New York (State). Monuments Commission for the Bat.

Final report on the battlefield of Gettysburg online

. (page 15 of 61)
Online LibraryNew York (State). Monuments Commission for the BatFinal report on the battlefield of Gettysburg → online text (page 15 of 61)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


marched out under cover of this high ground, and believed that we joined
onto something, so that we would be better protected on our left. Even from
the right of my regiment, where I immediately went as soon as we came to a
frontand the firing commenced, I could see nothing of how far the enemy's right
extended on our left. I relied upon orders for withdrawing the regiment in
case we were in danger of being flanked in that direction. We stopped the
enemy and were holding them in our front, but their line so far overlapped the
One hundred and thirty-fourth on our right that they swung around almost
in their rear, and had such an enfilading fire upon them and our whole line, that
that regiment was compelled to give way, and I immediately gave orders for my
regiment to fall back. They retreated towards the left. When I reached a
position in rear of where the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania had formed, I found
that they had been withdrawn without my knowledge, and that the enemy had
outflanked us to a much greater extent upon our left than on the right; that
their line had advanced unopposed down the road and across the open field
beyond. The ground directly in rear of the position which we had occupied
was cut up into village lots surrounded by board fences, so that retreat was
greatly impeded in that direction. The men being almost entirely surrounded
by the enemy, who outnumbered them more than five to one and were right in
their midst, many of our men were compelled to surrender.

After the battle I was informed that the brigade commander sent an order
for the One hundred and fifty-fourth and One hundred and thirty-fourth to
retreat at the same time he withdrew the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania. This
order I did not receive. It was very unfortunate that I did not, as I had con-
fidently relied upon receiving such an order in case there arose unusual danger
from the direction in which I could not see.

Now, to you gentlemen. Commissioners of the Memorial Association, we
present this monument. The trust is sacred. It represents the best endeavor
of 1,000 men, the blood of 300 patriots who died during their term of service
upon fields of battle, in hospitals, or in prisons; and, "He who marks the



1052 New York at Gettysburg.

sparrow's fall " alone can tell, what long years of anxiety, of tears of sorrow,
and finally of broken hearts, of the widowed and the fatherless. I will not
lift the veil which time has woven around mourning hearts and vacant
hearthstones. I trust the kind Providence who knows them so well will make
them His special care. All you can do is to preserve well this, their memorial,
which we now intrust to your keeping.



ADDRESS OF HON. J. S. WHIPPLE.
Veterans of the One hundred and fifty-fourth New York:

From the beginning of time monuments have been raised and dedicated in
all lands to the memory of great men, and to commemorate great events. Monu-
ments stand in all our parks and public places, raised there by a loving and
generous people to keep alive the deeds and public services of statesmen,
scholars and philanthropists. We see bronze or marble figures of Washing-
ton, Lafayette, Scott, Jackson, Webster, Lincoln, Grant and Hancock, telling
us in silent language of the services rendered and heroic deeds done by these
men, whose memory an appreciative and affectionate people will always love
to honor. We dedicate to-day a monument not to one man, not to one soldier,
not to one civilian, but to 1,000 men. A thousand brave men are represented
in this dedication, whether they be here, living witnesses of the ceremony, or
sleeping in the ground upon which we stand, martyrs to the cause of Freedom
and victims of that awful battle fought on this consecrated spot twenty-seven
years ago. Whether they are living yet out among the grand old hills of
Cattaraugus or Chautauqua where the apple blossoms make the whole atmos-
phere sweet with perfume in the springtime, or whether their bleaching
bones are piled together at Belle Island, Libby Prison, or Andersonville,
whether they may be in the flesh or in the spirit, — those of them who are here
dedicate this monument to them, their comrades, to mark the spot where they
fought and died for home, for country, and for a Union, one and inseparable.

Well do we remember when they bravely marched away to the grand, wild
music of war, surrendering all they held dear at home, ready to sacrifice the
last drop of their blood, willing to give up life, to be shattered and torn, to lie
on the trodden field mangled and bleeding, dying with thirst and agony. They
did this that the Nation might live; that the government founded by Wash-
ington might continue to exist; that our flag might forever wave over a free
people; that beneath its beautiful folds no person should live and not be free;
that wherever the Stars and Stripes float all might know it as an emblem of a
free people, a united Nation with financial integrity untarnished, with a
currency at par, and taken without discount among all civilized nations.

Our soldiers fought that four million human beings governed by the lash
might be forever free, and that we might to-day enjoy the blessings of a free
country.

I believe that we ought to regard that awful struggle with a feeling that it
was inevitable, rather than with feelings of bitterness. We must recognize in
the result, great as the cost of life and property was, immeasurable benefits to



New York at Gettysburg. io53

I
all mankind. It was a fight for the eternal right, and it will forever serve as a
lesson to all nations that the right must prevail.

I do not wonder that from time to time since this spot was made sacred by
the glorious battle which was waged between those mighty hosts twenty-seven
years ago, people come here from the North and South to dedicate the monu-
ments which now mark this battlefield. I do not wonder that they come from
the farm and the workshop, from the hillside and the valley, from the forge
and the spindle, men of every nationality, now merged into one nationality,
American.

It was thus the soldier came from every nook and corner, from the dusty marts
of trade and commerce, from the western prairies, from the rugged, pine-clad
hills of Maine, and the beautiful valley of the St. Lawrence, from all over this
broad land to take part in this grand struggle which settled the question of
national life and liberty.

Every hamlet and village has its war-worn veterans to tell the story of
Gettysburg, that field of daring achievements. " Every village churchyard
has its green mounds that need no storied monuments to clothe them with a
peculiar consecration; graves that hold the dust of heroes; graves that all men
approach with reverent steps; graves out of whose solemn silence whisper in-
spiring voices telling the young from generation to generation how great is
their country's worth and cost, and how grand it was to die for it."

The people come here from all places and from all classes, meeting on a
common level with one thought and one purpose, to do honor to the memory
of brave men who engaged in that awful battle which decided a nation's fate.

We remember the partings in the years gone by ; we remember the soldiers as
they marched away; and as we think, the shadows come back again, and we
live the old time over as in a dream.

Oh! If the Nation's soldier dead, sleeping to-day upon a hundred battlefields,
sleeping where they fell in the midst of dreadful carnage, under the heat of
Southern skies, in the storm of shot and shell, and those who perished on
the march, in the swamps, and fell by disease, and all the thousands who heroic-
ally met death by slow disease in Southern prisons, and died with pictures
of home flitting before their dying eyes, and the murmuring sound of cool,
rippling brooks coming to their dying ears, could only see the greatness and
grandeur, and the future of this Union which they saved, they would feel as
we do, that the sacrifice was not in vain.

The War of the Rebellion meant more to us as a people and the world, than
any other war has to any people. Soldiers in other countries from time to
time have fought at the command of monarchs, priests and kings, to maintain
a place am^ong nations and for conquest. They fought for glittering gold;
they fought for booty and beauty; they followed their leaders over Alpine
snows and to the foot of the Pyramids and across seas as paid hirelings to
keep in power some monarch who had wrongly usurped a throne. Other
nations have run red with blood, and wars have laid waste many fair lands.
No soldier ever fought from such pure motives as ours; no soldier ever bore
arms in defence of grander principles than were involved in the War of the
RebeUion.



1054 New York at Gettysburg.

Every officer who commanded and every private who carried a musket should
live in history and in the hearts of our people, as long as this " government
of the people, for the people, and by the people " shall live among the nations
of the earth.

Where soldiers fought for gold, ours fought for homes; where others fought
to satisfy the ambitions of a king, ours fought to preserve the Union; where
others fought for conquest, ours fought to make all men free; where others
fought to carry the ensign of ambitious monarchs into foreign lands, oui
own brave men shed the blood of human beings only to quell secession and
to keep the old flag flying proudly in its place, without a star obliterated or a
etripe erased.

This is a glorious battlefield, the greatest the world has ever known; greatest
in point of numbers engaged on either side, greatest in loss of life sustained,
greatest in results obtained, for it decided the fate of the grandest nation on
the face of the earth.

If this day does not mean to us the renewal of patriotic love; if we do not
say " As these men fought and died for liberty and truth, so we will Uve for
them; as they fought and died to vindicate the honor of the country, we will
live to preserve it," — if it does not mean this, it means little.

" Still the message of those brave deaths is one of life, a life of broad Ameri-
canism and grand devotion to our country's interests."

We dedicate this beautiful monument to the memory of the brave men who
composed the One hundred and fifty-fourth Regiment of New York Volunteers.
To the memory of all those men, living or dead, who left their friends and
homes up in dear old Chautauqua and Cattaraugus, left the green fields through
which many of them were never more to wander.

We do not forget to-day any of them, and especially do we remember those
who in the first day of that great battle were surprised and captured upon
this spot Our very souls are now wrung with agony for them who in the
long terrible months thereafter languished and perished in that hell upon
earth, Andersonville. Better were it for them had they died here on this conse-
crated ground; died here amid the tumult and roar; died here underneath our
old banner, victorious in the greatest battle the world has ever known.



HISTORICAL SKETCH. 1
By Comrade E. D. Northrup.

The One hundred and fifty-fourth Regiment, New York Volunfeers, was
recruited from the counties of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus, the men enlisting
for three years or during the war. It was organized at Jamestown, N. Y.,
where it was mustered into the United States service September 24, 1862.

Under command of Col. Patrick H. Jones it left the State September 30th,
for the seat of war. Colonel Jones had already served with distinction as
major of the Thirty-seventh New York, from .which regiment he was pro-
moted to the colonelcy of his new command. 1



New York at Gettysburg. 1055

Dn arriving at the front the One hundred and fifty-fourth was assigned
to the Eleventh Corps, and was placed in Buschbeck's Brigade of von Stein-
wehr's (Second) Division.

The One hundred and fifty-fourth New York was engaged in the battle of
Chancellorsville, numbering then 590 men in line of battle. It held its posi-
tion at Dowdall's Tavern, where with Wiedrich's Battery it really served as
headquarters guard, until after all the rest of the Eleventh Corps had retired
to the woods east of them, and then retreated in good order. Many of the
Seventy-third Pennsylvania retreating, fell in behind them and supported them
as they lay and fought in their breastworks. Its losses in killed, wounded, and
captured were so large that the regiment numbered only about 300 men when
in line of battle at Gettysburg.

On the 30th of June, 50 men of the regiment, together with 50 of the
Seventy-third Pennsylvania were detailed, under the command of Maj. L. D.
Warner, of the One hundred and fifty-fourth New York, to make a recon-
noissance out to Strykersville, and thus were not engaged in the first day's
fight at Gettysburg.

The Second Division was the last one of the Eleventh Corps to reach
Cemetery Hill by the Emmitsburg Pike. The One hundred and fifty-fourth
New York arrived there at about 4 p. m., on the double-quick, filed into the
cemetery and cleaned guns, and immediately (with the Twenty-seventh Penn-
sylvania and One hundred and thirty-fourth New York, only,) double-quicked
down through the town, out on the Harrisburg Road, and formed line of battle
where its monument now stands, a short distance north of Stevens Run, At
this time the broken lines of Schurz's troops were in full retreat, and about
as soon as the One hundred and fifty-fourth New York (with the Twenty-
seventh Pennsylvania on its left and the One hundred and thirty-fourth New
York on its right) had formed line of battle, the enemy in overwhelming
numbers fell upon them, in front and on both flanks.

Again the One hundred and fifty-fourth New York held its ground, receiving
no order to retreat whatever, the men firing six to nine shots apiece with their*
Enfield rifles. Thus nearly all possible chance to retreat was cut off, and
all but 15 men and 3 officers were captured. These officers were Lieut
Col. Daniel B. Allen, then in command of the regiment, Capt. M. B. Cheney
and Lieut. James W. Bird, of Company G, who escaped by running at the
very last under the deadly fire of the enemy.

Capt. M. B. Cheney, on his way, came upon the National and State colors
of the One hundred and thirty-fourth New York lying on the ground, mistook
them for those of his own regiment,* and bore them safely off from the field
through a perfect hail storm of minie balls, receiving a severe gun shot wound
just as he was crossing the railroad, which wound so disabled him that he finally
had to reluctantly submit to discharge from the service. Col. (Gen.) P. H.
Jones was then a paroled prisoner, wounded and captured at Chancellorsville.

♦And, as it is told, a soldier of the One hundred and thirty-fourth New York, by a
similar mistake, carried off the national colors of the One hundred and fifty-fourth, this
soldier being wounded also. [Ed.



1056 New York at Gettysburg.

Lieut. James W. Bird bore off the State colors of the One hundred and fifty-
fourth New York.

The remnant of the regiment, including the reconnoitering party, combined
with the few remaining men of the One hundred and thirty-fourth New York,
did gallant service on the 2d of July on Cemetery Hill, in support of Wiedrich's
Battery and in repelling the assault of the Louisiana Tigers.

After being reinforced by exchanged prisoners and convalescents, the One
hundred and fifty-fourth New York was transferred to Lookout Valley, Tenn.,
in October, 1863. It was engaged soon after in the battles of Wauhatchie,
Missionary Ridge, and the march to Knoxville to relieve General Burnside.

As a part of the Second Brigade, Second Division, Twentieth Corps, the
regiment fought almost continuously throughout the Atlanta campaign, sus-
taining its severest loss, in proportion to numbers, on the 8th of May, 1864,
in the attempt of General Geary to capture Dug Gap, on Rocky Face Ridge,
near Dalton, Ga.

Increased by 90 recruits, the regiment made the March to the Sea, and
served through Sherman's campaign in the Carolinas. The services and
experiences of the regiment were of the most varied and interesting character,
and its record one of the best.

At the battle of Peach Tree Creek, July 20, 1864, it (and the Thirty-third
New Jersey) received the first onslaught of Hood's assault. At the battle of
Missionary Ridge, the regiment formed the extreme left of Grant's army on
Citico Creek, a perilous position, in close proximity to General Cleburne's
forces that intervened between the regiment and General Sherman's column.
Colonel Buschbeck, of the Twenty-seventh Pennsylvania, commanding the
brigade, with all of its regiments except the One hundred and thirty-fourth
and One hundred and fifty-fourth New York, joined General Sherman's
forces, leaving Colonel Jones in command of the remainder; and
Corp. Thomas R. Aldrich of Company B, was the extreme left
of all. He was captured at Rocky Face Ridge, wounded while hold-
ing the colors. The regiment did gallant service in the battle of
Missionary Ridge, Colonel Jones having been exchanged, being in command.
When mustered out at Bladensburg, Md., June 11, 1865, the regiment numbered
only 303 men. Of its prisoners, 76 died in Confederate military prisons, (53
in Richmond, Va., and 23 in Andersonville) or immediately after parole, from
the effects of their imprisonment; and 76 were killed in battle or died of
wounds so received. Of these, 42 fell at Chancellorsville, and 1 1 at Gettysburg.

Colonel Jones was promoted brigadier general. May 9, 1865, and Lieut. Col.
Lewis D. Warner was made colonel to fill the vacancy. Lieutenant Colonel
Allen, who commanded the regiment at Gettysburg, resigned September 30,
1864.








J. B. LYON PRINT.



P. J. SBVERENCK, PHOTO.



157th new YORK INFANTRY.
In fields north ot the town, near the Carlisle Hoad.



New York at Gettysburg. io57

(INSCRIPTIONS.)



(Front.)

157th new YORK INFANTRY

1st brigade

3rd division

llTH CORPS

300 yards in advance

of this position were

Killed

4 officers, 23 MEN 2^

Wounded

8 officers, 158 MEN 166

Captured

6 officers, 108 MEN II4

Total casualties — 307

July i, 1863.

(Right Side.)

Mustered in

September 19, 1862.

Mustered out

July 10, 1865.

(Left Side.)

The advance position

is designated by

a marker.

(INSCRIPTIONS.)

(Front.)

Erected by the survivors

of the IS7TH Regt., N. Y. Vols.

IN MEMORY of THEIR GALLANT COMRADES
WHO FELL HERE JULY I, 1863.

1ST Brigade, 30 Division, iith Corps

(Reverse.)

Gettysburg

Lost here 18 officers and

291 enlisted men, reducing Reg't.

to 100 FOR DUTY.

(Right Side.) (Left Side.)

Chancellorsville Camp Milton

Gettysburg Honey Hill

Hagerstown Deveaux Neck,.

Fort Wagner Dingle's Mill

Siege of Charleston Sumpterville

I & 2 John's Island Boykins' Mill

Rafting Creek
(Note. — This regiment has two monuments; one erected by the State and one by the
regiment. )

67



1058 New York at Gettysburg.



DEDICATION OF MONUMENT.

157th regiment INFANTRY.

September 8, 1886.

Address by Col. James C. Carmichael.

Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen:

No one regrets more sincerely than I, that on this day, which promises the
richest of all our annual gatherings, and at the place sanctified by so many
and terrible memories, our orator is wanting. We had expected that that gal-
lant soldier and marvelously gifted and eloquent orator. Gen. Stewart L. Wood-
ford, would be present; but ill health has robbed him and us of the pleasure.
My task is to fill in no part the place made vacant, but rather to talk to you
and voice your silent feelings; hence for the greater part we shall confine
ourselves, and that briefly, to reminiscences. There is a particular fondness
among old soldiers for reunions. The element of the heroic has not died out.
At our camp-fires we light the old embers of patriotic feeling that glowed
so brightly more than two decades ago, and may God grant that they may
never burn out. At this, our twenty-first reunion, we are brought nearer to
the life of long ago. Dread scenes must rise before our eyes as heroic action
illumines every place; therefore, Gettysburg is resplendent. But ere our minds
rest upon this heroic field, go back with me in memory to the time when we
left our homes, and where the griefs and hopes of each must ever remain sacred.

Comrades, you will remember that bright September day, in 1862, when we
were all gathered together in the beautiful village of Hamilton, and dofifed
the civilian's garb and donned the Federal blue — when our clothes fitted
us so wondrously well. You remember how we were feasted at Peterboro,
carrying with us from there the parting token from the philanthropic Gerrit
Smith. Yes, we were feasted, too, at Canastota, and there pjirted with friends,
sad-hearted, who looked through eyes bedimmed with tears. Can you not
recall our trip to Albany and our reception there, receiving from Governor
Morgan the usual compliment that we were " the best regiment ever reviewed
there? "

Yes, memory cannot fail you. You will also remember, too, how we were
exhibited at Astor House Park, with its wondrous approaches, and intricate
arrangements. Our colonel probably felt like that colonel of another regi-
ment who said there were only two men who could lead a regiment out of
that park without great loss of life; General Scott was one, and modesty for-
bade him from mentioning the other. We managed, however, to get out of
that park and on to Philadelphia. As we went on we were gradually taught
that the soldier's life was not one of feasting or of ease ; for each place brought
us plainer fare, and each change of cars plainer coaches. We started in first-
class coaches. We passed from cushions of plush to plain board seats; and
from board seats to cattle cars; and even those, a month later, would have been
a luxury to the same men tramping through the Virginia wilds. We reached



New York at Gettysburg. 1059

Washington and were ordered to the Army of the Potomac, under McClellan,
and assigned to the Eleventh Army Corps.

We pass over the intervening time till the battle of Chancellorsville, which
we mention because we can but feel that a great injustice was done to
the Eleventh Corps. Up to that time the fame of the troops comprising the
Eleventh Army Corps was so great that civilians could not understand, after
the battle of Chancellorsville, why the corps could not withstand the entire
army of Stonewall Jackson. Some of you remember that one of the brigade
ofificers-of-the-day was a member of this regiment, and the other a member of
the One hundred and nineteenth New York. They had charge of the picket
line the night before Jackson's charge occurred, and until the afternoon of the
next day. During this time both of the officers, by message and in person,
informed the commander of the Eleventh Corps that the enemy were moving
in force, — artillery, cavalry, and infantry. All these messages received the
reply that we were green troops, more scared than hurt. The pickets that
relieved ours, in the afternoon of May 2d, were captured, and we barely had
time to rejoin our commands before the whirlwind of battle was upon us in
the open field, with woods in front to protect our enemies, and our men ex-
posed on all sides to a merciless cross-fire. The confusion that followed beg-
gars description. Pack-mules were running, loaded with camp equipage, the
music of camp kettles rattling a lively tattoo against each other. Everything
was in wild confusion. The opportunity was lost, which had it been seized
by our commanders twenty-four hours before would have shortened the period
of the war, and might have saved the battle of Gettysburg. It was a great
compliment, indeed, to the Eleventh Corps to have military men, cognizant of
affairs, think for a moment that we (12,000 men) could stand against that
avalanche of Stonewall Jackson's army (over 33,000).

You well know the gallant and scholarly commander of the One hundred
and nineteenth New York, who had been trained in war in the best army of
Europe, had not time to form his regiment before he fell. Such surprises
were not the exception; others could be mentioned. Can any one believe that
those were always made against new troops, and never upon men trained in
war? Ignorant of these facts the Northern press, anxious for any possible
reason to explain the cause of defeat, charged the Eleventh Corps with
cowardice, and^ even officers and men of other corps jeeringly spoke of it as
" the flying crescent."

Writhing under the unjust charge of cowardice the Eleventh Corps came on



Online LibraryNew York (State). Monuments Commission for the BatFinal report on the battlefield of Gettysburg → online text (page 15 of 61)