J. F. (John Farwell) Moors.

History of the Fifty-second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers online

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Online LibraryJ. F. (John Farwell) MoorsHistory of the Fifty-second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers → online text (page 1 of 29)
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Fifty-second Regiment

Massachusetts Volunteers



( A."-,. 10 1893


Press of George H. Ellis, 141 Franklin Street









;^' /^^ RATEFUL for many acts of kindness extended to me, it

I gives me great pleasure to put on record some of thie

incidents of our brief but eventful campaign in Louisiana.
1 hope you will receive this in the spirit of charity and good
will which has marked all your intercourse with the chaplain.

J. F. M.


{e) That Chaplain Moors be requested to arrange the
material and prepare the book for publication.

(/) A sub-committee was appointed of one from each
company to secure the facts for the personal sketches,
which they have done according to the best of their ability,
though in many cases they have been unable to secure the

J. B. Whitmore.


I. Organization and Camp Miller 9

II. The "Illinois," 16

III. Baton Rouge, 29

IV. Baton Rouge, with an Account of the Plaque-

mine Expedition, 43

V. Baton Rouge, 61

VI. The March to Port Hudson, 68

VII. March back from Port Hudson, 81

VIII. The Cotton Raid, 91

IX. Baton Rouge to Brashear City, 98

X. Up the Teche.— Brashear City to Indian Ridge

or Irish Bend, iii

XI. Up the Teche. — Indian Ridge to Opelousas, . . 121

XII. Opelousas to Barre's Landing, 129

XIII. Down the Teche, 140

XIV. Letters from New Orleans, 147

XV. New Iberia, 153

XVI. Port Hudson and Clinton, 159

XVII. Before Port Hudson, and the Assault on the

14TH OF June, 164

XVIII. Port Hudson, 177

XIX. The Surrender of Port Hudson, 186

XX. Col. Greenleaf's Account of a Foraging Expedi-
tion TO Jackson Cross-roads, 193

XXI. Within Port Hudson and the Journey Home, . . 201
Roster of the Regiment.


[Greenfield to New York, Sept. 13 to Dec. 20, 1862.]

September, 1862. — The war was dragging slowly, wearisomely
on, and a half-year had passed since the stars and stripes had
been assailed by rebellious foes in the harbor of Charleston, S.C.,
a year and two months since the disastrous defeat of (he Union
Army at Bull Run. The first impulse of enthusiasm resulting
from the firing upon Fort Sumter in April, 186 1, had carried us
hopefully through the first campaign, which ended in disaster and
shame in June, 1861. Then came the real hour of trial. This
country never saw so dark a week as that which followed that dis-
grace. " Are our men cowards when danger is to be faced ? " was
asked. "Will the North give up in despair, and yield principle and
honor ? " " No," was the emphatic reply. " We know we are right,
and we will prevail." Armies melted away like dew before the sun,
but new ones sprung up to take their places. Fifty thousand failed
in June, 1861. Two hundred thousand are in camp in December
of that year. Disaster followed next year on the peninsula ; but the
strength and courage of the loyal North had not been exhausted,
and in the public mind the determination was stronger than ever
to put down the rebellion and maintain, at all hazards, the unity
of the nation.

On the fourth day of August, 1862, an order was issued from
the War Department for a draft of three hundred thousand
troops, t-o serve nine months ; but the people and the State offi-
cials were opposed to a draft, and it was not resorted to, and the
call was for three hundred thousand volunteers. The quota de-
manded of Massachusetts under this call was nineteen thousand
and ninety men. The great number of men already in the ser-
vice made it more difficult to secure the additional nineteen thou-


sand and ninety. The demand for so large a force made this one
of the hardest and most anxious years of the war, alike to the
State and national government. But the work of recruiting was
entered upon with great alacrity and enthusiasm. It was ordered
that Hampshire and Franklin Counties should raise a regiment,
to be designated the Fifty-second. It is the story of this regi-
ment I am to try to tell in these pages. Enthusiastic war meet-
ings were held in every town and village of these two counties.
Every device was used to stir to greater heat the already awakened
flame of loyalty and patriotism. We shared the universal spirit of
the loyal North. The nation was fully aroused. Defeat at first
had been needed to accomplish this result. No one thought of
giving up, but joined in the exultant shout, "We are coming,
Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more."

I hope I may be able to give the outlines, at least, of a picture
of army life; for, though our experience was not a long one, it
was varied. We saw almost every variety of soldier's life. We
had an experience of the crowded transport, of monotonous camjD
life, of the exhausting march, of the terrible battle, of dishearten-
ing defeat, and of exulting victory. We knew what it was to have
our blood thrill at the sound of inspiring music : we knew what it
was to have the blood chill at sights of mortal agony. We saw a
portion of army life in all its aspects, except as prisoners of war.
We lost but two men as prisoners, and one of them reached home
before the rest of us : the other was never heard of after he was

The most earnest and soul-stirring appeals were made to the
young men to heed this call of their country in this hour of peril.
The appeal was to their pride, their love of adventure, their heroic
desire to do something in the great cause to which so many thou-
sands of their countrymen had given their lives. The most gener-
ous promises were made to the young men on condition of their
enlisting. They should have all the places of profit and honor
their fellow-citizens could furnish if they returned in safety. If
the fortunes of war were fatal, the public would watch over those
dependent on them, and see to it that they had every comfort a
grateful people could bestow. And every new recruit left the
war meeting loaded with bouquets of choice flowers, bestowed by
those he looked upon as the fairest and bravest of his acquaint-
ance. With this overflow of patriotic zeal, the ranks were
speedily filled, and on the thirteenth day of September the regi-


ment was gathered together at Greenfield, with James L. Hartwell
as Post Commander, and a camp organized as Camp Miller,
named in honor of Major Ozro Miller, of the loth Regiment, who
had been killed at the battle of Fair Oaks, a personal friend of
Col. Greenleaf.

None of the companies had received their full quota when they
entered on camp life, but recruits came in ; and, when the regiment
was mustered and took the oath of allegiance, the ranks were
nearly full.

Capt. H. S. Greenleaf, of Shelburne Falls, Co. E, was chosen
colonel, and Lieut. Richmond was promoted to the vacant place.
Capt. J. J. Storrs, of Amherst, Co. G, was chosen lieutenant
colonel, Henry Winn, of Shelburne Falls, was elected major.
J, M. Decker, formerly lieutenant colonel of the loth Massachu-
setts Regiment, became adjutant ; E. C. Clark, of Northampton,
quartermaster; Dr. F. A. Sawyer, of Greenfield, surgeon; Dr.
J. H. Richardson, of Chesterfield, assistant surgeon ; Rev. J. F.
Moors, of Greenfield, chaplain ; Dr. Henry M. Sabine, of Lenox,
was added to the medical staff April 20, 1863 ; Henry M. Whit-
ney, of Northampton, sergeant major; Edward A. Whitney, of
Northampton, quartermasfer sergeant ; William W. Ward, of
Worthington, commissary-sergeant ; George D. Clark, of North-
ampton, hospital steward.

The ten companies were officered as follows : —

Co. A. — Alanson B. Long, Greenfield, captain; Eben S. Hurl-
burt, Bernardston, ist lieutenant; Franklin C. Severence, Green-
field, 2d lieutenant ; W. Scott Keith, Greenfield, orderly sergeant.

This company mustered 95 men. Of this number Greenfield
furnished 62 ; Bernardston, 19 ; Gill, 5 ; Shelburne, 3 ; Leyden and
Northfield, 2 each ; Hawley and New Salem, i each. Total, 95.

7 died in service. 3 were discharged for disability.

Co. B. — Alvah P. Nelson, Colrain, captain ; Leonard B. Rice,
Charlemont, ist lieutenant; John W. Buddington, Leyden, 2d
lieutenant ; Arthur A. Smith, Colrain, orderly sergeant.

This company mustered 94 men. Of these Colrain furnished
41 ; Charlemont, 20 ; Heath, 9 ; Leyden, S ; Rowe, 7 ; Monroe, 5 ;
Halifax, Vt., 3 ; Adams, i. Total, 94.

Died in service, 14. Discharged, i.

Co. C. — Mark H. Spaulding, Northampton, captain; Edwin C.
Clark, Northampton, ist lieutenant, commissioned quartermaster;
John R. Hillman, Northampton, ist lieutenant; Luther A. Clark,


Northampton, 2d lieutenant; Henry H. Strong, Northampton,
orderly sergeant.

Mustered 95 men. Of these Northampton furnished 79 ; East-
hampton, 3 ; Cummington, 3 ; Williamsburg, 2 ; Ware, South Deer-
field, Worthington, Northfield, Orange, Conn., Goshen, Westfield,
and Springfield, i each. Total, 95.
Died in service, 10. Deserted, 2.

Co. D. — Fred M. Patrick, Conway, captain (resigned Oct. 29,
1862); Horace Hosford, Conway, captain; Samuel F. Edwards,
Deerfield, ist lieutenant; Oliver P. Egerton, Conway, 2d lieuten-
ant ; Edward J. Hosmer, Deerfield, orderly sergeant.

The company mustered 96 men. Of these Deerfield furnished
39; Conway, 32 ; Whately, 17; Buckland, Lynnfield, South Had-
ley, New Salem, Hawley, Colrain, Prescott, Leverett, i each.
Total, 96.

Died in service, 16.

Co. E. — Halbert S. Greenleaf, Shelburne, captain (promoted
colonel) ; Josiah A. Richmond, Shelburne, captain ; Ansel K. Brad-
ford, Plainfield, I St lieutenant; Samuel H. Blackwell, Waterville,
Me., 2d lieutenant; Samuel A. Little, Buckland, orderly ser-

Mustered 91 men. Of these Shelburne furnished 27 ; Buckland,
26; Hawley, 17; Ashfield, 10; Charlemont, 2 ; Plainfield, Water-
ville, Me., Cheshire, Colrain, Northampton, Chesterfield, i each ;
Heath, 3. Total, 91.

Died in service, 10. Discharged, 3.

Co. F. — Lucian H. Stone, Montague, captain ; Alphonso Ballou,
Orange, ist lieutenant; Marshall S. Stearns, Northfield, 2d
lieutenant ; Samuel H. Crandall, Shutesbury, orderly sergeant.

Mustered its full quota of 100 men. Of these Orange furnished
29 ; Montague, 28 ; Northfield, 22 ; Leverett, 9 ; Shutesbury, 7 ;
Erving, 4; Wendell, i. Total, 100.
Died in service, 13. Discharged, 2.

Co. G. — Samuel S. Storrs, Amherst, captain (promoted lieu-
tenant colonel) ; George L. Bliss, Northampton, captain ; Justin P.
Kellogg, Amherst, ist lieutenant; Asa A. Spear, Amherst, 2d
lieutenant ; James W. Stebbins, Sunderland, orderly sergeant ;
Edgar J. Pomeroy, Sunderland, orderly sergeant at last.

Mustered 86 men. Of these Amherst furnished 42 ; Sunder-
land, 24; Pelham, 11; Leverett, 2; Montague, 2; Shutesbury,
Wendell, Conway, Northampton, Bernardston, i each. Total, 86.
Died in service, 8. Discharged, 4.



Co, H. — VVilliam Perkins, Hadley, captain; S. Alonzo Will-
iams, South Hadley, ist lieutenant; Malcolm Bridgman, Granby,
2d lieutenant ; H. Weston Smith, South Hadley, orderly

Mustered 93 men. Of these Hadley furnished 37 ; South
Hadley, 32 ; Granby, 16; Holyoke, 2 ; Hinsdale, N.H., 2 ; Chico-
pee, Williamsburg, Whately, Burke, N.Y., i each. Total, 93,

Died in service, 12, Deserted, i.

Co. I, — Charles E. Tileston, Williamsburg, captain; Lucius
C. Taylor, Chesterfield, ist lieutenant ; James W. Clark, North-
ampton, 2d lieutenant ; Edward F. Hamlin, Northampton,
orderly sergeant.

Numbered 90 men. Of these Williamsburg furnished ;^2 ; Ches-
terfield, 19; Cummington, 15; Northampton, 10; Greenwich, 6;
Whately, 4 ; Hawley, Hatfield, Goshen, i each. Total, 90.

Died in service, 8. Discharged, 2.

Co. K. — Edwin C. Bissell, Westhampton, captain; Lewis
Clapp, Easthampton, ist lieutenant ; Henry P. Billings, Hat-
field, 2d lieutenant ; Martin L. Williston, Northampton, orderly

Numbered 90 men. Of these Easthampton furnished 37 ;
Hatfield, 24; Southampton, 14; Westhampton, 12; Northamp-
ton, Shutesbury, Southboro, i each. Total, 90.

Died in service, 11. Discharged, 3.


Officer of the Day, Capt. Nelson.
Officer of the Guard, LlEUT. Kellogg.
Officer of the Picket, LiEUT. Williams.

To-morrow being the Sabbath, divine service will be held on the
ground at two o'clock. Dress parade immediately afterward.

Headquarters, Camp " Miller,"
Special order ) Nov. 15, 1862.

No. 21. S

The colonel having received marching orders for Wednesday
morning, the 19 of Nov., 1862, commanders of companies are
ordered to have their companies in readiness to march at that
time. By command,

James L. Hartwell,
Lieut. E, C. Clark, Co77imanding Post.

Acting Post Adjiitattt.


But few of the men or officers had any practical knowledge of
military affairs, and the time at Camp Miller was diligently spent
in securing the requisite information. On the whole, camp life
here was easy and pleasant, though, when rain or a snow-storm
came, and the tents were drenched with water, there was not a
little grumbling at the hard lot the men thought they were endur-
ing. It was afterward, when they encountered the real hardships
of the soldier's life, that the boys looked back upon Camp Miller
with changed feelings. The regiment remained at Camp Miller
till November 20, and in a cold rain-storm were taken by rail and
steamboat to New York.

Of life at Camp Miller not much is to be said. The days were
spent in company and battalion drill ; and in the nights, if some of
the farmers in the neighborhood lost their poultry and their green
corn, it was no more than could be expected.

Instead of attempting to recall the experiences of nearly thirty
years ago, I have preferred to avail myself of letters written at the
time to friends at home and journals kept from day to day, several
of which have been placed at my disposal. As far as possible I
want "the boys" to tell their own story in their own way.

I make here some extracts from the journal of Charles Church,
Co. H.

"The morning of September 30 was a momentous event in our
lives. We gathered in front of the old hotel in South Hadley, and
nearly the whole population of the village were on hand to bid us
good-by and God-speed. We were supplied with plenty of food,
huge bouquets, medicine, writing material, and many other things
we thought necessary, but afterwards found superfluous. Amid
the cheers, tears, and good wishes of the assembled crowd, we
climbed into the big wagon, and started off. We knew not what
was before us, or we should have shown some feeling not becom-
ing bold soldier boys. But we yelled for all we were worth,
waved our hats and bouquets, and were off for Northampton,
where we took the cars for Greenfield. Our camp was known as
Camp Miller, in honor of Major Miller of the loth Massachusetts
and a great friend of our colonel, who wore the sword carried by
the major when killed at Fair Oaks.

"I went on guard the next day after our arrival. It was a
comical experience. Coming to a fellow on beat, he was found
with his musket across his arm, as though he had been hunting.
In his unengaged hand he held a huge turnip, and, as he passed


his beat, gnawed away at his turnip. It was quite a distance from
the place where the turnip grew, but he communicated his order
to the new guard who had come to relieve him in this way. ' You
wanter walk from that ere stick to this ere one ; and, if you
are hungry, go over there and get a turnip.' We experienced
here our first snow-storm. The snow fell eight or ten inches, but
the Greenfield people provided stoves for every tent."

Daniel W. Lyman writes to the Northampton Gazette, Oct. 28,
1862 : —

"The week has been of considerable interest at Camp Miller.
The uniforms have been distributed, and the men are quite satis-
fied with their new suits from Uncle Sam. A beautiful banner was
presented to Co. A, in behalf of the ladies of Greenfield, by Miss
Ella Grinnell. On Sunday, Capt.— that is. Rev.— Mr. Bissell,
preached in the Second Congregational Church. On Thursday last,
the 20th, we broke camp at Greenfield. The morning dawned
upon us with a cloudy sky and a drizzling rain. The morning was
spent in packing, and at 2 p.m. came the order to "fall in." The
regiment formed into line and marched to the station by a cir-
cuitous route, that we might be seen by the good people of that
town. The great crowd assembled to see us depart."

'■'■Camp Aliller, November 20. — The day was rainy and unpleas-
ant ; but precisely at a quarter to three the regiment, numbering
930 men, formed a line with their knapsacks, haversacks, and can-
teens on, when the adjutant read the order for their departure for
New York. Then Col. Greenleaf's clear and manly voice gave
the word ' Attention, battalion, right first by sections, march ! '
And under the escort of the Greenfield band it marched to the
depot and passed into the cars. Thousands of people thronged
the streets, ladies waving their handkerchiefs and the soldiers
cheering them. Thousands were gathered about the station, where
the regiment remained for about half an hour. There were tender
parting scenes during the time, — mothers parting with their only
sons, wives with husbands, and sisters with brothers. In this reg-
iment the very flower of Franklin and Hampshire Counties have
gone, many of them, to find their graves far from friends and
home, but all tilled with that love of country that makes them will-
ing to risk all for its welfare." — Greenfield Gazette.


[New York, November 20, to Baton Rouce, La., December 17, 1S62.]

If "the boys" thought they were playing soldier, and were oil
for a prolonged picnic, they were disabused of that idea when
they reached New York. The rain fell in torrents : no provision
had been made for their coming. They marched, dirty and hungry,
through the muddy streets to the Park, and toward morning are
let into the City Hall to get what rest they can on the stone floor,

— at least they are out of the rain and the mud. The next day
they march eight or nine miles through Broadway and Grand Street
over the ferry into Brooklyn to their camp on the old Union race
track. No tents, no overcoats : it was dreary and dismal enough.
The next day was Sunday, and the tents came, and the men were
busy pitching them in long rows. They floor them with rails
from the fences near by, and carpet them with straw and hay, and
in spite of rain and cold, raw winds, a measure of comfort is at-
tained. Thursday was Thanksgiving Day, and a strange Thanks-
giving it was to us. We ought to have had a religious service, but
did not till dress parade, when the chaplain, arrayed out with new
clothes and sash, read the Governor's proclamation and offered

"In New York, where we landed, the rain had ceased to fall;
but it was a cold wind and a hard march of ten miles. Our clothes
were wet, weighed double what they ought to have done, and we
were green at our work. When we arrived at the Park on Long
Island, the ground was frozen solid, no tents had been provided,
and we had to sleep on the ground with no shelter but our
bla:nkets. It seemed to us that we had been on the down grade
continually; but we were a jolly crowd, and, when anything unusual
occurred, some one would shout, * Who takes the next bouquet ? '

— one of the numerous stock phrases used at recruiting.

" After we had been in camp long enough to get immensely
hungry, some loads of cakes, cookies, and pies, were driven into
camp. The boys were not overloaded with money, but they all



took a notion just then to wearing haversacks. So they were
filled up by the rear of the wagons, while some one bartered with
the driver at the front. A good deal of food changed hands in
that way, but not much money. It is sad, no doubt ; but hungry
men will steal when food is within their reach." — Church's yoiinial.

The New York Mercury, November 26, pays this compliment to
the 52d Regiment, and describes the interesting scene of the
presentation of a flag to the regiment : —

"This regiment, commanded by Col. H. S. Greenleaf, em-
barked yesterday on board the steamer ' Illinois,' bound south on
the Banks expedition. It had been remarked that during their
stay in the city none have been found intoxicated. During two
days and nights after their arrival they stood in the mud and rain,
marched to Union course, their tents not having arrived, and but
few words of complaint were uttered. We speak for this regiment
a good name wherever they may be placed. It is made up of a
splendid body of men, raised principally in Franklin and Hamp-
shire Counties. On Tuesday last the regiment was presented
with a magnificent flag. The regiment was drawn up in a square,
and Col. C. K. Hawks made the presentation speech, of which
the following is the substance : —

"* Col. Greenleaf, Officers and Soldiers 0/ the c^2d Regiment, — It is
my agreeable duty, as it is my pleasure, to present to you in trust
a stand of national colors. It was expected that our distinguished
fellow-statesman, the commanding general of the expedition, Gen.
N. P. Banks, would have performed this agreeable task; but his
engagements are such as to preclude the possibility of his presence,
and I, as a mutual friend of the donor and recipient, have under-
taken it. Would that I possessed the language to express in
adequate terms the sentiments my heart would utter ! . . , The
colors bear the same relation to the soldier as honesty and integ-
rity do to manhood. It is the guiding star to victory. When in
the smoke and din of battle the voice of the officer is drowned in
the roar of artillery, the true soldier turns his eye to his color,
that he stray not too far from it, and, while it floats, is conscious of
his right and strength. In the name of our friend, I present you
with this banner, the emblem of our country. On the one side, a
full Union, with every star set and not a stripe erased ; on the other,
the insignia of the State from which you hail, the staff composed
of the bundle of rods by which we are taught to read, " In unity
there is strength." With full confidence that you will guard and


protect it, and return it with its honor unsullied, I now present it
to you. Take it, guard it as you would the honor of the mother,
wife, or friend you leave behind. Take it, and with it the prayers
and blessings of every Union-loving woman, man, and friend you

" Col. Greenleaf responded as follows : —

" ' Accept, sir, my sincere and heartfelt thanks. Language
would fail, were I to attempt to express the affection I bear the
star-spangled banner or the sorrow I feel that it is being dis-
graced and trodden under the feet of rebels and traitors. I
accept the gift as presented not for myself alone, but in trust as a
flattering testimonial, as a good will towards the 52d Regiment,
which I have the honor not only to command, but in this instance
to represent. Whether we shall prove as worthy of this valuable
consideration at your hands, time and future events will deter-
mine ; but of one thing you may be assured, that it will be our
anxious endeavor so to act in the work that is before us that neither
you nor any other friend shall have occasion to blush at the
records of our deeds. We go forth on our country's call, not to
make for ourselves beds of roses, but to give battle to the un-
natural foes of our country, and to vindicate with our lives the
loyalty we profess. We go about the work that is given us to do,
carrying with us the fondest recollections of home and kindred and
friends. Even now, as we recall the many delights and associa-
tions of the past, our dear New England hills, our homes, our
wives, our children, our parents, our kindred, and linger for a
moment in the old orchard, in the meadows by the brook near

Online LibraryJ. F. (John Farwell) MoorsHistory of the Fifty-second Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers → online text (page 1 of 29)