Image: Pvt. Jesse Comstock, Co. D, 1st Rhode Island Infantry

14 08 2022
Jesse Comstock, Co. D, 1st Rhode Island Infantry (FindAGrave, Jeffry Burden)
Jesse Comstock, Co. D, 1st Rhode Island Infantry (Courtesy Rob Grandchamp)

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Image: Capt. Wilson Colwell, Co. B, 2nd Wisconsin Infantry

11 08 2022
Wilson Colwell, Co. B, 2nd Wisconsin Infantry (Courtesy Marc Storch)
Daughter Nannie Colwell (1859-1952) and Vacant Chair (Courtesy Marc Storch)

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Image: Pvt. Edward Henry Vance Davenport, Co. H, 4th Alabama Infantry

10 08 2022
Edward Henry Vance Davenport, Co. H, 4th Alabama Infantry (Courtesy of Stan Hutson)

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Colonel Oliver O. Howard On the Battle

1 08 2022

City Hotel Alexandria Va
July 24th 1861

My dearest wife

On my arrival after our wearisome retreat at this place I was cheered by an affectionate letter from you enclosing one from my poor friend Mrs. Greble. [1] Since then I have been hard at work organizing, feeding & quartering troops.

Our battle was planned so as to break God’s holy day. Charlie [2] & I were under fire & know what it is to hear balls whistle. My horse had a ball put thro his [gambrel] & is very lame. After we had reached Fairfax C.H. somebody stole him from me, but I recovered him.

The battle was about ten miles beyond Centreville by the road we took. We were halted by Gen McDowell some six or seven miles this side of the field, & then were ordered to hasten on, & when about half way the order came to move at double quick, which we tried to do under a hot sun. The men were many of them exhausted when we came into sight of the battle. We passed the wounded for a while before we got into the open plain. We then marched about a mile under fire from heavy guns, formed two lines, one of the 2nd Vt. Regt Col Whiting & the 4th Maine – Col. Berry. The other of the 3d & 5th Maine. I marched up the first line & got them well at work & then returned to the valley below for the other line. I brought that up also. We ascended a hill through a piece of brush wood and then emerged into an open space and it was a warm place indeed. A battery on our right & another on our left were pouring the shot upon us & the musketry from the front.

I felt in no way unpleasant on the field. I kept sending Chas. off on duty. No balls touched any of us. Mordecdai [3] & Lt Buel [4] were much exposed but a Good Providence or rather a Good Lord protected us. We retreated when ordered to do so at a walk, but all the troops were mixed up – till we got to Centreville. Then we organized & marched back after an hour’s sleep to Fairfax Court House – slept till daylight on the ground & then retired in order to Clermont. The cars came to take the troops to town – where I got quarters for them & here we are, all but my own Regiment [5] which I sent to Clermont yesterday. I am going out there tonight. Much love to the children. I shall write Guy [6] just as soon as I can. Keep up a good heart darling. We have met with a sad reverse. Our baggage nearly all cut off. I lost all my papers some clothes & your miniature.

Aff. Your husband Otis

[1] Sarah Greble was the widow of Lt. John Greble, who had been killed at the battle of Big Bethel on June 10, 1861. Lieutenant Greble was one of Howard’s closest friends before the war, and Howard acted as godfather to Greble’s daughter, Clara.

[2] Charles Howard, O.O’s younger brother.

[3] Lieutenant Alfred Mordecai, Jr., (West Point, Class of June 1861) served as Howard’s Assistant Adjutant General from July-August 1861.

[4] Lieutenant David Buel (West Point, Class of June 1861) served as an aide to Howard until early August 1861.

[5] Howard commanded the 3rd Maine Infantry before he was promoted to brigadier general.

[6] Guy Howard, O.O.’s six-year-old son.

Howard Papers, Bowdoin College, Series 2, Box 2, Folder 27.

Transcription by Ryan Quint

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Unit History – Battery A, 2nd U. S. Artillery

27 07 2022

At Washington, D. C., January, 1861. Expedition to relief of Fort Pickens, Fla., and return to Washington. Attached to Blenker’s Brigade, Miles’ Division, McDowell’s Army of Northeast Virginia, June to August, 1861. Heintzelman’s Brigade, Division of the Potomac, to October, 1861. Blenker’s Brigade, Division of the Potomac, to October, 1861. Artillery Reserve, Army of the Potomac, to May, 1862. 1st Brigade, Horse Artillery, Artillery Reserve, 5th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to September, 1862. Artillery, Cavalry Division, Army of the Potomac, to February, 1863. Artillery Reserve, attached to 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, to June, 1863. 2nd Brigade, Horse Artillery, attached to 2nd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Potomac, to May, 1865. Dept. of Washington, 22nd Corps.

SERVICE. — Advance on Manassas, Va., July 16-21, 1861. Battle of Bull Run July 21. Duty in the Defences of Washington, D. C., till March, 1862. Moved to the Virginia Peninsula. Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4. Near Williamsburg May 4. Mechanicsville May 23-24. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Mechanicsville June 26. Gaines’ Mill June 27. Malvern Hill July 1. At Harrison’s Landing till August 16. Coggin’s Point July 31-August 1. Moved to Fortress Monroe, thence to Alexandria August 16-24. Maryland Campaign September 6-22. Sugar Loaf Mountain September 11-12. Boonsborough September 15. Battle of Antietam September 16-17. Shepherdstown Ford September 19. Upperville and Bloomfield November 2-3. Snicker’s Gap November 3-4. Markham Station November 4. Amissville November 10. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. Operations at Rappahannock Bridge and Grove Church February 5-7, 1863. Stoneman’s Raid April 29-May 8. Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3. Emmettsburg, Md., July 4. Williamsport and Hagerstown July 6. Boonsborough July 8. Old Antietam Forge July 10. Falling Waters July 14. Chester Gap Julv 21-22. Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan September 13-17. Culpeper Court House September 13. Raccoon Ford September 14-16. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Groveton October 17-18. Gainesville and Buckland Mills October 19. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. New Hope Church November 27. Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7, 1864. Barnett’s Ford February 6-7. Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 12. Wilderness May 5-7. Spottsylvania Court House May 8-21. Cold Harbor June 1-7. Gaines’ Mill, Salem Church and Haw’s Shop June 2. Sheridan’s Trevillian Raid June 7-24. Trevillian Station June 11-12. Black Creek or Tunstall Station and White House or St. Peter’s Church June 21. St. Mary’s Church June 24. Siege operations against Petersburg and Richmond June 29, 1864, to April 2, 1865. Lee’s Mills July 12, 1864. Demonstration north of the James River July 27-29. Deep Bottom July 27-28. Malvern Hill July 29. Lee’s Mills July 30. Demonstration north of the James August 13-20. Gravel Hill August 14. Deep Run August 16. Strawberry Plains August 16-18. Dinwiddie Road, near Ream’s Sta- tion, August 23. Ream’s Station August 23-25. Poplar Grove Church September 29-October 2. Arthur’s Swamp September 30-October 1. Boydton Plank Road October 27-28. Reconnoissance toward Stony Creek November 7. Stony Creek Station December 1. Warren’s Expedition to Weldon Railroad December 7-12. Dabney’s Mills, Hatcher’s Run, February 5-7, 1865. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Dinwiddie Court House March 30-31. Five Forks April 1. Namozine Church April 3. Payne’s Cross Roads April 5. Amelia Springs April 5. Sailor’s Creek April 6. Appomattox Station April 8. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. Expedition to Danville April 23- 29. Moved to Washington, D. C. Grand Review May 23. Duty at Washington, D. C., till —

From Frederick Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, p.1697





Unit History – Battery G, 2nd U. S. Artillery

25 07 2022

At Washington, D. C, May, 1861. Attached to Davies’ Brigade, Miles’ Division, McDowell’s Army, North- east Virginia, June to August, 1861. Kearney’s Brigade, Division of the Potomac, to October, 1861. Artillery, Franklin’s Division, Army of the Potomac, to January, 1862. Artillery, Heintzelman’s Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862. Artillery, 3rd Division, 3rd Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to August, 1862. Artillery, 1st Division, 4th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to September, 1862. Artillery, 3rd Division, 6th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to May, 1863. Artillery Brigade, 6th Army Corps, to August, 1863. 2nd Brigade, Horse Artillery, Army of the Potomac, to June, 1864. 1st Brigade, DeRussy’s Division, 22nd Army Corps, Defences of Washington, D. C., south of the Potomac, to August, 1865.

SERVICE. — Advance on Manassas, Va., July 16-21, 1861. Near Fairfax Court House July 17. Battle of Bull Run July 21. Duty in the Defences of Washington till March, 1862. Moved to Virginia Peninsula. Siege of Yorktown April 5-May 4. Near Williamsburg May 4. Battle of Williamsburg May 5. Battle of Fair Oaks, Seven Pines, May 31-June 1. Seven days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Oak Grove June 25. Glendale June 30. Malvern Hill July 1. At Harrison’s Landing till August 16. Moved to Alexandria, Va., August 16-24. Maryland Campaign September 6-22. Battle of Antietam September 16-17. Movement to Falmouth, Va., October 30-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. “Mud March” January 20-24, 1863. At Falmouth till April. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Operations at Franklin’s Crossing April 29-May 2. Battle of Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg, May 3. Salem Heights May 3-4. Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 1-3. Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan September 13-17. Culpeper Court House September 13. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. New Hope Church November 27. Demonstration on the Rapidan February 6-7, 1864. Barnett’s Ford February 6-7. Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 2. Wilderness May 5-7. Spottsylvania Court House May 8-21. North Anna River May 23-26. On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor May 31- June 2. Dismounted June 2 and ordered to Washington, D. C. Duty in the Defences of that city till Agust, 1865.

From Frederick Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, p. 1699





Unit History – 32nd New York Infantry

22 07 2022

Cols., Roderick Matheson, Francis E. Pinto; Lieut.-Cols., Francis E. Pinto, George F. Lemon, Charles Hubbs; Majs., George F. Lemon, Charles Hubbs, Russell Myers. The 32d, the First California regiment, composed of three companies from New York city, two from Amsterdam, two from Ithaca, one from Tarrytown, one from Johnstown and one from New York and Tompkins county, was organized at New York city and mustered into the U. S. service for two years on May 31, 1861, at New Dorp, Staten Island. It left the state for Washington on June 29; was quartered there for a week and then encamped near Alexandria, where it was assigned to the 2nd brigade, 5th division, Army of Northeastern Virginia; was engaged at Fairfax Court House, Bull Run, and at Munson’s hill, and spent the winter at Fort Ward in Newton’s brigade of Franklin’s division. In March, 1862, with the 3d brigade, 1st division, 1st corps, Army of the Potomac, the regiment moved to Manassas; returned to Alexandria and embarked for the Peninsula; was engaged at West Point, with a loss of 67 killed, wounded or missing, and soon after was assigned to the 3d brigade, 1st division , 6th corps, with which it engaged in the Seven Days’ battles; then went into camp at Harrison’s landing until Aug. 16, when it returned to Alexandria. The regiment participated in the battles of Crampton’s gap, Antietam and Fredericksburg; went into winter quarters at Belle Plain; participated in the “Mud March,” and on April 28, 1863, broke camp and joined the light brigade of the 6th corps for the Chancellorsville campaign, in which the 32nd lost 43 members killed, wounded or missing. It returned on May 8 to the camp at Belle Plain and on the 25th the three years’ men were transferred to the 121st N. Y. infantry. The two years men were mustered out at New York city on June 9, 1863. The total strength of the regiment up to Jan., 1863, was 1,040 members and it lost during its term of service 45 by death from wounds and 54by death from other causes.

From The Union Army, Vol 2, pp. 71-72





Unit History – 31st New York Infantry

21 07 2022

Cols., Calvin C. Pratt, Francis E. Pinto, Frank Jones; Lieut.-Cols., William H. Brown, Leopold C. Newman; Majs., Addison Dougherty, Alexander Raszewski, R. R. Daniells, J. Barnett Sloan. The 31st, the “Montezuma Regiment,” contained one company from Williamsburg and the others were from New York city, where it was mustered into the U. S. service for two years on May 14 and 27 and June 13, 1861. It left the state for Washington on June 24; proceeded to Virginia in July with the end brigade, 5th division, Army of Northeastern Virginia; encountered the enemy at Fairfax Court House and Bull Run; returned to Washington and was attached to the 3d brigade of Franklin’s division. On Sept. 28 it moved to Munson’s hill, thence to Springfield Station and on the return passed the winter of 1861-62 at Fort Ward. With the 3d brigade, 1st division, 1st corps, Army of the Potomac, the regiment moved to Manassas and returned to Alexandria in March, 1862. At West Point it met with a loss of 83 killed, wound ed or missing. The division became part of the 6th corps in May; engaged in the Seven Days’ battles on the Peninsula; camped at Harrison’s landing until Aug. 15; was then ordered to Newport News and guarded the Fairfax railroad at Burke’s station. At Crampton’s gap, Antietam, the regiment was closely engaged and was also in the battle of Fredericksburg in December. Winter quarters were established at White Oak Church, but were left temporarily in Jan., 1863, for the “Mud March,” then reoccupied until the Chancellorsville movement in the following spring. In this battle the regiment served with the light brigade of the 6th corps and lost 142 killed, wounded or missing at Marye’s heights. Returning to the old camp until May 21, the regiment left at that time for New York city and was there mustered out on June 4, 1863, the three years’ men being transferred to the 121st N. Y. infantry. The total strength of the regiment up to Jan., 1863, was 923 members and during its term of service it lost 68 who were killed or died of wounds and 30 who died from other causes.

From The Union Army, Vol 2, p. 71





Unit History – 18th New York Infantry

20 07 2022

Cols., William A. Jackson, William Young, George R. Myers; Lieut.-Cols., William H. Young, George R. Myers, John C. Maginnis; Maj’s., George R. Myers, John C. Maginnis, William S. Gridley. The 18th, the “New York State Rifles,” was composed of two companies from Schenectady, four from Albany, one from Dutchess county, one from Orange county, one from Ontario county and one from St. Lawrence county. It was mustered into the U. S. service at Albany, May 17, 1861, for a period of two years, and left the state for Washington on June 18, after a month in camp near Albany. Camp on Meridian hill was occupied until July 12, when the regiment was ordered to Alexandria and became a part of the 2nd brigade, 5th division, Army of Northeastern Virginia. It advanced with the army to Manassas, encountered the enemy on the Braddock road, at Fairfax Station and Blackburn’s ford, and participated in the Bull Run battle as support for artillery. It was then withdrawn to Alexandria; on Aug. 4, was assigned to Franklin’s brigade, later commanded by Gen. Newton; and then went into camp near Fairfax seminary, where the construction of Fort Ward occupied the troops. On March 10, 1862, the regiment was ordered to Fairfax Court House, but immediately returned to camp, and in April, with the 3d brigade, 1st division, 6th corps, Army of the Potomac, moved to Bristoe Station. Again the regiment was ordered to return to camp and it finally reached Yorktown at the time of its evacuation by the Confederate forces. It was active at West Point and in the Seven Days’ battles, its loss being heaviest in the battle of Gaines’ mill. It was then stationed at Harrison’s landing until Aug. 15, when it was ordered to Newport News and on the 24th reached Alexandria. It was engaged at Crampton’s gap, Antietam and Fredericksburg, after which it went into camp near Falmouth, until called upon to participate in the “Mud March ” and in the Chancellorsville campaign. At Marye’s heights and Salem Church the 18th was closely engaged and lost heavily. This was the last battle of the regiment, which was soon after ordered home and was mustered out at Albany, May 28, 1863, the three years men being assigned to the 121st N. Y. The death loss during service was 39 from wounds and 36 from other causes.

From The Union Army, Vol 2, pp. 60-61





Unit History – 16th New York Infantry

19 07 2022

Cols., Thomas A. Davies, Joseph Howland, Joel J. Seaver; Lieut.-Cols., Samuel Marsh, Joel J. Seaver, Frank Palmer; Majs., Buel Palmer, Joel J. Seaver, Frank Palmer, John C. Gilmore. The 16th, the 1st Northern New York regiment, was recruited mainly in St. Lawrence and Clinton counties, with one company from Franklin county. It was mustered into the service of the United States at Albany, May 15, 1861, for two years, went into camp near Bethlehem and left the state for Washington on June 26. Assigned to the 2nd brigade, 5th division, Army of Northeastern Virginia, it moved to Alexandria on July 11, from there to Manassas, where it was engaged but a very short time on the 21st and returned immediately after to Alexandria. On Sept. 15 it was ordered to Fort Lyon and attached to the 2nd brigade, 1st division, 1st corps, Army of the Potomac, which division later belonged with the same number to the 6th corps. The winter of 1861-62 was passed at Camp Franklin near Fairfax seminary, Va., where the regiment remained until April 6, when it was ordered to Catlett’s station, but at once returned to camp and was then ordered to Yorktown, where it arrived on May 3. The regiment was in action at West Point, and at Gaines’ mill, its loss being over 200 killed and wounded. It was present through the remainder of that week of battle, but was not closely engaged, then encamped at Harrison’s landing until Aug. 16, when it returned for a brief period to Alexandria. In the battle at Crampton’s gap it was in advance and lost heavily in a brilliant dash; was held in reserve at Antietam; at Fredericksburg was posted on picket duty, and after the battle went into winter quarters near Falmouth. It shared the hardships and discomforts of the “Mud March” under Gen. Burnside and was active in the Chancellorsville campaign, with a loss at Salem Church of 20 killed, 87 wounded and 49 missing. A few days were next spent at Banks’ ford, then a short time in the old camp at Falmouth, and on May 22, 1863, the regiment was mustered out at Albany. During its term of service its loss was 112 men killed or mortally wounded and 84 deaths from other causes. The three years men were transferred to the 121st N. Y.

From The Union Army, Vol 2, p. 59