Unit History – 1st Connecticut Infantry

8 03 2022

Cols., Daniel Tyler, George S. Burnham; Lieut. Cols., John L. Chatfield, John Speidel; Maj., Theodore Byxbee. On April 15, 1861, President Lincoln issued his first call for 75,000 militia to serve for three months and the day following Gov. Buckingham issued his call in conformity therewith. Such was the prevailing enthusiasm that the call of the governor had been anticipated and on the 16th many companies were ready to report with ranks nearly full. One- Rifle Company A of Hartford, Capt. George S. Burnham – had its ranks full and was fully officered. This was the first volunteer company from Connecticut to complete its organization. The various companies rendezvoused at New Haven on April 20, and were at first quartered in the college buildings, then unoccupied on account of vacation. They later encamped in an open field in the western part of the town. The regiment was mustered into the U. S. service on April 22 and 23, and at once began the work of perfecting itself in company and regimental drill. It left for Washington on the steamer Bienville, May 10, arrived at its destination on the 13th, and went into camp at “Glenwood,” 2 miles north of the capitol. As Col. Tyler, who was a West Point graduate and an experienced soldier, was appointed brigadier -general of volunteers, Lieut.-Col. Burnham succeeded to the command of the regiment. On May 31, Lieut.- Col. Chatfield was made colonel of the 3d regiment, Maj. Speidel became lieutenant-colonel, and Capt. Byxbee of Co. B became major. During the first half of June the regiment was stationed at Roach’s mills on the Hampshire & Loudoun railroad. During a short reconnoissance up the railroad at this time George H. Bugbee, of Co. A, was severely wounded at Vienna, the first Connecticut blood shed in the war, save that of the much lamented Theodore Winthrop, who was killed at Big Bethel on the 10th. After being reviewed by the secretary of war, it moved to Falls Church, Va. , and was brigade the 2nd and 3d Conn., and 2nd Maine infantry, under command of Gen. E. D. Keyes. Gen. McDowell’s movement on Manassas began on July 16 , the Connecticut brigade, designated the 1st brigade, 1st division, leading the advance. The command was active during the disastrous battle of Bull Run on the 21st, retiring, from the field in good order, and Gen. Tyler reported: “ At seven o’clock on Tuesday evening, I saw the three Connecticut regiments, with 2,000 bayonets, march under the guns of Fort Corcoran in good order, after having saved us not only a large amount of public property, but the mortification of seeing our standing camps fall into the hands of the enemy.” The 1st remained encamped at Washington until July 27, when its term of service having expired, it returned to New Haven and was mustered out on July 31. The command went out well armed and equipped. Eight companies had Springfield rifles and two Sharp’s rifles. It performed its part well and is entitled to great credit for the motives of pure patriotism with which the members responded to their country’s call to arms. Many of its members afterwards reënlisted in other Connecticut organizations and saw much arduous service. The 1st carried on its rolls 780 men, and though it lost none killed, its casualty list shows 6 wounded, 6 captured and 25 discharged for disability.

From The Union Army, Vol. 1, pp. 274-275


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