Amasa J. (Amasa Junius) Parker.

Landmarks of Albany County, New York online

. (page 10 of 138)
Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 10 of 138)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Strong, adjutant; William H. Craig, surgeon. Captains, Co. A,
Lionel U. Lenox; B, Charles E. Davis; C, Stephen Bronk; 1), James
Dodds; E, James McFarland ; F, James R. Harris; G, Morgan L. Fil-
kins; H, Harmon L. Merriman ; I, E. H. Tomlinson; K, William H.


Brandenburg. The regiment was numbered the 177th N. Y. Y., and
was ordered to the Department of the Gulf, under general Banks.' Its
principal service was in the engagements from Ne\^ Orleans to Port
Hudson, suffering severely at the latter place. At the close of its
term of nine months the regiment returned home and resumed its
original place as part of the 9th Brigade, National Guard. The regi-
ment suffered much from sickness while in the far South. Among
those who died while in the field were Adj. Richard M. Strong, born
in Alban}-, died in Louisiana May 12, 1863; he had studied law and
been admitted to the bar, with bright prospects. Lieut. John Peter
Phillips, died September 4, 1863. Sergt. Charles H. Frederick, a
native of Albany, died of fever in Louisiana March 10, 1863. Sergt.
Joseph C. Vanderhoop, born in Albany, died of fever in Louisiana.
Sergt. William Crounse, born in Guilderland, died in Louisiana June
;I8, 1863.

The 44th, or " People's Regiment," was a Zouave organization com-
posed largely of Albany county men, and was formed October 16, 1861.
It left for the seat of war on the -'Oth of that month, 850 strong and
officered as follows:

Stephen W. Stryker, colonel; James C. Rice, lieutenant-colonel; James McKown,
major; William Frothinghani, surgeon; Edward B. Knox, adjutant. Captains: Co.
A, Edward P. Chapin ; Co. B, L. S. Larabee; Co. C, William H. Revere, jr. ; Co. D,
Freeman Conner; Co. E, Michael McN. Walsh; Co. F, Campbell Allen; Co. G,
William L. Vanderlip; Co. H, William N. Danks; Co. I, A. Webster Shaffer; Co.
K, William H. Miller. Capt. Rodney G. Kimball,\l862; Capt. B. Munger, 1862.

The regiment performed meritorious sefvice at Yorktown, Hanover
Court House, Gaines's Mills, Turkey Island, Malvern Hill, Groveton,
Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahan-
nock, Mine Run, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Petersburg
and Weldon Railroad. The regiment was mustered out September 24,
1864, with 170 men, having been supplied with more than 700 recruits
during its term of service. Lieut. Col. (afterwards Brigadier-General)
James C. Rice, a graduate of Yale and a law student, with a previous
brilliant military career, participated in all the engagements of his
regiment until at Petersburg, May 10, 1864, where he received a fatal
woimd. Sergt. Walter H. Angus, promoted second lieutenant, was
killed at Petersburg June 21, 1864.

The 91st Regiment was recruited during the fall of 1861, mo.stly in

and near Albany, and was nnistered into the service for three years
December IG, l^fil, with 847 men. It left Albany December 20 tor
Governor's Island, where it remained until January 8, lS(i-2. Thence
it went direct to Key West, where it arrived January 2(1. Tlie officers
of the regiment were as follows :

Jacob Van Zandt, colonel; Jonathan Tarbell, lieutenant-colonel; Charles G.
Clark, major; Robert F. Keeven, adjutant; Robert Morris, surgeon. Captains:
Co. A, John W. Felthousen; Co. B, George W. Stackhouse; Co. C, J. G. McDermott;
Co. D, Henry Crounse; Co. E, William Lee; Co. F, John Cooke; Co. G, Allan H.
Jackson; Co. H, J. B. Collins; Co. I, Charles A. Burt; Co. K, Henry S. Hiilbert.

The 91st was stationed at Pensacola for seven months, when it went
to New Orleans under Banks and participated in engagements at Port
Hudson, Irish Bend, Bayou Vermilion, and other points, suffering
severely. The regiment returned home July 19, 1804, and nearly all
of its members re-enlisted. After being fully recruited it was in Feb-
ruary, 1865, assigned to the 5th Corps and stationed near Petersburg,
where it performed valiant service in the closing scenes of the war.
Among the officers of the regiment who lost their lives were the fol-
lowing: Major George W. Stackhouse, died June 19, 1863, from gun-
shot wounds, at Port Hudson. Capt. John A. Fee, a native of Albany,
rose from the ranks, was wounded June 30, 1863, and died July 15.
Lieut. William P. Clark, born in Watervleit, shot through the head at
Irish Bend July 14, 1863. Lieut Sylvester B. Shepard, born in Albany,
was a member of the celebrated Burgesses Corps, killed at Port Hud-
son June 14, 1863, at the head of his company.

The nth New York Havelock Battery was organized in Albany Oc-
tober 26, 1861, and mustered in January 6, 1862, with 156 men and the
following officers: Captain, A. A. Von Puttkammer; first lieuten-
ants, R. A. Warrington and James Rodgers; second lieutenants, G. A.
Knapp and John E. Burton. The battery left Albany for the front on
January 17, and participated in the battles of Second Bull Run, Fred-
ericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Mine Run, Spottsylvania,
North Anna, Cold Harbor, Petersburg and others. From September,
1864, to Lee's surrender it was engaged almost every day. Lieut.
Henry D. Brower, a native of Albany, of this battery was killed at
Chancellorsville May 3, 1863; Corporal William H. Van Gaasbeek was
killed at Cold Harbor June 6, 1864, and Corporal W^illiam H. Brough-
ton was killed at Petersburg, September 28, 1864.


On the 2d of July, 1863, a call was made for 300,000 men, under
which the quota of New York State was 59,705, but the vState furnished
78,904. Recruiting and other military operations at Albany now 'le-
gan in earnest. It was clearly seen that the war was not to be, as at
first anticipated, a brief and unimportant struggle, and throughout the
North the work of raising troops to aid the cause was taken up with
vigor. The 11.3th Regiment (or the 7th Regiment New York Volun-
teer Artillery) was organized in Albany county, under the proposition
that each senatorial district should raise one regiment with the utmost
possible dispatch. A committee was appointed consisting of Eli Perry,
J. F. Rathbone, Lyman Tremain, J. Tracey, T. W. Olcott, George
Dawson, C. B. Cochrane, J. V. L. Pruyn, Franklin Townsend, vSamuel
Anable, W. M. \'an Antwerp, George H. Thatcher, and Henry A.
Brigham, and the first man enlisted for the regiment signed the roll
July 24, 18G2. So energetically was the work prosecuted that over
1,100 men were mustered in on August 18, 1862, with the following
field and staff officers:

Colonel, Lewis O. Morris; major, Edward A. Springstead ; adjutant, Frederick L.
Tremain; quartermaster, E. Willard Smith; surgeon, James E. Pomfret ; assistant
surgeons, J. W. Blaisdell, George W. Newcomb; chaplain Humphrey L. Calder.
Captains: Co. A, Joseph M. Murphy; Co. B, Samuel E. Jones; Co. C, John A.
Morris; Co. D, Charles McCulloch ; Co. E, Norman H. Moore; Co. F, Robert H.
Bell; Co. G, Francis Pruyn; Co. H, John McGuire; Co. I, William Shannon; Co.
K, Samuel L. Anable. Lieutenants; Co. A, A. Sickles, 1st, John B. Read, 2d; Co.
B, J. Kennedy, 1st, William E. Orr, 2d; Co. C, H. N. Rogers, 1st, M. Bell, 2d;
Co. U, C. Schurr, 1st. H. C. Coulson, 2d ; Co. E, A. V. B. Lockrow, 1st, J. F. Mount,
2d; Co. F, N. Wright, 1st, R. Mullens, 2d; Co. G, S. McEwan, 1st, C. W. Hobbs,
2d: Co. H, H. C. Ducharrae, 1st, F. Pettit, 2d; Co. I. J. O. Hair, 1st, J. M. Ball 2d;
Co. K, M. H. Barckley, 1st, G. Krank, 2d.

The regiment left Albany August 19, 1862, and was stationed in the
defenses of Washington. In December, 1862, its character was changed
from infantry to artillery, and recruited to 152 men in each company.
It performed arduous and important service in building many forts and
batteries. In the spring of 1864 two companies were added to the reg-
iment, with the following officers: Captains, Co. L, James Kennedy;
Co. M, George H. Tread well. First Lieutenants, Co. L, F. W. Mather;
Co. M, G. B. Smallie. Second lieutenants, Co. L, C. C. McClellan;
Co. M, E. S. Moss. On May 17, 1864, the regiment joined the Army
of the Potomac near Spottsylvania and was engaged in the battles of
Po River, North Anna, Tolopotomoy, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and
Reams's Station in some of which it suffered severelv. On February


•22, 18G5, the remnant oi the regiment was ordered to Baltimore to re-
main until mustered out in June, 1805. Of the many fatalities that
occurred in this organization, the following should be mentioned: Col.
I^ewis Owen Morris, a native of Albany, took part in the Mexican war,
retained command of this regiment until June 3, 18(j4, when he was
killed by a confederate sharpshooter. Major Edward A. Springstead,
born in Albany, served as first lieutenant in the 43d Regiment, was
promoted from captain in the 113th, and was killed at the head of his
men at Reams's Station August 25, 1864. Capt. James Kennedy, born
in Albany, wounded at Cold Harbor June 3, and at Reams's Station
August 25, 1864, and captured; died in Libby prison September 10,
1S64. Capt. John A. Morris, a native of Albany, shot through the
heart at Spottsylvania May 19, 1864. Capt. Nathaniel Wright, shot
at Reams's Station August 25, 1864. Capt. Robert H. Bell, was
wounded in the Wilderness May 19, 1864, and died June 20. Lieut.
William Emmet Orr, a native of Albany, wounded at North Anna, and
died June 2, 1864. Lieut. James H. Morgan, born in Albany, taken
prisoner at Reams's Station and died at Salisbury, N. C, November
21, 1864. Lieut. Michael H. Barckley, born in the town of Knox,
graduated at Union College, raised a company in his town, was wounded
at Cold Harbor and died July 6, 1864. Charles S. Evans, a native of
Rensselaerville, killed at Cold Harbor June 5, 1864. Lieut. Charles
L. Yeardsley, born in West Troy, killed at Petersburg June 3, 1864,
while leading Co. G in a charge. Lieut. John B. Read, wounded at
Cold Harbor and left within the enemy's lines. Sergt. James S.
Gerling, wounded in the Wilderness June 3, 1814, and again August
24, and died October 8, 1864. Sergt. George Sanders, wounded by a
shell at Cold Harbor and died in hospital June 18, 1864. Sergt. Will-
iam H. Bell, born in the town of Berne, died in service March 15, 1864.

Recruiting for the r.i2d Regiment, the last to leave Albany and very
nearly the last to leave the State, began in January, 1865. While
nominally an Albany regiment, a large part of its officers and privates
were from adjoining counties. The organization reached the seat of
war too late to experience any fighting.

Among other officers from this county who performed honorable ser-
vice in the army and fell either on the field or from disease contracted
in the ariuv, a few mav be brietlv noticed here:


Col. Edward Frisby was a native of Trenton, N. Y., and settled in
Albany in 1826, where he engaged in business as a hatter. He joined
the State militia at an early age and rose from corporal through the
several grades to brigadier-general. In April, 1861, he went to the
front with the 25th Militia Regiment, returned, raised the 30th Regi-
ment of volunteers and went out as its colonel. He was killed in the
second battle of Bull Run August 22, 1862.

Lieut. -Col. Frederick Lyman Tremain, son of Lyman Tremain, re-
ceived a college education and had not reached his majority at the
breaking out of the war. He enlisted in the 113th Regiment, raised a
company and was promoted adjutant; was afterward transferred to the
1st Brigade, 3d Division, Cavalry Corps, and later to the 2d Brigade,
2d Division. After participating in all the engagements with General
Sheridan's army, he was wounded at Dabney's Mills, February 5, 1855,
and died three days later.

Capt. Harmon N. Merriam, educated for the law, aided in ra.ising
the 10th Regiment and was commissioned captain oi Co. H ; was
wounded at Port Hudson May 27, 1863, while at the he.^d of his com-
pany, and died on his way home July 15, 1863.

Capt. John McGuire, a native of Ireland, settled in Albany in 1845,
was a sergeant in the Worth Guards, enlisted in the 25th Regiment and
served through 1861-2. In vSeptember of the latter year he was made
first lieutenant in the 175th Volunteers and promoted captain. After a
long period of honorable service he was killed by guerillas April 15,

Lieut. James Williamson, born m Scotland, was first lieutenant in
the 10th Regiment Militia, and when the regiment was changed to the
177th Volunteers he was appointed first lieutenant Co. H. He was
killed while leading a charge at Port Hudson, May 27, 1863.

Orderly Sergeant Peter M. Shaler, a Scotchman, settled in Albany
in 1858, joined the 10th Regiment, was wounded March 24, 1S63, and
died July 18, 1863.

Sergeant Alexander D. Rice, born in Albany April 10, IS37, enlisted
xVugust 6, 1862, in Co. C, 7th N. Y. Heavy Artillery, and promoted to
sergeant; was wounded June 3, 1864, and died June 28.

Sergeant Andrew T. Hotaling, enlisted in Co. A, 7th Heavy Artiller\-,
November 7, 1862, and twice thereafter promoted; wounded at Peters-
burg June 22, 1864, and died July 26.

Sergeant Paul Uuay, born in Knox July 30, 1841, enlisted in the 7th


Heav)- Artillery, taken priscmer June 10, 1S(14, was sent tu Anderson-
ville and thence to Milan, where he died in prison.

Succeeding- the call of August 4, 1SI.;2, for nine months volunteers
(under which New York furnished 5'.), 705) the next call was that of
February 1, 1864, under which, in the aggregate, New York furnished
.19,839 men. March 14, 1864, another call was issued for 200,000, un-
der which this State supplied 41,940, nearly 10,000 more than her
quota. Under the next call, July 18, 1864, for 500,000 men for one,
two, or .three and four years, this State furnished a total of 83,843 men.
The last call was dated December 19, 1864, for 300,000 men, and en-
listments stopped before the various quotas were filled, the aggregate
from New York being 34,196.

In the payment of bounties Albany county kept abreast of the other
counties of the State and her quotas were filled as promptly as those
of anv other section. The county paid out for bounties to volunteers
$3,100,700, and for expenses of recruiting and other military matters
$225,125.39; making a total of $3,325,825.39.

The war had scarcely begun when the Ladies' Army Relief Associa-
tion was organized in Albany to co-operate with the United States
Sanitary Commission in the aid of sick and wounded soldiers. The
association was in existence as early as November, 1861, and similar
organizations were effected in Coeymans, Rensselaerville, Knox, and
perhaps other towns in the county. The ladies of Albany raised $19,-
212.30 in money for the purposes noted during the four years ending
January 1, 1866, and sent away to the battlefields thousands of boxes
and barrels of supplies of every description to comfort the soldier in
his time of privation and suffering. The Army Relief Bazaar, a great
structure well adapted to its purpose, was erected in the Academy Park
and there was held during the months of February and March, 1864, a
great Sanitary Fair, in which Troy, Schenectady, and other places par-
ticipated. It was splendidly managed and the net proceeds reached
about $82,000, which was turned over to the Sanitary Commission.
The Albany Auxiliary to the U. S. Christian Commission also received
between April 1, 1864, and January 1, 1866, the sum of $33,740.20, be-
sides a great quantity of supplies of various kinds, and books, all of
which went to the alleviation of the sufferings and privations of the
soldiers. Besides all this, private subscriptions in aid of were
numerous and liberal in this county. In the forenoon of the 9th of


April, 1865, news of Lee's surrender reached Albany, and swept on
over the whole North, kindling an outburst of joyous thanksgiving such
as the country had never before witnessed, and heralded the long reign
of peace that was soon inaugurated.

During the period of the war public improvements and important
public acts, aside from war measures, almost wholly ceased in all
Northern cities, while in villages and rural districts the frequent calls
to arms, the great sacrifices demanded in men and money, and the sad
news that came from scores of bloody battlefields, all served to distract
public attention from the ordinary affairs of life. With the advent of
peace all this was changed. The welcome event was properly cele-
brated in all communities, and the people, so long oppressed by the
terrors of civil war, turned joyfully and full of hope to the energetic
prosecution of public improvements and private business. In spite of
the enormous cost of the war — a financial drain that reached every
hamlet in the land — there was seeming prosperity throughout the
North during the several years succeeding the close of the conflict.
The great demands of the government for war materials, which had
for five years promoted many industries and afforded various avenues
for speculation and wealth-making, the abundance of monej' which had
poured from the national treasury in payment for supplies, and for the
vast armies whose rank and file seldom hoarded it, the high prices
ruling for all products, created by an inflated currency, were all causes
of an era of prosperity such as the country had not before experienced.
Albany county had its share in this tide of prosperity, though not to
the extent of many cities where manufacturing was more extensive.
Many private projects of importance were launched, river commerce
was active, building operations were extensive, mercantile business
was greatly extended and banks and other institutions of financial
character multiplied. The agricultural interests of the county shared
also in the general prosperity; farmers realized high prices for their
products, and many were led to purchase farms at prices which a few
years later would have been ruinous.

It was inevitable that such a state of affairs could not long continue
in a time of peace. With the gradual contraction of currency, the de-
creasing demand for many kinds of products, with contemporaneous
over-production, and the fear of financial disaster through anticipated
return to specie payment, there came a reaction which culminated in


ISTx'-o, causing much financial distress and many business failures.
Albany county, however, as has been the case in all times of depres-
sion, suffered less than many other localities; the county had gained
less and was not so much affected by the inflation caused by the war,
and hence suffered less in returning to normal conditions.

To preserve its chronological place in this work, the subject of the
anti-rent struggle should have been taken up in the ]u-eceding chapter,
but as its effects were felt through the period of the war and even
later, its brief consideration is left for this place. Anti-rentism came
into existence very soon after the death of Stephen Van Rensselaer,
the last holder of the Manor of Rensselaerwyck under the British
crown. He died January 26, 1839. He had inherited the great manor
under the law of primogeniture, as the eldest son, which had existed
here through the colonial period. The American laws following the
Revolution worked a radical change in this respect, and in order to
keep his vast landed interests in possession of his sons and their de-
scendants, Stephen Van Rensselaer, on arriving at his majority, adopted
the plan of selling his land in fee, reserving to himself and his assigns
all minerals, streams of water for mills, and some of the old feudal
rents in wheat, fowls, service with horses, etc., and finally, the reserva-
tion of one-quarter of "the purchase price on every vendition of land.
It is said that Alexander Hamilton drew this form of conveyance and
advised his client that he could adopt it. But there was at that time
an English statute in opposition to such a method of sale, such right
belonging to the crown alone. It is believed that Mr. Hamilton as-
sumed that the English statute had not been in force in this colony,
and that therefore it had no real force here. In any event the patroon
sold his lands, warranting the title, his deeds containing the feudal
reservations above mentioned.

While this system of sale worked satisfactorily during his life and
generally during the lives of the first purchasers, trouble began soon
afterward. The patroon devised all his interest in the lands thus sold in
fee to his two eldest sons, William P. and Stephen. To the latter, who
was the older of the two, were given the rents in Albany county, and to
the other those in Rensselaer county. The old patroon was a kindly
man and doubtless his many favors to those who had purchased from
him served to pacify them under the onerous burdens. But when the
sons came into their estate, either their different treatment of the


landholders, or changes in the business and agricultural relations of
the time, led to complaints and later to more serious trouble. Litiga-
tion began and continued many years. " The counsel consulted were
either ignorant of that [EnglishJ statute or they dismissed considera-
tion of it on the assumption that it was never the law of the colony or
of the State. Had that statute, at the time of the anti-rent outbreak,
been recognized as the law of the State, it is not too much, probably,
to assert and believe that, before the distinguished judges who then
adorned the bench, with the Senate composing the court of last resort
— a popular as well as judicial body — the anti-rent controversy would
have been spared more than a quarter of a century of political and
legal conflict, and the feudal-burdened counties have become as en-
lightened, prosperous and free as their sister counties in the State." ^

Early in the spring of 1839 the anti-renters held a meeting for the
purpose of deciding upon some equitable basis of settlement of the dis-
pute. A committee was appointed to call upon vStephen Van Rensse-
laer, the elder son, and learn upon what terms they could purchase the
soil outright. The committee was composed of the foremost men of
the district involved ; they called at the manor office in Watervliet on
May 22, 1839, and met Mr. Van Rensselaer, who refused to recognize
them in any manner. They then passed into the inner office, occupied
by the agent, Douw B. Lansing, while the latter held a lengthy con-
versation with Mr. Van Rensselaer, after which the committee were
informed that they would be communicated with in writing. The com-
mittee felt that this was an insult, and went away. Subsequently Mr.
Van Rensselaer sent a letter to Lawrence Vandusen, of Berne, who
was chairman of the committee, in which he declined to sell on any
terms; this letter was read throughout the manor during that year.
The landholders now began active opposition to the collection of rents;
agents were insulted and their personal safety endangered; bodies of
masked men resisted and attacked sheriffs in discharge of their duties
and other demonstrations of force were made in various localities. In
December, 1839, Sheriff Michael Artcher called to his aid the/oj-iv
coniitatus; with a body of about 600 men he started from Albany on the
3d day of December, 1839, for Reidsville, in the Helderbergs. Arriv-
ing near the place, the sheriff selected about seventy-five of the most
courageous of his men and continued towards Reidsville, where it was


known many of the anti-renters had gathered. Just before reaching
the place the}- encountered a force of 1,500 mounted men, who barred
the road and ordered the sheriff and his party back. There was no al-
ternative but to obey, and the whole party hastened back to Albany.
When, on the following day, the sheriff acquainted Governor Seward
with the outcome of his brief campaign, the governor called out the
military in numbers sufficient to have captured every person in the
western part of the county. The military force comprised the Albany
Birrgesses Corps, Albany Union Guards, Albany Republican Artillery,
First Company and Second Company Van Rensselaer Guards, Troy
Artillery, Troy Citizens Corps, and the Troy City Guards. The com-
mand of this force was given to Major William Bloodgood, and, headed
by Sheriff Artcher, the march was taken up towards Reidsville on De-
cember 9. No resistance was met with before Reidsville was reached,
and even then no enemy was found. It was a ridiculous sight — a great
body of armed troops upon a long and weary march, to meet not even
a single landholder upon whom to expend their ardor. The return
was made amid a pitiless rain storm. Resistance to rent collections
continued against various methods of compulsion, without much advan-
tage to either side. The landholders hoped by petty and threatened

Online LibraryAmasa J. (Amasa Junius) ParkerLandmarks of Albany County, New York → online text (page 10 of 138)