HISTORY
OF THE TOWNS OF
NEW MILFORD

AND
BRIDGEWATER
,
CONNECTICUT
,
1703 1882,
BY
SAMUEL ORCUTT.

  HISTORY OF NEW MILFORD .
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES.

  Transcribed by Richard M. Clarke
of
New Milford .

 

The War Record

THE necessity of making a war record in the closing years of the nineteenth century is humiliating and discouraging to the Christian mind, just as the necessity of making a record of criminals has the same effect in the same century. The Rebellion of the Southern States in 1861 was a treasonable and criminal proceeding, in the interest of a national crime against humanity. It was right, therefore, righteous and humane for the United States to put down the Rebellion by force of arms, as it did, although never, probably, in any war, was there so many lives of human beings sacrificed in so short a time.

The war began in 1861 and closed in 1865.

In September, 1861, the town of
New Milford voted "to pay for the support of the wife and children, father or mother of those persons who have or may enlist, such sum as," the selectmen might deem necessary.

In 1862 the town voted "a bounty of $200 for each resident of
New Milford who should enlist," for a certain time; and on the 25th of July, 1863 , it offered $300 to each person who might be drafted from this town. In 1864 the town authorized the issue of bonds to the amount of $21,000, to meet war expenses, and on July 30, 1864 , it offered $500 bounty for each soldier accredited to the town.

With these facts as to the material support of the war, the highest credit due the town may be seen in the list of the soldiers sent out by it, as well as the highest credit due the individual soldiers who "went to the front." No eulogy of words can equal the greatness this record shows.

Upon careful enquiry as to the men who might give some graphic account of some of the battle fields, Capt. Edward W. Marsh was requested to write such an account, to which he hesitatingly consented, and has performed the work to the entire satisfaction of the author of this book, and which will be the same, he thinks, to all who may read the account.

Edward Williams Marsh, son of Daniel Marsh, was born in New Milford, January 24, 1836; attended the public school until about ten years of age, or until the establishment of a school in what was called for a time the Academy-the building now owned by Mr. B. Jarvis Stone, and Mr. John P. Brace assumed charge of the school, where he attended for a time and then went to the Algar Institute at South Cornwall, two years. After this, one or two terms at the Academy finished his school days.

He then entered the office of the Housatonic Railroad at New Milford station, where his father was Agent, and continued two years and a half; when he was employed a short time in the New Haven Freight Office, and then, in December, 1854, he engaged in the General Freight Office in Bridgeport, where he continued nearly one year, and then engaged as clerk in the old established hardware store of F. Hawley and Company on Water Street, in that city, and continued with that firm seven years. While engaged with this firm he married Amanda Blanden of Burlington, Otsego county, N. Y.

In August, 1862, he enlisted, "for three years or during the war," in the 19th Regiment, Litchfield County Volunteers, which was afterwards changed to the 2d Regiment of Heavy Artillery.

The following is a running sketch of some things he saw, and endured, as a member of this Regiment, and which is in a small part a history of the Regiment.

"I received the appointment of Quartermaster-Sergeant, a Non-Commissioned Staff Officer, and started in that capacity with the Regiment for Washington, D. C., on
the 15th of September,1862 .

We arrived at
Alexandria , Va. , on the 18th, and were stationed near there for eighteen months doing patrol and picket duty in that city. Early in 1863 our regiment was placed in charge of Fort Worth and some of the redoubts in front of Alexandria and were drilled in artillery practice with such proficiency that we were eventually changed to an artillery regiment.

While I remained in the quartermaster department it was part of my duties to visit
Washington with a team for supplies at least once a week. This gave me a good opportunity to spend two or three hours (after completing my errands) in the capitol, listening to the senators or representatives as fancy or interest in the debate attracted me, either to the Senate Chamber or House of Representatives. I gladly improved these occasions which enabled me to hear and see the prominent members of Congress during the eventful period of the war.

In March, 1863, I was accidentally wounded, being shot through the head by my own pistol in the hands of Capt. Jones of our regiment, to whom I had loaned it while Sergeant Anderson and myself took a stroll to
Fort Lyon . I did not get to Fort Lyon , nor did I see it until the summer of 1863, after I returned to the regiment. I saw its magazine blown into the air fully fifty feet and the debris scattered in all directions. The ordnance-sergeant was never found; a piece of his watch chain was, however, but no one could tell the cause of the disaster. I was taken to regimental hospital in an army wagon. The hospital was in the house owned and occupied by Bishop John or St. John of the Episcopal Church of Virginia. It was a fine roomy mansion, well situated on a rise of land that overlooked Alexandria and the Potomac , the capitol at Washington being plainly visible. I had a room assigned to myself. My wife came on from Connecticut, and by her good nursing and faithful care, assisted by the hospital nurses, all under the charge of Major Plumb the surgeon of our regiment-and to whom I shall always feel indebted for his interest and skill-I quickly regained my health, and in thirty days was able to visit Connecticut on furlough.

While at my father's in
New Milford -my family having their home with him while I was in the army-my only child, a daughter of four years, was taken from us by that scourge and terror of all who rear children, diphtheria. This was a crushing sorrow to all of us, and at that time especially trying to my faithful wife, who, owing to my enforced absence, must bear the grief.

We remained at the forts around
Washington until the opening of the spring campaign in 1864, when Gen. Grant took command of the Army of the Potomac . We joined the Army of the Potomac in the Wilderness, May 21, 1864 , during the severe fighting which took place there, and were assigned to the Second Brigade of the First Division, Sixth Army Corps. Gen. Wright being in command of the corps, Gen. Sedgwick, the former Corps commander, having been killed a few days previous.

Face to face with the foe brought us new experiences, and made us estimate the hardships of army life at their actual value. Army life and supplies in the forts was one thing, but army life in the field on a campaign was another. All of our regiment, however, were most anxious to be placed in active service. Life at the forts had become monotonous, and all were "spoiling for a fight" We left camp in the best of spirits, well equipped with clothing of all kinds, and camp equipage as complete as allowed in the most favored circumstances by army regulations.

I estimated that in the few days, three or four, we were marching from Belle Plain to Fredricksburg, we threw away as a regiment fifteen to twenty thousand dollars worth of clothing, all of which was considered indispensable to the comfort and welfare of a soldier in camp, but became unbearable when it had to be carried every day from morning to night, in addition to rations, cartridges, musket, and accoutrements.

In ten days we were at
Cold Harbor , only a few miles from Richmond , and where we received our first baptism of fire as a complete regiment. Before reaching there, detached parties of our regiment had been in a few slight skirmishes, but here we received a storm of shot and shell for ten successive days which gave us the look and experience of veterans. A change of base was soon made, and more marching soon brought us in sight of the steeples at Petersburg . At Belle Plain we received a supply of rations, and I recollect going after those from our company with some men, and seeing a man belonging to some other regiment pass us with a box of hard-tack on his shoulder slip in the mud and the box going out of sight, covered in the mud, and it was left there.

The most interesting period of our active service was the five months we were in the
Shenandoah Valley . When the news was circulated that the Sixth Corps was ordered to Washington to repel the attack which threatened the capture of the capital, it was an agreeable change from the sand and heat and dust and poor water in front of Petersburg . After the safety of the city had been assured it was decided to create the Army of the Shenandoah, comprising the Sixth, Nineteenth, and Eighth Army Corps, Gen. Sheridan being placed in command. The orders were to keep a sharp lookout for the enemy without bringing on a general engagement. These instructions were most faithfully followed, for we were constantly on the war-path, hunting for the enemy, but never finishing the chase. In September, Gen. Sheridan sent word to Gen. Grant that, in his opinion, it was time to push things. Gen. Grant, after a personal visit, coincided and gave his historic order to push things. The result was the battle of Opequan on the 3d-Winchester as most of our regiment preferred to call it.

At this time our regiment was in camp at
Clifton , near Berryville. Sunday evening, fifteen or more of the field and line officers were in one of the tents chatting together, one of the number having a furlough, granting him fifteen days' leave of absence. Those present were congratulating him on his good fortune in holding such a favored document, and at the same time bantering him by suggesting that he might find himself going South instead of North. This part of Virginia was at the time full of guerrillas, and very frequently small parties were taken prisoners. It was dangerous to be away from the main body of troops. Small detachments were every few days leaving for Harper's Ferry-the base of supplies. This point once reached, he could make his journey with speed and safety. Tat-too and taps sounded and all was quiet, every one in their own quarters, nothing unusual apparent. At four o'clock , the reveille announced an unusually early call, and after a hasty breakfast, we broke camp and started for Winchester , with orders to take the Berryville Pike.

Very soon after we commenced our march we heard heavy cannonading. The great battle of Opequan had begun. It was about
nine o'clock when we arrived, owing to our distance from the battle ground. The First Division of the Sixth Corps was held in reserve, and I believe our brigade was the last of the division brought into action. We were near the center of the line of battle, and as we came within range of the enemy's artillery and while marching along the Pike a solid shot struck one of Co. Gs men near the ankle and threw his foot, shoe and all, fifteen to twenty feet in the air. Soon after this we were turned to the left up a small ravine and were for the first time since we started allowed to get our breath and take a good rest.

Our next move was a turn to the right, a short march, and another turn to the right, and we were within musket-range of the enemy. We were obliged to march by the right flank, exposed to the enemy's constant fire, into a piece of woods. This was the most uncomfortable part of the day. We were not allowed to return the fire, and the constant hissing of bullets and occasionally the wounding of some one tried the nerves more than being in the heat of battle.

The next move was forward, across an open lot into a shallow ravine. In going this distance we passed several Johnnies (poor fellows) who, in various positions, had been killed as they contested the ground which was now in our possession. I remember distinctly passing one on his knees with his arms bent on the ground, his head resting on his arms, and his knapsack fastened to his shoulders but turned over his head. In this ravine a corporal next to me had his canteen badly used up by a stray shot, although his person was not harmed.

The next advance was to a rail fence with a piece of woods on our right. Here we opened fire upon the enemy, which we were glad to do as we thought we had taken fire enough for one day without returning it. Very soon along came Gen. Sheridan on his black horse, going to the left of the line. As he passed close behind us, he swung his hat and shouted, "Give them hell, boys, we are driving them at every point." We all cheered him as he passed, and were glad to hear the news. Gen. Upton, our brigade commander, now became very impatient at our slow progress. He called his adjutant and said in a loud voice: "Give my compliments to Gen. Sheridan, and say to him if he will give me command of this front line we will whip them in half an hour." We all cheered this announcement heartily.

Just at this moment, even before we were through with our cheering, an orderly arrived saying: "Gen. Russell is killed, and the command devolves upon you, Gen. Upton." In an instant he waved his sword and shouted-" Forward, men of the Second Brigade," and away we went through a piece of woods right on to a rebel regiment, and opened a heavy fire. They staid only to present their compliments by one or two rounds, and left the field to us. It was here that Capt. Berry was wounded in the knee. I passed him sitting against a tree. He told me where he was hit. I spoke a few words of cheer to him, shook hands, and said "good bye," little dreaming that in one month from that day he was to be buried. We thought at the time that his wound was not a dangerous one, and that a few weeks in hospital would bring him back all well again.

We now moved forward out of the woods into a large clear space, and the sight was grand. We were now on quite a rise of ground and could see on our right the stars and stripes advancing in-echelon, regiment after regiment, and in fact we could see that we had turned the enemy's left flank and they were moving down the Pike to Winchester as fast as legs could carry them. Never before or afterward did I have such a view of a battle. To the front and left of us was a fort or earthwork which kept up a continual and annoying fire. We were ordered to charge. We made a quick run down the hill, but it cost us dearly. They opened upon us with grape and canister. Major Rice fell cut all to pieces. The colonel's horse was shot under him. The regiment without waiting for orders swung to the left around a knoll, and out of the range of the guns. The colonel asked for the colors. The colors were attached to my company that day. I had just directed them to go with the regiment and lie down. He ordered me to go at once and get the men in line, while I was most anxious to go and lie down with the men. Grape and canister were flying through the air like hail, and for a few moments our advance was checked.

We were soon on our feet again. The rebel fort was vacated, leaving guns and horses. As the sun passed behind the Shenandoah mountains-the rebel army was in full retreat through
Winchester . Hundreds of brave men had passed from time into eternity. A great battle had been fought and won. All but six or seven of the fifteen officers who had been talking so cheerily the night before were hors du combat, and among them fatally wounded was Lieut. Hubbard, who had the leave of absence in his pocket, and who also had no further use for furlough. He was forever free from march and bivouac. His name is upon the monument that stands on the green in the town of Litchfield . We slept on the field so lately won, and the next day followed the enemy to Fisher's Hill. I recollect very well our regiment being on picket with skirmishers thrown out-when Generals Sheridan, Wright, and Emery came out together to survey the field. I can see Sheridan now stroking his beard, (he wore a full beard at that time) and saying "this will never do -this will never do!-"After a short conference, the general retired. Soon after we were withdrawn to the rear and made a detour to the right and halted in a piece of woods. The night was one of the darkest. Here we were ordered to throw up breastworks. It was my turn on duty that night, and before morning we had built a respectable line of works for defense. I have often wondered since how we felled those trees promiscuously and continuously right and left without an accident. In the morning we rested. After noon we left our breastworks and moved forward on the brow of a very steep hill. Meanwhile the enemy had got the range of our line of works and were shelling the place we had vacated with light artillery.

Gen. Sheridan had sent his cavalry to flank and if possible capture the artillery, and as soon as the attack was begun we were ordered to charge. We ran down a steep ravine, across and up the opposite side, down a hill, across a railroad, and finally over a stone wall, and very soon the whole rebel army was flying down the valley. This was to me the most exciting experience of the kind in the war. The ravine, the hill, the railroad embankment, the stone wall, was alive with the enemy and they were so hid from our view we were continually in the dark as to their numbers and their movements, while our position was such that to have halted or hesitated would have been fatal. We could not retreat if we would. We must move forward. We must drive out the enemy. The next day at
noon an amusing incident occurred. We were at rest waiting for rations. Near us was a pool containing several prisoners. A colored servant of some rebel officer drives up with a horse and wagon and a load of pigs. As he drove into camp his mouth was twice its natural size, and with wide open eye and the broadest grin and in the jolliest mood possible he began, "Da-da-da-that Sheridan is a hell of a disease to them Rebs," and with this speech he turned over the contents of the wagon to the boys. I never could get over the idea of Sheridan 's being a "disease to them Rebs !' Shortly after this we had an exciting chase. We had come up with Early's troops at Mt. Jackson , where they had established a hospital, and we gave chase after them with our three army corps stretched across the entire valley from mountain to mountain. The valley was undulating, and as we reached a rise of ground we could see Early's troops just going over the next rise, and so it continued all the afternoon, our light artillery driving ahead of the infantry, and throwing solid shot or shell after them kept them moving at a lively pace while the infantry followed. We continued this till night put an end to our march and brought us in camp near Harrisonburg . When we returned from Harrisonburg we found a large letter V clear across the valley, and in the enclosure was four-footed beasts of nearly every kind, numbering several thousand head, and the noise of bleating sheep, bellowing calves, grunting pigs, and lowing cattle could be heard as long as they lasted. Every night many were killed and rations issued to the army. This was done that the Rebels might not be able to put an army in the Shenandoah Valley and live there off the supplies of that section.

On one of our hard marches-Corporal Brady of Company I (whose place on the left of his company brought him near to myself on the right of my own)-turned and said to me he would march a half hour longer but not a step farther. After an hour had passed I said "Corporal, I thought you were not going to march -beyond a half-hour!" Immediately, with genuine Irish wit, he replied:-"Oh, it is against my will I am going now." He lost a leg, I think, at Cedar Creek, which, notwithstanding his struggle to live, in a few months terminated his life.

We returned up the valley as far as Cedar Creek. Here we went into camp and remained about three weeks, while Gen. Sheridan made a visit to
Washington .

Gen. Early determined to regain his lost laurels by a bold flank movement around our left. On the morning of the 19th, we who were on the extreme right were just ready for breakfast when we heard sharp firing on our left, and with soldier instinct knew that it meant business. We were ordered to fall in, and the order was repeated with unusual sharpness three times. In less than ten minutes we had formed a line and marched double quick to the left and opened fire upon the advancing foe. I had seven men wounded in less time than it takes to write the fact. We were obliged to fall back by the momentum and vigor of the onset, and even then we were nearly surrounded. I ran up to Col. McKenzie and said "Colonel, it is very imprudent to remain here." "Why," says the Colonel. "Look," I replied, pointing to large numbers of advancing Rebels who were on our left flank firing into us as rapidly as they could and shouting," surrender you s of b. " "Are those Rebels?" asked the Colonel in surprise! "Well then, on retreat march," and retreat we did. We passed a battery of light artillery who were doing good execution, but they were obliged to go with us. The Colonel's horse was shot under him. The heel on one of my boots was struck by a bullet and taken off as neatly as if it had been done by the sharpest axe. I also found a spent bullet in the sleeve of my overcoat, but how or when it came there I know not.

Our regiment, or what was left of it, were thrown out as skirmishers while Gen. Wright, who, in the absence of Sheridan, was chief in command, was forming a new line collecting and reorganizing the routed army. Shortly after we were called in Gen. Sheridan came riding down the lines and the cheers that rent the air were heard by the Confederates, who thought reinforcements had arrived. They afterwards told us we would not have regained our lost ground but for the heavy reinforcements received by us in the afternoon. All the reinforcement received or needed was Gen. Sheridan, for we had such implicit confidence in him that we were ready to follow wherever he might lead. He sent orders to all troops to encamp upon their old camping-ground that night. This was about
3 o'clock in the afternoon, and the whole rebel army flushed with the victory and rout of our forces, in the morning lay between us and our camping-ground. The announcement was received with cheers, and after receiving one charge from the enemy we in our turn made a grand rush forward. We were stopped a few moments at a stone-wall, and then the rebels broke and ran and never stopped running that night. Our boys who lay wounded on the field or were captured by the enemy told us that the officers would get the men in line and swing their sabers and shout forward, and the whole line would shout forward, and very soon the Yanks would appear in sight and then they would break and run, and they would repeat the same effort over again only with less of courage and success each time, until finally they abandoned any further attempts to stem the tide and fled completely routed.

In pursuing the foe our forces became very much scattered. I recollect passing a wounded man lying upon his back, belonging to a
Georgia regiment. He told me who he was, wanted to know what would be his fate. I told him "to keep up good courage; he would be picked up after a while and taken good care of." This reassured him. He says, "Please straighten out my fingers." I did as requested and left him to hurry on to join our rapidly advancing and now victorious troops. After traveling quite a distance we came up with Gen. Sheridan and the light artillery who were still cannonading and serenading our fugitive confederates. Here he sounded the recall and directed us to make our way to our previous encampment. I had with me some six or eight men belonging to as many different companies in our regiment, and in early candle-light we found our old camp-ground, minus tents and the conveniences we had so hurriedly left in the morning.

Our men were coming in all night, we built camp-fires and tried to sleep, talked of the incidents of the day, and warmed first one side and then the other as we lay around the fire in the open air on that cool October night. The next day we mustered eight officers in the entire regiment: Capt. Jones and Adjt. Vaill as field and staff, and six line officers for twelve companies. "D" and "M" were assigned to my care. Near us at headquarters there was a prisoners' camp. Going over there the second day after the battle we saw twelve hundred prisoners getting ready to be taken North. We talked and joked with them about the fortunes and misfortunes of war. Muskets were piled up like cord-wood in long and compact piles, cannon and debris of every sort used in army life was to be found in unnumbered quantities, that had been brought in as part of the trophies of the great victory.

This was the last battle in the Valley of the Shenandoah. We were ordered back near
Winchester and directed to prepare winter quarters. We remained through one snow storm a foot or more in depth, and in the month of December the Sixth Corps were transported back in front of Petersburg . Many changes had taken place during our absence, Grant's railroad had been built and we had our first ride upon it out to either Parke's or Mead station, where we were placed in position towards the left of Gen. Grant's line. The last month we were in the valley was comparatively an easy one. We were resting upon our laurels. Now we were once more on the front line and actively at work.

Our army remained so long in front of
Petersburg , that the question of fuel became a serious one. We were permitted to burn rail fences or any other combustible we could find. Not so with the enemy. They must not take a rail from a fence. Should they be found doing such a thing, they must split out a new one and replace it. Lines of fence that run at right angles with our lines of troops, were levied upon by Uncle Sam's boys, and sometimes no little danger was incurred in providing our fuel when on picket. The first business of a picket detail was to see that they had enough wood to last during the twenty-four hours they were on picket duty. As material grew scarce we pulled down those fences that ran from our line to that of the enemy, until we had to go almost over to their side to obtain a rail. I remember one morning five or six of our men going over, and each had secured a rail and placed it on his shoulder to bring into our lines, when the enemy opened a brisk fire upon them. The way the boys dropped those rails and made for our lines was a "picture."

January, 1865, had now appeared on the calendar, and it was evident to every one that the end was drawing near. Frequent desertions, the information given of the shortness of rations and general despondency of the Confederates, all told plainly that theirs was a lost cause. The men on both sides became friendly, I talked freely, met half way and by mutual consent acknowledged it neutral ground, played cards together and very frequently our men were asked to assist in escorting a confederate over to our side as a deserter. In fact the desertions were so frequent and numerous as to be a source of alarm and constant anxiety to the officers. A rush of six or ten deserters to our lines followed by a sharp fire from the enemy would bring our men to a ready, but we did not know, especially in the night, whether it was a deserting party or a charge upon us. Sometimes it was the latter but oftener the former. Our lines were constantly extending to the left farther and farther, until in April Gen. Lee found it imprudent to remain, and the result was
Appomattox .

The jubilee that followed was extraordinary. Officers and men turned somersaults, and manifested in every imaginable way their extreme delight at the close of the bloody conflict. Confederate officers visited our camp and talked over the engagements in which each had participated. The best of feeling prevailed. Our Corps was ordered to join
Sherman , as Gen. Johnson had not yet surrendered. We marched to Danville , in the extreme southern part of the state, when the news of Johnson's surrender was announced and we were recalled to Burkeville. Soon after we were ordered to Richmond . In early June we were marched from Richmond to Washington .

We joined in the second grand review at
Washington , presented arms to President Johnson, and then our days of marching were numbered. The end had come at last. So soon as it could be done our regiment was mustered out of service. I was honorably discharged within a week of three years from the time I enlisted. I assisted a brother officer to close his accounts, that he might obtain an honorable discharge and secure his back pay. I arrived in New Milford in August, 1865, made a short visit West in September and on the first of November in the same year. Made an engagement with the Spring Perch Company of Bridgeport , Conn. , and have remained in active service in that company until the present writing.


Further reminiscences of the war by one who was there three years, furnished at the request of the author.

Lieut. David F. Soule was born in Long Mountain School District, New Milford, Mar. 4, 1838; received a common school it education ; learned the carpenter and joiner's trade, and worked at it until August, 1862, when he enlisted in Co. Fl, 19th Regt C. V. After assisting in raising a full company, and at the time they were ready to go to Camp Dutton in Litchfield, upon the earnest solicitation of the town officers he consented to raise a company for a nine months' regiment then forming in this State, and had received permission from Governor Buckingham to do so, but after remaining in New Milford two days for this purpose, he joined his company at Litchfield, to the great delight of his comrades. The company for the nine months' regiment was raised and went to the front under Capt. D. D. Hoag and Lieut. Charles M. Booth, afterwards Captain.

After drilling for several weeks the 19th regiment was ordered to
Washington , D. C., and Mr. Soule went with it as Corporal in Company H. In passing down the .Naugatuck Railroad the regiment was greeted with many cheers, the remembrance of which, now, is like the memory of farewells to old friends long since departed. They reached New York in the night, passed down the East river on a transport, whereon they feasted on a lunch of coffee and soup, not without some sport in each endeavoring to secure his full allowance, as appetites were on the rising tide, and then they passed on through New Jersey to Philadelphia, where, on the second morning after leaving Litchfield, they obtained the first "square meal," which was furnished by the patriotic citizens of Philadelphia at the Coffee Eating-house. They arrived in Baltimore in the edge of the evening, and after a miserable apology for a supper, "bunked down" in the depot, and slept as best they could; it being just after the Massachusetts regiment had been fired into at that place, and the 19th, being without guns, felt uneasy during their stay there that night, and were very glad in the morning to go aboard the cars and proceed to Washington, although without breakfast, except a few crackers. After a passing view of the great Capitol buildings at Washington , for the protection of which they were to fight, they were ordered to Alexandria , where they went into camp. The regiment remained about Alexandria nearly one and a half years, doing picket duty and drilling in arms, and because of the completeness of their drill the regiment became noted, and were transferred to the Second Heavy Artillery Regiment, which was augmented to about 1,800 men, and became a prominent feature of the army. Many incidents of interest occurred; many of the "Boys" sickened and died during the first year, among them Sergt. Garwood R. Merwin and William B. Warner. The powder magazine at Fort Lyon was blown up in sight of the camp of the 19th, and a score or more of Germans were killed by it, as it was garrisoned by a German regiment. Soon after this Mr. Soule was detailed to rebuild the magazine, with nearly 150 men in charge. He was then promoted to Sergeant, and about three months after to Color-Sergeant. At this time he was offered the position of being detailed by the War Department under the Civil Engineer, Burke, under whom he had worked at Fort Lyon, but as he had enlisted in the 19th he decided to remain with his company, rather than to take a "soft job" in the defenses at Washington.

In May, 1864; this regiment was ordered to join the Army of the
Potomac , and proceeding to Belle Plain, they drew five days' rations and forty rounds of ammunition, and the next morning started for the war-famed city of Fredericksburg , and on the morning of the 20th of May was with the army.

Here for the first time they began to realize the terrible ordeal of war, for scarcely had they joined the army before they saw wounded men brought in from the skirmish line, groaning and bleeding and dying, which gave such a chill of horror to their hearts as only those who have been there can really understand.

Soon commenced the long marches of Grant's army in its flank movement towards
Cold Harbor and the James River . The first taste of war this regiment had was after crossing the North Anna River while engaged in tearing up a railroad track, having a few men wounded and one killed. Then came the long march from the North Anna River to Cold Harbor , arriving there on the first day of June. There had been a cavalry fight previous and several dead "Johnies" lay around there near the edge of the wood. Some of the boys were looking them over when Colonel Kellogg came along and said "don't harm the dead; you don't know how soon you will be in the same fix."

We lay here until nearly five o'clock in the afternoon, when orders came for our regiment to make a charge on the enemy's work, and says Mr. Soule, " I am sure if others felt as I did they would have sooner been at home, than there." And he further says: " I being Color Sergeant carried the Colors; our regiment having only its National Flag as the State Flag had been left at Belle Plain-- I well remember Colonel Kellogg saying to me Sergeant Soule' don't never allow the Rebels to get those colors, and you Corporals, if the Sergeant falls look out for them.'" It is one thing to talk of battle, and still another thing to go into battle. They had six corporals in the Color Guard, and after the battle only two were uninjured-two killed and two wounded. The real charge or battle lasted only about an hour, although they were under fire all that long hot summer night, amid the wounded and dying, some crying for water, others wishing they could die, making the night one to be remembered as long as life lasts. The colors were very much riddled by bullets and the spear on the staff was shot away entirely.

The regiment remained at
Cold Harbor for nearly ten days, and then marched by the flank to the James River , without any more battles, only a few slight skirmishes. Then followed a series of marches and engagements around and south of Petersburg to the Weldon Railroad, and the return to City Point to embark for Washington in July, to drive the Rebel General Early and his hordes from the borders of that city,-and the marches through Maryland, across the Potomac at White's Ferry close at his heels, through Loudon County to the Shenandoah River, then back to Washington, to Frederick City, Harper's Ferry, to Clifton Heights near Berryville, in the Shenandoah Valley, where we remained until the battle of Winchester on the 19th of September, 1864, an account of which is already given in these pages by Captain Marsh.

After the Valley campaign in December, 1864, the regiment returned via Harper's Ferry and
Washington for City Point, to again join the army around Petersburg . Here Mr. Soule received a commission from Governor Buckingham as Second Lieutenant, and assigned to Company F for duty sometime in February, 1865. His regiment took part in the eventful battle of the 2d of April, and marched as one of the first into Petersburg on the morning of the 3d of April, following up General Lee in his retreat from these to the Appomattox-Mr. Soule says: "One of the happiest days of my life was the 9th of April, when we got news of Lee's surrender-and even now I can see the different demonstrations of joy of the officers and soldiers when the news was confirmed. The cheering, the crying, the throwing of caps, and anything else in the air, the firing of blank cartridges from the different batteries, and general expressions of joy that went up from the thousands, and tens of thousands within hearing, all are still ringing in my ears.

Lieutenant Soule was with his regiment in all battles it was engaged in except one; was never wounded, and had good health until his discharge in September, 1865.


List of those who served from New Milford


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