New York Volunteer Infantry
Civil War Newspaper Clippings
THE CHAPLAIN OF THE 74TH.—We understand that Rev. Dr. Heacock will leave
this afternoon to join the 74th, and enter upon his duties as Chaplain. Sergeant
Wm. E. Youngs, Company C, 5th Excelsior, wounded in the fight at Wapping Heights,
has arrived at his home in this village. Private Charles Smith, of the same
company severely wounded at the battle of Gettysburg, is also at his residence
in this village. Private Goodwin, of the same company wounded in the same battle,
arrived here some weeks since, but has since died of his wounds.
THE 74TH AT CHAMBERSBURG.—We are informed by Adjutant Johnson that the
74th Regiment has moved from Mount Union to Chambersburg. The 65th is probably
there also. From this it would seem that our boys may have an opportunity to
aid in the discomfiture of the rebs.
The remains of Captain William N. Chester have been brought from Gettysburg
for interment in the family vault. Capt. Chester left this city early in
the war with his command, in Sickles' Excelsior Brigade, and either at the
head of his company or on the General's staff participated in all the severe
engagements which that Brigade sustained. At Yorktown, Williamsburg,
Fair Oaks, during the seven days engagements, and at Fredericksburg, he distinguished
himself and escaped with but slight injuries, though several horses were killed
under him. He was twice decorated, and during the intervals of active service
on the march or in battle, sustained with efficiency
the duties of Brigade Commissary or Judge Advocate. He was very popular with
his command and with his fellow officers—from his dashing bravery abilities
and geniality and from comrade in arms, fellow aide to Gen. Humphreys, we have
the following incident. During the terrific struggle of July 2d the third corps
was as usual where there was warm work. Gen. Humphreys with his aide Capt.
Chester was well in front; our men were, for the moment slowly giving way.
The captain turned to rally them; facing the General, a ball entered near the
spine and passed out in front. He exclaimed "I am struck." The General
passed his arm around him to support him from the field; at this instant the
General's horse was killed, and he was obliged to consign the Captain to an
orderly. Hardly had they moved to retreat, when a shell tore off the head of
the horse, instantly killing the orderly. While all were thus prostrate, and
the captain seemed to be dead, a rebel approached, and was in the act of stealing
his watch. Summoning sufficient strength, he killed the robber with his pistol.
Our men rescued him, finding on one side the faithful orderly, on the other
the rebel thief. Taken to the 3d Corps hospital, near Gettysburg, he survived
For the Flushing Journal.
Captain William H. Chester.
The readers of the New York Daily Times probably noticed in Tuesday's edition,
the death of Captain Wm. H. Chester of the 6th Regiment Excelsior, or Iron
Brigade.—The ex-members of the old 5th no doubt read it, as I did, with
much regret, well knowing that they had lost an old friend, and the country
one of its truest patriots.
Captain Chester, at the commencement of the war, raised a company for the 4th
Regiment of the Brigade. It was known at that time as the telegraph company,
for the reason that they were organized exclusively for the purpose of working
field telegraph lines.—For some reason or other it could not be accepted
by the War Department for that purpose, and was turned into an infantry organization;
shortly before the Brigade left camp Scott for Washington in July, 1861, his
command was transferred to the 5th Regiment of the same Brigade, commanded
by Col. now Brig.-Gen. Charles K. Graham, where his company, or rather what
is left of them, now are.
Shortly after the battle of Williamsburg, we find him acting as Brigade Commissary
on the staff of Brig.-Gen. D. E. Sickles, participating in all the battles
of the Peninsula. Sometime in September, 1862, he came back to his regiment,
and remained until after the first battle if Fredericksburg, when he was appointed
Judge Advocate of the division commanded by the lamented Gen. Berry, acting
in that capacity up to the time of his commander's death.
On Gen. Humphrey's taking command of the division he was retained on his staff
with his former position.
The lamented Captain was a man possessed of talents of the first order. He
was noted in his regiment for his great kindness of heart, always having a
kind word for all, no matter what his rank. If a member of the regiment unfortunately
got into any difficulty, he was among the first to offer to act as his counsel,
and would go into the case with all the energy he was possessed of—without
accepting any remuneration for his services—acting on the motto "do
unto others as you would be done by."
At the battle of Gettysburg he fell pierced by a minnie ball. He died as he
lived, a faithful defender of the Flag of the Union.
Peace be to his ashes. Excelsior.
FROM THE 74th REGIMENT.—ON THE ROAD
TO CHAMBERSBURG, 25 MILES FROM MT. UNION, July 6,
7 1/2 P. M.—Dear Express: My company was ordered on picket duty yesterday
morning. He had just completed our arrangements to spend two or three days
in comfort, and were preparing our dinner, when a courier brought an order
to report immediately with my company at regimental headquarters, as the regiment
was ordered to leave Mount Union at 5 P. M. I called in my outposts without
delay, and was soon on the way to camp. Arriving there we found everything
all in a bustle. Shortly after the time appointed we were on the march hither;
we marched eight miles before halting for the night, and dreary miles they
were; the night was dark and the roads very muddy. To-day we have marched about
seventeen miles, and have just arrived at this place, a beautiful common, alongside
a brook, where we were ordered to halt for the night. The boys have kept up
well, although there are some stragglers from each company. My company has
the advance, and it is all that the field officers and myself can do to keep
the boys from rushing forward faster than allowed. The 29th Pennsylvania Militia
is with us.
July 7th, 10 A. M.--Was prevented from finishing this letter last night. Resumed
the march shortly after 6 A. M. Have marched about 6 miles—the road thus
far has been mostly over mountains, and our progress very slow. We shall march
to Loudon today, which is l2 miles ahead. Have heard glorious news to-day and
yesterday, which has cheered and lightened our march. We are eager to get forward
so as to have a hand in the fray. Let Buffalo be proud of the 74th,--it is
no longer a 4th of July regiment. Col.
Hawley, of the 29th Penn., who has seen much service, says we march like veterans.
I will endeavor to send these lines by first stage that comes along so that
you can inform our friends where we are.
12 M.—Have halted for dinner 3 miles beyond Fannetsburg, and 9 miles
from Loudon—at the latter place we shall encamp for the night. We march
slow and rest often. W.
LETTER FROM THE 74TH REGIMENT.
Oo PICKET, 5 MILES FROM MOUNT UNION,
July 3d, 1863.
DEAR MR. WARREN:—As I know it is always a pleasure for you to hear from
those in the field, and especially one of your old Courier boys, I take this
the first opportunity of writing you from the 74th. Since we left Harrisburg,
over a week ago, we have had all the hard work we wanted, I assure you. Twenty
four hours on and twenty-four hours off, however easy it
might be to old volunteers or regulars, came a little severe on the "sidewalk
boys," as we are called at home; but I hope that cognomen will be heard
no more hereafter, for I think we have shown that we can take the field as
well as the sidewalk. The work came a little hard at first, but we are getting
pretty well trained to it now; and I am sure that if we do have a fight, the
name of York State and her noble sons who have gone before will still be upheld
with the same valor.
Our company, "G," were ordered on picket this morning to be absent
two or three days. We are out under command of Lieut. Reichert, Capt. Kester
being detailed as field officer of the outposts. He will probably join us to-morrow.
There was an alarm in camp night before last that 300 rebel cavalry menaced
a town some eight or nine miles from here on the Pennsylvania & North Western
Railroad. Companies D and A, Captains Baker and Thomas, were sent down while
we in camp were ordered to hold ourselves in readiness at a moment's warning.
What came of it I know not, for we started before their return. We have had
two or three such alarms in camp, but as yet have never seen any rebs except
those who come into our lines and give themselves up as deserters. A squad
of our men brought in three rebs and a contraband, who deserted from the rebel
army at Sharpsburg, and a dirty, rough-looking quartette they were. The boys
generally make for them and whatever they can get in the way of buttons, &c.,
as mementos of rebeldom, they take, giving others in return.
Our situation as pickets is a beautiful one, being on a mountain some 300 to
400 feet above the level, commanding a splendid view of the surrounding country
for miles. It is a magnificent sight to stand upon the mountain top just at
sunrise and see the valley in the distance dotted with farm-houses, and the
fields of golden grain almost ready for harvesting. And then, to think that
war "wages its wide desolation" through such a country,—the
heart becomes sick at the thought. Newspapers are a scarce article up here;
the people don't seem to patronize the press as well in this section as they
do in New York State so that when we receive any from home they are read to
an "admiring and anxious audience." While speaking of papers and
home I would say that friends at home should never for one moment forget those
in the field; I mean in regard to writing or the sending of an occasional paper,
for if there is one thing more than another that cheers the heart of a soldier,
high or low, 'tis the sweet remembrance of home's fireside brought back to
them while in camp or on their lonely beat at night, or on the battle-field,
through letters, or the noble medium of the press.
To show you in what high estimation York State boys are held here, I'll mention
a little instance: A Captain commanding a company in a regiment not 100 miles
from the 74th, rushed in to Col. Hawley the commander at Mount Union, telling
him it would be impossible to hold the position assigned him with the force
under his command in case of an attack "Sir," said Col. H. "I
cannot let you have any more men than your command (100 men) but, if you cannot
hold your position I'll put Capt. Kester and his company of 50 men, at the
same post, and I know they can hold it."
With best respects for the prosperity of the establishment, and remembrances
I am, dear sir, yours with respect
Corporal T. J. Kelley.
Co. G, 74TH REGIMENT.—At a meeting of this Company, on Tuesday evening,
the following officers were elected:
Captain —Edward Shadrake.
1st Lieut. —Henry H. Fish.
2d do ---James M. Stimpson.
1st Serg't. —Gibson F. Howard.
2d do ---W. S. Skillings.
3rd do —Geo. M. Mitchell.
4th do —C. Diehl.
1st Corporal—G. B. Walbridge.
2d do —Wm. Bisgood.
3d do —Henry Benson.
4th do —Geo. Marrin.
MAJOR L. PURDY, FIFTH EXCELSIOR VOLUNTEERS.
The following despatch has been received by the father of the gallant Major
Major Purdy , 88 Lexington avenue:—
Your son was wounded through the body on June 19-- not dangerously.
Jas. E. Hill.
THE 74TH REGIMENT.—The 74th Regiment will arrive in the city this forenoon
at 10 o'clock, on a special train over the New York Central Railroad. The margin
for a magnificent reception is a small one, it is true, but we feel assured
that our citizens will be prepared for the occasion. Refreshments should be
sent in to the Arsenal at as early an hour as possible, so that they can be
properly disposed of on the tables.
RECEPTION OF THE SECOND REGIMENT FIRE ZOUAVES.
This regiment will arrive in the city about twelve o'clock to-day, and will
be welcomed home by the members of the New York Fire Department. They reached
Philadelphia yesterday noon, where they were met by the special committee from
the department, consisting of Fire Commissioner Thomas Laurence, Assistant
Engineer James Long, W. R. W. Chambers, Coroner John Wildey, and the ex-Secretary
of the department, Peter Y. Everett.
A delegation from the Philadelphia Department were also at the depot, who took
them in charge, and of whose hospitality they were the recipients until their
departure for home.
The line will be formed in the Park, under the supervision of Chief Engineer
John Decker and his assistants.
Several companies have engaged bands, and it is presumed it will be one of
the finest displays long witnessed.
The line of march will be up Broadway to Fourteenth street, through Fourteenth
street to Eighth avenue, down Eighth avenue to Hudson street, through Hudson
to Clarkson street, through Clarkson street to Sixth avenue, and up Sixth avenue
to Jefferson Market. Here a sumptuous collation will be in waiting under the
supervision of the Executive Committee, Henry Wilson, Chairman.
The various apparatus along the line will be placed upon the route, many of
which will be tastefully decorated; and it is the desire of the committee that
the flags be raised upon the various buildings along the route. As soon as
the regiment leaves Philadelphia—which will be about nine o'clock this
morning—the Chief Engineer of the New York Fire Department will order
the fire bells to ring three rounds, twenty times each, for the department
to assemble; no company to report later than three hours after the general
alarm, in order to be properly placed in line.
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New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
March 27, 2006