Historyof Yates Co., NY, by Lewis Cass Aldrich
Pg.128 - 163 Chapter XI
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There are times inthe history of nations when the voice of reason is unheeded; when the laws aretrampled upon; when the counsels of the wise are disregarded and the dictationof statesmen ignored. IT grows outof the struggles of men for power, in the race for political preferment, incontests for personal recognition with a determination to triumph regardless ofexpressed wishes of majorities and to secure success at a sacrifice of therights of others; there is but one natural, legitimate outcome of such revolts– revolution. Thisgeneration has witnessed and been participants in the crucial period of ournation’s existence, when no settlement of the vexed questions was possiblesave by the arbitrament of the sword.
From the hour thatman first learned that it was possible to take the life of his brother thestronger has reached the goal of his ambition at the cost of blood; some nationshave gone out in the smoke of battle while others have enlarged their territoryand brightened their civilization by victorious armies. Many are looking for the coming of a time when reason will so far swaythe human mind as to make war no longer a necessity; such may be the case and isearnestly hoped, yet it is hardly expected until man has gone at least one roundhigher on the ladder of evolution. Formany years prior to 1860 strong antagonism had existed in this country betweentwo sentiments – the South was the enemy par excellence of free laborand the North of slave labor. Advocatesof these principles were earnest and determined, and their respective viewsenlarged until the remotest corners of our territorial limits became more orless impregnated with the prevailing ideas. The political contest of the year was fevered and exciting. Never before had so much depended upon the result of the ballot. There were murmurings so significant that they could be felt, andpreparations of a character that carried alarm to a nation that had devoted allher energies and resources to the fertile labors of peace. Then followed an assault upon the integrity of the ballot and the will ofthe majority, an innovation which, if successful, must of necessity destroy ourrepublican form of government. Thequestion to solve was, Should liberty and union no longer walk hand in hand, andif either was to go out, which? Howsudden the transformation of the peaceful citizen to the uniformed soldier! Volunteers were furnished in every county, town and neighborhood of thegreat North. Nearly every citizenrealized that it was his duty to be loyal and to server his country in the wayhe best could.
The county ofYates was no exception to the rule. Shefreely sent her sons and their blood crimsoned the soil of a hundredbattlefields. They fell atGettysburg and Lookout Mountain, in the Wilderness and at cold Harbor, atPetersburg and in the valley of the Shenandoah. The Spartan mothers gave their sons with a heroism that has been theadmiration of the world since those chivalric days, but they did not excel themothers of America in their unselfish sacrifice of their household idols.
The hardshipsincident to soldier life, suffering from wounds and disease and the surrenderingof young lives, presents a chapter of patriotism that warms the heart of everyAmerican citizen in its contemplation, but the years and months that came andwent, while the father, and the mother, and the wife, and the sister waited intheir homes; when the heart stood still as the hurried stranger knocked at thedoor; when the hands trembled as the message was opened; and when in hushedwords they expressed a doubt whether the wound would kill or had already killedthe solider in whom so much of their interests centered. Who did the most or suffered the most when the shadows of war darkenedour land? Who can say?
Little Yates wasas strong in her devotion to the Union cause as any locality in State or nation. There were a few exceptions where stupidity, ignorance, and a lack ofself-respect warped men out of line and let them sink from respectable notice;their influence then was lighter than air, and since they have not bee trustedby either those who fought for or against the flag. Over $600,000 were raised to recruit the army, or about one tenth of theassessed valuation of the entire property of the county. Names of vast numbers of men and women could be mentioned who did not gobeyond the county limits during the years of the Rebellion who struggled asearnestly for the preservation of the Republic as the solider at the front, butwe refrain from entering upon the list for fear of doing injustice to many whomight be overlooked or for want of space whose deeds could be only meagerlynarrated. They add did well theirpart. Who can do more? The cost was great, but no more than commensurate with whatwas secured. A restorednationality! A free people! An enduring government! To the eye of man the future ishidden in deep obscurity, but we feel assured that the storm of war with itsdestructive forces will never again break upon our fair inheritance. We have learned the full meaning of patriotism, we have shown to theworld that we know how to take of our rights as a people, and that those rightswill be maintained, let the cost be never so great.
THIRTY-THIRDREGIMENT , N Y V pg 130
Devotion to theUnion and loyalty to the national government were evinced in a conspicuousmanner by the great northern uprising in 1861. An in this movement no small part was taken by the patriotic citizens ofYates and the neighboring counties. The33rd New York Volunteers, which was then raised in this part o theState, was one of the first regiments to go to the front. The regiment was recruited by companies as follows: A, C and K, in SenecaCounty; B in Wayne County; D and H in Ontario County; E and F in LivingstonCounty; G in Erie County; and I in Yates County. Of the latter a particular account will be given.
On the 19thof April, 1861, three days after the attack on Fort Sumter, was issued thePresident’s proclamation calling for 75,000 men. Immediately after the news of such proclamation reached PennYan, a war meeting was called in Washington Hall. Gen. Alexander F. WHITAKER presided and George R. CORNWELL was secretary. Several addresses were made and the session continued till a late hour. A roll was presented and thirty-four names were obtained. A much larger gathering was held on the evening of April 25th,with bands of music, parading the streets and playing national airs. Resolutions were adopted to raise a company of volunteers and recruitscame forward freely. The Republicanand Democratic Central Committees combined in a call for a county mass meetingand union assembly, which took place in the court house park on Saturday, April27th. A procession wasformed under the direction of Gen. A. F. WHITAKER, aided by Gen. George WAGENER,and led by martial and brass bands. MorrisBROWN, esq., was president of the day and over 5,000 persons were in attendanceon this occasion. Stirringaddresses were delivered by Hon. Darius A. OGDEN, Hon. Henry SPENCE, Gen. A. F.WHITAKER, and Abraham V. HARPENDING, esq. Atthat meeting was appointed a finance committee consisting of Messrs. FarleyHOLMES, Ebenezer B. JONES, Darius A. OGDEN, and Charles C. SHEPPARD, whocirculated a subscription to raise funds to provide for the families ofvolunteers.
The militarycompany now recruited, and which at this time was know as the “KeukaRifles”, assembled on the 9th of May in Washington Hall, and wasthere inspected by Maj. John E. BEAN, of Geneva, and mustered into the Stateservice. An election was held forofficers on the same day, resulting in the following being chosen: Captain,James M. LETTS; first lieutenant, Edward E. ROOT; second lieutenant, William H.LONG. The company continued todrill under its officers until orders were received to go into camp at Elmira onthe 19th of May. ON thatday the company departed and was escorted to the railroad depot by the Penn Yanfiremen in uniform and a vast crowd of citizens. The company was presented by the ladies of Penn Yan with a beautifulflag, and was addressed on its departure by Hon. D. A. OGDEN and E. B. JONES. A testament was also presented to each member. The men on their arrival at Elmira were quartered in Rev. Thomas K.BEECHER’S church and on the 24th of May, became Company I, of the33rd New York Volunteers, and with the history of this regiment fromthat date the history of the company is identified. Eight of the companies previously mentioned had already arrived inElmira, then an ordinary place of rendezvous for troops going to the front. The officers of these companies met on May 17th and decidedupon forming themselves into a regiment, the two other companies afterwardjoining them. The organization ofthe new regiment was rendered complete by the election of officers on the 21stof May. Robert F. TAYLOR ofRochester, a gentleman of warlike taste and ability, who had served in Mexico,was appointed colonel. The otherfield and staff officers then elected were: Lieutenant-colonel, Calvin WALKER,Geneva; major, Robert J. MANN, Seneca Falls; adjutant, Charles T. SUTTON, NewYork City; quartermaster, H. G. SUYDAM, Geneva; chaplain, Rev. G. N. CHENEY,Rochester; surgeon, T. Rush SPENCER.
The 33rdRegiment, when organized, was assigned to barracks in Southport, where itremained until the departure for Washington. An interesting event of the sojourn in Elmira was the reception of aregimental flag from the patriotic ladies of Canandaigua. The regiment being formed in a hollow square, Mrs. CHESEBRO, with a fewfelicitous remarks, presented the banner to Colonel TAYLOR, who in a briefspeech expressed the tanks of himself and command for the beautiful gift,promising that it should never be dishonored or disgraced. Chaplain CHENEY also in response delivered an able and eloquent addressto the delegation. This flag wasmade of the finest blue silk, bearing upon one side the coat of arms of the Sateof New York and on the reverse, the seal of the county of Ontario adopted in1790. Over this seal appeared inbold gilt letters the words: “ Ontario County Volunteers.” Surmounting the staff was a highly finished carved eagle with extendedpinions, the whole forming one of the most elegant battle flags ever wrought byfair hands. On the 3rdof July the regiment was mustered by companies in the United States service fortwo years by Captain SITGREAVES, a regular officer. Five days later the command started for Washington and wasassigned on arrival to Camp Granger, and about two and one half miles from thecity. While the regiment was hereencamped there occurred the disastrous battle of Bull run, July 21, 1861. the distant sound of cannon all that day was distinctly heard in thecamp. Toward evening the 33rd,along with several other regiments, received marching orders, but had proceededno further than the Treasury department, when the orders were countermanded. William RIKER, sergeant, Company I, died at Camp Granger on August 28th. The regiment took up a new position at Camp Lyon near Chain Bridge, andwas here brigaded for the first time, being placed together with the 3rdVermont and the 6th Maine under the command of Gen. W. f. SMITH. On the 3rd of September, the entire brigade crossed the LongBridge into Virginia. The 33rdfirst occupied Camp Advance, changing soon after for Camp Ethan Allen. While at the latter camp the regiment had its first skirmishwith the enemy. Camp Griffin wasthe next place of residence and while here occurred at Bailey’s Crossroads agrand review of the army by General MC CLELLAN, attended also by PresidentLINCOLN and other distinguished personages. James M. LETTS resigned December 31st and ws succeeded byEdward E. ROOT as captain of Company I.
An advance onRichmond along the peninsula between the York and James Rivers having beendecided upon the 33rd Regiment embarked at Alexandria on March 23,1862, and proceeding by steamer reached Old Point Comfort the next morning. Here the command disembarked and went into camp about four miles distanton the James River. Yorktown wasinvested on the 4th of April, but hardly had the siege commenced whencontrabands brought the intelligence that the enemy had evacuated the place. The Army of the Potomac followed in pursuit of the retreatingconfederates and on Monday, May 5th, was fought the battle ofWilliamsburg. In the beginning ofthe action three companies of the 33rd, (Co. A, Capt. George M.GUOINE, afterward lieutenant-colonel of the 148th Regiment NYV, Co.D, Lieut. George W. BROWN, commanding; and Co. F., Capt. James M. MC NAIR), withregimental colors and color guard, were ordered to occupy a redoubt a shortdistance from the enemy. This wasquickly done amid a heavy faire of artillery and musketry, and the beautifulbanner remained waving from the battlements throughout the fierce conflict, tornand tattered for the first time by shot and shell. Company C, Cap. Chester H. COLE; CompanyE, Capt. Wilson E. WARFORD; Company H., Capt. Alexander H. DRAKE (born in YatesCounty); and Company I, Capt Edward E. ROOT were deployed by Colonel TAYLOR asskirmishers. The remainingcompanies of the regiment (Company B, Capt. Josiah J. WHITE; Company G., Capt.Theodore B. HAMILTON; and Company K, Capt. Patrick MC GRAW) were stationed onguard duty under the command of Lieut. –Col. Joseph W. CORNING. All day the fight continued and toward night a sudden and furious attackwas made by the enemy upon Hancock’s position, then occupied in part, by the33rd. Companies A, D,and F were ordered out of the redoubt into line of battle as the Confederatescame rushing on, shouting “Bull Run! BullRun! That flag is ours!” The enemy’s flying artillery also moved forward and discharged shot andshell in quick succession. TheFederal lines wavered and all seemed lost when the lieutenant-colonel, turningto Colonel TAYLOR, remarked, “Nothing but a charge can check them.” “A charge it shall be,: he replied and waving his sword aloft shouted,“Forward men!” “Chargebayonets!” added Lieutenant-colonel Corning and the 33rd sprangforward on the double quick when its gallant action was imitated by severalregiments along the line. Alarmedat this sudden counter charge, the enemy turned and ran in confusion, while the33rd poured volley after volley upoin the Confederates as theyrapidly retreated over the plain. Thisdaring exploit of the regiment decided the fortunes of the day and changed aseeming defeat into a substantial victory. Company I, commanded by Captain ROOT, and which with Companies C, E, andHa was on the skirmish line, at this time encountered and fired upon a party ofConfederates, who supposing our soldiers to be friends, cried out, “Don’tfire, you are shooting your own men.” CaptainROOT ordered them to surrender, and they were all made prisoners, much to theirsuppose and chagrin. One of theirofficers attempted to escape, but Captain ROOT started after him and compelledhim to deliver up his sword. On theevening of May 7th, General MC CLELLAN rode into camp on his favoritebay charger, “Dan WEBSTER,” and thus addressed the regiment while drawn upin line:
“Officers andSoldiers of the 33rd: I have come to thank you in person, for gallantconduct on the field of battle on the 5th inst. I will say to you what I have said to other regiments engaged with you. All did well – did all that I could expect. But you did more; you behaved like veterans; you are veterans; veteransof a hundred battles could not have done better. Those of you left, fought well; but you won the day; you were at theright point, did the right thing, and at the right time. You shale have Williamsburg inscribed on your banner.”
The regiment wasnext engaged (May 24th) in battle at Mechanicsville and on the 28thof June at Golden’s Farm. Hereits capture was attempted by an overwhelming force of the enemy, consisting ofthe 7th and 8th Georgia Regiments, but in the effort theconfederates were repulsed with great loss. The 33rd was highly complimented for its bravery by GeneralDAVIDSON, a loyal Virginian, in his report of the action. An attack of the enemy was also successfully resisted (June 29th)at White Oak Swamp during the retreat to the James. Colonel TAYLOR there commanded the 3rd Brigade (to which the33rd belonged), the regiment itself being in command of Maj. John S.PLATNER.
On the 1stof July, occurred the engagement at Malvern Hill. The 33rd was here posted with others of our forcesamong lines of batteries, which the Confederates several times fiercelyattacked, but in vain. Chargeafter charge ws made by the enemy, only to be repulsed with fearful slaughter. The determined bravery of the Confederates evoked cheers from theUnionists themselves. But to carrythe Federal position was beyond their power. “In several instances,” says General MC CLELLAN, “our infantrywithheld their fire until the attacking column, which rushed through the stormof canister and shell form our artillery, had reached within a few yards of ourlines. They then poured in a singlevolley and dashed forward with the bayonet, capturing prisoners and colors anddriving the routed columns in confusion from the field …. The result was complete victory.” In the afternoon of July 3rd the regiment, which all throughthe retreat had formed a portion of the rear guard of the army, reachedHarrison’s Landing. Afterwardgoing by transport it arrived and went into camp (August 24th) atAlexandria, form there marching to the battlefield of Antietam. In this fight, which was on the 17th of September, the 33rdwas foremost in action, losing alone fifty men in killed and wounded. Among the former was Sergeant-Major George W. BASSETT, of Yates County, abrave and popular officer. He wasshot through the head on returning to the front, after having carried Lieut.Lucius C. MIX, who had been severely wounded, from the field. First Lieut. William Hale LONG, of Company I, was promoted November 25thto captain and assistant adjutant-general and on the 1st of December,George BRENNAN, orderly-sergeant of the same company, was promoted to firstlieutenant. The regiment crossedthe Rappahannock on December 12th on pontoon bridges laid by the 15thNew York Engineers, and next day was in the battle of Fredericksburg, where itsloss in killed and wounded amounted to over 200. Having remained in camp near White Oak Church during thefirst four months of 1863 the command on the 2nd of May participatedin the storming of Marye’s Heights. Thesewere gallantly carried, and on the summit the regimental colors were unfurled intriumph to the breeze. In thecharge up the heights many of the regiment were killed and wounded, among thelatter being Captain ROOT, of Company I. Thebattle of Salem Heights, fought May 4th, was the last in which the 33rdwas engaged.
On Tuesday, May12, 1863, colonel TAYLOR informed the men in his command that, their term ofservice having expired, they were to go home on the coming Friday. The order for their departure was accompanied by parting addresses fromthe corps, division, and brigade generals, each address containing a gracefulacknowledgment of the past services of the regiment. Farewells were uttered by members of other regiments who had fought sideby side with the 33rd, and on the 17th of May, theregiment arrived at Elmira. TheSaturday following, the 33rd came to Geneva, where an address ofwelcome was delivered by Hon. Charles J. FOLGER. A bountiful repast was also served at Camp Swift to the returned soldiersby the ladies of Geneva. OnMonday, May 25th, the regiment proceeded to Canandaigua, where asplendid ovation was received from the citizens. The buildings were handsomely decorated with the national colors andtriumphal arches spanned the principal streets. The veterans, together with the Canandaigua firemen, formed in processionand marched to the Courthouse Square and were here addressed by Hon. Elbridge G.LAPHAM. The procession again formedand passed through various streets to the fair grounds, where the regiment gavean exhibition of the manuel of arms. J.P. FAUROT, esq., made a brief speech of congratulations, to whichLieutenant-colonel CORNING responded. ColonelTAYLOR then returned to the ladies of Canandaigua the regimental banner receivedfrom them two years before. Handingthe flag to the committee he remarked that it had been given to his command withthe pledge that it should never be sullied by cowardice or a dishonorable actand it had never been. It was abeautiful flag when presented to the regiment, but was now torn and soiled, butto him and the regiment, it was all the dearer. He had not doubt it would be dearer to those who gave it as a relic ofthe bravery and patriotism of the men of the 33rd, who, when heassumed command, were 800 strong, but now less than 400 remained. On receiving back the banner, the ladies presented an address, which wasbread by A. H. HOWELL, esq. Aparting speech to the regiment was delivered by Chaplain Augustus H. LUNG. A sumptuous banquet, served at the Canandaigua House by the ladies of thevillage, closed the services. Thesame evening the 33rd returned to Geneva and on Tuesday, June 2,1863, was assembled on the green in front of the barracks, by Captain BEIRN ofthe regular army, and there mustered by companies out of the service. On the 20th of June a grand reception was given at Penn Yan tothe members of Company I. Led byLieutenant BRENNAN as senior officer, they marched to the sound of martial musicthrough the principal streets and were served with a collation at the BENHAMHouse. The flag presented to the company two years before, wasreturned to the ladies of Penn Yan and appropriate addresses were made by Hon.D. A. OGDEN and Rev. Frederick STARR. Severalwho had belonged to Company I, and toother companies in the 33rd Regiment, subsequently re-enlisted intoother commands.
(The list of Officers and privates for Co. I, from the muster out roll – seealpha listing of all soldiers)
ONEHUNDRED AND TWENTY-SIXTH REGIMENT NYV pg 138
Abraham LINCOLN,President of the United States, received on the last of June 1862, acommunication signed by seventeen of the war governors of the North,recommending him to ‘fill up all military organizations then in the filed thathad become reduced by the unavoidable casualties of the service, and to createnew regiments for the defence of positions gained by calling on each State forits quota of a body of men sufficient for such purposes.” The President’s reply in part was as follows:
“Fullyconcurring in the wisdom of the views expressed to me in so patriotic a mannerby you in the communication of the 28th of June, I have decided tocall into the service an additional force of 300,000 men. I suggest and recommend that the troops should be chiefly ofinfantry. I trust they may beenrolled without delay, so as to bring this unnecessary and injurious civil warto a speedy and satisfactory conclusion.”
The call fortroops made as above by the President was dated July 1st and on the 2nda proclamation was issued by Hon. Edwin D. MORGAN, governor of New York, for theraising of the quota of the State. GovernorMORGAN subsequently issued an order fixing the quotas of the several counties,and requiring a regiment to be raised in each senatorial district, which for thefirst time was re-named “Regimental District.” For each district a war committee was appointed to take charge of therecruiting of the regiment of that district and to recommend the proper personsto officer such regiment. The warcommittee appointed by the governor for the 26th Senatorial District,held the first meeting at Geneva on the 11th of July, said committeebeing composed of certain prominent citizens from the counties of Ontario,Seneca and Yates. From the lastnamed county the members of the war committee were as follows: Hon. William S. BRIGGS, county judge, Morris BROWN, esq., Stafford C.CLEVELAND, editor of the Yates County Chronicle, Charles S. HOYT, M.D.,Melethiah H. LAWRENCE, esq., Hon Darius A. OGDEN and Gen. Alexander F. WHITAKER.
Recruitingimmediately commenced and on the 4th of August the rendezvous for theregiment to be raised in this district was opened at Camp Swift, Geneva. The position of commandant of this post was first offered to Hon. CharlesJ. FOLGER of Geneva, then to Hon. Darius A. OGDEN of Penn Yan. Each having in turn declined, Hon. Eliakim SHERRIL of Geneva was chosenand was commissioned colonel of the regiment upon its organization. War meetings were held in all parts of the senatorial district,particularly in our county of Yates, where great enthusiasm was manifested, andrecruiting went on rapidly.
Company A,recruited entirely in Yates County, was the first company in the new regiment torendezvous at Camp Swift. Thesecond was Company B, recruited principally in Yates County. Recruits form this county were also in Companies C, D, E, F,G, H and K. On August 20ththe regiment, which was called the 126th New York Volunteers, wasorganized and on the 22nd it was regularly mustered into the UnitedStates service. On that date the 126th Regiment comprised 39officers and 956 enlisted men, or a total of 995.
(The regimental and line officers at formation can be found on the alphalisting of all soldiers)
The regiment left Geneva for the front August 26, 1862 and arrived atBaltimore the next day. By ordersgiven by the veteran general, John E. WOOL, who commanded the middle department,the 126th proceeded to Harper’s Ferry, reaching there the 28th. The regiment had been directed to report for instruction and duty to Col.D. h. MILES, then commanding at Harper’s Ferry, and which on its arrival, wasalready occupied by the 39th and 111th Regiments N.Y.V.,the 32nd Ohio Volunteers, the 12th NY State Militia, the 1stRhode Island Battery, and a portion of the 5th New York HeavyArtillery. On the 13th,14th, and 15th of September, Harper’s Ferry was investedby three divisions of the Confederate army commanded respectively by Generals MCLAWS, WALER and “Stonewall” JACKSON. EarlyIn the morning of the 13th, the 126th Regiment advancedfrom Harper’s Ferry to Maryland Heights. It there received the main force of the enemy’s attack, and made undervery disadvantageous circumstances a brave and credible defence. Its loss in this engagement was 13 killed and 42 wounded. Among the latter was Colonel SHERRILL, who received a severe wound in theface, was for some time disabled from active service. On the 15th the garrison at Harper’s Ferry surrendered onparole. Any of the causeswhich are said to have brought about this disastrous result need not here bestated. Having marched toAnnapolis, the 126th Regiment was transferred to Camp Douglas,Chicago. At this place were locatedfor two months its far from desirable quarters, where the accommodations andsanitary arrangements were alike injurious to the health of all and fatal tomany. Adjutant J. Smith BROWN, ofColonel BERDAN’S United States Sharpshooters, here joined on the 17thof November the 126th, having accepted the adjutancy of the same. The regiment was exchanged November 19th and proceeding toWashington was re-armed. The winterof 1862-63 was passed in camp at Union Mills, Va., doing picket duty along thebanks of the famous Bull Run. Onthe 27th of January, 1863, colonel SHERRILL, having sufficientlyrecovered, rejoined the regiment, which during his absence had been under thecommand of Lieut. Col. James M. BULL. Thecamp was moved March 2nd to Centerville, Va., where the 126thunited with the balance of a brigade comprising the 39th, 111th,and the 125th New York Volunteers, and commanded by Brig. Gen.Alexander HAYS, who had won distinction in the Peninsular Campaign. On the 24th of June, the regiment joined the Army of thePotomac, then marching to intercept LEE, who was making a second attempt toinvade the North. The 126thnow became a part of the 3rd Brigade of the 3rd Division,and was succeeded as commander of the brigade by Col. George Lamb WILLARD, ofthe 111th NYV.
After a most fatiguing march from Centerville, the 126tharrived in the early morning of July 2nd on the battlefield ofGettysburg. Toward night it tookpart along with the brigades in a glorious charge that resulted in the defeatand dispersion of the opposing forces of the Southerners. As this charge was being made, Colonel WILLARD, the brigadecommander, was killed, while on the side of the enemy fell BARKSDALE, who hadcommanded a Confederate brigade at the taking of Harper’s Ferry. During the terrific cannonading between the two armies, with which beganthe engagement of the day following volunteers from the 126thRegiment came forward and manned the guns in the batteries where the regularartillerymen had been killed or wounded. Whenin the afternoon a grand assault was made by the Confederates against theFederal lines, the 126th acted well its part toward the repulse ofthe foe. Five stands of colors weretaken by the regiment on this occasion. CaptMorris BROWN Jr., of Yates County, captured with his own hands, one of thesestandards, on which was inscribed “Harper’s Ferry” and the names of elevenother battles. The surrender ofHarper’s Ferry was redeemed at Gettysburg. The brave Colonel SHERRILL, who, when Colonel WILLARD fell, had succeededto the command of the 3rd Brigade, was mortally wounded, expiring thenext day, and most fittingly on the anniversary of American independence. Five other officers and fifty five enlisted men belonging to the 126thRegiment were killed in this, one of the most important battles of the war,while seven officers and 161 enlisted men were wounded. Among the slain officers was Color-Sergeant, Erasmus E. BASSETT, of YatesCounty, who fell during the first day’s fight while bravely carrying theregimental colors. An active partwas taken by the regiment after the battle in the pursuit of the enemy.
From Gettysburg until the close of the war, the 126thparticipated in twenty different battles and skirmishes. In the autumn of 1863 the regiment won add ional honor for itsconspicuous gallantry in the battles of Auburn ford and of Bristow Station,which were fought respectively in the morning and afternoon of October 14th. Severe skirmishing also took place at Mine Run on the 27ththrough the 30th of November. The services of the regiment were again called upon in the grandreconnaissance made February 6, 1864, by the Army of the Potomac at Morton’sFord on the Rapidan. On the 24thof March, Lieut.-Gen. U.S. GRANT arrived and established his headquarters atCulpepper Court House. Theregiment, having been transferred to BARLOW’S division, entered the springcampaign of 1864 with less than 300 men, of whom 100 were on duty asprovost-guard at corps headquarters. TheArmy of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan on the 4th of May and wasafterward engaged in the following battles, in all of which the 126thRegiment took part: May 6thand 7th in the Wilderness (in the ballet Brevet Maj.-Gen. AlexanderHAYS was killed while gallantly rallying his brigade); May 10th at PoRiver; May 12th to the 18th, at Spotsylvania, where the 2ndCorps, to which the 126th Regiment belonged, made a grand charge onthe enemy’s works, capturing 400 prisoners, 20 guns and 30 stands of colors,together with the Confederate Generals, Edward JOHNSON and G. H. STEWART, who were taken to the rear and put under guardof colored soldiers. From the 23rdto the 31st, sharp skirmishing occurred along the North Anna andTolopotomy Rivers. The 126thRegiment then took part in the terrible battle of Cold Harbor from the 1stto the 12th of June. Onthe 16th, the regiment moved to the front of Petersburg and in theengagement on that day, Col William H. BAIRD was killed. Heavy fighting also occurred here on the 17th and 18th. The 2nd Corps on the 21st, advanced to the left ofPetersburg and on the 22nd was attacked by the enemy in force and onthe left flank. The 126thRegiment was at this time commanded by Capt. Morris BROWN Jr., of Yates County,who fell with others of merit in the heat of the action.
On the 26th of July, the regiment was engaged in battle atDeep Bottom on the James and from the 14th to the 20th ofAugust at Strawberry Plains. Havingaided effectually in the destruction of the Weldon Railroad, the regiment wasattached on the 25th at Reams Station. In the following spring of 1865, the 126thRegiment participated in the assault made March 25th on the linesaround Petersburg, just after the attack by LEE upon Fort Steadman. From the 29th to the 31st, the regiment was engagedon the skirmish line along the Boydton plank road. When the retreat of LEE’S army began the 3rd Brigade, inwhich was included the 126th Regiment, was particularly active in thepursuit and let by the gallant Gen. C. D. MAC DOUGALL charged (April 2nd)and carried the enemy’s entrenchments at Southerland’s Station. The Confederates were again encountered April 7th at Farmvilleand at Appomattox on the 9th, where on that day, Lee surrendered toGrant. The 126thRegiment, having resumed its march, passed on the 7th of May throughRichmond. Here it was greeted bythe 148th New York Volunteers, in which regiment Companies B, F, andI had been recruited in Yates County. Thiswas the first time the two regiments had met while in the service. The 126th Regiment proceeded to Washington and took part inthe grand review held in that city on the 23rd of May. Orders were received June 2nd for the regiment to be musteredout and sent to the State rendezvous, and on the 3rd the regiment wasmustered out. The next day the menleft Washington for Elmira, NY, arriving at that place on the 6th,and there meeting their former colonel, James M. BULL. The 126th Regiment, numbering at this time 221men, received final payment and discharged at Elmira, June 16th and17th, 1865.
(The regiment muster in roll of the 126th can be found onthe alpha listing of all soldiers)
ONEHUNDRED AND FORTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT N.Y.V. pg 146
Important serviceto the nation was rendered during the great Civil war by the 148thRegiment New York Volunteers, which was raised in the counties of Yates,Ontario, and Seneca, and organized September 14, 1862. At the time of its organization the field and staff officers were asfollows: Colonel William JOHNSON, Seneca Falls; lieutenant colonel, George M.GUYON, Seneca Falls; major, John B. MURRAY, Seneca Falls; adjutant, Henry T.NOYES, Starkey; quartermaster, Albert WOODRUFF, Lodi; surgeon, Henry SIMMONS,Canandaigua; first assistant surgeon, C. H. CARPENTER, Phelps; second assistantsurgeon Frank SEELEYE, Rushville.
In Yates Countywere recruited Companies B, F and I. Ofthese, the following were the line officers: Company B: Captain Hiram T. HEWITT;first lieutenant Hiram STRUBLE; second lieutenant George W. WADDELL. Company F: Captain Harvey G. GARNDER; first lieutenant Melvin D. WILSON;second lieutenant Aaron J. COOK. CompanyI: Captain Martin S. HICKS; first lieutenant Morgan D. TRACY; second lieutenantJohn COOLEY.
The 148thleft the place of rendezvous at Camp Swift, Geneva, on the 22nd ofSeptember. The regiment when itdeparted consisted of 12 companies. Tenbeing the required number orders were received on the arrival of the command (bysteamer via Seneca Lake) at Watkins directing two of the companies to return toGeneva. The two companies thatreturned, became on the 3rd of October, part of the 44thRegiment N.Y.V. On of these two hadbeen raised in Yates County and was the first Company M of the 148thand later Company C of the 44th. Its line officers were as follows: Captain Bennett MUNGER; firstlieutenant Elzer B. JAMES; second lieutenant Charles KELLY. The 148th Regiment proceeded from Watkins by rail, arriving atBaltimore the next morning and was there served with an excellent breakfast bythe ladies of the city. The commandwent on to Washington where it continued to drill for several days on CapitolHill. It then left Washington and going by transport by way ofFortress Monroe, landed at Portsmouth, Va. From Portsmouth the regiment went by rail through the Dismal Swamp toSuffolk and was there stationed on guard duty in the rifle pits. Suffolk was then being put into a state of defence by theUnion forces commanded by General PECK of Syracuse. The 148th after a few weeks moved form the entrenchments andencamped on Paradise Creek near Portsmouth. The whole regiment then relieved the 19th Wisconsin and movedand went into camp, part in Portsmouth and part across the river in Norfolk. The different companies composing the 148th were from aconsiderable time on detached duty, but were again collected together and wereall encamped in the courthouse yard in Norfolk and in other parts of the town. Here they remained until the opening of the spring campaign of 1864. The regiment then moved to Yorktown and became part of the 2ndBrigade of the 2nd Division of the Army of the James, under the chiefcommand of Gen. B. F. BUTLER.
The advance ofthis army up the James River began on the 4th of May, 1864. The 148th Regiment, gong by transport, arrived and landed withthe rest of the troops at Bermuda Hundred. Skirmishes with the enemy occurred at Clover Hill on the 8thand at Swift Creek on the 12th. Early in the morning of the 16th, during a heavy fog, a suddenand sharp attack was made upon our forces in front of Drury’s Bluff by theConfederates under BEAUREGARD. TheUnion troops fought bravely and obtained some advantage, but BUTLER, evidentlyunder a misapprehension, ordered a retreat. Another skirmish in which the 148th took part occurred on the26th at Port Walthall Junction. The whole army returned to its entrenchments at Bermuda Hundred, fromwhich position no offensive movement in the direction desired could possibly beattempted. As General GRANT in his official report says: “This army,while here, though in a position of great security, was as completely shut offfrom further operations against Richmond as if it had been in a bottle stronglycorked. It required but acomparatively small force of the enemy to hold it there. “
The position atBermuda Hundred could, on the other hand, in General GRANT’S opinion, be heldby a less force than BUTLER had under him; therefore on the 24th ofMay, the 18th Corps, in which ws included the 148thRegiment, was ordered to join the Army of the Potomac. The corps commander at that time was Gen. W. F. SMITH, familiarly knownas “Baldy” SMITH, and who had formerly commanded a brigade of which the 33rdNew York Volunteers had formed a part. The148th joined the Army of the Potomac by way of the White House, towhich it placed its arrived by transport, passing down the James and up the Yorkrivers. On the 3rd ofJune the regiment participated in the battle of Cold Harbor. In the sanguinary contest in front of Petersburg, a prominent part wastaken by the 148th, particularly in the fight at Rowlett’s House onthe 15th. At themine explosion in the morning of July 30th the regiment with itsdivision was ordered forward to the support of the attacking column that chargedinto the crater. On the 29thof September the very strong fortifications and entrenchments below Chapin’sFarm, on the north side of the James and known as Fort Harrison, were carried inan attack by the 18th Corps, led by Gen E. O. C. ORD. The regiment distinguished itself in this action and proved to all thatits designation as “the gallant 148th” was well deserved. In the assault on Fort Gillmore, however, on the same day, a repulsefollowed. At the battle of FairOaks, fought October 27th, the regiment suffered severely in killedand wounded. In the beginning ofNovember the larger part of the 148th Regiment was detailed withother forces to accompany General BUTLER to New York city for the purpose ofkeeping order on election day, as it was anticipated that a riot would takeplace on that occasion.
On the 2ndof April, 1865, occurred the decisive conflict (participated in by the 148th)which resulted in the final defeat of LEE and the evacuation of Petersburg andRichmond. The next morning, “amidblazing roofs and failing walls, smoke and ashes, and the deafening reports ofexplosions,” the soldiers of the Union entered the latter city in triumph. The very remarkable scene which was on the morning presented is thusdescribed, by E. A. POLLARD, the Southern historian:
“By 10o’clock, when several thousand of the (Federal) enemy had marched into thecity, the scene had become fearfully sublime. It was a scene in which the horrors of a great conflagration struggledfor the forepart of the picture, while the grand army, brilliant with steel andbanners, breaking into the circle of fire with passionate cheers, and the crashof triumphant martial music, dazzled the spectator and confounded hisimagination. The flames has alreadyspread over the chief business portion of the city, brands were flying towardthe capitol and it seemed at one time as if the whole of Richmond would bedestroyed – that the whole wicked city would rush skyward in a pyramid offire. A change in the wind,however, drove back the fire from the high plateau above Franklin street, where,if the flames had once lodged, they would soon have traversed the length andbreadth of the city . . . . . . . Allthat was terrible in sounds was added to all that was terrible in sights. While glittering regiments carried their strong lines of steel throughthe smoke; while smoke-masked robbers fought for their plunder; while the lowerstreets appeared as a great pit of fire, the crater of destruction; whilealarmed citizens who had left their property a ruin or spoil found a briefrepose on the sward of the Capitol Square, whose emerald green was alreadystrewn with brands – the seeds of fired that the merciless wind had sown tothe very door of the capitol; while the lengthening arms of the conflagrationappeared to almost reach around those who had fled to the picturesque hill for abreath of fresh air, - sounds as terrible, and more various than those ofbattle, assailed the ear and smote the already overtaxed imagination. There were shells at the Confederated arsenal exposed to the fire, fromthe rapid progress of which they could no longer be rescued, and for hours theexplosion of these tore the air and shook the houses in their vicinity. Crowds of negroes roamed through the streets, their wild, coarse voicesraised in hymns of jubilation, thanking God for their freedom and a few stepsfarther might be heard the blasphemous shouts of those who fought with thered-handed fired for their prey.” (FromLife of Jefferson Davis, with a Secret History of the Confederacy, page 406)
The regiment onApril 2nd took part in the charge by which Fort Gregg, south ofPetersburg, was captured and in the engagement on the 6th at Rice’sStation. On the 9th of April, LEE surrendered at Appomattox CourtHouse. While in Richmond after thesurrender, the 148th had the pleasure of greeting (May 7th)the 126th New York Volunteers, in which regiment a large proportionof the members were from the county of Yates. The 148th Regiment was mustered out at Richmond on the 20thof June. The veterans who hadcomposed the command then went by transport to Baltimore, where they took theirdeparture for their several homes, having performed for their country a servicethat will ever stand high in public estimation.
(Theregiment muster out roll of the 148th can be found on the alphalisting of all soldiers)
Among the manyregiments which during the war were furnished by the Empire State, the 179thNew York Volunteers is entitled to prominence for the bravery and the patriotismthat this command in several engagements displayed. The ten companies of infantry composing the 179th were raisedin the following places: Company A in Horseheads; Company B in Elmira; Company Cin Buffalo; Company F in Penn Yan; Company G in Buffalo; Company H in Elmira;Company I in Newfield and Company K in Binghamton. The following were the field and staff officers of the regiment at thetime of it’s organization on the 5th of April, 1864: Colonel,William M. GREGG; lieutenant-colonel, Franklin B. DOTY; major J. Barnet SLOAN;adjutant, George W. COOK; quartermaster, Nathaniel P. T. FINCH; surgeon, JosephW. ROBINSON; assistant surgeon, William C. BAILEY; chaplain Edwin A. TAFT.
The 179th,having been organized, was sent into the field by companies form the place ofrendezvous at Elmira. Companies A,B and C went on in April 1864, and arrived in Baltimore on the 29thof that month. Companies A and Cproceeded via New York City and Company B by the Northern Central Railroad, thetree companies meeting in Baltimore. Fromthere they went to Washington and encamped on Arlington Heights, opposite thecity. They were here joined aboutthe first of May, by Companies D and E. Lieut.-Col.Franklin B. DOTY, also at this time reached the camp and assumed command. From Arlington, about the last of May, they proceeded to White HouseLanding on the Pamunkey River, Va.
Company F, withMaj. J. Barnet SLOAN, left Elmira on the 1st of June and joined theregiment at White House Landing. The179th remained here until June 10th, when it united withthe Army of the Potomac at Cold Harbor while the battle of that name was goingon. The regiment was attached tothe First Brigade, Colonel PIERRE of the First Division, General LEDLIE of the 9th Corps, commanded by General BURNSIDE. The position in front of Cold Harbor was evacuated as the army moved downthe Peninsula, the 179th Regiment being the last to leave theskirmish line. The James River wascrossed at Wilson’s Landing and a forced march was made in front ofPetersburg, where the regiment arrived on the 16th. The 9th Corps the same evening supported the 2ndCorps as it advanced on the Confederate position. At 6 o’clock in the afternoon of the following day, the 9thCorps assailed the enemy’s works. Inthis assault, the 179th lost half its number in killed, wounded andmissing. Maj. J. Barnet SLOAN of Yates County, while bravely leadinghis regiment in the charge, received a mortal wound. Capt. Daniel BLATCHFORD of Company E was also killed andLieut.-Col. Franklin B. DOTY, Captains Robert T. STEWART of Company B andWilliam BIRD Jr., of Company D, were wounded. Capt. John BARTON of Company C was promoted to be major, July 14thin the place of Major SLOAN, who died of his wound on the 18th ofJune.
It will be properhere to give some account of the young and gallant officer last named, who fellwhile in the service of his country. JohnBarnet SLOAN was born in Penn Yan, January 17, 1839. In 1861, while a resident of New York City, he enlisted for two years inthe 31st Regiment N.Y. V., with the rank of first lieutenant. When the 31st was ordered from an island in the harbor of NewYork to proceed to Washington, some violent characters connected with thisregiment refused to go, and it was only by the energy of Lieutenant SLOAN andconsiderable coercion that a mutiny was prevented while they were passingthrough the city of New York. Bythe simple occurrence was awakened in the minds of these desperadoes the mostdeadly hatred and revenge. Soonafter they arrived in Washington one of them made a furious assault on thelieutenant. He defended himself andthrust his sword through the body of the ruffian, who died instantly. The companions of the soldier thus justly killed were more than everincensed, and two or tree days later another of the insurgents rushed withmusket and bayonet at Lieutenant SLOAN, who, drawing a revolver, shot him dead. The lieutenant immediately surrendered himself and asked for aninvestigation. A court martial wasappointed and after a patient hearing of tree days, acquitted him from allblame. General MC CLELLAN, to whomthe verdict of the court had been submitted for approval, asked “to see theyoung lieutenant who had been tried.” WhenLieutenant SLOAN presented himself, General MC CLELLAN remarked, “ Lieutenant,you are acquitted; you were born to be a soldier. I see that you have but one bar upon your shoulder; you are worthy towear two.” The lieutenant shortlyafterward received by order of the general, a captain’s commission. His comrades in the company in which he first enlisted, on learning thathe was about to be assigned to the command of another company, petitioned thathe might remain, and he became their captain. Shortly after the siege of Yorktown, Captain SLOAN’S company withothers was sent out to reconnoiter and became entirely surrounded by the enemy. After making a detour of about ten miles, and being all this while in themost imminent danger, Captain SLOAN with a number of his men succeeded inreaching the Federal lines, but while approaching they were mistaken forConfederates and a shell, which fortunately failed to explode, fell in theirmidst. At the battle of Gaine’sMill, Captain SLOAN engaged in single combat with a Confederate cavalryman, whomhe shot through the head, but not until the trooper had severely wounded him inthe foot. Although wounded, hefought to the close of that day’s conflict and during the next two days in thebattles of Savage Station and of Fair Oaks. His foot had now become swollen to such an extent, that he could notwalk. Our forces were in fullretreat, and Captain SLOAN was following after as best he could on one foot,supporting himself by a stout stick cut from the White Oak Swamp. The Confederates were in plain view and he would have been taken prisonerhad not the lieutenant colonel noticed the peril he was in and sent his ownhorse with directions to mount and repair to the hospital. Here Captain SLOAN’S wound first received medical attention. He was then furloughed and coming North, was appointed a recruitingofficer, and for several months acted in that capacity. He afterward returned to his regiment and was at the storming of theheights of Fredericksburg, where he was again wounded, this time by a minie-ballin the leg. The 31st Regiment was mustered out in May 1863 andCaptain SLOAN, for meritorious services on the field of battle, received acommission as major, bearing date and back pay from the previous month ofJanuary. Major SLOAN, having re-enlisted, left Elmira on June 1, 1864, withCompany F of his regiment, the 179th. After his departure for the front a large number of theprominent citizens of Yates County, wishing to express their high appreciationof Major SLOAN’s military and soldierly qualities, assembled on June 4thin front of the Benham House in Penn Yan to witness the presentation of abeautiful sword, pistols and belt which had been contributed by them as atestimonial of the esteem and respect which they held toward the young and bravemajor. Hon. Darius A. OGDEN madethe presentation speck, and in behalf of Major SLOAN, who was then absent in thefield of duty, John D. WOLCOTT, esq., the district attorney of Yates County,responded and passed the beautiful implements of war into the hands of JohnSLOAN, esq. Who was to forward them to his son. The following is the inscription on the sword:
“Presentedto Major John Barnet SLOAN, June 4, 1864, as a testimonial of their appreciationof services rendered in defence of our imperiled country, and his energy inraising the 179th Regt. N.Y.S.V.” , by
Hon.D. OGDEN, Col. H. C. ROBBINS, S. C. CLEVELAND, Wm. WATTS, F. HOLMES, C.HEWINS, J. S. JILLETT, N. R. LONG, L. O. DUNNING, Wm. T. REMER, Geo H. LAPHAM,F. E. SMITH and others
Gen. A. F.WHITAKER, Chairman.
Major SLOANreceived the published accounts of this meeting, but before he received thebeautiful and appropriate gifts themselves, he fell in battle, June 17th,as before stated. His remains werebrought to Penn Yan and there interred with due honors, the Rev. Frederick STARRJr., pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, preaching the funeral discourse. The post of the Grand Army of the Republic at Penn Yan was named in honorof Major SLOAN on its organization in 1869. He was married September 24, 1860, to Miss Mary A. BRADLEY, a sister ofLieut. David A. BRADLEY, of Company F, of the 179th Regiment. Their children are Mary Barnet, the wife of Frank E. WRIGHT,of Lewiston, Fergus County, Mont., and Martha E., the wife of the Hon. John D.WAITE, of Utica, Fergus County, Mont.
Company G joinedthe command July 29, 1864. Theexplosion of the mine under a portion of the confederate entrenchments occurredthe next morning. An assault wasthen made by the 9th Corps, with the 1st Division takingthe lead, and the 179th lost in killed Major BARTON, Capt Allen T.FARWELL of Company F, Capt. James H. DAY of Company G, and wounded Lieut. B. L.SEXTON of Company D. Fifty enlistedmen belonging to the regiment were killed, wounded, and taken prisoners. Private John H. CARLEY of Company F was among the killed. The 179th did constant fighting in the trenches until the 19thof August. During the whole timethe men were exposed to the most hair-breadth escapes and harassing dangers, butthe regiment escaped with only a few wounded. On the above date it moved round to the Weldon Railroad, which had beencaptured by the 5th Corps, and which would have been lost again hadit not been for the timely support of the 9th Corps. The two corps, now united, attacked the Confederates andforced them to retreat a considerable distance. In this advance, the 179th Regiment had only tree officers andfifty six men fit for duty, so greatly had the officers and men been worn downby their duties in the trenches. Theloss in the above engagement was small. On August 27th, Albert A. TERRILL,. Captain ofCompany A, was made major in place of Major BARTON killed.
Lieutenant ColonelDOTY, who had been wounded and absent in consequence for 60 days, rejoined hiscommand August 23rd. Companies H, I, and K reached the regiment atPark’s Station in September. Onthe 30th of that month the 179th took part in the engagement at Poplar Springs Church, in which Lieut.James BOOKER of Company K, acting adjutant, was mortally wounded. The next engagement, in which the losses were very slight,occurred October 27th at Hatcher’s Run. After this the regiment was generally in the trenches until April 1865,occasionally changing positions from Fort Welsh to Fort Davis. The 179th Regiment having now reached its maximum number, ColWilliam M. GREGG, about the 1st of October, 1864, was mustered in andtook command.
During the firstpart of December, at the time of the celebrated raid of the 5th Corpsto the Notaway River, the 2nd Division to which the regiment wasattached was sent out in pursuit and to give support if required. It performed a forced march of twenty miles and back within 24 hours. On the night of April 1, 1865, the 179th Regiment alone, by asplendid flank, movement, assaulted the whole picket line on tits brigade front,capturing about four times its number with only slight losses, and held itsposition until morning. It thentook position on the front line for a general assault on the enemy’s works,which were subsequently taken with an overwhelming victory that completely brokeup the Confederate lines of fortification. Colonel GREGG in this assault received a scalp wound from the fragment ofa shell, which rendered him senseless for some time, and disabled him for oneweek from commanding. The lamentedLieutenant-Colonel DOTY fell, shot through the lungs and survived only two days. As an officer, a courteous gentleman, a brave soldier, among the bravestof the brave, he had few equals. CaptainsAlbert A. PIERSON of Company D and Giles H. HOLDEN of Company F, and LieutenantsSamuel G. H. MUSGROVE of Company H and Stephen COMPTON of Company A, werewounded. Captain PIERSON severelythrough the left leg and the rest slightly.
The 179thparticipated in the pursuit of LEE as far as Burkesville and after his surrenderit returned to City Point, from which place it went by transport to Alexandriaand near there, encamped. On the 23rdof May the regiment took part along with the rest of the ever renowned Army ofthe Potomac in the grand review at Washington. No words can adequately describe the grandeur of this parade. Over200,000 veterans – the heroes of many a fierce battle – marched in anapparently endless stream up Pennsylvania avenue and past the Presidentialmansion, while the air was filled with strains of music and the acclamations ofinnumerable spectators, the whole forming a scene of unparalleled splendor, ofwhich the participants still speak with enthusiasm. General GRANT expressed it as “ a sight varied and grand, “ but itwas more so; it was a sight but once seen in a lifetime, and in one respect, amagnificent exhibition of the tremendous power of our arms.
“Yet sublime aswas this spectacle,” says the celebrated historian, J. T. HEADLEY, “it sunkinto insignificance before the grandeur of the one presented a few days after,when this army, strong enough to conquer a hemisphere, melted suddenly away intothe mass of people and was seen no more. Itsdeeds renown had filled the civilized world and European statesmen looked on andwondered what disposition could be made of it, and where it would choose to goor what it would do. It was one ofthe grandest armies that ever bore on its bayonet points the destinies of a kingor a nation – a consolidation and embodiment of power seldom witnessed; andyet, while the gaze of the world was fixed upon it, it disappeared like avision, and when one looked for it he saw only peaceful citizens engaged intheir usual occupations. The majorgeneral, whose martial achievements had been repeated in almost every languageunder the sun, was seen among his papers in his old law office, which he hadleft at the call of his county; the brave colonel, who had led many a gallantcharge, was in his counting house acting as though he had been absent only a fewdays on business; while the veterans of the rank and file, whose battle shouthad rung over scores of bloody fields, could only be found by name, as one bentover his saw and plane and another swung his scythe in the harvest field orplied his humble toil along the streets. It was a marvelous sight, the grandestthe world ever saw. It had been the people’s war – the people had carried iton, and, having finished their own work, quietly laid aside the instruments withwhich they had accomplished it and again too up those of peaceful industry.Never did a government on earth exhibit such stability and assert itssuperiority over all other forms as did this republican government of ours inthe way its armies disappeared when the struggle was over.”
The 179thRegiment was mustered out at its place of encampment near Alexandria on June 8,1865, by special order of the War Department. Going by way of Washington, the regiment proceeded to Elmira, which itreached on Sunday morning the 11th. It was met at the depot by prominent citizens and the committee ofarrangements, and escorted to the William Street Hospital building where a warmbreakfast was served to the members of the command. After breakfast the veterans marched down toward the foot ofChurch street and encamped on a vacant lot on the south side near the stonewarefactory. Here they remained untilthe 22nd and 23rd of June, when they received finalpayment and discharge.
Inscribed on thebanners of the 179th are the names of noted battles in which theregiment took a most noble part, viz: “Petersburg, June 17th andJuly 30, 1864; Weldon Railroad; Poplar Springs Church; Hatcher’s Run; andPetersburg on April 1st and 2nd, 1865.” On account of the great bravery evinced in capturing the enemy’s picketline and in the final assault before Petersburg, Col. William was afterwardpromoted to brevet brigadier-general and Capt. Samuel G. H. MUSGROVE, tobrevet-major.
(Rosterof the 179th at time of mustering out and the muster in roll of Co.F, can be found on the alpha listing)
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