"Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army with banners?"

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Friday, October 31, 1862. A Day at Camp Seward.

Friday we police the camp, get to gather forage and provisions, etc. At evening we receive an order for a division review of about 16 regiments under Gen. Silas Casey in whose division we are, at 11 o’clock the next morning on the plain near Fort Albany about a mile distant. Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, 16th Regiment, Letter No. 3. November 2, 1862

Camp Seward is on the edge of the clean stretch oak timber near the famous "Munson's Hill". A few rods in the rear runs a stream of clear, sweet water. It was a right pleasant spot, and we began at once to be comfortable. The five regiments were stretched along side by side, and the camps hummed with activity. The woods were filled with men apparently on a big pic-nic. It lasted just one day! Orders came for a grand review on the parade ground of Fort Albany, nearby us, on Saturday morning. ~  G.G. Benedict, pvt., Company C 12th Regiment , Letter to the Free Press of November 3, 1862 in Army Life in Virginia, 47-48 (1895).  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October 30, 1862. Down Pennsylvania Avenue, Across the Potomac to Camp Seward

The brigade broke camp on the morning of the 30th, crossed the river by Long Bridge, and moving out five miles into the country back of Arlington Heights, halted near Munson's Hill and camped in the edge of a stretch of oak timber, where fresh green grass, near a stream of clear water, was in refreshing contrast with the bare and barren surface and stifling dust-storms of Capitol Hill.   G.G. Benedict, Vermont in the Civil War

"At half past seven the line was formed, and at eight the column marched. It swept down Pennsylvania Avenue, as goodly an array of five thousand stout, intelligent, spirited man as eye ever looked on. The march was a very comfortable one for the man, and our present camp bids  fair to be a great improvement on our late one, as far as the ground and nearness to wood and water are concerned. I believe we shall find our present camp,  new ground not tainted by the stay up on it of so many successive thousands, a healthier one than the old one. How long we shall stay here no one can say." ~ G.G. Benedict, pvt. 12th Regiment,  Letter to the Free Press of October 30, 1862 in Army Life in Virginia 43-46 (1895).

"At eleven we have just crossed the Long Bridge, and rest half an hour on the banks of the river. "... The half hour is soon up, and we start. For what place, and for what object? I don't know. A dozen have already asked him that question, and only one reply-"I don't know." In two hours we rest again, marching westerly. We continue our course, passing soldiers encamped here and there, earthworks and cannon, till about four o'clock, when we halt in a piece of woods, and the colonel begins to look for a good camp ground. The spot selected is a fine one, though covered with rush, surrounded on all sides with an oak forest save the one fronting the east. It is between two hills-quite romantic, and a pure stream of water runs through the little vale. The boys are soon clearing the grounds, as farmers in new countries, cutting, picking, burning brush. .... All are well pleased with the situation and hope to remain for some time." ~ Edwin Palmer,  13th Regiment,  The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864).

Our regiment is encamped about three miles from Washington southwesterly and on a large farm run to waste. Who is its proprietor is more than I know. There are no buildings on it, and the cellar hole was field up last year by troops encamped in this vicinity. It is not more than five rods back of my tent, and over it are growing tomato vines on which were some small, ripe tomatoes. The camp is about half a mile from the pike leading from Washington to Fairfax Court House. Four large forts are in plain sight and one of them. Fort Albany is less than a mile distant. Our camp fronts south, and in that direction about 5 miles distant tower against the sky the imposing building known as Fairfax Seminary. We came here Thursday morning. Our whole brigade marched through Pennsylvania avenue nearly to the President’ house, then turned and crossed Long Bridge. The sight of the avenue was splendid, so said O. H. Platt, now paymaster, and L. E. Chittenden Register of the Treasury both of whom you know. We all encamped nearby when wood, trees felled last year to give range to the guns of the forts and water is plenty. The ground is quite dry and rolling, the best the Colonel says he ever saw in Virginia, and the delightful weather of the past few days makes it comfortable. The days are hotter and the night damp, more chilly than in Vermont. One takes cold easily by evening exposure here. Thursday we laid out our camp and pitched our tents in season for supper at 8 o’clock in the evening, having no dinner except such as we carried in our haversacks.  ~ Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Letter No. 3. November 2, 1862

"Camp Seward, Near Washington DC. We struck our tents on Capitol Hill and marched to this place crossing long bridge and marching up the river on the Va side about 4 miles. We are now about half way between Washington and Camp Griffin.... The weather is beautiful. Probably we shall not stop here long but I cannot tell." ~ Joseph Spafford,  1st Lieutenant, Company E, Letter November 1, 1862

"I tell you it was a splendid night to see those 5000 stalwart sons of old Vermont marching down Pennsylvania Avenue.… We are encamped in the woods in the prettiest place that we have had yet, plenty wood and water, you would be surprised to know how warm the weather is here. It is now 8:30 in the evening and the boys are sitting in their tents in the shirtsleeves and stocking feet." ~ Richard J. Irwin, pvt, Company C, 12th Regiment, Letter of November 1, 1862, in War of the People: Vermont Civil War letters 117

"This last was a busy week in our village. On Tuesday was the grand review of the three regiments then in camp: afterwards came the "mustering" in of the men composing them and their departure to the seat of war. On Wednesday the Fourteenth left, on Thursday the Fifteenth, and on Friday the Sixteenth. So now Vermont has furnished and sent forward  her whole quota of men called for by the President. The State has been prompt in raising the troops, the men have freely volunteered their service, and we think the State has been the first to send forward its full share to headquarters. The men we have sent are among our best  citizens, fair representation of the strength, energy, patriotism and character of Vermonters, and we are sure they will do themselves and the state credit ..." ~ Vermont Phoenix, October 30, 1862

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wednesday, October 29, 1862. Orders come at evening to leave Camp Casey

"My own angel wife,

... We move over to Fort Seward, Va. tomorrow. Am sorry as I was getting my camp into shape. Am in great haste to-night. Will write again as soon as we get into camp again. Yr. Devoted husband, Wheelock" ~ Col. Wheelock G. Veazey, Letter to Julia, October 29, 1862

"The 2nd  Vermont Brigade, composed of the 5 new regiments are to move tomorrow - Wednesday morning, in accordance with orders just received to Camp Seward in Virginia, three miles from the Alexandria side of Long Bridge. 

"Today we were assured by an officer on Gen. Casey’s staff that we were likely to remain here at least two months. Accordingly we purchased stoves for our tents, and ordered lumber for the floors. My stove is not yet up, it is a little sheet iron concern oval in shape with two holes on top six inches in diameter with covers. The funnel runs out through a rip made in the tent. My tent is just like the one that we had in the 11th Regiment.

"Today I rode down Pennsylvania Avenue past Willards Hotel and Presidential Mansion to corner of G and 22nd street to the office of Capt. Robinson who furnished forage for officers horses. I went to headquarters to learn how to untie the particular red tape used in this connection.

"The tenement occupied by “Old Abe” is respectable in appearance, and I should judge decently comfortable. It is large enough for his family, I presume, but not so large as I had supposed. I did not call as I am the last comer and ordinary etiquette would forbid my making the first visit, in as much as he could have known of my arrival by consulting the War Department. 

"Nearly opposite the War Office, I was stopped by a patrol and asked for my pass. I cheerily told him that I had just come to town and was on my way on official business to Secretary Stanton. “All right” said the credulous officer and I passed on. Ordinarily it requires paper from the Colonel, Brigadier, Maj. Generals to visit the city. But I have had as yet no curiosity to see any of the sights.

"Our mess is composed of the Colonel, Lieutenant Colonel, Major, Adjutant, Quartermaster. We left the chaplain to dine with the surgeons, and non-commissioned staff have a mess by themselves. Today we had sweet and Irish potatoes, pork, sausages, beef steak for dinner with pickles, cheese, and coffee. For tea, bread, butter, cheese, tea, and pies and peaches. When we get away from Washington, we shall not fair so well.

"The nights are foggy and cold, worse than at Brattleboro I think. I caught a magnificent cold Monday night, but it is all in my head and nose. My appetite is good and I sleep well.

"A large number of the men have taken cold sleeping on this ground. They are not so sick as to be unfit for duty, only coughing and blowing their noses." Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Letter No. 2. October 29, 1862

"We have just rec'd orders to move tomorrow morning at eight o'clock. This is an order that is to be acted upon. We are now getting ready. I feel sorry to break up camp, as we have a nice camping ground & everything comfortable. We may not be so fortunate next time.

"All of the new Vermont troops moved in here together with  us this morning, making five regt. 12th, 13,14,15,16.  And Col. Blunt is place in command of the brigade. It is at present only temporary but he may be made brigadier general. He will command the brigade in our move in the morning for we all move together. ~ 
Roswell Farnham, Lt. Co., 12th Regiment. Letter of October 29, 1862

"At nine o'clock at night orders came that we must have our knapsacks packed, haversacks filled with two days' rations, and be ready to start at eight in the morning Where are we going? This is the question." ~ Edwin Palmer,  13th Regiment,  The Second Brigade: or, Camp Life, By a Volunteer (1864) 

"Before the order to pitch our tents was hardly completed, a new order came, rebrigading the five Vermont regiments by themselves, under Col. Blunt of the 12th, the ranking Colonel, constituting it the 3d Brigade, Casey's Division, and ordering it to march to Camp Seward, nine miles across the river into Virginia." ~ John C. Williams,  14th Regiment, Life in Camp:... a history of the Fourteenth.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28, 1862. A fine hearty looking set of men.

Camp Casey, East Capitol Hill.

"All the Vermont regiments are here, the Sixteenth having arrived yesterday. ... The Sixteenth went into camp right over against us last night. They slept under the little shelter tents – if sleep they could, for it was a very cold night,  the ground damp and covered with white frost this  morning. They would have had a rather poor look, too, if left to themselves for something to eat, as the got into camp too late to get up their cooking arrangements. 

"But they were not allowed to go hungry.  The Thirteenth  Regiment had them to supper last night and the Twelfth invited them to breakfast this morning. Each company entertained the company of the corresponding letter and Company C of the Sixteenth, who were guests of the Howard Guard,  got a first-rate breakfast and acknowledged our hospitality before they filed away, with three hearty cheers for the Twelfth.  The  men of the Sixteenth are a fine, hearty looking set of men and behaved like gentlemen, as they doubtless are." ~ G.G. Benedict,  Letter to the Free Press of October 28 1862, in Army Life in Virginia, 38-39 (1895)

William Henry Jackson
12th Regt. Co. K
"Dear Wife,
Here we are on a little plateau a few feet elevated about an extension but slightly broken plain of table land with a view of miles in every direction. We are in plain sight of the capitol and its magnificent dome rises about one mile west of us, while the Asylum is the same distance east of us with the Navy Yard and the Potomac just below beyond. It is a magnificent spot. 

"Today our regiment is excused from drill, and under the direction of Lt. Danforth of Co K,* a civil engineer of eminence, our camp is being laid out with great skills. My tent is pitched and after writing this letter I shall get some boards and make a floor stable. 

"I got cold sleeping on the ground [last night], but with that exception never felt better or heath in my life. The 12th  Vermont Regiment, breakfasted us all, officers feeding officers, and companies feeding corresponding companies by letter, A taking A, etc. Was it not kind? 

"Today we have established our officers mess. Colonel, Lt. Colonel, Major, Adjutant, and Quartermaster. We are in Gen. Casey’s Division and all the Vermont Regiments are within half a mile of us. We shall be at least temporarily brigaded, Col. Blunt the senior Colonel Commanding, in a few days we shall probably have some General in command.

"Sitting in my tent at this writing I can see the dome of the capital less than a mile off. All about as are encampments. It must be that 20,000 troops are within two miles of us." ~ Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Letter No. 1, October 28, 1862

" We went over ... to the 12th and got our breakfast on Tuesday morning, because we had not got fairly arranged for housekeeping and so were invited over there. I saw Hudson and Bartlett there. 

"We have got tents and the most of camp conveniences now. The weather here in the middle of the day is like a warm September day in Vermont while the nights are as cold as they are in Vermont at the end of October. The first morning after our arrival there was the merest scale of ice in a mud puddle on our campground, but the nigs called it an uncommonly cold night for the country. It was cold enough at any rate to take hold of us pretty severely, so much so that some of the boys got up and built them some bonfires out of an old rail or two, a cedar post, and some old roofing paper that we found on the ground, and by that means managed to keep comfortable.

"Our campground is but a little way from the city on what is called Capitol Hill in full sight of, and I should guess some half mile from the dome of the Capitol. Abe's house is some two miles off. the pickets of the 12th yesterday captured six rebel prisoners down near Long Bridge and the 13th captured another rebel spy only a day or two ago. I cannot stop to write more now. The boys are all in very good health and spirits."  ~ Hezron G. Day, Company C, Letter of October 29, 1862

* Second lieutenant  William C. Danforth, age 39, of  Weathersfield. See Co. K Roster

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Arrive in Washington, Monday October 27, 1862

"[W]e started for Washington at 10 P.M. and arrived at 8 A.M. having been all night in those old cars, and a terrible cold storm raging all the time.  We encamped that night at Camp Casey, about a mile and a half out of the Capitol near the 12th Regiment".... ~  E. D. Keyes, 1st Lieutenant, Company H. writing as "Duane" to the Bellows Falls Times, published November 7, 1862

"Started for Washington at 11P.M. Arrived there at 8 A.M. 27th. Went  into camp on Capitol Hill at 5 P.M. Got no tents until after dark, mighty cold night, men suffered for a lack of comfortable quarters." ~ Joseph Spafford,  1st Lieutenant, Company E, Letter, November 9, 1862

"We got into Camp on Monday at East Capitol Hill. Heard from Henry to-day. He is coming with my horse soon".  ~ Col. Wheelock G. Veazey, Letter to Julia, October 29, 1862

"At 12, or midnight, the cars came in and we loaded in the mud and darkness into some dilapidated cattle car for Washington. It rained all night and the water ran in though every crack and between every two boards of the roof, until all with in were wet nearly through except as partially protected by thin rubber blankets. The officers were stowed into a little leaky car, where then were but two thirds as many seats as persons. But their was but very little complaint.

"Everyone was cheerful, and songs, we have a large number of five singers in our regiment - and stories kept us in good humor during our eight hours ride from Baltimore to Washington, a distance of only forty miles. ... It rained, oh how it rained, all the way until we arrived within two miles of Washington, when it cleared off.

"We landed about 9 o’clock Monday morning, got our breakfast in detachments at a soldier’s saloon, supplied by government with goat rations. The colonel got his orders and at 4 p.m., we were marched to our present camp. We got ready the best we could for the night and today not a man but what reports for duty. I got cold sleeping on the ground, but with that exception never felt better or heath in my life." ~ Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Letter No. 1, October 28, 1862

"From Baltimore to Washington the distance is forty miles and we were eight hours on the road and a more comfortless ride it is seldom any person's lot to enjoy. Our cars were leaky and dirty and for a considerable portion of the time we never saw it rain harder, but all things have an end and so did that ride, and we finally found ourselves in the suburbs of far-famed Washington.

"Our first view of Washington was far from prepossessing for we had only seen the outskirts of the city, and that sight verified the expression of Lawyer Fullum that there was nothing to be seen in Washington except niggers and speckled pigs, and we didn't see anything else worth mentioning except the meanest yellowest, nastiest, and greasiest mud you ever saw.

"We understand that the five regiments of Vermonters that went for nine months are to be formed into a brigade to go together. We went over to the 13th and took supper on Monday night... ." ~ Hezron G. Day, Company C, Letter of October 29, 1862

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sunday, October 26, 1862. Fort Monmouth to Baltimore via Philadelphia

"Had a pleasant trip until we arrived at Baltimore. There it rained & we had miserable cattle cars & it was cold and disagreeable. But on the whole it was a pleasant journey." ~ Col. Wheelock G. Veazey, Letter to Julia, October 29, 1862

"[From Port Monmouth, NJ] [w]e had, however, excellent cars and the RR agent did everything to make us comfortable, I had three hours sleep while riding. Sunday morning about 8 we arrived at Camden, disembarked and crossed over to Philadelphia in ferry boats. A splendid breakfast we in waiting furnished by the Soldier’s Aid Association and we were served with great adoration and kindness. In the mud and a drenching rain, this meal and these attentions were doubly pleasant and marked a green spot in the memory of every man. Every person we met in the Quaker City was kind and cordial. Men bowed respectful, women waved their handkerchiefs and Union flags and small welcome, and even the little boys and girls came up to us in (damaged text) and gave us their hands (damaged text)  “good bye” and “god bless you.” 

"In the midst of a pouring rain we marched two miles to the depot, where in the street we loaded into freight cars with many hole cut in them and boards knocked off for ventilation. They were the best obtainable.  A rapid ride over the Phil, Wilmington, and Baltimore Rail Road, 95 miles, brought us to Baltimore in six hours, or at 6 1/2 o’clock Sunday evening. All the way to Havre De Grace - the dividing line between Delaware and Maryland we were enthusiastically cheered, every house sent forth its greetings, but in Maryland Union flags and cheers were infrequent.  

"At Baltimore we changed cars in darkness and rain, about e – (damaged text) several to that of High W on a raining night spent after a march of over a (damaged text) We arrived at the Depot of the Baltimore and Washington Railroad, near (damaged text) we were furnished with a good supper, which is never provided partly at the expense of the general government partly by the city, party by the state and the balance by private contributions. Giving back to the depot, a large open shed of huge dimensions, no cars were there to take us along. 

"It was now 9 o’clock and when we could move was a matter of uncertainty. So following the example of the men I laid my rubber blanket on the wet, muddy - floor, and with a stick of wood for a pillow and my shawl for a covering over my saturated great coat.  I laid down and in five minutes was sound asleep.  Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Letter No. 1, October 28, 1862

"At Fort Monmouth we took the cars at 1:30 a.m. for Philadelphia where we arrived just in season to breakfast with the kind and generous people of the Quaker City.  It would be useless for me to speak of the hospitality of the people of this city, when so much has been said, though I was told there were few to greet us, to what there was sometimes, on account of church services, and the storm which prevailed at the time.  

"The remainder of our passage was very unpleasant on account of this storm, which raged terribly.  The soldiers had to take passage in old freight cars.  –most of them open ones where they suffered much from exposure.  Every bridge, great and small, was guarded to prevent as I supposed, the traitors from tearing them up.  On arriving at Baltimore I was surprised at the reception we received.  At all appearances this seems to be as loyal and patriotic as any city through which we passed.  We were furnished a supper at the soldier’s retreat ...." E. D. Keyes, 1st Lieutenant, Company H. writing as "Duane" to the Bellows Falls Times, published November 7, 1862

"The parts of New Jersey through which we traveled was for the first twenty or thirty miles as far as we could judge by riding through it in the night, was barren, sandy, piney, miserable country, but as we got nearer Philadelphia the country began to look better, though their oddly contrived Dutch buildings did not compare favorably with the farm buildings in any part of old Vermont. 

"At Philadelphia they took us into the Cooper Shop Refreshment Saloon and gave us a superb breakfast. This was on Sunday morning and rainy at that, but our reception at the old Quaker city was one that will probably be long remembered by every member of the 16th. Gentlemen came out and shook hands with us and cheered us. The ladies waved flags and handkerchiefs at us from the windows and all seemed just as joyously demonstratively enthusiastic as though we were the first regiment that had passed through the city to the relief of beleaguered Washington. 

"We left Philadelphia about seven on Sunday and proceeded on our journey on board some very comfortable freight cars and got to Baltimore just in the edge of the evenings. The boys rode into the city singing "Old John Brown." Pennsylvania, that part of it which we saw, is a splendid looking country but neither the people nor their buildings would remind one of New England, though they were all true Union blue, for from every hamlet and village, from every hovel and shanty could be seen waving flags, handkerchiefs and other tokens of good will. Perhaps the late rebel raid into Pennsylvania has refreshed their loyalty, but be that as it may, their devotion to the Union was manifest and thorough."  Hezron G. Day, Company C, Letter of October 28, 1862

We marched through Baltimore from depot to depot.... Baltimore looked dark and silent. There was only now and then a Union sympathizer to greet us, and at one place a big Union flag suspended across the street. ~ Hezron G. Day, Company C, Letter of October 29, 1862

Thursday, October 25, 2012

October 25, 1862. By boat from New Haven to Fort Monmouth via New York City.

"My Dear Sister, I am on board the "Elm City" about halfway between New Haven and N.Y. We are to land at Jersey City and that is the most we know. Whether we will proceed immediately to Washington or stop there awhile we do not know. [W]e  ... came  on board about six this morning." ~ Joseph Spafford, 1st Lieutenant, Company E, Letter of October 26, 2012

"We arrived [at New Haven] about 11 o'clock and so soon after as we could we embarked on board the steamer Continental for New York. It was a splendid night. The Sound was as smooth as a looking glass and the boat was as steady as though planted on terra firma. We reached New York and landed on the dock and were furnished with breakfast consisting of soup, bread and coffee." ~ Hezron G. Day, Company C, Letter of October 28, 1862

"We arrived at New Haven about 10 o’clock Friday evening and shifted from the cars to the Streamer Continental. Starting from N[ew]H[aven], we arrived in New York City at 8 o’clock Saturday morning. The troops were fed on the wharf, the field and staff at the Astor House, while I took breakfast with Isaac at a restaurant nearby."   ~  Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Letter No. 1, October 28, 1862 

"Arrived at New Haven at 10:00 P.M. and embarked on board the “Continental” for New York, at 2 A.M.  The weather was warm and pleasant–the “Sound” very smooth, presenting only its glassy side to us as we glided through its watery base.  At New York we were furnished a breakfast by the New England relief Association, a soldier’s benevolent society, supported, I understand, by the New England States."   ~ E. D. Keyes, 1st Lieutenant, Company H. writing as "Duane" to the Bellows Falls Times, published November 7, 1862

" New York , October 27, 1862
"Friend Swain:—Perhaps the thousands of dear ones left behind, may be pleased to hear a voice sent backward from the gallant 16th, on its outward march from the hills and vales of the Green Mountain State to the bloody fields of Virginia.  The Regiment, the last of Vermont’s quota, arrived in this city, onboard of the Continental, at 8 A.M. Saturday under command of Colonel Veazey, and departed at 11 A.M. by the Delaware and Raritan Route, for Washington.  

"A gayer company of “bould sojer boys” it has not been my fortune to see pass through here en route for the war.  The Boys were all in the best of spirits and the most perfect confidence and good feeling seemed to exist between the officers and men.  

"They left here on board of two boats, and as the boat carrying the first detachment was about to leave, the talented and sweet voiced Drum Major of the Regiment, G.M. Clark,* stood upon the upper deck and sang a patriotic song to the admiring crowd upon the wharf.  He was “assisted” in the chorus by the Falstaffian drummer, [of the Springfield Co.—Ed.] who was reported by his comrades to have knocked one of the heads out of his drum in order that he might use it as a trunk!

"Many of the Regiment had friends in New York, who came to bid them welcome and God-speed.  Several ladies were present to greet friends or relatives among the Boys, some of whom received, perhaps, their last kiss from Beauty’s lips.  Father Abraham grant that they may live to receive many more such!  Regrets were expressed by both soldiers and civilians that the Regiment could not remain over until Monday; but orders were imperative, and go it must, as go it did with high hopes and happy hearts to restore the unity of this distracted land.  Some hearts that beat high that day will nevermore bound at the sight of their native hills.  God grant that their blood be not shed in vain." ~ "H. W." to the Bellows Falls Times, published October 31, 1862.

"We were then transferred to two small steamers and were transported down the bay by Staten Island to Port Monmouth, NJ, 20 miles from the city. Our intentions of going to Philadelphia by the Camden and Amboy RR was changed as two regiment, one from NY the other from Maine were on that road. The ride down the bay was remarkably fair, the water being smooth as a pond and 
the weather pleasant. On board the officers were gratuitously furnished with a lunch of cold ham, bread, butter, cheese and apple pie. At Port M, where we arrived at noon. We remained on board the vessels, not a house being in sight (nothing but Neversink Hills in view aside from the railroad which ends in the water/ until after twelve at night, when in the darkness we transferred our men, baggage, and horses to the cars, a dark and irksome job. The occasion of this delay was an accident on the road that day."  ~  Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Letter No. 1, October 28, 1862 

"We were taken from New York across the Raritan Bay in the steamers Saminend and Alice Price.  The latter was formerly used as a transport to Gen. Burnside’s flagship.  Many thanks are due the proprietors of this route for the nice dinner furnished the officers, and the nice fruit distributed to the soldiers during the passage.  After the repast, short speeches by our worthy Colonel and others were made, and a vote of thanks was rendered by the Chaplin of the Regiment.  On our passage from New York to Fort Monmouth, which is about twenty miles due south, we passed Forts Thompson, Clinton and Lafayette; the latter, situated on an island to the left as we passed down the bay, contains the rebel prisoners of which we have heard so much.  We also passed a steamer from Fortress Monroe, having on board sick and wounded soldiers." ~ E. D. Keyes, 1st Lieutenant, Company H. writing as "Duane" to the Bellows Falls Times, published November 7, 1862

"We were again pushed on to ferry boats and embarked for Monmouth Port. Arriving there we found that there was no car in readiness for us and then for eight mortal hours we waited until we began to think: Uncle Sam had got through wanting us, but they came at last and received us; and a relief it was indeed for we were so crowded on board the boat that we could not lie down to sleep without piling up at least seventeen deep." Hezron G. Day, Company C, Letter of October 28, 1862

*George M. Clark "enlisted as a fifer in Co. "C" of the 16th Reg't Vt. Vols. and served enthusiastically, encouraging other friends to enlist. His genial nature and interesting social qualities soon made him a favorite in camp. He was soon made Sergeant, then Drum Major, Second Lieutenant and detailed as Provost Marshal on the staff of Gen. Stannard." 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Our journey hither was slow and tedious.

Friday, October 24, 1862.  Brattleboro to New Haven. 

"Our journey hither was slow and tedious."  ~ Lt. Col. Charles Cummings, Letter No. 1, October 28, 1862

"We left our camp at Brattleboro about half past 11 on Friday and left the depot about 1, each man carrying three days ration i.e. each man took a haversack full and started for Dixie. 

"We were well received wherever we stopped. At Northampton the ladies threw bushels of apples into the cars for us and at Springfield which we reached just at dusk the people crowded around us and gave us many a hearty good bye and as we moved off it was amid the thunder of cannon and the enthusiastic cheers of the populace. From there we went on board of the cars to New Haven where we arrived about 11 o'clock..."  ~  Hezron G. Day, Company C, Letter of October 28, 1862

"We left our camp at Brattleboro, Friday the 24th ult. for Washington–a train of 23 cars.  On arriving at Northampton, cakes, coffee, and other refreshments were passed into the cars, which were gladly received, I assure you; and many were the thanks and good wishes expressed for the good people of that town.  Arrived at New Haven at 10:00 P.M. ..." ~ E. D. Keyes, 1st Lieutenant, Company H. writing as "Duane" to the Bellows Falls Times, published November 7, 1862

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The men of the 16th take the oath of allegiance.

On October 23, 1862 Major William Austine musters the 949 officers and men of the 16th Regiment into service at Brattleboro. Austine inspects the muster roll, counts the men and inspects their equipment. He reads the 96 Articles of War. The men take the oath of allegiance. Their nine-month service begins. See Benedict, Army Life in Virginia, 29-31 (Eric Ward ed. 2002).

The Regiment is one of the five regiments recruited in Vermont for nine months service under the Lincoln's call of Aug. 4, 1862. The ten companies are from Windham and Windsor Counties: 

Company A--Bethel; Henry A. Eaton, Captain.
Company B--Brattleboro; Robert B. Arms, Captain.
Company C--Ludlow; Asa G. Foster, Captain.
Company D--Townshend; David Ball, Captain.
Company E--Springfield; Alvin C. Mason, Captain.
Company F--Wilmington; Henry F. Dix, Captain.
Company G--Barnard; Harvey N. Bruce, Captain.
Company H--Felchville; Joseph C. Sawyer, Captain.
Company I--Williamsville; Lyman E. Knapp, Captain.
Company K--Chester; Samuel Hutchinson, Captain.

The Regiment will leave Brattleboro the next day "by the usual route." Benedict, Vermont in the Civil War, 414-16 (1888). See 16th Vermont Infantry Introduction16th Vermont Infantry Regimental History.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bellows Falls Times of October 3, 1862

The Sixteenth Regiment—

The line officers of the Sixteenth Regiment, met at the Island House in this place on Saturday last, for the choice of Regimental Officers.  They are a fine body of men, and certainly no Regiment has ever left the State with better men for line officers.  The following is result of their elections:

Colonel—Wheelock G. Veazey, Springfield
Lieut. Colonel—Chas. Cummings, Brattleboro
Major—William Rounds, Chester

Col. Veazey had every vote, and the officers certainly did themselves much credit in their selection.  He first went out in the 3d Regiment as Cap. of Co. A, Springfield, and soon after was promoted, first to Major and then to Lieut. Colonel.  He has been more than a year in hard service, and is now an experienced officer.  He will make a most excellent officer, and we much rejoice that he is to command the Regiment made up from Windham and Windsor Counties, in which we shall all feel so much interest.  Lieut. Colonel Cummings and Major Rounds are too well known to all our readers to need any commendation at our hands, especially Dr. Cummings, who has long been the publisher of the Brattleboro Phoenix.  Major Rounds is the present State’s Attorney of Windsor County; an able man of good judgment, and will make a thorough-going and an efficient officer.  The Sixteenth may well congratulate themselves on having strong men for their officers-men in whom they can place the utmost confidence and reliance. 

Since the above was entyped the other officers have been appointed, and from first to last, are equally good men.  They are as follows:

Adjutant—J.D. Bridgeman, Bellows Falls
Quartermaster—James Henry, Royalton
Quartermaster Sgt—Hugh Henry, Chester
Sgt Major—Aiden Whitmore, Springfield
Commissary Sgt—Charles Simmons, Brattleboro
Surgeon—[The surgeon had not been appointed Thursday morning]
Assistant Surgeon—Dr. C.B. Park, Jr., Grafton
Chaplain—Rev. J.W. Chickering, Springfield