New York Volunteers
Civil War Newspaper Clippings
(Our Special War Correspondence.)
The Siege of Petersburg.
Near Petersburg, Va., July 24, 1864.
DEAR DEMOCRAT.—The siege of Petersburg has now been in formal operation
since 11th, or just thirteen days. It continues to "drag its slow length
along," without, as yet, any visible effect upon the enemy, and no decisive
results at any portion of our line to gladden the hearts of the besiegers or
lead us to expect a speedy and victorious termination. Gen. Grant, may, however,
be able quite clearly to see his way through what seems to nearly everybody
else inscrutable; but it is physically impossible that with our present force
the army of Lee can be absolutely and totally cut off from the vast supplies
in the Southern interior, and thus be so hemmed in as to be forced to choose
between starvation and submission. It is the defeat and capture of that army
which is Gen. Grant's great object now, for with that accomplished, both Petersburg
and Richmond naturally fall into our hands. The former city we can demolish
and probably capture any day; but this would be but a barren victory just at
present, as it would leave the rebel army intact, to fall back upon Richmond,
and compel us to besiege them again. The idea (prevalent among many) that in
the downfall of Petersburg is necessarily involved the capture of Richmond
also, seems to me a grave absurdity, as we are now situated.—We need
MORE MEN—reinforcements by tens of thousands—at this very point,
to put a certain quietus upon the rebellion, and make the campaign short, sure
and decisive. Shall we have them?
Our forces lie in the trenches during these long and sultry days, alternately
doing picket duty in the extreme front line (only a stone's throw from the
rebel works,) peculating upon the military prospect, discussing a little politics,
reading and writing and dreaming of home. In regard to
POLITICS AND THE WAR,
I find remarkable unanimity of sentiment between professed Republicans (former
Lincoln men) and Democrats,—a harmony which increases with each day,
and must ultimate in quite complete unity of action when it comes to voting
for President. Regardless of all other questions, the prevailing sentiment
is, "We must have a change of rulers. We must try new men and new measures.
Mr. Lincoln, (say most of his old friends,) is a failure; and mere honesty
of purpose is neither vigor, sound judgment nor ability, I simply repeat to
you what I know and hear daily among the soldiers; and in coroboration of it,
I may mention that an informal vote lately taken in two Companies of the 179th
Regiment, showed 36 opposed to "Abe's" re-election, and but 9 in
favor of it, or 4 to 1, And of those 36, full one-half are Republicans and
former "Lincolnites." Of course there isn't much "room for argument" here.
I remain sincerely firm in the belief that the present Administration is incapable
of either successfully conducting the war or of negotiating an honorable peace—that
they lack both wisdom and sagacity for either. No true Democrat in the North
is so fond of peace as to be willing to sacrifice to it the integrity of the
Union, the "immortality of the Constitution" and the supremacy of
the laws. Nor should any Democrat be so pugnacious or blood-thirsty as to insist
upon fighting a single moment after those now, unhappily in rebellion, shall
have agreed to return to the Constitutional mode of redressing grievances.
Upon a platform embracing these dual Democratic ideas, let a statesman and
patriot be nominated next month, and two thirds of the army vote will be his.
Neither blandishments nor threats can turn the current now steadily setting
in against Mr. Lincoln and his wrong-headed, impracticable and intriguing advisers.
The president has had enough of the bitter "sweets of office" at
an enormous expense of blood and treasure to the country. Let his better judgment
outweigh his new-fledged ambition and induce him to retire from the opening
contest or the people will surely retire him!
Since the siege began, the 179th Regiment has been in somewhat better health.
The rations of food issued are pronounced by veteran soldiers of better quality
and more variety than ever before issued to the army of the Potomac while in
the field. In my next I shall try to describe to you how we live.
I regret to say that Lieut. Bradley is compelled to be absent from Company "F" at
present, being severely but we hope not dangerously ill. He went to the 9th
Corps hospital a few days ago. Capt. Farwell is still with the Company, and
his health is tolerable, but not first-rate. The Regiment has been transferred
from the first brigade to the SECOND, in the first division, ninth corps. The
brigade is commanded by Brig. Gen. E. G. Marshalls, formerly Colonel of the
14th Heavy Artillery.
I must close, as the mail leaves in a few minutes.
Yours, fraternally, SPENCER.
Characteristic Letter from Col. Gregg.
HEADQUARTERS 179TH REGT. N. Y. V.
NEAR "JONES HOUSE" Va. Dec, 5, '64.
My dear Thurston:
I received your letter dated 80th Nov., this morning. The draft enclosed came
safe, and in good time, as I was about whipped for money. The watch you sent
me may go upon errth, but in this region it is no go.
I have just completed
a house which I find very comfortable.
It is a lodge of ample size,
Both strong of structure and device,
Of such materials, as around,
The builder's hand had rarest found.
I wish you were here to enjoy it with me
for the short time we shall stay, which from present indications will be but
a few days. The 6th Army Corps has
joined us and it is said the 19th is to follow. Deserters tell us that a large
force has gone to Georgia. I think Grant is preparing to strike for Richmond.
Whether ho will make a flank movement or strike from the shoulder remains to
From our camp it is about one and half miles to Petersburg, but from the looks
of the rebel works between this and that city, I think it is a rough road to
travel. I believe I had rather go round. "Fort Hell" is about half
a mile to our right; it is a hot place. Our Division extends about two and
a half miles, commencing at Fort Rice on our right, our left resting on the
Weldon road. In many places the pickets are not more than one hundred feet
apart. A constant firing is kept up during the night with musketry. Artillery
and mortars join in occasionally. Drums, bands, and bugles altogether make
so much confusion that I find it quite difficult to keep an idea in my head
long enough to write it out. I was division officer of the day yesterday. It
was my duty to inspect the picket guards, but at several places where lines
are so close we are not required to go as they shoot officers. But privates
have an understanding not to fire upon one another when they relieve guard.
When they want rest, one or the other side calls out for a truce to make coffee,
or for any other reason. Then both sides come out of their holes—talk
together like old friends, and exchange coffee or tobacco. The bullets from
the rebel line come into our camp very often, but as yet none of my men have
been injured. The camp next to mine has lost five men since we came here. Two
of them have died. Our men have all got barricades in front of their tents.
I had learned that my H——h and C——a had taken advantage
of my absence and "left me out in the cold." It is not surprising
that you cannot make a poetical application. I can't do it myself.
Oh, let the
Not fail beneath my feet,
Before my life has found,
What some have found so sweet!
Dr. Robinson of Hornellsville has been with us several days. He promised to
go to see you upon his return. I have enjoyed his visit very much. His son
is my surgeon, and a good man is he.
I enclose you the information you asked for in the case of Lieut. Bowker. He
was a gallant officer and was well entitled to the promotion to which I recommended
him, and which he would have received but for the malignity of copperheaded
democracy. Gov. Seymour has done his widow great injustice by allowing himself
to be controlled by a miserable politician of Hornelsville. I have sent the
Governor the proof that he has been selling commissions. Any man would get
a commission by paying this scab $150. I know this by his own letters. The
Governor knows it by this time, and I have no doubt despises him as heartily
as I do, and as all other men do who know him as well as I do.
Please say to Mrs. Bowker that the officers and men of this command feel the
loss of their good friend and faithful officer, and we sympathise most deeply
with her in her great bereavement. I noticed in his memorandum a charge against
me of five dollars. I handed the money to some one the day he left Elmira,
I think Capt. Stewart. If you do not see the Captain, I want you should pay
Mrs. B. the money. I would much rather pay it than have it stand uncancelled
upon the book.
Tell Johnny Arnot I have used no money in the way he suggested to you since
I have been in the field, nor shall I. If I had, I do not believe I should
be obliged to send home. Tell John it would give me great pleasure to see him
in my came. If you and he were here at this time I could entertain you elegantly.
My new house is well calculated to accommodate visitors, why don’t you
come? I tell you you would be well paid. The weather is delightful. Why do
you stay home shivering and pinching yourselves when a few dollars in money
and a few days time can be so well and so profitably spent in a visit to your
old friend who will take great pleasure in showing you all that can be seen
upon our side of the lines? I promise you that if you do not see Petersburg
you shall hear her church bells ring.
Has H. become reconciled to his defeat? I hope it will be a lesson to him.
I see the World made a suggestion the other day to the Democracy which it would
be well for them to adopt, viz, to give up slavery. It has served their purpose
for a long time but it is played out. It can never be made to pay either to
grow cotton or Democracy. Gabriel with his great bugle could not blow it into
power again if he should try.
But the Democracy can restore the Union and themselves to power by standing
squarely up to the old landmarks. Let them get back upon the Buffalo platform,
slough off such rotten material as Seymour, Wood Vallandigham, Brooks & Co.
and power will surely come to them. A'nt it plain for H. to see that it was
not the greatness of Lincoln, Weed & Co. that gave the government to the
Republicans but the very weakness of the Democratic leaders? The fact is the
old party has been sick for the last ten years and instead of calling in such
doctors as William Cullen Bryant, David Wilmot, and others who understand the
old man's case, they have quacked the old patient almost to death with such
physicians as old Filmore, C. Chauncey Burr, and Booby Brooks. How long do
you think an old line Doctor like Dr. Hart would live if you should call in
some Indian quack to administer to him if he was sick? The sight of the physician
would almost kill him. It would at least come as near to it as these gentlemen
have to killing this grand old Democratic party.
Good by. Love to all, Wm. H. Gregg
PERSONAL.—Lieut. George W. Cook, Co. B, 179th N. Y. Vols., who has been
detailed on recruiting service in this city, for some time past, and has met
with much success in filling up the ranks of the regiment, has been relieved
and gone to the field at his own request; he having learned that his company
was without a commissioned officer in consequence of the wounding of Capt.
Our former townsman, the gallant Lieut.-Col. Albert W. Bishop, of the 2d Arkansas
Cavalry, arrived in the city yesterday, and will remain for a few days. He
has recently been in command at Fort Smith, the outer Union post of the Department,
being at the junction of the Arkansas and Poteau rivers, which separate Arkansas
from the Choctaw and Cherokee nations.
C. W. Couldock and his accomplished daughter passed through here yesterday
on their way to New York. They have been playing a very successful engagement
at the West.
TRIBUTE OF RESPECT.--At a meeting of Company E, 179th N. Y. V., held in the
rifle pits before Petersburg, Va., on Monday, June 20, 1864, the following
resolutions were presented and unanimously adopted:
Whereas, It has pleased Almighty God to remove from our midst in the fierce
conflict of battle, our late friend and brother officer, Capt. Daniel Blatchford,
who was slain in the bloody charge of the evening of June 17, 1864, and
Whereas, We deem it our binding duty to express, in words of earnest sympathy,
our sincere grief at the great loss which not only our company and regiment,
but also our suffering country has sustained; and it is therefore
Resolved, That in the loss of our late brother officer and companion in arms,
the regiment has lost a most earnest and efficient member, who was ever prompt
and zealous in the discharge of his arduous duties, and who never hesitated
to render brave and diligent service when called upon to render aid in suppressing
the atrocious rebellion aimed at the life of the government.
Resolved, That to the family of the deceased we tender our most heartfelt sympathies,
and we offer our most earnest condolence to his bereaved and widowed wife and
orphaned children, whom this sudden fate of war has smitten with grief and
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be transmitted to the family of
the gallant deceased, and that they be published in the Buffalo papers.
JOHN HOY, 1st Lieut.
Com'g Co. E, 179th N. Y. V.
LOUIS OTTENOT, 2d Lieut.
Com'g Co. B, 179th N. Y. V.
CHAS. S. LOCKWOOD, 1st Sergt. Co. E, 179th N. Y. V.
We are pained to learn that Major J. Barnet Sloan, of the 179th Reg. N.
Y. V., was killed at Petersburg. He was a printer by trade, and worked for
several years in the office of the Yates County Chronicle. He went into the
service as a Lieutenant at the commencement of the war, and was several times
wounded severely. Receiving the promotion his bravery merited, he returned
to the field only to fall while bravely leading his men in battle. He leaves
a young wife and two small children to mourn his loss. [Geneva Courier.
CASUALTIES IN Co. E. 179TH REGIMENT.
We are indebted to Lieut. Louis J. Ottenot, Co. E, 179th New York Volunteers,
for a complete list of killed, wounded and missing of his Company, at the
battle of Petersburg, Va., June 17th, 1864:
Capt. David Blachford, killed.
Privates: Jeremiah Ryan, wounded in arm and side; Patrick Breen, side; Patrick
Breen, 2d, missing; Edward Campbell, hand; Thomas Connor, t h i g h ; Charles
C. F. Favernp, mouth; John Hancock, right leg amputated; George T. Morgan,
missing, supposed to be killed; Abraham Meredith, wounded in hand slightly;
Lawrence Smith, right arm amputated; Geo. Seiffred, arm; Thomas L. Thomas,
abdomen; Issiah Wiley, missing, supposed to be killed; Stephen McEwan, in leg
slightly; Total, killed, 1; wounded, 11; missing, 3.
DEATH OF MAJOR SLOAN. - - A meeting of the citizens of Penn Yan and vicinity
was held at the Benham House, Saturday the 25th inst., upon receipt of the
painful intelligence of t he fall of Major J. Barnet Sloan, of the 179th N.
Y. Volunteer Infantry, at Petersburg, on the 17th of June.
James D. Morgan, Jr., called the meeting to order. Farley Holmes was appointed
Chairman, and George R. Cornwell Secretary.
On motion, a Committee was appointed to draft resolutions in reference to the
deceased, who reported as follows:
Whereas, Our esteemed friend, Major J. Barnet Sloan, of the 179th Regiment,
Vol. Infantry, has fallen, while gallantly leading his Regiment in the attack
against Petersburg, on the 17th June inst.,—
Resolved, That we bow in humble submission to the will of "Him who doeth
all things well," deeply lamenting the untimely death of our generous
and brave fellow citizen, by whose removal, in the morning of his fame, our
imperiled country is deprived of the services of a true and tried soldier and
officer, and his afflicted wife and little ones of a husband and father.
Resolved, That we assure the widow and family of the deceased patriot, of our
condolence and sympathy, in this, their bereavement, which is the legitimate
fruit of a common sorrow, and that we will ever cherish the memory of his devoted
patriotism as a valuable possession.
Resolved, That, as a feeble testimonial of our appreciation of his heroic services,
we respectfully solicit the privilege of burying his remains with
Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be presented to the wife and family
of the deceased, and also be published in the village papers.
J. D. MORGAN, Jr., A. F. SLAUGHTER,
H. C. HERMANS, F. HOLMES;
G. R. CORNWELL, S. S. ELLSWORTH.
After appropriate remarks by several gentlemen the Resolutions were adopted.
The following gentlemen were appointed a Committe of Arrangements, to receive
the remains of Major Sloan and make arrangements for his funeral, to be held
at the Presbyterian Church, on Monday, June 27th, at 2 o'clock p. m.:
W. J. STANTON,
GEO. H. LAPHAM,
J. D. MORGAN, Jr.,
S. S. ELLSWORTH,
GEO. F. MORGAN,
GEO. N. HICKS,
A. F. SLAUGHTER,
F. S. ROBERTS,
O. M. REDDY.
W. J. Stanton, of this Committee, reported the following
ORDER OF OBSEQUIES.
The procession will be formed at 1 o'clock, P. M. at Washington Hall, and will
move to the residence of the father of the deceased, on Liberty st., from thence
to the Church, where the Rev. Frederick Starr will officiate.
ORDER OF PROCESSION.
Penn Yan Cornet Band, under Command of
FRED, POYNEER, ESQ.
Company C, 59th Regt., N. Y. S. N. G.
Capt. WM. W. EASTMAN.
Horse, with Equipments of Deceased.
Led by Groom.
Family of Deceased and Relatives.
Veteran and Disabled Soldiers.
Officers and Soldiers who now are, or have been in the U. S. Service, and citizens
generally, are invited to attend.
On Motion, the Committee of Arrangements were invited to act as Pall-Bearers.
Capt. E. E. ROOT, late of the 33d N. Y. V., was invited to act as Marshal,
and Capt. C. F. RUDGERS, of the 94th, and Capt. M. H. LAWRENCE, Jr., of the
136th N. Y. S. V., were invited to act as Marshal's Aids.
The meeting then adjourned.
FARLEY HOLMES, Ch'n.
Geo. R. Cornwell, Sec'y.
THE FUNERAL OF MAJ. J. BARNET SLOAN.—A vast concourse of people, from
all parts of the county, paid their last sad office of respect for the late
Maj. Sloan, and manifested their condolence for the bereaved family and relatives,
at the most solemn and imposing funeral, perhaps, ever witnessed in this place,
on Monday last. His remains reached here on Friday, in charge of his brother
Dr. Sloan. The citizens immediately made arrangements for the funeral, which
was conducted by an ample committee whose arrangements and appointments were
all complete and satisfactory. The procession was arranged in fine order, and
conducted by Marshals mounted. The hearse, containing the body, was gracefully
shrouded with the American Flag, and was drawn by four elegant white horses,
closely followed by the military horse of the deceased, fully caparisoned,
and led by a groom on foot.—The Military and Fire Companies, with their
regalia, added much to the occasion. The American colors, draped with crape,
borne by a gray headed veteran, now home from the army on a furlough, attracted
attention and tempted the tear to many eyes. The services held at the Presbyterian
Church, were remarkably appropriate and impressive. The Rev. Mr. Starr preached
a sermon drawn not from a gospel of treason rebellion and slavery, but from
a gospel of loyalty patriotism and liberty, and he did not fail to charge the
guilt of the rebellion to its proper cause, and to show that the loss of so
many precious lives, and such masses of property was to be charged wholly and
solely to the determination of the few to oppress and enslave the many.
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April 9, 2007