mrs. J. Sturgis Nye, Hingham.|
|Miss H. N. Shapleigh, Boston.||Mrs. T. W. Gray, Boston.|
|Mrs. W. C. Appleton, Roxbury.||Mrs. E. F. Thayer, Boston.|
|Mrs. Stephen Winchester, Boston.||Mrs. G. H. Thayer, Boston.|
|Mrs. J. H. Cunningham, Boston.||Mrs. C. H. Dalton, Boston.|
|Mrs. Jos. N. Howe, Boston.||Mrs. G. W. Freeman, Boston.|
|Miss Emma Livermore, Cambridge.||Miss S. Freeman, Boston.|
|Mrs. George W. Blagden, Boston.||Miss Marian Freeman, Boston.|
|Mrs. Ed. S. Philbrick, Brookline.||Miss Thatcher, Boston.|
|Miss Winsor, Brookline.||Mrs. Alpheus Hardy, Boston.|
|Mrs. H. W. Pickering, Boston.||Mrs. J. N. Borland, Boston.|
|Miss R. W. Pickering, Boston.||Mrs. Hayward, Boston.|
|Miss F. G. Pickering, Boston.||Mrs. Walker, Boston.|
|Mrs. Geo. F. Woodman, Jamaica Plain.||Mrs. Wheelock, Boston.|
|Mrs. George Woodman, Jamaica Plain.||Mrs. D. A. White, Milton.|
|Mrs. S. A. Dix, Boston.||Mrs. J. M. Morison, Milton.|
|Mrs. C. T. Appleton, Boston.||Mrs. J. S. Eldridge, Canton.|
|The Misses Appleton, Boston.||Mrs. C. W. Scudder, Boston.|
|Mrs. Ellen T. Hobart, Boston.||Mrs. Fred Cunningham, Boston.|
|Mrs. Mary French Boston.||Miss R. G. Russell, Milton.|
|Mrs. W. S. Leland, Roxbury.||Misses Bursley, Brookline.|
|Mrs. Nathan Appleton, Boston.||Miss Loring, Brookline.|
|Miss Appleton, Boston.||Miss Stevenson, Brookline.|
|Mrs. W. A. Bangs, Boston.||Miss Atkinson, Brookline.|
|Mrs. A. D. Williams, Boston.||Miss Hale, Brookline.|
|Mrs. G. B. Upton, Boston.||Miss Shattuck, Boston.|
|Mrs. E. E. Hale, Boston.||Mrs. Chas. L. Andrews, Boston.|
On November 5th, after fifty days spent at Readville Camp, we started for the seat of war. An account has already been given of our reception in Boston, and of the presentation of the National Colors and the White Flag of the State, on Boston Common, by Governor Andrew. December 10th, 1862, at Camp Amory on the Trent I was detailed as a Color Corporal from Company A.
At “Dress Parade” the evening previous, we had received “marching orders;” we were to start in thirty-six hours with three day's rations in haversacks.
December 11th, 1862—This morning, “Reveille” sounded and battalion line was formed at a very early hour. We left camp in a chilly, foggy mist, which appears in this country as soon as the sun goes down, and continues until the sun burns it off late
in the morning. Upon the left of the Color Company, and forming part of it is the Color Guard, composed of a Corporal from each company, who carry their muskets with bayonets fixed, for the better protection of the Colors, and the Color Bearer, who ranks as a Sergeant. The Color Company is the right centre company, bringing the colors in the centre of the regimental line. My place was on the right of the rear rank.
In our Color-Sergeant, Theodore Parkman, I found a very able and agreeable person, who fully merited all the commendation and honor that had been bestowed upon him. The Color Guard with our comrades on the expedition had a long weary march in the sun, with overcoats on and loaded with our Spring-field rifles, dipper, canteen, haversack containing three days rations, forty rounds of cartridges, rubber and woolen blankets, rolled horse-collar fashion. We were veritable mules and were only too glad to lie down and rest, when the order came to halt at noon.
That night we camped in a large corn-field. Sergeant Parkman and I arranged to share blankets that night, so after gathering some rails, cornstalks, coarse grass, etc., I spread my rubber and woolen blankets on them, leaving his blankets and waterproof coat to cover us with. We ate our supper and then turned in with feet toward the rail fire.
Friday, December 12th.—Early this morning we were again on our way, marching a long distance through the road opened by the pioneers, the night before, the Confederates having felled forest trees to impede our progress. This evening we took a road to the left, off the main road, marching till late, at a quick pace through a swampy country, camping near a planter's house. Each of the Color Guard returned to his own company for the night. While securing some rails for fuel, and to lie upon, I got confused and lost my way back to the regiment, and was calling out “Company A, Forty-Fifth” when a cousin A. H. of the Forty-Third Massachusetts, near whose bivouac it seems I had wandered, came up, and called me by name, recognizing my voice. We had not met for years and neither of us knew that the other had enlisted.
THE COLOR GUARD
Saturday, December 13th.—Again on the march and in the middle of the forenoon we could hear firing in front, which proved to be our artillery shelling the woods.
Later we came to an opening where our cavalry had had a skirmish with the Confederate troopers. Our cavalry, the Third New York, with reins on their horses’ necks, revolver in one hand, and sword in the other, had put spurs to their horses, and dashed upon the enemy. We marched into a field, passing a building on our left, where were surgical instruments and stretchers which had been used. We formed line of battle with other regiments, expecting a battle immediately, but the regiments in front, and then our regiments laid down and many were soon asleep. Sergeant Parkman, myself and others wrote in our diaries.
Sunday, December 14th.—We were early on the march this morning, often on the “Double Quick,” through a country which apparently had been flooded. Firing was distinctly heard in the advance at ten o'clock. As we passed Major-General Foster and Staff, who were dismounted, I heard him say to one of his aides, “Go in with this battalion and see that it is properly placed.” Soon the Regiment was in the swamp and under fire in the battle of Kinston, which lasted for three or four hours. After the battle we crossed the bridge and marched into Kinston, where our Regiment was detailed for “Provost Duty,” which kept us awake about all night.
Tuesday, December 16th.—We reached Whitehall, our Regiment being the Advance Infantry, where we supported a battery on our right, changing front in the road by the order, “On right, by file into line,” when we were ordered to lie down. Later we fell back behind a rail fence skirting the road, that we might have some protection, and move out of the range of the Confederate fire.
Another of our batteries that was in our rear across the field, were ordered to depress their guns more, answered that “they were already firing under the Colors of the Regiment in front,” meaning our Regiment. It was a great artillery duel. The air was full of shot and bursting shells. One, about a 4-inch shell,
struck the ground in front of the Color Guard, bounded and struck our Color-Bearer, Sergeant Parkman, in the left temple, and passing over the rear rank, landed near Colonel Codman, when we pushed it farther to the rear. Fortunately it did not explode. Upon finding our Color-Sergeant injured, the Colonel ordered his removal to the rear. Color-Corporals Brooks, Keating and myself lifted him and carried him to the rear of the line.
Upon reaching a dry water-course we had to rest when the other two went for a stretcher. I remained with the Sergeant, standing a conspicuous mark for the Confederate Sharpshooters, the zip of whose bullets I was only too conscious of. With the stretcher we carried our burden more comfortably. We took him to the Field Hospital, where the surgeon after an examination, and applying some lint to the wound, said he could do nothing for our Color Bearer. I do not think he was conscious after being struck. When Chaplain Stone appeared, I took the Sergeant's watch, keys and diary and handed them to the Chaplain, and then with sad hearts we all returned to our place at the Colors. As the Colors fell from the hands of Sergeant Parkman, they were seized by Colonel Codman who gave them to Color-Corporal Green to carry. That evening the Color-Corporals were ordered to appear at headquarters when Colonel Codman designated Sergeant Green as color bearer.
December 30, 1862.—Orders were read on “Dress Parade” of the appointment of Major General Foster as commander of the Eighteenth Army Corps, and of the First Brigade to be composed of the Seventeenth, Forty-Third, Forty-Fifth and Fifty-First Massachusetts Regiments, Colonel T. J. C. Amory, Commanding.
January 1st, 1863.—Major Sturgis with others started for Kinston and Whitehall, under a flag of truce, to recover the bodies of Sergeant Parkman, Elbridge Graves and others, to be sent home.
Color-Sergeant Ebenezer Green left camp with his company which had been detailed for service at Fort Macon, and therefore did not officiate as color bearer, until after his company's return to the regiment.
January 25th, 1863.—Orders were read on “Dress Parade,” detailing our regiment for “Provost Duty” in New Berne. Upon our arrival in town the captain of the Color Company H, was ordered to escort the regimental colors to headquarters, preceded by the band, the color bearers marching between the platoons. Upon our arrival the color bearers flanked by a lieutenant and sergeant deposited the colors at Colonel Codman's headquarters, after which the guard was dismissed, they seeking their several companies, which were quartered in dwelling-houses. As the color corporals were required to be always ready to accompany the colors, they were exempt from guard duty, but were frequently detailed for other duties. The provost marshal ordered a public bell to be rung daily at 12 M. and 8.45 P. M. After the latter hour passes were to be examined and the negroes must be in their quarters. Colonel Codman thought a color corporal could ring the public bell, and on February 9th, Lieutenant Emmons, the acting regimental quartermaster, detailed me as “Bell Ringer of New Berne,” with instructions to apply for a pass and a key to the Baptist Church on Middle Street. After a little practice and instruction from a fellow corporal, I became quite expert in ringing a set bell, holding it inverted on the long and short rope.
Hd. Qrs. 45th, Mass. Regimt. Newbern, Feb. 9th, 1863.
Special Order No. 15.
Corporal Chittenden of Co. A, is hereby detailed to ring the bell at the Baptist Church at 12 o'clock M. and 8.45 P. M. until further notice.
By order of Col. Codman, G. C Winsor, Adjt.
Provost Marshal's Office, Newbern, N. C., Feb'y 10th, 1863.
Please deliver the Key of Baptist Church on Middle St. to Corpl. Chittenden who has been detailed to ring the Bell at 9 o'clock.
George F. Woodman, Lieut. Dep. Provost Marshal.
To His Excellency Gov. Stanley.
I have not the Key, I never have had it.
Edw. Stanley, Brig. Gen.
10th, Feby. 1863.
Provost Marshal's Office, Newbern, N. C. Feb'y 10th, 1863.
Guards will pass Corp'l Chittenden until 9½ O'clock P. M. until further notice.
George F. Woodman, Lieut. Dep. Provost Marshal.
As a result of this new occupation, or duty, the occupants of our room in Company A's quarters, eight of us, christened our quarters, “The Bell Ringer's Mess.” While quartered in town, we had many visitors, and many a larder was emptied, and many a time the last cent was spent to entertain these friends. Fresh oysters were easily obtainable, and with pies, cakes, oranges, figs and lemonade, we could spread quite a repast.
February 23rd.—Upon the return of the regiment from battalion drill today, General Foster saluted our Colors, taking off his cap—the regiment coming to “shoulder arms” from “right shoulder shift,” as they marched by him.
February 25th.—Was a grand review of the Eighteenth Army Corps. The marching by company front and dipping of the colors, were executed by our regiment in a very creditable manner.
April 1st. 1863.—Ordered to have forty rounds in our cartridge boxes.
April 5th.—Went to church this afternoon with guns and equipments, and listened to Chaplain Stone. During his sermon he stopped and gave notice that the Third Regiment M. V. M. were under marching orders and waited for those present, members of that regiment, to retire.
April 25th.—Our regiment was relieved from provost duty by the Forty-Fourth Regiment, M. V. M. After our line was formed General Foster appeared, receiving the salute due his rank, when he expressed his appreciation of the manner in which
the Forty-Fifth had performed their duty. Upon leaving our quarters the “Bell Ringer's Mess” left a floral arch in the room.
WELCOME 44th, COMPLIMENTS OF COMPANY A, 45th.
with the names of the eight occupants appended.
In the fight at Dover Cross Roads—owing to Company H having been sent on special service that morning, Company A acted as Color Company in the centre of the deployed line and on the roadbed of the railroad. Owing to the absence of Colonel Amory, Colonel Codman was in command of the Brigade, and ordered Lieutenant-Colonel Fellows of the Seventeenth Massachusetts to hold his regiment in readiness to support the deployed line. Colonel Codman ordered Company A, Forty-Fifth by “platoons into line” then “first platoon, Ready, Aim, Fire, lie down,” repeating these orders to the second platoon then “Rise up, first platoon, fix bayonets, forward, double-quick march!” but were soon halted when were repeated the loading and firing, and the whole deployed line received the order to “Charge, Double Quick!” Company A and the color guards rushed forward along the railroad, over loose sleepers, burnt crooked rails, etc., Captain Denny reaching the works among the first, the colonel and the guard close up. The color bearer, Corporal Keating, waved the colors from the highest point, then planted the staff in the earth. The colors were the Massachusetts State Flag, the United States Regimental Flag having been sent North to be inscribed with “Kinston, Whitehall and Goldsboro.” We had just fairly got down into the works when the Confederates fired a volley at us from the woods on our left, which was returned with vigor.
After supper that night I turned in under our rubber blanket roof, lying on a Confederate blanket, made of carpet lined with cotton cloth, which I had been sitting on while making my coffee, although unknown to me then. Private Hoffman
of Company K was Colonel's Orderly the day before and had slept with the color guard, so as to be near the colonel, and had slept next to me.
He had taken this blanket from one of the dead Confederates inside the earthworks, and brought it back with him. He proposed to spread it so that I might have the use of it with him. At first I had a feeling of repugnance, but finally thought it would be much more comfortable to use it, although not with. out a feeling of pity for the poor fellow, though a Confederate, who used it probably the night before.
May 18th.—This evening General Wild, his aid Colonel Beecher and Mr. Edward W. Kinsley, were in camp and we had some fine singing in Company A Street.
May 23rd.—Just after roll call tonight we were hurried up to Batchelder's Creek to reinforce the Fifty-Eighth Pennsylvania whose camp had been attacked and their colonel killed.
May 26th.—The regiment in full dress turned out to escort, with others, the remains of Colonel Jones to the steamer, the line being formed at Captain Messenger's, the Provost-Marshal's house. Colonels acted as pall-bearers, General Foster marching in the procession.
May 31.—Had taken exceptional pains in cleaning my gun and equipments for the rigid inspection and review to take place this afternoon, when I received orders to carry the blue banner. Upon our return the regiment was complimented for the precision of its marching by “Company front” and the color bearers for the accuracy of their salute in the regular and even-dipping of the three colors.
June 24.—The regiment broke camp, proceeded to Morehead City and embarked for Boston. On Boston Common we received a great ovation and an artillery salute; whereupon many of the comrades dropped to the ground as they had been accustomed to do in the enemy's country, but quickly got up laughing.
Several years after the war, on the occasion of the dedication of the Soldier's Monument on Boston Common, September 17th, 1877, the three Forty-Fifth Regimental Flags were carried by Color-Corporals Keating, Dakin and Chittenden. Since then the
National and State Flags have been in Doric Hall, State House, the State Blue Banner, mounted and framed is placed on the north wall of the Cadet Armory Drill Hall, near which hangs the portrait of Color-Bearer Sergeant Theodore Parkman.
The members of the Color Guard were, Color-Bearer, Sergeant Theodore Parkman of Company H; Color-Bearer, Sergeant Ebenezer Green of Company I; Color Corporals Albert A. Chittenden of Company A: George Tucker of Company B: George F. Woodward of Company C: George L. Haines of Company D: John W. Brooks of Company E: Arthur Dakin of Company F: Nathan Warren, (afterwards on detached duty) and George G. Adams of Company G: Charles S. Russell of Company H: John W. Keating of Company K; of the above only two, Corporal George L. Haines of D, of Sandwich and Corporal Albert A. Chittenden of A, of Boston, are now living.
A Sketch of the Life of Theodore Parkman.
BY ALICE PARKMAN CARTER.
THEODORE PARKMAN was the eldest child and only son of John Parkman. His mother's maiden name was Susan Parkman Sturgis. He was of the purest New England blood, and belonged to a Boston family, but was born in Paris, on January 22nd, 1837, and owing to his father's profession as a Unitarian minister, his son spent nearly his entire life away from Boston in Greenfield, Mass., in Dover, N. H., and Staten Island, New York.
In 1857, Theodore graduated from Columbia College, and after two years’ study of chemistry, went with his father to Germany, and spent a year at Göttingen under the famous chemist, Professor Wöhlen. In 1860, he took his degree of Doctor of Philosophy, and afterwards studied for another year at the University of Heidelberg, under Professor Bunsen. It was during the year at Heidelberg that Theodore's happy life was marred by the gathering shadows, in the dear country beyond the sea, where the fear of civil war became a certainty by the Spring. It was expected however, to be only a question of a few short months, and there seemed no reason therefore for Theodore to break up his studies and hasten home, though news reached him that many of his young friends and relatives who were on the spot when the war broke out, had entered the army, and had already been sent to the South. Among the relatives was his own first cousin, Robert G. Shaw, and his intimate second cousin Henry S. Russell. In October, 1861, the family returned to America, and settled permanently in Boston, and Theodore entered the Scientific School at Harvard, in order to be able to work in the laboratory. His education as a chemist was now finished, and he was waiting for an opportunity to use it practically. It was this short stay of less than a year at the Scientific School which gave his family the great happiness, in later years, of seeing his name on one of the marble tablets in Memorial
REGIMENTAL COLORS. 45TH REGIMENT M. V. M. AND BLUE BANNER
COLOR-SERGT. THEODORE PARKMAN
Hall, and of having his portrait accepted to hang close to that of his cousin, Colonel Shaw.
Theodore would have liked to enter the army soon after his return from Europe, and all that kept him from doing so was the knowledge that he was his parent's only son, upon whom they depended to be the head of the family when they themselves should have left their three young daughters, one of whom was, at this time, only twelve years old.
The time was near however, when he felt he could no longer refuse the call of his country. In the summer of 1862, there were terrible reverses before Richmond, and one day in August, the papers brought the news that President Lincoln had issued a call for three hundred thousand more men. It was at that time that James Gibbons of New York wrote one of the most famous of the War poems, “We are coming Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more,” and Theodore Parkman was one of the three hundred thousand who gave their answer “We are coming.”
The day that the news came he said nothing of what was in his mind, but the next morning he quietly said to his family that he felt that he must go. His parents made no opposition, terrible as was their dread of losing their only son. His father began at once to make inquiries about getting him a commission, and was told that there would probably be a good deal of delay. When this was reported to Theodore, he said without hesitation, that he wished to go as a private soldier, for that the need was for men immediately and not later. This resolution was also not opposed by his parents, and won their respect for their son's judgment and conscience, though he was not yet twenty-six years old. His father only asked him, “Are you quite sure that you realize the life of a private? I suppose you might have to dig all day in the trenches, or help to clean the camp.” Theodore answered, with a quiet smile, “Well, you know, father, I am not going for the fun of the thing.” That was all. A man with a more ready flow of language, would have enlarged upon his feelings, and talked of duty, patriotism and self-sacrifice, but Theodore was not a talker. In one of his last letters from North Carolina he wrote to his mother, “You know I was never much of a hand at expressing my feelings,” and it was true.
So after making the supreme sacrifice, well realizing the possible consequences, he only expressed the fact by saying that it was not done “for the fun of the thing.” Immediately after coming to this decision, he began to drill, and passed his medical examination, which to his amusement took place in the steeple of the Park Street Church, that being a conveniently private place, far from the world below, where the Examining Surgeon could meet the recruits. The Forty-Fifth Regiment was chosen for Theodore's enlistment because the Colonel was his cousin by marriage, and the Major, his own first cousin, and although a private soldier would not be brought in contact with the field officers, it was a comfort to his family to know that he was going with those who knew and were interested in him.
After the regiment went into camp at Readville, Theodore's history up to the day of his death is contained in the history of the regiment, and need not be added here, for his sisters were asked for only a short account of his life and personality.
Among several notices of his death, one month after leaving home, there was one written by George William Curtis, who, like Colonel Codman, was a cousin by marriage. In this it was said that he was “A youth, so pure and noble, that his face was beautiful.” Let those true words, written by one who knew him since he was a child, be a fitting close to this brief sketch of Theodore Parkman written by one of his two surviving sisters, to both of whom he was, and is, inexpressibly dear.
Tablet in Memorial Hall, Harvard University.
10th, February, 1863.
16th, December, 1862. Whitehall, N. C.
George Brooks (brother of Phillips Brooks) of Company A, Forty-Fifth Regiment, M. V. M., died at Stanley Hospital, New Berne, N. C.
HENRY C. WHITCOMB
JOHN A. SPOFFORD
MYRON W. WHITNEY
JOHN R. MORSE
MEMBERS OF THE BAND
|HENRY C. WHITCoMB||JOHN A. SPOFFORD|
|MYRON W. WHITNEY||JOHN R. MORSE|
The Cadet Band.
BY PRIVATE JOHN R. MORSE, A MEMBER OF THE BAND.
THE Forty-Fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Militia was mustered into service September 15th, 1862. Contrary to the custom established in the early part of the war, the Forty-Fifth had no band. Two months prior to this time all the regimental bands had been “mustered out” by orders from headquarters. This was done because the men were enlisted as musicians, and not as soldiers, liable to do active duty in the field. As time went on, these musicians numbered into the many thousands, and it was held that the enormous expense to the government was not warranted, considering that such service was of the ornamental, rather than of the most serious kind. But Colonel Codman said a band he would have, and in this he was warmly seconded by the officers and men of the Forty-Fifth. He instituted a search among the men of the different companies for those who were musical, and who had more or less knowledge of musical instruments used in bands. As a result, details were made from the several companies, as follows:
Company A. Charles P. Goldsmith, Robert B. Hasty, John R. Morse.
Company D. Alva M. Richardson.
Company E. Henry Cummings, Henry L. Saxton, Henry C. Whitcomb, John D. Whitcomb.
Company G. Danforth K. Olney.
Company H. John A. Jones, James R. McLeran.
Company I. John L. Collyer, Freeman D. Hopkins, Joseph K. Melcher, John A. Spofford, Myron W. Whitney.
Company K. Hosea E. Holt.
These men were organized into a band and John A. Spofford was made leader, with the rank of Sergeant.
It was understood that these men should give up their guns, and henceforth serve as musicians, unless by reason of great loss
they should be needed as fighting men, in which case every man should return to his company. They were, in either capacity, to receive the same pay, the same company rations, and the same clothing. Our “gridiron front” of blue stripes was the only distinguishing mark of the band.
Our duties were to furnish music in camp at “guard mount” and “dress parade,” give evening concerts, or whatever else was necessary for the good and pleasure of officers and men. It should be said that our instruments were furnished by officers and friends of the regiment. At the expiration of our term of service each member was generously presented with the instrument he used. Being “armed” with musical instruments we began preparations for our first appearance at “dress parade.” In this we were greatly helped by Seignor Mariani, the old drum major of Gilmore's Band. He was very tall and commanding in appearance, always proud, and at the same time, jolly. When he marched before us, dressed in his gorgeous uniform, with his long gold-headed baton and his bearskin hat, with pompom topping all, he was inspiring. I used to think of him as a “moving shield” to cover the defects of our inexperienced work.
To be of interest, this article should call up the events of our campaign in which we, as a band, were able to be of real service to the regiment, in camp, or in the field, or were able to encourage and keep alive military spirit, cheerfulness and content. The men of the band had pride enough in their own organization, and pride enough in the regiment to feel duly responsible for results. Whatever may be said, they were, in my opinion, conscientious, reasonably ambitious, willing to practice individually and together, and it is only fair to say that they wanted to be taught and drilled a great deal more than they were. Any amount of effective professional drill would have been welcome. Notes and letters written by myself, during our service, are lost, and my “forgetting” is big. A thousand and one things, more or less important, were jotted down, but are now forgotten. A few things remain in the memory, and as I dwell upon them, I am made happy in the belief that the band was appreciated by the officers and men of the regiment. We
often received words of satisfaction and praise. The Adjutant and Quartermaster were untiring in their efforts to quarter us comfortably, and as a company, by ourselves, when possible, as was the case in Camp Amory and at Newbern. We received evidences of cordiality in many ways, which, though they might be small, meant a great deal, and helped smooth the rough edges of army life. Our “gridiron front” was generally recognized with a “hel-lo band,” and was a passport to the quarters of any company cook. Do not look lightly upon such a privilege! Do not, for a moment, suppose that if the commissary furnishes certain things to feed a regiment, that all the companies of that regiment will be fed and nourished alike.
There were cooks and cooks, then, as now. An untidy, unskilful army cook will injure the temper and efficiency of the best company. He can cultivate “cursing” and in his position between the commissary and the man with the gun, he can give less satisfaction than any “middleman” I know of in the commercial world. I quote from letters received from time to time, showing how the Forty-Fifth Band was appreciated during service and how it is remembered after a lapse of forty-five years. Adjutant Winsor writes suggesting that the tune known to this day as “cut-cut-cut-a-cut” be printed in the regimental history. This tune was one of the first, if not the very first lesson given out by the leader for the band “to get together” on, and it is imbedded in the memory of every man. It is easy to reproduce the printed notes, but the “music” of the tune lives only in the memory of those who heard it, as it was then played by the “Cadet Band,” John A. Spofford, leader, and solo cornet player. At first it was called “that squawking tune,” then the “cut-cut-cut-a-cut,” words fit the music very well. After the war it was rescued by the Adjutant, dressed up in printer's ink and christened “The Cadet Waltz.” But what's in a name? The tune is as good as by any other, and now after a lapse of forty-five years, if a band man meets an old comrade of the “Forty-Fifth,” he will generally strike an attitude, and begin to sing or whistle,
as a token of recognition. The regiment adopted the tune, as Harvard adopted “John, the Orangeman,” and gave him a donkey. At regimental reunions, our thoughtful Secretary, John D. Whitcomb, never fails to have it on the programme for the band to play, just for days of “Auld Lang Syne.”
The adjutant is quite right. The “Cadet Waltz” certainly belongs here. Corporal Augustus S. Lovett has pleasing recollections of the “Cadet Band” and writes as follows:
“My first knowledge that a band was being organized was a detail from Company A, which included comrades John R. Morse, Robert B. Hasty and Charley Goldsmith. Soon discordant sounds from the retreat of the musicians, indicated that they were “getting together,” and exerting themselves to produce harmony of action, which in due time, bore fruit in making our band a great credit to our regiment as a whole, and the admiration of each individual.
I recall the first “dress parade” in which they participated. The leader, Mr. Spofford, proud of his following, leading off with his cornet, in a step which seemed to indicate, “See, what I have produced.” The Whitcomb Brothers, John D. and Henry, who beat the big drum. The sedate artist who managed the cymbals, the rakish drummer, Jones, these, and the others, loom up, even after the lapse of more than forty years. How the old “Cut-cut-ca-da—cut” springs up in the memory, their maiden effort, never forgotten, and brought up often at regimental reunions. By the time we left Readville, we had a band that did well their part. As we marched through the city and on our return to Boston, the results of their long practice and devotion to their duties, showed itself in the development of a body of musicians that any regiment might be proud of. Of their service in camp, on the march, in the field and in the many details they were called upon to perform, others can speak with better knowledge than can I. But I take pleasure in recalling our comrades of the band and adding my testimony to their ability as musicians, and their patriotism as soldiers of the Union.”
Mr. Shields contributes the following account of the
DRUMMER'S ATTACK ON THE BAND AT CAMP AMORY.
For a week the drummers had been collecting broken hardtack from every source about camp, and storing it in an empty bunk. At last when the drummers came in from their last duty of the day, beating “Taps,” they held their last council, while undressing. Each company barracks was divided by the entrance and the fire-place opposite. The only light came from the wood fire. All was quiet, except for a few snores up among the bandmen, who occupied the upper end, beyond the fire place. Soon there was quite a shower of broken hard tack among the bandmen, and it was kept up in spite of all their protests. At last Spofford, the leader of the band, got out of his bunk, which was just what the boys wanted, so they could pelt him from head to foot. He said he would “report them in the morning,” but they cared nothing for to-morrow, for it was now they were having their good time.
At last Spofford dressed and went to find the officer of the day. When the officer appeared he called the boys in their undress, about him in front of the fire. “Boys,” he said, “how many of you took part in throwing this hardtack?” pointing to the floor. Not an answer. “I will only say to you now, that if you repeat it you will be marched away from your quarters. Return to your bunks.” All became quiet. After a while, when the boys were sure there was no one on the watch, they started in again, throwing hard tack. Spofford was now mad, and again went for the officer of the day. This time he came with a corporal and file of men. “Boys, turn out and dress, put on your shoes, blouse and cap. Fall in here by the door, two and two.” The corporal marched them to the wood pile. The officer of the day then told them to each take a stick. “You can drag it, or carry it on your shoulder, or put it under your arm, but “tote” it, you must.”
For two hours the corporal kept them on the move, with a halt at the end of the first hour. They were right glad to get back to their bunks and never again did they take part in any disorder. There were other kinds of mischief, however, that paid better.
I quote from a letter from John D. Whitcomb, Secretary of the Regimental Association, who was a member of the band. He says :
“To me recollections of the band's service, musically, have always been clouded with reflections as to what we did do in music, and as to what we might have done, under different circumstances. However, we may take to ourselves comfort from the words of Colonel Codman, who publicly said, “It was a good band, that is to say, it became a good band.” I put some considerable value on the service of the band in the several affairs the regiment was engaged in as an Ambulance Corps. You probably yourself know, that in the line of duty, the mere fact of one member of the band being twice required to cross the line of fire of both forces, undoubtedly saved the lives of several members of our own regiment from the fire of one of our own batteries, several members of our own regiment having already been killed by the unfortunately located battery, directly enfilading our troops. You probably, will not forget that, at least, the band was thought to be good enough, to be detailed as the Band of the First Brigade, First Division, Eighteenth Army Corps.” The reference in the above to the band as an Ambulance Corps, is well deserved and should be extended. The bandmen had been well taught by the surgeon how to give first aid to the wounded, and how to use stretchers, bandages and tourniquets. We were to go with the regiment into battle, rescue the wounded, if possible, and carry them to the field hospital. We were liable to be sent as messengers on dangerous errands, as the one referred to by comrade Whitcomb.
At Kinston, our first engagement, we found our services needed as an Ambulance Corps. Just before the Forty-Fifth went into action, we received orders to file to the right, and in doing so, soon found ourselves between one of our own batteries and the enemy. The result was the loss of a few of our men by our own battery before they found the proper elevation.
It was here that we first witnessed the horrors of war, and I have no words to tell how terrible it was to see men killed by their own friends by mistake, an error of judgment. I have no
doubt that thousands of good soldiers lost their lives during the war, in similar ways. The band, of course, had work to do with their stretchers in removing the wounded from the field. The battle was not of long duration, but it was severe. The enemy retreated across the bridge to Kinston, our army following, and driving them through, and beyond the town. Our victorious army now went into quarters for the night. The band laid aside their stretchers, found their instruments, which had been left in care of the quartermaster, and resumed their pleasant and more peaceful duties, as musicians. We were ordered to the colonel's headquarters, where we made as cheerful music as possible, under the circumstances. As we turned in for the night we were too tired to dwell upon forebodings of the morrow, when we were liable to fight again, or even dream of the day's experience. It was thought that the enemy might return and attack us in the night. We cared little about it, for we knew the town was well guarded.
At Whitehall the Forty-Fifth Regiment was exposed to the shot and shell of the opposing force as well as from sharpshooters who were in the treetops. It was here that our Color-Sergeant Theodore Parkman received his mortal wound. One of Belger's gunners was seen to fall. Four ambulance men immediately went across the open space, placed the wounded man on their stretcher, and carried him off the field, while heavy shot and musket balls were much in evidence. I mention these instances to show that while acting as ambulance corps the members of the band were greatly exposed. After the successful battle of Goldsboro, the object of the expedition having been accomplished, we gathered up our “war-worn” instruments and attempted to play patriotic airs. This attempt under difficulties is aptly described by comrade Pike in his reminiscences.
From this time till we got back to Camp Amory, the band attempted no professional work, except to try to preserve their instruments and keep them from being entirely ruined. In obeying frequent orders to “double-quick” we found other uses for our wind. By the way, I never fully understood just why the return march from Goldsboro was conducted in such haste during the
first afternoon and the following forenoon of the following day. The orders, “close up” and “double quick” were frequently given, suggesting that the head of the column was moving rapidly. Now and then, an aide-de-camp would ride by towards the front, or towards the rear as if on pressing errands. Such movements were suggestive. The hills on the right and left and the turpentine forests, were convenient hiding places for the “rebs.”
Our forefathers were “rebs” on the 19th of April, 1775, and we knew from the books we have read, how they treated the British.
Were we to be treated to a dose of Lexington? But history did not repeat itself. We saw no “Minute men.”
- “Crossing the field to emerge again,
- Under the trees at the turn of the road,
- And only pausing to fire and load.”
Therefore, in time, we were reassured, and cuddled our beloved instruments, as mothers cuddle their babies after a fright. Musical instruments are delicate war tools. I don't think Colonel Codman took that into account, when he ordered his band to carry their instruments on the Goldsboro march. On later expeditions they were left in camp.
Whether or not the band had anything to do with the Forty-Fifth being ordered to New Berne, to do provost duty, I do not know, but always thought it had. We were detailed to do duty with the First Brigade Army Corps, and events proved that it was necessary that the band should be near headquarters.
In the picture the band is represented in front of their quarters in New Berne.
The band improved much while in New Berne, owing to the fact that they had a good place in which to practice and were ambitious to do as well as they could as a Brigade Band. In one way and another, mostly on account of individual interest and pride, a fairly good repertoire had been collected and the band felt prepared to furnish music for social as well as for military occasions.
The crowning event of our service came with our return to
THE CADET BAND
Boston. After landing from the Spaulding and the Tilly, we formed near the wharf, and with a squad of police in front to clear the way, the colonel and staff in our rear, we led the regiment up through State Street and Beacon to the Common, amid generous applause.
Some years afterwards, I saw in a Boston paper, an account of the return of the Forty-Fifth, by some one who signed himself “March Past.” Of the band, he said, “It is remembered that the Cadet Band of the Forty-Fifth Regiment, during a halt on State Street near the old State House, gave a brief concert for the benefit of the crowds assembled on the street. They played among other selections, a well-known and difficult march by Grafula.
The applause of the audience indicated that the selection was good and that the band played it well.”
The following article entitled “Music in the Army,” although not relating especially to the Cadet Band, will I am sure be appreciated in this connection, inasmuch as it was written by John D. Whitcomb, a member of the band.
The article appeared in the Boston Transcript, August 9, 1890.
“General Orders No. 15, dated May 4th, 1861, issued by the War Department, give the plan of organization of the volunteer forces called into service by the President on the day previous to that date.
The men enlisting under this call were to be subject to the laws and regulations governing the Army of the United States, and the orders specified that a band of twenty-four musicians should be included as a part of each regimental organization. Besides this band two musicians for the ordinary martial music were allowed each company, and two principal musicians were allotted to serve the whole regiment. Such liberal provision for music shows that the glory of the army was considered incomplete without an abundance of the blare of horns, the clash of cymbals and the boom and rattle of drums.
This view of the importance of music to the military halo was held not only in the army, but also by the civilian masses of the people at the early war period. Individuals of the latter class possibly often estimated a position in the band as being one of special opportunity for distinction in the field, as all the troops they had ever seen, marched with a drum major and the band at the right of the line and the bravest
were generally supposed to be those placed in front. But battles are never fought in that order of formation, and bands, though they may have their usefulness in other directions are never expected to lead bayonet charges with music. An historical occasion is remembered when, at the critical moment of a collision with a secession mob during the early days of the war, the musicians found themselves unpleasantly at the front. This occasion was at the time of the passage through Baltimore, on April 19th, 1861, which was attempted by the band marching at the head of one wing of the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment. Probably blood flowing from the wounds of these musicians was some of the earliest shed in the Union cause.
Certainly this band was the first of any body of the troops to return home disabled; for not only did the members of it receive bodily wounds from “clubs,” paving stones, and the various missiles availed of by the mob in resisting their onward way, but also their musical instruments which played “Yankee Doodle,” and other patriotic tunes, were ruthlessly beaten out of shape, and the usefulness of the band for any of the legitimate purpose of music in the army was for the time being, neutralized. The members of the band in some instances, owed their lives to the protection of several of the loyal and humane citizens of Baltimore, and after a few days of such safety at private hands they returned to Massachusetts to recover from wounds and secure new instruments for service. A period between the spring of 1861 and mid-summer of 1862—something over a year—was when music was at its best in the army. The militia regiments from the different loyal States went forward at the first to Washington and other points menaced, for a three months’ tour of duty, and each regiment took with it its regimental band, composed generally of the best military professional musicians resident in the locality from which the regiment took its departure. The short-term troops returned from their tour of duty and were replaced by those of longer terms. Musicians who had served with the three months’ troops having gained much in general proficiency and having become familiarized with the military field movements were engaged to go with the regiments then being formed for the longer terms. Inducements were held out to quicken the enlistment of recruits by publicly announcing that a famous band would be attached to some particular regiment. Members of bands in the army at this time were graded in classes, and were mustered in ordinarily as “musicians for a band.” Besides the Government pay, which for most of the classes was above that of the private soldier, there was generally some arrangement, through a regimental fund, by the voluntary assessment of officers, or through contributions of friends of the different regiments, by which extra pay was provided to secure superior musicians. The Union Army included among its numerous regimental organizations, during the first
year and a half of the war, many bands from the Northern, Middle and Western States, which had national reputations as musical organizations. Among these were Gilmore's of Boston, and Dodworth's of New York.
In that first eighteen months of the early part of the war, in which the army was lying near Washington and on the near border of Virginia, visitors to the different camps of the regiments had nothing near so much to say about anything else they had seen or heard as they had to say in praise of the music of the Union Army bands. “I heard bands in the Army of the Potomac,” said one narrator who had visited the camps there in 1862, “that could play the music of an entire opera in faultless harmony without looking at the notes, from the beginning to the end.” Slight knowledge only of music is necessary to make one aware that a statement so inclusive is an exaggeration; but that there were excellent bands in the army at that time there is no doubt, and the rivalry as to which regiment had the best, was nearly as great as the competition in regard to which regiment, brigade, division or corps, excelled in the school of the soldier. On June 30th, 1862, there were in the service of the United States Government according to the official statement of Adjutant-General Richard C. Drum, six hundred and forty-six thousand nine hundred and seventeen troops. If the maximum aggregate of one thousand and forty-six officers and men be allowed to each regiment (which would be an over proportion as many regiments had only the minimum aggregate of eight hundred and sixteen officers and men) then there were, in a round total of six hundred and eighteen regiments, with the allowance of twenty-four musicians for the band, twenty more for drummers, and two more for principal musicians, to all appearances twenty-eight thousand, four hundred and twenty-eight men enlisted as musicians, and fourteen thousand, eight hundred and thirty-two of these men were serving, or according to the organization of the army should have been serving, strictly as band men, divided into six hundred and eighteen or more bands. On July 17th, 1862, a bill containing sections ordering the muster-out of regimental bands passed in Congress, and was approved by the President. This bill contained the proviso that each brigade in the volunteer service be allowed to have sixteen musicians in a band. The carrying into effect of the provisions of this bill resulted in the going out of service, within thirty days from its passage, of nearly all of the bands of volunteer troops in the army, very few of the men composing the regimental bands being willing to serve as musicians on such terms as were offered men of superior musical ability, the pay, the length of service, and possible requirements of duty being those of a regular enlisted soldier. Musicians who had served in the army as bandmen had become familiar with the impossibility of merging their professional duties with those of the ordinary soldier, who carried a rifle. Acting as ambulance corps, bands could be and
were, very useful, and members of bands in the army sometimes ran great risks of losing their lives. Indeed some were killed; but such an unfortunate event immediately crippled the band. Except in camp or on parade, and for lightening the tedium of the soldiers’ lives when not on active duty, musical instruments played by a band were not largely of general usefulness to guide in step, or in any way help the movements of regiments. When the bands which had been mustered out in July, 1862, and which had done good duty during the war up to that period, ceased to perform their peculiar service, the numbering of the regiments sent out from Massachusetts had reached to about the forties. After that time all bands attached to regiments and under the control of its commanding officer, were composed of strictly enlisted men, on the same footing for pay, rations and duty as the soldier who carried a rifle. In fact the men composing these bands in some cases were only musicians when in camp or on parade and on the march or in action carried rifles. At Readville in the summer and autumn of 1862, the nine-months’ regiments were recruiting. The Forty-Third Massachusetts Regiment in camp there had Gilmore's famous band, which had been mustered out, and had returned from its tour of duty in North Carolina with the Twenty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment. The Forty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment at its camp had Flagg's Boston Brass Band. The Forty-Fourth paid $3,000 for this band's service while in camp. It is likely the Forty-Third paid nearly the same amount.
It was no part of the contract that these bands should go to war with the regiments they had been in camp with, and upon the departure of the troops the bands escorted them to the transports upon which the soldiers were to be conveyed to North Carolina, and there the duties of the musicians ended.
Colonel Charles R. Codman, who was then raising the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts (Cadet) Regiment, also in Readville, at Camp Meigs, took a different view of the musical situation in his regiment, and immediately on going into camp set about forming a band out of his enlisted men, instruments being furnished by friends of the regiment. Many other regiments followed his example after reaching the front, but it is believed that this regimental band was the first to depart from Massachusetts as regular soldiers, musically equipped. After the muster-out of the bands in 1862, most excellent corps of musicians for marching purposes were formed out of the martial-music corps of regiments. Their music was most inspiring on the march, and the octave flutes and fifes playing different parts made really good music for war purposes, though for concert occasions it was monotonous. The bands enlisting after 1862 were eventually organized into drilled ambulance corps, and when in camp or in action were responsible for that duty. Their services in that direction were unquestionably of great value.
From a letter written by Army-Surgeon Edward P. Roche, concerning the battle of the North Anna River, the following is quoted: “To a request as to what I should do with the wounded, the reply came from Dr. Hogan at Crittenden's headquarters. ‘Do the best you can, but cross the river.’
To wait for the river to fall, which was greatly swollen by a terrific thunder storm, was perhaps to be captured, but how transport the wounded over such a flood? Their guns and equipments we threw into the river, and the dead had gone over, we need not trouble about them. There were no regular hospital attendants to call on; but fortunately the band of the Fifty-Sixth had been ordered back to the field hospital when the fight began, with orders to report to the surgeon for duty for the time. They were a fine body of young men and the most willing and reliable I ever found. I called them together and stated the case fully, and they promptly offered to get the wounded across by carrying them on their backs, two men wading and swimming with one wounded. The attempt was made but the men became so exhausted and chilled, it was abandoned. A raft was made from the flooring of an old mill near by, capable of sustaining three men at a time. No ropes could be had to pull the raft, and the only means of propulsion was for the men to strip off their clothing and swim and wade the river pushing the raft before them. It took six men most of the time to make the trip and they were up to their necks about all the time. The danger and labor of transporting fifty wounded men in this manner can hardly be understood by the civilian in these times of peace. They toiled all through that long summer night and into the daylight. We had many men during the war who struck printer's ink with much greater zeal and tact than they did the enemy, but in this case I can do justice to the band of the Fifty-Sixth Massachusetts.
Its members alone did the work and earned the praise. If they came from Cape Cod, as I always believed they did, they were a credit to it and the State.” Many other army surgeons could undoubtedly bear similar testimony as to the value of the services of bandmen in the army, not only in active service, but in promoting health and keeping up the spirits of the troops in camp.”
Four Months In Fort Macon, Dept. N. C.
By Sergeant Ephraim Stearns, of Co. G, 45th Reg. Mass. Vols.
From early Dec. ’62, to April ’63.
THE unexpected is ever the lot of the soldier. At dress parade of the regiment, the adjutant read out the order, “Company G, will proceed to garrison Fort Macon.” Our company was detailed because it was then commanded by a first lieutenant, Theodore A. Thayer, Captain Murdoch being on the staff of General Amory, and for the further reason that, in taking station at Fort Macon, where a regular company of artillery were in garrison, there might be no conflict in command. We were to relieve a company of the 3d New York Artillery, which was ordered back to Newbern, and afterwards as light artillery saw service in the engagements of Kinston, Whitehall and Goldsboro.’ The regulars were Co. “C,” 1st U. S. Artillery, with whom we were quartered for over two months, until they were ordered away on the Charleston expedition.
Company “G” received the order with mingled feelings, pleasure at a change of station, and regret at leaving the regiment and camp just occupied with quarters nicely fixed for winter. On the following morning our company was drawn up in heavy marching order, camp equipage packed, and marched to Newbern where we took train for Morehead City, thence by boat across the bay, to Fort Macon. We landed at the wharf, marched up the narrow railroad track leading to the fort, through the entrance and on to the parade ground where we were dismissed.
Fort Macon is situated at the extreme end of a peninsula commanding the entrance to Beaufort Harbor, with the ocean on one side and the sound on the other. The upper end of the peninsular was not occupied by our troops, but was neutral territory. The Fort had been captured with all its armament some months before from the Confederates.
SERGT, EPHRAIM STEARNS, COMPANY G
FORT MACON IN 1863
After being dismissed on the parade ground, the men were assigned to quarters in the fort. Each non-commissioned officer with a detail of privates had a casemate which was to be their abiding place for the winter. After living in barracks we found the casemates very comfortable and homelike with large open fire places where we burned logs of wood. At night, when the candles were extinguished at taps, we piled the fire places high with wood and by that light made merry with story and joke.
We soon settled down into garrison life, and formed many pleasant acquaintances with the men of the regular artillery who were with us in the fort. We were drilled as heavy artillery, our men serving at the guns side by side with the regulars, so that we speedily became fairly proficient in handling the heavy ordnance. The drill at the guns was interesting, and had the charm of novelty. Target practice with the heavy columbiads and thirty-two pounders, firing solid shot, gave us an opportunity to show how proficient we were in handling the heavy guns and how well we had learned our lesson from the regulars. Our infantry drill was not neglected as we had regular drills in a field outside the fort.
The little incidents of our life in the fort come to me now after the lapse of years with all the importance they had to me then. They are not great events, but as they broke up the monotony of every day life and seemed very large to me then, I will try to recall a few happenings.
The soldiers from the camp across the bay used to visit us at the fort. One day a party rowed over and had to stay over night as the wind and waves were so strong they could not return. We took them in and made them comfortable for the night. During the evening a man in our company who was always ready to talk on any subject, had monopolized the conversation until some of our visitors showed by their expression that they thought him a little out of his head. We were used to him and paid little attention. At last one of our men lost patience and said: “For God's sake write it, if you keep your mouth shut they will never know you are a fool.” Needless to add he subsided and kept quiet for the rest of the night.
Another crowd of soldiers who had been visiting us attempted to return to the mainland in a storm so severe that the sentry on the rampart saw that the boat was being blown out to sea. He called the officer of the day's attention to the danger of the party as their boat had struck on a reef in the harbor. The alarm was given and a boat crew of our soldiers under Lieutenant Thayer put out to their rescue, but they too came very near being shipwrecked on the same reef. As something had to be done at once, the commander of the post raised a signal of distress from the flag staff and requested a government tug to go to the rescue of both boats which was quickly accomplished.
One Sunday morning after inspection of quarters, our company was drawn up on the parade ground for inspection by the commander. Our lieutenant was quite proud of his company and after the inspection of quarters, wished to show our proficiency in the manual of arms to a few visiting officers. The men had on their white gloves, as was customary on this occasion. The manual was executed with a snap and go until the order, “right shoulder shift” was given, which was performed in a half hearted slovenly manner. Now, it had rained the night before, and there were puddles of water on the parade ground, so that the men were loath to put their hands on the bottom of the stocks of their muskets, for fear of soiling their gloves. While such conduct was not soldierly, the men did not think how it looked to outsiders, but considered their own appearance. Lieutenant Thayer was very wroth at the dilatory manner in which his repeated commands were executed, and his exasperation only increased the careless manner of the soldiers in executing right shoulder shift. The company were almost in a state of mutiny. We were finally dismissed to our barracks, and it was the talk of the company all day that our Lieutenant had never shown such exasperation with his men.
The next morning we had to pay for it. We got orders to parade with knapsacks packed on our backs. We were taken by the first sergeant outside the fort, and given a sharp drill. All had to suffer for the action of a few careless soldiers. This
knapsack drill was kept up for about a week, and the men took their medicine as though they enjoyed it. Finally the Lieutenant thought he had punished us enough. So ended the knapsack-drill.
There was a picket post some two miles up the island which was a favorite post for the guard. It was an independent command of a corporal and three privates, so the duties were not onerous. The tour of duty was for twenty-four hours. The guard quarters were an old wooden building with a bunk for the guard not on post, to lie on. I distinctly remember an old frying pan which we used in cooking salt pork and hard tack, quite an appetizing meal to us. Time used to hang heavily on our hands. We could not play cards as one of the four soldiers had to be on guard. One of our corporals, a good soldier, but prone to be original, was stationed at this picket post. He thought there was no danger in the day time from the enemy, and permitted the sentinel on post to leave his beat and join the rest in the building. The guns were all stacked outside the door, and the soldiers were inside enjoying themselves. The officer of the day in making his rounds came upon this scene, guns stacked, and no sentinel on post. In response to his command “Corporal, why is not your guard posted?” the corporal replied: “I didn't think there was any great necessity for it during the day.” The lieutenant said, “I have a very good mind to put you under arrest.” However, the reply seemed so droll to the officer, that he laughed and cautioned him not to let it occur again. The corporal never heard the last of this joke. This same corporal afterwards brought in two prisoners, poor whites, who had wandered down the island, and turned them over to the guard at the fort.
Beyond this picket post, the land was covered with stunted trees and bushes, and sparsely inhabited. A few of our men one day strolled beyond the picket lines and came to an old house occupied by white people. As usual, in North Carolina, there were many black pigs running wild. Naturally one of those pigs suggested fresh roast pork, and one was speedily captured without attracting attention. The transition of that pig to the
table through the agency of the cook was soon accomplished. All went merrily until the owner of the pig appeared at the fort and demanded payment. The lieutenant called upon the company to pool in money enough to pay for the pig. All parties were satisfied.
A rumor reached the commander of the fort that there were Confederates on the farther end of the island, which was not occupied by the Union troops. A sergeant and several soldiers were sent up to reconnoitre and see if there was any truth in it. They had their trouble for their pains as none of the enemy were found.
I remember on one occasion going past the picket post with my rifle, a confederate arm, taken at the time the fort was captured, in order to practice shooting at objects on the beach. I was wandering over the sand dunes when I came across a party of soldiers who had on black overcoats. I was somewhat surprised at seeing them, and before I could find out whether they belonged to our army I was hailed by one of them. I answered and asked them what regiment they belonged to. They said the 46th Mass., which relieved me somewhat, as I had forgotten that that regiment, owing to the scarcity of regulation blue, were obliged to take the black overcoats, when they entered the service.
After going off guard we had the next day in which to clean up and rest, being excused from all regular duty. On these occasions we always had an opportunity to go over to Beaufort.
Beaufort before the war was quite a summer resort. It had an old seaside hotel which was used by the Federals as a hospital. There was an old darkey by the name of “Cuff,” a name familiar to those of you who read this and belonged to the company, a good happy old fellow who came across the bay every morning to take over any of the soldiers who wanted to go to Beaufort.
There wasn't a great deal to do there, a few houses and stores, and an old hotel, where we used to get those famous dinners for fifty cents. I hardly think the landlord made much on us as we had unbounded appetites, and came away from his
tables well satisfied. There was a piano in the parlor, and some of us would go in there, and the writer played accompaniments to the old army songs, and what a good time we did have singing them.
The expedition against Charleston was fitted out in the harbor of Beaufort. The war vessels and the transports for the troops rendezvoused there for about a month before sailing.
We had an interesting time watching the preparations. The fleet consisted of monitors, gunboats, and transports. The troops were drawn largely from our department, and boarded the ships there. When they sailed from Beaufort Harbor, it was one of the sights never to be forgotten, the gunboats leading, followed by the monitors and transports. The start was made late in the afternoon, and as they sailed away south, they made a beautiful marine picture.
The fort was often visited by officers from the war vessels which came into the harbor from the blockading fleet. I recall one in particular, Captain Worden, who fought the Monitor against the Merrimac, in Hampton Roads. His face showed the marks of powder from a shell that had exploded near the conning tower, which nearly blinded him. He was a great hero to us at that time, and later was made Rear Admiral.
We had many visitors also from the army, often accompanied by ladies. What with our garrison duties and the instruction received in artillery drill, we were enabled later to be of service in garrisoning one of the forts built for the defense of Newbern.
None of the soldiers of the company were seriously sick during the time. We began to think that we should remain there during our term of enlistment, but fate was against us, as we were ordered back to Newbern on April 9th, and were assigned to fort Spinola, on the banks of the Neuse river, about two miles out of the city.
This ends the company's service at Fort Macon.
Captain Joseph Murdoch of Company G.
BY REV. EDWARD EVERETT HALE, D.D.
CAPTAIN Joseph Murdoch of this city died at his home in Roxbury, on the evening of the twenty-seventh of April, 1884, in the seventy-fourth year of his age.
It is not only a large circle of family friends and the larger circle of his old comrades in the army, who feel his loss and feel it keenly. His was one of those large and generous lives which render such service to all around that no one can willingly spare them. Captain Murdoch made himself the loved friend of every one with whom he had to do. And in the neighborhood in which he lived, in the church which he loved, in the associations of business, nay, even in casual acquaintanceships, or what would be such to other men, he had so endeared himself that there are hundreds of persons who in his death have lost something precious from their own daily lives and eagerly bring their sympathies to his family.
“If you want to know about him, ask the children.” Such was a casual phrase, which a man might be proud to deserve as an epitaph, which gives some idea of the affection which surrounded him everywhere and which he well deserved.
He was born in Cuba on the fourth of July, 1810. His friends used to tell him that his birthday gave the omen of his unflinching patriotism and loyalty to the country of his fathers and his home. When a little boy he was sent with four brothers to Boston, that they might be educated as American citizens. The little fellow was placed first at the school, still well remembered, established by Mrs. Stearns at Medford. Afterward he had the inestimable advantage of Dr. Abbott's care in the Academy of Exeter. He did not enter college as had been at one time proposed, where he would have been the classmate of his friends Thomas G. Appleton and Wendell Phillips. His father's death made a change in his life plan, and he entered as clerk
CAPT. JOSEPH MURDOCH, CO. G
into the well known house of Cunningham. It was while in their employ that he made voyages to as supercargo.
He then passed into the employ of the firm of Reed, Chadwick and Dexter, where he remained for many years, up to the outbreak of the Civil War. He was a book-keeper with them, and in the wide business of that firm, made a world of friends who honored and loved him.
In 1844 he married Miss Caroline Dorcas Smith, of Boston, and in 1847 removed to Roxbury to live, where he has ever since made his home and where, as always, he became the attached and intimate friend of all who knew him. In friendly society, in the neighborhood and in the church one might almost say everyone knew him and relied upon him. If he made up his mind that any special case of suffering needed charitable relief, everyone who knew him accepted his decision as the best that could be made. He became fairly a minister-at-large in the number and the variety of his kindnesses to those in need, involving endless sacrifices of time, patience and means, sacrifices which he would never have called by that name, but considered services quite of course and belonging to the commonplace of life.
To such a man, in his fifty-second year, came the call of the country in the Civil War. At a public meeting one eager speaker said something, to which Murdoch responded: “Good!”
“You may say ‘Good!’ but are you going yourself?” retorted the other.
“To be sure I am,” said Murdoch standing up.
And when an old cadet officer like him, who had passed what was called the limit of age, said this, it meant that hundreds of younger gentlemen would go where he led the way. He had long been well known in the Cadets, as ready for any duty of a soldier.
He was the senior captain in that admirable regiment, the 45th Massachusetts, with Colonel Codman, which was recruited and sent for service to North Carolina in 1862. At New Berne he was appointed, almost at once, as aide on the staff of General Amory, and it would be hard indeed to describe the variety into which such service ran. But it is a pleasure even
now, to speak of the credit which such men as he brought on Boston in the rough and tumble of war. The true courage was not disturbed even by the fear of being called “Boston Goodys.” Murdoch was a total abstainer by conviction. When there was so much danger of intemperance, his convictions were stronger than ever.
“But no one can drink this water; it will kill you if you do not mix whiskey with it.”
To which Murdoch said he came to die for his country if it were necessary, and he might as well die of cold water as by any other death.
Such men did good, not to be measured, in keeping up the respect due to the staff of a commander.
He received a slight wound on the expedition to Dover Cross Roads; at one time he was reported “killed.” But he returned to us well enough for another generation to know well that soldierly and athletic form, and for this generation of children to delight in his tendernesses.
Some men and some women will not understand or believe it, but it would be fair to say that he never went down town in the morning without turning over in his mind the condition and needs of a hundred people, to whom he had at one time or another been counsellor and friend, to ask himself whether they needed his help that day, and how he was to braid in with his, the thread of such lives. In the death of such a man we are thrown back to look on sixty years of unselfish loyal life for the good of others and of the community.
Such men are the salt that save the world.
SAMUEL B. SHAPLEIGH, CO. A
Hardtack and Coffee.
The Mud March: The Expedition to Jonesville, Pollocksville and Crenton.
By Private Samuel B. Shapleigh, of Company A.
WE had but fairly settled down after the Goldsboro expedition to the daily routine of drills and dress parade and recovered our wonted elasticity of body, when “orders” were read on January 14th for the regiment to be ready to move in “light marching order,” within twenty-four hours. Seven days’ rations were served out, five to be carried in our haversacks and two in the wagons. Our knapsacks were packed and left in charge of the invalid squad. At five o'clock the next morning “reveille” was beat. At six o'clock it was raining hard. In obedience to orders from Brigade Headquarters, Colonel Codman sent the regiment back to quarters to hold themselves in readiness to move at eleven o'clock, but as the storm still continued the regiment was dismissed indefinitely.
On the 17th the morning dawned clear and cold, and at eight o'clock we formed our regimental line and numbered four hundred and ninety-three men. The force of the expedition consisted of the First Brigade, First Division, Eighteenth Army Corps, a squadron of cavalry, a small howitzer and a section of artillery, under command of Colonel Amory, our brigade commander.
At nine o'clock we were on the march. Company B, under command of Major Sturgis, acted as skirmishers. The roads were in good condition. The first place of interest was the block-house at Brice's Ferry.
It had a charming location, with a beautiful pine grove (formerly a rebel encampment) on one side, and the river Trent on the other, and commanded the bridge across the river. The little picket garrison was drawn up in line as we passed. We crossed the bridge and followed the river road for a few miles. In the afternoon we halted at Jonesville, near an academy. As the school was not in session we entered the building and gratuitously
distributed copies of the circular issued by the Principal in which he stated, “He does not intend to make money in these troublous times, and will therefore educate, free of charge, the children of those who are in the service of their country.” At sunset we reached Pollocksville, twelve miles from New Berne, a small village of half a dozen houses, but a well-known guerilla haunt. The houses were deserted. We helped ourselves to whatever they contained and a number of us secured a lot of straw for bedding and were able to enjoy a comfortable night's rest. We were early on the march the next day and started for Trenton, We were delayed some time by obstacles in the shape of felled trees across the road, but the roads were good, and the march that day was one of the pleasantest in all our army experience, and we passed some fine Southern residences, and one plantation which was reported to have furnished some incidents narrated in “Uncle Tom's Cabin.” For a long distance the road skirted a cypress swamp. These North Carolina swamps have one feature unlike the swamps in the North. The trees rise tall and stately out of the still water, their branches festooned with long gray moss, which sways back and forth with every breath of wind, giving them a weird and mournful appearance.
We entered Trenton that afternoon at two o'clock without opposition, a small force of the enemy retiring in hot haste, on the approach of our cavalry. The situation of the town is very pleasant, but it was a dilapidated, dirty place There was quite a large detail from our regiment for “picket duty” that night. Near our reserve station for the night was a negro cabin and some of us hired the old “Aunty” to make us a “hoecake.” While waiting we asked the “old man” where his master was. He said he had gone “up country.” We asked him why he didn't run away now that he had a chance, and follow our troops into New Berne. He said he wanted his freedom, but he wanted to go “clar,” meaning that he wanted to take his whole family with him, four of his children were at home, but he had five still in slavery. At midnight we went out to the outer picket station. It was a piercing cold night, and although wrapped in woolen and rubber blankets, and moving lively up
and down our beats it was impossible to keep warm, and we were chilled through and through. The cavalry was scouting all night and learned that the Confederates had burned a bridge across the Trent, about eight miles further up the road, and this appeared to be the object of our expedition. Just before leaving Trenton, the next morning, we set fire to a pile of lumber that the enemy might not make use of it in rebuilding bridges. In the yard were the stocks and whipping posts. On the edge of the town was a saw and grist mill and a lumber yard. The planks and boards our pioneers cut up and threw into the mill and this was also consigned to the flames. At the same time some one let on the water and the groan of the machinery rose above the flames. We returned to Pollocksville and encamped on our old bivouac of Saturday night. The next morning, when we broke camp, it was raining hard. We reversed arms and were reminded of Cromwell's veterans, who were told to “keep their powder dry.”
Eight miles through a drenching rain brought us to Young's Cross Roads, where the cavalry had captured a Confederate army wagon and a few prisoners. We filed into an open field, stacked arms, and prepared to camp. Hungry, wet and tired we sat on our luggage, and tried to satisfy our appetites with raw salt pork and “hard tack.” In the afternoon the clouds broke, the sun shone out and we busied ourselves in making shelters for the night.
We made A tents of our rubber blankets, resting them on forked sticks and cross pieces, and filled the sides and one end with spruce twigs. Then we statred off to forage. Two miles up the road was a house where some of our men had discovered honey, and in a wagon on the road was a lot of sweet potatoes. It was a case of “first come, first served.” The cavalry was galloping up and down the road, full of mischief. Captain Denny's darkey was marching along with a frying pan balanced on his head, when a cavalryman grabbed it and made off with it much to the darkey's astonishment.
At sunset it commenced to rain hard and so continued through the night. Some of the boys were washed out, but most
of the little A tents protected the inmates fairly well. The boys on picket had a hard time of it, standing up to their knees in mud and water.
The cavalry rode thirty miles that night, going as far as Onslow Court House, further progress being stopped by the burning of a bridge there. They were followed by a long procession of contrabands. They met a small force of the enemy whom they drove back with a few shots from their howitzer.
Our return march to New Berne was in the midst of a drizzling rain, and through the sticky Southern mud or red clay, of unknown depth. We rushed along as if our lives were at stake, making but few halts, and those of short duration.
It was a hard day, but we had lots of fun, and at sunset we entered camp, bespattered with mud, having marched that day nineteen miles, which Surgeon Kneeland was reported to have said was equal to thirty miles over good roads.
CHARLES H. LEONARD, CO. A.
Bridge over the Trent.
Probost Duty in New Berne.
By Private Charles H. Leonard, of Company A.
ON Monday, January 26th, the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts Regiment left Camp Amory on the Trent, and began its service as provost guard in the town of New Berne. On leaving camp we crossed the old Beaufort road—leading from the County Bridge (near our camp), over the plain across the railroad and on down through the woods past the battlefield of March 14th, 1862. No fences remained and there was only a hint at a stone wall, with a string of scrub oaks to mark the sandy way. The plain which we first pass is where we learned “battalion drill.” The town lies two miles away in a northwesterly direction. On our left flows the river Trent, with a current that changes with the tide, now up stream and now down.
On our right are the humble homes of our colored people, the refugees who have come into the Union lines. A little farther on is the large camp, or settlement of the freedmen, freedmen now, not contrabands, as the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect the first of January. Their rough-log huts generally have but one room, with the usual “stick and clay” chimney and fireplace at the gable end. Many of the able-bodied among them have found opportunity to labor in the Government employ, yet the conditions of life among them are such as to touch one's heart, for the helpless creatures are “as sheep having no shepherd,” and in that passing hour was born the resolve to do something to make their freedom indeed a boon to these freedmen.
The road and railroad gradually converge and meet at the trestle railroad bridge across the Trent that brings us to the town. Here we imagine ourselves in the place of our victorious army after the long, hard march, and the desperate battle of New Berne in their close pursuit of the flying rebels in the early afternoon of Friday, March 14th, 1862. On the Sunday previous,
the little Monitor had beaten the rebel ironclad Merrimac in Hampton Roads, and now another victory had been obtained that put the Union forces in possession of the second largest town in North Carolina, with complete control of its inland navigable waters. In recognition of his two victories of Roanake Island and New Berne, General Burnside received his commission as major-general, and Generals Foster, Reno and Parke were commissioned as brigadier-generals, and brevetted as major-generals. Fort Macon surrendered April 26th, 1862.
Our march thus far had been a gala procession, with the band playing, and colors proudly waving. Our regiment had three flags—“Old Glory,” the State flag, and the Regimental colors, presented to us by the ladies at Readville and inscribed “In God we trust.” This flag is now carefully preserved in the cadet's armory in Boston. We imagine that we have acquired something of the steady solid tread of veterans, but at the bridge, which is built of trestle work and none too solid construction, we take “route step” and walk carefully. As the bridge was used for general business, as well as for the passage of railroad trains, the space between the rails was planked over, and this was on a level and not separated from the general roadway. But for this space, there would hardly be room for the wide teams to pass each other.
We entered the town of New Berne by what is sometimes called “Railroad Street” and sometimes “Hancock Street,” that runs in a northerly direction nearly across the peninsula on which the city is built at the junction of the Trent with the Neuse.
We marched up this street in our best and steadiest style, for the Forty Fifth came to its service as provost guard with a reputation to sustain of military precision and discipline. Just below Craven Street the Forty-Fifth is received in due form by the Seventeenth, who terminate their brief service as provost guard, which began on the 22nd of December, the day after we, and they, returned from the Goldsboro expedition.
The duties of a provost guard are to preserve order in the town; see that no enlisted man passes unless provided with a
written permission suitably signed, endorsed and dated; prevent fast riding or driving through the streets; to act as guards at the railway station and the wharves, and to do anything and everything required of them of a similar nature.
Our regimental headquarters were on the east side of Craven Street, halfway between South Front and Pollock Streets in a three-story brick house, with one room and doorway on the street. Colonel Codman said it belonged to a family of aged maiden ladies, who fled when the city was taken, and left behind them quite a fine library of old English books, most of them being of Queen Anne's or earlier date, 1714.
The city was divided into three districts. The first was in the south-eastern part of the town, embracing the business quarter, its headquarters being the provost marshal's office, at the head of Market Wharf, on the river front in a large brick building, at the south-east corner of Pollock and East Front Streets. Here was the guard house, where those who had been arrested were held until their examination, when they were either sentenced or acquitted. This place corresponded to police headquarters in civil life. The second district comprised the northern part of the city, with its headquarters in the old office of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad Company—part of the furniture, including desk and safe, still remaining there. General Foster's headquarters were in this district, also the house where his family resided and these were under the special care of the guard. The third district covered the remainder of the town, and was the least important of them all.
The guard was divided into three reliefs. The first being on duty from 9 to 1; the second from 1 to 5, and the third from 5 to 9; each relief going on twice in the twenty-four hours. “Guard mounting” took place every morning at eight o'clock, but it was ten o'clock before the old guard was relieved and returned to quarters. Each day's detail called for one captain, three lieutenants, three sergeants, ten corporals and one hundred and ninety-seven privates.
At first it was a pleasant change from camp life, as there was a certain freedom about it, but after a while we found it a very
arduous duty, for the large number of our regiment on detached service, required us to go on guard every other day, with an occasional interval of two days. The officers, commissioned and non-commissioned, had a comparatively easy time.
There was quite a difference in the sentry stations, and we soon learned the excellent points of each. Some were under cover, and some were not needed at night. On this post, a kindly neighbor would furnish a breakfast to the tired and hungry sentry, and on another, the guard was sure of a good dinner, while many others were wholly undesirable. Four times a week, when the weather permitted (and the days were rare when it did not permit) the colonel indulged us in the luxury of brigade drill. As I have said, we were not relieved from duty and back in quarters before ten o'clock.
Immediately after dinner in Company A's quarters, the clear voice of Orderly-Sergeant Barstow rang out, “Fall in for brigade drill, blouses and caps!” Then our regimental line was formed on Broad Street, and we marched a long two miles over the bridge to the plain near our old quarters on the Trent. Here we were joined by the other regiments of our brigade, the Seventeenth, the Forty-Third and Fifty-First Massachusetts, and were maneuvered for two hours by acting Brigadier-General Amory. Many of the orders became as familiar as household words. Twice a week we had battalion drill, but all this drill was not thrown away. For accuracy and quickness of movement, the Forty-Fifth stood in the very front rank among the regiments in the department and acquired quite a reputation for the excellence of its dress parades. While at Camps Amory and Massachusetts, visitors came regularly to witness them. Our band was no doubt a great part of the attraction, as there was no band attached to the other regiments, which did provost duty for the six months previous.
The Boston Brigade Band, which was attached to the Twenty-Third Massachusetts Regiment was mustered out of the service August 30, 1862 by order of the General Government, as were nearly all the bands of the army. Concerts by our band at Major-General Foster's headquarters were of frequent occurrence.
CAPT. NATHANIEL WILLIS BUMSTEAD, COMPANY D
COMPANY D'S QUARTERS AT New Berne WHILE DOING PROVOST DUTY
The band also had many requisitions to play on social occasions, all out of the line of regular duty, which service they cheerfully performed. They played quite often on the grounds of the Foster Hospital, and sometimes at military funerals, one such occasion was the funeral of comrade George Brooks of Company A; another was on May 26th, when the regiment performed escort duty, as the remains of Colonel Jones, the gallant commander of the Fifty-Eighth Pennsylvania Regiment, killed by guerillas, were carried to the steamer from the train that brought him down from the camp at Batchelder's Creek. The members of the band were organized as an ambulance corps, under the instruction of a regular army officer, and had daily drills near the outposts of the town, and learned how to give the first aid to the wounded.
The companies of the regiment were quartered in houses in different parts of the town.
Company A was in a two-story frame house on Pollock Street, not far from the provost marshal's office. The name Pierce was on the front door. The house still belongs to the same family, and the same old doorplate is on the front door.
Company B was on the south-east corner of Johnson and Craven Streets.
Company C was on the south side of East Front Street.
Company D was on the north side of Pollock Street and opposite Company K.
Company E was quartered in a two-story brick house near Middle Street in the same block with Company B.
Company F was on Union Street, west of department head-quarters
Company H was quartered in a pleasant house on the north side of Broad Street, exactly opposite the colonel's station on dress parade.
Company K was on Pollock Street, and next door but one west of Company A's quarters.
The band was quartered in a wooden house on the west side of East Front Street, opposite the provost guard, first station. If I recollect rightly, the chaplain's quarters were on Broad Street,
opposite the parade. We had occasion to remember the choice selection of books he had for a free circulating library.
It may be of interest to give here the location of certain officers while we were doing provost duty.
The headquarters of the Eighteenth Army Corps was on Union Street, in Mr. Stover's house.
The private residence of Major-General Foster was on South Street in Mrs. Smallwood's house.
The general's staff was quartered on Union Street in Dr. Duffy's house.
The private residence of Captain Messenger, Provost Marshal, was on the corner of Short and Front Streets, house formerly occupied by the Confederate General L. O. Branch.
The provost marshal's office was on Front Street.
The office of the chief quartermaster, Lieutenant-Colonel Biggs, was on Pollock Street.
Brigadier-General Leddie, chief of artillery, was located on Broad Street.
Brigadier-General Stevenson, on the corner of Queen and Graves Streets.
Brigadier-General Lee, on Johnston Street.
Brigadier-General Spinola, on Pollock Street.
Colonel Amory, on Pollock Street, in Ed. R. Stanley's house.
Brigadier-Generals Prince and Hunt were located on Broad Street.
Major Stackpole, Judge Advocate-General's headquarters, on Broad Street.
The Academy Green Hospital was on New Street.
The Convent of Mercy was on Middle Street, formerly Burnside's headquarters. It was built by Governor Stanley's father, and at one time was Washington's headquarters in the Revolutionary War.
Governor Stanley's house was on Front Street and his office on New Street.
The house of Webb, the slave trader, was on Middle Street.
The Pollock Jail, for State prisoners, was on Eden Street.
REAR OF COMPANY A'S QUARTERS IN New Berne WHILE DOING PROVOST DUTY
The Gaston house, on East Front Street and the Cemetery corner of Queen and George Streets. On the Fair grounds were the camps of the Twenty-Fourth and Forty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiments and the Tenth Connecticut and Fifth Rhode Island. Christ Church (Episcopal) was on Pollock Street.
The members of Company A distinctly remember the morning and evening roll-calls, when after Orderly-Sergeant Barstow ran down the alphabetically arranged list of our names to be accounted for, the sunny tempered and true-hearted Lieutenant Pond read the portion of scripture and prayer for the day. This service in Company A continued from the day we went to Readville and through the period at Camp Amory, and until we went into tents at Camp Massachusetts, and this service had a lasting influence on our lives. Many of us answer no more at roll-call, and some of us may fail, but let us heed the warning of the prayer that we be ready for that “great roll-call” on the other side.
On Sundays a male quartette sang at the services in the Episcopal Church, and Myron W. Whitney of the band and William H. Becket, of Company A were both members. These two comrades in later years achieved great fame as public singers. The quartette also sang at the First Presbyterian Church, where Chaplain A. L. Stone regularly preached and to which the regiment marched every Sunday to the music of our full band.
While the regiment was doing provost duty, we had many visitors from the North, who had friends and relatives in the regiment, among others, Rev. Dr. Samuel K. Lothrop, Mrs. O. W. Peabody, Mr. Charles Hickling, Mr. George W. Bond, Mr. Thomas B. Wales, Jr., Rev. Mr. Barnard and Mr. John L. Emmons, as also the father of comrade Mann.
On Washington's Birthday a salute of one hundred and thirty-one guns was fired at noon. There was a parade of the fire department, the machines being gaily decorated with flowers and streamers
Deserters occasionally came in from the enemy's lines, who reported matters as desperate with the confederates. The ration of meat had been reduced from one pound to a quarter of a
pound. Flour was $40 a barrel, in confederate money, and corn $6 a bushel. If the United States Government maintained a rigid blockade for four months, the confederates would be starved out.
A novel and interesting service to us Northern boys was that held in the Contraband Methodist Church. A comrade speaking in regard to it, says, “One Sunday evening while patrolling the streets with Corporal Lippincott of Company D, we dropped into this church for a few minutes and found it crowded. The galleries reserved for visitors were filled, principally by soldiers drawn thither by curiosity. The body of the church was filled by colored people, the men on one side of the aisle and the women on the other. They were of all shades of color from light yellow to inky black. The leader, an intelligent looking colored man, occupied a chair in front of the pulpit and commenced the service by reciting a line from a hymn, which was sung by the congregation; then another line, and so on until several verses had been sung. Our expectations regarding the beautiful singing of the colored people were dashed to the ground. The tunes were screamed forth from the cracked throats of the old and the shrill voices of the young, all singing the air and all pitched in a different key. There was no harmony, only a babel of sound. The singing was followed by prayer by the leader, whose voice was frequently drowned by the vigorous groans of his auditors. Occasionally his voice was raised to a shout and could be heard above the general din. By this time his congregation was worked up to a high pitch of excitement and some of the women threw their bonnets and shawls on the pulpit stairs and went through the audience addressing a word here and there, enforcing the preacher's remarks. Some of the young girls were wrought up to a state of frenzy, and began to shriek at the top of their voices and finally went into hysterics.”
As the season advanced the weather became very delightful; the buds began to swell, the flowers to blossom forth, and all around our quarters (Company A) was a beautiful garden. We had rose trees, violets and other plants too numerous to mention. The air was filled with fragrance of apple, pear and
MAP OF TOWN OF New Bern
peach blossoms, and every morning the mocking birds and the robins delighted us with their sweet notes. Our letters to our relatives and friends contained little mementos of pressed flowers, which assured them in their cold Northern homes, that we were enjoying summer weather. The cavalry were kept busy in these days scouting, for the woods and swamps just outside the city swarmed with guerillas. The cavalrymen hated them cordially, and were disposed to show them but little mercy. The camp guard of the Ninety-Second New York on the other side of the Neuse was frequently fired upon on dark and foggy nights, by these guerillas. They dressed in citizen's clothes, and shot our men in cold blood, whenever opportunity offered. When they saw a considerable body of our men approaching, they were unionists, neutrals, or “know nothings,” as they chose. One scouting party went up as far as Matirmeskut Lake in Hyde County. The day they arrived there, they had a skirmish with a band of guerillas, and it is said killed ten of them. The captain of the guerilla band sent a challenge to the officer of the scouting party to fight him the next day, giving him the choice of place. The Union officer replied that he should fight him whenever and wherever he found him.
The next day as the Union troops were riding through the woods, a cavalryman happened to espy a guerilla behind a tree, taking aim at some one. The cavalryman fired at him, and this was the signal for the fight to begin. The rebels fired a volley. To dislodge them was difficult, for there was a deep and wide ditch on either side of the road, which our men must cross in the face of rebel bullets. The little howitzer was ordered up, and a hot fire of grape and canister poured into the woods, causing the rebels to flee in hot haste, and thus the trap to catch and massacre our troops was avoided. In this skirmish four non-commissioned officers were killed, and thirteen men wounded. A number of prisoners were taken, and we saw them as they passed through New Berne on their way to jail. Some of them were recognized as having been in the city only a few days previous and as trading under a permit from Governor Stanley. One prisoner was marched through the city with a woman's skirt on,
and on his back a placard with the words, “guerilla caught dressed in woman's clothes, with a protection in his pocket from Governor Stanley.” The cavalrymen asserted that he had a commission from Jeff Davis in the other pocket.
It was while we were doing provost duty in New Berne that the rebels laid siege to Little Washington, about thirty miles by land, north of New Berne. The garrison was small there, consisting of eight companies of the Twenty-Seventh Massachusetts, one company First North Carolina, one company Third New York Cavalry and Battery G, Third New York Artillery, about six hundred men in all. They were reinforced by a portion of the Forty-Fourth Massachusetts, and the arming of a force of negroes by Colonel Lee, raising the number of troops to nearly one thousand two hundred. They had been there but a few days when they learned from deserters that the rebel general Roger A. Pryor's brigade was within twenty miles of the town, and would probably make an attack.
On the 30th of March General Foster and his staff arrived from Plymouth, and the effect of his presence was at once manifest in an increased activity. A reconnoisance of Companies A and G of the Forty-Fourth Massachusetts discovered the enemy in force. They seized Rodman's Point, set up a battery of English Whitworth guns, and began sending their projectiles into the Union lines. The next day General Hill, commanding the rebel force, ordered an assault on our works, but learning their strength the order was countermanded. Hill summoned them to surrender, allowing twenty-four hours to remove the women and children. General Foster replied, “Go back and tell them, if they want Little Washington to come and take it.” Then commenced the siege. “The town was completely invested and all communication with our forces outside had to be held by running the blockade in sail boats and lighters. The investing force consisted of nearly fifteen thousand men, and included three regiments of cavalry and forty guns. Ammunition and food were scarce in the Union lines, and the enemy relied on starving us out, meantime causing great annoyance with his artillery. A force of five thousand men left New Berne
under command of General Spinola to relieve the besieged troops, but failed.” General Foster then determined to run the blockade, and taking with him his Assistant Adjutant-General, Colonel Southard Hoffman, and others of his staff, he embarked on the little steamer Escort. As the steamer neared Rodman's Point, in possession of the enemy, the batteries opened upon her, and as she approached the shore, she came under a heavy musketry fire, but the boat kept right on; she was struck by eighteen shot and shell; her upper works were literally riddled with bullets. The pilot house was walled around with bales of hay, but notwithstanding this precaution, the pilot, Mr. Petherick, was killed at his post of duty. One shot went through the galley, and took off an arm of the cook, another shot passed through General Foster's stateroom shortly after he had left it, and tore the bed to pieces. Had a shot struck the machinery, the boat would have been destroyed or captured.
Nothing but the urgent need of General Foster's presence in New Berne caused him to take such an extreme risk. Acting with his usual energy and promptness, he hurried troops forward by land and by water, returned in the steamer Escort, and in a week the siege was raised and the enemy had disappeared. Captain Denny in “Wearing the Blue,” says, “When it is considered that the defence of this line was made against fourteen thousand Confederate troops under skilled commanders, we do not hesitate to say that the defence against such odds rises to the pitch of heroic grandeur, equalled during the war only by Mulligan's glorious defence of Lexington, Missouri, in the autumn of 1861.” Our comrades of the Forty-Fourth Massachusetts, according to General Foster's order, exhibited great “steadiness, courage and endurance,” under the most trying circumstances, and well merited the honor of inscribing on their banner, “Washington, April, 1863.”
Our pleasant stay in New Berne at last came to an end. Our comfortable quarters, our gardens and flowers were resigned in favor of the Forty-Fourth Massachusetts Regiment, as a reward of their gallant services at Little Washington. On the 23rd of April the following order was read on “dress parade”:
Headquarters, Department of North Carolina, Eighteenth Army Corps, New Berne, April 23, 1863.
Special Order No. 117:
In accordance with the custom of the department, the regiment now doing provost duty will be relieved. The commanding general in changing the guard of the town desires to convey to Colonel Codman, and through him to his officers and men, his high appreciation of the manner in which the duties of the guard have been performed. He has noticed with great pleasure the drill, discipline and general efficiency of the regiment. The Forty-Fourth Regiment, M. V. M. will relieve the Forty-Fifth on Saturday, the 25th instant, at 9 A. M.
By command of Major-General Foster.
Southard Hoffman, Assistant Adjutant-General.
The 25th of April was a warm and pleasant day, when we took up our line of march for Camp Massachusetts near Fort Spinola. At “guard mounting” the citizens of New Berne sent the following vote of thanks to our regiment for the manner in which it had discharged its duties as provost guard.
New Berne, N. C., April 25, 1863.
Colonel C. R. Codman, Officers and Men of the Forty-Fifth M. V. M.
Having learned with regret that your regiment is about to retire from the duty of guarding the city, I beg leave on behalf of all loyal citizens, myself, my family, and other families here, to render you our sincere thanks for the efficiency and courtesy with which you have discharged your duties.
It has seldom been our lot to see a body of soldiers, so uniformly civil and gentlemanly in their behavior, temperate and orderly in their habits, comparatively free from the vice of profanity, and so prompt in restraining those, who, by any violence, would attempt to disturb our streets.
Accept, gentlemen, our thanks for past kindness, and wishes for your future welfare.
W. H. Doherty, A. M. Principal of New Berne Academy.
As we were leaving the city, General Foster rode down our line and complimented Colonel Codman on the fine appearance of his men.
ANN STREET, BEAUFORT, N. C.
A. G. R. HALE, CO. A
Chaplain Stone and the Religious Life of the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts Regiment.
BY PRIVATE ABRAHAM G. R. HALE OF COMPANY A.
WHILE the Independent Corps of Cadets was the nucleus of our Regiment and furnished Colonel Codman and nearly all of the field, staff and line officers, it was Park Street Church that gave us our chaplain, the Rev. Andrew L. Stone, who had served that church as its pastor since 1849, and during that period had won a high reputation as a preacher, a lecturer and a bold and fearless reformer
In 1854, three thousand ministers of New England, including Rev. A. L. Stone, signed a petition and sent it to Congress by Senator Edward Everett of Massachusetts to be presented to that body, remonstrating against the passage of the Kansas and Nebraska Bill, which had for its object the organization of a territorial government for Kansas,—the Repeal of the Missouri Compromise Measure, and the removal of the restriction as to slavery entering the North West Territory as provided for in the celebrated Ordinance of 1787. But notwithstanding the numerous petitions against the bill becoming a law from all over the Northern States, yet after many exciting debates in both branches of Congress, the bill was passed and signed by the President, Franklin Pierce.
The effect of this new law was to take away from Congress, the power to determine when a new state was admitted into the Federal Union, whether it should be a free or a slave state. This power was transferred to the Territory under the guise of “Popular Sovereignty,” so that the Territory itself determined whether it should become a free or a slave state. Immediately following the passage of the bill there was a fierce and sanguinary struggle in Kansas between the friends of Freedom and of Slavery, which continued many years. Late in the spring of
1856 Senator Sumner of Massachusetts, delivered a great speech in the United States Senate, the subject being, “The Crimes against Kansas.” In that speech he criticised the leading champions of slavery in the Senate, among whom was Senator Butler of South Carolina. Soon after the delivery of the speech and during a recess of the Senate, while Mr. Sumner sat at his desk writing, a nephew of the Senator and a member of the House of Representatives, from South Carolina, Preston S. Brooks, resenting what Mr. Summer had said about his uncle, stealthily approached Mr. Sumner from behind, and struck him blow after blow upon his head and back with a stiletto cane, until Mr. Sumner was rescued by his friends and borne in an unconscious condition to his lodgings.
That dastardly act was emphatically denounced all over the North by press and pulpit, and at great mass meetings.
I remember such a meeting in Worcester shortly after the occurrence, while old Massachusetts was trembling with excitement, that Senator Wilson, Mr. Sumner's associate was present, and made an earnest and impressive speech in regard to this outrageous attack of Brooks upon his colleague, and among other things, he said, “When I removed the blood stained clothing from that wounded Senator, I resolved, then and there, that when I next entered the Senate Chamber, I would brand that deed of Brooks as brutal, murderous and cowardly.”
In Boston, no preacher in the city spoke stronger words of condemnation of that brutal assault on Free Speech than did Rev. A. L. Stone, in his sermon in reference to it. He took for his text the words recorded in Acts, describing the assault upon the Apostle Paul by the Jews at Lystra, namely, “And having stoned Paul, they drew him out of the city, supposing he was dead.” I quote the following from a Boston paper which was published at the time Dr. Stone's farewell sermon was delivered at Park Street, when he accepted the call to the First Congregational Church at San Francisco, California. “Dr. Stone early took in this city a bold stand as a Reformer in the days when it cost something to attack slavery and public wrong. And throughout all the years in which the hurricane which has swept the land was gathering,
and while it howled around us, in the very wrath and agony of civil war, the Park Street pulpit has calmly maintained one clear, bold, decided heroic position of fidelity to the higher laws of God and humanity. Dr. Stone's name will ever hold an honored place upon the glorious list of those pastors of New England, who said to their young men, “Go with me into this great fight for the dear life of the nation.”
After Lincoln's inauguration as President, the South began to show unmistakable signs of their intention to carry into effect their threats to secede from the Union. To maintain the integrity of the nation and overcome the growing rebellion in the Southern States, President Lincoln repeatedly called for troops, which were furnished. In the summer of 1862, another call was issued by the President, and in response to that call, the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts Regiment was formed, which joined in the chorus with the thousands of other Union Defenders, “We are coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more.”
I have already spoken of Dr. Stone, who consented to serve the Regiment as its chaplain, as a reformer, and from the same Boston paper will quote in part, what it said of him as a preacher. “When Dr. Stone came to Park Street it was a ‘half empty sanctuary’ but after he began to preach, it became sprinkled then darkened, then thronged with eager listeners, until the astonished and delighted parish were compelled to order a cord or two of camp stools for use on occasions of special service. The same dense throng could be seen during the last year of his service at that church. No man in this country except Henry Ward Beecher has preached to as many people in the last fifteen years as Andrew L. Stone, and it is safe to say that no man has more faithfully used the great trust of such a popularity. It is very certain that there have been many periods of extraordinary spiritual activity in connection with his labors, while it lies upon the face of the statistics of the church, that no New England church has acquired so large a membership or one whose increment has been more traceable to the fervor and fidelity of private personal labor, as well as the appropriateness of public appeal. Dr. Stone has a strength of reasoning which, however veiled and festooned
by the flowers of fancy, makes resistless appeal, through and by the very aid of the fancy, to the reason, as well as to the conscience; and a perennial richness and freshness of conception and illustration which throw the oldest and most threadbare topic out into newness of life under the charm of its wonderful treatment. In one respect, at least, Dr. Stone resembles the late Rufus Choate, and that is, in so concealing the remorseless syllogism under the gay drapery of imagination, that its irresistible work is so done as scarcely to seem done at all, and even to lead to the suspicion in hasty minds, that there is no syllogism there. As a journal having no sectarian bias, we have spoken strongly of our distinguished fellow citizen who is about to leave us for the shores of the Pacific, and who, while among us has been prominently identified with the so-called Orthodox faith. But while ‘Orthodox’ to the back-bone, Dr. Stone has ever seemed to us to be a man of marked catholicity of spirit.”
It certainly was a great privilege for the soldiers of the Forty-Fifth to have for our chaplain a man of this description in that great conflict, to cheer, to counsel, to comfort and console us in the varying conditions and moods incident to war. Chaplain Stone showed a wonderful adaptability for those things. I remember the first sermon I heard him preach at Camp Amory on the Trent. He took for his text these words: “He shall bring them to their desired haven.” He spoke of the dangers that threatened us on our voyage to Beaufort, viz.: the filthy condition of our vessels crowded with men, confined as some of them were in the hold of the vessels, on account of the stormy weather, supplied with little air, narrowly escaping an epidemic, the danger too, from the rebel war vessel, the Alabama, making an attack on us. But notwithstanding these dangers God brought us in safety to our desired haven. The lesson to be learned from this discourse was enforced by the chaplain in his own inimitable way. He was always brief, never wearisome, rarely occupying more than twenty minutes in the delivery of his sermon. He had a fine presence, a wonderful voice, and great ease in his delivery. As I did not keep notes of the chaplain's sermons, writing simply from memory, I have had access to a diary kept by a well-known comrade from which I make some extracts.
“January 14, 1863.—At three o'clock in the afternoon we fell in for Divine Services conducted on our parade ground (Camp Amory) by Chaplain Stone. Text Psalms 11 : 12: “I will pay unto the Lord my vows.” Said the chaplain, “It is recorded especially of David that he made this declaration. It was very common with men in times of peril and extremity to make some vow or covenant with God, that if life was spared it should henceforth be devoted to his service. Many of you have but lately come from the sulphurous smoke of battle. Did you not then make a covenant with God, that if he would spare your life it should be consecrated to him? Perhaps you may not have feared death, but the thought of loved ones at home, mother, sister, and wife did not they plead with you, and you may have asked for life for their sakes? Men wonder not that one who has risen from a severe and almost fatal sickness should be marked by a deep seriousness. So your fellow-men would say of you, “He has been in battle, he stood face to face with death.” He closed with an earnest appeal to his hearers to pay unto the Lord their vows.
February 15, 1863.—This afternoon the regiment with guns and equipments formed into line, and headed by the band, marched to the Presbyterian Church. (The regiment was at this time doing Provost Duty in New Berne.) Rev. Dr. Lothrop of the Brattle Square Church of Boston, who is visiting in New Berne, conducted the services. He preached a very patriotic discourse and in conclusion spoke of the good name the regiment enjoyed. He also referred in a very tender manner to our late comrade Elbridge Graves of Company A., who received his death wound in the battle of Kinston, and stated that he attended the funeral services at Newburyport, Mass.
March 8, 1863.—Attended the Episcopal Church this forenoon, Major Russell Sturgis read the prayers. The sermon was by an old gentleman whose name I did not ascertain. In the afternoon the regiment marched to church, the band playing a very lively tune. It is certainly a very uncomfortable way of attending church to have to care for gun, cartridge-box, bayonet and scabbard throughout the entire service We would prefer
to go in the simple New England fashion. Our style reminds us of our Pilgrim Fathers who carried their weapons of war to the Meeting-house, as a necessity, but with our pickets out for miles and guards stationed all over the city, we fail in our case to see the necessity. The Presbyterian Church which we attend is quite an old building but in very good repair and in a fine central location. Marble tablets eulogizing the virtues of departed members adorn the walls.
In addition to the different sermons already enumerated during our service, I recall to mind a most excellent one preached from the words of Paul to Timothy, “Thou, therefore, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” But the most eloquent and effective sermon, I think, that I heard Chaplain Stone deliver was the one immediately after the regiment had been baptised by fire in the battles of Kinston and Whitehall, the chaplain taking for his text the words of Christ in reply to Pilate, the latter asserting that he had power to release, or to crucify him, namely: “Thou couldst have no power at all except it be given thee.” The chaplain then told of three occasions when that text gave him relief and comfort.
Once, when on a voyage to the East, there arose a severe tempest and the waves tossed the vessel as though it was a mere egg shell, and fear came to his heart as he thought to himself that there was, as it were, only a plank between him and the angry waves beneath, then these words of Christ came to his mind and the fear was gone, and he could say to the winds and the waves, “Thou couldst do nothing at all except it were given to thee from above.”
The second time those words brought relief was when traveling with a party in Syria, they encountered a simoon, and fear of death disturbed their minds.
And the last time was during the battle of Kinston in which our regiment was engaged. While the shot and shell and other deadly missiles filled the air he was engaged in caring for the wounded and the dying and the thought entered his mind, what if one of those missiles of death should strike him, and fear came to him for a moment, but those words of Christ came again to
his relief and fear was gone and he could say to the shot and shell, “Thou coulds't do nothing at all except it were given to thee from above.” “And if death comes while doing my duty it is all right for I would fall at my post.”
The gallant Color-Sergeant of the regiment, Theodore Parkman, had been struck on the head in the battle of Whitehall, by a fragment of a shell and soon died. Our chaplain was by his side speaking words of comfort and sympathy as his life ebbed away, and at the Sunday evening prayer meeting, led as usual by the chaplain, he told of the last hours of suffering of this man. He bore his sufferings heroically and was submissive to whatever lot awaited him, come life, or come death.
Beside the regular Sunday evening meeting led by the chaplain there was a Friday evening prayer meeting maintained by the regiment, and often conducted by Major Russell Sturgis, Jr., a former President of the Young Men's Christian Association of Boston.
While so many spiritual helps and advantages were accessible to the regiment, the chaplain through his friends in Boston, had provided a large circulating library for the use of the members of the regiment to occupy their time and attention while off duty, and thus guarding their minds against the many temptations which beset a soldier when in camp and not on active service.
On January 25, 1863, the regiment was transferred from Camp Amory to the city of New Berne to do provost duty, relieving the Seventeenth Massachusetts Regiment which had been performing that service since the Goldsboro march. Gross ignorance prevailed in that city among the colored population, and also among a large section of the whites, for the “Elite” of the city had temporarily moved away, so that missionary work in addition to the usual duties of the soldier, was to characterize the labors of many individual members of the Forty-Fifth.
The Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln giving freedom to three millions of slaves in the Southern States had already been published to the world.
Stanley, who had been appointed Governor of North Carolina,
and who had closed the negro schools, had been removed, and another Governor appointed who permitted the teaching of the colored youth.
On the arrival of Mrs. Stone, the wife of our chaplain, a day school for colored children was opened under her auspices in the colored church on Hancock Street. The school was opened daily by the repeating of the Lord's prayer in concert, led by Chaplain Stone, and he remained with them for an hour.
Several ladies interested themselves in this work. The teachers, for the most part, were soldiers from our regiment who taught in that school when not on military duty. This school numbered about five hundred, including a few adults. Under the circumstances, there could be but little systematic and regular teaching by classes, owing to the frequent change of teachers, and the lack of suitable text-books. It was pioneer work, but it let in some rays of light into their darkened minds, an earnest, perhaps, of better means of education in store for them in the near future.
It was certainly very gratifying to myself, and no doubt to all who contributed in this pioneer work of education in behalf of the colored youth of New Berne. The chaplain followed up this work when the regiment was relieved from provost duty and was in Camp Massachusetts; opening a school there for the contrabands near by, which was continued until our departure from the South. And thus throughout our term of service, whenever opportunity offered, our chaplain manifested his sympathy for this oppressed people, not only by public speech, but by bringing directly as far as was in his power, the blessings of education to them.
I have already alluded to our church privileges while in New Berne. The Episcopal Church was open in the morning, Major Sturgis in the absence of the Rector reading the service, and a sermon. The singing was by a quartette of male voices, two from our regiment, and two who were on detailed service in the city; and it was a great attraction to all lovers of music. The church building was of stone, and prettily situated on Pollock Street in an old burying ground filled with elms and willows and
moss covered tombstones. The interior of the church was finished in good taste, and there was a very good organ to aid the music.
A Sunday School was started in this church during our stay in the city, with Major Sturgis as Superintendent. The school was largely made up of poor children, some were bare footed, while others were lacking one or two outside garments, and were of that class of whites in the South commonly termed “white trash.”
I remember the kindness of heart and personal interest manifested by Major Sturgis towards the individual members of that school.
One Sunday during the session of the school, the Major came to the class which I was teaching, made up of boys about twelve years of age and speaking to each one, he asked one boy where he lived, and he replied, “Opposite the jail,” and I remember the Major turned and asked me if I ever read the book of that title.
That school was growing rapidly in numbers and interest when we left the city.
While the chaplain was ever busy in various ways in doing good, he found time to be at the bedside of the suffering and dying to administer comfort and consolation. I am privileged in having a copy of a letter which was written by Chaplain Stone to his people at Park Street Church, and which tells its own story.
New Berne, N. C., February 12, 1863.
My Dear People:
There are few scenes on earth that reveal more visibly the glory of the Divine presence and the power of sustaining grace than the deathbed of a Christian. It has been my privilege to watch over the decline and the departure of one of God's dear ones in our regiment the past week. George Brooks, one of our own Boston boys, a member of Company A, recruited under Captain Russell Sturgis, Jr., now our major, was taken ill of typhoid fever about a week ago. From the first he expressed his entire resignation to the Divine will. He enjoyed the constant presence of Jesus at his side. When I asked him daily, “Is your Saviour near you today?” the look upon his face had a radiant answer before his lips could speak. All through his sickness that faithful presence
cheered and sustained him. He was never dejected, he never murmured. He would say but little, as his lungs seemed congested, but by gasps and whispers one day he told me, holding my face down close to his, so that he could make me hear his lowest word—he told me that he never had had full assurance of his pardon and acceptance till he became a soldier. He said that in the battle of Kinston, under that terrible fire of the enemy, his Saviour came to him as never before, declared His Presence, revealed His love, and held his soul in His hands. As the hour of death drew on, he seemed to have three burdens of prayer. The first was quickly disposed of. He prayed aloud, “Oh, Lord, keep me, hold me fast, leave me not, let me not go,” and then all thoughts of himself seemed to be at an end. Shortly after, his lips moved again and audibly, and his second burden was laid down at the Divine feet: “Oh God spare my country! oh, save my dear native land!” For a few moments, silence succeeded, and the voice of prayer was heard once more, the last earthly articulation of that tongue though his consciousness continued till his last breath, some fifteen minutes later. His last burden was borne up on the old familiar petition, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” His own soul, his country, the Israel of God, these three interests he thus commended in his last utterances to the faithful Promisor.
How could a Christian life close more appropriately and triumphantly? He was a fine, manly fellow, his eye very dark and bright, a swarthy face, with a brilliant set of teeth and a pleasant smile; a pleasant companion and an agreeable and valued friend. He was, as you would infer, a brave soldier, and on the battlefield suffered no tremor to disturb nerve or spirit. His body is to be embalmed and sent home, but his memory is already embalmed in our hearts, and will be fragrant as long as Christian patriotism shall be honored on earth, as long as Christian friendship shall endure in heaven. If any man ever doubted the sufficiency of the gospel of Christ to transform, sustain and elevate a human life, and help it to meet its last and greatest need, let him look upon such a scene, and his skepticism must vanish like mist before the sun. One's faith becomes more settled and immovable after such an exhibition of the truth and tenderness of Jesus.
Let your prayers hover constantly over the pillows of our sick and wounded. The touch of loved fingers is far away, but your intercessions may be as the shadow of an angel's wing to faces growing white under the signature of death.
Ever and constantly yours, A. L. Stone.
The days after the death of Comrade George Brooks, was Washington's birthday, which occurred on Sunday. In the morning
the regiment marched to the Presbyterian Church and listened to Rev. Jacob M. Manning, chaplain of the Forty-Third Massachusetts Regiment (the “Tiger Regiment.”) Chaplain Manning was at that time Pastor of the Old South Church of Boston. His subject was, “Moses, as a leader of God's chosen people, the Israelites.” He said in substance that “God selected Moses to lead his people out of bondage, so Washington was raised up to lead his people out of subjection to the British Crown into civil liberty. And now the Union Army needed an efficient commander to lead it to victory. Burnside, McClellan and Hooker had not proved adequate to the task.” General Grant had not then gained that prominence he afterwards attained.
At about mid-day we were startled by hearing the booming of cannon, and we naturally grasped our guns, thinking the rebels were attacking the city, but were informed by Chaplain Manning that it was a salute being fired from Fort Totten in honor of the day.
In the afternoon the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper was administered, those partaking who desired, Chaplain Manning having charge of the same, being assisted by Rev. Mr. James of Worcester, two lieutenants passing the emblems. It was quite a co-incidence that double celebration coming on the same day, namely, the death of Christ, our Spiritual Leader under the Gospel Dispensation, and the birth of Washington, the great leader of the American armies in that struggle of our Nation for freedom.
Our chaplain sought in various ways to provide for the spiritual welfare of the soldiers. His presence in the prayer meeting was very helpful and inspiring, as many of the regiment have again and again asserted.
One occasion I recall very vividly to mind. It was while I was prostrated by sickness and in the regimental hospital, and a prayer meeting was held in an adjoining barrack. I felt cheered and buoyed up as I heard those present singing the old and familiar songs, such as, “Nearer My God to Thee!” The regiment was highly favored during its entire service in having so many
fine singers, whose rich and melodious voices often inspired and encouraged us, and helped to beguile many and many a weary hour.
I cannot close this article more appropriately than by quoting the farewell words of Chaplain Stone himself to his people, February 4th, 1866, in which he alluded to his absence from the church during the war as follows: “I have written ineffaceably upon my heart your ready and fervent response when the dread hour of our country's trial came. When many minds were perplexed, many souls fearful, and some faltering, the call was sounded for all hearts to be true and steadfast, and for the young men to go forth armed to the defense of the Capital and the flag. Our young men stood up, they buckled on the sword; they took up the rifle; old men blessed them; fathers and mothers gave them up, saying, “We have nothing dearer to give;” fond sisters gave both tearfully and cheerfully, the same kiss; young wives unclasped their fond arms from the necks of young husbands, and they went forth, our fairest, our noblest, our dearest, our bravest. And you, who went not, remained to pray, there were none but loyal hearts here, remained to give your humblest industry to the soldier's comfort, to the forwarding of bountiful supplies to the sick, the wounded, and the prisoners. You lent your pastor to a campaign of nine months, and kept your courage, unfaltering loyalty of spirit, large self-sacrifice, and triumphant hope to the last; and the young men, our elect, one hundred, came back to share the ovations of a rescued and grateful country bringing with them many an honorable scar, shattered limbs, and dismembered frames; leaving behind many a sod, stained with the best blood in their veins; leaving behind, alas! some of their gallant comrades, whose dust sleeps thank God! in safety and honor beneath the victorious flag, whose names are written in our hearts, and on our country's long scroll of heroes—names, which no distant and coming generations will willingly let die. Oh, had you been recreant in that great crisis of our Nation, and of humanity's long struggle, you and and I would have parted long ere this! But I thank God, the record of this church for loyalty, patriotism and valor, at home and in the high places in the fields is without blot or stain.”
A Stirring Day:
The Attempt of the Confederates to retake New Berne, March 13, 14, 1863.
By Lieutenant George E. Pond, of Company A.
IT was General Foster's intention to celebrate the anniversary of the capture of New Berne by a parade of the troops in and about the city, and orders to that effect had been issued to the various commanders, but it appears that the Confederates had a little programme laid out for that day which seriously interfered with General Foster's.
On Friday, March 13th, the rumors came thick and fast, that our pickets had been driven in here, there and everywhere. And during that day, and all the next, the rumors were exceedingly numerous and contradictory. Late Friday afternoon a small body of Confederate cavalry charged upon our infantry picket with its cavalry vidette, stationed at our outpost, at Deep Gully, and fired upon them. The fire was briskly returned, when the enemy left with some wounded. The main picket camp was notified of the attack, and Company K of the Twenty-Fifth Massachusetts Regiment was sent forward to the outpost, and Captain Chamberlain of the Third New York Cavalry, Company A, moved his command to the front, and dismounting his men, attacked the enemy's advance, which was concealed in the woods, a mile beyond the outpost. Captain Chamberlain, having felt the enemy's position and strength, retired, and Captain Denny ordered up the other infantry companies of his command, A, C and G of the Twenty-Fifth Massachusetts Volunteers, placing them in the most advantageous positions to repel any attack, Company K being stationed in the rifle pits. Very soon the enemy opened upon our forces from four pieces of artillery, throwing shells, grape, canister and solid shot, directly into the work, and among our troops. At this point Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis of the Third New York Cavalry arrived from New Berne,
and assumed command, and finding the position untenable, ordered the brave men to retire in order, which was done without losing a man. Our forces reinforced by some companies of the Third New York Cavalry, and one small howitzer, took position about one hundred yards back of the rifle pits at the “Gully,” and opened a heavy fire upon the enemy. The Confederates then attempted to flank our position, when Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis ordered a retreat, which was made in good order, the enemy following upon a charge with most terrific shouts and yells. The infantry lost one man in this retreat, William C. Wiswell, of Company G, belonging to North Oxford, Mass., who was probably taken prisoner. Our forces then took position at the Grape Vine House, three-fourths of a mile from Deep Gully, which position they held until the arrival of Colonel Lee's brigade at nightfall. Our forces laid upon their arms all night, suffering severely from the cold, and the next morning moved forward to attack the enemy.
General Palmer having arrived, took command. Company K was thrown into the woods on the right and had a severe skirmish of over an hour, with the enemy's advance, and drove them back some distance. News having arrived of the attack on the camp of the Ninety-Second New York, opposite New Berne, the troops at the outposts were ordered back to the city, with the exception of the Twenty-Fifth Massachusetts, under command of Colonel Josiah Pickett and Captain Rigg's Battery. They were ordered to keep back the advancing enemy. The confederates shelled the woods, slowly advancing until noon, but our infantry and artillery checked them pretty effectually, and about three o'clock in the afternoon it was discovered that they had retired behind the “Gully.” At night, the Twenty-Fifth Massachusetts was relieved by the Forty-Third and Forty-Sixth Regiments of Massachusetts Volunteers, they holding the original position held by our troops in the morning, just in advance of the Jackson House.
Meantime, on Friday, all sorts of rumors, as we have already said, were afloat in New Berne. Now, the confederates are coming in force with thirty thousand, now with sixty thousand men.
They had been skirmishing with us at Pollocksville, at Batchelder's Creek, on the Trent, on the Neuse. They were commanded by Longstreet, by Hill, by Pettigrew. They had twenty, thirty, fifty pieces of artillery. They had “bust in” our pickets, here and there. They had cut the railroad communication between here and Morehead, had taken Newport Barracks and captured its garrison, the Fifty-First Massachusetts. But it would be a useless task to repeat the tales of the hour, some true, some perverted, and many false. Saturday on going down to breakfast, to my great surprise, I heard cannonading from the region of Batchelder's Creek, “nearer and more near,” it seemed, and while eating it was very audible to us all. We had orders to “fall in” for the “inspection” and “review” at 8.30 A. M. So we “fell in,” and after standing a short time on the parade ground, we were dismissed and were ordered to deal out to the men instanter, forty rounds of ball cartridges, and officers and men to remain in quarters, waiting orders. While we stood there we could distinctly hear the cannonading across the river Neuse.
After parade was dismissed, I went down to the wharf, at the foot of Pollock Street, where a large crowd had already gathered, and with my field glass, witnessed the scene, which had thrown our garrison across the Neuse into some excitement. But there was no need of a glass, with the naked eye, we could see, across the river, a mile or two distant, the camp of the Ninety-Second New York, undergoing a heavy cannonading. There were “the bombs bursting in air,” in and around the fort and beyond it, between us and them. Now they would burst high in air and anon, burst on the river itself, throwing up the spray. The wharf where we stood was crowded with soldiers and citizens, the “mean white trash,” having come out, in what appeared to us, unusual numbers. It did not seem possible that the garrison could hold out much longer. While I had been quietly sleeping the war of cannon had broken. The guard and others on the wharf stated that the Confederates had been at it since daybreak. On the wharf I met one of the Ninety Second, who had then (9 o'clock) come over in a small boat, with the flag of
truce, bringing a demand from the Confederates for a surrender of the little garrison. This demand was referred to General Foster, and this man was waiting with his party to carry back the message.
They were completely isolated from any help, their earthworks, a mound, and a ditch running around the fort, still incomplete, and not a piece of artillery over there, which shows somebody's gross carelessness. They were forced to see the Confederates file out of the woods, a complete brigade of four or five regiments, numbering three thousand two hundred men, as Pettigrew's cook afterwards told me, with Colonel Pettigrew in command, with eighteen pieces of fine artillery, fifteen of which they quickly posted, and served against the fort and the boats in the river. Pettigrew's idea was, to gain that side of the river, and if they could establish themselves there, they would hold the key to New Berne, as the town can easily be shelled from the camp of the Ninety-Second. He said that their men had not fired a shot, that their guns were of the poorest description, Austrian rifles, captured pieces, and there were only three hundred men in the earthworks. Each man, however, had taken his cartridges from his box and deposited them on the logs, behind which they lay, ready for the charge of the enemy, which they momentarily expected. Why hadn't the Confederates charged? The loss of life would had been fearful, and perhaps the gunboats would have shelled them out had they taken the fort. The wharves were crowded and men climbed up into the shrouds of the numerous trading vessels lying near the wharves. The Confederates and their cannon were beyond our sight, but the fort with its tents, were in plain view, and so was the signal officer, who was waving an immense white flag, with a red centre, signalling to our side. And there against the rampart of earth and logs, lay the dark indistinguishable mass of men, with fixed bayonets, which glittered now and then in the sun.
But the men were motionless. Our friend told us that but ten men of the Ninety-Second had, as yet, been wounded, notwithstanding the terrific shelling. Their works protected them from the grape and cannister and that while many of the shells
burst inside the fort, but few had been wounded. To us, who were looking on from a distance, it seemed as if the men must be annihilated. In the city all was astir, but with no noise or tumult. There was a quiet moving of troops and orderlies dashing hither and thither with messages.
About nine o'clock our intent eyes were attracted by two huge scows, moving slowly out from the shore, beyond us, loaded with troops, and in a few minutes the word passed along, that it was the Eighty-Fifth New York, going over to reinforce their fellows of the Ninety-Second.
It was one of the most interesting and exciting mornings I ever passed. The bursting of the shells, the battle in full view and yet to us, on the New Berne side, a perfectly safe spectacle, for no shells reached within a half mile of us. And now the roar of the gunboats is distinctly heard, and now a schooner mounting two guns, moves up and opens fire on the enemy and does some very accurate work. We were told that these guns were served by negroes and that their firing was superior to that of the Hunchback. Hour after hour the conflict lasted. The Hunchback and the Hetzel all took part in this bombardment after nine o'clock. Previous to this time they were not ready. One had her steam down, another had trouble with her boiler and machinery, and had to be towed to the scene of action. The Hunchback ran aground, but did some very effective work, at a distance of more than a mile.
The missiles of these two boats, the Hunchback and the Hetzel did terrible execution. It is said that one shell killed two men of the enemy and wounded thirteen. In the meantime General Prince had been placing in position some twenty-pound howitzers belonging to Ranson's Battery, and they opened on the enemy in a lively manner. During a lull in the bombardment of the fort by the Confederates, General Pettigrew sent a summons to Colonel Anderson to surrender, giving him seven minutes before making an assault. Colonel Anderson, like his brave namesake of Fort Sumter, replied that “he didn't want seven seconds, and if they wanted the place to come and take it, and when they fired, it suited his convenience, as well as the assault.” General Foster
was keenly watching the progress of the fight and directed much of the artillery fire from the New Berne side of the Neuse. As will be seen from the little poem following this article, the Hetzel claims the chief part of the honor of repulsing and making void this determined attack.
The stern wheeler (popularly called wheelbarrow) Allison with one or two pieces of light artillery on board, made a reconnoissance up the river, shelling the woods as she went along.
In the afternoon the enemy retired, leaving many killed and wounded, and minus five pieces of artillery, one dismounted, two burst, and two mired in the swamp. During the fight the banks of the Neuse opposite the fort was lined with men, women, and children, and they were also on the housetops.
In the evening following the attack, the river was swarming with gunboats, as it was thought that with the large Confederate force in the vicinity, a general attack would be made the next day.
A Confederate deserter reported that a large force was marching on New Berne and intended to fire the city with red hot shot. Strict orders regarding fires were issued to the provost guard (the Forty-Fifth Massachusetts) and the firemen were up all night ready for an emergency.
The pioneers were ordered to hold themselves ready for instant duty, but the enemy made no further demonstration. General Amory with a few regiments went up the Trent road in search of the enemy but failed to find him. Many of us expected that an attack would be made at midnight.
In the Guard House I found two or three deserters from the Confederates, who escaped to our lines when Pettigrew fell back, one of them before the attack. They had marched from Kinston in two days and a night, marching all night, reaching here Friday night, and making the attack Saturday morning. As we have said one escaped Friday night, before the attack, and one fell out on the retreat. Pettigrew's orders were to shoot all stragglers. They claimed to be Union men, who were conscripted into the Confederate Army. They told us that there were about three thousand in the main body on the other
side. One brigade came from Petersburg, Virginia, by rail, which was the force that attacked the camp of the Ninety-Second New York. They were out of food and came to get it. They had fifteen to eighteen pieces of artillery. Little Washington and Plymouth were to be attacked at the same time.
In honor of the repulse of the Confederates, General Foster had the “Stars and Stripes” displayed on the steeple of the Episcopal Church, the highest point in the city, and where visible for miles, it floated in proud defiance. On the Tuesday following the attack, in company with Sergeants Barstow and Butler, I crossed the river to the camp of the Ninety-Second New York. At this point the river is two miles wide, although in looking at it from our side, it did not seem more than three-quarters of a mile. The men of the Ninety-Second had many stories to tell us of the fight.
In front of the earthworks is a plain with low undergrowth, half a mile wide, stretching to the thick woods. The camp ground itself is small and close to the river bank. The rebel infantry filed slowly out of the woods, and formed their line on the edge, placing their cannon in front of them As we went over that ground we could tell the position of each piece, and the kind, for the earth was torn up by the recoil, and the ground in the vicinity strewn with gun-cartridges, papers, etc. They loaded and served their pieces with great coolness, as there was no resistance for a time, and they were within easy musket range, less than half a mile from the earthworks, and they ought to have been able to have battered the works to pieces.
The usual relics of such a firing were lying around. Here the ground was furrowed by a shell scooping half a dozen feet of earth, a foot in depth, and yonder it had ricocheted and made a similar cavity. These were the marks of the shells fired by our gunboats. There was a house or two occupied by “neutrals,” standing directly in the line of fire of the batteries, and the shot and shell made havoc with them. One shot struck under the eaves, and went into the floor. Another had knocked a piece out of the ceiling, but, as usual, more damage was done to the outside of the houses. Others had swept the boughs off the low trees.
Everywhere the effect of the shells could be seen. They showed us one spot where a rebel gun had burst, and close by was found a blanket covered with blood. Fragments of shells were lying around loose, and one or two whole conical shells, which did not explode. I saw one big round shell, unexploded, which I could, with difficulty, lift. But time would fail to speak of the marks of the terrific cannonading of that day, to which the fields, houses, trees, etc., were subjected.
Returning to the camp of the Ninety-Second, we observed that it was surrounded by an earthwork lined with logs, about three feet high, on all sides but one, the side toward the rebel attack, was perhaps six feet high. We saw where the men lay packed closely against the logs, and where their cartridges had been laid on the interstices. They were all at this time busily engaged repairing the earthworks which had saved them from annihilation. There was a ditch five or six feet wide, filled with water, all around the works. They could have made havoc of men attempting to ch