S. Millet Thompson.

Thirteenth regiment of New Hampshire volunteer infantry in the war of the rebellion, 1861-1865: a diary covering three years and a day online

. (page 74 of 81)
Online LibraryS. Millet ThompsonThirteenth regiment of New Hampshire volunteer infantry in the war of the rebellion, 1861-1865: a diary covering three years and a day → online text (page 74 of 81)
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He was present in every march, skirmish and battle in which the Thir-
teenth was engaged until wounded, and then compelled to leave the ser-
vice much against his will. Some time before this, sympathizing strongly
with Capt. Charles O. Bradley, who did eventually join the regular ser-



624 THIRTEENTH ^'E\V HAMPSHHIE llEGLMEXT. 1865

vice, he h:ul commenced a course of study with a sj)ecial view of joining
the regular army. Though having, previous to the battle at Battery
Five, received three bullet holes through his clothing, and a small slit
in his cap from a piece of shell, he somehow felt almost as sure he would
not be killed in battle as if he had received a special revelation to that
effect. With the excej^tion of taking the compulsory whiskey rations
two or three times while an enlisted man, he let intoxicants alone while
in the army ; and to this day feels that he owes his life to his temperate
habits and strict abstention from intoxicants and alcohol in every form ;
he would under no other circumstances have recovered from the wound
received at Battery Five, and the severe attack of gangrene while in
hospital.

The Band of the Thirteenth was first organized at Concord, by select-
ing the two musicians belonging to each Company, which gave a member-
ship of about twenty men to commence with. There were many changes.
The Band remained with the Reg. until Jan. 20, 1863, when it became
a Brigade Band, with the understanding that the Band should always re-
main in the same brigade with the Thirteenth. This was done in justice
to the 13th, who had contributed about S700 for the original purchase of
the instruments. The Band thus remained with the Reg. nearly all the
time, and came home with it at the last.

William M. Critchley was Band Master and Leader during the three
years. Charles E. Graham served as Sergeant of the Band for the first
year and a half ; he received a commission as Second Lieutenant in a
colored regiment, and for the balance of the three years Charles W.
Washburn served as Sergeant. Henry G. Parshley, by some considered
the best nuisician in the Band, died of diphtheria. Henry Snow, Albion
K. P. Shaw, and one or two others, were discharged the service because
of sickness. A few members of the Band were supplied by other regi-
ments in the brigade.

The Dirge most frequently played at funerals was the ' Dead March
in Saul.' The Band played that march through nineteen times at the
funeral of Lieut. Sanborn, who was shot by Dr. Wright of Norfolk. His
remains had been sent home several days before this funeral was cele-
brated. All the colored troops in the Department were present at the fu-
neral and our Band was engaged to play by the First Regiment of U. S.
colored ti'oops.

The above items about the Band were furnished to the writer by Sergt.
Charles W. Washburn, who adds : " We had the good fortune to be in
the first Division to enter Richmond, and to blow our horns."

" When the Band was mustered out of the service each man was
given the instrument which he had used, and I have mine to-day " (1886).

James M. Caswell.



18C5



PERSONAL NOTES.



625



BAND KOSTER.



Co. 13th.

K
K



H



G
F

E

((

D

((

C

u

B



Wm. M. Critchley, Jr., Leader,

Thomas Critchley

John Harrison

Abel Jackson

Nathan Whalley ^

Robert B. Welch

Charles E. Graham, Sergt.

Daniel G. Ripley

C. W. Washburn, Sergt.

Henry G. Parshley

John H. Parshley

Stephen H. Brown

James M. Caswell

Henry W. Burnham

John W. Palmer

Horace D. Carter

Gilman F. Chase

Albion K. P. Shaw

William H. Peckham

Frank Sanborn ^

Albert Nelson (10th N. H.)

John H. Peckham

Henry Snow.



First PZb Cornet.

Tenor Drum and Solo Alto.

Bb Bass.

Bass Drum.

Second Eb Cornet.

Second Alto.
Second Eb Bass.
First Bb Tenor.
Second Eb Cornet.
Solo Bb Cornet.

First Alto.

Solo Alto and Tenor Drum.

Third Eb Cornet.

Thii'd Bb Cornet.

Eb Bass.

Second Bb Tenor.
Bass Drum.
Tenor Drum.



" Company K, Thirteenth, was organized in Portsmouth, N. H., in the
months of August and September 1862 ; 135 men enlisted for this Com-
pany, 115 of whom went to Concord to be mustered into the service. It
was intended at first that the Company should join the Ninth Regiment,
but Jacob I. Storer having obtained a commission as Major of the Thir-
teenth requested that these men be retained for that regiment, which re-
quest was granted, and 98 men of the 115 were, assigned to Company K
in the Thirteenth. Of the remaining number William J. Ladd was mus-
tered as Sergeant Major, Edwin Lesley was appointed Cor])oral, after-
wards Sergeant, in Company F, five or six were assigned to Company E,
and the rest returned to their homes.

" Of the 101 officers and men who constituted this Company, 42 were
enlisted by Capt. Betton, 22 by Lieut. Goss, 18 by Lieut. Coffin, 2 by
George W. Towle and 1 by J. N. Brown ; 77 went from Portsmoutli, 17
fi-om Rye, 6 from Newington, and 1 from Seabrook.

" Sergeant Robert M. Spinney and Corporal Jacob Ormerod were jiro-

^ Took Henry G. Parshley' s place after he died.

2 After Abel Jackson was discharg-ed. There may have been other members of
the Band, but this is the most authentic list that can now be found. — S. M. T.



626 THIRTEENTH NEW HAMPSHHIE REGIMENT. 1865

moted to commissioned officers of colored troops. Benjamin F. Winn
was promoted to First Lieutenant of Co. B, but was not mustered because
of the early muster-out of the Regiment. William M. Critchley Jr. was
appointed leader of the Band of the Thirteenth — afterwards a Brigade
Band — and Nathan Whalley second leader ; six men in all from Com-
pany K, were members of this Band.

" Company K was a good Company, second to none ; and I always felt
highly honored by having been the commander of such a patriotic, brave
and efficient body of soldiers." Capt. Betton.

Three men of Company B — Corporal Charles B. Saunders, Sergt.
David E. Proctor and Sergt. George T. Woodward — occujiied the same
tent, or hut, in the winter camp at Fort Tillinghast. Proctor proposed
that all the three apply for commissions in colored regiments. The other
two ' sat down ' upon the proposition — heavy. Then one of them re-
pented and projiosed the same thing in return to Proctor ; the result of
their plans was an earnest study for examination. All three were success-
ful, and received commissions, Sanders as Fii-st Lieutenant, Proctor and
Woodward as Captains. The three were assigned to the 30th U. S. C. T.

Capt. Proctor left the Thirteenth and joined the 30th C. T. March 3,
1864, two days before he was twenty-one years of age. The 30th with
other colored regiments had charge of the wagon trains on the march from
the Rapidan to the James, arriving in front of Petersburg June 18th. It
belonged to the 4th Division of the 9th Army Corps. It was engaged
continuously in the operations carried on in front of Petersburg during
the summer.

"■At the explosion of the Mine July 30th," writes Capt. Proctor, "we
went in three hours after the mine was fired. The 30th was the leading
regiment. I had command of the first division of two comjianies, and
such position brought me in the advance of the Avhole charging column. It
was bloody work. My Company went in with 58 men, and 33 of that
number were killed, wounded or missing."

The 30th did duty with the 9th Corps until Nov. 27, 1864, when it
was transferred to the Army of the James, in the 3d Div. of the 10th
Corps. Also took part in both of the Fort Fisher expeditions. Then
joined Gen. Sherman's army in North Carolina. AVas mustered out Dec.
10, 1865.

Nov. 28, 1864, Capt. Proctor was severely wounded in his right hip,
while in command of the picket of the 30th near an old mill upon a creek
which flows into the Appomattox — Proctor's Creek (but so named an-
ciently), — and rejoined his Regiment, after many weeks of suffering and
hospital life. May 28, 1865. He was promoted Major by brevet, to date
from March 1.3, 1865, for gallant and meritorious conduct.

Charles B. Saunders served with the Thirteenth in all of its marches and
engagements until March 1, 1864, when he was discharged, and commis-
sioned a First Lieutenant in the 30th U. 8. C. T. He served with this regi-



1865 END OF SERVICE. 627

ment until mustered out on Dec. 10, 1865. Dui'Ing the march from the
Rapidan to the James the 30th was frequently hurried out of cohmin into
battle order to repel rebel attacks, but did not come to any engagement,
except at Old Church, Va., where the picket line alone was attacked by a
small force of rebel cavalry, which was easily repulsed.

The 30th was brought under fire frequently, during the summer, on the
Petersburg front, up to July 30th, when it engaged in the charge succeed-
ing the Mine explosion. Here Lieut. Saunders was captured, and with
the exception of about a week at Petersburg and Danville, Va., was held
as a prisoner of war at Columbia, S. C, until March 1, 1865, when he
came into the Union line at Wilmington, N. C, under parole.

When Richmond was surrendered he was on a leave of absence as a
paroled prisoner, and completely broken in health. After his return to
his regiment in May 1865, he was urged by its Colonel to accept a Cap-
taincy, his health, however, was very poor, and not feeling equal to the
additional duties necessarily demanded in that higher position, he declined.
He served as Adjutant of the 30th from June 1865 to the time of mus-
ter-out Dec. 10, 1865. He received no wounds while in the service, but
suffered in health severely for a long period because of the rigors of the
southern prison life and from starvation, exposure and chronic diarrhoea.
He is now, 1887, a physician of extensive and lucrative practice in Acton
Centre, Massachusetts.

Sergt. George T. Woodward served vnth the Thirteenth until March 1,
1864, when he was mustered out, receiving a commission as Captain in
the 30th U. S. C. T. He followed the fortunes of the 30th with his com-
patriots Proctor and Saunders, the three also always tenting together, up
to the Mine explosion, when he was severely wounded in the arm. Re-
covering and rejoining his regiment, he was present in both the Fort
Fisher exj^editlons. At the capture of that fort he commanded the
courier line established by Brev. Maj. Gen. Charles J. Paine command-
ing 3d Div., 10th Corps, in which position he earned and received the
highest commendations of that Genei-al and of the other officers. He
received promotion as Major by brevet, to date from March 13, 1865, for
gallant and meritorious conduct.

Jiily 1. Sat. Rainy. The Tliirteenth is paid off for six months by
Paymaster Henry McFarland, and the members receive their final dis-
charge from the service in the forenoon. In the afternoon they turn in
their guns and equipments, form their last line of battle in the rear of
their stacks of arms, hear — and obey — their last military command :
" Break Ranks — March .' "

Just three years and a day have passed since the call of President Lin-
coln for volunteers was issued under which enlistments immediately com-
menced for the Thirteenth, the survivors of which at the close of this day
are speeding to their homes.



628 THIRTEENTH NEW HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT. 1865

The members of the Thirteenth now form part of a body of 800,000
men, who like themselves have been discharged the military service of the
United States within a few recent weeks ; men, who have fought in hun-
dreds of battles — 2,261 the record runs — some of them ranking high
among the greatest battles of history ; men, who are now hurrying home-
ward to every city, town and hamlet in the whole East, North and West ;
men, who are passing at will, without guard or escort, without violence or
jar, and all as quietly as if their immediate four years of tremendous war
were but a natural and commonplace incident of an American citizen's
life ; men, who but a few short hours ago stepped from out the most grim,
terrible and destructive lines of battle the world has ever seen, to enter at
once upon all the quiet paths, vocations and industries of profoundest
peace, — in the land they have freed, in the Union they have saved, in
the mighty Nation their hard blows have welded when never so hot ;
and men who now as citizens will sternly but kindly hold all they have
so firmly welded, until it cools. Of such another scene history is dumb.

" The only National Debt we can never pay, is the Debt that America
owes to these victorious Union Soldiers."

New Hampshire Adjt. General's Report. Vol 2, for 1865, page 339 :
" The Thirteenth bore an honorable part in fifteen engagements, the
names of which are inscribed on its colors. No officer of the command
has ever been cashiered or dismissed the service. One half or more of
its officers are on detached service in various capacities in the army,
while the general intelligence and honesty of its men have won for the
Regiment a character for trustworthiness, efficiency and integrity in the
discharge of their duties, second to none in the service. It has captured
five pieces of artillery in one charge, and with its Division taken sixteen
pieces more ; has captured three battle flags, and taken more prisoners
from the enemy than the number in its own ranks ; and has never been
driven from the field, or from its positions by the enemy."



ADDENDA.



629



OFFICIAL MONTHLY REPORTS BY COMMANDERS OF THE

THIRTEENTH.





COMMISSIONED OFFICERS.


ENLISTED MEN.


COMMISSIONED.


ENLISTED.


End of
Month.


Present for
duty.


Sick.

Present and

absent.


Present for
duty.


Sick.

Present and

absent.


Total Comd.

Present and

absent.


Total Enlisted

Present and

absent.


1862.














Oct.


30


4


640


137


39


974


Nov.


34


3


590


320


38


953


Dec.


29


7


587


291


37


933


1863.














Jan.


24


7


468


361


36


892


Feb.


22


6


493


299


35


860


Mar.


27


4


454


274


37


816


April


30


4


485


219


36


788


May


23


5


438


229


36


766


June


22


4


376


258


33


756


July


18


3


365


244


33


742


Aug.


20


6


326


227


37


710


Sept.


18


5


329


191


39


675


Oct.


23


4


463


163


39


803


Nov.


23


4


463


158


38


787


Dec.


22


3


421


149


39


763


1864.














Jan.


25


3


448


148


39


783


Feb.


24


3


518


137


38


806


Mar.


19


5


506


131


38


791


April


17


5


307


161


39


728


May


15


9


394


168


37


695


June


10


10


213


283


35


650


July


9


8


210


280


35


642


Aug.


10


7


197


285


35


625


Sept.


5


10


170


289


33


602


Oct.


10


7


183


267


30


595


Nov.


10


3


168


265


30


583


Dec.


10


2


205


225


30


571


1865.














Jan.


10


2


215


211


30


560


Feb.


8


2


219


189


29


543


Mar.


7


1


215


156


28


520


April


8


3


228


. 142


29


520


May


9


2


178


130


26


502



630 THIRTEENTH NEW HAMPSHUIE REGIMENT.

The Thirteenth served all its tenii in Virginia, excepting the few days'
march through Maryland. It was present in engagements where nearly
50,000 Union soldiers were officially reported killed or wounded.

From the best information the writer can obtain, it appears that the
average age of the officers and men of the Thirteenth was a little under
twenty-five years ; average height, five feet eight inches ; a great major-
ity of the members having blue eyes, darkish hair and light complexion.

The Thirteenth was in :

The Defenses of Washington, Gen. Silas Casey's Division, from our
arrival in Virginia on October 9th, up to the march to the Battle of
Fredericksburg on Dec. 1, 1862.

Ninth Corps during the Battle of Fredericksburg, and until June 19,
1863. Badge : Shield with anchor and cannon crossed.

Seventh Corps from June 19, 1863, to Aug. 1, 1863. Badge : Cres-
cent, the horns enclosing a five-pointed star.

Eighteenth Corps from Aug. 1, 1863, to Dec. 3, 1864. Badge : ' Clo-
ver-leaf ' cross, with two small triangles.

Twenty-fourth Corps from Dec. 3, 1863, to close of the war. Badge :
Heart enclosing a heart.

The First Division of a Corps wore the badge in red ; the Second, in
white ; the Third, in blue.

The total number of enlistments in the Union army were, according
to the Century, 2,778,304. Capt. Phisterer, in his ' Statistical Record,'
states that the total number will exceed 2,850,000.

The South, with a population nearly half as large as that of the North,
and pressing into the Confederate army every boy and man it could
between the ages of 16 and 60, probably had a force more than half as
laro^e as that of the North, all acclimated and fighting on its own soil.

It is stated that the Union army which put down the Rebellion was^
as an average, not quite twenty-two years old — the Boys did it !

VISIT SOUTH.

Having been provided by the Secretary of War, Hon. Robert T. Lin-
coln,^ and later by Hon. William C Endicott, with a ' Letter of introduc-
tion to Commanders of Departments and Posts, and Superintendents of
National Cemeteries,' I went to Virginia in May 1885, and spent several
weeks among the old camps and battle-fields where the Thirteenth was dur-
ing the war. I stopped at Lt. Col. Normand Smith's house for a week,
and with him visited the fields of Cold Harbor and Fair Oaks, Peters-
burg Front, Battery Five, Drury's Bluff, Fort Harrison, and the place of
entry into Richmond, April 3, 1865, following that march from the front
into the city.

He assisted in locating places and in measuring, pacing or estimating

1 Robert T. Lincoln was my classmate at Phillips Academy, Exeter, and I had the
pleasure of being: the first person to inform him of his father's first nomination for the
Presidency. — S. M. T.



ADDENDA. 631

distances. The Thirteenth is greatly indebted to him for his time, his
team, his numerous notes and facts, and for the assistance that made the
sketches in this book possible. All was done by him with the whole-
hearted and generous cheerfulness characteristic of the man. His farm
is on the Charles City road, two or tlu'ee miles below Richmond. When
Fort Harrison was captured the Union cavalry penetrated to this farm,
for the purpose of attacking a large earth-work situated about one third
of a mile northward from where Lt. Col. Smith's house now stands.
While clearing the farm of brush after the war, he found several human
skeletons, but could not tell whether they were of Federals or Confeder-
ates. A portion of his land was occupied as a camp by Gen. Wade
Hampton's famous Black Horse Cavalry. This old cavalry camp is now
Lt. Col. Smith's favorite garden tract, where liis plow frequently turns
up sundry bits of Confederate army gear, together with saddle iron, mule
and horse shoes, and soldier's clay tobacco pipes — and now and then an
arrow head, an ancient memento of the dusky warriors of the famous old
Indian, King Powhatan.

From Richmond I went on a steamer down the James to Norfolk, and
from there visited the Soldiers' Home at Hampton — in war time the
Chesapeake Hospital — where now 1,500 Veterans are provided for;
saw them all seated at dinner, the most of them gray-haired men. In the
Cemetery, connected with this Home, are buried thirty-one members of
the Thirteenth, twenty-nine of them buried there in 1863-4. From
Norfolk I visited Fortress Monroe, obtaining there several convenient
maps. Afterwards visited Suffolk and vicinity, and went thence by rail
to Fredericksburg and Washington ; at the latter place receiving from
Maj. Gen. John G. Parke, for a long term commander of the 9th Corps,
the official maps traced in this book-
While in Virginia I talked freely with the citizens, and, with one ex-
ception, met with no one who in any way or degree appeared at all cross-
grained ; and this fellow was a mere little upstart of about twenty
summers. All others were pei'fectly cordial and gentlemanly ; in fact
the Southern soldiers, and people generally, are very agreeable for the
Northern soldiers to meet. The most expressed themselves as glad that
the war turned out just as it did. Several said expressly : " We now see
it was all for the best." One citizen of Richmond said : " The South
was educated to the States' rights idea, the North to the National idea ;
now we are all one, that root of evil, slavery, is gone, and we are all glad
of it. Before the war and during it here, the poor white man of the
non-slaveliolding class had little or no redress for mischiefs, insults or
wrongs done by the rich man's negro — but now any white man is just
as good as any nigger." The people were very free with reminiscences
of the war — and quite impartial as to which side they would talk upon
— but the most are quite out of place here.

The men I met discussed the war freely, holding that the Cold Harbor
battle was very important and the chief turning-point, forcing the war



632 THIRTEENTH NEW HAMPSHIRE REGIMENT.

into a hopeless siege. Several held that the South should have estab-
lished a frontier, the one most easily defensible as against the North, and
then bent every energy to maintaining it ; keeping witbin its own terri-
tory, leaving losses of domain here and there for final treaty adjustment
in the event of Confederate success. There were similar mistakes made,
where in all the South lost 50,000 men beyond her legitimate borders, but
Gettysburg was the crowning blunder of all — the great Confederate
mistake. I will venture to add : Whenever a person shall ask the his-
torical conundrum : " At what battle did Gen. Lee surrender ? " — answer :
At Cold Harbor.

It seemed to me that the South has a most troublesome and a fearfully
dangerous legacy inherited from slavery. There are good negroes, but
there are also great numbers whose life is dominated by their animal
propensities, immoral to the last degree ; we have no class like them here
in the North, and can form little idea of actual affairs from the press of
the South. The negroes swarm ; every bullet planted in the war seems
to have sprouted into a little negro ; and every shell, case and canister
shot turned into a dirty negro hut, ready and willing to burst with a
numei'ous tribe of more little negroes. One remai'k made to me by a
respectable native white man near Suffolk, I will give as a notion of
trouble ahead : "Neeg-urs here are gwine ter git erbuv 'emselfs fore soon,
er'ekn — 'f ther don't look-out."

Of the present condition of the old camps, battle-fields, forts and lines
of trenches, I may say they are as tame as the gorilla that was ' starved
to it ' a day too long — heavy, dead, limp, flat and uninteresting. They
are like champagne and soda, with all the ' sizz ' off. Their stillness is
jjositively painful. Trees, underbrush and vines have covered them, and
all their steep sides and sharp angles are rounded into huge ridges and
banks of earth ; they need forty cannon, two dozen drum corps and ten
thousand muskets, all in full snap, to make them seem at all natural.

On the whole my journey was to me very agreeable and interesting, as
was a similar but shorter trip in 1878 ; and I would earnestly advise
every Veteran, who can avail himself of the jirivilege, to visit the old
camp-grounds and battle-fields where he served while a soldier.



It seems best to the writer to add one fair, plain word in closing this
book. Altogether too much has been claimed for the Union army, in the
way of representing it, or parts of it, as all the time s})oiling for a fight,
anxious to meet the foe, eager for battle, cheering on the eve of an oppor-
tunity to wipe out the rebel army, enthusiastic heroes, glorying in gore,
tremendously given to ' chewing flint and steel and s])itting fire ' — and all
that sort of bosh ; thus painting us as an army of ancient Jews, Arabs,
Bazouks, heathen and savages, and not as Christian soldiers. All that is
neither courage nor a commendable bravery, it is all a mere gross animal-



ADDENDA. 633

ism, the way of dogs and bullies — any brute can act like that. Better
leave all that kind of stuff to those who love to write thus about the men
of the Southern army — and they would better quit ; it is no praise, but
the worst possible detraction from their manliness. Bloodthirstiness and



Online LibraryS. Millet ThompsonThirteenth regiment of New Hampshire volunteer infantry in the war of the rebellion, 1861-1865: a diary covering three years and a day → online text (page 74 of 81)