Henry F. W. Little.

The Seventh Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion online

. (page 36 of 52)
Online LibraryHenry F. W. LittleThe Seventh Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion → online text (page 36 of 52)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


broken, and the brass tip at the end of the scabbard is
broken off, but the inscription, showing how he was appre-
ciated in his home, touched me, and I felt it would still be
valued by "someone" for his sake. I will forward it to
you as soon as I am sure of your express address.

Respectfully yours,

Annie E. Read,
Mrs. J. Harleston Read,
Plantersville P. O., Georgetown, S. C.

The sword was received in due time, and although
"shattered and torn,'" it is sacredly kept in memor}- of the
one who so bravely lost his life in the defense of his coun-
try and oh the field of honor.

OUR RECRUITS OF 1862.

The recruits that came to the regiment in 1862, while
the regiment was at St. Augustine, Fla., were the equal
of any body of men that helped to form the organization.
Most of them were led to select the regiment through per-
sonal friendships. These men voluntarily enlisted, and
made the best of soldiers. The first squad that came to
us left Concord, N. H., August 27, 1862, en route for New
York, via Boston and Fall River, Mass. Arriving at Fall
River, the}' went aboard the steamer " Metropolis," and
when near New York, they passed the English steamer
" Great Eastern," which was aground at the time, and
was the largest vessel in the world.

Upon landing in New York, September 28, the men
were marched up to the White Street barracks, and in the
afternoon were marched aboard a small steamer, and



458 History of the Seventh Regiment

taken over to Fort Hamilton to await transportation to the
Department of the South. September 4, the men went
aboard the steamer " George C. Collins," and the next
morning started for the South. The steamer was a round-
bottom propeller, and was a regular transport, fitted up
with bunks each six feet square, designed to accommodate
four men in each bunk. There were on board about one
hundred and fifty men bound for New Hampshire regi-
ments (Third, Fourth, and Seventh), two hundred for
Massachusetts, and some for Rhode Island regiments.
At Beaufort, N. C, the men went ashore for one day, and
the Third New Hampshire men buried one of their num-
ber who had died on the voyage. On the morning of
September 10, they left for Port Royal, S. C, and
arrived there on the evening of September 11. The next
morning the men were all allowed to go ashore, and those
who had not reached their destination went into camp for
a few days to await transportation. While here the men
availed themselves of the opportunity to visit friends in the
New Hampshire and other regiments. On September 16,
the men for the Seventh Regiment were ordered to go
aboard the steamer " Cossack," on which the journey to
the regiment was to be completed. The steamer stopped
at Fernandina part of one day, and ran up the St. John's
River a short distance the same evening to enable Brig.
Gen. A. H. Terry to enquire as to the result of a bom-
bardment of a rebel battery by our gunboats.

On September 18, the recruits arrived at St. Augustine,
and were sent to the barracks at the south end of the city ;
later were attached to Company E, and quartered with
them at the old Planter's Hotel for the purpose of drawing
rations. Lieutenant Baker, of Company E, was detailed
to drill them until they could be assigned to their respect-
ive companies, which occurred about October i.



New Hampshire Volunteers. 459

October 3, another squad of recruits arrived and were at
once assigned to the companies for which they enlisted,
except some who had enlisted for Company E, who could
not be assigned to that company as the maximum number
for that company had been reached by the men who were
assigned from the previous squad. From both squads
Company D received seven ; Company E, sixteen ; and
Company H, twelve.



460 History of the Seventh Regiment



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.



Col. Haldimand Sumner Putnam.

This lamented officer, who was killed in the charge
upon Fort Wagner, on Morris Island, S. C, on the i8th
day of July, 1863, was born in Cornish, N. H., October
6, 1836; was the son of Hon. John L. Putnam, of that
town.

After receiving the general advantages for education
which could, at that time, be obtained in the public schools
of his native town, and a neighboring academy, he, >vhen
a little more than sixteen years of age, received an
appointment as cadet at the West Point Academy, where
he graduated in 1857, with high honors, very near the
head of his class. He was at once attached to the regular
army, and from that time until a few months previous to
the rebellion he was stationed at different localities on the
western frontier. In all positions he proved a brave and
faithful officer, and invariabl}' won the highest esteem of
his superior officers. He was called upon at various times
while in the far West to endure long and tiresome marches,
and on one occasion the forces to which he was at the
time attached, were required to make a forced march t'rom
the coast to the Utah countr}-. It being in the winter sea-
son the troops suffered intensely from cold and hunger,
their last ration having been consumed the day before they
reached the vicinity of their destination, which was Salt
Lake City. In all these trials Colonel Putnam (then a
lieutenant) exhibited superior courage and a fixed deter-
mination to brave manfully all the dangers of his lot.



New Hampshire Volunteers. 461

When the dark clouds of secession raised their gloomy
forms in the Southern horizon, Lieutenant Putnam was at
once summoned to Washington, and was twice entrusted
with verbal messages of the highest importance to carry to
Fort Pickens, Fla. He traveled by rail through the
South, accomplished his task, and was returning the last
time to the North, when he was seized at Montgomery,
Ala., by the military authorities of that State and detained
several days. He was finally released and came back to
Washington. Soon after he was given an important posi-
tion on the staff of General McDowell, where he remained
until October 15, 1861, when he was commissioned by the
governor of New Hampshire as colonel of the Seventh
Regiment of Volunteers, which was being organized at
that time for the war.

While on the staff of General McDowell he performed
many arduous and responsible duties, and his superior
military talent was universally recognized and admitted.
In the first battle of Bull Run he was in the thickest of the
action, but escaped uninjured. When his services were
asked to take command of a regiment from his native State,
his heart filled with pleasure, but he modestly stated that
he thought himself too young for the responsible position.
Upon being further urged, however, he consented to the
proposition, and with the permission of the War Depart-
ment, at once hastened to the old Granite State, where a
thousand brave men welcomed their young commander
with the greatest enthusiasm.

In relation to his regiment Colonel Putnam, though a
strict disciplinarian, ever secured and retained the warm-
est afiection of his men. The soldiers who served under
him knew that in his heart there was love for each and
all of them, and in whatever position they were placed
they had implicit confidence in their commander. From
the day of his assuming command of the regiment, until he



462 History of the Seventh Regiment

fell upon the field of glory, not a single murmur or com-
plaint came back to New Hampshire from either officers
or men.

Among the most intimate of Colonel Putnam's classmates
was Fitzhugh Lee, son of Gen. Robert E. Lee, and after-
wards a noted general of the rebel army. That intimacy
was never broken until the commencement of the war.
At the time of General Fitzhugh Lee's marriage. Colonel
Putnam w^as in the West, yet he procured a leave of
absence and repaired to Virginia where he witnessed the
imposing nuptials. Just before the w'ar commenced, the
colonel received his last letter from young Lee, in which
the writer stated that he was discouraged and disheart-
ened and hardly knew what course to take. "I want to
stand by my countr}-," he said, "yet I believe the South
has been wronged." Colonel Putnam, in answering the
communication, implored his long cherished friend and
classmate to oppose the principles of secession, and stand
up for his country and her flag. This was the last of their
correspondence.

In religious connections he was an Episcopalian, and in
none of the eventful scenes of his life did he forget the
religious teachings of his youth.

Most of the time since the first attack on Sumter he had
been acting as brigade commander, and was so acting at
the time he fell.

On the night of the charge on Wagner, General Gill-
more — who was at that time in command of the forces on
Morris Island, and who had been watching the eftect upon
Fort Wagner of the shot and shell, which were fired by
the nav}- and land batteries, since noon of that day — called
up his division and brigade commanders for consultation ;
upon Colonel Putnam's return to his brigade it was learned
that an assault had been determined upon, contrary to his
advice, as he said. " I told the general," said he, " I did



New Hampshire Volunteers. 463

not think we could take the tort so, but Seymour over-
ruled me. Seymour is a devil of a fellow for dash." As
a topographical engineer, to which corps he was attached
in the regular army, his quick e3'e detected the utter
impossibility of rushing through a mile and a fourth of the
heaviest tire of shot and shell, and upon an earthwork
strong enough to hold twelve hundred men a whole day
under the concentrated fire of our fleet and land batteries
as safely as though they had been miles away.

His exact position on the parapet of Fort Wagner, at
the time of his death, as near as could ever be ascertained
by any of the Seventh Regiment, was near the southeast
angle, where, above the first line of parapet, was what
seemed to be another line of works just a few feet recessed
from the first and rising much higher, but w'hich was after-
wards found to be the immense roof or covering of the large
bomb-proof with which the fort was provided, on the top
of w^hich he was killed by a bullet through the head. In
the tumult and the darkness, and the almost utter impossi-
bility of crossing the line of fire between the tort and our line
of entrenchments, over a mile aw-ay, with such a burden, it
would have been impossible to have the body removed.
The rite of burial was therefore left to rebel hands.

Gen. Joseph C. Abbott.

Gen. Joseph C. Abbott was the son of Aaron Abbott, of
Concord, Merrimack County, N, H., and was born in
that city on the 15th day of July, 1825. He attended the
public schools of that city, and subsequently fitted for col-
lege under a private instructor, and attended school at
Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass. Instead of entering
college, as he had designed, he read law w4th Hon. L. D.
Stevens, who was afterwards ma3-or of Concord ; subse-
quently he studied with Hon. David Cross, of Manches-
ter, and for a time with Hon. Asa Fowler, of Concord.



464 History of the Seventh Regiment

Having a very decided taste for literary pursuits he was
employed as editor of the "Manchester American," for
six months from April, 185 1, and for the following six
months was editor of the "New Hampshire Statesman,"
published at Concord. On the ist of May, 1852, he
removed to Manchester, and became permanently con-
nected with the "American" as its editor and proprietor,
until 1857, when he disposed of his interest in the paper
and the printing establishment connected with it. In May,
1S59, General Abbott became one of the editors and pro-
prietors of the " Boston Atlas and Bee," and so continued
until May, 1861. He was chairman of the committee that
reported the resolutions in the Whig Presidential State
Convention of New Hampshire, in 1852, and was a member
of the Whig State Central Committee two years, the last
of which he was chairman.

In July, 1856, General Abbott was appointed by the
governor and council, adjutant-general of the State, which
office he held until July 1861, when he resigned. For
several years he was an active and useful member of the
New Hampshire Historical Society, and always took a
lively interest in whatever related to the welfare of the
State. In 1858, while adjutant-general of the State, being
without any effective military organization, and feeling
that in time of peace we should be prepared for war, he
drafted an elaborate bill providing for a thorough organi-
zation of the volunteer militia of the State, and through his
activity and influence secured its enactment into a law,
which is, with some slight modifications, the law of New
Hampshire upon that subject still.

On the 2d day of September, 1861, General Abbott
received authority from the War Department to raise a
regiment of infantry in the State of New Hampshire.
About that time the State authorities were organizing four
regiments of intantry, a battery, a company of sharpshoot-



New Hampshire Volunteers. 465

ers, and a battalion of cavalry, making a very heavy draft
upon its available men. It was with some difficulty that
General Abbott could get the governor and council to
extend to him such assistance as was necessary to secure
the success of the undertaking, absorbed as they were in
other matters more immediately pressing upon them. By
his indomitable perseverance, however, he succeeded in
securing the requisite number of men and established the
headquarters of his regiment, which had been numbered
as the Seventh, at Manchester. Determined as he was
that this should be the model regiment from the State, he
desired that it should be commanded by a man with a
thorough military education, who had seen service in the
field ; hence he asked only for the lieutenant-colonelcy for
himself, and nominated Lieut. Haldimand S. Putnam, a
graduate of West Point, a native of Cornish this State,
and who had been in a responsible position on the staff of
General McDowell since the breaking out of the rebellion,
to the governor for colonel. Lieutenant Putnam was
accordingly commissioned, and General Abbott was com-
missioned lieutenant-colonel. Early in 1863, Colonel Put-
nam was placed in command of a brigade, and Lieuten-
ant-Colonel Abbott commanded the Seventh Regiment.
At the assault on Fort Wagner, on the i8th day of July,

1863, while bravely leading his brigade. Colonel Putnam
was killed. The Seventh Regiment was in his brigade,
under command of the lieutenant-colonel, and suffered a
loss of two hundred and twelve officers and men — killed,
wounded, and missing.

On the 2 2d of July, soon after this disastrous engage-
ment, Lieutenant-Colonel Abbott was promoted to be
colonel of his regiment, and commanded it in most of its
severe marches and bloody battles until the summer of

1864, when he assumed command of a brigade, after which
he was nearly all of the time, until the close of the war,

30



466



MIS'^()R^' oi - THE Sk\-I'.n"Th Regiment



actinLi," lirijj.'adier-^cneral. He comnianded a l^rii^^ade at
Fort FisluT, X. C : was brc\'eticd for ^'allant ser\'ices on
that occasion, to tlatc from Januar\- 15, 1S65. General
Abbott was mustered out of the L'nited States ser\'ice with
his reu;iment : returned to the State with it and was dis-
char^'ed in x\use of the war. General Abbott, in company
with other gentlemen, purchased valualile timber lands in
North Carolina, removed to \VilminL;'ton. and enj^^aged
acti\"elv in the land and lumber business. He was a
member of the North Carolina Constitutional Convention,
which assembled at Raleiti,"h in November, 1867, and took
a leadinii," jxn-t on committees and in debate, showing an
intimate knowledge ot the political atlairs of the country;
and felt a deep interest in the action c>f his adopted State,
in the condition in which the war had left it. In April,
1S68, he was elected to the legislature, and in June. 1S6S,
General Abbott was elected I'nited States Senator from
North Carolina, for the term ending ^Earch 4, 1S71, in
which capacit\' lie serx'ed faithfully and well.

As a political and general newspaper writer. General
Abbott had few superiors in New England : as a politician,
he was active, careful, and conservati\'e : as adjutant-gen-
cral of the State when the war first broke out, he exhibited
true patriotism, the utmost energy and perseverance in
raising and putting into the field in the best possible con-
dition for ethcient ser\'ice, the troops called for by the
president. As a regimental and brigade commander, in
the held he was always cool and prudent, caretul of his
troops, gallant and learless of consequences to himselt,
and scrupulouslv faithful in the discharge of every duty.
As a true friend and thorough gentleman he had no supe-
rior in the countr\-. lie died suddenly at Wilmington,
N. C of brain disease, October 8, 1881, at the age of fifty-
six vears. His remains were brought to Manchester, N. H.,



New Hampshire Volunteers. 467

for final interment, March 30, 1887, and were received by
Louis Bell Post, G. A. R., escorted by the War Veter-
ans Drum Corps, and a delegation of the old Seventh
New Hampshire, consisting of Capt. J. F. Cotton, Capt.
Joseph Freschl, Lieut. H. F. W. Litde, Sergt. M. H.
Johnson, Corp. C. C. Bunce, N. R. Bixby, C. A. Jones,
Samuel McElroy, D. L. Ordway, and Robert Alsop, who
acted as pall bearers. His remains now rest in the Valley
Cemetery, one of the most beautiful in New England, and
each Memorial Day his grave is fittingly decorated by the
Grand Armv of the Republic. His widow resided at No.
1,328 I street, North Washington, D. C, and had a posi-
tion in the Treasury Department in 1892.

Lieut, Col. Thomas A. Henderson.

Lieut. Col. Thomas A. Henderson was a son of Capt.
Samuel H. Henderson, and was born in Dover, Strafford
County, N. H., December i, 1833. He completed his
preparatory studies at Gilmanton Academy, and entered
Bowdoin College in the fall of 185 1, graduating with dis-
tinction, at the head of his class, in 1855. During the three
succeeding years he was principal of the Franklin Acad-
emy, in Dover, where he was a popular and successful
teacher. He read law in the office of Messrs. Woodman
& Doe, of Dover, and finished his course at Harvard Law
School in 1861, where he exhibited marked ability as a
scholar and debater. He w^on the highest prize for a
legal essay, and received the degree of LL. B. Soon
after his graduation he was admitted to the Sufiblk County
Bar, of Massachusetts, with every prospect of success in
his chosen profession. The dark war clouds of secession
iratherincr awav on the Southern horizon had broken in all
the fury of a terrible devastating rebellion, and believing
that every good citizen owed his first duty to his govern-
ment, he at once determined to enter the army. With



468 History of the Seventh Regiment

this end in view he went to Norwich, Vt., where he
remained several months, under military instruction and
drill; then in November, 1S61, accepted the position of
adjutant of the Seventh N. H. Volunteers.

Upon the death of Major Smith, in August, 1862, on the
urgent recommendation of Colonel Putnam, Adjutant Hen-
derson was commissioned major. In the bloody assault on
Fort Wagner, on the i8th of July, 1863, Major Henderson
acted as aide-de-camp to Colonel Putnam, who in com-
mand of a brigade was killed at their head in that terrible
charge, and in consequence of whose death Lieutenant-
Colonel Abbott was promoted to colonel, and Major Hen-
derson to be lieutenant-colonel, on the 22d of the same
month. He subsequently served on the staff of General
Seymour, and was provost marshal of Florida during the
campaign which resulted in the disastrous battle of Olus-
tee. In the spring of 1S64, the Seventh Regiment was
transferred to Virginia, and Lieutenant-Colonel Hender-
son led his command in the battle of Drury's Bluff, where
his skill and gallantry elicited the highest commendations
from the commanding general. He also commanded his
regiment in the engagement at Deep Bottom, on the i6th
of August, 1864, and received a mortal wound in the hip,
which severed the principal artery, from which, despite all
that surgical skill and attention could do, he died in a few
hours. His body was embalmed and sent home in charge
of Chaplain Emerson, and was buried on September 2, in
Pine Hill Cemetery, in the City of Dover, amid the mourn-
ing of a large circle of relatives and friends. Thus per-
ished, while in the faithful discharge of duty, another brave
and talented officer, and a noble, earnest patriot.

Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson was a man of ver}- supe-
rior ability and hne attainments, of inflexible morality, and
stainless purity of life. In the army he discharged every
duty with fidelity and patriotic devotion, which, with his



New Hampshire Volunteers. 469

uniform cheerfulness and kindness, made him a favorite
with all, of whatever rank or degree. In his death, glo-
rious though it was, the city of his birth, his State, his
regiment, and the nation, met with a sad loss. The histo-
rian of the Seventh Regiment served in the capacity of
sergeant-major while Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson was
adjutant of the regiment from its arrival at Fort Jefferson,
Fla., until his promotion as major, and being very closely
connected with the duties of the adjutant's office during
that time, a period of nine months, and being constantly
under the personal supervision and in immediate contact
with Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson in the performance of
the duties of that office, he can bear testimony that, for
gentlemanly qualities, habits of the strictest morality,
cheerfulness of manner and temperament, and kindness of
heart, Lieutenant-Colonel Henderson was never excelled.

Col. Augustus W. Rollins.

Col. Augustus W. Rollins, son of Augustus and Abiah
Rollins, a direct descendant of Judge Ichabod Rollins, the
first judge of probate under the State government of New
Hampshire, and of James Rawlins, who emigrated to
America in 1632, and settled in that part of Dover called
Newington in 1644 ; he was born in that part of Somers-
worth now called Rollinsford, on the old homestead, on
April 27, 1831.

He attended the schools of his native town, and also
attended Gilmanton Academy in 1S50 and 1S51 ; in 1852,
he took a thoroucrh course in Comer's Commercial Col-
lege, at Boston, Mass. In 1853, he went to Illinois,
where he was for a few years engaged as civil engineer
on the Alton & Terre Haute railroad, and was afterwards
encracred as civil eno-ineer on the Dover & Winnipesaukee
railroad. In 1859, ^^^ commenced business in Dover as a
merchant, and continued at this occupation until the tail



470 History of the Seventh Regiment

of 1861, when he assisted in organizing a company in
Dover, entering the service as captain of Company F,
Seventh N. H. Volunteers; was promoted to major July
23, 1863 ; and to lieutenant-colonel September 30, 1864.

He participated in the bloody assaults upon Fort Wag-
ner, in the disastrous battle of Olustee, Fla., Deep Run,
New Market Heights, and October 7, 1864, at the battle of
Laurel Hill, Va., where he had his horse shot from under
him. In falling, the colonel was injured severely. The
horse was known as "Old Gray," and the colonel was at
that moment near the right of the regiment, but a few feet
from the writer of this, the historian, and the shots of the
rebels were telling fast for a few moments along the whole
line. He was with his regiment in front of Petersburg,
and on the various expeditions out beyond the Darbytown
Road. At the storming of Fort Fisher he was in com-
mand of his regiment, and for gallantry at that place was
brevetted colonel of United States Volunteers.

At the close of the war he was mustered out with his
regiment : for a number of years was colonel of one of the
State militia regiments, and was a member of the State
legislature in 1869. He died of congestion of the lungs,
February 16, 1870, at the age of thirty-nine years, on the
old homestead where he was born, leaving three sisters
who were living on the farm in 1893, and one brother,
Hon. S. W. Rollins, of Meredith, N. H., who was judge
of probate for Belknap County, at the time this was writ-
ten.

Colonel Rollins was a genial, kind hearted man ; brave,
generous, and kind in all his relations, strong in his
attachments, and devoted to his friends. He entered the
service in good health with an iron constitution, and came
out of it broken down in health, and with his constitution



Online LibraryHenry F. W. LittleThe Seventh Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion → online text (page 36 of 52)