On the 12th of April, 1861, within a little more than a month from the time of Lincoln's inauguration as President, was precipitated upon our republic, which the crowned heads, and not less, though from different motives, the common people of Europe, scanned with a curious interest, a contest, which was clearly foreshadowed by the exciting events immediately preceding it, and, though less distinctly, by those of a more remote period; a contest which arrayed on one side the selfish and debasing interests of slave-holding and slave-perpetuating autocracies, and on the other the broad, catholic spirit of liberalism. On that day the stirring events which, during the few preceding months, had kept us in a state of intense mental agitation, culminated in an attack on Fort Sumter, which was surrendered the next day to the rebel armies of the South. On the fifteenth of that month President Lincoln called for 75,000 men to suppress the uprising, which was then regarded, even by those in the best position to judge, as little more than an evanescent emeute. The people of the North were ready. This overt act of the South crystallized into a determined opposition that great sympathetic wave of mingled hope and fear which surged over and electrified the entire North, and increased in volume as the defiant attitude of the South became more obtrusive and offensive, and the danger more imminent. They promptly responded to the call of the President, and within fifteen days 350,000 men had offered their services. Had the prescience of the governmental authorities been equal to the readiness and willingness of the common people, in all probability we should have been spared much of the bitter fruitage which early lassitude compelled us to reap. The 75,000 men were called out for three months; but it soon became evident that their time would expire before they could be fully armed and equipped.
The South, by years of anticipation and covert preparation, were in a much better state of readiness, and were thus able to precipitate events with astounding rapidity. The conviction of the extent of that preparation, the magnitude of the struggle, and the means necessary to oppose it, forced itself only gradually on the minds of the authorities at Washington, who repressed rather than stimulated a popular uprising of the North. Happily, however, the latter was not needed at that time.
On the 4th of May following, the President issued a call for volunteers for three years, and on the 1st of July two hundred and eighty regiments had been accepted. Congress met July 4th and voted five hundred millions of money and five hundred thousand more troops, of which New York's quota was twenty-five thousand men, who were called for on the 25th of July, after the disastrous battle of Bull Run.
Under these calls, Chenango's efforts, which were both liberal and prompt, were conducted by the several towns mostly in their independent capacities, and will be noticed more in detail in connection with the towns. When the war had developed its magnitude and presented its serious phases, after eighteen months' duration, though of little substantial progress, then it was that her grand united efforts were put forth, culminating in the formation of the 114th Regiment, mostly from troops raised within her borders and southern Madison.
The serious losses sustained by the Federal armies in the early campaigns of 1862, induced the President, on the 2d of July of that year, to call for an additional three hundred thousand men, to serve for three years or during the war; and to facilitate and systematize the labor of raising them, and equalize the burdens to be borne, military districts were formed, and committees appointed to represent the various counties embraced therein. Under this call and the succeeding one in August following, for a like number of men, the 114th was formed.1
July 7, 1862, Norwich was designated the recruiting rendezvous for the 23d Senatorial District, embracing Madison, Chenango and Cortland counties. The committee2 for this district held its first meeting at the Eagle Hotel in Norwich, Wednesday, July 17th, 1862, and unanimously nominated Gen. Benjamin F. Bruce, of Madison County, for commander of the prospective regiment. But Gen. Bruce declined the nomination, and the choice next fell upon Hon. Elisha B. Smith, of Chenango county, who accepted the honor, not, however, "without many misgivings as to his fitness for the place", nor, "without invoking wisdom from on high to guide and direct him in his efforts and crown his labors with success". The committee appointed Dr. William D. Purple, Philander B. Prindle and Hon. John J. Foote to report a just apportionment to each county of the district for the formation of a full regiment.3 At a subsequent meeting of the committee, Samuel R. Per Lee, of Norwich, was appointed adjutant, and also acted as mustering officer and quarter-master, and Levi P. Wagner, of Oxford, surgeon. "A rendezvous was established on the grounds of Mr. Stephen Smith, near the west bank of the Chenango, a little north of Rixford street in Norwich village, and the contract for supplying the regiment with rations, awarded to Newman Gates, of Norwich, for thirty-five cents a day for each soldier. Recruiting papers were furnished various responsible individuals, recruiting offices opened in different parts of the district, and the whole machinery rapidly put in working order. Examinations in the surgeon's office, on South Main street, were constantly going on; in some instances, as many as two hundred passed the rigid scrutiny of Surgeon Wagner in a single day. A depot of supplies was opened in the Guernsey Block; and detailed men and clerks were continually employed in perfecting papers and dressing the men in blue. Walter A. Cook, Esq., of Norwich, chief clerk, was unceasing in his labors, and rendered valuable aid. No volunteering, before or afterwards, during the war, was equal to it.4
Company "A" of the 114th was recruited in Oxford, whose citizens were fully awake and ready for action, awaiting only a leader. Oscar H. Curtis, a young lawyer, then recently settled in practice in Oxford village, was among those who felt the necessity for immediate action, and on the 19th of July, said to his friends, "I'll go!" Immediately Henry R. Mygatt telegraphed to the Governor for papers authorizing Mr. Curtis to recruit for the regiment. He received the order to that effect on the 22d, and turned his law office into a recruiting station. A public meeting was held at Lewis' Hall, in Oxford, July 24th at 2 o'clock P. M., and was addressed by Henry R. Mygatt, who presided, and Capt. Curtis, J. W. Glover, S. Bundy and W. H. Hyde, of Oxford. Great enthusiasm prevailed. Over a thousand dollars was raised on the spot to defray the necessary expenses of raising a company, and a bounty of ten dollars was voted to each recruit for the first Oxford company. Meetings were held in the towns of Preston, Smithville, McDonough, Guilford, Bainbridge and Afton, a corps of able speakers, among whom were Messrs. Bundy, Glover and Hyde, volunteered their services, together with the Oxford brass band. The result was that on the 6th of August a sufficient number were mustered at Oxford to form a company, entitling Captain Curtis to the honor of having raised the first company, thereby securing him the post of honor, the right of the regiment. The company reported at Norwich the same day, and in front of the Eagle Hotel, received the congratulations of Colonel Smith on being the first full company assembled at the rendezvous, and were cheered and welcomed by the citizens of Norwich. This is but an instance of what almost daily occurred by the arrival of other companies, till the regiment was completed.
Company "B" was recruited in Norwich by Jacob S. Bockee, of Norwich, who, in the first part of July, 1862, commenced recruiting a company for Col. Kingsley's regiment of the "Spinola Brigade". Preferring to be connected with a home organization, he visited Albany and obtained permission to recruit a company for the 114th. On the evening of July 30th an enthusiastic war meeting was held in Concert Hall, in Norwich, over which Rev. W. H. Olin presided. Patriotic addresses were made by Gen. B. F. Bruce and Prof. P. P. Brown of Madison county, and by Col. E. B. Smith, B. F. Rexford, Esq., Rev. Messrs. Scoville, Searls, Ward, Benedict and Olin. Volunteers being called for, several came forward and enrolled their names, amid the cheers of the audience. The people generally were awakened to a vigorous effort. August 2d a meeting was held in New Berlin, Rev. Mr. Burnside presiding, and was addressed by E. H. Prindle, B. G. Berry, and Dr. Henry, the latter of Washington. Capt. Bockee also made a few remarks, pledging himself not only to go with his men but to stay with them. On the 8th, a meeting was held at East Pharsalia, and addressed by Isaac S. Newton, of Norwich, and others. Charles A. Sumner, son of Sherman Sumner, of Pharsalia, came forward and enlisted. The father, in commendation of the course of his son, made a thrilling and affecting speech. The example of young Sumner was followed by others. About the same time a meeting was held at North Norwich.5 Isaac Burch, a compositor in the office of the Chenango Union, having enlisted on the 14th of July, "exchanging the 'shooting-stick' for the 'shooting-iron,'" immediately commenced recruiting in New Berlin. Lieut. Edwin O. Gibson, of South New Berlin, labored successfully in obtaining recruits from that portion of the town. The men were mustered on the 10th of August, and formed the second company of the regiment.
Company "C" was also raised in Norwich. About the 4th of August, Platt Titus, of Norwich, was authorized to raise a company. On the evening of the fifth, Rev. S. Scoville, E. H. Prindle and others addressed a meeting held in Plymouth, which was also attended by Captains Titus and Bockee. On that day a number of volunteers were obtained for this company and sworn in. Previous to this, Wm. H. Chamberlain, of Mt. Upton, opened a recruiting office in that village. In addition to the bounties offered by the National and State Governments, the citizens of Mt. Upton offered a bounty of three dollars to each person recruited at that station. On the evening of the 7th a meeting was held in Mt. Upton, and addressed by E. H. Prindle and Hamilton Phelps, of Norwich, and George W. Chamberlain, of Mt. Upton. Mr. Chamberlain obtained in all about twenty-five recruits, and learning that the regiment was rapidly filling up, and fearing that he would not obtain a desirable place for his men, on the morning of the 11th he came with his squad to Norwich, and made arrangements with Capt. Titus whereby they were secured for his company, thus making it sufficiently full for muster on the afternoon of that day. As several of the recruits were minors, not as yet having the consent of their parents or guardians, lest there might be a deficiency for a maximum company, a meeting was held in the evening by Captain Titus, in the Baptist Church at North Norwich, which was addressed by H. G. Prindle, Lewis Kingsley and others of Norwich. Several additional names were obtained. Lieuts. Shubal A. Brooks, Norman Lewis and John Bagg, of Norwich, Harlow C. Glazier and Loren H. Janes, of Plymouth, and other volunteers, were efficient in obtaining recruits for the company. 6
Company "D" was organized in Madison County.7 About the 1st of August, Henry B. Morse, of Eaton, was authorized to raise a company. As there were then two companies being organized in Hamilton, it was thought best to canvass the county for volunteers. Arrangements were accordingly made with Robert P. York, of DeRuyter, and James E. Wedge, of Lebanon, to assist in raising the company. Meetings were held in Eaton, Morrisville, Lebanon, DeRuyter, Nelson, Georgetown, and other places. Among the speakers were Hon. Sidney T. Holmes, Charles Kennedy, L. B. Kern, and Alexander Cramphin, of Morrisville; P. P. Brown and A. N. Sheldon, of Hamilton; and David Mitchell, Esq., of Syracuse. In addition to these, B. E. Hoppin, Messrs. Avery and Baker, of Lebanon; Lucius P. Clarke and others, of Morrisville; Hon. S. Rider, A. V. Bentley, R. E. Fairchild, H. C. Miner, Colonel Whitford, J. B. Wells, and Rev. Messrs. Tomlinson and Clarke, of DeRuyter; Ellis Coman, George E. Morse, Gershom Morse and Walter Morse, of Eaton, rendered efficient aid in raising the company. Smith Case, afterwards Lieutenant, and James S. Stewart, were among the first enrolled, and labored faithfully in obtaining recruits. On the 11th of August the company numbered one hundred and forty men, and on the morning of the 12th it assembled at Eaton, and was presented by the citizens of that place with a flag, which afterwards became the colors of the regiment. The presentation speech was made by Rev. Mr. Wheat, of the Baptist church, and was responded to with much feeling by Col. Morse, in behalf of the company. A large assembly was present to witness the ceremony, and bid adieu to the departing volunteers. After the exercises were concluded, the men left in wagons for Norwich, where they were mustered on the 13th.
Company "E" was recruited in Greene and vicinity by Capt. R. Macdonald, to the number of one hundred and twenty men in less than a week. As a preliminary step a war-meeting was held in Union Hall, in the village of Greene, on Tuesday evening, August 5th, of which the Chenango American gives the following account:---
"Union Hall was packed to its utmost capacity, and the enthusiasm was intense. The audience was eloquently addressed by Dr. Wm. H. Doane, of Washington, Gen. B. F. Bruce, of Madison, and H. G. Prindle, Esq., of Norwich---with the words of true patriotism which struck the cord of true 'love of country' in every heart, and made every one present see that he had a duty to perform, and now was the time for action.
"Colonel Elisha B. Smith was present, and addressed the meeting with words that came from the heart. Captain R. Macdonald was also present with his recruiting papers, and the result was most gratifying. John C. Reynolds was the first volunteer, who came forward and put down his name amid a round of cheers. Others came forward with the stern resolve to serve their country if strong arms and willing hearts can do it, and still they come. Our estimable townsman, Mr. N. A. Dederer, has enlisted for the war. When such men come forward and offer their services to their country, why should young men falter? Come forward, then, young men of Greene, and sign the roll, and let it not be said you faltered in the hour of peril."
Over sixteen hundred dollars were raised to carry forward the work so well begun, and a committee, consisting of P. B. Rathbone, M. Birdsall, U. Whittenhall, W.F. Lyon and R. P. Barnard, was appointed to solicit further subscriptions. Captain Macdonald and others addressed meetings held in the towns of Afton, Coventry, and Smithville, each of which furnished a quota of men for the company. Leading citizens of Greene labored zealously and with good effect. N. A. Dederer put forth his best efforts to help raise the company, and proved himself worthy of the position subsequently conferred upon him. Rev. G. G. Donnelly, of Afton, also did much towards recruiting the men from that town and vicinity. "Just before the company left Greene for the rendezvous, the ladies, ever mindful of the future, and anticipating some of the many wants of the boys when far away upon the tented field, presented each soldier with a 'kit,' composed of needles, thread-case, scissors, &c." The presentation was made in behalf of the ladies by F. B. Fisher, and was feelingly responded to by Captain Macdonald.
Company "F" was recruited in Sherburne and New Berlin. A meeting was held in White's Hall, in Sherburne village, on the 29th of July, and was presided over by Capt. R. H. Alcott, of the 1st Michigan Regiment, formerly of New Berlin, then suffering from wounds in the head received before Richmond. A. N. Newton was chosen Secretary. Hon. T. H. Matteson, Isaac Plumb and Archibald Whitford were appointed a committee on resolutions; and Dr. Devillo White, Hiram Briggs, Charles Lewis, Sen., Lucius Newton and Jacob Hickok, to solicit contributions to pay a bounty to volunteers. The meeting was ably addressed by E. H. Prindle and B. Gage Berry of Norwich, and T. H. Matteson and Rev. Mr. Curtis, of Sherburne. Several others made brief but spirited remarks. Charles H. Colwell, of Sherburne, who had been authorized to raise a company, came forward and signed the rolls, and several young men followed his example.
War meetings were also held in Columbus, Smyrna and Earlville, and were addressed among others by Isaac S. Newton, Hon. T. H. Matteson, Revs. Messrs. Brooks and Fletcher, and Capt. Tucker of Hamilton, Capt. Colwell obtained fifty-seven recruits, mostly from Sherburne, the adjacent towns furnishing a few men; and with these he started for Norwich on the 13th of August.
The young men of New Berlin and vicinity only awaited a responsible leader. Adrian Foote, of New Berlin, was authorized to recruit volunteers on the 1st of August, and within a few days had enrolled fifty-two men. But the regiment was rapidly filling up, and as neither Captain Colwell nor Lieut. Foote could hope to seasonably fill a company, they consolidated their men, Lieut. Foote taking into the organization the whole number recruited by him, and Capt. Colwell, forty-six men, the remainder enlisted by him being transferred to the Madison county regiment. They were mustered on the 13th.
Company "G" was recruited in Hamilton and Brookfield. Charles E. Tucker and Charles W. Underhill, of Madison University, were authorized to recruit a company, and commenced on the 22d of July, when they, and Henry P. Corbin, and Albert A. Nichols, of Hamilton, enrolled their names. Other enlistments soon followed, and the work of recruiting was prosecuted in Hamilton, Brookfield and Stockbridge. Meetings were held in Hamilton, Clarksville, Leonardsville, North Brookfield and Hubbardsville, which were addressed by Capt. Tucker and Lieut. Underhill. Rev. Mr. Fletcher, E. B. Hulbert, Col. P. P. Brown, and numerous citizens of Hamilton, with Messrs. Green, Brownell and Dunbar of East Hamilton, assisted in the meeting and in various other ways. The people generally, of the several towns, cooperated, every effort being put forth which at that early day was deemed necessary.
From July 30th, Homer W. Searles, of Leonardsville, was also engaged in recruiting, principally in Brookfield, going about from house to house and talking with the inhabitants on the subject, seconded in his efforts by Hon. William H. Brand and other prominent citizens of that place; he succeeded in obtaining forty-three recruits from the town of Brookfield. Hamilton furnished nearly the same number and Stockbridge some twelve men. The company was full on the 13th of August, though some changes were made after that date, so that eventually it contained a few men who were enlisted in Norwich. On the 18th, the volunteers of Brookfield and vicinity assembled with their friends at Leonardsville for a final leave-taking. The occasion was one of deep interest and brought together several thousand persons from an extended region of country. Hon. W. H. Brand delivered an address replete with earnestness, eloquence and patriotism, which fully brought the assembly in sympathy with the events of the hour.
Company "H" was recruited in Oxford, Bainbridge and DeRuyter.8 So thoroughly had Captain Curtis and his friends aroused the people that recruiting was continued without abatement after the completion of Company "A", and under the direction of Dyer D. Bullock, of Bainbridge, and Edwin M. Osborn, of Oxford, about seventy men were recruited for a second company from southern Chenango. Meetings, addressed by Henry A. Clarke, Chairman of the District Committee, and S. Bundy, of Oxford, were held in various places. On the 14th of August, the company was filled by consolidating with the men recruited by Capt. Bullock and Lieut. Osborn, thirty-four men recruited for Company "D", by Lieut. R. P. York of DeRuyter.
Company "I" was recruited in Otselic. August 4th, J. Floyd Thompson, of Otselic, received authorization papers to recruit a company, and although recruiting was at first dull, such was the energy displayed by himself, Hiram S. Wheeler, Nelson W. Schermerhorn, Dennis Thompson, and others, who early volunteered, and the leading citizens, that by the 13th the company was full, and on the 14th they went to Norwich in wagons and were mustered. On the 11th, and enthusiastic meeting was held at South Otselic (where Mr. Thompson opened a recruiting office,) over which Hon. David B. Parce presided. Spirited addresses were made by B. Gage Berry, of Norwich, Rev. F. Fletcher, of Hamilton, and others. That day fifty-four recruits were added, nearly fifty of whom passed the surgeon's examination. Other meetings were held in Lincklaen and Pitcher, and on the 13th, there was a large gathering at East Otselic. On the 14th, between three and four thousand persons assembled at South Otselic to witness the affecting departure of the company for Norwich. Addresses were made by Hon. D. B. Parce, of Otselic, and Rev. Mr. Selah, of Pitcher, and the former, on his own account, presented each recruit from Otselic with a silver dollar, as a testimonial of his personal regard. On the 27th of August, the Hon. D. B. Parce, in behalf of the ladies of Otselic, presented the company with a beautiful silk flag.9 The ceremony took place in front of the court house in Norwich, and a large assembly listened to the impressive speech, which was appropriately responded to by Hon. H. G. Prindle, in behalf of the company.
Company "K" was recruited in Cazenovia. The first step in this direction was the holding of a meeting on the 26th of July, in the Free Church, for the purpose of providing a suitable bounty to the requisite number of men to fill the quota from that town. Mr. Henry Ten Eyck presided over the meeting, which was addressed by Hon. Thomas G. Alvord and L. W. Hall, of Syracuse. A resolution was adopted to raise eighty recruits in the town, and, if possible, a full company. Sufficient funds were subscribed to pay to each a bounty of twenty-five dollars. At that meeting eleven names were appended to the roll, and formed the nucleus for that company. The first to publicly sign were Seneca Lake and Daniel C. Knowlton, the former of whom opened a recruiting office the following day and sent to Albany for authorization papers.
On Friday evening, August 1st, a meeting was held in New Woodstock, of which Col. Ralph Bell was Chairman. Prof. E. G. Andrews gave an eloquent and patriotic address; and several hundred dollars were added to the bounty fund.
The work went slowly on, until, on the 11th, so large a number enlisted as to make the number enrolled more than was necessary to organize a company. A sufficient number were afterwards added at Norwich to make the maximum number. It was a question with what organization the company should unite; but this was decided by the favorable representations of Daniel C. Knowlton, who had been sent to Norwich to consult the district committee in regard to the matter, and the Cazenovia company became the tenth and last of the 114th. As there were other competitors anxious to secure the place, Capt. Lake hurriedly gathered his men from field and work-shop, and on the morning of the 14th left in wagons for Norwich, where they were mustered the next day.
When all the companies had assembled at the general rendezvous, "Camp Doty" assumed quite a military air and presented a lively appearance. The regiment was supplied with "A" tents and two large marquees; but as these were insufficient to accommodate all, the court house, hotels, private dwellings and vacant houses were fitted up and appropriated to its uses. All who could, however, preferred to occupy the tents because of the novelty attending it. Drilling was practiced, but only to a limited extent. So large a camp, in the heart of a rural district, was a great curiosity, and was thronged with visitors from far and near.
The selection of company officers was left to the men, and within a few days these, together with the regimental officers, were designated. The original regimental roster was as follows:---
Colonel---Elisha B. Smith.
Lieutenant-Colonel---Samuel R. Per Lee.
Major---Henry B. Morse.
Adjutant---James F. Fitts.
Quarter-Master---J. Floyd Thompson.
Surgeon---Levi P. Wagner.
Assistant Surgeons---H. G. Beardsley, Harris H. Beecher.
COMPANY A---Captain, Oscar H. Curtis; 1st Lieut., Samuel S. Stafford; 2d Lieut., James E. Gilbert.
COMPANY B---Captain, Jacob S. Bockee; 1st Lieut., Lauren M. Nichols; 2d Lieut., Edwin O. Gibson.
COMPANY C---Captain, Platt Titus; 1st Lieut., S. A. Brooks; 2d Lieut., William H. Longwell.
COMPANY D---Captain, Willie P. Rexford; 1st Lieut., James E. Wedge; 2d Lieut., Smith H. Case.
COMPANY E---Captain, Ransom Macdonald; 1st Lieut., Nicholas A. Dederer; 2d Lieut., George G. Donnelly.
COMPANY F---Captain, Charles H. Colwell; 1st Lieut., Adrian Foote; 2d Lieut., John F. Buell.
COMPANY G---Captain, Charles E. Tucker; 1st Lieut., Charles W. Underhill; 2d Lieut., Homer W. Searles.
COMPANY H---Captain, Dyer D. Bullock; 1st Lieut., Robert P. York; 2d Lieut., Edward M. Osborn.
COMPANY I---Captain, Hiram S. Wheeler; 1st Lieut., Nelson W. Schermerhorn; 2d Lieut., E. Porter Pellet.
COMPANY K---Captain, Seneca Lake; 1st Lieut., Daniel C. Knowlton; 2d Lieut., Erastus S. Carpenter.
Sergeant-Major, Elijah St. John; Quarter-Master Sergeant, Aug. P. Clark; Commissary Sergeant, George E. Hawley; Hospital Steward, Ebenezer McClintock.
Company A---Austin S. Southworth; Company B---George Ballou; Company C---Norman Lewis; Company D---James S. Stewart; Company E---John G. Reynolds; Company F---William D. Thurber; Company G---Charles F. Sunny; Company H---Orlando J. Aylesworth; Company I---Dennis Thompson; Company K---Robert N. Eddy.
On Wednesday, the 27th of August, Col. Bliss, State Paymaster, paid the members of the regiment their State bounty of fifty dollars each. He was accompanied by Theodore Roosvelt and Theodore B. Bronson, U. S. Allotment Commissioners, whose business it was to induce soldiers to set apart a portion of their pay for the benefit of their families.10
On the 3d of September, the regiment, which had previously been mustered by companies into the State service, was formally transferred and mustered into the United States' service. Each man received one month's advance pay, twenty-five dollars United States bounty, fifty dollars State and fifty dollars County bounty, making the premium of two dollars for enlisting, one hundred and forty dollars to each private. After this, all who desired were permitted to make a short visit to their homes. "It should be recorded, as a remarkable fact," says Dr. Beecher, "for it speaks volumes for the character of the men, that at the appointed day, almost at the very hour, they assembled again at the rendezvous. Scattered forty or fifty miles in every direction, it was found that not a single man had deserted. The State and Nation are challenged for another such an instance. Is not this in pleasing contrast to the conduct of many of those who subsequently were called upon to fill the quotas of Chenango and Madison?"
On Saturday, the 6th of September, the regiment took its departure for the seat of war, proceeding by canal to Binghamton, and thence by rail. Previous to leaving Norwich, however, a scene of thrilling interest was witnessed in that village by an immense throng of people,---the presentation by Isaac S. Newton, in behalf of many citizens of Chenango county, of a splendid chestnut war-horse, fully equipped, to Colonel Smith; and by Rev. William Searls, then pastor of the First M. E. Church, of Norwich, in the same behalf, of a beautiful horse-equipage, sword, sash and belt, to Lieutenant-Colonel PerLee, and, in behalf of the Ladies' Aid Association, of Norwich, a testament to every member not previously supplied with one.11 The remarks and responses on the occasion were made with much warmth and feeling.
Mr. Newton's speech had the ring of true patriotic ardor. He said:---
"Colonel E. B. Smith: A number of your fellow citizens have charged me with the pleasant duty of presenting to you this fine animal. In their name I ask you to accept him. It is, sir, no sporting animal, nor a fancy horse fitted only for pleasure excursions. The events of the day and this occasion forbid such a gift. It is a war-horse, destined, we trust, to snuff the battle, with head erect and nostrils distended, but fearless, to hear martial music, the clangor of arms, the roar of artillery; yes, more, to hear his rider's voice in the thickest fight, as he shall shout to his band from Chenango and Madison the welcome order to charge, and then lead them in the onset.
"This horse is to you, sir, a two-fold pledge,---a pledge of our friendship in by-gone days, and a pledge of our earnest wish that you excel in your untried character as a soldier. To your care we commit a thousand brothers, and close following them are the hopes and prayers of ten thousand watching kindred, left on these hills and in these valleys; and remember sir, when the battle rages, that thousands of eyes will drop tears of joy at their success and yours---of sorrow at the fall of any, the least of these.
"Lead them to victory. Ride this horse manfully before them, giving to each, as you will, an example of sobriety, obedience, courage, heroism, patriotism.
"We ask only that they have a history under your leadership, of which Chenango and Madison shall never be ashamed. Give them a name written high on the annals of time. We wish this,---we expect it.
"But is no time, sir for words. DEEDS mark the man. Liberty is stabbed in the land of her birth. Bloody treason lurks no longer, but stalks abroad with power. Our fathers' land is red with the blood of her sons. Our fathers' legacy---a free government---obedience to the expressed will of the people, is that for which we fight. It is worth a struggle. It is worth blood, and it will survive.
"Take this gift then, and go. Go! remembering the teachings of your youth, that not in the horse nor in the rider is safety, only as you trust in the God of battles; thus trusting, lead our brave men to brave deeds. Let them work---not rust---and when our flag shall float again in peace over these states, come back here, with his trappings dusty and worn, and your honors upon you; come back with these our brothers to the greeting."
Colonel Smith, much overcome with feeling in reply said:---
"I accept this gift from the donors. Carry to them, sir, my thanks. I strive in no manner to dishonor their gift. I go forth and take these brave men, gathered from the homes of Chenango and Madison, to untried scenes. I go not in my own strength. I remember in this hour of trial the teachings of my childhood here. I do not forget the lessons nor the prayers of yonder mother---the mother I leave for the bloody field of strife. Trusting in the God of battles, who will never see this government perish, I go forth. I, in common with you all, have another mother---this free land of liberty. She has been smitten by her own sons. They say she shall perish, but we go to add our strength, little though it be, to stay the arm that treason has lifted.
"We may not, probably shall not all come back, but I feel to-day that he that falleth by the way will have fallen in a noble cause. I believe, sir, that we go with God's blessing upon us.
"When asked by a committee of citizens to take this command, I then, if never before, offered a prayer to God, that I might be guided by His wisdom. Trusting in his guidance, I accepted. In the same faith I go.
"I bespeak for myself, and all my command, the hearty support, the earnest sympathy of the many, many friends we leave in these homes. Again let me thank the kind donors for this noble animal." 12
On the arrival of the regiment in Baltimore, Col. Smith received orders from Gen. Wool, Commander of the Middle Department, to go into camp in that city, where they remained two months, employed in drilling and doing hospital and other guard duty. The second day after their arrival in Baltimore, they were armed with Springfield rifles, of the pattern of 862; and on the 9th of October were brigaded under Gen. Emory, with the 110th, 116th, 128th, N. Y., and the 38th Massachusetts infantry regiments, and the 6th N. Y. artillery. At dress parade, on Sunday, November 2d, orders, directing the regiment to be in readiness to march at a moment's notice, on "distant service," were read; and on the 6th they were steaming down Chesapeake Bay, destined to spend a month in the locality of Fortress Monroe, and ultimately to join Banks' expedition, on which they started on the 4th of December.13
Arriving in the Mississippi, a few days were spent in camp at Carrollton, about seven miles above New Orleans, a portion of the regiment enjoying the privilege of treading the battle ground, some six miles below New Orleans, made historic, by Jackson's memorable defense behind cotton-padded breastworks, against the unfortunate General Pakenham, on the 8th of January, 1815. The major and latter part of the month of January was spent in guarding the New Orleans, Opelousas and Great Western Railroad, extending a dis(tance) of eighty miles, from Algiers, opposite New Orleans, to Brashear City, along the entire length of which the regiment was scattered by companies. They were relieved from this not unpleasant duty on the night of the 8th of February and encamped in the rear of Brashear City, where, for the first time since it left Baltimore, the regiment was again united. In the meantime they had been brigaded with the 75th and 160th N. Y., the 8th Vt. and the 12th Conn. infantry regiments, a battery of the 1st Maine artillery, and two companies of the 1st Louisiana cavalry, under command of Gen. Weitzel, as the Second Brigade, First Division of the Nineteenth (Banks') Army Corps. The division commander was Gen. Wm. H. Emory. This brigade afterwards became an independent organization, and was known as the "Reserve Brigade." It was the one which, afterwards, when tried in battle, Gen. Weitzel said he was proud to command.
At Brashear City, Col. Smith, as senior officer, took command of the post, and Lieut.-Col. Per Lee, of the regiment. This arrangement continued until, a little later, Gen. Weitzel made that his head-quarters.
Early in April the tedium of camp life was broken by an advance of Bank's army. On the 9th of that month the fleet began to convey the army which, for some time, had been concentrating in the vicinity of Brashear City, across Berwick Bay, which, opposite Brashear City, is about three-fourths of a mile wide, and the opposite shore of which was occupied by the rebels. Twelve miles above the mouth of Bayou Teche, which empties into Berwick Bay, and is followed in all its course by a narrow strip of arable land, bounded on the north by the swamps of Grand Lake, and on the south by the salt water marsh of the Gulf of Mexico, the rebels had constructed a formidable line of earth-works, extending to the swamps on either side. To flank or invest such a position was entirely out of the question. General Grover was sent with his division on transports through Grand Lake, to a landing called "Shell Bank," whence a road but little known led to the Teche, some twenty miles in the enemy's rear. While Generals Emory and Weitzel attacked the enemy in front, he was to cut off his retreat, if possible, if driven from his position, or, if Emory and Weitzel failed to force him, to attack him in the rear. The three divisions moved forward on the 11th of April, Saturday; Grover's from Brashear City, and the other two from Berwick City, on the point of the narrow peninsula, some sixty miles in length, formed by Grand Lake on the east and Bayou Teche on the west, which they occupied on the 9th. The 114th occupied the center in the line of Weitzel's brigade, which led the advance of the land forces, being preceded only by the First Louisiana Cavalry, which was closely followed by a line of skirmishers from the various advance regiments. One company of the 1st U. S. Artillery, under Capt. Bainbridge, and the Sixth Mass. Battery accompanied them.
They proceeded slowly, driving the enemy before them, and bivouacked at night at Pattersonville, nine miles from Berwick City. In the disposition of the second day, the 114th occupied a position near the left of the advance line, the right of Weitzel's brigade resting upon the bayou. This was the position they occupied, when, soon after march was resumed on the second day, it was deemed expedient to form in line of battle. A similar disposition was made on the opposite side of the bayou, by other troops of the division, who crossed by means of a pontoon bridge. They thus advanced, forcing their way with great labor and fatigue, through dense cane-brakes, so high as to almost conceal them from sight. At five o'clock they had progressed only four miles, and the skirmishers had yet failed to discover the enemy in force. Suddenly, and without warning, two cannon were discharged in their front, and two hissing, shrieking missiles passed over their heads, instantly killing a pair of horses attached to a battery following close behind. Before the men had time to recover from their astonishment, the simultaneous discharge of artillery all along the line hurled shot and shell in great profusion among the cane and far to the rear.
The battle of Bisland, thus opened, was fought almost entirely by artillery, the infantry having little else to do than support the batteries. For two days the troops lay under a heavy artillery fire, a most trying position even for veterans, from which, however, they suffered little. The almost entire loss of the 114th was sustained on the second day, when the 75th N. Y., which was on their left, dislodged a body of the enemy, who, under cover of the woods, had gained and were annoying them on the left flank. On the morning of the 14th it was expected an assault would be made, but the enemy made a hasty retreat in the night to avoid capture, which the presence of Gen. Grover in their rear threatened. Under the trying ordeal through which they had passed, the 114th conducted themselves with such coolness and bravery as to elicit high commendations from Capt. Carruth, whose battery they supported.14 The regiment had nine men wounded, one fatally.
The pursuit of the flying enemy was continued, with only slight encounters with their rear guard, until, on the 19th, Col. Smith was ordered to employ his regiment in gathering and driving back to Brashear City, for army use, all the cattle, horses and sheep in the country. The men demurred at being employed as "cattle drivers"; yet none hesitated in the decision to perform faithfully these new duties. From this time till the 27th of May, the regiment was occupied in wearisome marching and counter-marching, having, within less than seven weeks, marched nearly five hundred miles, the last forty-eight of which were forced and toilsome, made with little rest or refreshment, to evade the hot pursuit of a vigilant foe. During this time, Col. Smith, by reason of ill health, had been obliged to leave the regiment in command of Lieut.-Colonel Per Lee. In the meantime, Gen. Banks' army had invested Port Hudson; and on the 29th of May, the regiment left Brashear City to rejoin the brigade, which it did on the first of June, before Port Hudson, where it lay for forty days, engaged more or less constantly, day and night. Companies B, D, E, F and G, formed a part of the assaulting column at Port Hudson on the 14th of June, which resulted so disastrously and fruitlessly, and in which Col. Smith, then in command of the brigade and the assaulting column, fell mortally wounded.15 These companies suffered serious losses. The regiment continued in the intrenchments before Port Hudson till the surrender of that place on the 9th of July, with six thousand men and their arms.
Succeeding the reduction of Port Hudson, the regiment, in company with the brigade, spent "twenty days of laziness and discomfort," at Donaldsonville, and about two weeks at Labadieville, leaving the latter place on the 19th of August for Brashear City, which the 114th New York and 12th Connecticut were detailed to occupy and hold, and which, during the siege of Port Hudson, together with an immense quantity of government stores, was captured by the rebels. On the 2d of September the regiment rejoined the brigade at Algiers, where Major-General Franklin assumed command of the 9th army corps, and joined in the "Sabine Pass Expedition," the results of which Dr. Beecher thus sums up:---
"General Franklin, with ten thousand men,
Went out to sea, and then came back again."
From this expedition they returned again to Brashear City, where, on the 3d of October, they set out on the equally fruitless Texas expedition. They then went into camp at New Iberia. While here their old and loved brigade commander, General Weitzel, left them to unite his fortunes with the Army of the Potomac. Here, too, occurred the only case of capital punishment in the regiment. Charles Turner, of company C, was shot for desertion December 28, 1863. Here, also, was read on the 1st of January, 1864, a resume of the events of the year, by order of Lieutenant-Colonel Henry B. Morse, then commanding the regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Per Lee, who, after the death of Colonel Smith was promoted to the colonelcy of the regiment, having gone north on leave of absence. By this resume the casualties of the regiment for the year ending December 31, 1863, appear to have been as follows:---
OFFICERS. MEN. Killed in Battle...................... 2 12 Died of Wounds and Diseases........... 3 150 Discharged............................ 15 100 Deserted.............................. 5 Transferred........................... 1 32 -- --- Total......................... 21 299
In the early part of January they removed their camp to Franklin, where, on the 25th of January, the regiment, for the first time, participated in a grand review, the 19th corps being reviewed by General Emory. Here, too, on the 12th of February, their shelter tents, with which they started out on the Texas expedition, were exchanged for the more commodious ones, which had been stored for nearly two months in New Orleans. While lying at Franklin a new organization of the army was effected, necessitated by the absence of many of the old regiments, who had reenlisted and gone home on furlough. The 114th, 30th Mass., 15th Me., 161st and 173d N.Y. regiments composed the First Brigade, First Division, Nineteenth Army Corps, and this connection the 114th retained during the existence of the Nineteenth Corps, though there were many changes in the other regiments composing it. In the final disposition which remained till the close of the war, the 114th was associated with the 116th, 153d and 119th N. Y., 30th Mass., and 29th Me.
The tedium of their long rest, with its vexatious drills, was broken on the 15th of March, when they started on the famous Red River campaign, marching for the sixth time over the road up the Teche, which had been the scene of so much of their military experience. They were kept continuously marching, with only brief intervals of rest, until the 8th of April, the enemy being rapidly driven back by the advance, consisting of a large force of cavalry under General Lee, a detachment of flying artillery and the 13th corps, who had frequently sharp encounters with the enemy, who, however, did not make a determined stand till the 8th of April, when the advance was repulsed with great slaughter and routed.16 The 19th corps were just preparing for a promised rest at Bayou St. Patties, when they were unexpectedly hurried forward on the "double quick" to the scene of carnage, to cover the retreat of the advance army, who were flying in the utmost confusion before the advancing enemy. Having marched seven miles in an hour and twenty minutes, they reached the scene of battle, at Sabine Cross Roads, and were hastily formed in line of battle along the edge of the forest, behind a rail fence, the 161st N. Y. being thrown forward as skirmishers across the open field in front, to hold in check the enemy, who were advancing in the woods on the opposite side of the clearing. The First Brigade, under General Dwight, formed the front line, the 114th occupying the center, the 116th upon the right, and the 29th Me., upon the left. The Second and Third Brigades, commanded respectively by Gen. McMillen and Col. Benedict of the 162d N. Y., formed on either flank, and nearly at right angles to the rear.
Soon the rebels emerged in force from the woods, and when the order was given a terrific, blinding, stunning crush of fire was poured into their ranks, causing them to reel and stagger and flee in discomfiture to the woods. They renewed the attack with increased force, but were again repulsed with fearful loss. Soon the right and left wings were equally engaged, but the enemy was repulsed on all sides and his advance checked. The 114th entered this battle with eighteen commissioned officers and three hundred and seventy-one men; its casualties were three officers, (including Lt. Col. Morse,) and seven men wounded, one of the latter of whom subsequently died, and another, who was severely wounded, left in the hands of the enemy.
Our army retreated in the night to Pleasant Hill, where the enemy pursued and again attacked in the afternoon of the following day, but were repulsed and routed, after a sharp hand-to-hand encounter, in which our entire army, which here united, was engaged. The loss of the first division in both days' engagements was about six hundred men. The second day the 114th were posted on the road, which they were instructed to hold at all hazards. Their position was concealed by a dense underbrush. Their loss was three killed and five wounded.17
Both armies retreated, ours to Grand Ecore, on Red River, where it entrenched, and remained ten days, and thence continued its retreat, the campaign having been abandoned. The wily enemy gained a formidable position in the rear of our army and thus threatened to cut off its retreat. While preparing to force a passage our army was fiercely attacked in the rear by the main body of the enemy; but it succeeded in routing both forces, and resumed the retreat. In this engagement (the battle of Cane River,) the 114th lost not a man, though portions of the army suffered severely.
The retreat was continued to Alexandria, where the army again entrenched, to guard the gun-boats, which could not pass the falls by reason of the low stage of the water. Here the rebels pursued, and eventually closed the Red River and cut off all communication with this army and the outside world. The situation of the army became so critical that the abandonment of their position and of the valuable iron-clad fleet was seriously contemplated to save it. But the fleet was saved at some hazard and immense labor by the construction of a dam across the river below the falls, which raised the water sufficiently to float the entire fleet over them. This dam was constructed under the direction of Col. Bailey of Gen. Banks' staff, but the suggestion is credited to Theodore Evans, of Bainbridge, the Sergeant in Co. H of the 114th regiment, afterwards Lieutenant. The fleet thus secured, on the 13th of May the army resumed its retreat, which was sharply contested at one or two points by the rebels.
After forty days of inactivity and rest at Morganza, the regiment embarked in the first part of July and proceeded to join the army of the Potomac in front of Petersburg; but on arriving at Fortress Monroe, they were ordered to proceed with the rest of the 19th corps to Washington, which was then threatened by the rebel raid into Maryland. Here they soon participated in the pursuit of the retreating rebels from in front of Washington, without, however, encountering them in force. Now succeeded a long series of tedious and dispiriting marching and counter-marching in the valley of the Shenandoah, culminating in the memorable and desperately fought battle of Opequan on the 19th of September, in which the 114th covered itself with glory; but lost in the long and sanguinary contest one hundred and eighty-eight men, being three-fifths of the entire number it took into action, a loss exceeding that of any other regiment in the army. For three hours the regiment held its position, unsupported, under a murderous cross-fire of artillery and musketry. Its noble conduct on this occasion elicited highly commendatory notices in general orders.
Sheridan pursued the retreating enemy, who made another stand at Fisher's Hill, from which they were driven on the 22d, with the loss of twenty-one cannon, large quantities of small arms and munitions, and thousands of men. In this engagement the 114th did not participate, being posted on picket duty on the left of the enemy. The pursuit was continued to Harrisonburgh, when, being out of provisions, and a hundred miles from the base of supplies, it was abandoned by the infantry, but continued by the cavalry to Rockfish Gap. At Harrisonburgh the 114th was detailed to guard an empty supply train down the valley, with which they returned laden with provisions, to Cedar Creek, where it met the returning army, which, being pursued, halted and fought the second battle of Fisher's Hill, defeating the enemy, who were sent "whirling up the valley." Sheridan placed his army in echelon behind the bold bluffs which skirt Cedar Creek. Here, during the temporary absence of General Sheridan, General Early surprised and attacked them with such fury and impetuosity, early on the morning of the 19th of October, as to cause a most disastrous rout of the entire army, who, in their hasty retreat, were met by Sheridan, who halted the fleeing columns, reformed them, and achieved the glorious victory which has immortalized his name. Again, in this, their last engagement, the 114th rendered signal service, interposing the first obstinate resistance to the advance of the enemy in the early morning. The Eighth corps, the first attacked, were so completely surprised that the men did not have time to dress themselves before the rebels had overrun their camp in overpowering numbers. They fled in the wildest confusion, many almost in a state of nudity, closely followed by the rebels. The 114th held their line amid fearful carnage, till they were surrounded, when they fell back upon the Sixth corps, which had formed in line, and with them still contested the rebel advance. Its losses are the best and fittest commentary on its heroism; they were one hundred and twenty-eight in killed, wounded and taken prisoners, fully half it took into the engagement.
On the 9th of November the army retired from Cedar Creek to Newtown, and thence, the 114th, which had been left to guard the stores there, on the 1st of January, rejoined the army at Winchester, where they remained till the 4th of April, when they moved up the Shenandoah valley, anticipating an advance of Lee's forces in that direction, but soon retraced their steps. On the 21st of April, the army of the Shenandoah left the valley of that name and went to Washington, where on the 23d of May, they participated in the grand military review.
Now that the ware was over, the men were anxious to return to the peaceful pursuits from which they were wrested by the clash of arms. They were, therefore, exceedingly rejoiced when, on the evening of the 5th of June, they received the following order:---
"HEAD-QUARTERS DWIGHT'S DIVISION,
JUNE 5, 1865.
I. Pursuant to General Order, No. 94, War Department, Adjutant-General's Office, Current Series, and General Order, No. 58, Head-Quarters Middle Military Division, Current Series, the 114th, 117th and 133d New York State Volunteers, are hereby ordered to be mustered out of the service of the United States.
"III. In parting with these gallant regiments, after so long a period of service, the General commanding feels regret, mingled with pride, when he recalls how patiently they endured, how bravely the have fought, and how nobly they have won. Fort Bisland, Port Hudson, Sabine Cross Roads, Pleasant Hill and Cedar Grove, bear witness to this. To all these regiments the General commanding tenders his heartfelt thanks.
"To the 114th, the General commanding tenders his acknowledgments, especially for the manner in which, under his eye, at the battle of Opequan, they fixed the limit of the enemy's advance on that day, and by obstinate fighting, did such signal, conspicuous service.
"The memory of the fallen will ever be cherished by the Division. They sacrificed themselves to its glory.
By command of
J. G. Leefe, A. A. A. General."
Accordingly, on the 8th of June, the regiment was mustered out, and on the same day started for home. They were detained at Elmira under many chafing discomforts, the principal of which was the conviction that they, who, on the borders of rebeldom, had been treated with the consideration and respect which their heroism merited, were regarded in their native State with a cold, selfish indifference and inhospitality. But a more generous recognition awaited them at home, where their return was heartily welcomed. On Saturday, the 17th, they were finally discharged and paid, and they left Elmira the same day for home. As the train was moving from the depot, a sad accident occurred. George Agard, of Company B, who had escaped the perils of a three years' service, in jumping upon the platform, fell between the cars, and was instantly crushed to death. In Binghamton they received a hospitable welcome, and remained over night. An hour's ride the next morning brought them to Chenango Forks, where they were met by a delegation of the citizens of Greene with conveyances to carry them to that village. Suffice it to say that the return of the shattered regiment at Greene, Oxford and Norwich, and the towns to which the companies respectively belonged, was welcomed with the most lavish demonstrations of joy and gratitude, not, however, unaccompanied with pangs of the deepest sorrow for the many who never returned, who rest beneath the quiet sod of many a southern battle-field, and whose memory is fragrant with the hallowed associations of a brave, noble, virtuous and valorous life. It was a welcome which reflected honor on the brave sons of a noble parentage.
Let our eulogy be the sentiment of Cowper:---
"Let laurels, drenched in pure Parnassian dews, Reward his memory dear to every muse, Who with a courage of unshaken root, In honor's field advancing his firm foot, Plants it upon the line that justice draws, And will prevail or perish in her cause! 'Tis to the virtues of such men man owes His portion in the good that heav'n bestows: And when recording history displays Feats of renown, tho' wrought in ancient days; Tells of a few stout hearts that fought and died, Where duty placed them at their country's side; The man who is not mov'd with what he reads, That takes not fire at their heroic deeds, Unworthy of the blessings of the brave, Is base in kind, and born to be a slave!" 18
"NEW ORLEANS, La., April 29th, 1863."Colonel E. B. Smith, Commanding 114th Regt., N. Y. Volunteers:---
"DEAR SIR:---Your will permit me to take an early opportunity to express my hearty appreciation of the unflinching bravery displayed by yourself and your regiment in the battle at Camp Bisland, on the 12th and 13th, while in support of the battery under my command.
"During the first engagement, your regiment was subjected to as severe a test as is ever required to establish the reputation of a corps; and during the long hours of the following day, while it was exposed to an incessant artillery fire, its coolness and steadiness were the best proofs of its bravery and determination.
"Please accept my willing testimony of the fact.
"I remain, my dear sir, cordially yours, "WILLIAM W. CARRUTH, "Capt. Sixth Mass. Battery."
"Soldiers of the One Hundred and Fourteenth New York: I have sought this opportunity to express to you my thanks for the bravery you exhibited at the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, where you held your position so securely and saved the army from destruction. I compliment you also upon your coolness and courage at the battle of Pleasant Hill, when you were surrounded by the enemy. You have proved yourselves worthy of the name of the soldiers of General Weitzel, from whom nothing but good conduct was expected. You have done your duty, and shall receive the gratitude of the country. Again I tender you my thanks."
18 - The 114th was the only complete regiment organized in Chenango county. The further part taken by this county in the prosecution of the war will be noticed in connection with the history of the several towns.