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Civil War Record of Isaac Sisson Howard

One Hundred and Twentieth New York Volunteers Infantry

Brewster's Brigade - Humphrey's Division - Third Corps

Contributed by Don Howard

Information came from U.S. War Department and Pension Application archives

Isaac Howard enlisted at Cairo, NY on Aug 19, 1862 as a Private in Co. K, 120th Regiment, New York Volunteers, then commanded by Capt. James M. Pierson, to serve three years or more during the war.  He was honorably discharged as a Corporal on June 29, 1865 at Satterlee Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, at which time Capt. James H. Everett was his commander.  The 120th New York  fought in the battles of Chancellorsville, VA (in Berry's Division), Gettysburg, PA, (in Humphrey's Division) James City, VA, Mine Run, VA, Wilderness, VA, Spotsylvania, VA, North Anna, VA, Totpotomoy, VA, Cold Harbor, VA, Siege of Petersburg, VA, Strawberry Plains, VA, Poplar Spring, VA, Boydton Road, VA, Hatchers Run, VA (March 25,1865), White Oak Road, VA, Picket Line, VA.  It was also present at Fredericksburg as part of the Excelsior Brigade. Isaac was wounded at Hatchers Run near Petersburg, VA while engaged in a regimental charge against the Rebel Enemy on March 25, 1865. His wound was caused by a gun shot, the ball passing through the muscle of his right arm between the elbow and shoulder.  He was taken from the field by Philetus Lake to the Ambulance of the Surgeon and received treatment at the field hospital near Patrick Station until the next day.  He was then removed to the City Point Hospital on March 26, 1865 where he stayed for about a week before being moved to Lincoln Hospital in Washington, DC, which he entered on April 2, 1865. He told family members that while he was in this hospital he heard newsboys announcing the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. On May 22, 1865 he was transported to Philadelphia, entering Saterlee Hospital in that city on May 23, 1865, where he stayed until his discharge on June 29, 1865.  A grandson, Howard Vaughn, recalled hearing Isaac say that the only Confederate he knew he had shot was a sniper in a tree. He also recalled to Howard Vaughn that he once got kicked by a mule while in the service.

After the Civil War, he was a farmer near Woodstock, Greene County, NY.  He received a Civil War disability pension.  In 1906 he purchased a store on the corner of Railroad Ave, and Main Street in Cairo, which was operated as a souvenir and dry goods store (Howard’s Bazaar and later just Howard’s) by two of his children, May Howard and Norman Howard.  He died in Cairo in 1923.  The bill for his funeral, including embalming, oak casket and use of the hearse totaled only $180.           

An Account of the Civil War Battle at Hatcher's Run, Where Isaac Howard Was Wounded

                      (Published In the One Hundred and Twentieth N.Y.S. Vols. (Page 177))

Referring to the severe struggle at Fort Steadman (Petersburg Battlefield), resulting in its recapture by the Union forces, on 25th March, the record continues:

"From our position on the left, we heard the sounds of battle at Fort Steadman, and at an early hour, received orders to 'strike tents', 'baggage to be sent to the rear'.  We formed in front of the breastworks and advanced toward the enemy's intrenchments, the object being to feel their strength.  We were soon subjected to a galling fire of both musketry and artillery, and the result to our regiment, of the day's operations, was six killed, thirty-two wounded and forty-six missing, total loss, eighty-four.  Among the severely wounded, and prisoners of the regiment, was Ellis H. Bishop, of Rondout.  He was struck in the eye by a mine, which came out the back of his head.  His comrades, thinking him dead, left him to fall into the hands of the enemy.  We returned to our old quarters at night.  Received marching orders on the 28th, and on the 29th marched to the left across Hatcher's Run, about three miles, and at 11 A.M., formed a line of battle and still advancing, arrived about dusk, at a line of the enemy's deserted entrenchments."

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