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and left us their works. Some of us crossed over from the
right to the left of the road and occupied the works at
the left of the bridge crossing the Bun. The remainder of
the regiment occupied the defenceless line at the right of
the road.

When the heat of the charge had abated and we were
in possession of the Confederate works, I discovered a
Rebel a short distance in front of us, who evidently had not
gotten a good send-away with the others, and was left at the
post. He was hiding behind an old and barkless stump
of a tree that was so near the color of his dirty gray uniform
that it was difficult to decide whether he was a man or a
twin stump. After considering the matter a few moments,
I raised my Springfield and invited the Johnny into our
lines,— an invitation he so meekly and politely accepted
that I came to the conclusion that he was better pleased to
be a prisoner in the Federal lines than to be a soldier in the
ranks of the Confederates.

After turning my prisoner over to the guard to be taken
to the rear, I engaged in firing on a Confederate battery
located in the woods and near the road. It was immediately
in front of us and was trying to shell us out. Artillery
and musket firing was again begun and was impetuously



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70 NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

kept up, and we were kept on the alert. Bain was falling,
and the Condef erates were continually making demonstra-
tions on our front. Four different times they charged us,
and four different times we sent them hastily back to
shelter.

We could hear the constantly running trains on the
Southside and Wheldon Railways, hurrying forward Con-
federate troops from Richmond and Petersburg until our
little army was almost surrounded. The steady roar of
musketry was now kept up on our right and rear; our left
rear was a dense forest ; we still had a strong force in our
front, and the coming result was a conundrum difficult to
solve. Some brigades were forced to face to the right and
charge the enemy; 'while two brigades of noble fellows,
to whom we were largely indebted for deliverance from
that cowpen, were compelled to face to the rear and fight,
as only Americans can, and after a severe and prolonged
struggle they succeeded in repulsing a large part of Hill's
corps that had captured a Federal battery, recapturing our
lost guns, taking a large number of prisoners and several
Confederate flags, and opening an avenue to the rear. And
Night was again upon us!

•Memoirs of Gen. Grant, Vol. II, Pages 586-7.

" The second corps, followed by two divisions of the Fifth
Corps, with the cavalry In advance and covering our left flank,
forced a passage at Hatcher's Run, and moved up the south side
of it towards the Southside Railroad, until the Second Corps and
part of the cavalry reached the Boydton Plank Road where it



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BULLY M'CABS DRYING THE J0HNND5S.



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NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE 73

crossed Hatcher's Run. At this point we were six miles distant
from the Southside Railroad, which I had hoped by this move-
ment to reach and hold, but finding that we had not reached
the end of the enemy's fortifications, and no place presenting
itself for a successful assault by which he might be doubled up
and shortened, I determined to withdraw within our fortified line.
Orders were given accordingly. Immediately upon receiving a
report that General Warren had connected with General Han-
cock, I returned to my headquarters. Soon after I left, the
enemy moved out across Hatcher's Run in the gap between
Generals Hancock and Warren, which was not closed as re-
ported, and made a desperate attack on General Hancock's
right and rear. General Hancock immediately faced his corps
to meet it, and after a bloody combat drove the enemy within
his works and withdrew that night to his old position."

The works we had captured on the Run were a trench
with earth banked up about three feet high. Late in the
afternoon, when the enemy had ceased charging our front
and the fight was raging on our right and rear, Billy Mc-
Cabe, of the Eighth New York, cooked coffee and declared
he would sit on the embankment and drink it, and defy
the Johpnies to hit him. This was an act entirely uncalled
for and some of us strongly opposed it, but all our re-
monstrances proved of no avail. He, with tin cup in hand,
climbed upon the works and there seated himself, with hia
feet hanging down towards the enemy. He was sipping his
coffee, apparently as unconcerned as if at home in the
State of New York, enjoying a day with a picnic party.
The bullets were flying around him, and occasionally some-



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74 NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

one would say, "Billy, you had better come in!" but he
was heedless of all warnings. Later, a bullet passed
through the sleeve of his blouse, yet he sat unmoved, and
when he had finished his coffee he leisurely climbed down
and walked in, unhurt.

We held our position at the Bun until after dark,
when fire was started on different parts of the field and our
retrograde march through the thick woods was begun.
What a march we experienced! Rain had fallen during
the latter part of the day and the ground was soft in the
timber, and badly cut up by the moving cavalry and artil-
lery that had passed before us. The night was one of the
darkest of history; nothing could be seen on our road
through the forest,— not a star in the heavens nor an open-
ing in the clouds above us. I have thought that night
would have fairly compared with the description a
Canadian once gave me of the darkest thing he ever saw,
which he related in this way :

"The darkest scene of my life I experienced when I
was one night in Montreal, a good many years ago. In
those days there were no street lights of any kind and the
business places were lighted with tallow candles. It was
the dark of the moon and there was not a star to be seen;
the clouds were low, dark and threatening, and in the dark-
ness appeared a black man dressed in black, bereft of sight,
and with a dark lantern. He was searching a dark al-
ley for a family of black cats."



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NUGGETS OP EXPERIENCE 75

Nevertheless, we wandered on through the woods un-
til daybreak. The morning sun was bright and the day
was clear and pleasant, with the dust settled and the at-
mosphere much improved by the refreshing rain. Late in
the morning I came up with some soldiers of our regiment
who were resting with a stretcher at the roadside. Upon
inquiring the meaning, I was informed that Lieutenant
George Rector, of Company F, had the day before been
seriously wounded, and up to that time no ambulance
could be obtained. Those boys had carried the disabled
comrade all through that dark night, hoping to place him
in a doctor's care, and they were well-nigh exhausted.
Lieutenants E. K. Sage, George Preelove and one other
comrade, all of Company L, volunteered, and assisted
Company F's boys, and they carried the Lieutenant sev-
eral miles further, when a conveyance was secured to take
him to the hospital.

On the night of the 29th of October we were again
back on the line in front of Petersburg.



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CHAPTER VII



8ome of the Reasons Why the Comrades are Clinging Together

Today.

Thirty-nine years have come and gone since the date
that appears at the head of this narrative, and yet it seems
not long ago when we were engulfed in the depths of a
cruel Civil War, and the loyal men all over the land were
associated together in arms for the preservation of the life
and integrity of our country. We hope those days may
never come again. They are long past. But the occur-
rences are still retained in the memory of the surviving
participants; and to me, even in these late days, there is
no literature more interesting and entertaining, though
there are many sad features to look upon, than the reminis-
cences of the truly war-experienced comrades of the stormy
days of the sixties. On the minds of those tried veterans
are indelibly stamped the sufferings and privations under-
gone for love of country, —their true and unfailing affec-
tion for Freedom and Union.

While there were some amusements in camp life, of
which we knew but little in the last year of the war, there
were the experiences of all kinds of weather ; the hardships
and exposures of the long, hurried marches through the



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NUGGETS OP EXPERIENCE 77

rain, snow and mud, or the broiling sun and stifling dust;
the vigilant and sleepless nights; and we will say nothing
of meeting our opponents, and the heroic and chivalrous
deeds performed on the many battlefields; all of which
are realized and thoroughly understood only by the war-
experienced veterans. How their old blood runs young
again and their dim eyes grow bright as they relate their
adventurous experiences to each other and mentally fight
over anew the battles of long gone days !

These are some of the reasons why the comrades who
fought in that bloody war are clinging together today, and
why they like to meet at the Post, and why they enjoy
attending the annual Encampment. There they meet their
old and grizzled-haired comrades, who, when but boys long
years ago, had shared their fortunes in war, and had stood
by them in the fight amid the storms of raking shot and
shell, and together they followed "Old Glory 's" stream-
ing colors into the gaping jaws of Hell!

Those are the heroes who protected our country's flag
and bore it in triumph from many a battlefield, crimson
and gory, and whose valor saved the Nation from shame
and disgrace, and placed it in safety and honor, on its il-
lustrious pedestal of glory !



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Eighth New York Heavy Artillery

(129th Infantry)

Volunteers

OFFICIAL REPORTS

COMPILED FROM THE SERIES OF VOLUMES OFFICIAL RECORDS

OF THE

UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES

WAR OF THE REBELLION



Published Under the Directions of the

HON. DANIEL S. LAMONT.

Secretary of War,

1893.



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CHAPTER VIII

Albany, N. Y., Aug. 22nd, 1862,
Hon. E. ML Stanton, Secy, of War.

Sir:

Will the War Dept. turn over to me, for immediate

issue, 10,000 Springfield rifled muskets with accoutrements 1
If this is done I will endeavor to obtain the consent of
our State Comptroller to issue to our troops an equal num-
ber of Enfield, caliber .58, provided the Government will
immediately reimburse the State cost and charges therefor.
We have no infantry accoutrements; those oflfered to me
by Captain Crispin are not adapted to our arms.

The 111th (Auburn) Col. Segoine, passed here this
morning. The 117th (Rome) Col. Pearce, is just leaving
the Albany dock. The 120th (Kingston) Col. Sharp, and
129th (Lockport) Col. Porter, both leave camp tomorrow,
the former via New York, the latter via Elmira. Others
will follow as fast as railroad can transfer them.

E. D. Morgan.

Albany, N. Y., Aug. 23, '62.
Hon. Edwin M. Stanton, Secy, of War:

The 117th Reg't. Col. Pearce, passed this city last
evening en route for Washington. The 129th regiment



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82 NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

left Lockport for Washington, via Elmira, at 2 P. M. to-
day.

Thos. Hillhousb, Adjt. General.

The One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Regiment, New
York Volunteer Infantry, Col. Peter A. Porter, Lieut. Col.
W. W. Bates, arrived at Baltimore, Md., August, 1862 ; was
transformed into Artillery December, 1862, and was after-
wards known as the Eighth Regiment, New York Volun-
teer Heavy Artillery.

It was brigaded January 31st, 1863, with Eighth
Army Corps, headquarters Cockeyville. Forts, Federal
Hill, McHenry and Marshall and York, Pennsylvania.
Department of Baltimore, defenses of Washington, D. C.

EIGHTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY JOINS SECOND ARMY
CORPS AT SPOTTSYLVANIA.

May 17th, 1864, the Eighth New York Heavy Artil-
lery joined the Second Division, Second Army Corps. May
19th, by special order No. 139, Tyler's Division, consisting
of the First Maine, First Massachusetts, Second, Seventh
and Eighth Begiments New York Heavy Artillery, and
Thirty-sixth Regiment Wisconsin Infantry, was assigned
to the second Army Corps.

May 29th the Corcoran Legion and Eighth New York
Heavy Artillery were formed into a Fourth Brigade of the
Second Division, Second Army Corps, and later the Eighth
New York Heavy Artillery joined the Second Brigade of



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NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE 83

the Second Division. With this command it participated in
the following battles:

Spottsylvania, May 19th; North Anna River, May
23d and 24th; Tolopotomy, May 28th, 29th, 30th, and June
1st; Cold Harbor, June 2d to 12th; Petersburg, (charge,)
June 16th; Siege of Petersburg; Jerusalem Road, June
22d, 23d and 24th; Deep-bottom, July 28th and 29th;
Strawberry Plains, August 14th and 15th; Deep-bottom,
August 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th; Ream Station, August
25th; Hatcher's Run, (Boydton Road,) October 27th and
28th; with numerous skirmishes and engagements of less
importance.

OFFICIAL REPORT OF MAJOR GEN. JOHN GIBSON, COM'D 2d DI-
VISION, 2nd ARMY CORPS.
THE BATTLE OF COLD HARBOR.

May 27th left North Anna for Pamunkey River; cross-
ed next day, near Hanover. Took position on the left. On
the 30th took position on Tolopotmy Creek, driving the
enemy's skirmishers; next day advanced. Constant skir-
mishing and cannonading was going on in our front until
the night of the first of June, when the division was with-
drawn and reached Cold Harbor the next morning at six
o'clock. Took position on left of Sixth Corps. The loss
to the Division in the assault was sixty-five officers and 1032
men killed and wounded. The gallant Col. Porter, Eighth
New York Heavy Artillery, fell only a few yards from the



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84 NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

enemy's works, surrounded by the dead of his regiment,
which, although new to the work, fought like veterans.

From the third to the twelfth the Division, in perfect-
ing position and pushing forward works toward the enemy,
was constantly under fire both cannon and musketry, day and
night, losing some 280 officers and men killed and wounded.
During these twelve days the labors and military duty of
the Division were of the hardest kind and performed under
the most disadvantageous circumstances, confined for ten
days in narrow trenches with no water to wash with and
none to drink except that obtained at the risk of losing life ;
unable to obey a call of nature or to stand erect without
forming target for hostile bullets, and subject to the heat
and dust of midsummer which soon produced sickness and
vermin, the position was indeed a trying one, but all bore
it cheerfully and contentedly, constructed covered ways
down to the water and to the rear and joked at the hostile
bullets as they whistled over their heads to find, perhaps,
a less protected target far in the rear of the lines. I re-
gard this as having been the most trying period of this
most trying campaign.

To give some idea in regard to the losses and services
of the Division during this eventful campaign, it becomes
necessary to refer to certain facts.

The Division left camp May 3d, with three brigades,
numbering in the aggregate 6,799. At Spottsylvania Court-
house, May 16th, it was joined by the Corcoran Legion,
1,521, and the Thirty-sixth Wisconsin, Col. P. A. Haskell,



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NUGGBTS OF EXPERIENCE 85

765 ; on the next day by the Eighth New York Heavy Ar-
tillery, Col. Peter A. Porter, 1,654, and during the first
two weeks in June was further increased by 323; total,
11,062.

Its losses up to July 30th were: Killed, 77 officers
and 971 men; total, 1,048. Wounded, 202 officers and
3,825 men ; total, 5,075, or forty-six per cent, of the whole
strength in killed and wounded alone. The Brigades have
had seventeen different commanders, of whom three have
been killed and six wounded. Of the 279 officers killed
and wounded, forty were regimental commanders. These
facts serve to demonstrate the wear and tear of the Divi-
sion.

########

REPORT OP MAJOR ERASTUS M. SPAULDING, COMMANDING

EIGHTH NEW YORK HEAVY ARTILLERY, JUNE 16TH-29TH.

CHARGE ON PETERSBURG.

Charged enemy's works June 16th; advanced within
fifty yards of the works, held that position and intrenched
during the night. On the morning of June twenty-second,
took position near Jerusalem Plank Road, remained there
until about four p. m. under fire of a rebel battery. About
five p. m. charged and attempted to retake the lost works;
advanced to within a few yards of the works and held
position there until dark and intrenched in the night under
severe picket fire. On the morning of the twenty-third
advanced and occupied the works which the enemy had
abandoned; evening of the twenty-third, withdrew a mile;



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86 NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

threw up intrenchments until about ten p. m., when we
again advanced to occupy our second line of intrench-
ments. Twenty-fifth, removed to the left to occupy front
line, which we did until three p. m. of the twenty-seventh,
then marched to Deep Bottom. At nine p. m. of the twen-
ty-ninth, returned to position before Petersburg.

BATTUE OP REAM STATION.

In regard to the battle of Beam Station and the mis-
fortune that befell the Eighth New York Heavy Artillery
on that eventful August day, (25th), 1864, I know no
words more fitting or explanatory than those contained
in the following official reports of the different officers
who were in command:

REAM STATION— REPORT OF COL. MURPHY.

Headquarters 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division,
2nd Army Corps.
The 155th and 117th New York Vols, being engaged
with the enemy on the right, the rest of the command still
occupied the rifle pits. Myself having been to the right,
they were moved to the left. While so situated they had
to cross the rifle pits as many as four times, being forced
to do so by the enemy's fire which at one time would come
from the rear and then change again to the front. The
Brigade remained in this position until the advance on our
front and flank made the capture of the greater part of the
command very probable if it had not retired, which was



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NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE 87

executed in any way but the best order. The Eighth New
York Heavy Artillery on its right had a hand to hand fight
with the enemy, losing their colors after retaking them
from the enemy. Cou Matthew Murphy,

Com'd. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps.

Ream Station: Headquarters, 2nd Division,
2nd Army Corps, Near Petersburg, Va. Aug. 30th, 1864.
The enemy broke through Gen'l Miles' line, his fire
taking my line in reverse. I shifted my men to the op-
posite side of the parapet; soon after the enemy attacked
my line, the men again shifted to the inside of the parapet.
Besides the fire from the front they were subjected to a
heavy artillery and musketry fire from the right flank
where the enemy turned our own guns upon us. The men
soon gave way in great confusion and gave up the breast-
works. ####•#•
Maj. Gen. John Gibbon,
Com'd. 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps.

"Gen'l Order No. 63.
Headquarters, 2nd Div., 2nd Army Corps. Aug. 30, 1864.
The following named regiments having lost their regi-
mental colors in action, are hereby deprived of the right
to carry colors until by their conduct in battle they show
themselves competent to protect them; Eighth New York
Heavy Artillery, 164 New York Volunteers, 36 Wisconsin
Volunteers. Maj. Gen. John Gibbon,

Commanding Second Division.



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88 NUGGBTS OF EXPERIENCE

LETTER OF MAJOR GEN. HANCOCK

Headquarters, 2nd Corps,
Lieut. Col. T. S. Bowers, Sept. 28, 1864.

Asst. Adj. Gen.
Colonel:

I have the honor to solicit your attention to the in-
closed copy of an order published by Major General Gib-
bon on the 30th ultimo, with my indorsement thereon, and
to the printed orders of the Major General commanding
the Army of the Potomac, confirming and approving Gen-
eral Gibbon's order.

It will be seen that General Gibbon deprived three regi-
ments of his Division of the privilege of bearing colors
(they having lost their colors at the battle of Ream Sta-
tion, August 25th) ; that I approved of the principle, but
requested that if it was adopted the rule might be made
general, and affect other corps as well as my own; and,
finally, that General Meade overruled my suggestion and
singled these regiments,— the Eighth New York Heavy Ar-
tillery, One Hundred and Sixty-fourth New York Volun-
teers, and Thirty-sixth Wisconsin Volunteers,— to be pub-
lished to the Army as having rendered themselves unworthy
to carry colors : this without regard to the fact that in the
same action other regiments of my command lost colors,
and that but a few days before several regiments of an-
other corps had met with the same misfortune.

Under the circumstances, I respectfully submit that
these regiments have been proceeded against with unneces-



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NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE 89

sary severity and a slur cast upon the corps which I have
the honor to command, which, in view of the past, might
well be omitted.

It is, perhaps, known to you that this Corps never
lost a gun nor a color previous to this campaign, though
oftener and more desperately engaged than any other
corps in this Army, or perhaps any other in the country.
I have not the means of knowing the number of guns or
colors captured, but I saw myself nine in the hands of one
Division at Antietam, and the official reports show that
thirty-four fell into the hands of the corps at Gettysburg.
Before the opening of this campaign it had at least cap-
tured over half a hundred colors from the enemy, and
never yielded one, though at a cost of 25,000 casualties.
During the campaign you can judge how well the Corps
has performed its part. It has captured more guns and
colors than all the Army combined. Its reverses have not
been many, and they began only when the Corps had dis-
solved to a remnant of its former strength; after it had
lost 25 Brigade Commanders and over 125 Regimental
Commanders, and over 20,000 men.

I submit that with the record of this Corps, that it
is the highest degree unjust by a retrospective order to
publish a part of it as unworthy to bear colors. It is not
necessary to speak more particularly as to the injustice
done to these regiments. The principle discussed covers
their case. I may say, however, that these regiments first
saw service in the field after the battle of Spottsylvania.

8



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90 NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE

At Cold Harbor the Colonel of the Thirty-sixth Wiscon-
sin, as gallant a soldier as ever lived, fell dead on the field,
as did the Colonel of the Eighth New York Heavy Artil-
lery. The Colonel of the One Hundred and Sixty-fourth
New York fell mortally wounded beside his flag on the
breastworks of the enemy. These regiments have since that
time suffered severely. One of them, at least, having lost
two commanding officers.

I respectfully request that their colors may be restored
to them. They are entitled to the same privilege as other
regiments,— that is, the right to strive to avoid the penal-
ties of General Order No. 37, current series, headquarters
Army of the Potomac.

I am, Colonel, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

Winf'd S. Hancock,
Maj. General of Volunteers.



Hatcher's Run, or Boyd ton Road.
Operations, October 27th and 28th, 1864.

REPORT OF BRIG. GEN*!. BGAN.

The result of these operations are that my command
has captured prisoners, captured one and recaptured two
guns; captured three colors and many commissioned offi-
cers, and, by the admission of the enemy, killed a Rebel
gen'l officer. I beg to mention the Thirty-six Wisconsin,
Eighth New York Heavy Artillery and One Hundred and



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NUGGETS OF EXPERIENCE 91

Sixty-Fourth New York Volunteers. No troops could have

done better.

Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Egan,
Com'd Second Division.



REPORT OP COL. JAMES WILLETT, COM'd. 2ND BRIGADE, 2ND
DIV., 2nd ARMY CORPS.

Sir:

Since making my report of the part taken by the Sec-
ond Brigade, 2nd Div., 2nd Army Corps, in the operations
of the twenty-seventh instant, I have learned the follow-
ing additional particulars which I desire to submit, viz:

Captain T. J. Burk, 164 New York Volunteers, reports
as follows : That after the 2nd Brig, had occupied the hill
on Berger's farm, and the 3rd Brig, had united on the


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