THE IRON HEARTED REGIMENT
ARRIVAL OF THE 115TH IN NEW YORK.
[From the N. Y. Times.]
The returning Veterans ---- Arrival and Departure of the One Hundred and Fifteenth
New York ---- Interesting History.
The One Hundred and fifteenth New York, numbering 180 men and 14 officers, and
under the command of Lieut. Col. N. J. Johnson, arrived yesterday from City
Point, per government transport North Point, landing at pier No. 12, North river.
Marching up Broadway to the New York State Agency, through the pouring rain,
the regiment was received with some little applause, the dampness, however,
lessening the enthusiasm somewhat. Col. Colyer and his assistants provided dinner
for the command, at the Eighth Regiment arsenal, over Centre market.
The One Hundred and Fifteenth was serving, at the time of its leaving Raleigh,
Ga., for home, in the Third brigade, Second Division, Tenth Army Corps, but
has been identified with the Eighteenth and Twenty-fourth Corps. During its
term of service, 8 officers were killed and 14 wounded. The regiment was raised
in the counties of Fulton, Saratoga, Hamilton and Montgomery, rendezvousing
at Fonda, Aug. 26th, 1862. During their three years’ service the One Hundred
and Fifteenth have
had 1,493 names upon their rolls, and left behind them at Raleigh, 301 recruits.
The following comprises the officers’ names accompanying the regiment
Field and Staff ----Lieut. Col. N. J. Johnson, Maj. E. L. Walrath, Surgeon
C. McFarland, Acting Adjt. N. DeGrath, Quartermaster Martin McMartin.
Line Officers ----Co. A, Capt. C. Ballou; Co. B, Capt. J. P. Kneeskern, Girst
Lieut. A. Collier; Co. C, Capt. F. S. Mosher; Co. D, Second Lieut. Chas. Kline;
Co. E, Capt. W. H. Shaw, First Lieut. A. C. Slocum, Second Lieut. C. L. Clark;
Co. I, Second Lieut. W. McIntosh; Co. K, Capt. William Smith.
The One Hundred and Fifteenth New York have participated in the following
battles; Maryland Heights, Sept. 13, 1862; Bolivar Heights, Va., Sept. 15, 1862;
Chesterfield Heights, Va., May 7, 1864; Olustee, Fla., Feb. 20 1864; Weir Bottom
Church, Va., May 12, 1864; Drury’s Bluff, Va., May 14, 1864; Proctor’s
Farm, Va., May 16, 1864; Coal Harbor, Va., June 1, 1864; Siege of Petersburg;
Cemetery Hill (“the Crater”), July 30, 1864; Deep Bottom, Va., Aug.
16, 1864; Fort Gilmer, Sept. 29, 1864; Darbytown road, Va., Oct. 27, 1864; Fort
Fisher (Wilmington N. C.,) Jan. 15 1865; Wilmington Advance, Feb. 22, 1865;
Advance on Sugar Loaf Batteries, Feb. 20, 1865; Attack upon fort Anderson, Feb.
19, 1865; forced march to Northeast river, and capture of pontoon bridge.
Col. Bell, commanding the brigade, was killed in the fierce attack upon Fort
Fisher (under Gen. Terry). And Lieut. Col. Johnson assumed the command, intering
the fort and thus gaining the distinguished honor of being the first brigade
commander to enter that fort. The regiment marched up the Neuse river to join
Sherman, making the connection from the 14th to the 20th April, 1865. They departed
by special steamer yesterday afternoon for Albany.
ARRIVAL OF THE 115TH IN ALBANY.
[from the Albany Evening Journal].
The One Hundred and Fifteenth Regiment, N.Y. S. V., arrived here about five
o’clock this morning on board the Thomas Way, and was received with the
usual salute, and properly cared for by the citizens’ committee, at the
various hotels. The boys look remarkably well their uniforms are in the best
condition, and everything betokens that the best care has been taken to present
a fine soldierly appearance. The regiment was mustered in at Fonda, August 26,
1862, 1,000 strong, and returns with 280. there has been added to it about 500
recruits, and 301 have been left in the field.
The veterans have done gallant service at Maryland Heights, Md., Bolivar heights,
Va., Olustee, Fla., chester Heights, Va., Drury’s Bluff, Proctor’s
Creek, Weir bottom Church, Coal Horbor, Siege of Petersburg, Cemetery Hill,
Deep bottom, Strawberry Plain, Chapin’s Farm, Fort Gilmer, Darby-Town
Road, fort Fisher, both expeditions (it lost heavily at the explosion}, and
Wilmington. It bears on its flag the names of most of these engagements, in
which it has especially distinguished itself, and on the fields of which it
has left many a gallant hero.
The following officers returned with the regiment:
Lieutenant-Colonel---N. J. Johnson; was transferred from the Ninety-Third.
Major---E. L. Walrath; went out as captain.
Surgeon---C. McFarland; transferred from Eighty-first.
Quartermaster---Martin McMartin; went out in same capacity.
Acting Adjutant---First Lieutenant N. DeGraff; went out as orderly sergeant.
Company A---Captain C. N. Ballou; went out as orderly sergeant.
Company B---Captain J. B. Kneeskern; went out as captain. Lieutenant J. A. collier;
went out as first corporal.
Company C---Captain Fred. S. Mosher; went out as first lieutenant.
Company D---Lieutenant Charles Kline; went out as third sergeant.
Company E---Captain William H. Shaw; went out as captain. First Lieutenant A.
C. Slocum; went out as second lieutenant. Second Lieutenant C. L. Clark; went
out as sergeant.
Companies F, G and H have no officers.
Company I---Lieutenant W. McIntosh; went out as private.
Company K---Captain William Smith; went out as captain.
The regiment will remain at the barracks on the Troy road until paid off.
[From the Schenectady Daily Evening Star.]
The 115th (Montgomery) regiment is expected to reach Albany today. It left Fonda
a little more than three years ago, being a full regiment, and comes back with
only four hundred and thirty men. Of that number, we venture to say, there are
not one hundred of the original members. Their first experience was at Harper’s
Ferry, which place they reached (four days after leaving home) just in time
to take part in the fight which resulted in the loss of the place, they among
others, being taken prisoners. From there they were sent to Chicago, under rebel
parole, which they remained some months awaiting the proper exchange. While
there with other regiments, a portionof the barracks were burned, and this regiment
was wrongfully charged with the deed. They were immediately sent, under sealed
orders, to Hilton Head, where they remained several months as prisoners. The
representations of their colonel, Simeon Sammons, obtained their release, and
they immediately entered again upon active service, since which time they have
made their mark as among the bravest of our brave soldiers. We have not a record
of the battles they have been in; they have been in many, however, and prominent
among them was the very
Bloody and disastrous one of Olustee, in Florida. They should have a warm,
whole-souled reception on their return home. There were a number of Saratoga
men in the same regiment.
RETURN OF THE 115TH N. Y. REGIMENT
[from the Waterford Sentinel.]
The remnant of this brave regiment was mustered out of service on the 17th ult.,
at Raleigh, n. C., and the Waterford boys who survive, returned to their homes
on Tuesday of last week. Their names are John R. Watt, Henry B. Dummer, Ezra
T. Stone, John Halpin, and Ambrose fowler. Few regiments from this state can
present a more honorable record than the 115th, and few have suffered more severely
in the great contest for the Union. The blood of its heroes has been freely
shed on many a well contested field, and the memory of their devotion to the
old flag will long continue fragrant in the hearts of those who live to enjoy
the fruits of their patriotism and valor.
As this regiment is partially a local organization, perhaps a glance at its
history may not be uninteresting. As is well known, it was recruited under the
second call of the president for 300,000 three years men, in the 18th senatorial
district, comprised of Saratoga, Montgomery and Fulton counties. It was mustered
into service at Fonda, N.Y., on the 26th of August, 1862, and on the 28th left
the state for the seat of war. The first duty performed by it was at Summit
Point in the Shenandoah, Valley,
About fifteen miles from Harper’s Ferry: but upon Stonewall Jackson’s
approach in the direction of Winchester on the 1st of September, the regiment
fell back to the Ferry, and a few days after took part in the defense of that
place against the attack of Jackson and Longstreet; but treason on the of Col.
Miles, the commander of the post, turned them over to the enemy on the 15th
of September as prisoners of war, with little or no bloodshed. After being paroled,
the regiment was sent to Chicago, where it remained until November 20th, when
being exchanged, they returned to Virginia at Arlington Heights, and subsequently
encamped at Alexandria and Yorktown, Va., and Hilton Head and Beaufort, S. C.
they remained on garrison and guard duty, in the southern department, until
January 1864, when they joined Seymour’s expedition into Florida, and
took a very prominent part in the battle of Olustee, on the 20th of February,
where more than half of the regiment were lost in killed and wounded, the colonel
being among the latter. After this and affair, the regiment was stationed at
Pilatka, Florida, until the latter part of March, when they received orders
to embark for Virginia to join Butler in his James river enterprise. They arrived
at Gloucester Point, Va., in April, and early in May ascended the James river
with Butler and participated in the capture of Bermuda Hundreds, and also the
battle of Chesterfield Heights on May 7th; Drury’s Bluff on the 12th,
13th, 14th, 15th and 16th of May.
In the latter part of May, the division to which they were attached was ordered
to join the 18th Corps and proceed to coal Harbor, which they did arriving at
White House landing on the Pamunky river on the 31st of May, and on the first
day of June having formed a junction with the army of the Potomac took part
in the assault for the capture of the defenses around coal harbor. The portion
of the enemy’s line in front of the 18th Corps was carried, and the 115th
had the honor of capturing 280 prisoners behind their own works while the regiment
itself at this time did not number 250 men. The regiment remained at this place
during the terrible twelve days succeeding the 1st of June. When the army here
commenced its great flank movement toward Petersburg, the 115th returned to
Bermuda Hundreds, and soon after again joined the 18th Corps in front of Petersburg,
and took an active part in the siege of that place and also in the battle of
July 30, 1864, when the rebel fort was blown up, and such terrible slaughter
ensued. Here its colonel was again wounded. After the battle, the regiment returned
to the 10th Corps just in time to take part in the battle of Deep Bottom on
the 16th and 18th of August. This movement was intended only as a feint to cover
the movements of the 5th Corps on the Weldon rail road, but by some blunder
a disastrous battle was brought on , and 115th was again reduced by over 100
men. After this they again made a short visit to the lines around Petersburg,
and about the 28th of September returned to the north side of the James river
and were engaged in the bottles of Chapin’s Farm on the 29th of September
and the 7th of October, and Darbytown Road on the 27th of October.
The regiment then went into camp about six miles from Richmond, where it remained
until the famous Butler expedition to Fort Fisher was started, which it accompanied,
and also the subsequent one under Gen. Terry, and took part in the capture of
that stronghold and suffered terribly by the explosion of the magazine after
the battle. After this it marched to Wilmington, and finally to Raleigh, where
it arrived just previous to the surrender of Johnston, and where it remained
until mustered out of service.
The regiment has always conducted itself nobly in every battle in which it
has been engaged, and its history reflects honor upon the counties which it
We gladly welcome home these and other returning heroes who have periled life
and health, and have borne the hardships consequent upon the life of a soldier,
for the sake of their country, and may they live long to enjoy the benefit of
their labor, and see a united, prosperous, peaceful and happy country as the
fruits of their sacrifices.
The following is a list of the members of Co. H, that went from the town of
Waterford and the village of Cohoes upon its organization.
Alfred Gould, Returned with regiment.
Augustus W. Bayard, “ “ “
Marvin Steenbergh, “ “ “
John Vandercook “ “ “
George E. Brockway, “ “ “
George Vandercook Discharged, lost an arm.
James Wilson, Killed at Olustee, Fla.
Abbott C. Musgrove, “ Deep Bottom, Va.
Jas. K. P. Himes, “ “ “ “
E. Raymond Fonda, Died from effects of wound..
Oscar L. Ackley, Missing since Feb. 20, 1864.
Ambrose Fowler, Returned with regiment.
Ezra T. Stone, “ “ “
Henry B. Dummer, “ “ “
John R. Watt, “ “ “
John Halpin, Returned July 4th from hospital.
Wm. T. Powell, Discharged for disability.
Baker Honsinger, “ “ “
Duane Shepard, “ died at home.
Almon e. Stone, “ for wound.
John Dugan, Died at Beaufort, S. C.
James I. House, “ Chicago, Ill.
Lawrence Higgins, “ “ “
James Getting, Died in rebel prison.
John Hogan, Deserted at Chicago.
John Vanorden, “ “ “
SWORD PRESENTATION IN CLIFTON PARK.
[From the Waterford Sentinel.]
The following communication was furnished for publication early last week, but
by one of those accidents which printers best understand, we were compelled
to delay its appearance:
Messrs. Editors:---On the return of Lieut. James h. Clark, a member of Co. H,
115th Regiment N. Y. Volunteers, who is now at his father’s, in this village,
on a furlough, the citizens of the village and vicinity resolved on presenting
him with a sword as a small token of their esteem for him. Suitable arrangements
being make, they assembled at the village on Saturday, the 30th , in the afternoon.
The meeting was organized by the appointment of Gilbert Clement, president,
assisted by Shubael Taylor, O. Vandevoort, and M. Craver, vice-presidents, and
Thomas Noxon, Esq., secretary. The organization being completed, Rev. R. Fox,
accompanied by the Rev. S. W. Clements, chaplain of the 115th regiment, came
to the stand. On the appearance of the chaplain, three cheers were called for,
and responded to by the audience in full tone, upon which the chaplain, arose
and replied briefly.
The meeting was then opened by prayer by the Rev. R. Fox, after which the
president arose and addressed the audience, stating the object of the meeting,
and the high estimation in which this vicinity held Lieut. Clark, not only richly
earned since he went out in defense of his country, but for
A long period previous thereto --- all of which was suitable and appropriate
for the occasion. The duty of presenting the sword to Lieut. Clark was assigned
to Rev. Mr. Fox, who in discharge of the same, evinced the spirit of patriotism
and fidelity to the government. Lieut. Clark, on receiving the same, made a
brief and appropriate reply. Hon. J. S. Enos was then called to the stand, who
in his usual pleasant manner addressed the audience. He dwelt at length on the
situation of our country at the present era, and avoiding the diversity of opinion
as to the cause, clearly, logically and impressively urged the audience to more
vigorous efforts to sustain the government, its laws and constitution. His remarks
were spirited, high-minded and patriotic, and were listened to with marked attention,
and applauded by the audience. Chaplain Clements, although very feeble as to
health, was again called out. His remarks were generally relating to the 115th.
He spoke in high terms of respect of the colonel of the regiment, of Capt. S.
P. Smith of Co. H, his officers and privates, made a strong and personal allusion
to Lieut. Clark, and closed by saying that there was n regiment in service that
would excel the 115th in point of morals or discipline as a volunteer regiment.
S. W. H.
Clifton Park, June 2, 1863.
BATTLE OF PROCTOR’S CREEK.
A New York Herald correspondent gave the following interesting account of the
battle of Proctor’s Creek.
“A dense fog enveloped the country at the time, and both forces were wrapped
in a misty veil.
“This was the condition of affairs, when the rebels, massing their troops,
struck our right under General Hickman, enveloped its flank and took it in reverse.
The first blow was dealt with terrific force. Gen. Heckman’s brigade of
the Eighteenth Corps, holding the right, was doubled up and forced back on the
next brigade, which was also thrown into some confusion. Our men did not observe
the rebels until they had succeeded in passing a column between Hickman’s
right and the river, and then taking him in front and rear, crowded him between
the columns, and for a time created the greatest confusion. Gen. Heckman made
a gallant fight as long as he could, but the enemy came upon him so suddenly
and with such overwhelming numbers, that successful resistance was quite impossible
in the darkness and confusion. Some of the brigade was captured. After this
opposition --- having forced back the right, --- a heavy attack was made on
the entire line of the Eighteenth Corps, with faints along the Tenth Corps line,
and the entire right forced back some distance, after several hours of most
severe and sanguinary struggles.
“The battle raged with unexampled fury until nearly 12 o’clock.
The rebels threw heavy masses.
Upon our lines, and finally forced it back nearly a quarter of a mile. Our
men fought stubbornly with few exceptions, and resisted every step, and repeatedly
checked the rebel advance with terrible slaughter, but not without some loss
to our side. The enemy numbered not less than 15,000, and pushed into the murderous
fire with a recklessness and steadiness that are rarely seen.
“In the attack on our right we lost a gun or two, and it is said, some
light pieces --- how many it is difficult to ascertain. Probably four will cover
the loss in light pieces. Finally, after forcing the Eighteenth Corps back from
its position and regaining a portion of the first line of intrenchments, they
moved their forces on the Tenth Corps to drive it back. They first hurled their
columns upon Turner’s division (ours), which held the right of the corps
line joining the Eighteenth Corps. They formed in a careful manner and moved
steadily on Burton’s brigade (ours), on the right of Turner’s division,
advancing as if on parade, not firing a single shot, and waited until they had
reached a good distance for effective range. The brigade poured into their line
such a terrific fire that they melted away, and the thinned and broken line
after vainly endeavored to advance against the storm of bullets, fled with terrible
loss to the woods in the rear. Their volleys were as continuous and heavy as
the musketry of a brigade could well be, and such as no living beings could
stand against. The rebels were scattered like chaff, and broke for the woods
in disorganized masses. Under their friendly cover, after great exertion, the
line of attack was again formed and again a brigade advanced in splendid style
against our line. Again did they receive the terrible fire and pushed steadily
on until a fourth of them laid killed and wounded on the field, when they broke
and rushed quickly to the cover of the woods. Our boys gave three hearty cheers
and sent a volley of bullets after the rebels which told upon them severely.
Being once bloodily repulsed at this print, they moved further to our left,
and hurled a column on Gen. Hawley’s bridged, of Gen. Terry’s division.
They came up in the same steady and confident manner, but were received with
a more rapid and equally as deadly a fire as that which they were treated to
by Turner. The Spencer repeating rifles in the hands of the Connecticut boys,
and the Springfield rifles in the hands of the rest of the brigade, delivered
a fire so hot and withering that the rebels could not stand it, but broke and
ran for the woods, accelerated in their fight by the music of the Spencer bullets
around them. They were, however, determined to break our line and force it from
its position, cost what it might. They again formed and again charged, but after
ten minutes hot work, where disastrously repulsed and driven back at all points.
That ended any serious effort on their part to force our position, and they
left their dead and wounded to the number of two thousand on the field before
our line. They again massed on Gen. Smith’s front and attacked his left.
Gen. Gilmore immediately ordered Gen. Turner to attack the enemy on their flank,
and ordered Gen. Terry to support him.
“Turner’s attack had hardly commenced before Gen. Gilmore was
ordered by Gen. Butler to retire and strengthen Gen. Smith’s corps by
forming in his rear. Our troops fell back slowly and in order, repulsing every
effort of the rebels to quicken their movements, and making a stand at every
favorable position, until the enemy ceased to follow up, and fell back to their
last line of intrenchments. Gen.Gilmore then drew off his corps and formed to
support Gen smith.”
CAPTURE OF FORT FISHER.
“Again our flag is at the mast!
As proudly as of old;
It leaps upon the joyous blast,
As if within its folds
A thousand hearts alive and true,
Were throbbing on its field of Blue.”
From Secretary Stanton:
Fortress Monroe, Jan. 17 --- 10 P.M.
To the President: The rebel flag of Fort Fisher was delivered to me on board
the steamer Spalding, off that place yesterday morning, Jan.16, by Major-General
An acknowledgment and thanks for their gallant achievement was given in your
name to Admiral Foster and Gen. Terry, from whom the following particulars were
obtained : The troops arrived off Fort Fisher Thursday night. Friday they were
all landed under cover of a heavy fire from the squadron. A reconnoisance was
made by Gen. Terry on Saturday. A strong defensive line against any of the enemy’s
forces coming from Wilmington was established on Saturday, and held by 4,000
men, chiefly colored troops, and an assault was determined on. The assault was
made on Sunday afternoon, at 3 1/2 o’clock. The sea-front of the fort
had been greatly damaged and broken by a coutinuous and terrible fire of the
fleet for three days, and the front was assaulted at the hour mentioned by a
column of seaman and marines, 1,800 strong, under command of Capt. Beese. They
reached the parapet, but after a short conflict this column was checked, driven
back in disorder, and was afterward placed on the defensive line, taking the
place of a brigade that was brought up to reinforce the assaulting column of
troops. Although the assault on the sea-front failed, it performed a useful
part in diverting the attention of the enemy, and weakening their resistance
to the attack by the troops on the other side. The assault on the other and
most difficult side of the fort was made by a column of 3,000 troops of the
old Tenth Corps, led by Col. Curtis, under the immediate supervision of Gen.
Terry. The enemy’s force in the fort was over
2,200. The conflict lasted for seven hours. The works were so constructed that
every traverse afforded the enemy a new defensive position from whence they
had to be driven. They were seven in number, aud the fight was carried on from
traverse to traverse, for seven hours, by a skillfully directed fire thrown
into the traverses. One after another they were occupied by the enemy. Admiral
Porter contributed to the success of the assaulting column by signals between
himself and Gen. Terry at brief intervals. This fire was so well managed as
to damage the enemy without injury to our own troops.
About 10 o’clock at night the enemy were entirely driven from the fort,
forced down toward Federal Point, followed by a brigade of our troops; and about
12 o’clock at night Gen. Whiting surrendered himself and his command to
Gen. Terry unconditionally as prisoners of war, numbering over 1,800, the remainder
of his force being killed and wounded.
Our loss was not accurately ascertained on Monday afternoon, but was estimated
at between seven and eight hundred in killed and wounded, beside the naval loss,
which was slight, not exceeding one hundred killed and wounded. Not a ship or
a transport was lost.
Col. Curtis was severely but not mortally wounded. Col. Bell died of his wounds
Monday morning. Col. J. W. Moore and Lieut. Col. Lyman were killed. Col. Pennypacker
was badly wounded, also Lieut.
Col. Coan. A complete list of the killed and wounded will be forwarded as soon
as it can be prepared.
Gen. Leroy reported to Surgeon General Barnes that he had ample provision
of surgeons, nurses and hospital supplies for the wounded. They will be sent
north to their respective states as fast as they can be placed on transports,
of which there was ample supply.
On Monday morning, between 6 and 7 o’clock, the magazine of Fort Fisher
exploded, killing and wounding two or three hundred persons.
After the capture of the fort all the troops were withdrawn, except one brigade
left in charge of the works.
How the explosion occurred was not known, but Gen. Terry believed it was occasioned
by accident or neglect.
Gen. Hoke’s division, reported at five thousand, was at Wilmington.
A portion of it was thrown into the fort not long before the assault, and while
that was going on a demonstration was made by General Hoke against our defensive,
but it was found too strong for anything more than a skirmishing attack.
About 11 o’clock on Monday morning, a heavy cloud of smoke was observed
over Fort Smith, on the south side of New Inlet. The naval officer commanding
that station reported that the enemy had fired their barracks, and evacuated
You will be pleased to know that perfect harmony and concert of action existed
between the land and naval forces; and their respective commanders, Admiral
Porter and General Terry, vied in their commendation each of the other. Each
seemed more anxious to do justice to the other than to claim anything for himself,
and they united in the highest commendation of the naval and military officers,
and the forces engaged. To this harmony of feeling, and the confident spirit
inspired, may, perhaps be attributed, in some degree, the success of our attack,
with nearly equal numbers, against a resolute enemy, in a work unsurpassed,
if ever equaled, in strength, and which General Beauregard, a few days before,
pronounced impregnable. The armament of the fort was 72 guns, some of large
caliber and rifled, and one Armstrong gun. The troops in the fort had rations
for sixteen days. Their loss in killed and wounded was between 400 and 500.
Gen. Whiting had three wounds in the thigh. Col. Lamb also who had gone into
the fort with reinforcements, and to relieve General Whiting on Sunday, was
wounded. On Monday everything was quiet as a Sabbath day. The dead were being
buried, and the wounded collected and placed in transports and field hospitals.
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
REPORT OF ADMIRAL PORTER.
United States Flag Ship Malvern,
Off Fort Fisher, Jan. 15, 1865.
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that we have possession of Fort Fisher,
and that the fall of the surrounding works will soon follow.
As I informed you in my last, we had commenced operations with the iron vessel,
which bombarded while we landed the troops. On the 14th I ordered all the vessels
carrying 11 inch guns to bombard with the Ironsides, the Brooklyn taking the
lead. By sunset the fort was reduced to a Pulp. Every gun was silenced by being
injured or covered up with earth, so that they would not work.
On the 19th Gen. Terry and myself arranged for the assault, and I ordered
1,400 sailors and marines to participate. At daylight the iron vessels, the
Brooklyn and the 11 inch gun-boats commenced battering the work, while the troops
made a lodgment within 150 yards of the fort. At 10 o’clock all the vessels
steamed in and took their stations, opening a heavy fire, which was kept up
until 3 P.M., when the signal was made to assault, the soldiers taking the land
side, the sailors the sea face, and the ships changing, but not stopping, their
fire to other works.
The rebels met us with a courage worthy of better cause, and fought desperately.
About thirty of the sailors and officers succeeded in getting to the top of
the parapet, amid a murderous fire of grape, canister and musketry. They had
planted the flag there, but were swept away in a moment. Others tried to get
up the steep pancopee. The marines could have cleared the parapet by keeping
up a steady fire, but they failed to do so, and the sailors were repulsed. Many
a gallant fellow fell, trying to emulate their brothers-in-arms who were fighting
to obtain an entrance on the north-east angle, as it appears on our charts.
The enemy mistook the seamen’s attack for that of the main body of troops,
and opposed a most vigorous resistance there. But I witnessed it all, and I
think the marines could have made the assault successful.
In the meantime our gallant soldiers had gained a foothold on the north-east
corner of the fort, fighting like lions, and contesting every inch of the ground.
The Ironsides and monitors kept storming their shells into the traverses not
occupied by our men, but still held by the rebels. In this way our troops fought
from traverse to traverse from 3 o’clock in the afternoon until 10 at
night, when the joyful tidings were signaled to the fleet. We stopped our fire,
and gave them three of the heartiest cheers I ever heard.
It has been the most terrific struggle I ever saw, and there was very much
hard labor. The troops have covered themselves with glory, and Gen. Terry is
my “beau ideal” of a soldier and a general; and his cooperation
has been most harmonious, and I think the general will do the navy the justice
to say that this time, at least, “we substantially injured the fort as
a defensive work.” Gen. Terry had only A few more troop than we had on
the last occasion, when the enemy had only 100 men in the works. This time the
works were fully manned, and contained about 800 men at the time of the assault.
It is a matter of great regret to me to see my gallant officers and men so
cut up, but I was unwilling to let the troops undertake the capture of the works
without the namy sharing with them the peril all were anxious to undergo, and
we should have had the honor of meeting our brothers-in-arms on the works, had
the sailors been properly supported.
We have lost about 200 in killed and wounded, among them some gallant officers.
I regret to announce the death of L. S. W. Preston and Lt. B. H. Porter. They
were both captured together in the attack on Fort Sumter, and died together
in endeavoring to pull down the flag that has so long flaunted in our faces.
Lieut. R. H. Lamson was severely wounded. He was lately associated with Lieut.
Preston in his perilous adventure on the powder-boat. Lieut. George M. Bache
and a number of others were wounded, the former not dangerously.
The assault only took place a few hours ago, and I am unable to inform you
of our casualties. They were quite severe from the assault but we had no casualties
from the enemy’s cannon.
Knowing the impatience of the department to received news from Fort Fisher,
I have written these few harried lines. No one can conceive what the army and
navy have gone through to achieve this victory, which should have been ours
on Christmas day without the loss of a dozen men. This has been a day of terrific
struggle, and is not surpassed by any event of the war. We are all worn out
nearly, and you must excuse this brief and unsatisfactory account. I will write
fully by the Santiago de Cuba which goes north to-morrow to carry the wounded.
Besides the men in Fort Fisher there were about 500 in the upper forts, and
a relief of about 1,500 men was brought down by steamers this morning. So far,
I believe, we have only captured the garrison of Fort Fisher. I don’t
suppose there ever was a work subjected to such a terrific bombardment, or where
the approach of a fort was more altered. There is not a spot of earth about
the fort that has not been torn up bby our shells.
I do not yet know the number of killed and wounded by our fire; but one 15
inch shell alone pierced a bomb-proof, killing 16 and severely wounding 25.
I presume we are in possession of all the forts, as Fort Fisher commands them
all. It is so late now that I can learn nothing more until morning.
I am, Sir, very respectfully, your obedient, servant, Hon. Gideon Wells, Secretary
of the Navy, Washington, D. C.
COMPLIMENT TO WORTHY OFFICERS.
[From the Palmetto Herald.]
Lieut. M. McMartin, Quartermaster, and Lieut. H. S. Sanford, Adjutant of the
115th N. Y. Volunteers, were handsomely used by their regiment today. To each
was given a fine horse, with equipments. The gifts were presented by Major Walrath,
who, in an eloquent manner, recited the merits of the officers and of the regiment
whose efficiency hhey had contributed greatly to sustain. Appropriate responses
were made, and a “sociable” this evening is to wind up the affair.
A SKIRMISH AT PILATKA, FLORIDA.
[Correspondence of the Palmetto Herald.]
We had a skirmish with the rebels here on Monday, the 21st, in which the enemy,
who made an attack in force upon our pickets, was repulsed and driven in full
retreat. Between a hundred and fifty and two hundred of the rebels made a dash
upon our mounted pickets on the right, comprising a portion of the 115th New
York, driving them in a little way. A portion of the same force then passed
our center and went to our left, where our outposts were also attacked. The
enemy fought dastardly, firing from behind the trees; but notwithstanding this
advantage, our own men being in the open space, the rebels were driven back
in confusion, and taking to their horses made the best escape they could. In
the fight, which was of very brief duration, not one of our own men was hit.
One of our officers, however, asserts that a rebel officer, mounted on a magnificent
grey horse, was seen to fall after one of our volleys.
The Otttawa, Lieutenant-Commander Breese, fired over the town during the engagement,
and one or two of her shells burst prematurely, the fragments falling among
our lines, happily doing no injury.
THE FEARLESS SHARPSHOOTER.
The 13th Indiana Regiment in our brigade (the 3d), probably fought more battles
than any regiment in the 10th Army Corps, and were celebrated all through the
army for their bravery and splendid fighting qualities. Being reduced to a battalion,
they were armed with seven shooters and organized as sharpshooters.
Frequently they acted as skirmishers during a battle, and while in front of
Petersburg they took positions behind stumps, trees, and breastworks, doing
At one point in front of Petersburg, where a squad of the Indiana boys were
watching the movements of the enemy, one after another of their numbers were
rapidly shot dead, and the survivors could form no idea where the fatal bullets
Finally, one of the regiment far more daring and shrewd than the rest, declared
that he would take his position in the fatal spot, and find out the author of
the bloody work, if it cost him his life. So with a select party of his comrades,
he repaired to the
place, and began eagerly watching the rebel lines. For three or four hours
all was quiet, but at last a Negro was observed walking leisurely along the
works of the enemy. He carried in his arms a long fence rail which he carelessly
threw across the sand bag in front of him, and then suddenly disappeared from
view. In a moment the crack of a rifle was heard, and one of the Indiana boys
fell over dead, being shot through the forehead. Our hero now concluded that
the Negro was a black rebel, that he was the man who had played such dreadful
havoc, among his comrades, and that the harmless looking fence rail contained
a murderous gun.
He kept a sharp look-out and presently saw the Negro aiming the fence rail
at him. So he drew up his trusty rifle, aimed quickly, pulled the trigger, and
two rifles cracked at the same time. The champion of the fence rail fell over
dead, and the Indiana boy received a slight wound in the scalp. No more of our
men were picked off in that way, and the rebel scould not play the same game
on them again. The day following the occurrence noted above, the Indiana soldier
took his position in a tree top, and picked off four rebels with ease.
One evening he came up where the 115th lay, and gave them an exhibition of
his skill as a workman. The regimental flag was strapped to a post, on the breastworks,
and all day the rebel sharpshooters and skirmishers had been trying to cut it
down, and towards evening they opened an embrasure in a fort opposite, and began
balls. The Indiana sharpshooter stepped up and said: “Boys, they are
trying to cut down your flag, are they? Just let me get up to the works, and
I’ll shut up their music for a while.” The rebel embrasure was one
mile distant, but “Indiana” took aim fired, and to the surprise
of all, the ball entered the hole, causing several rebel heads to disappear
in an amazingly short space of time, He fired five times in succession, and
put four of the five shots in the embrasure, and the Johnnies not liking such
sharp practice, ceased firing, and nothing more was heard of that cannon for
The next evening “Indiana,” accompanied by a friend from his regiment,
proceeded to walk boldly in front of the rebel line of works, keeping in Indian
file. Of course the rebels began to shoot at them, and pretty soon a spiteful
bullet came screaming through the air, wounding each through the leg badly.
“Indiana’s” comrade was naturally disposed to limp but was
soon led to change his mind. “If you limp I’ll knock your brains
out with the butt of my gun,” thundered Indiana in a tone of deep earnestness.
“Forward, March! Don’t let the sneaking traitors know you are wounded,” he continued. Both marched boldly to our works, and on reaching there safely,
sank down exhausted from the loss of blood. They both laughed, and joked, and
shook hands over the furlough they expected to get, and declared they would
never enter the door of a hospital. Indiana was warlike still, and asked to
be helped up to the works that he might give the Johnnies his pointed respects.
After he had done that, he showed us his many wounds. He had a bullet wound
in the right leg, a sabre cut across the right shoulder, a deep bayonet thrust
in the left side, and a sore wound in the head beside the one received in the
leg at the time. He fought in the Mexican war, and took part in forty battles
in this one. When the stretcher arrived to convey him to the hospital he refused
to get on it, and the last that was seen of him he was limping to the rear,
supported by a stick.
A PLUCKY SOLDIER BOY.
Private Frank E. Ritche, Co. I, and orderly for Col. Sammons, met with the following
adventure in the state of Florida:
One day he took a notion to ride out of camp a couple of miles for the purpose
of viewing the country; so arming himself with a rusty rebel sabre and mounting
a horse, rode away into the swamp alone. Suddenly he found himself confronted
by three mounted rebels who were armed with shot guns. Frank resolved not to
be captured, and putting on a bold front he drew out his rusty old sabre, ad
swinging it over his head with the air of a brigadier, turned partly around
on his horse and yelled out at the top of his voice, “Come on boys, here
they are!” here they are!” thus giving the rebels to understand
that his command was close by. He then commanded the rebels to sur-
render, at the same time raising his “toad sticker” in a threatening
manner. Two of the chivalry instantly wheeled their horses and dashed off into
the swamp at a break-neck pace. The third was disarmed by Frank before he had
a chance to run, and together with his horse, gun and equipments, was soon safe
in the camp of the 115th.
The Union soldier was about 16 years of age.
A soldier of the 115th had the following attention paid him by the rebels at
They shot away his gun and he picked up another. Hardly had he resumed firing
when a second bullet penetrated his canteen sending it to the ground. In a little
while a ball paralyzed his right shoulder. He then went to the rear and on examination
found his wound not very severe, so he went back to the company and began firing
at the enemy again. In a moment a ball grazed both legs just enough to start
the blood, and another passed through the center of one of his great toes making
a very painful wound. He began to think it about time for him to go to the rear
for good, and started off, but unfortunately got among a party of rebels who
demanded his surrender. He made motions to signify that he was wounded, and
pretended to comply with their demands. But observing a good opportunity he
started on a run, and although the rebels sent a volley of bullets after him,
he managed to escape. Upon reaching the rear, he looked at his bleeding tow
and damaged shoes, and then coolly remarked that he “did not care anything
about the hole in his tow, but it was darn mean for the rebels to spoil his
STATEMENTS OF PRISONERS.
I was born in Waterford, Saratoga co., N.Y., Jan. 24th , 1842, and enlisted
in Co., H, 115th Regiment, Aug. 9th, 1862, as a private. At the battle of Olustee,
Fla., Feb. 20th, 1864, I was wounded through both thighs, the left leg, and
the body; and being unable to leave the field was taken prisoner by the enemy.
I lay there from Saturday the 20th until the following Wednesday night, before
the rebels took me off. They then put me with six others in a rough wagon, and
took us to Lake City, a distance of thirteen miles. From there, eighty of us
all wounded, were taken one hundred and fifty miles to Tallahassee in a single
cattle car. At Tallahassee we were placed in a church, had our wounds dressed
for the first time, and received good treatment.
On the 11th of April I was furnished with on day’s rations and sent
to Andersonville, Ga., being five days on the route, and only the single day’s
rations to eat. A rebel officer of the 4th Ga. Cavalry, rode up to us as I lay
wounded on the battle field, and observing one of my boots lying by my side
asked where the mate to that boot was. I replied that it was under my head.
He then said “When I come back I want them.” As soon as he rode
I took by jack knife and cut both boots in pieces so he could not have them.
After a short time he came back and asked for the boots. I said “there
they lay,” pointing to the pieces. He declared he had a good mind to run
be through with his sword. Rebel soldiers came up to me as I lay suffering,
and stripped me of my overcoat, blanket, haversack and canteen, and left without
saying a word. A private of the 4th Ga. Cavalry came up, and observing a gold
ring on my finger, asked me to let him see it. I dared not refuse, so I handed
it to hem, when he walked off with it. Thinking much of the ring I called to
hem to bring it back and I would give him a nice watch and chain. He promised
to return it, so I handed over the watch, when he coolly walked off with both
articles. For seven months I lay in that “hell upon earth: Andersonville,
withou tshelter, exposed to the weather, with no clothing except a pair of pants.
I have frequently gone three days without receiving a mouthful of food, and
my comrade Charles H. DeGraff, being too weak to walk up to the wagons, was
refused his rations, and he soon starved to death, suffering like a dog. I was
exchanged in Oct., 1864.
G. D. COLE.
G. D. Cole was taken prisoner at Deep Bottom, Va., August 16th, 1864, and immediately
placed under charge of a rebel guard. Soon after being captured he became very
thirsty, and his guard conducted him to a spring where he filled his canteen
with water. As he was passing along he saw large piles of arms and legs which
the rebel surgeons had amputated from their wounded. He was soon sent to Belle
island, from there to Danville, N. C., and finally to Saulsbury. The last named
place he says pen or speech cannot describe, as it contained so many loathsome
and sickening horrors. The dreadful scenes enacted daily were of the most appalling
and heart-rending character. Of 10,000 prisoners confined there only 3,000 lived
to come away, and the greater portion of those were in a dying condition, or
were terribly emaciated by starvation, exposure and disease. The rebels stole
his shoes, coat and blanket, and left him with only a pair of pants and a shirt.
The rations were only a loaf of corn bread per day, barely enough to keep life
in the body. The prisoners became so ravenous that they were more like wild
beasts than human beings, and would snatch the bread out of each others mouths.
He often awoke and found a dead man lying beside him. The difference between
a man who owned a blanket and one who did not, was as great as between a rich
man and a poor man here. The guards were old man and boys. The old men were
generally kind to the prisoners, and in many cases Union men. The boys were
bloodthirsty and brutal, and would shoot a Yankee as soon as a dog. He was engaged
in the attempt to escape from the horrors of the prison, but it was unsuccessful,
and 80 of their number were swept down with grape and canister. Three men lying
quietly in their tents were killed. The fence was so high, and the men so weak,
that the enclosure could not be forced. The rebels told all the catholics to
step out and they would give them good rations and a better camp five miles
away. After reaching there they were coaxed and urged to enlist in the rebel
army, but nearly all refused.
While on his way to Wilmington he paid $50 for a ham weighing three or four
pounds, and $25 for some corn bread which did not make a meal for two. The rebel
guards paid freely $60 in rebel currency for $1 in greenbacks, and brass buttons
sold readily for $5 each. Although never sick a day, yet he was reduced to a
mere skeleton and on being paroled could scarcely walk. He weighed 180 pounds
at the time he was captured and only 80 pounds when he was released from the
Sergt. Van Arnam, of Co. A, taken prisoner at Deep Bottom, Va., Aug. 16th,
1864, and paroled in November, 1864, made the following statement on his return
“I would say to the friends of these unfortunate prisoners that Belle
island contains about five acres, and is enclosed by rifle pits, well guarded
by home guards composed of old men and boys.
“There are about 6,000 prisoners in this camp, four thousand of whom
have a shelter from the sun, but affording little protection from rain. All
receive rations twice a day; at 10 A.M., one quarter of a loaf of wheat bread,
which is sour, and a piece of bacon or fresh beef as large as your three fingers.
Supper at 4 P.M.; same about and kind of bread, with one half-pint black bean
soup, and occasionally in its place, for a variety, rice soup. The prisoners
have no blankets, and sleep on the bare ground.
A list of prisoners in the hands of the rebels from the 115th Regiment, N.Y.
S. Vols., on Belle island, Va.
Lieut. C. N. Ballou, Co. A.
Corp. Fred. Putser, Co. I.
Musicians – I. A. Tripp, James Hale, Jesse Wood.
Privates – Thomas J. Henry, John Sherlock, Robert Baker, Lafayette Waterman,
Frank Molter, Co. A; F. Van Epps, Orrin Snell, Co. B; William Colgrove, Frank
Mallery, Co. D; Wm. S. young, Frank Lamb, Co. K.
Those who were paroled with me were Theodore Reckner, Co. A; David Brower, Co.
D; Barney McGuire, Co. I.”
J. W. VAN ARNAM,
Sergt., Co. A, 115th N. Y. S. V.
CHESAPEAKE U. S. HOSPITAL.
Sept. 29, 1864. – Battle of Fort Gilmer.
Sept. 30. – Wounded begin to arrive from the army of the James. A hospital
boat blew up in the river.
Oct. 2. – The surgeons are engaged in amputating limbs. Hospital boats
are continually arriving with wounded, and ambulances are rolling along night
and day. The dead march is constantly sounding in our ears.
Oct. 3. – Thirty-five officers and men buried from this hospital during
twenty-four hours. A rebel captain died.
Oct. 4. – Several officers died from the effects of wounds. Their remains
were placed in board coffins painted red. The coffins are covered with stars
and stripes, then hauled to the grave-yard in the dead cart and buried by a
squad of soldiers.
Oct. 5. – Several loads of dead soldiers put under the sod to day. Seven
coffins are taken as a load.
Oct. 6. – More officers and a large number of soldiers died. Hundreds
of recruits going to the front.
Oct. 7. – A constant stream of men going to Grant.
Oct. 13. – More wounded arrived.
Oct. 14. – large numbers of wounded came in. Six hundred recruits went
to the fort.
Oct. 30. – Fifty officers furloughed to make room for wounded. All enlisted
men able to travel are allowed to go home. For seven months ending Nov. 1st,
more than seventeen hundred (1,700) soldiers from the army of the James were
buried from the U. S. general hospital, Fortress Monroe.
Nov. 1. – Nearly all patients in the hospital able to travel left for
home so as to take part in the presidential election.
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New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military
March 19, 2006