Alfred Davenport.

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

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of the highest officers in the land, in their estimate of Warren's
services, even in the presence of Sheridan himself The Asso-
ciated Press ^ve the following report of the occurrences :


" H.\RRI?RfRn, Penn., May 12, 1874.— This morning, the
2d, 5th, and 6th corps met respectively in the House of Repre-

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■ • ■ Personal Sketches. 437

sentativcs, State Libran-, and Senate Chamber. The 5th corps
convened in the State Library', General Sweitzer in the chair.
General Warren, the gallant commander of the old 5th corps,
was called upon to address the meeting-, which he did.

" The 6th corps meeting was held in the Senate Chamber —
General Taylor in the chair. The attendance was fair. At 1 1
o'clock a grand procession was formed in front of the Capitol,
with Generals Sherman, Sheridan, Hancock, Doubleday, Scho-
field, and " McDowel. Governor Hartranft, Senator Canvron.
Auditor-General Allen, Supervisor-General Heath, and (ilhcr
distinguished soldiers and civilians in carriages. Amic! the
thunder of cannon the line was formed, and the march to the
Gr;ind Opera-House commenced. The Masonic building was
gayly decorated with the national colors and the army flags and
devices of the different corps of the Army of the Potomac. Upon
the spacious stage were Generals Sherman, Sheridan, Hancock,
Schofield, Doubleday, Burnside, and a host of others.

" As the presence of General Warren was announced from the
platform, loud cries for the veteran commander of the old jtli
corps went up from hundreds of throats. As nothing else could
restore order, the General, who wa3 in the audience, arose and
came forward, amid deafening applause. There were two
thousand persons in the house, and at least three times that
number surging outside."

This episode shows conclusively that the great military r.hility
and services of General Warren, from the tirst battle of the war
to the last, were acknowledged, in a conspicuous manner, by
those most competent to judge ; and that the imputations of one
man, though a successful and great General, were wiped out by
the verdict of thousands.

General Warren says, in a communication to the Xew York
Htrald, dated at Newport, R. I., July 26. 1S78: " .\t th.;
battle of Five Forks I was not relieved till after the battle ha. I
ceased. Thousands of soldiers in the 5th army corps, c'.nd n-.any
in the ranks ui our foes, can testify that 1 led the final .ittack
that con.pleted that vietory. There was wo ciuse to n,c
away from any misconduct, antl General Grant would n-.:\:r
allow me a court of inquiry, because thereby I could have shown
there was no cause. I claim the honors of that day are mine."

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■■•■ :''>-d


4:v> Fifth Ycr.' Yorh Vohiufecr Infantry.

Dunng the tiiiu- that General Warren was connected with the
Sih New Yoi k, which covered its full term of service, with the
exception of about four months, he was either in command or
ha-1 it under his eye \\\ his brigade, where it held the post of
honor. The -11 f-'-. I'laced implicit confidence in him as a leader,
and were aKva\s ready to obey his orders unflinching-ly. They
wrn: sure that Iv- >'.ou!d never shrink from any duty, and always
set an examj-le hy leading the way. In action, it seemed to the
men that he v. as e\ c;-\-Avhere at the same moment, and he al-
ways appearnd \y> la- perfectly indifferent to bullets or shell, and
must have borne a charmed life, from the manner in which he
exposed himse!!". He attended to the slightest details person-
ally, and many a time has he seized a spade or pick out of the
hands of a la?)- soldier to show him how to dig-. From the first
day General Warren made his appearance in the regiment, to
t!)c last, tb.e c-n-.-ct of his superior practical knowledge, in all
matters appertaMiing to the school of the soldier, was apjiarent
in the discipliDO. drill, and efficiency of the regiment. The men
often wondered whether he passed any time in sleep. General
Warren disliked hc,i-n]i,ist, and was not in the habit of speaking

I of his own deeds, hut preferred to let the results of his actions

shew for tiiemselves.

j The army and thr Tiatiun have a common interest in the record

and the life of such a soldier.


J. ^TAXSFI^:^l> Dwir.s was a son of Professor Davies, for-
merly instructor ol mathematics at the West Point MiHtar\'
Academy, and rr.cived his education at Kinsley's Military
School. West Point. He resigned from the 5th Regiment .•\u-
gii t 17, is6i, having been commissioned Colonel of the 2d
New York, Harris Light Cavalry ; from which regiment he re-
ceived an honorjh'r. discharge Decemhc" 6, 1.S62. on account
of ill-hcaltli, engeiid-T.-d from exposure in the field. Throu-h
his exertions he itid-d greatly in the organization of the 5th
Regin\ent New Yoik Volunteers, and was much respected by
th-. \!r)le comnMii I.

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Personal SketchiS. 439


The Rev. Gordon Winslow, the Chaplain of the 5th Re;:^;-
ment, was a man somewhat advanced in years when the war
broke out, his age being- about sixty. At that time he was st- itlt^d
over a parish at Staten Island, as an Episcopalian minister. He
u^s a type oi'the old Revolutionary stock, possessing an iron consti-
tution, capable of enduring any amount of hardship, with an act-
ive, untiring, energetic disposition, and having a strong love for
his country, he was among the first to volunteer his services when
the authority of the Government was set at defiance. He was a
man that knew no fear, and always was to be found on the ad-
vance line, even ahead of the skirmishers, and he
never thought of danger or spared himself when he could be of
any benefit to the wounded. He obtained the appointment of
Chaplain to the 5th New York Volunteers, but the performance
of the duties that rightfullv belonged to the position was only a
small part of the responsibilities that he assumed. He ser\'ed all
through with the regiment, and was mustered out with it. May
14, 1863. One of his sons was a Lieutenant in the Fifth ; another,
Cleveland Winslow, Col. of the Fifth, organized a new regiment
of Zouaves, called the 5th Veterans, and on his being ordered to
the front w ith his command, his father accompanied it as Chap-
lain, but he was soon after made Sanitary Inspector of the Army
of the Potomac, and in this position his services were invaluable.
There are thousands of the sick and wounded, who, if living to-
day, can testily to his kindness and untiring zeal in their behalf
night and day. Hundreds of soldiers, could they wake from the
dead, would tell how he ministered unto them in their dying
hours, and received their last message or memento for the
friends at home. The fate of many a fallen hero would never
have been known to sur\-i\ing relatives had it not been fur his
fidelity and sympathy. The perusal of his daily journal awakens
surprise that a man of his advanced years could perform all the
duties whiih he undertook. Me visited camps and insp-'ctcd tlic
sick of the various regiments dav after <l;)y and night a!trr iii-iil,
traveling wiih his favoritJ horse, " Caplivv-," over tin- m(l-^t diiii-
cult roads, in storm or calm, often under fire, and partaking- of


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440 Fifth New York Vohinteer Infantry.

such hospitality as a camp affords. A few hours were spent in
sleep here and there on the ground, and then his tireless rounds
were resumed, looking- after ambulances and the sick and wounded.
who were always demanding his attention ; he inspected the med-
ical stores, examined and weighed blankets to see ihat they came
up to the standard, and performed a thousand other duties of the
long detail of a sanitary officer.

On May 3, 1S64, when General Grant's great army commenced
their move on Richmond, he was on General Warren's staff.
From his journal, the author quotes, under date of May 3d,
Tuesday :

" Left at night for Culpepper to join General Warren ; moved
at 12/4 A.M." "Fourth, Wednesday, a.m., moved the entire
army to Germania Ford ; General Warren and myself arrived at
the Ford at S,!/ a.m., before the pontoons were completed ; went
over and saw them completed." etc. Thus he continued from
day to day, leading a most active and useful life. Occasionally
on his rounds, he visited his son, the Colonel. Finally. Wednes-
day, June ist, after describing the movements of the troops, and
\ an engagement then taking place, he says :

I " General Ayrcs, of the regulars, received the old 5th New

I , York Veteran Volunteers, who were at once put into the fight,
t and acquitted themselves well.' On the 2d, after giving- a de-
1 tailed account of more fighting-, and his own movements, he
I closes his account for the day with " Clc-oc teas li'cnotded."
I Friday, June 3d : "Went over to find 'Cleve ;' found him in a
if cellar of a house, which was being shelled, on our right." And
\ then continues with a general description of a hea\y engage-
;j ment, and—" Rode all day to the several hospitals ; " " brought
!| Cleve to the 6th corps hospital and stayed with him overnight."
y "Wound in the left shoulder, minie ball, making exit from the
\) back." etc. " Thr wound was much inflamed by his return to
' the field, after being dressed, lie passed the night comfortably.
•^' I slept on tlio ground under the same fly."

Two brave hearts, faher and son ! Th.c wounded Colonel,
a month after was laid in his grave. The father who watched
over him, in three days after his son's wound, was drowned in the
I Potomac.

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Personal Sketches.


The last entry in the journal, June 5th, White House, appears to
be a copy of a note sent :

"Sunday Evg.

" Dear Gen. : — I have hardly time to say we arrived on Sat-
urday, and expect to go out to-morrow at 3 o'clock." " lunc
6th." (A loving hand has written, as if the dead Divine was con-
tinuing his journal). jHne-]th, Tuesday morning. " At Home
IN THE Paradise of God." Also. " Dr. Winslow was spared
the agony of knowing the extent of his son's wound— a gun-shot
fracture of the left shoulder— which resulted in the death of the
Colonel on the 7th of July, 1864, at the Mansion Hguse Hospital,
Alexandria, V'a."


" Our boats were being filled with special cases of wnundt-d
ones ; among whom was Colonel Winslow. a son of the lamcnttd
Dr. Winslow, so long and so favorably known in connection with
the United States Sanitary Commission. He was brought from
the front to the boat by his father, whose tenderness fur nis child
equaled that of a mother," etc., etc.

Dr. Winslow was drowned from this boat, while in the act of
drawing a bucket of w;ater from the side of the vessel while sail-
ing up the Potomac, being in the sixty-fifth year of his age. (Hio
body was never reco\'ered).

The following extracts from some of the letters written bv Dr.
Winslow during the earlier part of the war, will be read witli
interest by all members of the Fifth, not only as mementoes of
our much respected Chaplain, but as a part of the historv of the
regiment. It is to be very much regretted that the journal which
he kept during the two years' service of the Fifth, was lost from
one of the wagons, at Aquia Creek, during our homcwatd march :

" Camp Butler, May 27, iS6r.
" We are well settled at our camp life— the staff occupying
quarters with the Colonel in an old mansion, on a plantation of
great beauty directly upon the bay. This carries us quite out
•beyond all the others, and gives us the right 10 our titie of the
' Advance Guard.' The Secession arms glistening in our sight.

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4.p Fifth Nezi' York Volunteer Infantry.

But they begin to realize the dangerous proximity of our Zouaves.
Every day we push out somewhat, and eveiy night a scout or an
attacking party is on llie move, and thus far without hloodsiiecl.
Last night a company was detailed on a secret expedition to
attack a large building, called a college, declared to be dangerous,
being well stored with Secessionists. I was detailed to accom-
pany the expedition, which opportunity I was glad to improve.
We started at eleven o'clock, with muskets, and ten rounds of ball
cartridge, revolvers, etc. Our passage lay up the banks of a stream
for some two miles, then crossing over and passing down upon
the other bank some two and a half miles, much of the time upon
our knees or in a stooping position quite to the ground, listening
at every few steps till within a few hundred yards, when we
divided into separate parts and surrounded the college and several
villas, and closed in gradually till near the spot of attack, when
the Captain, with two or three, went forward and demanded a
surrender unconditionally. The thing was done without resist-
ance, and we took possession, and passed the night in guarding
the grounds about from outward or inward attack. Several
shots were fired from across the stream and arm of the bay, on
either side, during the night, but nobody was hurt."

After giving an account of an encounter with a patrol t'rom
camp, who were mistaken for an enemy, as they did not have the
countersign, and in which he tired his first shot, he says :

"At sunrise we raised the flag of our Union on top of the
dome, and gave the whole into the hands of a relief guard and
returned to camp. It was considered a successful enterprise.
Last night Captain Winslow was detailed on a similar enterprise
with his company. lie reported a complete success, having taken
the place occupied by some Secession spies. Captain Winslow
returned with his prisoners at about three o'clock A.M. The
prisoners have just been called before a court of inquiry, and
turned over to General Butler for judgment."

Extract of a ktier dated Washington. July 29, 1861 :
" I am getting to be ([uite a business man, which agrees with
me much. 1 should like to be General for about one month, to
tr>- my hand at it."—" I have no wish to leave the Chaplaincy,

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. ■ Pirsonal Sketches. 443

but I am determined to stick to the war to the last, and do it like
a man ; and if they cut me off in one direction, I shall turn their
flank in another, and carry the day."

Doctor Winslow had a former slave as his servant, who was
brought on with him from Camp Hamilton, but not without some
trouble, as the following- goes to show :

"Camp Fr.nERAL Ilii.L, Baltimore^ /
' August 9, 1S61. )

"Jim is with me. He is a regular specimen of an old aristo-
cratic slave. The Dutch soldiers at Hampton were about to hang
him as a spy when I arrived from Washington. When I demanded
his release, he was brought to Colonel Webber's quarters, and on
seeing me, nearly fainted. When revived, he cried : ' Lord God
Almighty ! I'd rather see ole massa than my fader and niodder
raisin' out ob der graves — Oh, golly ! whew?' If he continues
faithful, I shall be sorr>' to part with him."

In speaking of his horse, which was captured by some of the
Zouaves, back of Hampton, while on a scout, he says :

" Captive is well, and quite the admiration of all. I had quite
a time in getting him from the Provt)st Marshal The Regulars
called it stonning Gibraltar, and thought it could not be taken.
But they lived to see it was taken, and by a reg"ular process, and
so effectually that no question can hereafter be raised on the
subject of rightful ownership."

Camp Federal Hill, August 11, 1S61. \
Sunr'aj, 10 P.M. ^
It is almost impossible to keep up with time when anything
extra is expected. Ever)- hour has its allotted work. A thou-
sand visitors at least have been in camp to-day. At 7 a.m. wc
had a battalion inspection and review on the- street in the cilv ; .
then came inspection of hospital ; then msncciion of camp and
quarters, which brought us near to 11 o'clock; then divine serv-
ice, which held till dinner at i P.M ; then general lounging and
ref>ose from two to three; then mustering of delinquents and
sijuads for evening parade, which calls for sjiccial it.speciion
from the officers of the several companies. In the meantime I
look after the sick in hospitals and the ailing in camp, which

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444 Fifth New York Volunteer Infantry.

bring-s us to time for dress parade and general drill ; after which
the general orders are published, which this evening were very
lengthy, and among which I am personally interested, viz. : the
one which confirms my commission and rank as that of cavalry
Captain in the army, defining the duties, responsibilities, etc.
("I have a call from two officers"). It is now eleven as I re-
sume. The subject of conversation wiih the officers was peculiar.
It related to the possibility of our being blown up. The fact is,
the hill on which our camp is situated is completely undennined.
For many years it has been the resort for white sand tor making
glass, etc., until immense caves running in all directions and near-
ly through the whole extent have been excavated, and probably
owing to this fact, it has been suggested that a few barrels of
powder placed beneath our camp would, if ignited, give us an
uncomfortable ascent to unexplored parts. We have come to the
wise conclusion that thii must be looked after. I have not yet
been out into the city to any extent except to give " Captive"
a little airing on two occasions. We generally are hailed with
" cheers for Jeft" Davis and the Southern Confederacy," which is
indicative that the cat is only scotched, not killt-d, in these parts.
We never retort, and probably in time they will find that it don't
pay to cheer us. We had the long roll last night, or rather this
morning, about 2 o'clock. The camp was all alive and every
man under arms in about five minutes. It was a false alarm,
but it shows the discipline of the regiment. It is raining and
very dark, with prospect of a wet time. etc. I have been so ac-
customed to sleep on a board that a bed would now appear
strange, etc.

The i)oor fellows on guard to-night will have a moist time of
it. One man yesterday fell off the bank and injured his back —
and one man was sun-struck to-day on guard while we were at
service, etc. My eyes begin to ask for sleep, so I will add a line
in the morning.

Monn'Hi^. — It rains and has done so nearly all night, yet the
gun fires and the reveille beats as regularly as under clear skies,
etc. G. W.

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Personal Sketches. 44.5

Camp Federal Hill, Baltimore.

Since I last wrote I have been like a shuttle-cock, to and from
Washington and Fortress Monroe, with dispatches, which has
brought me in contact with all the heads of departments and
with the different Generals. I found General McDowell at Ar-
lington Heights, in sadness at his discomfiture. He said, the
victory^ was ours at Bull Run up to the opening of a masked
battery on the flank, near where an array of spectators, editors.
Congressmen, women, etc., were assembled to see the battle, and
who at once took to flight ; this alarmed the teamsters, and
finally the retreat, or rather stampede, was irresistible. At this
moment large reserves of the enemy came up and changed the
whole fate of the day. It was a bad affair, but I have no doubt
it will do good by bringing up our officers and men to the true
idea that we are warring with men of prowess and determina-
tion, with the best materials of warfare, in positions of strength
and where strategic movements are greatly facilitated by a
familiar acquaintance with the topography of the country. We
have much more to do than has been imagined, and I think that
General Scott was decidedly right in his judgment and plans,
which unfortunately were overruled by the host of politicians.
Congressmen, editors. President, and all. The feet is, they wished
to see a battle, supposing of course we must whip the Southern-
ers. I hope hereafter all civilians found on the battle-field from
curiosity 'Zi'/// be shot, by order of court-martial : and all womL-n
found there will be obliged to carr)' a pack and arms. It is no
place for idle spectators or curiosity-mongers, etc. We have
had a grand review by Major-General Dix, who seems much
pleased with the regiment. Our desire was to be placed on the
advance of the army, but Scott and Dix regard this as the most
important position at this moment to be occupied. There is, it
is believed, a deep plot to cross from Harper's Ferry and join
the secret enemies in this city. This requires the utmost dis-
cretion, forbearance, and soldierlv bearing, to know all that tran-
spires without provoking resistance, and y(;t he able to ciucll
them at a moment's notice, etc. We have a great number of
applicants for officers from our regiment. I think no less than

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■ 44^ Fifth Nciv York Volunteer Infantry.

\ ten Captains and twice as many Lieutenants have been taken

I from us. But still we can stand it. Half of our men are capa-

; b!e of making orilccrs better than we often find.

■ ISr.ijor-General Dix also desired me as military secretary, which
: would rank me as Major, but it would be too inactive. I would
• rather be a sohli'-r on constant drill than be idle. You will be-
' lif^ve this from what vou know of my habit, etc. G. \V.


i The correspondent of a New York journal, in speaking of the

. wounded at Gett\sburg, reported as follows :

[, " The Sanitary Commission are still supplying the wounded at

i Gettysburg with delicacies. The patients are reported to be im-

I proving slowly. The good work is in charge of the Rev. Mr.

Gordon Winslow, chaplain of Duryt-e's Zouaves, 5th New York

'; Rep^iment, who is unremitting in his attention to the sufferers

under his care," etc.

; After the battle of Big Bethel, Dr. Winslow remained in the

! rear of the retreating troops, looking after and caring for the

; wounded. He was at one time cut off from the main body by a

J p;u iy of mounted Confederates, and remained hid in the brush for

■ Several hours. He saw the enemy pass by his hiding-place
i several times, and a Confederate sentinel was posted within
! t:i,-^b.ty feet of him. At camp he was thought to have been
i surely taken prisoner by the enemy, but he eluded them and
I made his way back, arriving at camp about midnight.


Joseph E. Hamdlix was a man of giant proportions, stand-
ing six feet four inches in height, and was a universal favorite
with the officers and men. He had been through some nvlitary
experience before the brraking out of the war of the Rebellion.
I!e was conspicuous in the Kansas bonier troubles, and was in
the expcditioTi to Moni-omery, and on General Frost's staff. At
the breaking out of the war he was a member of the 7th Regt.

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.; Personal Sketches. 447

N. G. S. New York, and received a commission as Second Lieu-
tenant in the 5th New York Volunteers.

Online LibraryAlfred DavenportCamp and field life of the Fifth New York volunteer infantry. (Duryee zouaves.) → online text (page 36 of 39)