The 132nd Regiment of Infantry, New York State Volunteers, was commanded by Col. Peter J. Claassen, and George H. Hitchcock was an officer of this regiment. The regiment left New York in 1862 to serve in Washington, DC, and in Norfolk and Suffolk, VA. They were stationed in North Carolina (1863-1865) and resided at Camp Claassen at Bachelor's Creek near New Bern. On June 28, 1865, Col. George H. Hitchcock was commissioned in the United States Volunteers as brigadier-general. The troops were simultaneously transferred to the 99th New York Infantry. By 1870 Hitchcock lived in New York City and was the chief clerk for the Richmond County Police in Edgewater, Staten Island, NY (1870-1874). Hitchcock also served as secretary of the Staten Island Shore Railroad Company.
Correspondence (1861-1870) is militarily oriented and originates in New York; Suffolk, VA; and North Carolina. Subject matter generally pertains to recommendations for demotion and removal, summonses to courts martial, troop movements towards Goldsboro and back (March 31, 1865), requests for passes or parole, and various disciplinary matters. Particularly interesting correspondence pertains to a prisoner sentenced for being AWOL and his request to return home (May 13, 1865); an intoxicated soldier and a recommendation that he be reduced in rank (August 16, 1862); and a soldier's intoxicated wife (August 14, 1864). Further correspondence mentions Negrorecruitment (August 26, 1864) and enemy deserters (December 16, 1864). A letter from Brigadier General F. B. Spinola, ordering a soldier's discharge, displays Spinola's Empire Brigade letterhead (August 13, 1862). Additional letters include one from Hitchcock recommending Charles Smith to the Secretary of War for a commission to the regular army (May 1, 1867); another from Smith to Hitchcock telling of his appointment to the Dakota Territory and his intention to decline the assignment (May 17, 1867); and one from C. C. Cuzick to Hitchcock, written from Fort Rice, Dakota Territory, commenting on published reports of Congressional hostility to the regular army and pondering Congress's desire to reduce the size of the army (May 15, 1870).
Special Orders (1862-1865) primarily concern disciplinary actions with some treatment of duty details in North Carolina. Hitchcock often served on court martial boards (February 11, 1863). Included are orders for the 132nd Regiment's regulation activities and the hour for those activities (June 10, 1863).
General Orders (1862-1878) include those from General Headquarters in New York, Headquarters in Virginia and North Carolina, and the Adjutant General's Office in Washington, DC. Subjects are quite varied and include resolutions, soldier's deaths, detachments of individuals from current stations, rations, dress codes, assignments, summonses to appear as a witness in courts martial, rank announcements, charges, and specifications. Of particular interest are General Order 28, declaring that each brigade have a guard consisting of pickets, supports, and reserve as explained and defined (November 22, 1862); General Order 43, discussing the recruitment of "colored troops" (December 5, 1863); and General Order 284, listing the exchange of U.S. Navy POWs for Confederate Navy POWs, giving their name, rank, and boat (November 15, 1864).
Telegrams (1864-1865) originate from New Bern and Bachelor's Creek. These discuss scouting problems (August 18, 1864) and the fact that five Negroes were performing unauthorized work on the railroad bridge (August 24, 1864). Circulars originating from headquarters in Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, DC, concern supply requisitions procedures (November 19, 1862) and requirements that commanding officers of draft rendezvous live within rendezvous limits (February 1, 1865).
Miscellaneous items (1862-1868; 1892; undated) include receipts for horses and boats; Hitchcock's officer's qualification certificate (June 11, 1862); a calendar (1892) with pictures of Army Corps badges from 1861 to 1865; extra issue abstracts for whiskey, horses and other items; and messages, including a guide instructing Hitchcock to go to "Mosley's Creek" and "Neuse Bridge" where he subsequently fought and forced back Confederate troops (June 23, 1864). Other miscellany includes newspaper clippings of obituaries (undated); a drawing of the Bachelor's Creek outpost (1863); extracts from U.S. regulations for the 132nd Regiment New York detailing duties and rules for soldiers(undated); and a piece of cloth with a picture of a period house. Oversized items include the family tree of Nicholas Howard (1628-1896) and a New York Times article listing New York soldiers buried at Andersonville Prison cemetery in Georgia with a description of the grounds (November 4, 1865).
A one-volume scrapbook contains articles about the war, including "The Empire Brigade" (about General Spinola and his brigade); "The Battle at Bachelor's Creek" (a February 1, 1864, battle on the Neuse River Bridge,); "The Expedition Against New Bern" ; "Encouragement to Fat Volunteers" ; news reports of the U.S. frigates NIAGARA and SACRAMENTO fired upon in Lisbon while chasing the Confederates' ram STONEWALL (April 17, 1865); and an article on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln (April 17, 1865). Also included are a picture of Brigadier General George Custer; a color newspaper drawing of the battle at Baker's Creek; pencil drawings of Bachelor's Creek battle and outpost; an article about a gun powder explosion at a train station, with a list of killed and wounded in the 132nd Regiment (May 26, 1864); notices about enforcement of excise law; recapitulation of police arrests (December 11, 1872); receipts for taxes paid; and obituaries. One oversized item, part of the New York Times (November 4, 1865) list of New York soldiers who died at the Andersonville, GA, prison completes the collection. Use of the original scrapbook is restricted but a photocopy is available in its place.
Gift of Mr. William Howard Hooker
Processed by A. Rubenstein, April 1993
Encoded by Apex Data Services
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