James H. (James Hadden) Smith.

History of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers online

. (page 32 of 125)
Online LibraryJames H. (James Hadden) SmithHistory of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 32 of 125)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

hng» Cornelius Pitcher, of Pine Plains, John W
Lattin, of Pleasant Valley, Anthony Woolsey, of

Poughkeepsie, (town,) Henry C. Smith, James H.
Dudley, George R. Gaylord, Henry W. Shaw,
(Josh Billings,) of Poughkeepsie, (city,) George
Shoemaker, of Red Hook, Andrew J. Heermance,
of Rhinebeck, Isaac G. Sands, of Stanford, Wm.
R. Bagely, of Union Vale, David S. Tallman, of
Washington; Secretaries, Hon. A. Wager, Rhine-
beck, Hon. John B. Dutcher, Amenia, John F. Hull
and O. J. Gaylord, Poughkeepsie. A pointed
speech was made by Mr. Emott, after which the
" Star Spangled Banner " was sung by Mr. Hay-
man, the audience joining in the chorus. Charles
Wheaton, of Poughkeepsie, Wm. H. Bostwick, of
Amenia, Joseph C. Doughty, of Poughkeepsie,
John H. Ketcham, of Dover, David Warren, of
Washington, and T. V. W. Brinckerhoff, of East
Fishkill, were appointed a committee on resolutions.
Addresses full of energf and eloquence were
made by Hon. John Thompson, AUard Anthony
and A. B. Smith, all being received with bursts of

The following day, August 12th, another large
meeting assembled in Pine's Hall, in Poughkeepsie,
composed mostly of working men, the chief object
being to aid in obtaining recruits. The meeting
was called to order by C. W. Swift and Mayor
James Bowne chosen president. After an eloquent
address by Judge Bowne, of Orange county, Hon.
James Emott presented the proposition of another
gentleman to give $10 each to the first five re-
cruits who enlisted that night. Speeches were
made by Mayor Bowne, William Schwab, Hon.
John Thompson, Hon. Gilbert Dean and Mark
D. Wilber. Mr. Schwab spoke briefly in German
and afterwards in English, awakening a general
enthusiasm by his energetic appeals.

A large and enthusiastic meeting was held at
Mabbettsville August 13th, and spirjj:ed speeches
were made by Judge Nelson and Allard Anthony.
Mone^ was freely offered. After the meeting, a
supper was given to the volunteers— twenty-two in
number— Capt. Bostwick and Lieut. Dutcher, who
were organizing the company, were present and
added greatly to the spirit which prevailed. The
Stanfordville band did much to enliven the occa-

At Wappingers Falls, August 14th, the departure
of twenty-one volunteers for Camp Kelly, at Hud-
son, was made the occasion of a public demonstra-
tion. The factories at that place were stopped
and the population turned out en masse to escort
them to Fishkill Landing, where they were joined
by others of Capt. De Wint's Company. A meet-



ing of the operatives of the Duchess Print Works,
at Wappingers Falls was held the 13th, for the
purpose of providing some means for the support
of the families of those of their number who
might be drafted under the recent government
order. It was agreed that each person should
contribute toward that object two per cent, of his
monthly earnings.

A meeting of the patriotic citizens of La Grange
was held August 14th, and largely attended. Ad-
dresses were made by Albert Emans and Gilbert
Dean. As a result of the meeting a sufficient
amount was subscribed to give to each volunteer
from that town $55 extra bounty.

On the 1 8th of August a workingmen's meeting
was held at the armory of the Montgomery Guards
in Poughkeepsie, at which a large number of the
bone and sinew of the city were present. Speeches
were made by Phineas H. Beach, William Har-
low, a carpenter of Poughkeepsie, A. S. Pease,
Jeremiah Eighmie, of East Fishkill, and A. B.
Smith, of Poughkeepsie. Good feeling pre-
vailed and several volunteers were added to the
Montgomery Guards. On the 19th Capt. Robert
McConnell of the company, left Poughkeepsie for
the camp at Hudson with thirty-eight men.

The town of Clinton, which, says the Pough-
keepsie Eagle of August 21st, 1862, "has had the
name of being far behind her sister towns in fur-
nishing men for the armies of the Republic," " is
now thoroughly aroused. The hearts and pockets
of all are in the work and are putting forth every
effort to fill up her quota * * * * with

A war meeting was held at Clinton Hollow, Aug.
1 8th, at which the town was well represented.
The meeting was called to order by Supervisor
John S. Wing, and Stephen H. Smith chosen chair-
man. Speeches were made by Capt. George
Parker, Edward Wickes and others. It was unani-
mously resolved to give to each volunteer accredited
to the town between July 3d and Sept. i, 1862,
$200, to be assessed upon the taxable property of
the town. A local military committee, consisting
of Gilbert Bently, Stephen H. Smith, Thomas
Doty, Abraham Leroy, Philip H. Moore, John G.
Halsted, Tilly Grouse, Smith Eckert, Frederick C.
Filkins and Morgan Traver, was appointed to
superintend volunteering in the town and authorized
to borrow a sum sufficient to secure the object
proposed in the resolutions, and to disburse the
same. The resolutions were also brought before
the meeting at Schultzville, August 20th and con-

firmed. These measures had the effect to stimu-
late enlistments in the town.

Under the stimulus of these meetings and others
held elsewhere in the county, recruiting progressed
with great activity, and by the 27th of August, so
says the Hudson Star, more than a thousand men
were rendezvoused in Camp Kelly in that city.
August 14th, Francis W. Van Wagner, of Pough-
keepsie, was appointed Provost Marshal of Duch-
ess county. August 15th, J. J. Smith, of the same
city, was appointed military instructor for the reg-
iment forming at Hudson; and on the i6th, the
district war committee recommended Capt. James
Smith, of Poughkeepsie, for Lieut-Colonel .of the
regiment, and Capt. Foster, of Hudson, for Major.
Both had served a year in the field and were well

Of the officers of the district regiment, which
was designated the 128th, the following were from
Duchess county : Lt. Col., James Smith, Pough-
keepsie; Quartermaster, Alexander' Annan, Fish-
kill; ist Asst. Surgeon, C. H. Andrus, Poughkeepsie;
Commissary Sergeant, E.' Augustus Brett, Fish-
kill; Quartermaster Sergeant, George S. Drake,
Amenia; Ordnance Sergeant, John Matthews, Jr.,
Matteawan ; Color Sergeant, James M. Braley,
Rhinebeck. Companies B, C, D, F, H and I, were
raised in this county, and were officered as follows :
Co. B, (which contained 17 enlisted men from
Washington, 13 from Amenia, 13 from North
East, 7 from Pine Plains, 13 from Dover, 15 from
Pawling, and 18 from Stanford,) Captain, Charles
E. Bostwick, Amenia, 1st Lieut., Thomas N.
Dutcher, Dover, 2d Lieut., Jeremiah S. Pearce,
Pawling; Co. C, (which contained 32 enlisted men
from Rhinebeck, 24 from Milan, 21 from Red
Hook, 13 from Clinton, i from Washington, 3
from Hyde Park, and 7 from Stanford,) Captain,
Francis S. Keese, Rhinebeck, ist Lieut., Howard
H. Morse, Rhinebeck, 2d Lieut., Thomas N.
Davies, Milan ; Co. D, (which contained 56 en-
listed men from Poughkeepsie, 9 from Hyde Park,
I from Amenia, 6 from Pleasant Valley, 4 from
Pine Plains, i from Dover, i from Stanford, 5
from Clinton, i from LaGrange, 1 from Wash-
ington, I from Pawling, i from Beekman, i from
Fishkill, and 11 from Columbia county,) Captain,
George Parker, Poughkeepsie, ist Lieut., Francis
N. Sterling, Poughkeepsie, and 2d Lieut., Spencer
C. Doty, Poughkeepsie ; Co. F, (which contained
48 enlisted men from Fishkill, 16 from Pawling, 6
from Stanford, 4 from Washington, 2 from Amenia,
3 from North East, 3 from Dover, 6 from Pine



Plains, I from Rhinebeck, i from Red Hook^ and
2 from Columbia county,) Captain, A. DeWint, ist
Lieut., J. J. Williamson, 2d Lieut., C. A. Ander-
son, all of Fishkill ; Co. H, (which contained 49
enlisted men from Fishkill, 16 from East Fishkill,
24 from Poughkeepsie, 2 from Hyde Park, 2 from
Union Vale, and i from Beekman,) Captain, John
A. Van Keuren, Poughkeepsie, ist Lieut., Henry
H. Sincerbox, and 2d Lieut., Sylvester H. Morse,
both of Fishkill ; Co. I, (which contained 28 en-
listed men from 'Poughkeepsie, 18 from Union
Vale, 13 from LaGrange, 8 from Clinton, 2 from
Hyde Park, 2 from Amenia, 2 from East Fishkill,
10 from Pawling, and i from Pleasant Valley,)
Captain, Robert F. Wilkinson, ist Lieut., Freder-
ick Wilkinson, 2d Lieut., John P. Wilkinson, all of
Poughkeepsie. In addition Hyde Park furnished
14 enlisted men. Red Hook, 3, and CHnton, i,
towards Co. K of that regiment.

The 128th regiment was mustered for three
years, Sept. 4, 1862. August 30th, the ladies of
Poughkeepsie and Fishkill presented the regiment
with a national flag at Hudson, which city it left
for the seat of war on the steamer Oregon, Sept.
5, 1862. It proceeded to Camp Millington, near
Baltimore, where it was engaged, in doing picket
duty, and was for a short period stationed at Har-
per's Ferry. It was soon after brigaded with the
iioth, 114th and ii6th N. Y. and 38th Mass. reg-
iments Bnder Gen. Emory, and Oct. 2, 1862, re-
ceived marching orders, but did not leave Camp
Millington till Nov. 5th, when it embarked on the
steamer Arago, forming a part of Banks' Expedi-
tion, and after lying off Fortress Monroe about a
month, occasionally going on shore to drill, set
sail from Hampton Roads at noon on the 4th of
December, in company with the Atlantic, Baltic
and Ericsson, convoyed by the iron-clad, Augusta,
carrying eight large guns, while another column^
composed of the Thames, United States, Curlew,
Pocahontas and one or two other small vessels
kept nearer shore. On the 14th they came to
anchor in the harbor of Ship Island, where lay the
Northern Light, on board of which was the 159th,
raised in Columbia, and, partially, in Duchess'
county. On the 15th they commenced the ascent
of the Mississippi, and debarked, after forty-one
days spent on ship board, at Quarantine, seventy-
two miles below New Orleans, where they were de-
tained three weeks, on account of disease engen-
dered by their long stay on shipboard and the ab
■^ence of regular exercise. Jan. 5, 1863, the regi-
ment was removed to Camp Chalmette, the battle

field of New Orleans. February 7, 1863, it was
stationed at Camp Parapet, near New Orleans,
where excellent precautions were taken to restore
and preserve the health of the regiment by flooring
the tents. March 4, 1863, (at which time the
health of the men was steadily and rapidly improv-
ing,) of the number who embarked on the Arago,
27 had died, 25 had been discharged for disability,
136 were awaiting transportation to New Orleans
from Baltimore and Fortress Monroe, 531 were re-
ported for duty, and 149 were reported by the sur-
geons unfit for duty, though the sickness of the
latter was mainly shght.

The regiment bore a conspicuous part in the
movements in Louisiana. May 12, 1863, it and
the 6th Michigan, under command of Col. Clark,
of the latter regiment,- left camp in light marching
order, and embarked on platform and cattle cars
on the New Orleans and Jackson Railroad, a half
mile in rear of their camp. They proceeded by
rail to Manchac Pass, the' junction of Lakes Pon-
chartrain and Maurepas, at which point the rail-
road bridge was burnt. A crossing was effected
by means of flat boats, and after a very tiresome
march of six miles through a dense cypress swamp,
over the railroad trestle, halted for the night. The
march was resumed at one o'clock the next morn-
ing, and by daylight they arrived within a mile of
Ponchatoula, where skirmishers were thrown out
and lines of battle formed. In this manner they
advanced upon the town, which the rebel infantry
had left two hours before. Their cavalry re-
mained, but decamped after firing a few rounds.
At Ponchatoula they were joined by several hun-
dred federal cavalry, who had made a forced
march from Baton Rouge. They returned on the
19th, and reached Camp Parapet, at dark.

The regiment left camp toward night of the
next day, and at 2 a. m. embarked on the steamer
United States at Carrolton. In company with
the steamships Crescent, Creole, Sallie Robinson
and Iberville, the expedition comprisingthe brigades
of Nickerson and Dow and a part of the 2d
brigade of Sherman's division, they proceeded up
the river, reaching Baton Rouge at night. The
next day they proceeded to Springfield Landing,
just below Port Hudson, whence they marched to
the rebel works at Port Hudson, leaving their
knapsacks, blankets and camp equipage on board
to be returned to Baton Rouge.

The rebel works at Port Hudson encompassed
the town, resting upon the river above and below
it, and were encircled by a wide, deep moat.



Sherman's division, to which the 128th belonged,
occupied the federal left. Augur's, the center, and
Banks', the right. Gen. Banks, who had charge
of the operations, ordered a general assault at 2
o'clock p. M. on the 27 th of May. Ten minutes
before the appointed time, the ist Vermont and
9th Indiana batteries, connected with the brigade
to which the 128th belonged, emerged at a gallop
from the edge of the woods in which they were
masked, took position in front of the rebel works,
and opened a terrific fire of shells. The infantry
were immediately and rapidly advanced from the
edge of the woods, where they were formed in line
of battle. Full six hundred yards of level plain
intervened between them and the formidable para-
pet, from which a terrific fire was instantly poured ;
and so destructive was it, that at the first discharge.
Gens. Sherman and Dow and Col. Clark, the next
in command, fell wounded, and the assaulting
column wavered and broke. The command then
devolved on Col. Cowles, of the 128th, who rallied
the men and rushed forward amid a ceaseless
storm of iron and lead. Col. Cowles fell, pierced
by six bullets, when the enemy's works were
nearly reached, and though he lived nearly an
hour, would not suffer himself to be carried from
the field. "Tell my mother," were his last words,
"that I die with my face to the enemy. Boys,
have I not done my duty as a man and a soldier?"
The unequal contest was continued for four hours,
Farragut's fleet co-operating and keeping up a
very heavy fire, but it was a futile effort. The 1 28th
lost 20 in killed and 79 in wounded, which one
account says was one-fourth of its force in action.
Col. Cowles was the only officer killed or wounded,
except Capt. DeWint, who was slightly wounded.

The attempt to carry the rebel works at Port
Hudson by assault was renewed on the 14th of
June, but was, like the first, unsuccessful, though
a more advantageous position was gained. The
casualties in the 128th in that action was one
killed and twenty wounded. Among the latter
were Capt. G. W. Van Slyck and Lieut. John P.
Wilkinson, Acting Adjutant, both slightly. Both
were on duty within a few days.

Lieut. Col. Smith was promoted to the Colonelcy
of the 128th in June, 1863, and later that year, Capt.
Francis M. Keese was promoted Major in place of
Major Giff'ord, who was taken prisoner at Port Hud-
son May 26, 1863, and died from fever at New
Orleans, August 8, 1863. Major Keese was from
Rhinebeck, and a son of John M. Keese, then the
postmaster at that place.

Col. Smith, writing from before Port Hudson
July 6, 1863, at which time the 128th was attached
to the ist brigade, 2d division, 19th cqrps, thus re-
capitulates the losses sustained by the regiment to
that time : —
The number of men enlisted in the regiment

was 1,021

-The number of men mustered in the regi-
ment Sept. 4, 1862, was 993

Killed in action, on picket, skirmish-
ing, etc 23

Died of disease 63

Died from wounds 2

Discharged for disability 77

Missing 6

Deserted 62

Present strength

\ Commissioned officers 33

J Enlisted men 727760 993

Wounded in action and by accident since
the regiment had been in the service,
nearly all of whom would return to duty, 79
The fall of Vicksburg made Port Hudson unten-
able, and it was surrendered July 8, 1863. The
128th was one of the two regiments selected from
the division to occupy the place, and receive the
surrender of arms and munitions from the rebel
gan-ison. July nth, the regiment was detailed to
escort a large train of artillery from Port Hudson
to Baton Rouge, a distance of twenty-five miles.
The march was made in one night.

July isth, the regiment was assigned to the 3d
brigade, 3d division, (which was soon after changed
to the 2d brigade, ist division,) and left Baton
Rouge with the brigade on transports for Donald-
son ville. La., where our forces had been attacked
and driven back. There it remained till August
2d, when it was detached and sent up the river
some ten or twelve miles above Donaldsonville, to
prevent guerillas from attacking or firing on pass-
ing boats. August itth it was ordered to the
village of Plaquemine, fifteen miles higher up the
river, whence, on the 29th of that month, it pro-
ceeded to Baton Rouge, where it was encamped
directly in the rear of the State penitentiary.
While there the regiment was engaged in picket
duty, drills, parades, etc., and their old colors,
which were so much worn as to be unserviceable,
were exchanged for new ones, the gift of the citi-
zens of Poughkeepsie, the ladies being the prime
movers in the affair. The losses of the regiment
from various causes from July i to Sept. 3,- 1863,
were 59 officers and men.

The 128th participated with a part of Banks'
forces in an engagement on Cane River, April 23,



1864, and lost one killed and about twenty wound-
ed, only three or four dangerously so.

At the close of the Red River Expedition the
regiment returned to New Orleans, and was sent
thence to the Shenandoah Valley, where it served
under Sheridan, participating in the brilliant en-
gagements which distinguished that intrepid

About the middle of September, Sheridan, who
had been engaged in skirmishing both of an offen-
sive and defensive character, was instructed by
Grant to attack Early's army, at the risk of ex-
posing Maryland and Pennsylvania to invasion,
with a view to recovering the use of the Baltimore
& Ohio Railroad and the Chesapeake & Ohio
Canal. On the 19th of September, Sheridan
attacked Early, who was posted on the west bank
of Opequan Creek, covering Winchester, and after
a fierce engagement, which, for most of the day,
remained undecisive, drove him from his posi-
tion. In this engagement the 128th was com-
manded by Major Keese, Lt. Col. Foster being in
command of the 3d brigade, 2d division. The
regiment lost 7 killed, 57 wounded, and 8 missing.
Among the wounded was Major Keese. " There
was scarcely a man in the regiment," says Lt. Col.
Foster, " who had not some portion of his clothing
or accouterments struck.'' The colors were pierced
by eleven bullets. Early rallied his fleeing army at
Fisher's Hill, twelve miles from the battle-field of
Opequan, and one of the strongest positions in the
valley, which is here bisected by the Mansanutten
Mountains interposing between the Blue Ridge and
Shenandoah Mountains. Sheridan attacked and
drove him from this almost impregnable position
late on the 21st. The 128th formed a part of the
assaulting column, and were selected to charge the
right of the enemy's works, which they carried
with singularly hght casualties, losing only two
killed and six wounded, notwithstanding the scath-
ing fire to which they were subjected. The regi-
ment was complimented for its gallantry on this
occasion by Generals Sheridan, Emory and Grover
Gen. Emory pronouncing their charge the hand-
somest thing he ever saw.

Sheridan pursued the retreating enemy through
Harrisonburg, Staunton, and the gaps of the Blue
Ridge. In a week, says Draper, he had destroyed
or captured half of Early's army, and driven the
rest southward. Having devastated the valley so
thoroughly, that, it was said, if a crow wants to fly
down it he must carry his provisions with him, he
returned toward Strasburg, posted his army in

echelon behind the bold bluffs which skirt the north
bank of Cedar Creek, and proceeded to Washing-
ton to consult with the Secretary of War respect-
ing the return of the 6th corps to that city.

On the 1 8th of October, Early, whose force had
been restored to its original strength by the addi-
tion of Kershaw's division, crossed Cedar Creek,
and at daybreak on the 19th, under cover of a dense
fog surprised and attacked the national army
with great fury. They first fell upon the unsus-"
pecting 8th corps, whose camp was overrun in over-
powering numbers before the men had time to dress
themselves. They fled in the wildest confusion,
many almost in a state of nudity, closely followed
by the rebels. Rout and disaster to the entire
army was imminent in the confusion which ensued
and a reformation of the line became unavoidable.
Gen. Wright, on whom the command devolved in
the temporary absence of Sheridan, who was then
in Winchester, had, though wounded, succeeded in
checking the advance of the enemy, and made the
disposition of his forces, with which, later in the
day, Sheridan achieved the glorious victory which
immortaUzed his name. Lieut. Col. Foster of the
128th, writing from camp near Cedar Creek, Oct.
24, 1864, said, referring to this engagement : "Cer-
tainly, as it has resulted ultimately, it is one of the
most substantial victories of this, as it is one of the
most remarkable battles of any war." The casu-
alties of the 128th in that engagement were two
commissioned officers missing and one wounded
a,nd six enlisted men killed, fourteen wounded, and
eighty missing.

From the valley the 128th went to Savannah,
and thence to Augusta, where it joined Sherman
and went with him through the Carolinas to Raleigh.
From thence it went to Morehead City and back
to Savannah j thence to Augusta, which it garri-
soned for about six weeks, wlien it returned to
Savannah, was mustered out July 12, 1865, and
sent to Albany to be paid off. The regiment went
out with nearly a thousand men, and though it
received quite a number of recruits, returned with
only five hundred. The officers were : Capt. T.
M. Davis, who went out as 1st Lieutenant, com-
manding the regiment; Ambrose B. Hart, who went
out as corporal, Adjutant; J. Mortimer Craven,
Surgeon ; Wm. H. B. Post, Assistant Surgeon ;
Lieut. Crafts, who went out as corporal, command-
ing Co. A; Capt. Pierce, who went out as 2d
Lieutenant ; and ist Lieutenant White,'who went
out as private, Co. B ; Lieutenant Hager and 2d
Lieutenant Asher, both of whom went out as Ser-



geants, Co. C ; Lieutenant Armstrong, who went
out as Orderly Sergeant, Co. D ; Lieutenant Keese,
who went out as Orderly Sergeant, Co. E ; Capt.
Anderson, who went out as ist Lieutenant; and
ist Lieutenant Van Tine, who went out as Ser-
geant, Co. F ; Capt. Mitchell, who went out as
Sergeant, and Lieutenant Moreil, who went out as
private, Co. G ; Capt. Sincerbox, who went out as
ist Lieutenant ■ and ist I^ieutenant Benson, who
went out as Sergeant, Co. H; Capt. Wilkinson,
who went out as ist Lieutenant j and ist Lieut.
Schouten, who went out as private, Co. I; ist
Lieutenant Speed, who went out as private Co K.
The return of the regiment was appropriately
welcomed by the towns from which the several com-
panies went, and in some cases was made the occa-
sion of imposing celebrations.


Measures Instituted for the Raising of a
Duchess County Regiment — Regimental
Camp at Poughkeepsie Authorized — War
Meetings and Measures to Promote Enlist-
ments — Great Activity in Recruiting — Camp
Duchess — Character of the Men Composing
the 1 50TH Regiment— Presentation of a Stand
OF Colors — Muster and Departure of the
150TH FOR THE Seat of War — Arrival of Trife
Regiment at Baltimore — Joins the Army of
THE Potomac — Participates in the Battle of
Gettysburg — Transferred to the Army of
THE Cumberland — The Atlanta Campaign —
Sherman's March to the Sea — Toilsome and
Perilous March Through the Carolinas —
Last Battle of the isoth — March Through
Richmond to Washington — The Return^—
Muster Out and Welcome Home.

A MEETING of the Executive Committee
of the district war committee was held
August 19th, and preliminary arrangements were
made for securing a full enrollment of all liable to
do military duty in the county, and for promoting
further enlistments. It was also

Resolved, That, as.it has been ascertained that
the whole quota of Duchess county is 2,008 men

Online LibraryJames H. (James Hadden) SmithHistory of Duchess county, New York : with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers → online text (page 32 of 125)