Henry F. W. Little.

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

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of keeping out the cold, we anxiously awaited the search
which was made as we had expected. But nothing was
found by the officers, and a few hours afterwards several
mess kettles borrowed from the cooks were tilled and
cooking, and the very officers who conducted the search
were the recipients of enough nice chicken stew for a
good square meal, and they atterwards acknowledged that
we had flanked them, but never knew just how.

The health of the regiment was improving, and they
lost no opportunity to provide tor their larder. Some of


Co. C.


Co. C.



Co. C.

New Hampshire Volunteers. 8i

the companies kept a pig or two, and they thrived well
upon the refuse from the company kitchens ; but it was ,
getting so it was hard to keep a pig unless a sentry was
stationed over the stye, and Company F actually lost one
after it had been dressed and roasted in the large company

While at St. Augustine, Adjt. Thomas A. Henderson
was promoted major, a civilian, Henry G. Webber, was
appointed adjutant, Q^ M. Andrew^ H. Young was ap-
pointed captain and assistant quartermaster U. S. Vol-
unteers, and ordered away from the regiment, Q^ M.
Sergt. George S. Hanson was promoted regimental quar-
termaster, William H. Smart from New Hampshire was
commissioned assistant surgeon, and reported for duty
at this post. Among the company officers. First Lieut.
Granville P. Mason, of Company A, was promoted to
captain of Company B; Second Lieut. Charles Hooper,
of Company D, was promoted to first lieutenant of Com-
pany A; Capt. Orlando Lawa-ence, of Company B, re-
signed his commission October 27, 1862 ; First Sergt.
Alfred N. Bennett, of Company B, was promoted to sec-
ond lieutenant of Company D ; and First Sergt. John
Brown, of Company G, w^as commissioned captain in the
Sixteenth N. H. Volunteers, was ordered discharged, and
left the regiment.

During the autumn months a small lot of beef cattle were
shipped to the post from the North for the purpose of
furnishing the garrison wath occasional rations of fresh
beef, but the da\' after their arrival twelve of them died
very suddenly, and that at once prejudiced the men
. against government beef wdiile at this place, and the com-
panies preferred to forage for their beef in the country sur-
rounding the city. At the time, many w^ere of the opinion
that the government cattle had been purposely poisoned,
but no evidence to that effect was forthcoming, and no
arrests were made among the citizens on suspicion.

History of the Seventh Regiment






colonel's cavalry squad. COLONEL PUTNAM AND


It was during our service at St. Augustine, that the
Tenth Army Corps was formed, and in General Orders,
No. 123, issued from the War Department, adjutant-gen-
eral's office, Washington, D. C, and dated September 3,
1862, the forces in the Department of the South, including
all troops in the states of Sovith Carolina, Georgia, and
the eastern part of Florida, were to constitute the Tenth
Army Corps, and Maj. Gen. Ormsby M. Mitchell, who
had been assigned to the command of the Department, in
place of Major-General Hunter, relieved, was announced
as commander of the corps, and assumed command on the
17th, with headquarters at Hilton Head, S. C. The first
return from the Department of the South after the formation
of the Tenth Corps published in the Official Records of
the War of the Rebellion, is that for October 31, 1862,
and gives the stations occupied by the difl^erent commands
as follows :

Hilton Head and Fort Seward, S. C. — Brig. Gen. A. H.
Terry — Third New Hampshire, Forty-seventh New York,

New Hampshire Volunteers. 83

Seventv-sixth and Ninety-seventh Pennsylvania, Third
R. I. Artillery; Battery E, Third U. S. Artillery, and a
detachment of the First N. Y. Engineers. Graham's
Plantation, First Mass. Cavahy (detachment). Fort Pul-
aski, Ga., Forty-eighth New York, Battery G, Third R. I.
Artillery. Fort Clinch, Fla., Company C, First N. Y.
Engineers. Old Town, Fla., Compan_y E, First N. Y.
Engineers. Beaufort, S. C. — Col. T. H. Good — Sixth
and Seventh Connecticut, Eighth Maine, Fourth New
Hampshire, a battalion of the First Mass. Cavalry, First
Conn. Battery, and Company H, First N. Y. Engineers.
Key West, Fla., Ninetieth New York. Fernandina, Fla.,
Ninth Maine. St. Augustine, Fla. — Col. H. S. Putnam
— Seventh New Hampshire.

The division of Brig. Gen. Isaac I. Stevens, consisting
of the Twentv-eicrhth Massachusetts, Eighth Michigan,
Forty-sixth and Seventy-ninth New York, Forty-lifth,
Fiftieth, and One-hundredth Pennsylvania, had been pre-
viously transferred to Virginia, and were incorporated into
the Ninth Corps.

It was a part of our education under militar}- discipline
that whenever a commissioned officer entered a room
where the men were quartered, the ranking non-commis-
sioned officer present should at once call " attention," and
the men should arise, stand at " attention," and salute.
Sergt. William Jackson, of Company G, was one day
seated in his quarters with sorne of his men, when Capt.
H. B. Leavitt, of that compan}^ entered the room. Some
one called out " attention," but the sergeant was so busily
engaged cleaning a musket that he did not seem to under-
stand what was going on, and Captain Leavitt noticing
him called out at once, " Sergeant Jackson, where are
3'OU?" The sergeant at once replied, "Here, sir," but
remained sitting, whereupon the captain again called out,
" Sergeant Jackson, where are you? " " Here, sir," again

84 History of the Seventh Regiment

replied Jackson. "Well," said the captain, "I know
you are here, but where are you?" This being the third
call, the busy sergeant took the hint and arose with ihe
squad and saluted.

At one time when Compan}^ H was detailed for reserve
picket at the McCarthy house, on the Jacksonville road,
a patrol was sent out beyond the pickets as a further pro-
tection to the teams that were sent out for wood. About
four miles out the patrol sighted a small herd of cattle
quietly grazing in a field, and creeping up carefully near
them managed to shoot a fine steer, at once had it
dressed, and detailed two of their number to carry the two
best quarters to the company cook-house down at the fort.
One of the men detailed was Corp. N. L. Truel, and pro-
curing a suitable pole they strung the beef thereon and
started for the city, but before reaching the line of pickets
it became quite dark, and not caring to cause an alarm,
they determined to get through the lines between two
picket posts that were farther apart than the others.
There was just the least bit of a new moon that night, and
as they had almost got through the picket line, one of the
pickets on one of the posts nearest, either thought he saw
them or imagined he heard someone, and challenged.
Fortunately, at that moment a cloud drifted over the face
of the young moon and the men with their load of beef
unconsciously walked into an old dry well, men and beef
going down at once out of sight, and after remaining
in their hole a short time in order to quiet the pickets, and
finding themselves unhurt except a lameness and bruises
from the terrible wrenching received, they very carefully
and noiselessly pulled themselves and their beef from the
old well and cautiously limped to their cook-house, de-
posited their beef, and returned to the company at the
McCarthy house.

New Hampshire Volunteers. 85

At another time while out on patrol Company' H cap-
tured a steer in the same manner, and some citizens who
were out for wood that day found out in some way that
they were getting beef, and at once proceeded into the city
to make a complaint, and were told to watch the Jackson-
ville road between the city and the picket line in order to
detect the soldiers in the act of bringing in the beef. The
men of the compan}-, who were ever on the alert, sent one
of their number to the quarters with canteens for water,
and upon his arrival at the fort he notified some of the
company who had been left behind in the quarters, on the
sick-list, or on guard, and the}' at once got out their
schooner-rigged boat and proceeded up the bay for a sail,
and arriving at the appointed place took on their beet^,
brought it down by water to the cook-house, and started
for the McCarthy house to join the company for the night,
passing on their way man}- of the citizens who were ear-
nestly watching the road tor an}^ soldiers who might be
bringing in beef.

One morning while the first sergeant of Company I,
Charles C. McPherson, was calling out his guard detail in
the fort previous to attending guard mounting, one of the
men. Private Edwin Scanlan, familiarly known through-
out the regiment as " Goose,'' was seriousl}' wounded by
the accidental discharge of a musket in the hands of an-
other private, Onslow F. McPherson, who was known
among the men of the regiment as " Buttermilk." It was
occasioned by the most absurd carelessness in attempting
to clean his gun while it was loaded. It was a very nar-
row escape from death for Private Scanlan, rendering
him unfit for further militar}' duty, and about a 3'ear after-
wards he was discharged from the service on account of
this wound.

We should not be justified in passing without notice
one of the most ancient as well as venerable landmarks of

86 History of the Seventh Regiment

this old settlement, who was known to us under the cogno-
men of "Aunt Rhoda," and who boasted of having some
of the choicest Seminole blood in her veins, which, if
mingled with that of the negro and Spaniard, as was
probably the case, made up a curious mixture of human-
ity. She claimed to have been a belle at the time of the
Seminole War, and she may have been, but if so she
had faded mightily since, and it is questionable whether
" Old Billy Bowlegs," the celebrated Seminole chief,
would have in any wa}^ acknowledged her as a descend-
ant from his ancient tribe. Yet, she may have been so de-
scended. She lived in a dilapidated old shell of a house
down near the barracks, near the south end of the city,
and the men were always cutting up some shine to irritate
her, and to cause her to enter complaints to Colonel Put-
nam. Returning home at one time she found a cow fast-
ened upstairs in her house, and the stairs pulled down.
Again she found two pigs securely fastened in the flue of
her stone chimne}^ which, from the noise they made, could
probably neither get up nor down. It is an undoubted fact
that it gave the men who were engaged in this rascality,
much satisfaction to notice her complaints to the colonel.
For downright " cussedness " in inventing and developing
such schemes the average volunteer, as we found them,
may find competition, but I am fully satisfied they could
not be outdone.

The Fairbanks place, some two miles north of the city,
outside our picket lines, and where we often sent out
patrols to protect the people who came out each day to get
wood, must have been a beautiful place of residence for
its owner. The residence and outbuildings had been
burned before our arrival, but the grounds were very beau-
tifully laid out, and a creek which led into Anastasia Bay,
south of the city, bounded the western side of the beau-
tiful lawn, where was built a dainty little wharf for the

New Hampshire Volunteers. 87

accommodation of the pleasure boats of the family, and a
family burial ground was situated in a beautiful grotto.
The pathway leading to this secluded little plot of ground
was festooned with moss which hung from live-oak trees,
and scarcely a ray of sunshine could penetrate the foliage.

Before the war of 1861 came to mar their pleasure,
someone must have had a beautiful and happy home on
this ground.

While at St. Augustine, Captain Chase was granted
sick-leave, and Lieutenant-Colonel Abbott and First Lieut.
W. C. Knowlton were ordered home on recruiting serv-
ice. November 11, a company of the Ninth Maine, who
were stationed at Fernandina, Fla., came in on the steamer
"Neptune," for lumber; the 13th, an old house which
was unoccupied, was burned just south of the barracks,
and while it was burning a fire was started at the Baptist
church, which proved to us that an incendiary was at
work, and a few of the companies were organized as
bucket fire companies, and after this preparation we had
no more fire alarms for a time.

October 30, Maj. Gen. O. M. Mitchell died of yellow
fever, at Beaufort, S. C, and Maj. Gen. David Hunter
was placed in command of the Department of the South,
and of the Tenth Army Corps, with headquarters at Hil-
ton Head, S. C.

December i, orders were issued for the companies to
drill at target practice. The weather was at this time all
one could wish, and on the 3d, we noticed the thermon:ieter
stood at 87 1-2 degrees above, and few, if any of us had
ever before experienced such mild temperature during the
winter months, and such beautiful, sunn}' days during the
winter season. On the 6th, Brig. Gen. J. M. Brannan re-
viewed and inspected the regiment. On the 13th, two men,
Horace M. Prescott, of Company C, and Ephraim Pettin-
gill, of Company E, deserted from the guard-house at the

88 History of the Seventh Regiment

fort, and succeeded in escaping to the enemy. Prescott
had formerly been a sergeant of Company C, but for some
reason had been reduced to the ranks, and was at this
time confined in the guard-house for forgery. Many of
the officers confiscated some of the small ponies which
strayed around the city — having, apparently, no visible
owners — and procuring saddles they richly enjoyed many
of their leisure hours when ofi:' duty. Captain Leavitt, of
Company G, found a very pretty and stylish pon}^, and at
once took possession of the animal. Some of the men in
the regiment who owed the captain a grudge, at once
determined to square accounts w'ith him, and one morning
upon going out to look at his pony, he found that some
miscreants had closely shaved the mane and tail, but the
culprits were never found, and the captain at once dis-
carded his pretty pon}-.

During the winter months a singing school was organ-
ized, with Assistant Surgeon Boynton as instructor ;
quite an interest was shown, and the school was a success.
For a change on drill we had the bayonet exercise in the
forenoon instead of company drill, and afternoons a good,
lengthy battalion drill, by Colonel Putnam.

December 17, there was another fire alarm, which proved
to be at the barracks, and in the portion occupied by Com-
pany B, the roof having caught around the chimne}'.
The fire was quickly put out, however, and but little dam-
age was done. On the 24th, passes were granted to all
soldiers who wished to attend the midnight mass at the
cathedral, and many of us availed ourselves of the oppor-

Frequently a schooner came in from the North with
apples, potatoes, and sutlers' stores. Many of the men
were driving quite a traffic in apples, for which they
would pay from six to twelve dollars per barrel, and retail
them at five for twenty-five cents. Those companies hav-

New 'Hampshire Volunteers. 89

ing a company fund laid in a few bushels of Irish potatoes,
for we could buy only sweet potatoes of the citizens.

We cannot forget the detail made from the regiment,
armed, mounted, and drilled by Colonel Putnam as cav-
alry, the drill-ground being up near the fort. Those
twenty-five men whom the colonel drilled will certainly
never forget, and after he had them dispense with their
saddles and practice bareback riding on their horses for a
few da3's, they had the appearance to us of a set of old
cripples. Nevertheless, the colonel had a squad for
mounted service of which he might well feel proud.

January 10, 1863, First Lieut. Virgil H. Gate, of Com-
pany C, and Private Oscar F. French, of Company E,
together with Samuel Riddell, one of our regimental sut-
lers, and the sutler of the Ninth Me. Regiment, went
outside the picket lines on a hunting trip, and were picked
up by some of Dickinson's Confederate guerrillas, and it
was some time before they again got back to us.

The monoton}' of our regular tours of guard and picket
duty was sometimes broken by a little excitement on the
picket line. On the evening of Januarj- 11, Captain Rol-
lins, of Company F, thought he would take a trip in his
boat down the bay south of the city, for the purpose of
fishing or hunting. He had in some manner procured an
old blunderbuss, which was an antiquated species of fire-
arm, somewhere in the city, and loading it, put it in the
boat for any emergency that might arise ; taking a couple
of men to row the boat he proceeded down the bay, and
returning about 8 o'clock, he in some wa}^ lost his bear-
ings, it being very dark, and without being aware of it
approached close to the pickets on post No. i, who, hav-
ing heard the sound of the oars, at once challenged,
but not immediately receiving, as they thought, a proper
response, fired in the direction of the boat, which in the
darkness they could not plainly' discern, and the captain.

go History of the Seventh Regiment

not exactly comprehending the situation, fired his old
blunderbuss. The alarm was heard b}^ the sentinels at
the fort, and the signal gun was fired, the long roll was
sounded, and all the companies were at once under arms ;
those from the barracks were double-quicked to the fort,
and, pending the investigation of the cause of the alarm,
one wing of the regiment was kept under arms for about
an hour and a half, extra pickets were detailed, and the
line was doubled at the south end ; when the cause leaked
out, the companies were dismissed, and the extra pickets
were relieved at 3 o'clock the next morning by Captain
House, who was officer of the day.

It was customary for many of the officers to keep a
demijohn in their quarters, which they could occasionally
have filled at the commissary store-house, and the men
who were not entitled to such a privilege soon learned
where it was kept, and when it was procured; after
some preliminary arrangements a party of them, by a pre-
concerted plan, who belonged to the different companies
at the barracks, got excused one night from dress parade,
on some pretext, and, while the officers were with their
companies on parade, their quarters were entered and
searched, the demijohns were found, their contents at once
confiscated, and nearly two gallons of commissar}^ whiskey
was bottled and planted in the ground. Its whereabouts
was only known to the participants, who guarded their
secret well, and as there was no intoxication apparent at
this time there was no evidence to convict the culprits, and
it was said that some of it was in the ground when the
regiment left the place.

The orders were very strict that no enlisted men should
be out of their quarters after roll-call at tattoo, which was
at 9 o'clock in the evening, but as many of the men
could get out of their quarters without being seen by the
guards these orders were largely disobeyed. Many of the

Copyri_,ht, 1874, by The Century Co


New Hampshire Volunteers. 91

men got into the habit of going about the city after supper
and returning just in time for roll-call, often being late,
and causing so much annoyance to the first sergeants and
the commanders of companies, that an order was issued
by the colonel to Capt. J. S. Durgin, the provost marshal,
to use his utmost exertion to break up this practice ; there-
fore the writer of this — who was at that time acting provost
sergeant, in place of Sergt. Wm. F. Thayer, of Company
F, who had been sent to Hilton Head with civilians who
were to be sent outside the lines — was ordered to place
two strong picket lines completely across the city, one line
north of the piazza in the direction of the fort, and one
line south of the piazza in the direction of the barracks,
which completely blocked all avenues to either the fort or
barracks. At the first sound of the drums at tattoo those
of us who were listening heard these pickets challenge,
and in a few moments squads of those arrested by the
provost pickets were brought into the provost guard-house
in the basement of the old court house, where they were
kept until morning, when they were sent to their compan-
ies, where they were punished by an extra tour of guard
or fatigue duty. Nearly one hundred were arrested at this
time, and the guard-house was full to overflowing ; but in
the course of a week the practice was broken up, so that
every man was sure to be present at roll-call.

February 2, the steamer " Boston" left with a portion of
the civilians who had been ordered outside the lines, and
Company K w'as detailed to go with them as guard ;
they were sent to Fernandina, Fla., where they were sent
beyond our lines under flag of truce. On the 6th, the
" Boston " returned wdth Company K, and on the 9th, the
same steamer took away another load of civilians to Hilton
Head, S. C. On the 13th, the inspector-general of the de-
partment arrived on the " Cosmopolitan," and the follow-
ing day the garrison was thoroughly inspected. In the
afternoon the inspecting otiicer lett for Key West, Fla.


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