History of Yates Co., NY, by Lewis Cass Aldrich
Pg. 128 - 163 Chapter XI
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There are times in
the history of nations when the voice of reason is unheeded; when the laws are
trampled upon; when the counsels of the wise are disregarded and the dictation
of statesmen ignored. IT grows out
of the struggles of men for power, in the race for political preferment, in
contests for personal recognition with a determination to triumph regardless of
expressed wishes of majorities and to secure success at a sacrifice of the
rights of others; there is but one natural, legitimate outcome of such revolts
– revolution. This
generation has witnessed and been participants in the crucial period of our
nation’s existence, when no settlement of the vexed questions was possible
save by the arbitrament of the sword.
From the hour that
man first learned that it was possible to take the life of his brother the
stronger has reached the goal of his ambition at the cost of blood; some nations
have gone out in the smoke of battle while others have enlarged their territory
and brightened their civilization by victorious armies.
Many are looking for the coming of a time when reason will so far sway
the human mind as to make war no longer a necessity; such may be the case and is
earnestly hoped, yet it is hardly expected until man has gone at least one round
higher on the ladder of evolution. For
many years prior to 1860 strong antagonism had existed in this country between
two sentiments – the South was the enemy par excellence of free labor
and the North of slave labor. Advocates
of these principles were earnest and determined, and their respective views
enlarged until the remotest corners of our territorial limits became more or
less 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, and
preparations of a character that carried alarm to a nation that had devoted all
her energies and resources to the fertile labors of peace.
Then followed an assault upon the integrity of the ballot and the will of
the majority, an innovation which, if successful, must of necessity destroy our
republican form of government. The
question to solve was, Should liberty and union no longer walk hand in hand, and
if either was to go out, which? How
sudden the transformation of the peaceful citizen to the uniformed soldier!
Volunteers were furnished in every county, town and neighborhood of the
great North. Nearly every citizen
realized that it was his duty to be loyal and to server his country in the way
he best could.
The county of
Yates was no exception to the rule. She
freely sent her sons and their blood crimsoned the soil of a hundred
battlefields. They fell at
Gettysburg and Lookout Mountain, in the Wilderness and at cold Harbor, at
Petersburg and in the valley of the Shenandoah.
The Spartan mothers gave their sons with a heroism that has been the
admiration of the world since those chivalric days, but they did not excel the
mothers of America in their unselfish sacrifice of their household idols.
incident to soldier life, suffering from wounds and disease and the surrendering
of young lives, presents a chapter of patriotism that warms the heart of every
American citizen in its contemplation, but the years and months that came and
went, while the father, and the mother, and the wife, and the sister waited in
their homes; when the heart stood still as the hurried stranger knocked at the
door; when the hands trembled as the message was opened; and when in hushed
words they expressed a doubt whether the wound would kill or had already killed
the solider in whom so much of their interests centered.
Who did the most or suffered the most when the shadows of war darkened
our land? Who can say?
Little Yates was
as 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 of
self-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 trusted
by either those who fought for or against the flag.
Over $600,000 were raised to recruit the army, or about one tenth of the
assessed valuation of the entire property of the county.
Names of vast numbers of men and women could be mentioned who did not go
beyond the county limits during the years of the Rebellion who struggled as
earnestly for the preservation of the Republic as the solider at the front, but
we refrain from entering upon the list for fear of doing injustice to many who
might be overlooked or for want of space whose deeds could be only meagerly
narrated. They add did well their
part. Who can do more? The cost was great, but no more than commensurate with what
was secured. A restored
nationality! A free people! An enduring government! To the eye of man the future is
hidden in deep obscurity, but we feel assured that the storm of war with its
destructive forces will never again break upon our fair inheritance.
We have learned the full meaning of patriotism, we have shown to the
world that we know how to take of our rights as a people, and that those rights
will be maintained, let the cost be never so great.
REGIMENT , N Y V pg 130
Devotion to the
Union and loyalty to the national government were evinced in a conspicuous
manner by the great northern uprising in 1861.
An in this movement no small part was taken by the patriotic citizens of
Yates and the neighboring counties. The
33rd New York Volunteers, which was then raised in this part o the
State, was one of the first regiments to go to the front.
The regiment was recruited by companies as follows: A, C and K, in Seneca
County; B in Wayne County; D and H in Ontario County; E and F in Livingston
County; G in Erie County; and I in Yates County.
Of the latter a particular account will be given.
On the 19th
of April, 1861, three days after the attack on Fort Sumter, was issued the
President’s proclamation calling for 75,000 men. Immediately after the news of such proclamation reached Penn
Yan, 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 recruits
came forward freely. The Republican
and Democratic Central Committees combined in a call for a county mass meeting
and union assembly, which took place in the court house park on Saturday, April
27th. A procession was
formed under the direction of Gen. A. F. WHITAKER, aided by Gen. George WAGENER,
and led by martial and brass bands. Morris
BROWN, esq., was president of the day and over 5,000 persons were in attendance
on this occasion. Stirring
addresses were delivered by Hon. Darius A. OGDEN, Hon. Henry SPENCE, Gen. A. F.
WHITAKER, and Abraham V. HARPENDING, esq. At
that meeting was appointed a finance committee consisting of Messrs. Farley
HOLMES, Ebenezer B. JONES, Darius A. OGDEN, and Charles C. SHEPPARD, who
circulated a subscription to raise funds to provide for the families of
company now recruited, and which at this time was know as the “Keuka
Rifles”, assembled on the 9th of May in Washington Hall, and was
there inspected by Maj. John E. BEAN, of Geneva, and mustered into the State
service. An election was held for
officers 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 to
drill under its officers until orders were received to go into camp at Elmira on
the 19th of May. ON that
day the company departed and was escorted to the railroad depot by the Penn Yan
firemen in uniform and a vast crowd of citizens.
The company was presented by the ladies of Penn Yan with a beautiful
flag, 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 the
33rd New York Volunteers, and with the history of this regiment from
that date the history of the company is identified.
Eight of the companies previously mentioned had already arrived in
Elmira, then an ordinary place of rendezvous for troops going to the front.
The officers of these companies met on May 17th and decided
upon forming themselves into a regiment, the two other companies afterward
joining them. The organization of
the new regiment was rendered complete by the election of officers on the 21st
of May. Robert F. TAYLOR of
Rochester, a gentleman of warlike taste and ability, who had served in Mexico,
was appointed colonel. The other
field and staff officers then elected were: Lieutenant-colonel, Calvin WALKER,
Geneva; major, Robert J. MANN, Seneca Falls; adjutant, Charles T. SUTTON, New
York City; quartermaster, H. G. SUYDAM, Geneva; chaplain, Rev. G. N. CHENEY,
Rochester; surgeon, T. Rush SPENCER.
Regiment, when organized, was assigned to barracks in Southport, where it
remained until the departure for Washington.
An interesting event of the sojourn in Elmira was the reception of a
regimental flag from the patriotic ladies of Canandaigua.
The regiment being formed in a hollow square, Mrs. CHESEBRO, with a few
felicitous remarks, presented the banner to Colonel TAYLOR, who in a brief
speech 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 address
to the delegation. This flag was
made of the finest blue silk, bearing upon one side the coat of arms of the Sate
of New York and on the reverse, the seal of the county of Ontario adopted in
1790. Over this seal appeared in
bold gilt letters the words: “ Ontario County Volunteers.”
Surmounting the staff was a highly finished carved eagle with extended
pinions, the whole forming one of the most elegant battle flags ever wrought by
fair hands. On the 3rd
of July the regiment was mustered by companies in the United States service for
two years by Captain SITGREAVES, a regular officer. Five days later the command started for Washington and was
assigned on arrival to Camp Granger, and about two and one half miles from the
city. While the regiment was here
encamped there occurred the disastrous battle of Bull run, July 21, 1861.
the distant sound of cannon all that day was distinctly heard in the
camp. Toward evening the 33rd,
along with several other regiments, received marching orders, but had proceeded
no 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, and
was here brigaded for the first time, being placed together with the 3rd
Vermont and the 6th Maine under the command of Gen. W. f. SMITH.
On the 3rd of September, the entire brigade crossed the Long
Bridge into Virginia. The 33rd
first occupied Camp Advance, changing soon after for Camp Ethan Allen. While at the latter camp the regiment had its first skirmish
with the enemy. Camp Griffin was
the next place of residence and while here occurred at Bailey’s Crossroads a
grand review of the army by General MC CLELLAN, attended also by President
LINCOLN and other distinguished personages.
James M. LETTS resigned December 31st and ws succeeded by
Edward E. ROOT as captain of Company I.
An advance on
Richmond along the peninsula between the York and James Rivers having been
decided 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 distant
on the James River. Yorktown was
invested on the 4th of April, but hardly had the siege commenced when
contrabands brought the intelligence that the enemy had evacuated the place. The Army of the Potomac followed in pursuit of the retreating
confederates and on Monday, May 5th, was fought the battle of
Williamsburg. In the beginning of
the 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), with
regimental colors and color guard, were ordered to occupy a redoubt a short
distance from the enemy. This was
quickly done amid a heavy faire of artillery and musketry, and the beautiful
banner remained waving from the battlements throughout the fierce conflict, torn
and tattered for the first time by shot and shell.
Company C, Cap. Chester H. COLE; Company
E, Capt. Wilson E. WARFORD; Company H., Capt. Alexander H. DRAKE (born in Yates
County); and Company I, Capt Edward E. ROOT were deployed by Colonel TAYLOR as
skirmishers. The remaining
companies of the regiment (Company B, Capt. Josiah J. WHITE; Company G., Capt.
Theodore B. HAMILTON; and Company K, Capt. Patrick MC GRAW) were stationed on
guard duty under the command of Lieut. –Col. Joseph W. CORNING.
All day the fight continued and toward night a sudden and furious attack
was made by the enemy upon Hancock’s position, then occupied in part, by the
33rd. Companies A, D,
and F were ordered out of the redoubt into line of battle as the Confederates
came rushing on, shouting “Bull Run! Bull
Run! That flag is ours!”
The enemy’s flying artillery also moved forward and discharged shot and
shell in quick succession. The
Federal lines wavered and all seemed lost when the lieutenant-colonel, turning
to 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!” “Charge
bayonets!” added Lieutenant-colonel Corning and the 33rd sprang
forward on the double quick when its gallant action was imitated by several
regiments along the line. Alarmed
at this sudden counter charge, the enemy turned and ran in confusion, while the
33rd poured volley after volley upoin the Confederates as they
rapidly retreated over the plain. This
daring exploit of the regiment decided the fortunes of the day and changed a
seeming defeat into a substantial victory.
Company I, commanded by Captain ROOT, and which with Companies C, E, and
Ha was on the skirmish line, at this time encountered and fired upon a party of
Confederates, who supposing our soldiers to be friends, cried out, “Don’t
fire, you are shooting your own men.” Captain
ROOT ordered them to surrender, and they were all made prisoners, much to their
suppose and chagrin. One of their
officers attempted to escape, but Captain ROOT started after him and compelled
him to deliver up his sword. On the
evening of May 7th, General MC CLELLAN rode into camp on his favorite
bay charger, “Dan WEBSTER,” and thus addressed the regiment while drawn up
Soldiers of the 33rd: I have come to thank you in person, for gallant
conduct 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; veterans
of a hundred battles could not have done better.
Those of you left, fought well; but you won the day; you were at the
right point, did the right thing, and at the right time.
You shale have Williamsburg inscribed on your banner.”
The regiment was
next engaged (May 24th) in battle at Mechanicsville and on the 28th
of June at Golden’s Farm. Here
its capture was attempted by an overwhelming force of the enemy, consisting of
the 7th and 8th Georgia Regiments, but in the effort the
confederates were repulsed with great loss.
The 33rd was highly complimented for its bravery by General
DAVIDSON, 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 the
33rd belonged), the regiment itself being in command of Maj. John S.
On the 1st
of July, occurred the engagement at Malvern Hill. The 33rd was here posted with others of our forces
among lines of batteries, which the Confederates several times fiercely
attacked, but in vain. Charge
after charge ws made by the enemy, only to be repulsed with fearful slaughter.
The determined bravery of the Confederates evoked cheers from the
Unionists themselves. But to carry
the Federal position was beyond their power.
“In several instances,” says General MC CLELLAN, “our infantry
withheld their fire until the attacking column, which rushed through the storm
of canister and shell form our artillery, had reached within a few yards of our
lines. They then poured in a single
volley and dashed forward with the bayonet, capturing prisoners and colors and
driving the routed columns in confusion from the field
…. The result was complete victory.”
In the afternoon of July 3rd the regiment, which all through
the retreat had formed a portion of the rear guard of the army, reached
Harrison’s Landing. Afterward
going by transport it arrived and went into camp (August 24th) at
Alexandria, form there marching to the battlefield of Antietam.
In this fight, which was on the 17th of September, the 33rd
was foremost in action, losing alone fifty men in killed and wounded.
Among the former was Sergeant-Major George W. BASSETT, of Yates County, a
brave and popular officer. He was
shot 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 25th
to captain and assistant adjutant-general and on the 1st of December,
George BRENNAN, orderly-sergeant of the same company, was promoted to first
lieutenant. The regiment crossed
the Rappahannock on December 12th on pontoon bridges laid by the 15th
New York Engineers, and next day was in the battle of Fredericksburg, where its
loss in killed and wounded amounted to over 200. Having remained in camp near White Oak Church during the
first four months of 1863 the command on the 2nd of May participated
in the storming of Marye’s Heights. These
were gallantly carried, and on the summit the regimental colors were unfurled in
triumph to the breeze. In the
charge up the heights many of the regiment were killed and wounded, among the
latter being Captain ROOT, of Company I. The
battle of Salem Heights, fought May 4th, was the last in which the 33rd
On Tuesday, May
12, 1863, colonel TAYLOR informed the men in his command that, their term of
service having expired, they were to go home on the coming Friday.
The order for their departure was accompanied by parting addresses from
the corps, division, and brigade generals, each address containing a graceful
acknowledgment of the past services of the regiment.
Farewells were uttered by members of other regiments who had fought side
by side with the 33rd, and on the 17th of May, the
regiment arrived at Elmira. The
Saturday following, the 33rd came to Geneva, where an address of
welcome was delivered by Hon. Charles J. FOLGER.
A bountiful repast was also served at Camp Swift to the returned soldiers
by the ladies of Geneva. On
Monday, May 25th, the regiment proceeded to Canandaigua, where a
splendid ovation was received from the citizens.
The buildings were handsomely decorated with the national colors and
triumphal arches spanned the principal streets.
The veterans, together with the Canandaigua firemen, formed in procession
and marched to the Courthouse Square and were here addressed by Hon. Elbridge G.
LAPHAM. The procession again formed
and passed through various streets to the fair grounds, where the regiment gave
an exhibition of the manuel of arms. J.
P. FAUROT, esq., made a brief speech of congratulations, to which
Lieutenant-colonel CORNING responded. Colonel
TAYLOR then returned to the ladies of Canandaigua the regimental banner received
from them two years before. Handing
the flag to the committee he remarked that it had been given to his command with
the pledge that it should never be sullied by cowardice or a dishonorable act
and it had never been. It was a
beautiful flag when presented to the regiment, but was now torn and soiled, but
to 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 of
the bravery and patriotism of the men of the 33rd, who, when he
assumed command, were 800 strong, but now less than 400 remained.
On receiving back the banner, the ladies presented an address, which was
bread by A. H. HOWELL, esq. A
parting speech to the regiment was delivered by Chaplain Augustus H. LUNG.
A sumptuous banquet, served at the Canandaigua House by the ladies of the
village, closed the services. The
same 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 of
the regular army, and there mustered by companies out of the service.
On the 20th of June a grand reception was given at Penn Yan to
the members of Company I. Led by
Lieutenant BRENNAN as senior officer, they marched to the sound of martial music
through the principal streets and were served with a collation at the BENHAM
House. The flag presented to the company two years before, was
returned to the ladies of Penn Yan and appropriate addresses were made by Hon.
D. A. OGDEN and Rev. Frederick STARR. Several
who had belonged to Company I, and to
other companies in the 33rd Regiment, subsequently re-enlisted into
The list of Officers and privates for Co. I, from the muster out roll – see
alpha listing of all soldiers)
HUNDRED AND TWENTY-SIXTH REGIMENT NYV
President of the United States, received on the last of June 1862, a
communication signed by seventeen of the war governors of the North,
recommending him to ‘fill up all military organizations then in the filed that
had become reduced by the unavoidable casualties of the service, and to create
new regiments for the defence of positions gained by calling on each State for
its quota of a body of men sufficient for such purposes.”
The President’s reply in part was as follows:
concurring in the wisdom of the views expressed to me in so patriotic a manner
by you in the communication of the 28th of June, I have decided to
call into the service an additional force of 300,000 men. I suggest and recommend that the troops should be chiefly of
infantry. I trust they may be
enrolled without delay, so as to bring this unnecessary and injurious civil war
to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion.”
The call for
troops made as above by the President was dated July 1st and on the 2nd
a proclamation was issued by Hon. Edwin D. MORGAN, governor of New York, for the
raising of the quota of the State. Governor
MORGAN subsequently issued an order fixing the quotas of the several counties,
and requiring a regiment to be raised in each senatorial district, which for the
first time was re-named “Regimental District.”
For each district a war committee was appointed to take charge of the
recruiting of the regiment of that district and to recommend the proper persons
to officer such regiment. The war
committee appointed by the governor for the 26th Senatorial District,
held the first meeting at Geneva on the 11th of July, said committee
being composed of certain prominent citizens from the counties of Ontario,
Seneca and Yates. From the last
named 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.
immediately commenced and on the 4th of August the rendezvous for the
regiment to be raised in this district was opened at Camp Swift, Geneva.
The position of commandant of this post was first offered to Hon. Charles
J. FOLGER of Geneva, then to Hon. Darius A. OGDEN of Penn Yan.
Each having in turn declined, Hon. Eliakim SHERRIL of Geneva was chosen
and 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, and
recruiting went on rapidly.
recruited entirely in Yates County, was the first company in the new regiment to
rendezvous at Camp Swift. The
second 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 20th
the regiment, which was called the 126th New York Volunteers, was
organized and on the 22nd it was regularly mustered into the United
States service. On that date the 126th Regiment comprised 39
officers and 956 enlisted men, or a total of 995.
(The regimental and line officers at formation can be found on the alpha
listing of all soldiers)
The regiment left Geneva for the front August 26, 1862 and arrived at
Baltimore the next day. By orders
given 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, was
already occupied by the 39th and 111th Regiments N.Y.V.,
the 32nd Ohio Volunteers, the 12th NY State Militia, the 1st
Rhode Island Battery, and a portion of the 5th New York Heavy
Artillery. On the 13th,
14th, and 15th of September, Harper’s Ferry was invested
by three divisions of the Confederate army commanded respectively by Generals MC
LAWS, WALER and “Stonewall” JACKSON. Early
In the morning of the 13th, the 126th Regiment advanced
from Harper’s Ferry to Maryland Heights.
It there received the main force of the enemy’s attack, and made under
very 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 the
face, was for some time disabled from active service.
On the 15th the garrison at Harper’s Ferry surrendered on
parole. Any of the causes
which are said to have brought about this disastrous result need not here be
stated. Having marched to
Annapolis, the 126th Regiment was transferred to Camp Douglas,
Chicago. At this place were located
for two months its far from desirable quarters, where the accommodations and
sanitary arrangements were alike injurious to the health of all and fatal to
many. Adjutant J. Smith BROWN, of
Colonel BERDAN’S United States Sharpshooters, here joined on the 17th
of November the 126th, having accepted the adjutancy of the same.
The regiment was exchanged November 19th and proceeding to
Washington was re-armed. The winter
of 1862-63 was passed in camp at Union Mills, Va., doing picket duty along the
banks of the famous Bull Run. On
the 27th of January, 1863, colonel SHERRILL, having sufficiently
recovered, rejoined the regiment, which during his absence had been under the
command of Lieut. Col. James M. BULL. The
camp was moved March 2nd to Centerville, Va., where the 126th
united 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 the
Potomac, then marching to intercept LEE, who was making a second attempt to
invade the North. The 126th
now became a part of the 3rd Brigade of the 3rd Division,
and was succeeded as commander of the brigade by Col. George Lamb WILLARD, of
the 111th NYV.
After a most fatiguing march from Centerville, the 126th
arrived in the early morning of July 2nd on the battlefield of
Gettysburg. Toward night it took
part along with the brigades in a glorious charge that resulted in the defeat
and dispersion of the opposing forces of the Southerners. As this charge was being made, Colonel WILLARD, the brigade
commander, was killed, while on the side of the enemy fell BARKSDALE, who had
commanded a Confederate brigade at the taking of Harper’s Ferry.
During the terrific cannonading between the two armies, with which began
the engagement of the day following volunteers from the 126th
Regiment came forward and manned the guns in the batteries where the regular
artillerymen had been killed or wounded. When
in the afternoon a grand assault was made by the Confederates against the
Federal lines, the 126th acted well its part toward the repulse of
the foe. Five stands of colors were
taken by the regiment on this occasion. Capt
Morris BROWN Jr., of Yates County, captured with his own hands, one of these
standards, on which was inscribed “Harper’s Ferry” and the names of eleven
other battles. The surrender of
Harper’s Ferry was redeemed at Gettysburg.
The brave Colonel SHERRILL, who, when Colonel WILLARD fell, had succeeded
to the command of the 3rd Brigade, was mortally wounded, expiring the
next day, and most fittingly on the anniversary of American independence.
Five other officers and fifty five enlisted men belonging to the 126th
Regiment 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 Yates
County, who fell during the first day’s fight while bravely carrying the
regimental colors. An active part
was taken by the regiment after the battle in the pursuit of the enemy.
From Gettysburg until the close of the war, the 126th
participated in twenty different battles and skirmishes.
In the autumn of 1863 the regiment won add ional honor for its
conspicuous 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 27th
through the 30th of November.
The services of the regiment were again called upon in the grand
reconnaissance made February 6, 1864, by the Army of the Potomac at Morton’s
Ford on the Rapidan. On the 24th
of March, Lieut.-Gen. U.S. GRANT arrived and established his headquarters at
Culpepper Court House. The
regiment, having been transferred to BARLOW’S division, entered the spring
campaign of 1864 with less than 300 men, of whom 100 were on duty as
provost-guard at corps headquarters. The
Army of the Potomac crossed the Rapidan on the 4th of May and was
afterward engaged in the following battles, in all of which the 126th
Regiment took part: May 6th
and 7th in the Wilderness (in the ballet Brevet Maj.-Gen. Alexander
HAYS was killed while gallantly rallying his brigade); May 10th at Po
River; May 12th to the 18th, at Spotsylvania, where the 2nd
Corps, to which the 126th Regiment belonged, made a grand charge on
the 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 guard
of colored soldiers. From the 23rd
to the 31st, sharp skirmishing occurred along the North Anna and
Tolopotomy Rivers. The 126th
Regiment then took part in the terrible battle of Cold Harbor from the 1st
to the 12th of June. On
the 16th, the regiment moved to the front of Petersburg and in the
engagement 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 of
Petersburg and on the 22nd was attacked by the enemy in force and on
the left flank. The 126th
Regiment 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 at
Deep Bottom on the James and from the 14th to the 20th of
August at Strawberry Plains. Having
aided effectually in the destruction of the Weldon Railroad, the regiment was
attached on the 25th at Reams Station. In the following spring of 1865, the 126th
Regiment participated in the assault made March 25th on the lines
around Petersburg, just after the attack by LEE upon Fort Steadman.
From the 29th to the 31st, the regiment was engaged
on the skirmish line along the Boydton plank road.
When the retreat of LEE’S army began the 3rd Brigade, in
which was included the 126th Regiment, was particularly active in the
pursuit 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 Farmville
and at Appomattox on the 9th, where on that day, Lee surrendered to
Grant. The 126th
Regiment, having resumed its march, passed on the 7th of May through
Richmond. Here it was greeted by
the 148th New York Volunteers, in which regiment Companies B, F, and
I had been recruited in Yates County. This
was the first time the two regiments had met while in the service.
The 126th Regiment proceeded to Washington and took part in
the grand review held in that city on the 23rd of May.
Orders were received June 2nd for the regiment to be mustered
out and sent to the State rendezvous, and on the 3rd the regiment was
mustered out. The next day the men
left 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 221
men, received final payment and discharged at Elmira, June 16th and
(The regiment muster in roll of the 126th can be found on
the alpha listing of all soldiers)
HUNDRED AND FORTY-EIGHTH REGIMENT N.Y.V.
to the nation was rendered during the great Civil war by the 148th
Regiment 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 as
follows: 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 assistant
surgeon Frank SEELEYE, Rushville.
In Yates County
were recruited Companies B, F and I. Of
these, 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. Company
I: Captain Martin S. HICKS; first lieutenant Morgan D. TRACY; second lieutenant
left the place of rendezvous at Camp Swift, Geneva, on the 22nd of
September. The regiment when it
departed consisted of 12 companies. Ten
being the required number orders were received on the arrival of the command (by
steamer via Seneca Lake) at Watkins directing two of the companies to return to
Geneva. The two companies that
returned, became on the 3rd of October, part of the 44th
Regiment N.Y.V. On of these two had
been raised in Yates County and was the first Company M of the 148th
and later Company C of the 44th.
Its line officers were as follows: Captain Bennett MUNGER; first
lieutenant Elzer B. JAMES; second lieutenant Charles KELLY.
The 148th Regiment proceeded from Watkins by rail, arriving at
Baltimore the next morning and was there served with an excellent breakfast by
the ladies of the city. The command
went on to Washington where it continued to drill for several days on Capitol
Hill. It then left Washington and going by transport by way of
Fortress Monroe, landed at Portsmouth, Va.
From Portsmouth the regiment went by rail through the Dismal Swamp to
Suffolk and was there stationed on guard duty in the rifle pits. Suffolk was then being put into a state of defence by the
Union forces commanded by General PECK of Syracuse.
The 148th after a few weeks moved form the entrenchments and
encamped on Paradise Creek near Portsmouth.
The whole regiment then relieved the 19th Wisconsin and moved
and went into camp, part in Portsmouth and part across the river in Norfolk.
The different companies composing the 148th were from a
considerable time on detached duty, but were again collected together and were
all 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 2nd
Brigade of the 2nd Division of the Army of the James, under the chief
command of Gen. B. F. BUTLER.
The advance of
this army up the James River began on the 4th of May, 1864.
The 148th Regiment, gong by transport, arrived and landed with
the rest of the troops at Bermuda Hundred.
Skirmishes with the enemy occurred at Clover Hill on the 8th
and at Swift Creek on the 12th.
Early in the morning of the 16th, during a heavy fog, a sudden
and sharp attack was made upon our forces in front of Drury’s Bluff by the
Confederates under BEAUREGARD. The
Union troops fought bravely and obtained some advantage, but BUTLER, evidently
under a misapprehension, ordered a retreat.
Another skirmish in which the 148th took part occurred on the
26th at Port Walthall Junction.
The whole army returned to its entrenchments at Bermuda Hundred, from
which position no offensive movement in the direction desired could possibly be
attempted. As General GRANT in his official report says: “This army,
while here, though in a position of great security, was as completely shut off
from further operations against Richmond as if it had been in a bottle strongly
corked. It required but a
comparatively small force of the enemy to hold it there. “
The position at
Bermuda Hundred could, on the other hand, in General GRANT’S opinion, be held
by a less force than BUTLER had under him; therefore on the 24th of
May, the 18th Corps, in which ws included the 148th
Regiment, was ordered to join the Army of the Potomac.
The corps commander at that time was Gen. W. F. SMITH, familiarly known
as “Baldy” SMITH, and who had formerly commanded a brigade of which the 33rd
New York Volunteers had formed a part. The
148th joined the Army of the Potomac by way of the White House, to
which it placed its arrived by transport, passing down the James and up the York
rivers. On the 3rd of
June the regiment participated in the battle of Cold Harbor.
In the sanguinary contest in front of Petersburg, a prominent part was
taken by the 148th, particularly in the fight at Rowlett’s House on
the 15th. At the
mine explosion in the morning of July 30th the regiment with its
division was ordered forward to the support of the attacking column that charged
into the crater. On the 29th
of September the very strong fortifications and entrenchments below Chapin’s
Farm, on the north side of the James and known as Fort Harrison, were carried in
an attack by the 18th Corps, led by Gen E. O. C. ORD.
The regiment distinguished itself in this action and proved to all that
its designation as “the gallant 148th” was well deserved.
In the assault on Fort Gillmore, however, on the same day, a repulse
followed. At the battle of Fair
Oaks, fought October 27th, the regiment suffered severely in killed
and wounded. In the beginning of
November the larger part of the 148th Regiment was detailed with
other forces to accompany General BUTLER to New York city for the purpose of
keeping order on election day, as it was anticipated that a riot would take
place on that occasion.
On the 2nd
of April, 1865, occurred the decisive conflict (participated in by the 148th)
which resulted in the final defeat of LEE and the evacuation of Petersburg and
Richmond. The next morning, “amid
blazing roofs and failing walls, smoke and ashes, and the deafening reports of
explosions,” the soldiers of the Union entered the latter city in triumph.
The very remarkable scene which was on the morning presented is thus
described, by E. A. POLLARD, the Southern historian:
o’clock, when several thousand of the (Federal) enemy had marched into the
city, the scene had become fearfully sublime.
It was a scene in which the horrors of a great conflagration struggled
for the forepart of the picture, while the grand army, brilliant with steel and
banners, breaking into the circle of fire with passionate cheers, and the crash
of triumphant martial music, dazzled the spectator and confounded his
imagination. The flames has already
spread over the chief business portion of the city, brands were flying toward
the capitol and it seemed at one time as if the whole of Richmond would be
destroyed – that the whole wicked city would rush skyward in a pyramid of
fire. 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 and
breadth of the city . . . . . . . All
that was terrible in sounds was added to all that was terrible in sights.
While glittering regiments carried their strong lines of steel through
the smoke; while smoke-masked robbers fought for their plunder; while the lower
streets appeared as a great pit of fire, the crater of destruction; while
alarmed citizens who had left their property a ruin or spoil found a brief
repose on the sward of the Capitol Square, whose emerald green was already
strewn with brands – the seeds of fired that the merciless wind had sown to
the very door of the capitol; while the lengthening arms of the conflagration
appeared to almost reach around those who had fled to the picturesque hill for a
breath of fresh air, - sounds as terrible, and more various than those of
battle, assailed the ear and smote the already overtaxed imagination.
There were shells at the Confederated arsenal exposed to the fire, from
the rapid progress of which they could no longer be rescued, and for hours the
explosion of these tore the air and shook the houses in their vicinity.
Crowds of negroes roamed through the streets, their wild, coarse voices
raised in hymns of jubilation, thanking God for their freedom and a few steps
farther might be heard the blasphemous shouts of those who fought with the
red-handed fired for their prey.” (From
Life of Jefferson Davis, with a Secret History of the Confederacy, page 406)
The regiment on
April 2nd took part in the charge by which Fort Gregg, south of
Petersburg, was captured and in the engagement on the 6th at Rice’s
Station. On the 9th of April, LEE surrendered at Appomattox Court
House. While in Richmond after the
surrender, the 148th had the pleasure of greeting (May 7th)
the 126th New York Volunteers, in which regiment a large proportion
of the members were from the county of Yates.
The 148th Regiment was mustered out at Richmond on the 20th
of June. The veterans who had
composed the command then went by transport to Baltimore, where they took their
departure for their several homes, having performed for their country a service
that will ever stand high in public estimation.
regiment muster out roll of the 148th can be found on the alpha
listing of all soldiers)
Among the many
regiments which during the war were furnished by the Empire State, the 179th
New York Volunteers is entitled to prominence for the bravery and the patriotism
that this command in several engagements displayed.
The ten companies of infantry composing the 179th were raised
in the following places: Company A in Horseheads; Company B in Elmira; Company C
in 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 the
time 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, Joseph
W. ROBINSON; assistant surgeon, William C. BAILEY; chaplain Edwin A. TAFT.
having been organized, was sent into the field by companies form the place of
rendezvous at Elmira. Companies A,
B and C went on in April 1864, and arrived in Baltimore on the 29th
of that month. Companies A and C
proceeded via New York City and Company B by the Northern Central Railroad, the
tree companies meeting in Baltimore. From
there they went to Washington and encamped on Arlington Heights, opposite the
city. They were here joined about
the 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 House
Landing on the Pamunkey River, Va.
Company F, with
Maj. J. Barnet SLOAN, left Elmira on the 1st of June and joined the
regiment at White House Landing. The
179th remained here until June 10th, when it united with
the Army of the Potomac at Cold Harbor while the battle of that name was going
on. The regiment was attached to
the 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 down
the Peninsula, the 179th Regiment being the last to leave the
skirmish line. The James River was
crossed at Wilson’s Landing and a forced march was made in front of
Petersburg, where the regiment arrived on the 16th.
The 9th Corps the same evening supported the 2nd
Corps as it advanced on the Confederate position.
At 6 o’clock in the afternoon of the following day, the 9th
Corps assailed the enemy’s works. In
this assault, the 179th lost half its number in killed, wounded and
missing. Maj. J. Barnet SLOAN of Yates County, while bravely leading
his regiment in the charge, received a mortal wound. Capt. Daniel BLATCHFORD of Company E was also killed and
Lieut.-Col. Franklin B. DOTY, Captains Robert T. STEWART of Company B and
William BIRD Jr., of Company D, were wounded.
Capt. John BARTON of Company C was promoted to be major, July 14th
in the place of Major SLOAN, who died of his wound on the 18th of
It will be proper
here to give some account of the young and gallant officer last named, who fell
while in the service of his country. John
Barnet SLOAN was born in Penn Yan, January 17, 1839.
In 1861, while a resident of New York City, he enlisted for two years in
the 31st Regiment N.Y. V., with the rank of first lieutenant.
When the 31st was ordered from an island in the harbor of New
York to proceed to Washington, some violent characters connected with this
regiment refused to go, and it was only by the energy of Lieutenant SLOAN and
considerable coercion that a mutiny was prevented while they were passing
through the city of New York. By
the simple occurrence was awakened in the minds of these desperadoes the most
deadly hatred and revenge. Soon
after they arrived in Washington one of them made a furious assault on the
lieutenant. He defended himself and
thrust his sword through the body of the ruffian, who died instantly.
The companions of the soldier thus justly killed were more than ever
incensed, and two or tree days later another of the insurgents rushed with
musket and bayonet at Lieutenant SLOAN, who, drawing a revolver, shot him dead.
The lieutenant immediately surrendered himself and asked for an
investigation. A court martial was
appointed and after a patient hearing of tree days, acquitted him from all
blame. General MC CLELLAN, to whom
the verdict of the court had been submitted for approval, asked “to see the
young lieutenant who had been tried.” When
Lieutenant 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 to
wear two.” The lieutenant shortly
afterward received by order of the general, a captain’s commission.
His comrades in the company in which he first enlisted, on learning that
he was about to be assigned to the command of another company, petitioned that
he might remain, and he became their captain.
Shortly after the siege of Yorktown, Captain SLOAN’S company with
others 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 the
most imminent danger, Captain SLOAN with a number of his men succeeded in
reaching the Federal lines, but while approaching they were mistaken for
Confederates and a shell, which fortunately failed to explode, fell in their
midst. At the battle of Gaine’s
Mill, Captain SLOAN engaged in single combat with a Confederate cavalryman, whom
he shot through the head, but not until the trooper had severely wounded him in
the foot. Although wounded, he
fought to the close of that day’s conflict and during the next two days in the
battles of Savage Station and of Fair Oaks.
His foot had now become swollen to such an extent, that he could not
walk. Our forces were in full
retreat, 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 prisoner
had not the lieutenant colonel noticed the peril he was in and sent his own
horse 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 recruiting
officer, and for several months acted in that capacity.
He afterward returned to his regiment and was at the storming of the
heights of Fredericksburg, where he was again wounded, this time by a minie-ball
in the leg. The 31st Regiment was mustered out in May 1863 and
Captain SLOAN, for meritorious services on the field of battle, received a
commission as major, bearing date and back pay from the previous month of
January. Major SLOAN, having re-enlisted, left Elmira on June 1, 1864, with
Company F of his regiment, the 179th. After his departure for the front a large number of the
prominent citizens of Yates County, wishing to express their high appreciation
of Major SLOAN’s military and soldierly qualities, assembled on June 4th
in front of the Benham House in Penn Yan to witness the presentation of a
beautiful sword, pistols and belt which had been contributed by them as a
testimonial of the esteem and respect which they held toward the young and brave
major. Hon. Darius A. OGDEN made
the presentation speck, and in behalf of Major SLOAN, who was then absent in the
field of duty, John D. WOLCOTT, esq., the district attorney of Yates County,
responded and passed the beautiful implements of war into the hands of John
SLOAN, esq. Who was to forward them to his son. The following is the inscription on the sword:
to Major John Barnet SLOAN, June 4, 1864, as a testimonial of their appreciation
of services rendered in defence of our imperiled country, and his energy in
raising the 179th Regt. N.Y.S.V.” , by
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.
received the published accounts of this meeting, but before he received the
beautiful and appropriate gifts themselves, he fell in battle, June 17th,
as before stated. His remains were
brought to Penn Yan and there interred with due honors, the Rev. Frederick STARR
Jr., 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 honor
of Major SLOAN on its organization in 1869.
He was married September 24, 1860, to Miss Mary A. BRADLEY, a sister of
Lieut. 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 joined
the command July 29, 1864. The
explosion of the mine under a portion of the confederate entrenchments occurred
the next morning. An assault was
then made by the 9th Corps, with the 1st Division taking
the 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 enlisted
men 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 19th
of August. During the whole time
the men were exposed to the most hair-breadth escapes and harassing dangers, but
the regiment escaped with only a few wounded.
On the above date it moved round to the Weldon Railroad, which had been
captured by the 5th Corps, and which would have been lost again had
it not been for the timely support of the 9th Corps. The two corps, now united, attacked the Confederates and
forced them to retreat a considerable distance.
In this advance, the 179th Regiment had only tree officers and
fifty six men fit for duty, so greatly had the officers and men been worn down
by their duties in the trenches. The
loss in the above engagement was small. On August 27th, Albert A. TERRILL,. Captain of
Company A, was made major in place of Major BARTON killed.
DOTY, who had been wounded and absent in consequence for 60 days, rejoined his
command August 23rd. Companies H, I, and K reached the regiment at
Park’s Station in September. On
the 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, Col
William M. GREGG, about the 1st of October, 1864, was mustered in and
During the first
part of December, at the time of the celebrated raid of the 5th Corps
to the Notaway River, the 2nd Division to which the regiment was
attached 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 a
splendid flank, movement, assaulted the whole picket line on tits brigade front,
capturing about four times its number with only slight losses, and held its
position until morning. It then
took position on the front line for a general assault on the enemy’s works,
which were subsequently taken with an overwhelming victory that completely broke
up the Confederate lines of fortification.
Colonel GREGG in this assault received a scalp wound from the fragment of
a shell, which rendered him senseless for some time, and disabled him for one
week from commanding. The lamented
Lieutenant-Colonel DOTY fell, shot through the lungs and survived only two days.
As an officer, a courteous gentleman, a brave soldier, among the bravest
of the brave, he had few equals. Captains
Albert A. PIERSON of Company D and Giles H. HOLDEN of Company F, and Lieutenants
Samuel G. H. MUSGROVE of Company H and Stephen COMPTON of Company A, were
wounded. Captain PIERSON severely
through the left leg and the rest slightly.
The 179th participated in the pursuit of LEE as far as Burkesville and after his surrender it returned to City Point, from which place it went by transport to Alexandria and near there, encamped. On the 23rd of May the regiment took part along with the rest of the ever renowned Army of the Potomac in the grand review at Washington. No words can adequately describe the grandeur of this parade. Over 200,000 veterans – the heroes of many a fierce battle – marched in an apparently endless stream up Pennsylvania avenue and past the Presidential mansion, while the air was filled with strains of music and the acclamations of innumerable spectators, the whole forming a scene of unparalleled splendor, of which the participants still speak with enthusiasm. General GRANT expressed it as “ a sight varied and grand, “ but it was more so; it was a sight but once seen in a lifetime, and in one respect, a magnificent exhibition of the tremendous power of our arms.
“Yet sublime as
was this spectacle,” says the celebrated historian, J. T. HEADLEY, “it sunk
into insignificance before the grandeur of the one presented a few days after,
when this army, strong enough to conquer a hemisphere, melted suddenly away into
the mass of people and was seen no more. Its
deeds renown had filled the civilized world and European statesmen looked on and
wondered what disposition could be made of it, and where it would choose to go
or what it would do. It was one of
the grandest armies that ever bore on its bayonet points the destinies of a king
or a nation – a consolidation and embodiment of power seldom witnessed; and
yet, while the gaze of the world was fixed upon it, it disappeared like a
vision, and when one looked for it he saw only peaceful citizens engaged in
their usual occupations. The major
general, whose martial achievements had been repeated in almost every language
under the sun, was seen among his papers in his old law office, which he had
left at the call of his county; the brave colonel, who had led many a gallant
charge, was in his counting house acting as though he had been absent only a few
days on business; while the veterans of the rank and file, whose battle shout
had rung over scores of bloody fields, could only be found by name, as one bent
over his saw and plane and another swung his scythe in the harvest field or
plied his humble toil along the streets. It was a marvelous sight, the grandest
the world ever saw. It had been the people’s war – the people had carried it
on, and, having finished their own work, quietly laid aside the instruments with
which they had accomplished it and again too up those of peaceful industry.
Never did a government on earth exhibit such stability and assert its
superiority over all other forms as did this republican government of ours in
the way its armies disappeared when the struggle was over.”
Regiment 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 it
reached on Sunday morning the 11th.
It was met at the depot by prominent citizens and the committee of
arrangements, and escorted to the William Street Hospital building where a warm
breakfast was served to the members of the command. After breakfast the veterans marched down toward the foot of
Church street and encamped on a vacant lot on the south side near the stoneware
factory. Here they remained until
the 22nd and 23rd of June, when they received final
payment and discharge.
Inscribed on the
banners of the 179th are the names of noted battles in which the
regiment took a most noble part, viz: “Petersburg, June 17th and
July 30, 1864; Weldon Railroad; Poplar Springs Church; Hatcher’s Run; and
Petersburg on April 1st and 2nd, 1865.”
On account of the great bravery evinced in capturing the enemy’s picket
line and in the final assault before Petersburg, Col. William was afterward
promoted to brevet brigadier-general and Capt. Samuel G. H. MUSGROVE, to
(Roster of 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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