Alfred Davenport.

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

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sight of their homes, when another storm had reached them
and they knew not but that they might be engulfed before
they should reach a friendly port.

The regiment, as an organization, terminated its service
amid the reverberations of artillery, the crash of arms, the
smoke of the battle-field, the funereal pall of the smoke in
^e burning woods, consuming hundreds of brave men im-
molated in unrecognizable masses.

*' And now four days the sun had seen our woes, ■ ■ -
Four nights the moon beheld the incessant fire."

The rest of the story of this engagement belongs to the
records of others, to whom we gratefully pay our tribute of
praise and honor.

The regiment was drawn up in line, and the following
order was read off:

Headquarters, 2d Division, 5TH Corps. ) t
ILLE, Va.,
:7/aj'4, 1S63.

Cajip near Chancellorsville, Va., r

S63. )

General Order. No. 99.

The term of service of a portion of the 5th Regiment being
about to expire, the Major-General commanding- desires the
officers and men to know that he parts from them with very
f<reat regret, a regret which he is confident is sharefl v^ith the
v.holc division. I'hc regiment has been distinguislud in -ill tiie
<';;craii(ins of his command, csncciailv at (i^iines' Mill ainl the
b.itile of Manassas Tlains. Its ranks, tliinncd and scarred by
baiile, are tlie best and proudest witness of the fact. Tiie

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388 Fifth New York Volunteer Infantry.

General hopes to see again the brave men who have served un-
der him. Many of their comrades still have to hold in trust the
respect of the old regiment, and the General has no fears but
that it will be sacredly guarded and preserved. The officers and
men who are to leave this army will proceed to New York on
the 5th. Colonel Winslow will turn in to the proper department,
at Aquia Creek, all ordnance stores, and all supplies or properly
not needed for the men who remain.

II. The three-year men of the 5th Regiment New York \'ol-
unteers are transferred to the 146th New York Volunteers; the
proper officers will see the necessary papers are furnished to that

By command of

General Sykes,
.;. '■■ . ,, . ~ G. Ryan,

■ Captain^ A. A. General.

The question whether the three-year members of the Fiftli
who were transferred to the 146th New York Volunteers did
their duty and upheld the good name of the old 5th Regi-
ment, the following letter received from Brevet Brigadier-
General Grindlay, Colonel of the 146th New' York Volun-
teers, will sufficiently answer :

BooNEViLLE, N. Y., Fdb. 14, 187S.
Alfred Davexport, Esq. :

Dear Sir : — In answer to your inquiry, I would say that at
the battle of Chancellorsville, some 237 enlisted men of the old
5th New York Volunteers were transferred to the 146th Nev;
York Volunteers to serve out the unexpired term of their

I considered the " Dun,-ee Zouaves " the best drilled and disci-
plined regiment in the corps, if not in the army. They reaclnfd
that great slate of proficiency by having, as you well know, among
their corps of instructors, such soldiers as Major-General G. K.
V.'anon. afttrw.ird our beloved coqis commander, than whom no
abler or h-.:i;t r man served in the Union army. Thr lU' n transter-
red to us were worthy representatives of their regiment, and while
cherishing a strong love for their old command, tlicy became, crc

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.r ParUng with Old Comrades. 389

they left, as strongly attached to their new regiment. We shortly
afterward adopted the " Zouave Uniform " in our brigade, and
their pride in the "Zouave Brigade" equaled' that for their first
love. Several were promoted for gallantry in battle and soldierly
conduct. Among the number I remember Peter Froeligh to be
First Lieutenant, afterward killed at the Wilderness ; Hugh Chal-
mers to be Second Lieutenant, afterward killed at Cold Harbor,
both gallant soldiers. The witty and adventurous Lawrence Fitz-
patrick to Captain. He served through the war, was captured and
escaped several times, always spoke proudly of the Old Fifth, and
ever did his duty. Henry G. Taylor and John McGeehan to be
First Lieutenants, and several others whom I do not now recall.
They were all good soldiers, and by their bearing and conduct set
an example to their new comrades worthy of all emulation. The
members of the 5th New York Volunteers have every reason to
be proud of their gallant regiment.

I am, my dear sir,

Very respectfully yours,

Jas. G. Grixdlay,
Brevet Brig. -Gen. and Colonel 146/// //. Y. Vol. Infantry.

Now came a sad as well as a joyous scene. The three
years' men felt that they were parting with their old com-
rades Avith whom they had lived and fougiit, to be thrown
into companionship with comparative strangers, and had the
ground been about to open and swallow them, they could
scarcely have felt more deeply. The two years' men, on the
other hand, were about to turn their faces homeward, many
of them for the first time since they had enlisted, two years
before, and their feelings were e.xuberant and -beyond ex-
pression. They were elated to the highest degree, but nev-
ertheless the parting was a sad one even to them. The tic
becomes very strong between those who have sufl'ered liard-
ships and dangers in common, and as the men wrung each
\ other by the hand, many a tear was brushed away ; hastily

written notes were taken in charge, and hurried messages
were delivered to carry to mothers, fathers, brothers, and


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390 Fifth Nciv York Volunteer Infantry.

sisters at home, and to the loving fair one waiting the return
of her soldier pride. F>ut the scene was soon over, and com-
rades grasped each other's hands for the last time ; alas ! in
many instances forever.

Among the men who remained, there were many who sub-
sequently fell in the battle of Gettysburg, or in Grant's
great campaign against Richmond. The departing company
marched toward United States Ford, and after crossing the
pontoon bridge, the remainder of the two years' men who
were guarding the wagons were taken up, and all marched
briskly for Stoneinan's Switch. The full regiment numbered
about two hundred men. This large increase in numbers
was caused by a number of convalescents and detailed men,
who had rejoined the command during the previous few
months. After marching nearly all night, the atmosphere
being intolerably close, the men were halted and went into
bivouac ; the firing on Fredericksburg Heights was plainly
distinguishable, and the men were harassed with doubts as to
whetlier they v.-ould not be again ordered to the front. A
little before daylight the regiment was suddenly aroused and
fell into line, a report bting brought that a body of the enemy's
cavalry were in the vicinity. We again marched, and halted
near a clear stream of water, when the men immediately strip-
ped and gave themselves a good scouring, and put on clean
under-clothing, which they had been saving for their home
trip, with as much care as does the bride her wedding
trousseau. After their bath, the men felt much refreshed.

On Tuesday, the 5th, we entered the freight cars at
Stoneman's Switch, and soon arrived at Aquia Creek. The
2ist New York Volunteers, lying there guarding the army
stores, entertained the men with great hospitality, and gave
them coffee, fresh bread, and bacon, which were heartily rel-
ished. The regiment was lying on the oide of a steep hill
in the afternoon, cliatting and smoking their pipes, when a
very violent thunder-storm, which had been threatening for

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WasJdngtoJi— Baltimore— PkiladelpJiia. 391

some time, burst upon them, accompanied with hail, some
of which was of the size of a walnut. The men stood it tor
some time, some of them jokingly calling it Bull Run Xo.
3, when they were ordered to take refuge in some barracks
near the landing, but their clothing had been completely
soaked through. In the barracks they were much crowded for
want of room, but did well enough under the circumstances.
The rain continued all night, accompanied with a cold north-
east wind.

The morning of Wednesday, the 6th, broke cold and
rainy. We embarked on board the transport John A.
Warner, and sailed for ^V'ashington, where we arrived in the
afternoon, and were marched up Pennsylvania Avenue, past
the Capitol, through a heavy rain, and halted at the Soldiers'
Retreat, near the depot. Supper was served, and the men
found ways and means to fill their canteens with son)ething
stronger than coffee, notwithstanding the guard that was
placed on tlie doorways. Finally, we were ordered into
some iron baggage cars, without seats of any kind, penned
up in them like any other live stock, but all was joy and
hilarity from one end of the train to the other. The men
sung and shouted, but among their songs it was noticed that
they did not sing anything about "hanging Jeff Davis on a
sour apple tree." That was omitted. They had been trying
to catch him for two years, and had seen a number of sour
apple trees suitable for the purpose, but never had caught
sight of "Jeff." The regiment arrived in Baltimore a!.>o;it
midnight, and while marching through the city to the I'hiLi-
delphia depot, awoke the good citizens with tlieir songs. .\
large number of the convalescent wounded bL-Kjnging to liie
regiment were taken from the hospital. ; and hnaliy ail
were pat into b.i-gage cars, with planks [ox scats, and tl;c
train started R.r riuladcli.hia. It ^eenK•d to ii'.e ni..n ih.U
never did a train move so slow. Jack Whigam, who could
run a locomotive, went forward to take charge himself, but

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392 FiftJi New York Volunteer Infantry.

of course the engineers had their time-tables, and would not
deviate from them. W'q arrived in Plnladelphia about ii
A.M. on the the 7th. and had a plain, but to us luxurious
lunch at the hospitable retreat conducted by the patriotic
ladies of that cit}', and known as the Coo])er Retreat. After
spending an hour very agreeably among the visitors who
came to see us, and becoming more impressed with the at-
mosphere of home, we crossed the ferry to Camden and
took the cars for Jersey City, where we arrived in the after-
noon, and were dismissed to report in the morning.

Friday, the 8th, we assembled at Jersey City and crossed
the river, landing at Cortland Street, and made a grand
parade through the city. The regiment was the first to
come home with their arms, in accordance with the new
order of the War Department.

It was noticed that some men who had done little or no
fighting or service in the regiment were very anxious to
show themselves in the front rank; but perhaps they had
lost their cunning, and were not aware that their bright uni-
forms and store-made shoes betrayed them. They were like
the "Jackass in the l.ion's skin." I'his comparison, of
course, is not intended to apply to any member of the regi-
ment who had been compelled to be absent from duty on
account of sickness or wounds.

The men Avho had lived through the Jiard zvork of the
camp and field, who had pressed to the front in the hour of
danger, cared little where they were placed in the proces-
sion ; they were worn and scarred ; they carried with them
the consciousness that v/ould remain with them as they jour-
neyed through life — that lliey had earned the honorable <X\t-
charge to which they liad looked forward as their star of
hope, through many an hour of ]iarcl:^hlp or of the severest
duty ami c'anqor. Among the number t'onuing the re;;imont
that marched up lUoadway, only about eighty had served
the whole term for which they had enlisted, and had not

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Our Reception. 393

been absent at any time by furlough, or from wounds or

The following report of the reception, published by the
New York Daily Times, gives a faithful narrative of this
event, not less interesting to the men who had done the hard
work of the camp and field so long, than to those who so
kindly tendered the expression of their regard and approba-
tion :


" Reception of the Regiment — Triumphal March up Broadivay

— Ba7iquet at the City Assembly Rooms.

"The gallant Fifth Regiment met yesterday with such a
reception as they had a ri^ht to look for. The regiment has
been an especial favorite here ever since its organization. Its
achievements have been regarded with especial interest and
pride by the people of this city and State, and, as might have
been expected, its return was signalized by a demonstration, the
like of which has been accorded to no other regiment

" The streets through which the Fifth had to pass were thronged
by enthusiastic crowds all through the afternoon, and a fleeting
ray of the spontaneous excitement, which anything connected
with the war was wont to produce, once more shone fordi in
more than pristine brilliancy.

" About half-past three o'clock the Fifth left Jersey City on
board the feny-boat Xeiu Jersey, landing on the New York side
within tive minutes. JNlorching thence into Broadway, they were
received by the Tenth Yolunteers (Bendix's Zouaves), wlio had
generously turned out for the occasion, and by the Thirty-
seventh and the Seventy-tlrst Regiments of State National Guartl.
As the war-worn and battle-stained heroes tiled along the line
they were vociferously cheered. Never was a more hearty meed
of admiration and respect paid to brave, devoted soldiers since
first the world learned to worship military glory. Presently the
line of procession was formed. In the front came the Tentli, Ictl
by their intrepid Colonel (Acting Brigadier-General Bendix);
fullowing came the Thirty-seventh and the Seventy-first, and
then the " red-legged devils," marching in close Zouave order,

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394 Fifth Nezo York Volunteer Infa^itry.

and giving those who saw them a better idea of the effect of
two years' service than could ever be learned from the perusal of
the most glowing newspaper correspondence that ever was writ-
ten. The men were brown and rugged ; their colors were
weather-stained and bullet-torn ; their uniforms were tattered
and stained with Virginia mud and the smoke of hard-fought
con'ilicts. They looked magnificent. Officers and men were the
speaking t\-pes of rough, hard service. They bore no holiday
asi)ect, but seemed what they were — the veterans of this terrible
war, who had toiled and suffered in the cause of their beloved
countr)'. They had won the reward prepared for them.

" For once a Republic was not ungrateful. To descend to
details. The order of the line was thus arranged :

" The loth New York Volunteers, Lieutenant-Colonel W.
Marshall, 250 men.

" The 37th New York S. M., Colonel Roome, 300 men.
" The 71st New York S. M., Colonel Traftord, 275 men.
" Hook and Ladder Company, No. 9, and Hose Company,
No. 61.

*• Interspersed were the Seventh Regiment Band, Helmsmuller's
Bind, Dodworth's Band, and several others of musical popu-
larity. Bringing up the rear were the ex-members of the Fifth
v.ho had been discharged, wounded and diseased, but who were
now recovered, and, in carriages, the wounded who were too
much hurt to walk. It was a prodigiously effective procession,
and drew forth acclamations of applause as genuine as ever
greeted those who deserve well of their compatriots for sacrifices
made in a common cause and for the common weal.

" The procession marched in review through the Park before
the Mayor and Common Council, and then up-town to Union
.'-^(juare and round by Fifth Avenue, down-town again to the City
Assembly Rooms. There, at eight o'clock, the men and officers
of the Fifth, the officers of the escort, and many invited guests
s.U down to a plentiful, if not a very elaborate, banquet.

" Toasts were given and speeches made, and cheers were
! '• ruiful and vociferous. General Duryce, Hiram Waihriclge.
■ . i Culi.ncl Winslow were the principal speakers. The occasion
V ..■^ one long to be remembered by all who participated in the
C' kbnition,"

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• ■ In the Battle of Life. 395

But there is a time to rejoice, and a time to mourn ; and
it is the lot of many to mourn while others have their re-
joicings. Among the thousands who greeted the Fifth on
their march up Broadway, what a multitude must there have
been scattered through the gay and thoughtless throng, who
scanned with silent grief the faces in the ranks, as if they
expected to see a husband, son, or brother — a dear friend
or relative, who they already knew could not be there ; and
as they gazed with tearful eyes, endeavored to picture the
lost one as he appeared when he so proudly waved a last
farewell, two years before, when he marched away to battle
to save his country. All honor to our dead ! Let their
names be engraved on the tablet of our memories, and may
those to whom they were near by the ties of relation^h![),
find consolation in the thought that their sufterings and
death were a part of that inestimable price which was paid
to secure the national life for the present and for the future.

On Monday, the nth, the members of the regiment pa-
raded in uniform and with arms, to receive the 4th Regiment,
New York Volunteers, Scott Life Guard, and were glad to
welcome their comrades home again. They were reviewed
by General Winfield Scott, at the Fifth Avenue Hotel,

Thursday, May 14, 1S63, the men were mustered out
by companies and paid off, all who were entitled receiving
an honorable discharge, which they had endured so much to
obtain. Many of the officers and men again re-enlisted in
the Fifth Veterans, under their last Colonel, Winslow, ant
in other organizations, and rose to various grades as oliiccrs
Many of them were either killed or wounded in their sub
sequent service. Others went into the regular army a;
officers or privates, where those who survive still remain
The rest returned to their various callings in civil life, sonic
to the profe.i.-ion of the law; some are in the mini-,try, c\\.
are engaged in mercantile and industrial pursuits, cr ii
positions of honor and trust, while some others are atloat

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39^ Fifth Nezo York Volunteer Infantry.

under the flag on the trackless sea. Several members of the
regiment have represented their constituents in the State
Legislature. One is United States Consul to La Rochelle,
France, another the second in command of the Franklin
Search Expedition. Some have made fortunes, others have
risen to distinction in their professions, and there are many
others who still suffer from their wounds, or move about
under the disadvantage that a loss of limb occasions. Some
are shattered by diseases engendered in the swamps of the
Chickahominy. Some are " floating on a waveless tide."
But among them all, be they rich or poor, be they huuible
or mighty, there are none but are proud to say that they
served in the 5th New York Zouaves.

I ^\Tiatever may be the fortune of each in the vicissitudes
of their life-battle, may the final struggle with " the last
enemy '" bring to them the crown of the conqueror in the
blissful fields of immortality.

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Online LibraryAlfred DavenportCamp and field life of the Fifth New York volunteer infantry. (Duryee zouaves.) → online text (page 33 of 39)