Henry F. W. Little.

The Seventh Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion online

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with stores or supplies, and there was only occasionally a
day when no vessel or steamer was at the wharves or
even in sight. At one time we had the U. S. steamer
" Nightingale," belonging to the Gulf Squadron, in for coal,
and while here her crew captured a very large shark and
towed it ashore at the wharf. We also had our mail
brought often by the schooners " Florida" and " Union."
The schooner "Wanderer," now belonging to the U. S.
Navy, came in for coal during our stay here. She was
formerly a slaver, before the war, of some notoriety, and
a very swift sailing vessel. A record of all vessels arriv-
ing at the post was kept at the post adjutant's office, and
the date of their departure, together with the name of the
place where from, and where bound.

June 14, the little steamer " W. C. Remy " arrived
from Key West, with mail, and a U. S. paymaster, and
orders for the removal of our regiment to Beaufort, S. C.
The 15th (Sunday), we were paid for four months, and
after working hard all night to get our stores and baggage
aboard the large steamer "Ericson," which had been sent
down after us, our regiment with Battery M, First U. S.
Artillery, went aboard at noon. We were relieved by a
part of the Ninetieth N. Y. Volunteers, under command of
Lieut. Col. L. W. Tenelli, the "Ericson" having brought
five companies of that regiment from Key West, when she
came for us. At noon of the i6th, we were ordered into
line, and forming column by companies, we marched in
review before Colonel Putnam, while a detail of Battery M

New Hampshire Volunteers. 55

fired a salute from their brass guns, and at 12.45 o'clock
p. M. the troops who were to leave w^ere all on board,
the huge steamer swung away from the wharf, and was
soon following the intricate windings of the channel. In
a few hours only Tortugas Light, which was one hundred
and sixty feet high, and built inside of Fort Jefferson, and
Sand Key Light remained visible.

At 8 o'clock the next morning, we arrived at Key West,
where we took aboard companies B and D, also of the
First U. S. Artillery, and ' some horses and stores, and
early the next morning we were under way for Hilton
Head, Port Royal, S. C, which place we reached about
3 p. M. of the 20th. There we changed steamers and
were ordered aboard of the " Ben Deford," and after
remaining in the harbor until the next afternoon, we
steamed up to the beautiful little city of Beaufort, S. C,
where we were ordered ashore and went into camp. It
seems this movement had been made on account of the
expedition for the capture of Charleston, S. C, by the
w'ay of James Island, but before the arrival of the troops
from Key West, Fort Jefferson, and other points south of
Hilton Head, the disastrous battle of James Island had
been fought, and the fresh troops were not needed.

56 History of the Seventh Regiment







At Beaufort the Seventh was not brigaded with any other
troops, but performed their full share of guard and picket
dutv, and we think more than their share of the drilling.
I cannot believe any of the men will ever forget the battal-
ion drills over those old cotton fields, in heavy marching
order, uniformed in those thick dress coats and " keg hats,"
with the heat — well, it is safe to say, no degrees in the
shade — and it seemed at the time as though it must have
been at least 140 degrees ; the sun seemed to burn down
so terribly hot, that it is not to be wondered at that during
each drill many of the men gave out and were stricken
down by sunstroke, etc. Really, very few cast-iron men
could have stood it. It was no uncommon thing to find the
thick dress-coats of the men completely wet through at the
end of an hour's drill of that kind, and the stiftening fairly
got out of those old " keg hats " until they lopped " every-

Our camp was situated in a grove of live-oaks, near a
large square at the further end of which was the court
house, which was used at this time by our quartermaster

New Hampshire Volunteers. 57

as an office, and also as quarters for the employees in his
department. Upon another side ol the square was situated
a row of fine residences, including that of the Barnwells,
Rhetts, John F. Porteous, and other prominent aristocratic
families of the Palmetto State. Upon the other side of the
square was a beautiful grove of large and stately live-
oaks, with the gra}" moss drooping from the branches un-
til it swept the ground beneath. These residences around
the square were mostly occupied by the colonel and staff
and some of the line officers, while in the grove upon the
other side was a detachment of three companies of the
Fourth N. H. Volunteers, under command of Major Drew.

While at Beaufort^ all dress parades and guard mount-
ings were held on the public square, and here we also
held the picket guard mountings under the supervision of
Lieut. I. V. Germain, of General Brannan's staff. ,

A battalion of the First Mass. Cavalry had their camp
just across a road which bordered one side of our camp-
ground ; and we shall never forget the "Billy Goat"
which was always to be seen around their camp, until
one day they tired of his annoyance and resolved to put
a stop to it, so a large squad of them mounted their
horses and started to run him down. For a while they
ran him around the bushes and old cotton fields, and then
he pulled for our camp with the horsemen close to his
heels. The rush came so sudden, and was so earnest, that
our sentries were taken wholly by surprise, and thinking
the Confederacy had -broken loose, they stampeded from
their beats, and the men who were in and around the com-
pany streets had to do some pretty good engineering to
get out of the way of the horses. After a hot chase they
succeeded in runnino- the goat down and he was shot.

The first evening after our arrival here, companies A
and K were ordered to Camp Stevens, nine miles out, to a
place called the " Ferry," across which, on the other side,

58 History of the Seventh Regiment

a small rebel picket and a small battery were stationed to
guard the approach to Charleston from this direction.
Afterwards the right and left wings of the regiment, con-
sisting of five companies each, were ordered out on picket
duty at the " Ferry," in turn. The boys had some fine
opportunities while out there to feast on green corn and
watermelons, and from everything that could be learned,
the men made a first-class improvement of those oppor-
tunities, as they generall}' remained out on this picket
duty about two weeks at a time.

No kind of green stuff', vegetables, or fruit was allowed
to be sold in or about Beaufort, except at the market
house, and the " gemmen ob color," who were cultivating
their masters' old plantations or small portions thereof had
to pass the road by our camp in reaching town from the
large section of the country or island about us ; and many
were the fine melons which got confiscated or lost ere
Sambo or his mule and cart got safely past our camp.
One time in particular, some of the men were waiting for
a cart to make its appearance, and as soon as one came
up one of the men would engage the driver in conversa-
tion while another w^ould watch his opportunity and seize
and make oft' with the finest melon he could select. The
driver w^ould at once give chase, when two or three more
men would come up and each would select the nicest and
best melon he could find, and they w'ould get nicely out of
the way before the ebony driver could get back to his
team. Then a complaint would generally be entered to
the provost marshal, who would enter a sort of a search,
and sometimes in going through the tents he would stand
or walk upon a board in the floor under which would be
stored some of the largest and nicest melons ever grown.
At one time the soldier who was to take the first melon
and run with it was a tall fellow belonging in Company
H, and the driver of the team happened to be a dwarf, or

New Hampshire Volunteers. 59

at least, of very short stature. The soldier in his eager-
ness picked so large a melon that it was impossible to get
away with the little dwarf so close upon his heels, so turn-
ing suddenly around he raised the melon as high as he
could reach and brought it down with a whack upon the
bare head of the driver, completely enveloping- him with
the dead ripe fruit, the seeds sticking to his white curly
hair like cockle-burrs.

On July 4, the rebs up at the " Ferry " seemed disposed
to have some fun, and brought down a piece of light artil-
lery to the river and gave our men on picket a few shot
and shells by way of a change, but their gun was soon
silenced by Lieutenant Tully, of the First U. S. Artillery,
who was stationed out there with a section of his battery.
No harm was done however, except the burning of the
old Ferry house, where we had a picket post stationed,
and knocking the top of a chimney down on the old plan-
tation house, where Company H were making their coffee,
the kettle hanging in the fireplace being filled with rub-
bish and brick-bats, which tumbled down the chimney,
and which gave the boys a chance to drink cold water
with their hard-tack for dinner on that day.

It was here that Henry Ball, of Company H, was acci-
dentally killed while in the act of taking his musket from
the stack, being shot through the head, and dying in-
stantly. The comrades of his company found some
boards, made a box for the body, and for a shroud used
the long gray moss with which the live-oak trees around
the camp were festooned. Captain Ames conducted the
funeral ceremonies, and they sadly buried their comrade
under one of those grand old oaks which looked every
inch a monarch of the forest.

Soon after our arrival at Beaufort the scurv}' broke out
among our men, caused, the surgeons said, b}' eating too
much salted meat ; and besides, flees were so thick they

6o History of the Seventh Regiment

were a terrible plague. Then a malignant form of ty-
phus lever broke out in the regiment, which took oft' the
men at a fearful rate. It was no uncommon thing to see a
single funeral escort doing duty for three bodies at a time,
the ambulance detailed for the purpose containing three
coffins. The escort for a private consisted of eight pri-
vates, one fifer, and two drummers, under command of a
corporal, and the music was invariably the " Portugese
Hymn," the drums being muffled. About as surely as a
man w^as taken sick and sent to the hospital, just so surely
we would generally be notified in a day or two of his

Soon after the regiment arrived at Beaufort, Maj. Daniel
Smith went home to New Hampshire on sick-leave, and
First Lieut. Samuel Williams, of Compan}^ C, and First
Lieut. Alvah K. Potter, of Company H, left us, having
resigned their commissions. In order to fill these vacan-
cies Second Lieut. Virgil H. Gate, of Company A, was
promoted to first lieutenant of Company C ; Sergt. Calvin
Shedd, of Company C, was promoted to second lieutenant
of Company A; Second Lieut. John H. Worcester, of
Company H, was promoted to be first lieutenant of same
company: and First Sergt. Charles H. Farley, of Com-
panv H, to be second lieutenant of same compau}'.

The comrades will distincth' remember the many excit-
ing scenes that occurred at intervals during their service,
especially those who were in for three years or during the
war. They will vividly remember, also, how opportunely,
sometimes, a little fun came in and raised the dickens
along the whole line. Generally, an enlisted man was
not supposed to know very much, but we sometimes
smiled to see how much some of our superiors in rank did
not know at various times.

While the right wing was out at Beaufort Ferry, on one
of its regular tours of picket duty, the routine was getting

New Hampshire Volunteers. 6i

monotonous, even irksome, and every old veteran will
know just what that feeling was, w^hen some of the men,
including Sergt. Thomas Langlan, of Company D, who
had charge of some of the picket posts, and who never
knew anything about what was going on, and, in fact,
was a very innocent minded person, concluded to have a
little sport. Our picket posts were stationed along the
south bank of a small stream, and the rebs were holding
the other bank and w-ere fortified, havincr a redoubt in
which they had stationed a few light field-pieces. Some
of the men had discovered a short distance up the river
and on our side of the stream, an old canoe or ducrout,
which lay snugly beached in a cove, and which had long
since been condemned as unseaworthy, but which could
be made to answer our purpose. It was arranged that
Charles Swain, of Company D, one of our best men,
should go up the river at dusk and launch and push hard
out into the stream the old dugout, so that it might float
leisurely down near all our posts and cause a general

The first picket post it would pass was out on a sort of
promontory, or point of land, which was always covered
with water between the point and the main land at flood-
tide. The picket post on this point was then visited by
the sergeant, and informed that it would be necessary to
keep a sharp lookout after dark as there was a rumor that
an attack by boats by the enemy might occur at any mo-
ment during the night. All other posts along the bank of
the stream were then instructed in a similar manner, by
the sergeant in charge. Everything being in readiness,
Swain just at dusk reached the old dugout, launched it,
and succeeded in pushing it far out from the bank, so that
with the outgoing tide when it passed the first picket post
it could be dimly seen. Our reserve picket camp was a
few hundred yards in the rear, with a small contingent of

62 History of the Seventh Regiment

cavalry and a section of artillery for support, with a larger
reserve in camp a half-inile farther back, all of whom had
settled quietly down for the night. We anxiously awaited
the commencement of hostilities, and we had not long to
wait, for we soon heard the picket on the point boldly
challenge, it then being quite dark, and receiving no
answer, we heard the men on the post fire, and in another
moment we heard the next post challenge, and receiving
no response, they sent their bullets crashing through the
gunwales of the old canoe ; and so it was repeated along
the bank from post to post, as the dugout drifted slowly
past with the tide. Of course, such heavy firing started
out the oificer in command of the reserve pickets, who
blew a whistle which was understood to mean cavalry and
artillery to the front, and for two mounted orderlies to
start for the reserve which came tearing down the whole
half-mile from their camp like a stampede of wild butfa-
loes. There was the wildest confusion imaginable when
word was passed that we were about to receive a boat
attack. Sergeant Langlan and Private Swain were among
the most surprised of any along the line, and did their
level best to plug as man}- Minie balls into that old dug-
out as possible ere it drifted out of range. As it was,
all but two or three who were in the secret got terribly
scared, and it \\as some time before things got quieted
down : some of the bovs found the old craft water-logged
in a cove below our farthest post next morning, riddled
through and through. Had the enemy actually put in
an appearance he would surely have received a warm

Captain Chase, who was in command and had his re-
serves so promptly on hand, has passed over the river;
Private Swain was mustered out long years ago, and
his grave is marked by one of the many head-boards at
Andersonville ; but the survivors of that memorable battle

New Hampshire Volunteers. 63

of " Beaufort Ferry," where the opposing force was an
old, deserted dugout, will tulh' recognize this description
of that terrible enhancement.

July 26, Henry W. Battles, of Company A, a detailed
clerk in the quartermaster's department, died of typhoid
fever; he was sick but a few da^'s, leaving a heart-broken
mother away in New Hampshire, who will vainly await
the return of her only son until she journevs "over the
river." Private Battles had been a former classmate of
the writer of this history, in the public schools of Man-
chester, N. H., and we had spent inanv happv davs
together, for he was one of the noblest young men ever
mustered into the service.

August 23, at our dress parade, quite a little excitement
was created by a mistake made on the part of our musi-
cians. Usually the officers were dismissed upon their
arrival from the " front and centre" at the customary dis-
tance in front of the colonel, after saluting, but this
particular evening the commander of the regiment desired
to give some orders to the commanders of companies, and
held them there for that purpose. The musicians, expect-
ing them to be dismissed prompth', as was the usual cus-
tom, at once struck up and commenced playing, and the
first sergeants took command of their companies and
marched them off the parade, and the result was that
immediately after the two principal musicians and the first
sergeants were placed under arrest b\' order of the colo-
nel, but were released the next morning.

At one time while the left wing of the regiment was ab-
sent from camp on a two weeks' tour of picket duty at the
Ferry, a detail from theright wing was sent over on an ad-
joining island called " Seabrook," where some of the men
had an opportunity to witness a genuine "shout," as the
plantation negroes termed some of their religious cere-
monies, which were held on Sabbath afternoons. A most

64 History of the Seventh Regiment


comical sight about the alTair was to see the grotesqu
dress of some of the wenches. Nearly all of them had
some little article of dress which had evidently been pur-
loined from the mansion when " ole Missus" went away,
some appearing with a silk sack, under which would be
worn an old woolsey gown, and thick plantation brogans ;
another having an elegant silk dress, or a part of one,
and another a nice pair of French gaiters, much too small,
which had to be " busted " out at the seams in order to
fit the foot.

It was at Beaufort that we first became acquainted with
figs, and many were the ways the bo\'s invented for cook-
ing the fruit, but all to no purpose. They were found to
be most palatable when ripe and fresh from the trees, or
after being packed and cured in sugar.

On the 30th of August, a large fatigue detail was made
and some of the tents and a part of the regimental bag-
gage was loaded on the steamer " General Burnside," and
at 9 o'clock p. M. the baggage and regimental property
was all on board, and on the 31st, companies C and K
embarked on the " General Burnside'' and started for St.
Augustine, Fla., at 10 o'clock p. m. On September i,
another fatigue detail was made, and the remainder of the
tents and baggage belonging to the regiment was loaded
on the steamer " Ben Deford," and the remaining seven
companies of the regiment embarked on this steamer at 3
o'clock p. M. of the same day.

Owing to the climate and a malignant form of typhoid
fever, chronic diarrhoea, malarial poisoning, and scurvy,
the health of the regiment had become very much im-
paired, and the death-rate increased so rapidly that the
regiment was reported at department headquarters as unfit
for duty, and was ordered to proceed to the old City of St.
Augusdne, Fla., which was said to be the healthiest place
on the Atlandc coast, as well as the oldest city in the

Co. A.

Co. A.

Co. 15.

Co. B.

New Hampshire Volunteers. 65

United States, settled b\' Europeans, and where we were
to relieve seven companies of the Fourth N. H. Volun-
teers, who were ordered to join the three companies of that
regiment, B, H, and K, under command of Major Drew,
whom we had left at Beaufort, S. C. Up to September i,
1862, the Seventh had lost by death and discharge two
hundred of its members since leaving Manchester.

66 History of the Seventh Regiment








The steamer " Ben Deford," at once got under way
for Hilton Head, S. C, shortly after 3 o'clock p. m.,
September i, and the pretty little City of Beautbrt was
soon lost from view ; our stop was very short at Hilton
Head, as we left there at 6 o'clock p. m., and found the
sea outside somewhat rough. At daylight, September 2,
we were in sight of land, and arrived at the wharf at Fer-
nandina, Fla., at 10 o'clock a. m., which place we left at
3.30 o'clock p. M., and anchored off St. Augustine, Fla.,
at 8 o'clock on the morning of the 3d of September. At
noon the steamer " Burnside " came out over the bar, took
us aboard, and carried us up to the City of St. Augustine ;
upon disembarking. Company F, of the Fourth N. H.
Volunteers, were in line to receive and escort Company F,
of the Seventh, to the market house — a building common
to all southern cities — where a bountiful collation had
been prepared, which was hugely enjoyed by our Com-
pany F men of the Seventh, the principal feature of the
occasion being that the men of Company F in each regi-

New Hampshire \"olun'teers. 67


ent, were largely from Dover and vicinity, and conse-
quently well acquainted with each other.

Companies C and K had arrived the day before the
" Ben Deford,"' on the " General Burnside," which was
the only one of the two steamers that could at that time
get over the bar, therefore the "Ben Deford" had to be
unloaded outside the bar.

Upon our arrival at this place, a portion of the regiment
w'as ordered at and near old Fort Marion, at the northern
extremity of the city, and the remaining companies were
ordered into the spacious barracks near the southern
limits, belonging to the government, but which had been
years before an old Franciscan convent.

Here we found good quarters, good food, and the duties
not severe, and we had not been here lono- before a grreat

Online LibraryHenry F. W. LittleThe Seventh Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion → online text (page 6 of 52)