Alfred Davenport.

Camp and field life of the Fifth New York volunteer infantry. (Duryee zouaves.) online

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what at first appeared, a more acute disappointment. Fortu-
nately the obstacle (whatever it might have been) to their im-
mediate movement was of but brief duration, as the orders post-
poned their march for only one day. Short as it was, however,
there was no disgxiising the fact that both officers and men were
considerably put out of temper by what seemed to be a most ex-
traordinary' course of proceeding. The tents having been struck,
and the regiment placed in readiness to march, all the materials
of comfort and convenience were out of immediate reach, so that
when sleeping-time came on Wednesday evening the men were
left to select the softest grass on which to make their beds. Still
there was no complaint of any kind ; everything was taken as it
turned up, and both officers and men endeavored to accommo-
date themselves to circumstances with the best grace. In this
they altogether succeeded.

" The bivouac of Wednesday night was one of the most
picturesque and delightful that can possibly be imagined. Out
in that lone fort, on the soft, green sward, over eight hundred
men lay down to repose. There was no covering at all above
them save the cerulean .sky, but there, wrapped in their blankets,
they all lay down, and perhaps slept sweeter and sounder for
their devotion to their country' and to their duty, than many
who are enabled to stretch themselves on beds of down. Some
of the officers' tents had not yet been struck, and these were
certainly centers of attraction during the night. Camp fires were
liglited at short distances from each other all along the encamp-
ment, and the watchful sentinel having been placed on his nightly
guard, the whole garrison went safely and quietly to rest. The
scene at the midnight hour, when so many stalwart men were
slce[)ing as calmly as children, was far different from that of the
same aftemoon when the roll was called for the last drill within
the fortification prior to the departure of the regiinent. Over a
thousand citizens from New York, Brooklyn, and adjacent places
Were present to witness what was really a sight worth seeing.
The whole regiment was uniformed in ihe full Zouave costume.



11 ji i



30 FiftJi New York Volunteer Infantry.

and armed and accoutred in splendid sU'le, they presented a gal-
lant and unbroken front. The drill of the past month was
certainly not lost upon the men, for their evolutions were as
regular and as perfect as if they had always made the science of
arms their profession. The spectators were delighted with them,
and expressed their pleasure by frequently applauding.

" The tlnal preparations for departure were made early in the
morning. The few tents which had remained standing were
struck, and the baggage of the regiment packed for transmission
to the city. The steamboats chartered to remove the troops
were at the dock at an early hour of the morning, and everybody
was prepared to start."

Thursday, May 2T^. — \\^ left Fort Schuyler at one o'clock
in the afternoon, and embarked on three tugs — the Satellite,
Only Son, and C. P. Smith — the baggage and tents occupy-
ing a fourth.

We were indeed on our way at last. It was an exciting
and exhilarating scene. As the tugs moved off, the fort saluted
each respectively with one gun, and the men on board gave
three hearty cheers for Fort Schuyler, in response to the salute.
The officers and men were all in the highest spirits, and as
we passed the revenue cutter Vixen, near Throg's Neck, each
of the steamers were again saluted.

At Riker's Island, where the Hawkins Zouaves were en-
camped, as the steamboats approached, the men were drawn
up in line on the brow of a hill overlooking the river, in honor
of the Zouaves Three guns were then fired from the fort,
and the men gave three cheers for Hawkins' Zouaves. The
enthusiasm was very great, and cheer after cheer rent the air.

Along the piers as we a})pioached the city, there were
crowds of people who saluted us with clieers and waving of
handkerchiefs.

The bolts landed at the foot of East Fifteenth Street
about four p.m., and upon disembarking, the regiment 7)ro-
ceeded to Fourteenth Street, and after forming in order.



From New York to Virginia. 31

marched through that street to Broadway. The sidewalks
and windows of the houses were thronged with people, and
from every building floated the national flag.

It was a splendid sight, and one that will not soon be for-
gotten by those who witnessed it. The regiment, eight
hundred and forty-eight strong, fully drilled and disciplined,
marched with their long, steady stride in solid ranks, and
eyes to the front, amid the cheers and plaudits of thousands
of spectators.

It was a proud day for the Fifth. Their faces were bronzed
by exposure, and every man of them felt and looked like a
soldier ; but on the other hand, how many a silent tear was
dro|)ped, or a murmured prayer offered by a mother, sister,
or wife for the safe return of the well-beloved one who was
so proudly marching to do battle to preserve a nation, and
die, if need be, under the flag that was waving above him
with its stars and stripes, the emblem of the States, one and
inseparable. The regiment marched to City Hall Park,
which it reached about half-past five o'clock, where they
were reviewed by Mayor Wood, Judge Edmonds, Judge
Davies, Aldermen Brady and Henry, and others of the
Common Council. Superintendent Kennedy and Inspect-
or Carpenter, with a squad of twenty-six of the Eleventh
Precinct Police, were in attendance. A large number of
I.idies and gentlemen occupied the balcony of the Hall,
among whom were General Nye, Dr. A. B. Mott, Conli oiler
Haws, and a number of the officers of Colonel Blenker's
re;4iinent. After going tiirough a parade drill, the Zouaves
marched up Broadway through White and North Moore
Streets to the pier, receiving an ovation at every step. Fi-
nally, a little before sundown, they were all embarked on the
1'>f:^(\ Steamship ALibiVJuu Cai^ain Sclicnck, and bound for
l-ojtrcss Monroe. Kiiul ftieiuis and well-wishers had not
fors.iken ihcm yet. and a> long as the steamer could he
reached, they were showered with fruits. In the meantime



32 Fifth Neiv York Vohcntccr Infantry.

the rigging and sifles of the vessel were swarming uith
Zouaves, some of them climbing even to the trucl->, and
waving their fez cajis in the air. As the steamer drew off
into the stream, the air was rent witli cheers.

The vessel made a short stop in tlie bay, and ihen de-
parted on her seaward path. It was a beautiful mooi:Iight
night, the reflection of the moon's rays on the water making it
look like molten silver. The ship was too much crowded
for comfort, but as it was not a pleasure excursion, ihc men
did not murmur, but made themselves as comfortable as
their new circumstances would permit. Some, unused to
the sea, soon became unpleasantly conscious of the change ;
the ship rolled when it reached the swell of the Adantic ; but
the majority of the men enjoyed the novelty of the situation.
About seventy-five miles out, the steamer was saluttd with
a prize in tow, which was shortly afterward followeil by an-
other. On Friday, the 24th, as we were steaming along, the
cry suddenly resounded through the ship, " Man overboard ! ''
The ship was quickly hove to, and the officers and guard
kept the men in their places. In a few moments some of
the sailors were seen carrying one of their shipmates below,
wet and dripping. The result showed that he was se\ere!y
injured.

On Saturday, the 25th, we were in sight of Fortress Mon-
roe and the men-of-war in the offing, the crews of which
manned the rigging, and loudly cheered us— a compliment
M-liich we returned with loyal vigor. ^Ve were landed at the
(lovernment wharf by the steam-tug Yankee, near the
Hvgeia Hotel, and were surrounded by swarms of soldiers,
wlio asked all manner of questions, and said that they had
but ju-,t cleared out the little village, the Newport of Virginia.

It was not many minutes before every cottage was looked
■•■•"•■:-:!i. and ail sorts of odd traps w :rc fjund, bat of little
■•■■:•:. Oni; uf thi bo)s appeared dressed in a complete
iuilui.1 uniform of tlie ancient style. This amusement did



J to



From New York to Virginia. 33

not last long, a vigilant guard under orders having brought
the men to a halt. It was saddening to see a deserted
village ; one old negro and a few stray dogs and cats were
its only remaining inhabitants.

The regiment was soon formed and marched about two
miles, and encamped, or rather bivouacked, the main body
being located in a wheat-field, the outward post.
* The Colonel took possession of the Segar mansion, which
was delightfully situated near the waters of the bay, and
Company G, Captain Denike, was encamped in a beautiful
orchard near by, as his guard of honor.

This was a splendid location for a camp, with good water
and plenty of oysters, fish, etc., close at hand. A short dis-
tance from this place the largest female seminary in Virginia
was located, but now, of course, deserted, except by the
family in charge, with a itw slaves. The town of Hampton
is about one and a half miles distant, on the other side of
Hampton Creek. The bridge connecting with the town
was burned the day of the landing of the Zouaves, by the
Confederate, Afajor, Carey, and some of our men, skirmish-
ing on their own account, crept near enough to see the rebels
in the act. The Zouaves were complimented by the Con-
federates, at this time, with the name of " Red Devils," which
they retained during the war.
2*



.r. M u. -. ,M



'Of
••/; ... ■■•' IM



Our First Camp in Virginia. 35

The regiment bivouacked for the night, having as yet no
tents. Guards were estabhshed on the outskirts of the
camp, and soon all were slumbering, except those on post.

About midnight two shots were heard, and instantly there
was a tremendous sensation. The drums sounded the long
roll ; it was taken up in the other camps, and excited men
were rushing to arms. Some who were not yet supplied
with muskets formed in line with the rest, with dirk-knives
and revolvers in hand, ready to fight for their lives. But it
was soon learned that one of the sentries had mistaken a
sentry of another regiment for a Confederate, and blazed
away, and was fired at in turn by him. Happily no blood
was shed, and we passed the night without being scalped,
after having one other false alarm. These incidents served
at least the purpose of good exercise in an important part
of a soldier's life.

The events occurring in the regiment were described by a
correspondent of the New York Timfs (Friday, May 31), in
the following; letter :



1761833



" Camp Butler, near Hampton, Va., 1

Tuesday, May 28, 1S61. \

"The New York Fifth, Colonel Duryee, and Second. Colonel
Carr's, regiment, are still encamped between Fortress Monroe
and the old village of Hampton, one of the first settled in Vir-
ginia. The advent of the Zouaves seems to have produced a
panic throughout the surrounding country. The inhabitants
have all fled, with the exception of a frw who adhere to tlie
cause of the Union. 'Red Devils' is the complimentary appe!
lation which the Secessionists have bestowed upon the follow-
ers of Colonel Dur>ee,

" On Sunday night. Captain Waugh, with his entire company,
occupied the Female Seminnrv, a large building, on an elevated
site near the camp, which had given shelter to the enemy. The
American flag now waves over it, and can be seen for miles
around. The same day Captain Kilpatrick made a reconnois-



' - ^.



f



rxeraTt



36 FiftJi New York Volunteer Infantry.

sance, bringing back valuable information concerning- the forces
of the foe. Major-General Butler, on Monday, reviewed the
Zouaves, and expressed to Colonel Dur^'ce and his officers his
delight with the excellent discipline of the corps, and his appre-
ciation of the abilities of the commandant."

A Confederate of the enemy had been using the cupola
on the top of the Seniinary, as a lookout, and from his lofty
position, from which the country could be seen for miles
around, had been in the habit of signaling information of
anything occurring in the neighborhood of the fortress.
Colonel Duryee therefore took possession of the building,
and, placing the band on the roof, they played the " Star
Si)angled Banner," while he raised the stars and stripes to
the flag-staff, amid the cheers of his men.

General Butler issued the following proclamation, appoint-
ing Colonel Durye'e to the command of all the forces at Old
Point Comfort :

Fortress Monroe, Va., )
May 27, 1 86 1. f

Special Orders, No. 5.

Colonel A. Duryee, Fifth Regiment New York Volunteers,
will at once assume command of the camp of the two New York
regirnents, Segar's farm, and issue such orders and make such
regulations, consistent with the Articles of War, as will insure
good order and a thorough system of instruction and discipline ;
he will see that a proper guard is posted each night over the
well, and on and near the bridge leading toward the tort,- in such
manner that there can be no danger of harm to them. .-\ny
depredations committed on the property of citizens, or any un-
necessary inconvenience imposed upon them by any member of
the conmiand, must be promptly noticed, and reported in writing
to the Major-General commanding the Department.
By command of

Major-Ccneral BUTLF.R.
Grh-.r Tai-.madgp:,
Acting As:ista}it Ai^j'-i-f^Jif-Ctiternl.



Our First Camp in Virginia. 37

Proclamation by Colonel Duryee.
To the Inhabitants of Hampton and vicinity :

Having been placed, by order of Major-General Butler, in
command of the troops in this vicinity, outside of the walls of
Fortress Monroe, I hereby notify all, that their rights of person
and property \vill be entirely respected ; that their co-operaiion
in maintaining law and order is expected, both by reporting every
violation of them when committed by any one attached to the
camp, and by preserving local order and restraining such of their
fellow-citizens as may entertain perverted intentions.

You can rely that ail offenses against you will be severely
punished ; that no effort will be spared to detect the guilty ; and
that you, as a community, will also be held responsible for every
act committed by any one of your number where the particular
offender is not surrendered. Be assured that we are here in no
war against you, your liberty, your property, or even your local
customs ; but to keep on high that flag of which your own great
son was the bearer ; to sustain those institutions and those laws
made by our ancestors and defended by their common blood.

Remember all these things, and if there be those among you
who, maddened by party feeling, misled by willful falsehoods or
a mistaken sense of duty, have thought to obliterate the national
existence, let them at least pause till they learn the true value of
what they have imperilled, and the nature of that into which they
are asked to plunge. We have all confidence that in Virginians
in arms against us we have honorable foes, whom we hope yet to
make our friends.

Colonel A. Duryee,

Acting Brigadier-Gftieral.

The Times correspondent, a few days later, photographed
the Fifth as follows :

Camp Butler, near Hampton, Va., /
Sunday, June 1, 1861. S
The friends of Coknel Dur\i'e's Zouaves, who greeted with so
i-i;c}i enthusiasm their first public parade in New York, would
have been gratified beyond measure had they been here yesterday



38 Fifth Nexv York Volunteer hifantry.

to witness the battalion-drill in the morning-, conducted by Lieu-
tenant-Colonel Warren, and the brigade evolutions, under the
direction of Acting- Brigadier-General Duryt'-e, in the afternoon.
A command composed as this is, constantly under military dis-
cipline, in camp, makes wonderful progress in the course of a
single week. They are something more than holiday soldiers,
who know how to make a brilliant dress parade, on State occa-
sions, over Russ pavement. If you could see them maneuvering
on rough, plowed ground, covered with dust, forming- in line of
battle, springing into column, compressed into close column
by division, deploying into hollow square, charging bayonet as
one man, firing by file, by company, and by wing — performing
with precision all the evolutions which make war wonderful and
soldiering a science — you would imagine that they were veterans
of ver)' long standing, rather than hewers of wood, and drawers
of drafts, and drivers of quills, who have left their trades, their
banking-houses, or their professions, to fight for the old flag that
traitors have dared to dishonor.

We have, as \et, had no collision with the enemy, but it has not
been because no opportunity has been afforded the secessionists
for coming in daily contact with the things they loathe.

On Tuesday, May 28th, Captain Judson Kilpatrick, an officer
educated at West Point, in command of Company H, who knows
no fear — except the fear that he shall not speedily have an oppor-
tunity of paying his compliments to the foe — left camp with forty
men, and proceeded to the bridge at Hampton, which had been
burned by the enemy, designing to repair it. He found it so
much injured tliat with the implements at hand he could not re-
construct it. He built two docks, took possession of about thirty
boats, opened a safe and easy communication with the village,
crossed, took possession, and after posting a strong guard at the
bridge-head, scoured the country for miles. After leaving the
village, he received information that about one thousand seces-
sionists were at hand. Nothing daunted, the intrepid Captain,
throwing out scouts in advance, rapidly passed up the nxui
toward Vorkunvn, and arrived at Newmarket Bridge just m time
to 3ce a small force of the enemy pass over, taking up the planks
as they left. On his return he dispersed a body of twenty-five



Our First Camp in Virginia. 39

men, who had fired on Mr. Isaac Case, agent of Messrs. Wheeler
& Wilson, of sewing-machine celebrity, who accompanied the
regiinent to take care of a charger, worth $600, presented to
Major J. Mansfield Davies by that firm. He caijtured one horse,
three mules, four drums, harness, several hundred bushels of
grain, arms and military stores. Leaving these in charge of a
small guard, commanded by Lieutenant Carlisle Boyd* — one of
those quiet, gentlemanly men, who at the post of danger generally
give a better account of themselves than the blusterers — he re-
turned to Hampton, where he caused to be published to the as-
sembled citizens the proclamation of General Duryee. Again
crossing the stream, he raised the Stars and Stripes on the build-
ing but recently occupied by Colonel Mallor\', of the Contederate
army. His men stood around him while the ceremony was per-
forming and greeted the flag with rousing cheers. The Captain
made them a stirring little speech, to which they responded
heartily. And then, after a day well spent, marched back to
camp, bearing many trophies with him.

The next day, ?vLay29th, Capt. Hiram Duryea, of E Company,
marched far back into the country, meeting armed men who fled
like deer at his approach. His men were " sp'ilin' for a fight,"
and bitterly denounced " the chivalry " for the retiring manners
for which they are becoming noted in these parts. He brought
back large quantities of provisions and tools.

The same day Lieut. Jacob Dun,-ce, of Company G, son of the
Colonel, raised the flag of our Union over ex-President Tvler's
summer residence, " Marguerite Villa," at Hampton. It was an
offset to the performance of Mr. Tyler's daughter, who a short
time since, it wUl be remembered, hoisted a secession flag at a
village somewhere at the South. On Thursday, May 30th, Capt.
Robert S. Dumont, of Company B, went on a scouting exptfdition.
in the course of which he met many armed men in uniform, who
uniformly carried themselves back into the interior of old Vir-
ginia at a quadruple quickstep. Lieut. Dumont, with a few men,
<'r..ve a superior ftirce into the woods, and returned with a ven,-
lir^e feather in iiis cap. Capt. LHmiont brought back itifi.mia-
(ion of so much importance concerning the position of the oj)-

* Captain U. S. A. (1878^



40 FiftlL Xc7i' York Volioitcrr Infantry



[ posing- forces, that it was communicated to Gen. Butler in a writ-

1 ten report. Capt. Denike, of Company G, and Capt. Swartwout.

f of Company F, have made similar armed excursions with equally

j important results. Col. Dur}-ee himself, with a small force, a

I few days ago returned into camp from Hampton, bearing with

[ him the first secession flag that has been captured.* and a quan-

j tity of arms, odd portions of uniforms, etc.. which had belonged

\ to the secessionists. This morning the men attended divine serv-

I ice on the lawn in front of the Colonel's quarters. Rev. Dr.

IWinslow, the Chaplain, conducted the exercises and preached a
very eloquent sermon. Dr. Winslow is a parson of the old Revo-
lutionary- school, and, on the Colonel's staff, will be as serviceable

1 in the field as he is in the pulpit. Yesterday, under his direction,

I a bridge was built over a little stream which divides one of the

f outposts from the camp.

I Thus the week has passed, not without its excitements.

\ Rumors were constantly brought into camp that the enemv was

\ advancing in force, and the men have slept on their arms nightly.

[ They evince an excellent militar)' spirit.

i The appointment of Col. Duryee to the post of Acting Briga-

l dier-General leaves Lieut.-Col, Warren in command of the Zou-

i aves. Col. Warren has been many years in the regular ser\'icc,

t is an accomplished officer, and an excellent disciplinarian. A

I few nights ag-o, when scouts rushed in out of breath, reporting

I that the enemy was advancing in a large body to cut off the

r picket guard at Hampton Bridge, Col. Warren, without alarming-

I the camp, proceeded with only three men to take command of tlic

[ ^:s.xi\, and remained all night with it. It was not rashness on

\ his part, by any means, for he knew well how to post his little

I force so that the enemy could not get the best of him.

The Adjutant of the regiment. Joseph E. Hamblin, has been

offered the position of Adjutant-General, but has declined it. He

** fully deserved the compliment, and the whole regiment was



•This flat:, which still hnd a threaded needle sticl^iii;; in it, wa^ presented by
Col. Dury.'^ to the New V,.rk Histnric.U .Society. The first Cnfcder ite Mn,' tal<en
in the fi.rhl ..WIS captured in .Vlexundri.i, Va., on May 23d, by t»„ U:ii..n men
named William McSpe Ion, of New York Cily, and Samuel Smith, of (Juecns
County, N. Y. On May 24th Col. Ellsworth captured the Confeder.-ite flas, and
lost his life, at Alexandria, Va.



'V:;/.-:



Our First Cavip in Virginia. 41

pleased with it. But the whole regiment would have united in a
I'lutcst ag-ainst his leaving the command ; and his reason for
(Ifclinmg the promotion was that he was so much attached to the
regiment that he could not endure to be detached. No man in
ti.o regiment has performed multifarious and arduous duties bet-
ter, and is more respected by his brother ofticers and beloved by
tiic men th;m Adjutant Hamblin.

There are now four regiments encamped here — Col. Allen's,
Col. Carr's, Col. Bartlett's. and the Zouaves. The laws protect-
ing the property of private citizens are strictly enforced by the
Brigadier, and those of the people that remain are on excellent
terms with the soldiers, while families that at first fled are begin-
ning to return. As soon as it becomes generally known that they
will nowhere be safer from insult, violence, and lawlessness than
within our lines, the deserted villages in this delightful neighbor-
hood will again be populated.

We have experienced as yet but few comparatively of the hard-
ships of a soldier's life. We are particularly fortunate in being
sent to this delightful Old Point Comfort. It is one of the healthi-
est places in the world, and no point could have been selected at
which an army may be concentrated, provisioned, and kept in
good sanitary condition, that is superior to this. And nature's
great bath-tub lies at our feet. We may go further and fare worse.

G. C.

On Tuesday, the 4th, only two com])ar.ies were left in
camp ; the rest v/ere sent on a scout to Fox Hill, about five
Fniles distant. They were accompanied by the Troy regi-
ment and others, and expected to have a fight. The night



Online LibraryAlfred DavenportCamp and field life of the Fifth New York volunteer infantry. (Duryee zouaves.) → online text (page 3 of 39)