24th Independent Battery, NY Volunteers
Civil War Newspaper Clippings
July 27, 1864.
FROM THE 24th BATTERT PRISONERS.—
A letter received last Friday from Lieut. GEO. HASTINGS, a prisoner in Macon,
Ga., dated June 5th, gives the gratifying information that all the boys of
the 24th Battery are in good health. Corp. Mason C. Smith, a very promising
son of our old friend, Dr. Smith of Perry, died in prison, May 10th. (See obituary
in another column.) Rev. J. R. Page will preach his funeral sermon next Sabbath
morning in the Presbyterian Church at Perry.
Lieut. Hastings further writes that there are now 1,200 of our officers prisoners
in Macon, the officers from Libby prison, Richmond, having arrived there; and
that the rebel officer in charge is "very kind and gentlemanly."
Capt. Jay E. Lee of Lee's battery, now stationed at Plymouth, N. C., has resigned
and returned home. Ill health has finally compelled him to leave a command
which was organized in Wyoming county about two years since, by his own indefatigable
THE 24TH INDEPENDENT N. Y. BATTERY.—is battery from Steuben Co., under
command Capt. J. E. Lee, is highly complimented in a report of the Adjutant
General of Mass., detailing the operations of the troops of that State for
1862. The Adjutant's report is a volume of about five hundred pages, and goes
into details of the movements of the troops of the State. In December last,
when a movement was made from Newborn on the Kinston road, the report says "the
24th N. Y. Battery, Capt. Lee, was left to guard and hold certain cross-roads,
and the approaches from the rear and front of the center road, and of the three
roads leading to Kinston. The artillery having been placed with excellent judgment
and skill by Capt. Lee in position to completely command the approach in front
from Kinston, the 46th Mass. Was drawn up in line of battle to support," &c.
The Lieut. Col. Commanding the 46th says, " I am happy to bear witness
to the energetic and conscientiously careful discharge of duty on the part
of Capt. Lee, wish whom I was associated, as I have stated, and to whom I am
greatly indebted for valuable assistance and counsel on our solitary night
march and bivouac, and who, I am glad to learn, on subsequent detached duty,
added to his reputation and performed valuable service."
The friends of Capt. Lee and the 24th Battery will be pleased to see such testimonials
recorded in the archives of a distant State.
Letter from Plymouth.
Plymouth, N. C., July 16, 1863.
To the Editor of the New-Yorker:
Placed here many leagues from civilization and so far distant from news that
many days and sometimes even weeks pass in the interval between the arrivals
of mails from the North, we, in our anxiety to hear and know of the great movement
in the Departments so much more active at present than our own, almost forget
there are those at home who would like to hear from us. They can rest assured
that, compared with most soldiers, we are more than comfortable. During the
summer months the sick list is on the increase, but that is to be expected,
and, taking all things into consideration, there is an unusual amount of good
health and good spirits in the company.
We greatly miss a regular mail. A large share of the time we are obliged to
depend upon rebel accounts of battles, etc., until New-York papers arrive.
By taking an occasional tour out in the country we can post ourselves very
well as to the war and its advancement, particularly so far as it favors the
rebels. They employ couriers at very high prices, who carry them early Richmond
and Petersburg papers, by taking circuitous paths through swamps and fields
unknown to our men. Since the "Buffalos" (North Carolina soldiers)
went to Washington, there has been much less scouting. We now have only one
company of cavalry—Co. C, of the 12th N. Y. Gen. Wessel has succeeded
in breaking up the guerrilla forces in and about this county. One of their
captains has delivered himself over to the General, taken the oath of neutrality
and retired to his farm. Our pickets are troubled somewhat, and we occasionally
lose a man or two, by the Georgia cavalry and some regular Carolina troops.
Our gunboats frequently take a company of infantry, and going up the Chowan
or some other of the rivers, succeed in capturing mails, and sometimes prisoners.
Smugglers are quite plenty on the coast, and the gunboats generally find storehouses
of salt, cotton, or other contraband goods, which they destroy after bringing
away all they can carry. About a week since, two regiments of infantry, a company
of cavalry and a section of our battery started from the 96th N. Y. camp, inland.
Two other infantry regiments went up the river on two or three gunboats to
co-operate with them. After marching some 15 miles, the land force found about
400 rebels behind a light breast-work, having with them four gunt. Our boys
gave them about twenty rounds of shot and shell. They did not reply to the
fire but seemed to be waiting an assault from the infantry. Col. Leiman, who
commanded our force, seemed disinclined to allow the infantry to take the work
by storm, though they greatly desired do so. He fell back for the night; next
morning upon making an advance, he found the rebs had skedaddled, probably
to Williamston, which place gunboats had attacked and left com- pletely in
ruins. All our forces returned the next day.
Gen. Wiles and staff (of Colored Brigade) are now at Plymouth recruiting. "The
work goes bravely on." For some time contrabands have been coming within
our lines at a rapid rate. A rumor reached their ears that Jeff Davis was about
to draft them into his army, and they flocked in faster than ever. Gen. Wiles
is endeavoring to establish a colony on Roanoke Island; and all that receive
rations from Government are ordered to be prepared for transportation to Roanoke
immediately. There the Government presents them a plot of ground, for the present
furnishes them rations, and will leave a portion of the Brigade to hold and
defend the Island. The chaplain (colored) of the Brigade, gave us a fine sermon
last Sabbath. After the sermon, one of the officers (colored), made an extemporaneous
recruiting speech. It was pleasing, pointed, and well delivered. He exhorted
them to enlist, "that they might be revenged on those who had so long
misused them"—"that they might support their wives and children
by their own labor"—"that they might become useful and in turn
be a great aid to the Northern white men through whose efforts they had been
delivered from bondage"—"that they might, becoming soldiers,
hold fortifications and towns and allow Northern white men to return to their
homes"—and lastly, "that they might become free, partly by
their own exertions." They will undoubtedly respond to this call cheerfully
and promptly—not an able-bodied colored man will refuse to go.
For some months past there has been a colored school in progress under the
direction of the soldiers in the Methodist church. Over a hundred attend, full
half the number being adults. They are all very attentive and industrious.
You will see them with their books, morning, noon and night. They carry them
in their pockets, and at any leisure time out with them and go to work. Groups,
where the gray-haired and spectacled heads are bended together with the younger,
shinier, blacker ones, over the same book, are often seen in the doorways as
we pass by in the street. I have seen many like "Topsy, who never was
born," and seemingly having no place to live, leaning against the fence
so intently interested in the b-i, bi, and b-o of their spelling books, that
they were oblivious to all things passing around them.
On the 4th of July they held a festival—the first Fourth, they said,
they had ever celebrated. I can give you no idea of the affair in all its phases.
Their dress alone was worth a journey to see. Their holiday and Sunday garments
are the cast-off garments of their masters and mistresses. With the blackest
wenches, low-necked, short sleeved white muslins, trimmed with wide red or
yellow ribbon, is the favorite style. Old-fashioned pattern lawns, flounced
and well stretched over about three hoops, were quite numerous. Bright tarlelons
over dark skirts, light silks trim- with velvet, black silks trimmed with red,
are very conspicuous. The head cover is either an unstarched, long-caped sun-bonnet,
or a red and white bandanna handkerchief. Some who had been house servants
and maids dressed with very good taste. They men wore all kinds of costume
that have been in style since 1800. All had a ...ly time, and declared it a
great day for their introduction to freedom.
Since I last wrote you Capt. Lee has resigned. Our officers now are: A. S.
Cady, Captain; Geo. Hastings, Fred. S. Hastings, 1st Lieuts; A. Adams, C. H.
Dolbeer, 2d Lieuts. I clip the following from the Rochester Union. Capt. Lee
certainly merits all the praise given him.
J. W. M.
Capt, Lee, of the 24th battery, has just reigned by reason of impaired health.
He has been in the service for nearly two years, and during this period has
acquired an enviable reputation as an officer and gentleman. His loss to the
service is deeply regretted in this department. His battery was mainly recruited
in the counties of Monroe, Livingston, and Wyoming. It is remarkable for the
high intelligence and good character of its members, and is considered the
finest battery of this army corps. Upon his last visit in this district, after
a careful and searching inspection, of guns, horses, equipments and men, Gen.
Foster remarked that the "battery presented an excellent appearance—the
best he had seen." The fine discipline and proficiency of this battery
is due to the energy, perseverance and ability of Capt. Lee. He fully understood
the science of artillery, and had the rare faculty of making his drill spirited
and profitable. He bears to his home in Western New York, the good wishes and
respect of his late command, and his late associate officers. He has served
his country well and faithfully, and deserves the patriot's reward.
Back to the 24th Independent Battery
during the Civil War
New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military
May 4, 2006