1861-63: James Webster Carr to William Penn Caton

Screen Shot 2019-05-23 at 10.22.50 PM
Lt. Col. James W. Carr, 2nd NH Vols

James Webster Carr was a captain in Co. C [the “Rifle Rangers”] of the Second New Hampshire Volunteers during the Civil War. He rose in rank to lieutenant colonel of the regiment before his discharge on June 21, 1864.

Born in Poplin (Fremont), New Hampshire in 1824, the son of James Carr and Sally Webster, Carr would later move to Illinois and Michigan. He returned to New Hampshire in 1861 to enlist in the New Hampshire Volunteers. After the war he became a successful lumber dealer. He died in Grand Rapids, Michigan on July 5th, 1875. He was married to Jane Dorothy Goodhue (1828-1891).

Carr enlisted on 4 June 1861. He had a drawn sword ripped from his hand by a solid shot at the battle of Gettysburg on 2 July 1863. It is said that he defied orders on the night of July 3rd, and led a band of volunteers to bring back wounded men in the area of the Trostle Farm. He then helped guard Confederate POWs at the newly created Point Lookout Prison which was built in August 1863 to accommodate the many captured Rebels taken at Gettysburg.

There are nine letters in this collection, three of which (letters 4, 6 & 7) were written by James’ wife, Jane D. (Goodhue) Carr. All of the letters were written to William Penn Caton (1815-1886) of Plainfield, Will county, Illinois. Caton was a native of New York State who went to Chicago in 1836. Leaving his job as inspector of canals in 1856, Caton moved to Plainfeld, Illinois, where he took up farming. He later moved to Joliet where he died in 1886. Caton was a deacon in the Presbyterian Church.

[Note: James W. Carr’s 1863 and 1864 Civil War diaries were sold by Raynor’s Auction House in 2008. In advertising them, the auction house posted extracts from the diaries which I have included at the bottom of this webpage.]


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE

Manchester [New Hampshire]
March 11, 1861

Dear Brother Caton,

I received your last stating how you let the farm. That is all satisfactory. If Mr. [Alonzo Wilber] Coe ¹ has not called for the notes, you might as well keep them. When you see him, get him to put his name across the back of the notes if he will. I gave him an order on you for some money to pay the taxes on that place which I presume you have paid. I have ten dollars per month home rent to pay. Gas bill, firewood, and family expenses I find takes up and I am getting small wages and find myself hard up and looking round to see what I could find to make money on. I see your first note of fifty dollars is now due and if you could send me that amount, you would help me very materially.

I suppose money is hard to be got out there and I know that exchange is up to a ruinous rate. But if you can spare the money and can get a draft on Boston for 5 percent, I wish you would send it me and I will send you your note after canceling it.

Business is rather dull here and things look blue, but we are hoping for better times when warm weather comes. We as a family have a great many things to be thankful for (for such great sinners). We are all well and so far have had enough to eat and wear and the children have done finely at school. They are having a vacation of two weeks.

Our annual town meetings come off tomorrow all through the state. I think “Old Abe will win.” As far as secession is concerned, I wish that all the slave states might be set off together so that we might have a free country if t’was not so large. In regard to fighting the South and “whipping them into the truces” as they tell about, I have not much courage for that (not but what they deserve it and I should like to shoot some of them well enough). But it would be fighting to gain just what I want to get rid of, so all I can do is to hope and pray that they will stick to secession and that the border states will join them and that finally a convention of all the states will be called and vote them out of the Union. But I fear that war is inevitable and that we shall see bloody times.

In case of a war, I should not be surprised if the South were victorious at first if not in the end, for they will be fighting for what they call liberty and for their homes, while our soldiers will be as the English were in the [American] Revolution, fighting for pay. If war comes, we must let the regular paid army do the fighting but must arise one and all and strike for real liberty now and forever to all mankind or there is no use in fighting at all.

Respectfully yours, — James W. Carr

P. S. Respects to Mr. Cater, Eddy & all the babies.

¹ Suspect this was Alonzo Wilber Coe (1832-1864). Coe enlisted at Joliet in Co. I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery in October 1861. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. but rose to the rank of 1st Lt. before he was killed in action near Savannah, Georgia, on 9 December 1864. He was the son of Chester Doe (1796-1863) and Clarissa Augur (1802-1839) of Leyden county, New York. He was enumerated in Joliet, Illinois, in the 1860 US Census.


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO

Camp Sullivan ¹
Near Washington D. C.
July 27th 1861

Dear Brother Caton,

Screen Shot 2019-05-24 at 11.12.39 AM
Col. Gilman Marston, 2nd NHV

How do you do? I am well. Have had a very hard battle and a harder retreat. ² But it has pleased the Lord to keep me safe. Have lost from my company 13 men in missing and wounded. The Colonel [Gilman Marston] & one Captain was all the commissioned officers that were wounded in our regiment. About 100 wounded & missing in 2nd New Hampshire Volunteers.

Please write me the news when you get time as I am lonesome out here.

Sincerely yours. In great haste.

— Capt. J. W. Carr of Co. C, 2nd Regt. N. H. V.

¹ Camp Sullivan was located in the vicinity of Glenwood Cemetery, west of North Capitol Street, D. C. The regiment first took up camp there on 23 June, 1861.

² Carr is referring of course to the First Battle of Bull Run fought on 21 July 1861. According to Lt. A. B. Thompson of the 2nd New Hampshire, his regiment didn’t get much of an opportunity to fight at First Bull Run. “They were nowhere and did nothing,” wrote Thompson in a letter to his father in Concord, N. H., three days after the battle. The regiment drew up in line awaiting orders, but no orders came, “all the while cannon balls and shells flying and bursting about our ears.” He added, that their failure was “no fault in the men thank God: they are brave fellows as ever heard the music of whistling bullets, and it was too bad to expose them to be cut down and mangled, when they could not return the enemy’s fire.”


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THREE

Manchester, New Hampshire
August 12th 1861

Dear Brother Caton,

I am stopping in Manchester now for a few days for the purpose of getting recruits to fill up the 2d N. H. Regiment. 200 [are] wanted; vacancies occasioned by killed, wounded, missing, and discharged.

We are all well now. Jane and the children still live in Manchester although they have moved to No. 82 Merrimack street where they would be very happy to see you and your wife & little ones. But if you cannot afford to come, just write a few lines as often as you can find time because we are very much interested still in the West and in Plainfield in particular. We consider ourselves western folks yet and intend to come out there and live after the war is over and perhaps we shall yet live in the same old place back in the field that K. J. pretends to own.

I suppose you are having very hard times there now and we shall not call on you for anything just now. But in the fall, my wife will want some if she lives as she has a note to pay them. But I wish you would send me an abstract [of] the rent figured up to the first of August and all things reckoned up pro & con as you understand they ought be between us so that Jane may know how the matter stands between us because you know that I am liable to be killed at any moment and I want to do all I can for Jane and the family before that time. Although I do not feel as though I should be killed, but that I shall live to see this trouble settled and our country prosperous, happy, and free.

Give my best respects to all the friends and brother & sisters in Christ and tell them all to pray for me and my family that we may be found faithful and good soldiers of the cross as we are in the army  of the United States. My love to Eddy & the children. Jane would write but she is to have company today and is very busy.

Most respectfully yours,

Capt. J. W. Carr
of Co. C, 2nd Regt. N. H. V.
Recruiting Officer for the 2d Regt. N. H. V.


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FOUR

[Note: This letter was written by James’ wife.]

Manchester [New Hampshire]
September 18th 1861

Dear Brother & Sister Caton,

I have thought a good many times lately I would sit down and write you a letter but after James came home, he wrote to you & let you know of my welfare so I put off writing until he was gone. He went off with his last recruits yesterday and I suppose reaches Washington tomorrow morning. I received your letter today—just one day too late—but enclose it tonight and will send it to him so if he is not killed within a week, he will probably write to you as soon as he gets it.

I felt very sorry to learn of the death of your child. I had thought about it a great many times and wondered what you called it, but it seems that the angels call it now and it has left a world of suffering. But I suppose you miss it very much. But it always seemed to me that it was wrong to mourn much for a little sinless babe for they are transplanted from a world of sin and suffering to the home of angels to be happy forever, I think.

Henry has got so smart that he goes to school a half day at a time and I think will be tough enough to go all day next week. Emma often speaks of Hannah. Says there is no little girl here she thinks so much of as she did Hannah.

I should be willing to come back West to live if I could—only get James back—but he is bound to fight and I suppose if he gets killed, then I shall have to go back anyway to get something out of the ground to support us. But I trust in Providence and know that everything is for the best, as Coe ¹ always said. By the way, I do not see what has become of him. We have not heard a word from him since he went to Cairo. I should think we might  find out by enquiring of Munger, gravestone manufacturer of Joliet, where Coe worked before he joined the army. Will you not call there the next time you go to Joliet? Perhaps William Goodhue could find out where he is. I suppose he went in Ed Mc’s company.

I was in hopes that Mr. Webb would go back to Plainfeld to preach. I thought if he did, I would go back there with a good grace. I do not see why they could not agree to have him. I know he had his faults but who can they find without fault? Not anyone that is human, I fear.

If you do not get a letter from James in regard to the place there, it will probably be because mim did not reach him. Direct when you write me to Mrs. Jane D. Carr, No. 82 Merrimac Street. Mrs. Caton, will you not write me a few lines? Give my love to all enquiring friends. Goodnight.

¹ Suspect this was Alonzo Wilber Coe (1832-1864). Coe enlisted at Joliet in Co. I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery in October 1861. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. but rose to the rank of 1st Lt. before he was killed in action near Savannah, Georgia, on 9 December 1864. He was the son of Chester Doe (1796-1863) and Clarissa Augur (1802-1839) of Leyden county, New York. He was enumerated in Joliet, Illinois, in the 1860 US Census.


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FIVE

Camp Union
Headquarters Gen. Hooker’s Brigade
Bladensburg, Maryland
Sunday, September 22nd 1861

Dear Brother Caton,

Jane sent me your last ltter from Manchester. I am obliged to you for the information. You did give me another note which is due in the fall of 50 or 50 odd dollars. I do not now know the exact amount. Jane has the note. She will write to you. She needs some money now and as soon as you can send her some without discommoding yourself, you will greatly oblige us. I turned out one of M. Philleo’s notes to her brother-in-law which was due in the spring but Philleo has not paid it and Jane mist soon or lose nearly twice the amount. Philleo is considered good now, is he not? I would not let the house to Watts unless he would give bail or pay the rent in advance monthly or agree to quit at the end of the month is he could not advance the money for another month. Can’t you let it to the new minister?

I would let it by the month, I think, so that if the war should close, Jane and I could come home again. I mean to come out then, if I live through the war.

Everything is quiet now here although we are holding ourselves in readiness to go at 10 minutes notice. The troops are pouring in here at the rate of three regiments per day now and the District of Columbia seems to be covered now with encampments and pretty well surrounded besides.

I have bought me a Sharps breach-loading carbine. Paid 42 dollars for it as I came through New York. Mean to ling it on my shoulder the next battle we have and if a few of those rebels do not bite the dust, t’will be because they kill me first.

I have a full company now. I succeeded in getting 215 recruits in New Hampshire and have them all here now and one regiment is in good shape and the brigade is considered one of the best now in the field. We have the best arms. One company with Sharps rifles; the rest [carry] the new Springfield rifle minié ball &c.

My health is good and I am on hand for battle. Hoping to hear of your continued heath and prosperity, I subscribe myself your humble friends & brother.

— James W. Carr, Capt. of Co. C, 2nd Regt. N. H. V.


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SIX

[Note: This letter was written by James’ wife.]

Manchester [New Hampshire]
January 5th 1862

Dear Brother & Sister Caton,

I wish you a happy new year. I know it is rather late to wish it, but better late than never you know. How queer it seems to direct a letter 1862 but so it is. The old year is gone and a new one is just begun and we are all one year older and everyday bringing us so much nearer eternity. But how little we realize that life is passing so swiftly away. We are pretty well with the exception of colds. We have had bitter cold weather for a few days past and it is splendid sleighing—just as smooth as a floor. Henry is fussing with a bad cold tonight caught by skating too long yesterday. I tell him if he has the fun, he must take the consequences.

I sent your letter to Mr. Carr and I suppose he has written you in regard to the farm &c. as he said he would. I got a letter from Coe ¹ the other day. He is in camp at Springfield. I wish he and James could be in a company together. I think they would enjoy it much. I had a letter from James last Friday. He was preparing for winter building log house, &c. He thinks perhaps they may winter where they now are but I should think by the papers McClellan was intending to make a move before long and I am afraid if he does not, England will.

James was not very well when he wrote. Had been threatened with a fever and I am somewhat worried about him for fear he will have the typhoid fever. He is such a fever subject and he has lost a number of his men by it within a short time. I do not believe it is a healthy place where they are now. I want to see you all very much and we all send much love and good wishes. Please write soon and let us know how things are going out there.

I would write more but am out of paper and it is Sunday night and I can’t buy.

—Jane D. Carr

When you write, direct to Box 545 as the Penny Post does not bring my letters now. Give my love to all enquiring friends. Emma sends particular love to Hannah.

¹ Suspect this was Alonzo Wilber Coe (1832-1864). Coe enlisted at Joliet in Co. I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery in October 1861. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. but rose to the rank of 1st Lt. before he was killed in action near Savannah, Georgia, on 9 December 1864. He was the son of Chester Doe (1796-1863) and Clarissa Augur (1802-1839) of Leyden county, New York. He was enumerated in Joliet, Illinois, in the 1860 US Census.


[Note: This letter was written by James’ wife.]

TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SEVEN

Manchester, New Hampshire
February 23rd 1862

Dear Brother Caton,

I received yours a fortnight or so ago and meant to have answered right away but have been preparing to go over to Father’s a neglected to write to my friends. I have got ready three times to go over home and have been disappointed every time. Think perhaps I may go this week and stop a week or two if it does not snow every other day and night and spoil the traveling as it has done the most of the time this winter. We are well and the children have two weeks longer to go to school before vacation.

I am sorry to hear of the hard times out there but find it is so. Everyone feels it, I think, worse than they have been here but I think if our army continues to be victorious as they have been, that it will make a change very soon. Do not put yourself out at all in regard to the money. I have got along much better than I expected. I have paid out money about as fast as James sent it to me. I have taken up a five hundred dollar note since he went away and paid about fifty on another which he owes his brother-in-law of nearly three hundred and if he lives to be paid again by the middle of March, shall be able to pay the rest or part of it, and intend to keep enough for me to carry us back West if anything should happen to him or if he should come home as we should probably go back there in the course of a year if this war is stopped soon and he is not killed. All that I have wanted of money was to pay up debts with which kept the interest running up.

The mud is so deep where they are on the Potomac now, they can only exist and so much damp weather is not very wholesome, but James writes as though they were in good spirits and rejoicing at the good news they hear every day from other quarters of the army. They long for the mud to dry up so they can cross [the Rappahannock] and have one more battle where they can say they did not run. I want it to come so that it may be over but still dread it for fear he may get killed.

I see by the papers that some of the Illinois regiments suffered severely at the taking of Fort Donelson and suppose a great many homes and hearts are made desolate. Oh! this cruel, cruel, war. When will it be ended? I should like to know if Coe ¹ was in that battle. I see the papers mention the Plainfield Artillery but did not see the name of Joliet. Give my love to Mrs. Caton. Tell her I am hoping and waiting but shall probably see her before another year is out if we live. I like the climate much the best here and on account of the old folks. Should rather stay here. I do not believe Wood has…[missing end of letter]

¹ Suspect this was Alonzo Wilber Coe (1832-1864). Coe enlisted at Joliet in Co. I, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery in October 1861. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. but rose to the rank of 1st Lt. before he was killed in action near Savannah, Georgia, on 9 December 1864. He was the son of Chester Doe (1796-1863) and Clarissa Augur (1802-1839) of Leyden county, New York. He was enumerated in Joliet, Illinois, in the 1860 US Census.


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER EIGHT

Headquarters 2nd New Hampshire Vols.
Near Falmouth, Virginia
Wednesday, February 11th 1863

Dear Bro. Caton,

It has been a long time since I have written you or heard directly from you. My time is all taken up with this accursed rebellion so that I have forgotten almost everything else but war. But still I remember and think of my old friends with pleasure and look forward with longing desire to the time when I shall be with you once again.

I intended to have obtained a leave of twenty days and have visited you all at Plainfield but I cannot succeed for this reason. Col. Marston is at Washington D. C. in Congress this winter. We have no Lt. Col. and Major Bailey is now and has been for some time put under arrest for alleged disobedience of orders so I have command [of] the regiment, being the senior captain.

I have been detailed since January 1st to act as Lt. Col. while Major Bailey acted as Colonel. Now I am at the top of the heap in command but not in rank. Col. Marston is a brigadier at any time he chooses to leave the House and take the field. Then I expect my commission as Lt. Col. unless they dismiss Major Bailey or he should resign. Then I expect to be Colonel and shall be or leave the service for I have been all the time on duty and for 8 months have done field officer duty and 6 of the time, taken care of my company too. There are 30 promotions in our regiment awaiting the pleasure of Col. Marston and have been since August 29th when we made that terrific charge at [Second] Bull Run [and] the 2nd, so I am not alone waiting for my commission you see.

I have been in fourteen battles. There [has] never been any part of our regiment engaged either in skirmish or battle but what I have been one of the number. I commanded the line of advance at the 2nd Fair Oaks or Seven Pines, Va. [On the] 23rd June, I was the only captain with our regiment at Malvern Hill [on the] 1st [of July], and there was but one other at Malvern Hill [on the] 2nd when the gallant Jo. Hooker took us up and down the Rebels from the hill a few days before we left Harrison Landing. But some of those captains that took their leaves and traveled during the Seven Days before Richmond managed to get home and get promoted into some of the new regiments then forming and were bold enough to say that they had been in every battle on the Peninsula &c. &c.

I led the regiment out on a 3 day raid to destroy the Rappahannock Railroad Bridge last week. We were successful. Lost only one man. They all respect me and fear me as much as I care to have them. They know I will fight. I used a carbine (Sharps) all the time. I led the company at Fredericksburg. I shot 60 rounds from a Springfield rifle musket while skirmishing on Sunday. I have killed as many of them as I want to if they will lay down their arms. If not, some more of them must die or they must kill me. I do not deem this childs’ play by no means, nor want them handled with gloves on.

I wish you would write me if you please the news and a few items of business so that if I cannot get away, I can arrange things all right and safe for Jane and the children. Jane wishes to buy a small place in Manchester & I think real estate safer & better for her than greenbacks. I wish you would write me how much, if anything, is due me from you and how much for rent of house in Plainfield Village and how much on rent of farm of Coe’s, &c. and what the prospect of pay is. How much Jane can depend upon is she should buy and whether Phileo is good yet. And how business is. How the College flourishes and all the news. If I live and my family also, I intend to come to Plainfield to live after the war is over. Have you built a house in the village & where? Is the place increasing in size or at a standstill?

Give my love to Mrs. Caton and the children and to all the brothres & sisters in the church. Tell them I often think of them and the good time they have and compare my lot with theirs. Tell them I trust I have not forgotten my Savior. He has been too good a friend to me for me to forsake Him in this my time of need. I ask the prayers of the church and all believers that I may be spared to return to my family & friends and that above all, I may fight the good fight of faith as well as the battles of my country. Yours in love,

— James W. Carr, Captain, commanding 2nd Regt., N. H. Vols.

Direct Capt. J. W. Carr, 2nd N. H. V., Washington D. C.


TRANSCRIPTION LETTER NINE

Manchester, New Hampshire
May 16th 1863

Dear Brother Caton,

You will think strange when I tell you that I have not heard a word from you for six months but such is the fact. I cannot think for a moment but that you have written me, but someone either at that or this end of the route has got hold of the letters instead of me. Now will you be so kind as to write me once more and put the letter into Joliet P. O. and direct to Mrs. J. D. Carr, Box 545, Manchester, New Hampshire. I wish to know how your health is and that of your family also, whether Jane’s farm is let this year and her town place, and what the prospect is of her getting the rent, &c., and if property is rising there, and how the times are, and how matters stand between you and us.

I suppose you have kept the taxes paid. If not, I wish you would see to them and if people owe for the rent and cannot pay the money, please get their notes running to Mrs. J. D. Carr.

I have one more year to serve in the war from June 1st 1863. I am now Lt. Col. of the 2nd N. H. V. and our present Col. E; L. Bailey talks of resigning. If he does, I shall be promoted to the Colonelcy of the regiment. We have not been ordered back yet but expect to be soon. Jane has been quite sick with cholic. Is some better now but a slow fever.

The war hangs on like the tooth ache but I hope we shall see the end of it this year. I think slavery has received its death blow. Am glad the Negroes make such good soldiers. I thought they would.

Give my love to the children ad Mrs. Caton. And please remember me to Brother Hagar and all the good Brothers & Sisters there. I hope to be able to come out and live there again after the war is over. I feel that I have done my part faithfully so far towards putting down the rebellion and… God being my helper to continue to the end.

How does the College flourish these times when so many of the young are off to the war? Have you got your new house done? And do you live in the village or on the farm?

Truly yours, — James W. Carr, Lt. Col. 2nd N. H. Vols

P. S. Jane send her love to you and Mrs. C. and hopes that you are enjoying better health than she is at this present writing. — James


Portions of 1863/1864 Diaries sold at Raynor’s Auction House in 2008.

1863

1 January 1863—In the Grand Army of the Potomac, Carr’s Brigade, Sickles Division, Stoneman’s Corps, Hooker’s Central Grand Div. in Camp of 2d Regt. N.H. V. before Fredericksburg Va….I am detailed a Field Officer…

3 January 1863—The Line Officers treated the men and some of them got drunk and made right hideous with their drunken frolics. Whiskey is a curse to the army and to the world…

5 January 1863—Stoneman’s Corps was reviewed today by Burnsides counting of 3 Divisions, Birney’s, Sickles, & Whipple’s…

12 January 1863—I had my trial today before a Gen. Court Martial. I had no one to assist me but asked my own questions. I think my case is a clear one and that the Court will render a value of ‘Not Guilty.’…I had 5 witnesses for me & only one against me…

17 January 1863—I tried nineteen cases of men that skedaddled before Fredericksburg battle. I am the Court Judge & jury. I have got the approval of Col. Blaindis…

25 January 1863—We marched at 7 am for special duty. Reported by Division at Stoneman’s Headquarters…

7 February 1863—Our cavalry having accomplished the object for which we went—the destruction of the railroad bridge across the Rappahannock—we started back to camp…

8 February 1863—I have been up with the officers of the 1st Brigade to pay my respects to Brig. Gen. Stoneman who leaves the command of the 3d corps to take command of the cavalry of the army of the Potomac. Stoneman is a fine officer…

15 February 1863—The Rebels have moved their picket posts, reduced them in number…

22 February 1863—Major B’s sentence came today to forfeit two mo’s pay & be reprimanded in Genl. Orders—a little harder than I expected. He assumes command tomorrow and I shall apply for a leave…

23 February 1863—Lt. Col. B’s sword was returned today and he is now in command of the 2nd [New Hampshire]…

14 March 1863—Mr. Loomis was away at Washington. [He] has been in the Old Capital prison by being in company with some Jews who had contraband goods on board the schooner. A warning to all to keep good company and engage in lawful business…

25 March 1863—Went to Concord. Saw Col. Marston, Agt. Gen. Colby, Peter Sanborn, Col. Gilmore etc…

31 March 1863—I went to Concord, had a dress parade, was introduced to Col. Bailey’s Bride. They came down in the ½ past three train…

6 April 1863—Went to Concord, found all things straight. The 17th [New Hampshire] Regt. is to be consolidated with the 2d [New Hampshire] and the officers of the 17th mustered out of the service…

30 April 1863—Our regiment was mustered by Lt. Col. Bailey at 3 PM. We had a dress parade at 5 PM….

12 May 1863—Battalion drill at 2 PM. All of the officers & men behave well but do not get out all their muskets at the drill…Col. B came up at 6 PM. Stayed in camp for the first time. He is determined to have better discipline for the future…

14 May 1863—Gen. Wool gave us permission to take the Regiment to Manchester…

18 May 1863—I learned for the first time that we had been ordered back to the Army of the Potomac by a telegram from the Sec of War…

27 May 1863—Arrived in Washington at sunrise…Col. B & the Field & Staff called on Gen. Casey and reported. He sends us to Camp Chase…

29 May 1863—Brig. Gen. Martindale called after parade and introduced himself to me…

7 June1863—I attended Dr. Gurley’s church in the AM…where President Lincoln attends usually. He was not there but Gen. Casey was…

8 June 1863—Hooker is reported across the Rappahannock…

16 June 1863—The Rebels are now in Penn. & Md. committing raids. Vicksburg & Port Hudson still hold out…

17 June 1863—I saw one whole division of Cavalry under Gen. Pleasonton…

18 June 1863—We took 80 Rebel cavalry and they took most all the battalion of N. E. Cavalry. Hookers Headquarters are now at Fairfax Station…The Rebel Cavalry have taken Chambersburg Pa. and are marching on the capital…

19 June 1863—We had skirmishes in front and on the left flank as guerrillas were in the vicinity…

21 June 1863—Heavy firing heard in the direction of Aldee…the battle continued all day…

23 June 1863—A detachment of our men under Lieut. Patch went to Fairfax with the prisoners (guerrillas) that were captured a few days ago…

27 June 1863—Camped for the night in sight of the battleground of South Mountain…

29 June 1863—We started at 4 AM…Gen. Sickles was with us and all things must be done according to red tape. Vicksburg is reported taken…

30 June 1863—Headquarters Army of Potomac passed also towards Gettysburg. We marched at 4 PM towards Emmitsburg…

1 July 1863—News from Gettysburg that Gen. Howard had engaged the enemy and was killed. All of our Corps but our brigade left for the field of action…

2 July 1863—Marched for Gettysburg at 2 AM. Arrived at 9 AM & joined the division which was marched out of the city. Skirmishing commenced at 12 PM, heavy at 3 PM. We went into the fight at 4 PM [and] continued it until dark. The firing was most awful…very heavy…made a charge, drove the enemy, but for want of support were able to fall back. The battle was a severe one. God heard my prayer…my sword saved my life…

3 July 1863—Fell in at 4 AM. Marched to the support of the 6th Corps. …We laid in the woods & drew rations in the forenoon… In the afternoon we were taken to the center to support batteries &c. Several were struck in the Regt. but none seriously wounded. Our report of killed wounded & missing is now 228. We went into action with 338…

4 July 1863—I visited the battleground & the hospital…Our victory at the Battle of Gettysburg is complete and the Rebs in full retreat, but at a great cost…

5 July 1863—Our forces are following up the Rebels at 12 m… The 6th Corps are following up the enemy’s rear. We have captured their pontoon train with Gen. French and his command…

6 July 1863—I went to Gettysburg in the evening. Our dead were buried…

11 July 1863—There is every prospect of a fight to day…

12 July 1863—Gen. Meade ordered an advance today. There was a little firing on the right and the Rebels retired. We now hold the turnpike running from Sharpsburg to Hagerstown. We are held in reserve 2 miles in the rear of our line. I think the Rebels are leaving….

14 July 1863—The Rebels crossed the Potomac last night. Gen. Meade looked on like a mean, cowardly, imbecile traitor which I think he is & saw them go and never fired a single gun…

20 July 1863—Our cavalry had a slight skirmish here at the gap with a squad of Mosby’s guerillas…

24 July 1863—Our skirmishers advanced at daylight. The enemy retreated to Front Royal… Our Regt was deployed as skirmishers and skirmished 3 miles, took the town and ½ mile beyond. They opened one battery but fired only a few shots. The loss in our Div. was about 75 in killed & wounded. We captured about 5 soldiers and 100 wounded this ended the battle…

26 July 1863—We are detached from the 3d Corps today and ordered to report to Gen. Marston. Rumored that we are going to Point Lookout…

27 July 1863—We passed our troops along the railroad 2½ corps near the junction. Gen Meade’s Headquarters at W[arrenton]. We brought 150 Rebel prisoners with us…

30 July 1863—Our army of the Potomac is not very much. I have no confidence in Gen. Meade…

1 August 1863—I fixed the Brigade well. Moved the prisoners and did various other work…

9 August 1863—Col. Bailey arrested Dr. Murrow today…Murrow applies for a release to Gen. Marston…

11 August 1863—Col. Bailey and a squad of mounted infantry conducted by Provost Marshal Davis started up the peninsula on a scouting expedition…

23 August 1863—259 Rebel prisoners came on the John A. Warner…

27 August 1863—The Rebels took two of our gunboats on the Rappahannock last night…

29 August 1863—4 Rebels got away last night. We captured them today…

3 September 1863—18 deserters were returned to our regiment last night. They are under arrest and charges are being preferred…

18 September 1863—I have been very much disturbed today by the arrest of Sam by Lt. Mosley. He is the meanest man and most insulting officer…

22 September 1863—There are 6 rebel officers among the prisoners kept separate. I do not like their looks…

23 September 1863—Gen. Grant is disabled by the fall of his horse. Gen. Banks has failed to land in Texas & Gen. Rosecrans is hotly needed in Georgia & fears are entertained of his safety…

4 October 1863—450 wounded Rebels arrived here today from the Gettysburg hospitals [and] have gone into Point Lookout Hospital. More expected soon… Gen. Marston took chloroform for the hiccoughs…

7 October 1863—Five Rebels tried to escape last night but got foiled by their hiding place, being revealed by one of their own number…

10 October 1863—I rode up with Dr. Stone and we visited the Rebel camp… There is a doctor taking physiological measurements among the Rebels… Gen. Marston stopped the liquor on the wharf today…

13 October 1863—The Army of Gen. Meade is falling back but they cannot drive Old Rosey out of Chattanooga. Hooker has command of 11th & 12th Corps under Rosecrans…

17 October 1863—Meade continues falling back. Skirmishing with the enemy. Bull Run is about to be celebrated…

19 October 1863—A large number of contrabands came yesterday and today I visited the Rebel camp… The rebs are happy tonight, singing &c…

2 November 1863—90 Prisoners came today…

3 November 1863—350 Rebel prisoners arrived today… There is trouble between Jones and Old Bailey and Gen. Marston said that Jones was liable to have his goods confiscated at any moment on account of Bailey’s being a copperhead. Old Bailey told Jones that I hated the very ground that Col. Bailey walked on…

4 November 1863—Gen. Butler is assigned to the command of the Dept. of Virginia & North Carolina…

10 November 1863—1,360 Rebel Prisoners came from the Army of Rappahannock today. They were well clothed for Rebels and are tough and hearty. Inspector of Sanitary Commission has been down. Reports Rebel Camp in bad condition and much suffering…

15 November 1863—Called on Gen. Marston in the evening. Took tea with him and spent the evening with him and talked all things over with him in regard to the regiment and war…

19 November 1863—On the boat a deserter jumped overboard and tried to escape. Was shot in the left arm and captured, broke his arm. He and the guard were tight…

17 December 1863—Gov. Gilmore is trying to get Gen. Hinks removed but I hope he will not succeed. I like Genl. Hinks first rate so far…plus;

1864

1 January 1864—In the good old City of Concord, NH on detached duty as General Recruiting Officer for the state, under command of Brig. Genl. E.. Hinks… My office is through with brokers & volunteers…

4 January 1864—Enlisted 58 men…

5 January 1864—56 enlisted at my office. The United States bounty ceased today, so everybody has been in a great hurry to get in their men. The men are gathering in for the State convention…

11 January 1864—The sharpshooters came home today and Capt. Durgin left for Washington…

15 January 1864—185 men were sent to the 6th, 9th, & 11th [Regiments] today…

20 January 1864—We enlisted twenty-five men but one deserted from the office from Segt. Fletcher…

25 January 1864—I enlisted seven men. David Perkins got into a fight with a broker in my office and bloodied his nose for him…

1 February 1864—200,000 more men are called for. The order is published today for the first time in the Boston Journal

9 February 1864—Our quota of volunteers is full and volunteering is about up, so recruiting will [soon] be over. Cols. Griffin & Stevens have been recalled and will return and not go to the Regiments…

23 February 1864—I rode up from Manchester in the Governor’s car and he spoke to me in regard to my speech relating to the Pres. publishing treason and the Gov. was pleased with my remarks, he said…

1 March 1864—There is no enlisting now as the Government Bounty has not been extended…

15 March 1864—The dinner to Genl. Hinks came off in due season and was a complete success…

17 March 1864—I bought a ticket in the ‘Soldier’s Home’ that Mr. Perham is trying to build for our volunteers who may be poor and disabled and unable to maintain themselves after our war is over…

30 March 1864—Left Concord, NH…with 150 veterans of 2d & 5th NHV via New York for Point Lookout…

5 April 1864—Genl. Hinks issued his order assuming command today…

10 April 1864—One colored regiment left here from Point Lookout this AM. I visited McClellan’s old works and one old camp ground…

13 April 1864—On court-martial. Tried a Mr. Holt for desertion. He and two others attempted to cross the bay in an open boat. John Eagan—whom we sentenced to be shot—was ordered to be executed today, but was reprieved after the troops had assembled on the ground set apart for his execution; so it seemed a farce…

15 April 1864—Privates Eagan & Holt were shot by sentence of court martial between 9 & 10 o’clock. The 2d [New Hampshire] Regt & two colored regiments & 1 section of a battery witnessed the execution…

19 April 1864—Tried Jeremiah Murphy, Private Co. K, 2nd NHV. Sentence—[to be] shot…

20 April 1864—Genl. Smith arrived this noon. A salute was fired in his honor. It is Baldy Smith, so called…

21 April 1864—Heavy cannonading was heard during the night at long intervals apparently in the direction of Fort Monroe. I have prepared a statement of my case to send to President Lincoln if Butler disapproves…

27 April 1864–64 of our regiment are here in waiting to be sent to the Navy and 300 more have sent in their names to be transferred. My application for discharge was returned today ordering me by command of Gen. Butler to report where I was mustered into the service and what rank I then held… I made the required statement, and sent them in to Genl. Smith…

28 April 1864—Gov. Yates of Ohio & Maj. Genl. B. F. Butler arrived at Yorktown… Genl. Marston arrived at 2 PM. He and I looked over the forts together…

5 May 1864—The sight we have seen today is one long to be remembered. Thousands of men & 100’s of vessels all pulling for Richmond with utmost dispatch and enthusiasm…

6 May 1864—Gen. Hickman’s Brigade made a reconnaissance 4 miles towards the railroad. Lost 50 in killed & wounded. Found the enemy in force and retreated…

9 May 1864—Marched down the turnpike to within 5 miles of Petersburg where we engaged the enemy at 12 PM and fought until dark and then remained in line of battle during the night. The rebels fired on our skirmishers in front of the 11th Connecticut who fired in volleys for a while and then all was quiet…

14 May 1864—I climbed a tall pine & saw the Rebel line of works, Richmond in the distance, and the James River on our left. Works are like this [sketch]…

16 May 1864—The Rebels charged our lines all day along our front & heavily on our right & on the Turnpike… Capt Platt was killed by a shot in the head. Our Regt. & the 148th held the line until all the rest & both right and left had gone. Then we retired in good order and reformed further back…

19 May 1864—I went to the James River and saw the monitors shelling the woods with their 15-inch guns and also saw a torpedo explode in the river. The Rebels attacked our line in the center early in the morning and as the close of the day…

20 May 1864—The Rebels attacked our center two or three times but were repulsed every time and finally skedaddled towards night. Our cannon kept up a continual roar for a long time on our right our gunboats took it upon our left and kept it up most all night… The Rebels are building their railroad…

1 June 1864—Marched back to Old Church and on to Cold Harbor and went in to action at 4 PM, the cannonading was brisk…

3 June 1864—We advanced by brigade in mass at 4 AM. The 148th deployed on our front. Went through the woods but the fire was so heavy that every regiment but one was driven back with great slaughter… Capt Gordon is killed…

19 June 1864—May God in his infinite goodness and this war and that right early…

7 July 1864—We got the news of the destruction of the pirate [ship] Alabama. Capt. Semmes was rescued by an English gentleman, yet the Alabama was sunk 10 miles from France by the Kearsarge

15 July 1864—The Rebels are pressing hard on Washington…

27 July 1864—I attended a meeting of the enrolled men of the city to see about raising money to get volunteers…”

Screen Shot 2019-05-24 at 10.09.36 AM
A rare ninth plate ambrotype of an unidentified member of the 1st or 2nd New Hampshire. Often misidentified as being Confederates, they dressed in the New Hampshire grey greatcoat and cape. The uniform underneath would have also been grey and trimmed in red. The only part of that uniform that is visible here is the grey cap which has a lower band of red that ran around the base of the cap. Company letter “F” is pinned to the front. He stands armed with his musket and brandishing an Allen & Wheelock 32 cal. pocket revolver from under the flap of his cape. Images from this unit are actually very hard to find. These guys fought from the First Battle of Bull Run all the way to Richmond. At Gettysburg they were nearly annihilated. [Matthew Fleming Collection]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s