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William Swinton.

History of the Seventh Regiment, National Guard, State of New York, during the War of the Rebellion : with a preliminary chapter on the origin and early history of the regiment, a summary of its history since the war, and a roll of honor, comprising brief sketches of the services rendered by members online

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Online LibraryWilliam SwintonHistory of the Seventh Regiment, National Guard, State of New York, during the War of the Rebellion : with a preliminary chapter on the origin and early history of the regiment, a summary of its history since the war, and a roll of honor, comprising brief sketches of the services rendered by members → online text (page 1 of 44)
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HI S T O R Y




^egiment, ffetiflital (farlr,

STATE OF NEW YORK,

DURING THE WAR OF THE REBELLION :



A PRELIMINARY CHAPTER ON THE ORIGIN AND EARLY HISTORY OF THE
REGIMENT, A SUMMARY OF ITS HISTORY SINCE THE WAR,



ROLL OF HONOR,

COMPRISING BRIEF SKETCHES OF THE SERVICES RENDERED BY

MEMBERS OF THE REGIMENT IN THE ARMY AND

NAVY OF THE UNITED STATES.



BY WILLIAM SWINTON, A. M.,

A0THOR OP "CAMPAIGNS OF THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC," ETC.



ILLUSTRATED BY THOMAS NAST.



Net fork ana Boston:
FIELDS, OSGOOD, & CO.

1870.













Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by

FIELDS,. OSGOOD, & CO.,
in the Clerk s Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts.



UNIVERSITY PRESS : WELCH, BIGELOW, & Co.,
CAMBRIDGE.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I. pAOm

ORIGIN OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT ... 1

CHAPTER II.
THE SUMMONS TO THE FIELD 23

CHAPTER III.

THE MARCH TO THE WAR 31

*

CHAPTER IV.
THE NEW PATH 48

CHAPTER V.
THE SEVENTH AT ANNAPOLIS -.67

CHAPTER YI.
A DISPUTED COMMAND .85

CHAPTER VII.
THE MARCH TO WASHINGTON 94

CHAPTER VIII.
RESULTS OF THE MARCH 110

CHAPTER IX.
THE SEVENTH IN THE CAPITOL 127

CHAPTER X.
CAMP CAMERON 164



50*711



iv CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XI.
THE SEVENTH IN VIRGINIA 193

CHAPTER XII.
A MISSION ACCOMPLISHED 208

CHAPTER XIII.
OFFERS OF SERVICE . 225

CHAPTER XIY.
THE BALTIMORE CAMPAIGN 232

CHAPTER XT.
FORT FEDERAL HILL . 247

CHAPTER XYI.
THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN OF 1863 292

CHAPTER XVII.
AT FREDERICK . 320

CHAPTER XVIII.
THE DRAFT RIOTS . . . . t ,. 349

CHAPTER XIX.
SINCE THE WAR 373



ROLL OF HONOR 385



APPENDIX.

I. THE MARCH TO WASHINGTON 495

II. THE MARYLAND CAMPAIGN ... . . . 496



HISTORY OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT.



ry ago,
all s "



CHAPTER 1.

ORIGIN OP THE SEVENTH REGIMENT.

N the southerly corner of
Fulton and Nassau Streets,
in the city of New York,
there stood, half a centu-
the famous Stone-
Shakespeare Tav
ern." To that favorite
hostelry, as a birthplace,
can be traced more than
one of the institutions and
societies now flourishing in
the New York of our day ;
and thither we must go
back some twoscore years
for the origin of the " Sev
enth Regiment New York
State National Guard."

In one view, we should
resort to a still earlier pe
riod in the history of the State and of the Republic to
find the fountain-head of the Seventh Regiment. For,
since this corps was fashioned, not out of new material, but
out of a militia organization already existing, to wit, the
"Eleventh Regiment of Artillery," it would be neces-
i




2 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT.

sary, in like manner, to trace this " Eleventh " to the year
of its creation, namely, the year 1812 ; while, pursuing the
pedigree of the " Eleventh " itself, we should, erelong, find
ourselves among the military antiquities of the bygone cen
tury and the war of the Revolution.

Such genealogic researches are aside from our present
purpose. Suffice it to say that, in the year 1824, there
existed a so-called " Eleventh Regiment of New York State
Artillery," and that this regiment consisted, as did most
of the militia regiments of that day, of two battalions ;
whereof one was artillery proper, the other infantry. Of
the four infantry companies, the First was commanded by
Captain Irad Hawley, the Second by Captain John Telfair,
the Third by Captain William B. Curtis, and the Fourth by
Captain Howard A. Simons.

Now, on the evening of the 25th of August, 1824, the
officers of the four companies of the Infantry Battalion of
the old Eleventh Regiment, at a meeting held at the
Shakespeare Tavern, adopted a resolution to the effect that
the said battalion " be hereafter known and distinguished
by the name of National Guards." The origin of this
name, for so many years the worthy designation of the
Seventh Regiment, and of that organization exclusively, is
associated with a historic event of singular interest. A
few days previous to the above-mentioned meeting (namely,
the 16th of August, 1824), there had occurred a parade of
the New York militia for the reception of La Fayette on
his last visit to this country. On this occasion the illustri
ous soldier and patriot reviewed the forces at the Battery.
While the troops were awaiting the arrival of La Fayette, a
number of the officers of the Eleventh had gathered togeth
er, and the conversation chanced to turn on a project which
had long engaged their attention, to wit, the independent
organization of the Infantry Battalion. It happened that a
good deal of difficulty had been experienced regarding the



ORIGIN OF THE SEVENTH KEGIMENT. 3

choice of a suitable name. On this occasion reference was
made, by some one present, to La Fayette s* connection with
the Paris National Guard, when immediately Major John
D. Wilson asked why " National Guards " would not be a
good name for the proposed corps ? This electric utterance
at once crystallized their desires in a fixed purpose and on
a clear ideal ; and when, therefore, a few days later, the
gathering at the Shakespeare occurred, the resolution to
adopt the designation of " National Guards " was enthu
siastically passed. Its promulgation was received by the
members of the corps with general favor.

It remained to secure the permission and co-operation of
the governor, ex officio commander of the State militia. The
official documents requisite to the perfect organization of
the corps, and its recognition as an independent unit in the
militia force of the State, did not arrive until the year fol
lowing the adoption of the name of the National Guards.
But, meanwhile, its members were not idle, and the drills
were kept up with marked regularity. Moreover, the first
great step towards the completion of the battalion was
taken in the adoption, on the 30th of August, of the famous
gray uniform. Its design was taken from the neatly fitting,
single-breasted gray office-coat of Philetus H. Holt (then
a private in the Fourth Company), which attracted the ai>-
tention of Captain Prosper M. Wetmore, Acting Brigade-
Major, and Major John D. Wilson, as a suitable model for
the new uniform. It was proposed, and a pattern suit com
plete was exhibited by Major Wilson to the four companies,
separately assembled at the Shakespeare, and was agreed
to by the members with great unanimity. A coat of arms
and motto were designed by Corporal Asher Taylor, of the
Fourth Company, who has ever since held honored con
nection with the regiment, and whose esprit de corps and
enthusiasm in all that concerns the Seventh and its wel
fare five-and-forty years have not been able to quench. The



4 HISTOKY OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT.

coat of arms and motto were approved by the board of
officers and adopted as the heraldic insignia of the corps.
It was Asher Taylor, also, who first wore in public the gray
uniform.

More important still, to the original four companies of the
battalion were presently added two more, under Captains
Lownds and Stevens. The interest taken by these gentle
men in the new organization began with the inspiring incident
of the La Fayette review, already detailed. On that occa
sion the group of officers was joined by Oliver M. Lownds,
Esq., a popular and influential citizen, and it was proposed
to him that he should raise a company to add to the others
in forming the National Guard. The proposition was made
by Linus W. Stevens, who then commanded a company in
the first or artillery battalion of the Eleventh, and who,
" being dissatisfied with the treatment of officials, who had
neglected to provide his company with guns for artillery
practice," had purposed retiring from the militia service,
but was now resolved to accept a commission in the new
organization. With the spirit of generous rivalry that
characterized the founders of the corps, Captain Stevens
agreed to waive the right of his own company to the num
ber " 5 " in the regiment, and to come in as number "6,"
leaving " 5" to the company to be raised by Mr. Lownds.

Such was the personal popularity of the latter gentleman
that he soon succeeded in enrolling the required number ;
and, on the 25th of December of the same year, he pre
sented his company as a Christmas gift to the National
Guards. It was admitted as the Fifth Company, and, be
ing composed of picked men, was a valuable and welcome
addition to the corps. Captain Stevens was allowed to se
lect twenty-four of the best men and one officer (Lieutenant
J. H, Williams) from his old company of the artillery bat
talion. Two days after the admission of Captain Lownds s
company, they came in as the Sixth Company.



ORIGIN OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT. 5

At length, on the 27th of June, 1825, an order was
issued by the Commander-in-Chief, Governor De Witt
Clinton, instituting the battalion of the National Guards.
This liberated the corps from the heterogeneous association
with the artillery battalion, but the change actually made
did not prove satisfactory. The order separating the bat
talion from the Eleventh Regiment of Artillery directed its
consolidation with the infantry companies of the Second
Regiment. This arrangement was not a happy one. Diffi
culties very soon arose, and such ill-feeling was engendered
on both sides that the National Guard determined to part
company with its associates. Accordingly, representations
of so forcible a character were made at head-quarters, that,
in the following October (1825), a general order was issued
detaching the corps and organizing it into a separate bat
talion. Having now legal existence as a battalion, it was
entitled to a Lieutenant-Colonel and a Major. On the 18th
of October a meeting was held for the election of these
officers, which resulted in the unanimous choice of Prosper
M. Wetmore as Lieutenant-Colonel and Linus W. Stevens
as Major. To the six companies already mentioned had
been added, in October, another, the Seventh, under
Captain Van Buren. It now required but one more com
pany to raise the battalion to the dignity of a regiment,
a consummation devoutly wished by all its members.
Accordingly, on the 10th of April following, the Com
mandant detailed the following gentlemen to organize the
new company: Lieutenant Andrew Warner, of Seventh
Company, to be Captain ; William H. Insley, First Lieu
tenant; and William P. Millard, Second Lieutenant.
With such spirit and energy did these officers enter into
this duty, that, on the 4th of May, the requisite number
was enrolled and the now company admitted to the bat
talion as the Eighth Company of the National -Guard. Be
ing informed of this, Governor De Witt Clinton, two days



6 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT.

later, namely, the 6th of May, 1826, issued an order
organizing the battalion into a regiment, to be named the
" Twenty-Seventh Regiment of Artillery."

So much of mere dry chronology it has been necessary
here to group together, that we may the better grasp the
successive steps through which the National Guard became
a regiment, and laid the broad basis of its historic fame.

If, now, we hold firmly by the noble appellation National
Guard, it will prevent our becoming confused in the vary
ing technical designations of the corps. We have seen the
memorable circumstances under which the name was cho
sen. Well, it was the National Guard while still incorporated
with the old Eleventh Artillery ; it was the National Guard
while consolidated with the Second Regiment ; and it was
still the National Guard now that it became independent,
and was dubbed the " Twenty-Seventh Regiment." When,
years later, it had become the " Seventh," it still held its
proud blazon of National Guard. Nor was it ever till the
Legislature, in 1862, filching from the corps its " good
name," gave this designation to all the militia of the State,
that the Seventh ceased to be the National Guard. Never
theless, if we shall succeed in at all fitly setting forth the
history of this regiment in the late war, it may appear by
what new and multiplied titles it has acquired the right of
retaining the baptismal name which hallowed its birth two-
score years and more ago.

The regiment having now attained separate identity, it
remained to choose its officers. To this end the Command
ant, on the 16th of May, 1826, issued the first " Regimental
Order," appointing the 23d of the same month for the elec
tion. Pursuant to this order the officers met at the Shake
speare ; and the result was the choice of Prosper M. Wet-
more as Colonel, Linus W. Stevens as Lieutenant-Colonel,
and John Telfair as Major.

The selection of these officers gave general satisfaction,



ORIGIN OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT. 7

and their promotion was designed as a tribute of respect
and appreciation on the part of the regiment. Colonel
Prosper M. Wetmore had formerly been Captain of the
Fourth Company, and at the time our history opens he was
Brigade-Major of Brigadier-General Benedict s staff. He
had entered very warmly into the project for the organiza
tion of the National Guard, and was indefatigable in
promoting the growth and welfare of the corps. He, re
tained his position as Colonel for about a year, and resigned
in April, 1827. Lieutenant-Colonel Stevens was, as has al
ready appeared, one of the National Guard s early and most
steadfast friends ; and we shall presently have occasion to
refer to the relations of that able and accomplished officer
with the regiment he loved and adorned. Major Telfair is
equally entitled to the honor of being one of the founders
of the Seventh Regiment. He had passed through all the
grades of the service ; was a sergeant during the war of
1812, a lieutenant of the Second Company of the old
Eleventh Regiment in 1820, and its captain in 1823. He
had declined the majority at the previous election in 1825,
and only accepted it now at the urgent solicitation of
Colonel Wetmore. As it was, he did not hold his com
mission long, for he resigned on the 20th of June following,
and Howard A. Simons was elected in his stead. He was
greatly beloved by the Second Company, and in 1833 he
was induced to resume its captaincy, from which he finally
retired in 1836. Telfair is one of the noblest names in the
bead-roll of the regiment, on which he lavished his affec
tions and his fortune.

The National Guard paraded for the first time as a
regiment on the 31st of May, 1826, to receive an elegant
stand of colors from the Mayor of New York. Asher Tay
lor, in his interesting " Notes on the Colors of the National
Guard," gives the following agreeable account of the ori
gin of these colors : " When the corps was detached as a



8 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT.

separate command, the subject of providing suitable colors
for it had engaged the early attention of the board of
officers ; and Captain John Telfair, Captain James T.
Flinn, Lieutenant Charles B. Spicer, Adjutant Andrew
Warner, and Surgeon Edward P. Marcellin were appointed
a committee to procure a standard which should be the
banner of the National Guard. The committee spent some
time in bowing around and flirting and coquetting among
their fair friends, in the hope of eliciting an offer from
some of them to embroider and present a standard ; and
Young Moustache will be amazed to learn that all their
efforts were in vain, as they reported (March 29, 1826)
that the expectations hitherto entertained on that subject
had not been realized^ a humiliating admission that
would wellnigh burst the kids of half the gallant and
irresistible fellows of the regiment in the present day.
Subscription papers for the requisite funds were circulated
through the ranks of the corps, and promptly filled up ;
and the committee adopted designs for the colors, devised
and prepared by Sergeant Asher Taylor. They consisted
of, first, a regimental standard, 4 the banner of the Na
tional Guard, of red silk, bearing the arms of the corps
on a shield, supported by wreaths of oak and laurel, with
the crest, an eagle, and the motto, Pro Patria et Gloria ;
second, a State standard of blue silk. The designs were
traced on silk by Sergeant Taylor, and embroidered very
beautifully, in natural colors, under his supervision, by
Mrs. Windsor."

It was upon the occasion of the presentation of the first
of these, the regimental standard, that the regiment made
its maiden parade. The Hon. Philip Hone, Mayor of the
city, in presence of a brilliant assemblage, delivered the
standard with an eloquent address. The State standard
was presented on the 4th of July following, on which oc
casion the semi-centennial anniversary of American Inde-



ORIGIN OF THE SEVENTH KEGIMENT. 9

pendence was celebrated with immense pomp and circum
stance. The presentation took place in Castle Garden, where
"a large collection of distinguished officers had assembled
around the illustrious De Witt Clinton, the Governor of the
State," who delivered the standard to Colonel Wetmore,
accompanied by a glowing eulogy, to which the Com
mandant replied in fitting terms. On the conclusion of the
military ceremonies, the Governor and Mayor, with their
suites, and the officers of the division, repaired to Washing
ton Parade-Ground, where a public feast had been prepared
by the city corporation. "Immense awnings," says the
annalist, " were erected, beneath which two tables, each
four hundred and fifty feet long, groaned under vast quan
tities of substantial viands " ; and we catch the vision of a
quite Homeric banquet, at which were " two oxen, roasted
whole, two hundred hams, immense piles of bread, innu
merable barrels of beer," and the like hearty provant.

Meanwhile, amid these festivities, the weightier matters
of drill and discipline were not neglected. Hitherto, it is
said, too little attention had been devoted to military in
struction ; and the want of proficiency in the manual of
arms is illustrated by the fact that at a feu de joie in the
Park, the previous year, a member of the Second Company
discharged the rammer from his musket, to the great terror
and consternation of the numerous spectators. During the
winter of 1825-26, Congress adopted a new system of
tactics, known as " Scott s Tactics." The United States
Army having been ordered to drill in the new system, it
was immediately adopted Dy the more intelligent and am
bitious militia organizations ; and the National Guard
promptly commenced its study and practice. To complete
our chronology of the year 1826, we may add, that on the
18th of October the annual inspection and review of the
National Guard took place at the Battery, present, 277 ;
total, present and absent, 437. On the 13th of November,



10 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT.

there was a brigade field-day at Brooklyn Heights, and the
annual parade took place on the 25th of November.

It has already been mentioned that the resignation of
Colonel Wetmore took place in 1827. Lieutenant-Colonel
Linus W. Stevens was then promoted to the colonelcy. In
this gentleman the National Guard gained a Commandant
of superior merit, and one who infused into it a rare ac
tivity and spirit ; but, unfortunately, the regiment, a year
later, lost this able officer by his resignation in July, 1828.
On the retirement of Colonel Stevens, Lieutenant-Colonel
Manning was promoted to the colonelcy, and Captain Levi
Hart was elected Lieutenant-Colonel. The regiment never
paraded under Colonel Manning, as he resigned his com
mission in September, 1828. Ex-Colonel Stevens was
unanimously elected Colonel, but positively declined the
office, and Lieutenant-Colonel Hart was then promoted to
the colonelcy. In January, 1830, Colonel Hart resigned his
commission, and ex-Colonel Stevens, at the unanimous and
urgent request of the line officers of the regiment, accepted
the colonelcy. Upon his recommendation, Morgan L.
Smith was elected Lieutenant-Colonel, and John M. Catlin,
Major. The return of Colonel Stevens to the command of
the regiment revived its fortunes at once.

In perusing the annals of the regiment during the year
1830, we note that the usual number of drills and parades
took place and were well attended. One of the parades
(November 26th) was in honor of the French Revolution
of that year, which resulted in the elevation of Louis
Philippe to the throne. The annual inspection and re
view took place on the 26th of October at the Battery.
Total present, 360; present and absent, 472. The follow
ing year, 1831, the regiment was active and prosperous,
and performed an unusual amount of military duty.

It was during this latter year that the regiment made
its first encampment. This took place at Poughkeepsie,



ORIGIN OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT. 11

and the camp was named Camp Clinton. The members, to
the number of two hundred and fifty-six, were conveyed by
boat, under the management of Quartermaster Sniffen, and
remained at Poughkeepsie from the 2d to the 5th of July,
amid varied duties and festivities. The experiment was
so complete a success that it was repeated the following
year (Camp Putnam), and often in the subsequent history
of the regiment.

In 1834 the regiment was called upon for the first time
to quell a riot in the city, a duty which on many mem
orable after-occasions fell to its lot. The trouble in this
case grew out of the bitter hostilities existing between the
Whigs and Democrats at the election in the spring of 1834.
The civil authorities attempted to stop the disturbance, but
were powerless. Finally the Whigs took possession of
the Arsenal, and the Mayor, having learned this fact, or
dered out the National Guard. The regiment assembled
promptly, and within two hours after the order was issued
three hundred of its members were guarding the Arsenal
and patrolling the adjoining streets. The regiment con
tinued on duty until the next morning, when, the canvass
having been completed and the excitement having subsided,
it was dismissed with the thanks of the Mayor. In July
of this same year a similar duty devolved upon the Na
tional Guard, it being called upon to quell the " Abolition
riots," in which a number of buildings, including three
churches, were sacked by the mob. The regiment on this
trying occasion behaved with an admirable mingling of
firmness and forbearance, that won for it the warmest
praise from all good citizens. The riots began on the 9th,
and culminated on the llth. On the evening of the latter
day, the Twenty-Seventh Regiment was called upon by the
Mayor to march to Spring Street, where the churches of
Drs. Ludlow and Cox had been sacked by the mob, who
were intrenched in great force behind barricades, and had



12 HISTORY OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT.

already dispersed a body of cavalry. It lacked but an hour
of midnight when the Guard, under Colonel Stevens, took
up its march from the City Hall, where it had been stationed
by the authorities. A great mob followed it ; and at the
corner of Spring and Sullivan Streets it received a gall
ing fire of stones and other missiles, hurled from win
dows and housetops, which wounded many of the troops.
Clearing a path through the barricades, the regiment moved
forward in column by division, at half distance, and drove
the rioters to the intersection of Spring and Varick Streets,
where, halting, it formed square, dividing the mob sud
denly in all directions, and so ending the affair. " The Na
tional Guard was charged," said Mayor Lawrence, in his
message to the Common Council, " with the duty of remov
ing the rioters from a section of the city where the most
violent outrages had been committed, and, in the perform
ance of this service, while assailed by the missiles of the
mob, evinced a forbearance commendable in the citizen,
united with" a determination which belongs to the charac
ter of the soldier."

In December, 1834, Colonel Stevens resigned his com
mission. Lieutenant-Colonel Smith was elected Colonel ;
Major Catlin, Lieutenant-Colonel ; and Captain Roome,
Major. The retirement of that able and accomplished offi
cer was a matter of general regret. Many years later he
was familiarly known as " the Father of the National
Guard," a title which he had fairly earned by constant
devotion to its best interests. We shall in the sequel see
that affection for the corps never ceased to animate the
breast of Colonel Stevens, and that even during the war,
as a member of the Veterans, he was active in its welfare.
This estimable gentleman died in 1863.

The memories of the veteran members will go back to
these years in many pleasing recollections. There were
target excursions to Ponson s, and competitive drills, and a



ORIGIN OF THE SEVENTH REGIMENT. 13



Online LibraryWilliam SwintonHistory of the Seventh Regiment, National Guard, State of New York, during the War of the Rebellion : with a preliminary chapter on the origin and early history of the regiment, a summary of its history since the war, and a roll of honor, comprising brief sketches of the services rendered by members → online text (page 1 of 44)