History of the 184th Regiment
New York State Volunteers
This history and list of names of the 184th NY Volunteers, by Wardwell G. Robinson, dated June 5, 1895, was generously contributed by Elizabeth Knauss. Elizabeth is researching the following Oswego surnames: Vincent, Morgan, Blood, Smith (Thomas W. of this Regiment), Hall, Maxson, Curran, Sinnamon and Brunger.
History of the 184th Regiment
New York State Volunteers
An Address Prepared by Wardell G. Robinson, Late Colonel Commanding
And delivered by him at the regimental reunion held at Oswego Falls,
Oswego County, New York
June 5, 1895
Printed for Public Distribution by order of Survivors Present
Press of R. J. Oliphant
An Historical Address
Fellow soldiers and gentlemen of the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth
Regiment of New York State Infantry Volunteers:
Pursuant and in obedience to a resolution passed at a reunion of the
survivors of the One Hundred and Eighty fourth Regiment held a Pulaski
in June, 1893, whereby I was requested to prepare and present to your
body a history of the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth Regiment during the
late civil war, I have the honor to present and submit the following
In the outset I may be permitted to state that the preparation of this
paper I have been seriously hampered and embarrassed by the fact that
for a time the regiment was separated or divided and the further fact
that I am unable to speak from personal knowledge as to matters
connected with what is known as the "Four Companies," or the
"Shenandoah Valley Companies," also the further fact that the history
of the regiment necessitates a two-fold history down to the point when
the regiment became united in one organization in fact. These several
facts to a great extent interfere with and mar the unity of the
I beg leave here to return my sincere thanks to Mr. Amos Youmans, of
Fulton, N.Y.; to Mr. Squires of New Haven, N.Y. and to Mr. M. V.
Wadleigh, of Oswego, N.Y., for valuable data and assistance rendered my
in the preparation of this paper, so far as the four companies are
concerned; and to D.P. Morehouse, Esq. Of Oswego, N.Y., for a
substantial copy of the names of the officers and privates appearing
upon the muster-in rolls of the regiment, with are hereto attached,
marked "Appendix A."
I am unable to narrate the3 many sad, pathetic and humorous incidents
connected with the regiment the camp songs and stories sung and told
in camp, on the march, and on the picket line. They must be and are
left to your individual recollections, to be remembered when calling to
mind this portion of your life's history, and to be repeated at the
fireside to children and friends, as also rehearsed at Grand Army post
The moving causes of the civil war have become matters of history, and
to rehearse them at this time would be inappropriate. I may, however,
venture to say that in my judgement such causes were three in number:
1. The jealousy on the part of the South, occasioned by the
overshadowing political importance, wealth, and prosperity of the
North, West, and Northwest.
2. The doctrine of States' rights, or the reserved powers of the
several States not granted to the General Government; and
3. The question of slavery.
The second and third causes or questions have been practically settled
by the civil war. The first cause remains to some extent, but is
rapidly being adjusted by the advancing prosperity of the South.
The progress of the war in the year 1863 and the early part of 1864 had
been disastrous and barren of results to the Federal Government and
army; the country at large, which was favorable to the Federal
Government, was filled with consternation; the sympathizers at the
North with the secessionists were outspoken in their predictions as to
the triumphant successes of secession, and were giving all the aid in
their power to those engaged in destroying the unity of the United
States; Canadian lake ports were filled with those plotting the
dismemberment of the country. There was a feeling of deep gloom
overspreading the whole loyal North; not a city, and hardly a village,
town or school district in this State but that had maimed and wounded
exemplars of the fact that a sanguinary war was raging. The North had
already contributed freely in men, money and material, and the end was
not yet. The "On-to-Richmond!" cry had ceased to delude the most
sanguine, and the oft-repeated saying, "The war won't last ninety
days," no longer found believers; on the contrary, it was everywhere
and by every one recognized that the Republic was battling for its very
existence. Oswego County, in proportion to its population and size,
had already contributed its quota, and even more than its quota,
towards sustaining the burden of the war. How well Oswego County bore
its burden is shown by the fact that it furnished in round numbers five
thousand men in excess of its quota the quota being some seven
thousand five hundred, while it furnished about twelve thousand five
hundred men. In addition to raising five regiments the Twenty
Fourth, Eighty-first, One hundred and Tenth, One Hundred and Forty-
seventh, and One Hundred and Eighty-fourth it furnished men to the
following named organizations, viz.: Cavalry Regiments Seventh,
Eleventh, Twelfth, Fifteenth, Sixteenth, Twentieth, Twenty-fourth, and
First Veteran. Artillery Regiments Batteries F and G, First; Battery
M, Second; Third, Fourth, Sixth, Ninth, Eleventh, Thirteenth,
Fourteenth, Sixteenth; independent battery, Twenty-first. Engineers'
Regiments First (new), Fiftieth. Infantry Regiments Nineteenth,
Twenty-first, Twenty-third, Thirty-seventh, One Hundred and Thirty
seventh, One Hundred and Forth-third, one Hundred and Forty-sixth, one
Hundred and Eighty-ninth, One Hundred and Ninety-third.
It was under these gloomy and terrible circumstances and conditions,
thus briefly and inadequately stated, that Oswego County, again
responding to the proclamation of the later-on martyred President
Lincoln, calling for five hundred thousand additional troops to serve
for one year, and which proclamation was dated July 18, 1864, sat about
the enlistment of another regiment to be added to the other Oswego
County regiments that had already gone to war, and from which regiments
maimed and wounded men were continually returning home as leaves
falling to the earth from trees smitten by the autumn frost.
Under the auspices and direction of the War Committee of the county,
whose chairman was the late Hon. Elias Root, a series of so-called war
meetings was held throughout the county to promote the enlistment of
men for the proposed regiment. These meetings were addressed by, so
far as I now recollect, Hon. Cheney Ames, Hon. Henry Fitzhugh, Dr. A.
VanDyke, Hon, A. B. Getty, Hon. D. G. Fort, and others whose names I do
not now call to mind. The recruiting and formation of the regiment was
authorized by Hon. Horatio Seymour, the Governor of this State, on the
personal application of Hon. Elias Root as chairman of the War
Committee of the County of Oswego. It is my recollection that these
so-called war meetings did not continue for a time longer than from ten
days to two weeks, for recruiting and enlistments proceeded rapidly and
the number of men necessary to fill the regiment was soon obtained; in
fact, there were some fourteen hundred men and over recruited for the
regiment form Oswego County alone, and some two hundred and over from
Madison and Cayuga counties. This excess of men went into and formed
part of other organizations that were at this time in process of
formation throughout the State.
The companies of the regiment, when recruited and enlisted, were
clothed, mustered and sent forward to Elmira, N.Y., the general
rendezvous, by A.L. Scott, Esq., then Provost-Marshal at the City of
Oswego. Companies A, B, D, and F were forwarded from Oswego to Elmira
at the dates following: Company A, August 30th; Company B, August 31st,;
Companies D and F, September 5th. They remained at Elmira until on or
about September 13, 1864, when they were forwarded to Washington, D.C.,
by General Devins, then in command in Elmira. The remaining companies
of the regiment (C, E, G, H, I, and K) were on or about the 14th Day of
September, 1864, clothed, mustered and sent forward to Elmira by
Provost-Marshal Scott, where such companies remained until on or about
the 16th day of September, 1864, when they were sent forward by General
Devins, via Baltimore, to the Army of the James at Bermuda Hundred,
near City Point, a place then and later on a very important point so
far as the Federal forces were concerned, as it was the base of
supplies for the armies then operating in front of Richmond,
Petersburg, and points farther south, and at which pace an immense
amount of army supplies of all kinds was gathered.
So great at this time (in 1864) was the need of men at the front, that
the United States authorities, without waiting for the arrival of the
six companies at Elmira, despatched, as I have stated, the four
companies to Washington, and, without waiting for the arrival and
muster-in of the field and staff, despatched the six companies to
Bermuda Hundred as above stated; in fact, every available man was sent
to the front as rapidly as possible all over the country, and when
regiments were not complete, companies and even detachments were
forwarded to the front. It will be remembered that in the case of the
Twenty-fourth, Eight-first, One Hundred and Tenth, and One Hundred and
Forty seventh regiments they each went to the seat of war as complete
organizations, fully equipped, etc.
I have always attributed, and at this time attribute, the comparatively
small loss the One Hundred and Eighty Fourth Regiment sustained to the
fact that the regiment was sent forward in detail as above mentioned.
I never understood, and do not now understand, why the six companies
should not have been ordered to join the four companies in the first
instance. I can understand why, after the several portions of the
regiment reached the front, a union could not readily be effected,
growing out the fact that the commanding officer of whichever part of
the army to which a portion of the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth was
attached would be averse to letting go such portion, or to diminishing
his command by losing such a substantial body of men. I know that from
the moment I was mustered in I was constant, in season and out of
season, in using every effort in my power to effect the union of the
several portion of the regiment. I at once upon my muster-in and even
before that, called the attention of General Devins at Elmira to the
unpleasant and unfortunate condition of affairs, and was assured by him
that as soon as the field and staff reached the front this unfortunate
state of affairs would at once be remedied. However, "Man proposes,
God disposes," and today I am satisfied that to the condition of
affairs above mentioned, and for which none of us were or are
responsible, we owe, by the favor of Heaven, the immunity of the
regiment from greater loss and disaster.
On Friday, the 16th day of September, 1864 at Elmira, N.Y., and at about
3 o'clock in the afternoon of that day, the writer, as Colonel, William
D. Ferguson, as Major, and Howard M. Smith, as Adjutant, were severally
mustered into the service of the United States. At 5 o'clock of the
same day Major Ferguson, by order left Elmira, destined for Washington,
to join the four companies and to take command thereof; and on the same
day Adjutant Smith, by like order, left Elmira to join the six
companies already sent forward to City Point. The writer, accompanied
by Hon. Elias Root, left for Albany to attend to regimental business at
the Adjutant-General's office of the State of New York.
On the 22nd day of September, 1864, at Elmira, N.Y., William P.
McKinley, as Lieutenant-Colonel, and John Dunn, Jr. , as Quartermaster,
were mustered into the service of the United States as of September 16,
The regiment thus organized, mustered, and enrolled, consisted of the
following named field, staff and line officers:
Wardwell G. Robinson, Colonel, enrolled by Governor Seymour; mustered
September 16th, by Lieut. W.G. Fitch, U.S.A.
William P. McKinley, Lieutenant-Colonel, enrolled by Governor Seymour;
mustered September 16th, by Lieut. W.G. Fitch, U.S.A.
William D. Ferguson, Major, enrolled by Governor Seymour; mustered
September 16th, by Lieut. W.G. Fitch, U.S.A.
Howard M. Smith, Adjutant, enrolled by Governor Seymour; mustered
September 16th, by Lieut. W.G. Fitch, U.S.A.
John Dunn, Jr., Quartermaster, enrolled by Governor Seymour; mustered
September 16th, by Lieut. W.G. Fitch, U.S.A.
Nelson R. Barnes, Surgeon, enrolled at Harrison's Landing by W. G.
Robinson; mustered November 8th, by Lieut. L. H. Brown, A.C.M.
Theodore S. Kinnie, Assistant Surgeon, enrolled in the field by Capt.
A. J. Smith; mustered November 1st, by Capt. Smith.
Jacob Post, Chaplain, enrolled at Harrison's Landing by W.G. Robinson;
mustered December 31, by Lieut. L.H. Brown, A.C.M.
Company A Joel S. Palmer, Captain; Cheever P. Strong, First
Lieutenant; Marquis L. Branch, Second Lieutenant. Officers mustered at
Elmira September 12, 1864. Ninety three- enlisted men, mustered
between July 29 and September 4, 1864.
Company B William S. Morse Captain; James H. Root, First Lieutenant;
Charles H. Peavy, Second Lieutenant. Officers mustered at Elmira,
September 16, 1864. Ninety-eight enlisted men, mustered between August
13 and September 1, 1864.
Company C James W. Parkhurst, Captain; George A. Leonard, First
Lieutenant; David Bothwell, Second Lieutenant. Officers mustered at
Elmira, September 16, 1864. Ninety eight enlisted men, mustered between
August 13 and September 1, 1864.
Company D Sylvester R. Town, Captain; Augustus Phillips, First
Lieutenant; Joel H. Warn, Second Lieutenant. Captain mustered at
Elmira, September 14, First and Second Lieutenants, September 12, 1864.
Eighty-five enlisted men, mustered between August 15 and September 1,
Company E John Sheridan, Captain; John W. Francis, first Lieutenant;
James H. Loomis, Second Lieutenant. Officers mustered at Elmira,
September 12, 1864. Ninety-eight enlisted men, mustered between August
17 and September 5, 1864.
Company G. James T. Outerson, Captain; Joseph H. Grant, First
Lieutenant; Thomas W. Smith, Second Lieutenant, Officers mustered at
Elmira, September 15, 1864. Ninety six enlisted men, mustered between
August 19 and September 2, 1864.
Company H Henry W. Ramsay, Captain; George W. Woodin, First
Lieutenant; Thomas M. Watkins, Second Lieutenant. Officers mustered at
Elmira, September 16, 1864. Ninety-eight enlisted men, mustered
between August 20 and September 4, 1864.
Company I George Wetmore, Captain; Edgar F. Morris, First Lieutenant;
John H. Gilman, Second Lieutenant. Officers mustered at Elmira,
September 16, 1864. Ninety-eight enlisted men, mustered between August
12 and September 5, 1864.
Company K. Stephen J. Scriber, Captain; Merritt G. McCoon, First
Lieutenant; no Second Lieutenant. Officers mustered at Elmira,
September 15, 1864. Eighty-six enlisted men, mustered between August
22 and September 8, 1864. (Leonard S. Carter was afterward mustered as
Second Lieutenant of Company K and Jerome H. Coe was promoted from
Orderly Sergeant of Company K to First Lieutenant of same company, vice
Merrit G. McCoon, resigned,)
After the regiment was united, Sergeant M.V. Wadleigh, Company F,
carried the National colors and Sergeant Burton Wheeler, Company C, the
The total of field staff, and line officers and enlisted men was nine
hundred and fifty seven, according to the original muster-in rolls.
On the 23rd of September, 1864, the Colonel, Lieutenant-Colonel,
Quartermaster, Thomas G. Sinclair, Sutler, and James Raney, Sutler's
clerk, left Elmira bound for City Point, via Baltimore and Fortress
Monroe. Upon reaching City Point, it was learned that the regiment was
encamped about two miles from Bermuda Hundred and about one or one and
one-half miles for the front, and as was found, within hearing of the
firing along the picket lines. The camp of the One Hundred and Eighty-
fourth was reached about 6 o'clock P.M. of the 26th day of September,
1864. It is the recollection of the writer that at this point and time
Sutler Sinclair concluded not to go further, and somewhat later P.H.
Ellis became Sutler of the Regiment.
The four companies reached Washington at 10:30 P.M. of the 16th day of
September, 1864, and remained at the Soldier's Rest in that city during
that night. On the afternoon of the 17th of September, 1864, the men of
the four companies marched to Fort Corcoran, on Arlington Heights, and
remained at the fort for the following four days. Just where and when
Major Ferguson joined the detachment is not entirely clear, but it must
have been at the Soldier's Rest on the 16th of September or at Fort
Corcoran on the 17th, for it seems to be reasonably clear and certain
that the first company report made (that of Company A, Captain Palmer,
Mr. Squires acting as company clerk), was made to Major Ferguson, as
commander of the detachment, on Sunday morning, the 18th day of
On the 20th day of September, tents and rubber blankets were issued to
the detachment. On the 21st, guns and accoutrements were issued. On
the 22nd, forty rounds of ammunition were issued to each man, and on the
same day the first dress parade of the detachment was had.
On the same or following day (September 23rd), the detachment was
forwarded from Fort Corcoran by cars to Harper's Ferry, and, marching
to Bolivar Heights, camped there until the 27th of September, when the
detachment was assigned to and became a part of a provisional brigade
commanded by Colonel Heine; and on the same day, at about 3 o'clock
P.M., the brigade struck tents and took up the line of march for
Winchester, Va. This provisional brigade was assigned to duty as a
part of a guard to a supply train destined for General Sheridan's army.
On the 28th of September the brigade and detachment went into camp a
mile or two beyond and south of Winchester, the march being twenty-two
miles. On the 29th of September the troops camped about three miles
from Strasburg, or Fisher's Hill, a march of twenty-two miles. On
September 30th the march was twenty five miles, to Mount Jackson, and on
October 1st the march was about thirty-five miles to Harrisonburg, where
the troops arrived at about midnight. During almost the entire march
this day the troops were looking upon the unaccustomed sight of burning
barns, houses, mills, and stacks of hay and straw that had been fired
presumably by the Federal cavalry.
On Sunday, the 2nd of October, the day was passed in camp, and for part
of the time the men of the detachment were engaged in scraping and
beating the dried mud of the so-called "sacred soil of Virginia" from
their clothes, and in scouring and removing the rust from their guns.
No little part of the day was passed in cooking and eating fresh pork
and mutton that had been obtained in generous quantities from the ample
stores of the men connected with the wagon train, and which had been
secured by judicious foraging in the enemy's country on the previous
day's march. Song and jest were not wanting or unheard about the
several camp-fires. Home and the loved ones were not forgotten, and
from many went up the silent prayer to the Giver of all good, asking
the blessings of Heaven to rest upon these so loved, upon the cause in
which they were engaged, and upon themselves.
On the 3rd of October, 1864, the detachment started from Harrisonburg,
destined for Winchester, having under escort a large number of white
and colored refugees, some on foot and others in all sorts and
descriptions of vehicles, also a number of Confederate prisoners and a
large drove or herd of captured sheep, horses and cattle. At night of
that day the detachment camped near New Market.
On the 4th of October the march was resumed, and the same night camped
near Woodstock. On the 5th of October the march was continued, the
detachment camping that night about eight miles from Winchester.
During the week from October 5th to October 12th the detachment was
engaged in marching to, remaining at, and marching from Martinsburg to
On the 12th of October the detachment marched from Winchester to Newtown
and camped for the night, and the next day marched to Front Royal and
camped for the night.
It was at or about this time that the detachment was attached to and
became a part of the First Brigade, Third Division of the Sixth Army
On the 14th day of October, 1864, the brigade left Front Royal,
destined, as was supposed, for Petersburg, but after marching until in
the afternoon, the column was countermarched, and later camped at
At 3 o'clock A.M. of October 15th, the bugle call of "Fall in!" sounded;
whereupon, after the column had been formed, a forced march of sixteen
miles was made, through woods, fields, ditches, and over stone walls,
to Newtown. Halting at that place for an hour, the column resumed its
march to Middletown, and then through the fields to what was called and
known as Cedar Creek camp, where it remained until the day of the
battle hereinafter mentioned. While so camped, a detail was made of
one hundred men from the detachment for picket duty, and this detail
returned to camp on the 16th or 17th of October.
On the 19th of October 1864, occurred what is known as the battle of
Cedar Creek, and closely connected therewith is the famous ride of
General Sheridan, so often told in story and sung in song. I shall not
attempt at this time to describe that battle. Suffice it to say that
the Federal forces were at first driven from their encampment in
confusion, through an attack made upon them at an early hour in the day
by the Confederate forces, who were in superior numbers; that later in
the day the Federal forces were rallied by General Sheridan, faced
about, and making a gallant attack upon the Confederates, then flushed
with victory, put them to utter rout. Taking everything into
consideration, it was one of the most gallant and unique engagements of
the war, and the memory of Sheridan's ride from Winchester to Cedar
Creek on that memorable 19th of October, 1864 will long remain fresh and
green in the annals of the civil war.
This battle of Cedar Creek was the first engagement in which the
detachment participated, and wherein it received its baptism of fire.
It can truthfully be said that it sustained its part well, and
materially aided in the final triumphant repulse and defeat of the
Confederates. In justly estimating and awarding to the detachment its
fair and well-merited meed of praise for its conduct on that occasion,
it must be remembered that at the time of the engagement scarcely a
month had elapsed wince the members of the detachment had been drawn
from the peaceful avocations of home life, and had but little or no
acquaintance with military drill, tactics or discipline.
Lieut. Augustus Phillips, of Company F, the acting Adjutant of the
detachment, was severely wounded early in the engagement. Two privates
(whose names I am unable to obtain) had started to remove him from the
field of battle, but they had not proceeded far when he died, and at
this time, the Confederates being on the advance and the Federals
retiring, his body was left on the field of battle. After the battle
was concluded the body was recovered, but it had been stripped of
everything save a part of the underclothing. I understand that
Lieutenant Phillips was buried on the field of battle. It is said that
for a day or two preceding his death Lieutenant Phillips seemed to
belaboring under a premonition of some disaster personal to himself.
>From the best information obtainable, the names of the enlisted men of
the detachment killed at the battle of Cedar Creek are: Peter E.
Eldred, of Company A; Lester E. Wyburn of Company B; Joseph Menway and
John Sabin of Company D; and John M. Wing, of Company F. These five
persons were buried on the field of battle. After the battle Private
William H. Victory of Company A, was missing; he never returned to the
detachment or the regiment, and his fate was never known.
To indicate the burial place of Peter E. Eldred, a marker or headboard
was made from a part of a hardtack box and placed at the head of the
grave, and his name, company, regiment, and when and where killed was
carved thereon by Mr. Amos Youmans.
The following named enlisted men of Company A were wounded, viz: Andrew
W. Fish, Richard Baker, Andrus L. Gilbert, Dwight Parkhurst, Henry
Hale, George Baily, William Visgar, Franklin Collins, Tucker Woodson,
John P. Coe, Aaron Stoughtenger.
Andrew W. Fish and Dwight Parkhurst were sent to a hospital, where they
died within about a month after the battle. After the battle Private
Parkhurst was found lying on the field of battle, badly wounded through
the hips; he had been nearly stripped of all his clothing by the
Confederates. Men of other regiments found Mr. Parkhurst, who
communicated the fact to the men of the detachment. The men who found
Mr. Parkhurst had cared for him as best they could had built a fire
near him and had covered him with dry hides that had been left on the
ground by the army butchers. The men of the detachment learning of Mr.
Parkhurst's condition and whereabouts, Private Amos Youmans and three
others proceeded to the place indicated, and , by means of a stretcher
improvised from two pieces of fence-rail and a tent cloth, carried Mr.
Parkhurst to a camp-fire of the detachment, and the next morning he was
carried in an ambulance to the hospital.
Henry Hale was taken to a hospital, where he remained until
sufficiently recovered to be sent to his home in Volney or Scriba,
where he died shortly after his arrival.
I am unable further to follow the ultimate fortunes of the other
wounded men of Company A above named.
The following named enlisted men of Company B were wounded, viz.: James
Allen, William Blackwood, John P. Kennedy, William J. Moore, Lewis
Parmentier, George W. Reed, Matthias Strawback, Charles A. Wilks,
Charles Woolson, Thomas M. Wood, Sergeant Daniel D. Hartigan, Sergeant
Edwin Snyder, Corporal William P. Stevens, Corporal James Pearson.
The following named enlisted men of Company D were wounded, viz.:
Charles D. Feriss, Joseph Flanagan, William Hewitt, Whitmore Percival,
Dunham C. Shapley, Frederick Younglove, Sergeant Alfred Moran, Sergeant
George G. Barber. Private John Sabin, of Company D, who was killed as
heretofore stated, was shot while in close proximity to Sergeant M. V.
The following named men of Company F were wounded, viz.: Willis E.
Brunott, Joohn W. Budds, Job Babcock, James Lowden, David Marshall.
Private James Allen of Company B, was removed from the field of battle
to the field hospital, where he died from his wounds in a day or two
after the battle. I am unable to state further as to the wounded men
of Companies B, D, and F, above named.
To recapitualate, at the battle of Cedar Creek the detachment lost one
officer and five enlisted men killed, thirty eight enlisted men
wounded, and one missing; making a total of forty five killed, wounded
After the battle had terminated, the detachment returned to the
encampment from which it had been so unceremoniously driven in the
early morning, and where it remained encamped until the 9th day of
November, 1864. On that date it broke camp and marched to Camp
Russell, near Winchester, where it remained, doing camp, guard, and
picket duty, until the 3rd day of December, 1864, when it marched to
Stephens Depot, a distance of about four miles from Winchester, and
there embarked in cars for Washington, D.C., and reached its
destination on the 4th of December 1864.
While the detachment was a Camp Russell, Major Ferguson was taken sick
and was obliged to absent himself from the detachment, and did not
return to duty until after the detachment had reached and joined the
regiment at Harrison's Landing.
At Camp Russell a detail was made of from sixty to one hundred and
fifty men under Captain Town, Lieutenant Warn, and another Lieutenant;
the duty of the detail was that of guarding a wagon train destined for
In the afternoon of the 4th of December the detachment boarded the
steamer Charlotte Vanderbilt, en route for City Point, Va., which place
it reached about or soon after noon of the 5th of December, 1864, and at
once disembarked. Not long before reaching City Point the detachment
passed Post Harrison's Landing, situated on the James River, at which
place at that time was stationed the remaining portion of the One
Hundred and Eighty-fourth Regiment. Upon passing Harrison's Landing
the detachment loudly cheered.
It may, I think, be truthfully said that the campaign in the Shenandoah
and Luray valleys involved three hundred and fifty or four hundred and
fifty miles of hard marching, with alternate heat, cold, and rain; at
times the line of march enveloped in stifling dust, then wading through
the mud and one never having seen or experienced the mud of that
portion of Virginia can have no adequate conception of its stickiness.
Many of the men were without tents, blankets or overcoats, and suffered
severely from exposure to the elements. It may be added that the
detachment at all times during that campaign did its full share of
camp, guard, picket and fatigue duty. During the campaign, Lieut.
Augustus Phillips acted as Adjutant until his death at Cedar Creek;
thereinafter, Lieut. Joel H. Warn. Lieut. S.H. Brown acted as
*** *** ***
The fortunes of the four companies (who, under the circumstances, may
almost be entitled to the appellation of the "Lost tribes of Israel")
have new been followed until we have arrived at a fitting point to take
up the history of the doings and wanderings of the six companies.
It will be remembered that it has heretofore been stated that the field
and staff officers joined the six companies at a point near the front,
at Bermuda Hundred, at about 6 o'clock P.M. of the 26th day of
September, 1864. Perhaps it would be well, and liberty is asked to
quote extracts from a paper diary kept of the principal matters
occurring at this period, as it may serve more vividly to bring before
you on this occasion what happened more than thirty years ago. There
is every reason to believe that such extracts as may be made are
truthful and may be implicitly relied on, for the several entries upon
the diary were made at the time or substantially the time of the
happening, of the several events therein recorded, and were not made
We reached the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth camp about 6 P.M.; found
the boys camped in an opening; on either side of our regiment were
camped Pennsylvania regiments of one years; found the boys had a few
tents. We slept in the Adjutant's tent; it was somewhat crowded, there
being six of us; however, about 9 P.M. we spread our blankets on the
ground and laid down to sleep; while so lying, one could distinctly
hear the picket firing at the front. Found the regiment in utter
confusion, and things looking discouraging and squally. Had the
pleasure on reaching the camp of meeting Mr. And Mrs. R. H. Spencer.
On Tuesday, September 27, 1864, after breakfasting upon hardtack and
fried pork, orders were received from Colonel Potter to strike tents
and for the regiment to be ready to move at 10:30 a.m. Tents were
immediately struck, and at 11:30 A.M. the regiment marched to Bermuda
Hundred, where orders were received to report to Brigadier-General
Marston at Fort Pocahontas, or Wilson's Landing, sometimes known as
Brandon. On leaving camp in the morning, three hundred and forty four
men and twelve officers of a New Jersey regiment (Thirty-eight New
Jersey, Colonel W.J. Sewell), by order of Colonel Potter, were placed
in charge of the commanding officer of the One Hundred and Eighty-
At 1:30 p.m. the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth and other troops left
Bermuda Hundred for Fort Pocahontas o the steamer Thomas Powell. The
New Jersey troops were transported on the steamer Portsmouth. The One
Hundred and Eighty Fourth Regiment reached Fort Pocahontas at 4 P.M. of
the same day, and on reaching the landing or wharf, received orders
that the One Hundred and Eighty fourth should disembark and that the
New Jersey troops should return to Fort Powhatten, sometimes called
Wynamoke, which had been passed on the way to fort Pocahontas.
While at the wharf at Fort Pocahontas, and either just before or at the
time of the disembarkation of the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth,
General B.F. Butler passed across the wharf with his aides and went on
board a small despatch boat lying at the wharf, bound for City Point or
Bermuda Hundred, as was said. After landing, the tents of the one
Hundred and Eighty-fourth were pitched inside the breast-works of the
fort; got our supper, consisting of fried pork, hardtack , and tea.
On Wednesday, September 28, 1864, at about 9 A.M., an order was
received for a detail of one hundred and twelve men and two
commissioned officers for picket duty; the order was promulgated and
executed. At 12 o'clock M. an order was received to send two companies
to Harrison's Landing, and without delay two companies were despatched
by the steamer Thomas Powell. The names of the two companies so sent
forward to Harrison's Landing must be supplied by your recollection.
At or about 3 P.M., by invitation, the writer accompanied Brigadier-
General Marson and Dr. Rice, of the Eighty-first New York Volunteers,
in a ride to and along the picket lines, inspecting same. While on
such inspection, Brigadier-General Marston promised that the One
Hundred and Eighty-fourth should be sent to Harrison's Landing. At 5
P.M. of this day, Lieutenant Morris and forty-two enlisted men arrived.
On Thursday, September 29th, letters were written to the Secretary of
War, to D.C. Littlejohn, M.C. , and to Governor Seymour, urging the
union of the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth, and stating the manner in
which it had become separated. At about 1 o'clock P.M. four companies
of the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth received orders to proceed to
Harrison's Landing without delay, and the greater portion of such four
companies, together with the field and staff, embarked on the
headquarters despatch boat, the steamer Ella, bound for Harrison's
Landing, at which place they arrived at about 3:30 P.M., and
immediately camped in quarters that had been used by the regiment
commanded by Colonel Holman, that had been ordered to the front. Upon
arriving at Harrison's Landing, a company of cavalry was found to be in
temporary charge of the post Harrison's Landing, which was commanded by
a Lieutenant Miles, from Massachusetts. There was also a detachment of
Pennsylvania artillery at the post. It may here be remarked that
Harrison's Landing was sometimes known as Berkeley, a manorial
residence before the Revolution. It was at one time the residence of
the Harrison family, and the birthplace of Ex-President William Henry
Harrison. The fortifications were extensive and in the form of an
oval, and at or near the apex of the fortification was a magazine
stored with ammunition etc.; the breast-works , and the space enclosed,
rested upon the James River. The post was in plain sight of City
Point. The afternoon the regiment reached the post the booming of
cannon at the front could be distinctly heard, and at night the firing
was heavy and continuous, and the flash of the guns could be distinctly
seen. The breast works at Harrison's Landing enclosed a space of
perhaps twenty-five to thirty acres.
On the 30th of September the remainder of the four companies reached the
post, leaving two companies at Fort Pocahontas. To-day, details were
made for picket, camp, and guard duty. The farthest point at this time
covered by our picket lines was at a point on Herring Creek, sometimes
called "The Wade," sometimes "Widow Rowland's Mill," for at this point
there was a grist-mill and residence owned or at least occupied by a
widow lady by the name of Rowland, who was a native of New Jersey. On
the farm connected with this and adjacent property at this time were to
be distinctly seen the lines of McClellan's breast-works after he fell
back to the James River through the Chickahominy region, and hundreds
of tents and ridge poles could there be seen. The highway leading
north from Harrison's Landing to "The Wade" extended, was one of the
direct roads through the Chickahominy region or swamp to Richmond, and
beyond "The Wade" and bearing northeast the road led to Charles City
Court House, thence to Norfolk. The mansion house within the
breastworks was at once designated and occupied as a post hospital. By
order, the regimental commander was detached from the regiment and
placed in command of the post.
On Saturday, October 1st, the pickets sent or brought in two deserters,
who claimed that they had enlisted at Syracuse, N.Y. They were sent
forward the same day be the mail boat to General Marston, at
headquarters of the separate brigade. A full mail for the regiment
reached the post today.
On Sunday, October 2nd, information was received that General Marston
had been order3ed to the front. Later, Dr Strong reached the post,
bringing orders for him to remain at Harrison's Landing until further
orders. The firing was very heavy and continuous today on General
Grant's left (Petersburg). At bout 11 P.M. the commanding officer of
the post visited the camp guard, and upon arriving at the sally-port
the sentinel was leaning against the parapet; upon being spoken to, he
at once cried "Halt!" brought his gun up and fired, the ball from the
gun passing uncomfortably near the officer.
On the night of the 3d of October, and in the absence at Fort
Pocahontas of the commanding officer of Post Harrison's Landing, there
was an alarm occasioned by one of the sentinels on guard firing at a
white dog, calling out the force and manning the trenches. The
incident was laughable, but rather inconvenient.
October 4. At 3 P.M. a despatch boat from City Point reached the
wharf at Harrison's Landing, bringing Brigadier-General Hunt and a
Colonel on General Mead's staff and an unknown officer; after giving
certain instruction to the Post Commander, they left for City Point.
October 7. Orders were received that the command of the separate
brigade and department had been temporarily turned over by General
Marston to Lieutenant-Colonel Patterson, of the Second New Hampshire
October 8. A scout named Myers, from Richmond, on his way to General
Grant at City Point, came into the post. Lieutenant Grant, of Company
G, was about this date appointed Post Commissary.
October 9. Lieutenant-Colonel Patterson, commanding the separate
brigade, arrived on steamer Ella and rode out to picket line, vidette
post, and McClellan's fortifications, accompanied by the commandant at
Harrison's Landing. After Lieutenant-Colonel Patterson left, a
prisoner was sent in from the picket line; he was sent to the guard-
house, and later on to department headquarters at City Point; he had
important intelligence for General Grant from Richmond.
October 10. At 10 A.M. the Post Commandant left on the steamer
General Howard for General Butler's headquarters, via Bermuda Hundred
and the upper pontoon bridge, on business of the post. Butler's
headquarters were in a fine pine grove about one mile from Aiken's
Landing. The General was at the extreme front, and the business was
transacted with the acting Adjutant-General. Before returning, the
celebrated Dutch Gap canal was visited, as also the place where our
troops were at that time shelling the enemy. In the evening of the
same day Captain Dan O'Brian, of the Twenty-fourth New York Volunteers
reached Harrison's Landing.
October 11 There were several alarms on the picket lines and several
shots fired. John C. Lake of Oswego, N.Y., arrived today.
October 12. On visiting the picket line it was reported by the
Sergeant of the picket line that four strange men had been seen to
leave Widow Rowland's at near daybreak. The next night six men were
posted in Widow Rowland's barn, unknown to her, to capture the visitors
if possible. At evening, James McKinley, Captain Corey, and James
Kingsley, from the One Hundred and Forty-seventh Volunteers came into
camp from City Point.
October 13. The post Commandant, accompanied by Lieutenant Miles and
a cavalry escort, rode out to Harrison's plantation; nothing was found
of importance, save an United States ambulance wagon. While returning
to the post, was met by a cavalryman, who reported that three of the
cavalry scouts, about three miles out from the Widow Rowland's, were
attacked by guerillas and one of the scouts killed and one wounded. A
hurried march was made to the post, whereupon a force of cavalry and
twenty-five infantry were despatched to the scene of the attack.. After
some time the force returned, not having succeeded in finding the
guerillas, but brought in the dead cavalryman. He had been shot three
times through the chest, and his head was terribly bruised and crushed
in. The wounded cavalryman will recover. Three cows were driven in
today. A part of twenty went out tonight to drive in a quantity of
stock understood to be herded about three miles outside the picket
October 14. About 10 o'clock A.M. the raiding party returned,
bringing with it five cows, two yearlings, three heifers, and two hogs.
In the afternoon the Post Commandant, accompanied by Dr. Stone, rode
out to an along the picket lines, and thence to Westover, where there
was what remained of a fine old colonial mansion, antedating the
Revolutionary War. A profusion of roses were in flower in the garden.
A monument stood in the garden west of the house, upon which appeared
an inscription nearly defaced by time, and which, by reason of its
uniqueness, is here reproduced:
Here liethe the Honorable William Byrd, Esq. Being born to one of the
amplest fortunes in this country, he was sent early to England for his
education, where under the care and direction of Sir Robert Southwell,
and even favored with his particular instruction, he made a happy
proficiency in polite and various learning. By the means of the same
noble friend he was introduced to the acquaintance of many of the first
persons of that age for knowledge, wit, virtue, birth, or high station,
and particularly contracted a most intimate and bosom friendship with
the learned and illustrious Charles Boyle, Earl of Orrery. He was
called to the Bar in the Middle Temple, studied for some time in the
Low Countries, visited the Court of France, and was chosen Fellow of
the Royal Society.
Thus eminently fitted for the service and ornament of his country, he
was made Receiver-General of His Majesty's revenues here, was thrice
appointed publick agent to the Court and Ministry of England, and being
thirty seven years a member, at last became President of the Council of
this Colony. To all these were added a great elegancy of taste and
life, the well-bred gentleman and polite companion, the splendid
occonimist and prudent father of a family, with constant enemy of all
exorbitant power and hearty friend to the liberties of his country.
Nat. Mar. 28, 1674 Mort Aug. 26, 1744
An. Aetat 70.
October 15. Today Brigadier General Carr inspected the infantry and
artillery at the post. In consequence of the few cavalry at this time
present (the rest were out scouting) at the post, they were excused
from a formal inspection.
October 16. During the day a negro lad came to the post; you will
probably remember him by the name of Napoleon Bonaparte,
October 17. S.N. Dada, of Fulton, arrived at the post.
October 18. Adjutant Smith left for Elmira to correct the muster in
rolls of the companies. There was some firing on the extreme right
October 19. Occurred the first formal dress parade. Colonel George
Harney and Captain Hubbard, of the One Hundred and Forty-seventh
Regiment, visited the post today came from City Point by the
October 23. Had divine service; sermon by Private Bobbins, a member
of Company I. A colored man woman and child came in from Richmond.
October 24. Six cavalrymen and fifteen infantry were sent out to
protect the crew of the gunboat then lying in the James River opposite
the post, while the crew were destroying boats in Herring Creek. Eight
boats were destroyed by the gunboat crew; the boats so destroyed
furnished the Confederates and guerillas the means to cross and recross
the river at will.
October 26. The entire forces at the post were inspected by
Lieutenant Thompson, Assistant Inspector-General. He was pleased to
compliment the forces upon their appearances. Today a private by the
name of Hall died at the post hospital; disease fever and dysentery.
By means of a New York Herald of the 24th inst., news was received of
the killing of Lieutenant Phillips at the battle of Cedar Creek, and of
the battle itself.
October 27. Private Teague died this morning, and at 3 P.M. he and
Private Hall were buried with military honors within the fortifications
and near the river, under the greenwood trees; and there, after life's
fitful fever, they sleep well. Little they'll reck, in the graves
where their comrades have laid them, the sigh of the breeze, the
tempest's blast, and the ceaseless murmur of the waters of the River
James as they flow to the ocean, singing their last requiem. Heavy
firing all day at the front.
October 29. General Carr, the Captain of the monitor lying in the
river abreast the post, and several other officers, visited the post.
News was received today by Lieutenant-Colonel McKinley that Adjutant
Howard M. Smith was sick and might not return to the regiment.
October 30. Divine services held in the open air opposite post
headquarters; Private Robbins, of Company I, officiated.
October 31. Heavy firing on the right all day. Captain Morrill, of
Company M, Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry, reported for duty. Lieutenant
Miles, of the Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry, was appointed Provost-
Marshal of the post.
November 1. In the afternoon four cavalrymen who were outside the
lines without permission were captured by the Confederates, together
with two horses and harnesses. The capture took place at or near the
November 3. About dark, Major Stearns, with Lieutenant Davenport,
Provost Marshal of General Butler's forces, and one hundred and ten
cavalrymen and several prisoners, came in our lines on the way from
Wilson's Landing (Fort Pocahontas) to Bermuda Hundred. The cavalry
camped in the rear of the post headquarters, in the open air. It
rained heavily all night. They were without tents.
November 5. Lieutenant Gilman with fifty infantry were sent out to
ambush the Confederate scouts, guerillas, and bushwhackers that
troubled our front.
November 6. Confederate soldiers were seen in the woods to the left
of the picket line. Lieutenant Smith with picket reserve and Post
Commandant proceeded to and about the spot where the Confederate wer4e
seen, but without success. In the afternoon divine service was held in
the open air; preaching by Private Robbins.
November 8. Lieutenant Gilman and detachment returned, bringing with
them thirteen horses, two mules, and twelve head of cattle. In the
evening an election was held for Chaplain to the One Hundred and
Eighty-fourth; it resulted in the election of Rev. Jacob Post, of
November 9. At about 1 A.M. the Post Commandant assisted Dr. Barnes
in amputating the foot of a private at the instep, who accidentally or
otherwise shot himself through the foot. At about 8 A.M. a courier
brought the news that a force of Confederate cavalrymen were outside,
beyond "The Wade." All the cavalry and fifty infantry, in charge of
Lieutenant Smith, were at once despatched to meet them. In about an
hour Lieutenant-Colonel McKinley, who had previously ridden out to
water his horse, rode into the post and asked that an additional force
be sent out. Lieutenant Gilman and eight men were at once sent out.
After the last detachment was sent out the entire garrison was put
under arms. About 3 P.M. the detachments returned; they had exchanged
shots with the enemy, who were variously estimated at from thirty to
one hundred strong. No Confederates were injured, so far as could be
ascertained. One of the cavalrymen received a scalp wound; one had his
horse shot dead; another cavalry horse received a rifle shot wound in
the fleshy part of the ham. The picket reserve at night was
strengthened with fifteen men and a Sergeant; arms stacked in the
November 10. Dr. A. S. Coe, of the One Hundred and Forty-seventh,
visited the post.
November 13. Sermon by Private Robbins. In the morning the One
Hundred and Eighty-fourth received a set of regimental colors; they
were displayed for the first time at dress parade today.
November 16. A large number of steamers passed up the river to City
Point, some loaded with troops, some with stores. Mr. Mason, of
Pulaski, visited the post today.
November 17. A lave of absence was granted to the Post Commandant to
go to headquarters of the Fifth Army Corps. Very heavy musketry firing
at the front. The Post Commandant returned to the post on the 19th
November 20. A despatch boat from City Point brought intelligence
from General Grant's headquarters that a force had left Richmond to
attack Post Harrison's Landing, and ordering that extra vigilance be
had and maintained; in consequence, the picket line, picket reserve,
and vidette posts were strengthened and guns stacked in company
streets, and men were ordered not to undress during night.
November 24. The steamer Pioneer arrived, bringing a large supply of
Thanksgiving gifts, eatables, etc.
November 25. A new and more extensive picket line was established and
vidette posts thrown out further toward Richmond. During battalion
drill two gunboats came down the river from City Point, having in tow a
number of small boats, and indulged in gunboat exercised in the river
off the post. About this date Corporal Warren C. Emmons, of Company H,
died, and was buried with military honors. His body was interred
within the fortifications.
November 27. - A bridge was built on the picket line. Dr. Rice,
Adjutant E.A. Cooke, and Charles Hart reached the post from City Point.
November 28. General inspection, Lieutenant H.P. Thompson acting as
November 29. A large monitor anchored in the river opposite the post.
November 30. Two gunboats that had lain at the post dock all night
left for City Point. About 10 A.M. the signal telegraph was completed,
and the post has now direct connection with City Point and the
headquarters of the Army of the James, as also General Grant's
December 1. At 3 P.M. General Carr, Colonel Sewell, and Lieutenant-
Colonel Angell, of Fort Powhattan, with their wives, reached the post
and were entertained as handsomely as possible. At evening, Adjutant
Smith reached the post, looking better than when he left, but still far
December 2. Second Lieutenant Carter, of Company K (I think) arrived
at the post.
December 3. Post headquarters and new quarters for the One Hundred
and Eighty-fourth were practically finished today. The new quarters
for the regiment are very commodious.
December 4. Inspection of quarters today. In the afternoon divine
services were held in the open air in front of post headquarters; a man
from Pennsylvania preached.
December 5. About 10 A.M. the steamer Charlotte Vanderbilt passed up
the river, headed for City Point, and from the cheering on the steamer
it was believed that the four companies from the Valley were on board.
So strong was the impression that this might be the fact, that
Lieutenant-Colonel McKinley was without delay despatched by the
headquarters boat to City Point to investigate, and if true that the
detachment had arrived, to use every means in his power, even an appeal
to General Grant personally, to effect the union of the regiment, and,
in case of necessity, to telegraph to the Post Commandant and he would
go personally to City Point and endeavor by every means in his power to
effect the desired object. The hours wore slowly away. Many eyes were
watching for the coming of a steamer. The signal station was watched
for intelligence; none came from that source. Later in the day a
steamer was observed making its way down the river from the direction
of City Point. The anxiety of the Post Commandant was a fever heat
when, at about 6 P.M., the steamer rounded to the dock and the four
companies, Captain Palmer in command, disembarked. The long and
earnestly desired event had happened the One Hundred and Eighty-
fourth Regiment was for the first time in its history a unit. As may
well be imagined, the greater part of the night was spent in mutual
congratulations and in narrating to each other what had occurred in our
army experience. Not the least of our congratulations was the fact
that the six companies could now enjoy the benefit of the experience of
the four companies, and that the field and staff would be reinforced by
the experience and capacity of Major Ferguson.
December 7. In the afternoon the troops were marched to Westover in
heavy marching order by the way of the reserve station, and thence to
December 9. Light snow, the first of the season here.
December 14. About 1 o'clock this morning a tug arrived from General
Butler's headquarters with an order directing that the cavalry be ready
to march at 10 A.M. with ten days rations and four day's forage. The
order was promulgated to Captain Morrill of the cavalry by the Post
Commandant personally, but nothing resulted no movement took place.
December 17. The Post Commandant came up from Fort Pocahontas by the
steamer Pioneer to the post and found matters in some confusion. The
night before Bradby's daughter was killed by another girl. A raiding
party from the post brought in one hundred and forty three bushels of
corn in the ear.
December 19. Warm as in June. The Pioneer left for Norfolk,
Lieutenant Johnson, Acting Adjutant-General, on board. Dr. Rice
received an order to muster out.
December 22. The Post Commandant went to Harrison's Landing by the
mail boat and assisted Adjutant Smith about his returns, and at evening
there was a dress parade the first one had by the regiment as an
entirety. Gave three cheers for the victory of General Thomas, three
for the State of New York, the colors and the One Hundred and Eighty-
fourth Regiment. The Post Commandant returned to Fort Pocahontas.
December 24. At Fort Pocahontas Major Tantum and party, with the
Pioneer, went after the family and goods of a Mr. Pearman; returned
safely same night with the parties and property, and next day were
taken to Norfolk on the Pioneer. Mr. Pearman was a Union man and had
been of service to the cause of the United States, and for these
reasons was very obnoxious to the Confederates.
December 25. Christmas; passed without incident.
December 30. Major William B. C. Pearsons, United States Paymaster,
reached the post today and paid off the Third Pennsylvania Artillery.
December 31. All quiet in camp today. Rev. Jacob Post reported today
and was mustered in by the Colonel of the One Hundred and Eighty-
January 1, 1865. Passed without incident.
January 3. Two inches of snow.
January 4. Quartermaster Dunn left for Oswego.
January 5. Adjutant Smith left for home. The expedition for
Wilmington, commanded by General Terry, passed down the river, the
troops on the boats giving us cheers as they passed.
January 6. The Pioneer, with General Carr, wife and son, passed up
the river to City Point.
January 8. Divine service in the open air before post headquarters;
Chaplain Post officiated. Lieutenant-Colonel McKinley and Captain Town
went to the front.
January 9. McKinley, Town and Mr. And Mrs. R.H. Spencer reached the
post by the steamer Swan
January 10. Mr. And Mrs. Spencer left for City Point. Major Ferguson
arrived by the Swan and reported for duty; the Major was warmly
January 11. Major Ferguson with the Post Commandant visited the
picket lines, and at battalion drill nearly all the officers of the
regiment were present Dr. Stone left the post. The Doctor was
esteemed by the regiment. Surgeon Barnes arrived.
January 12. Captain Town left for home on leave of absence.
January 14. Major Ferguson, a civilian, and a party of infantry, went
out to Westover Church for lumber. At evening two scouts reached the
post from General Grant's headquarters.
January 15. - Major Ferguson, a civilian, the two scouts, and one
hundred infantry, went out on an expedition; returned in safety.
Divine service in open air; Captain Post officiated.
January 16. -- The Chaplain performed the marriage ceremony between a
colored man and woman. The marriage took place in the open air before
post headquarters. An amusing incident occurred while this marriage
was being celebrated; doubtless some of you will remember to what I
allude. Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Spencer reached the post this evening.
January 17, -- Intelligence was received that General Carr had been
summoned to Norfolk and that the Post Commandant had command of the
separate brigade. News was received this evening of the capture of
January 19. -- Lieutenant-Colonel Angell, of the Thirty-eight New
Jersey Volunteers, inspected the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth and in
the afternoon drilled the regiment.
January 20. -- The Major, Adjutant, and a civilian left for the front.
Heavy firing all day at the front.
January 23. -- The firing at the front this evening is very severe and
sounds like a heavy conflict.
January 24. -- Terrific firing at the front all night.
January 26. -- The new ironsides and other war vessels passed up the
river toward City Point.
January 28. -- The commissions of J.H. Warn, as Adjutant, and Andrew Y.
Bockus, as Lieutenant, were received.
January 31. -- Inspection of regiment, detachment of artillery, and
provost guard. Evening warm and balmy; moonlight; negroes singing, and
every one appears to be feeling well.
February 1. -- Inspection of cavalry.
February 3. -- Heavy firing at the front. In raising flag-pole for
post headquarters, the rope broke; pole fell and broke in two.
February 4. -- Between 8 and 9 A.M. the outer infantry vidette post,
beyond "The Wade," was attacked and our men captured. Major Ferguson,
in command of twenty-five cavalrymen, was at once despatched in pursuit
of the rebels and to retake our men if possible.. About 4 P.M. the
expedition returned safely to the post, having recaptured our men,
killed one of the rebels (John Roach), and brought in one prisoner, a
mule, three Spencer repeating rifles, and other property -- a good days
work. the names of the enlisted men thus captured and recaptured are
as follows: Otis Kipp, Stephen Frent, William Galloway, and Charles
Lester, all of whom were members of Company C.
February 7. -- All day (judging from the sound) there has been a
terrible fight at the front.
February 8. -- Post flagstaff completed and flag unfurled. About 9
P.M. there was and alarm on the picket line; four shots fired at the
picket; no harm done, however. Heavy firing at the front today.
February 12. -- Two alarms on the picket line.
February 14. -- A force of twenty-five cavalry was sent out on scout.
February 17. -- Major Payne, of the One Hundred and Third New York
Volunteers, reached the post by the Swan.
February 19. -- Ira L. Jenkins, of Oswego, arrived at the post.
February 21. -- Received news of the fall of Charleston.
February 27. -- the Post Commandant went to City Point by the Swan,
with intelligence for General Grant, but the latter being at the front,
as was said, the same was communicated to General Patrick and Colonel
February 28. -- Forces at the post mustered for pay.
March 5. -- Inspection of quarters. Divine service under charge of
Chaplain Post. Dr. Coe arrived at the post by the evening boat.
March 12. -- Inspection of quarters. Divine service out of doors;
sermon by Mr. Johnson, of Palermo. While he was preaching two couriers
from General Sheridan to General Grant arrived; news good and cheering.
The couriers were sent forward without delay.
March 18. -- General Carr and party arrived at the post.
March 19. -- Preaching in the open air by Private Robbins.
March 21. -- Lieutenant Colonel McKinley, Captains Palmer and Morse,
Lieutenants Gilman and Peavy, and the Post Commandant went to the
headquarters of the Twenty-fourth Army Corps to attend a court marshal
March 23. -- A reconnoitering part was sent out in the command of
March 25. -- About 4 P.M. General Sheridan and some ten thousand
cavalry encamped at or about Westover Church.
March 26. -- About 12 o'clock last night dispatches were received by
the Post Commandant from General Grant destined for General Sheridan,
with orders to forward without delay. Adjutant Warn was ordered to
carry the dispatches to general Sheridan; He was accompanied on this
mission by Captain Outerson, and later they returned, reporting that
their mission had been successfully accomplished. About 8 A.M. General
Sheridan had staff rode into our lines and to post headquarters where
he (his staff having strolled about the post) remained for over an
hour; after which General Sheridan and staff embarked upon the Swan for
City Pont. Meanwhile his cavalry were marching to the pontoon bridge
near Bermuda Hundred, and thence to City Point. By the Swan Major
Ferguson proceeded to the headquarters of General Gibbon, and returned
in the evening, bringing very satisfactory news. During the stay of
General Sheridan at post headquarters, much was said by him about the
progress of the war, future possibilities, probabilities and results,
and the cavalry movement afterwards resulting in the battle of Five
Forks was clearly foreshadowed. Much was said about the enormous war
supplies of all kinds then collected and stored at City Point, and the
terrible effects that would result if by any chance the Confederates
should capture that base of supplies; that the post Harrison's Landing
was an important key to such movement, and must be held at all hazards;
that if the forces then at Harrison's Landing had not done their whole
duty in the past and did not enjoy the fullest confidence of those
entrusted with the conduct of the war, they would long since have been
removed and their place taken by troops considered more reliable; that
while post and garrison life was irksome and tiresome, yet good
soldiers had but one rule to follow, and that was to obey orders under
any and all circumstances; that he was pleased with the post and that
appearance of the officers and men, and the vigilance observed in those
who were doing vidette and picket duty. this is but a meager outline
of what was said by General Sheridan on this occasion , and memory of
what was said on the occasion referred to. The Post Commandant
accompanied General Sheridan to the steamer, and on parting bade him
March 28. -- Paymaster Pearsons arrived.
March 29. -- The regiment was paid off.
March 30. -- Last night the cannonading at the front, especially
Petersburg, was continuous, and it has continued all day. By order of
General Carr, Company I was sent to Fort Pocahontas. Company I was
transported by the Swan.
April 1. -- Heavy firing on the left (Petersburg) all night.
April 2. -- Inspection of quarters. Intelligence was received this
evening of the capture of Petersburg and a large number of prisoners.
Heavy firing all day, and especially in the right (Richmond).
April 3. -- Richmond was taken this morning. The news was received
with great rejoicing. "Glory to God in the highest." During the day
an occasional gun can be heard at the front.
April 4. -- There was a rumor at evening that General Lee had
surrendered with thirty thousand men. The rumor is not creditable --
it is too good to be true. The Major and party went out scouting
April 9. -- Sermon at the post hospital by Chaplain Post.
April 10. -- News of the surrender of General Lee and his army was
received. "Praise God, from whom all blessings flow."
April 13. -- About sunset a salute was fired at Richmond. Can it be
for the surrender of Johnston? It is to be hoped so.
April 16. -- About 12 M. heard of the murder of President Lincoln and
the attempt4ed assassination of Mr. Seward, Secretary of State. The
news created a profound sensation and has infused a deep spirit of
revenge in the breasts of the soldiers. God alone knows how this
murder is to complicate our national troubles.
April 19. -- About 10 A.M., Private Daniel Cole, of Company K, while on
picket duty, was killed by the explosion of a shell which he had found
in the woods near the picket line. He was endeavoring to remove the
cap, and the same being rusty, he struck it to loosen it. A piece of
the shell penetrated his right thigh and came out under the left arm.
He was mangled horribly and killed instantly. Private Cole was buried
with military honors. His grave was made under the trees on the river
bank, within the fortifications.
April 25. -- The entire force at the post was reviewed by General Carr
and staff. At or near evening General Rufus Ingalls, Chief
Quartermaster of the Army of the Potomac, visited the post and post
April 26. -- By order No. 66 of the War Department, the post flag was
displayed at half mast and minute guns were fired every half-hour from
sunrise to sunset, and by the same order the troops at the post were
mustered at 10 A.M. to hear said order read. Order No 66 had reference
to the death of President Lincoln.
April 27. -- The forces at the post were inspected by Lieutenant
Saulpaugh, Brigade Inspector.
April 28. -- Intelligence of the surrender of General Johnston and
forces was received, and by order from the War Department one hundred
guns were fired. The good work marches on apace, and the end of this
terrible war draws visibly near.
April 29. -- General Carr and party of officers and ladies arrived at
the post and visited Westover.
April 30. -- Troops mustered for pay by Lieutenant Saulpaugh.
May 4. -- Mr. Crenshaw, the owner of Harrison's Landing (Berkeley
estate), and Mr. Elliott, the owner of the Westover estate visited the
May 7. -- Inspection of quarters and sermon from Chaplain Post.
May 12 or 13. -- The cavalry were ordered from and left the post. The
force has been effective and very satisfactory.
May 14. -- Farewell sermon by Chaplain Post. The guards about the
vacant cavalry quarters were doubled.
May 18. -- Inspection by Lieutenant Saulpaugh . At 12 o'clock noon
General Carr and a party of citizens reached the post by headquarters
boat and visited Westover.
May 19. -- Shirley, also called Carter's, General Lee's plantation and
residence, built before the Revolution, was visited by Major Ferguson,
Quartermaster Dunn, and the writer. At about sunset orders were
received by telegraph from City Point directing that the One Hundred
and Eighty-fourth be ready to move at an hour's notice, and all surplus
property be carried with the regiment.
May 20. -- By virtue of special orders No. 40, all the ordnance and
ordnance stores, etc. were shipped to Colonel W. J. Sewell, thirty-
eight New Jersey Volunteers, at Fort Powhattan.
The writer here ventures to transcribe the last entry made in his diary
at Post Harrison's Landing:
Sunday, May 21, 1865. -- Arose 5 A.M. Morning fine. No inspection
today. In the afternoon rode around the picket line, visiting all the
posts now occupied, as well as those heretofore occupied. It was a sad
ride, and yet not unmingled with satisfaction, for I knew that while we
had been at this post we had done our whole duty so far as the same had
come to our knowledge. About sundown it clouded up, and during the
whole evening have had a furious thunderstorm. This is probably the
last night at Harrison's Landing.
It proved to be the last night at Post Harrison's Landing.
At this particular point in the regimental history it will not be
inappropriate to state that during the sojourn of the One Hundred and
Eighty-fourth at Post Harrison's Landing the duties devolved upon the
regiment were many and arduous, and were at all times discharged
efficiently and cheerfully. From the very first day the regiment
reached the post, camp, guard, vidette, and picket duty was commenced,
and continued each and every day without intermission until the
regiment left the post, excepting the few days when the inclemency of
the weather forbade it. Squad, company, and battalion drill,
inspections and dress parades were had with the utmost regularity.
Various scouting parties were sent out that have not received mention
in this paper. inspections were had in strict accordance with the army
regulations. Toward the latter part of the tour of duty at the post,
scarcely a day passed that scouts and spies were not passing to and
from City Point and to and from Richmond through the post, and may
interesting incidents might be narrated in connection with such
visitations by such persons. To narrate them would unduly lengthen this
paper, and might savor of improper and undue personality on the part of
the writer. It was not infrequent that torpedoes were seen floating
down the river that had been set afloat by the Confederates higher up
the stream, with the hope and expectation that some of them at least
might chance to collide with out gunboats, monitors and other craft
occupying the river, and this destroy our craft. Two at least of these
torpedoes were captured and brought on shore just above and west of our
outer picket line.
For many days prior to the visit of General Sheridan to the post as
herein narrated, gunboats were patrolling the river from time to time
from a point a little below Westover. The occasion was not infrequent
that monitors anchored off the post; from all which things, and from
what was said, as well as from dispatches received at post head-
quarters from General Grant's headquarters from time to time, it
was then believed, and time and reflection has confirmed that
belief, that it was thought at army headquarters that an effort
might be made at any time to capture Harrison's Landing, thus
effecting a lodgment on the river from which to make a movement
looking to the destruction of the depot of supplies and muni-
tions of war at City Point, which, if effected, would have practi-
cally paralyzed the armies then operating at the front, and esp-
cially the army before Petersburg and farther south.
It was for the reasons enumerated, and for other reasons that
might be stated, that the utmost vigilance was at all times insisted
upon to guard against surprise. How well those duties were dis-
charged, and vigilance at all times maintained, yon are the only.
living witnesses. Whether the vigilance of the troops at Harri-
son's Landing prevented an attack upon the post and then a
movement on City Point, is and ever will remain an unknown
quantity and an unsolvable problem, Suffice it to say, no attack was
made during the occupancy of the post by the One Hundred and-
May 22, about noon, the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth
commenced leaving by steamer for City Point, beginning on the
right--first three companies, then four companies, and lastly two
companies, with headquarters. One company remained at Fort
Pocahontas until later. The One Hundred and Eighty-fourth
camped a little south of the prison, called the "bull-pen." A few
days later the remaining company of the One Hundred and Eighty-
fourth (Company I) arrived at City Point from Fort Pocahontas.
On May 23d, headquarters of the regiment were located in
quarters formerly occupied by Colonel Morrison, of the Sixteenth
New York Heavy Artillery.
On May 27th, Hon. Elias Root and wife visited the camp
of the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth. About this date, the
Colonel commanding the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth was
detached and placed in command of the United States forces
stationed at City Point.
The camp of the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth, although
selected with the greatest possible care, was unhealthy, for it had
been camped on. so frequently that the ground was saturated with
the offal and filth of previous camps. The weather was very
warm and murky, and the water for use was unfit for drinking
The consequence was, very soon fevers and bowel complaints made
their appearance, and the sick-list swelled at a rapid rate, and;
with it all, the daily detail from the One Hundred and Eighty
fourth for camp and, prison guard duty was largely increased.
It was difficult to maintain and enforce a proper discipline, for
it was conceeded on all hands that the civil war was practically
at an end, and, after the tension of the past few months, caused by
the suspense and vigilance required, the reaction and rebound was
The days at City Point were without special incident, and
were passed by the regiment in the usual routine duties.
On May 29th, the Colonel of the One Hundred and Eighty
fourth was returned to duty with the regiment.
June 11.-Special order No. 67 from department headquarters
was received at the regimental headquarters. This was an
order preparatory and looking toward the muster-out of the regiment.
June 12.-Lieutenant-Colonel McKinley's health became so
much affected that he was ordered to the post hospital at City
June 13.-A general court-martial was ordered by the com-
mander of the Department of the Nottoway, of which court-
martial the commanding officer of the One Hundred and Eighty-
fourth was appointed President. The medical officer in charge
of the hospital reports Lieutenant-Colonel McKinley as very low.
June 18.-General Carr and Captain Johnson, his Acting
Adjutant-General, were relieved from duty and ordered to their
homes. The command of the separate brigade was then de-
volved on the commandant of the regiment, as also of the forces
stationed at City Point. For the past few days troops have been
passing City Point on their way to Washington to participate in
the grand review, and thence to their homes.
Jane 19.-Quartermaster Dunn, Dr. Lovejoy, and the writer
rode to Petersburg, where the writer had an interview with
General Hartsuff; the General promised that the regiment
be mastered oat within ten days.
Jane 20.-An interview was had with Captain Remington,
Chief Commissary of Musters, Department of Virginia, and
instructions received to proceed at once to prepare muster-out
rolls. These instruction were. communicated to the company
commanders, who at once proceeded to prepare discharge and
descriptive lists. Quartermaster Dunn was sent to Richmond to
obtain blank muster-out rolls, etc., and other necessary blanks.
Jane 21.-Quartermaster Dunn returned from Richmond with
muster-out blanks, etc.
June 22.-Messengers Lieutenant Smith and Private Amos
Youmans, carrying muster-out rolls, etc., left for department
June 23.-Mrs. Ferguson, Captain Palmer, Lieutenant Leonard,
and Sergeant Rich arrived at City Point and the camp of the
One Hundred and Eighty-fourth. Messrs. Smith and Youmans
returned with corrected rolls, etc.
June 24.-The Ninety-sixth New York Volunteers, Lieuteant-
Colonel Heynes commanding, arrived at City Point from
June 25 (Sunday).-By order, the writer turned over the
command of the forces stationed at City Point to Lieutenant-
Colonel Heynes, of the Ninety-sixth New York Volunteers, and
took command of the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth; and by
the same order the separate brigade ceased to exist. Lieutenant
Smith and Private Youmans left for Richmond with corrected
June 27.--The last dress parade of the regiment was had.
June 29 - Captain Remington, accompanied by two clerks,
reached the regiment, and about 3 P.M. the muster-out commenced,
and was finished about 4.30 P.M. Two transports (North Point and
Robert Morris) reached City Point, and are here for the purpose
of transporting the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth to Balti-
more. Commenced placing on board these boats the baggage,
etc., and during the night and early on the 30th of June the
regiment embarked -- Companies. A, B,.D, I, and F on the North
Point, Major Ferguson in command. The remaining companies,
together with the field and staff, embarked on the Robert Morris.
There was also embarked the body of one of our privates who
died at the City Point hospital the day before the embarkation of
the regiment; the body was carried with us to Syracuse, N. Y.
The transports so loaded left the dock at City Point about 4 A. M.,
arriving at Fortress Monroe about 2 p. M. After about an hour's
delay at Fort Monroe, the transports left for Baltimore. Soon
after leaving Fort Monroe the transports parted company. The
North Point being much the faster boat, was not seen again until
the Robert Morris Baltimore.
The Robert Morris reached Baltimore Saturday, July 1, about
10 A. M. The North Point had already arrived, and the troops on
her had disembarked.
The regiment thence proceeded to the Soldiers' Rest, and
after having a dinner which the authorities had kindly provided,
the regiment reformed and marched to the depot, where some
unavoidable delay was encountered in consequence of a lack of
proper transportation for the sick of the regiment. The cause of
the delay having been obviated, the train left Baltimore bound
for Elmira, which latter point, after a continuous ride, was reached
about 4 P.M. of Sunday, July 2. For want of transportation, the
regiment remained at Elmira, in Barracks No. 1, during the
night. En route from Baltimore to Elmira, Orderly Sergeant
Hiram Lincoln and Private Castle, both of Company H, died, and
their remains were taken to their several homes.
July 3.-The regiment took a, train for Binghamton, arriving
at the last-named place at 12 M. After a vexatious delay for want
of transportation, the regiment left at 5 P.M. for Syracuse, and
arrived at that place about 12 o'clock midnight. The regiment
without delay marched to the fair ground south of Syracuse, and
encamped in due form. Instructions were duly given and
promulgated that there must be no straggling, and camp guards
were placed about the camp.
July 4.-Daybreak revealed the fact that during the night all
the regiment save about one hundred men and one or two officers
had decamped and had availed themselves of a train of cars that
had been sent to Syracuse by friends in Oswego, in waiting to
convey the regiment to Oswego and places along the line of the
road, and which would enable the men to meet their friends and
participate in the national holiday. Had it not been that the
regiment had in fact been mustered out of service and that the
only reason that existed for the regiment remaining intact was to
receive pay, the occurrence of such an unceremonious leave-taking
would have been a grave breach of military discipline, and would
never otherwise have occurred. It is proper to say that when the
above mentioned instructions were given, it was deemed quite
questionable whether they would be followed, but had they not
been given, it might have been thought that the commanding
officer of the regiment had been derelict in his duty.
July 8.-The muster rolls for pay were completed and delivered
by the mustering officer to the paymaster.
July II.-The larger portion of the regiment reported at
camp for muster and pay.
July 12.-At about 11 A. M. Major Storms, United States
Paymaster, began paying, and paid the men of eight companies,
when the funds then on hand were exhausted. Companies C and
I were left unpaid.
July 14.-About noon Companies C and I were paid - the
former at the Second National Bank and the latter by Major
Storms. After the companies and all the officers of the regiment
save the commanding officer had been paid and discharged, the
Colonel commanding was paid and discharged, and the One Hundred
and Eighty-fourth Regiment no longer existed in fact, but
nevertheless remained as a memory.
A few words may not be out of place in memory of those of
the regiment who lost their lives on the field of battle, as also
those others who lost their lives by disease in the discharge of
their duty. Very fortunately, the number in both classes is
small. They have simply preceded us to that land whither
all are hastening. The lives thus lost and lain down in the service
of our country are mute testimonials of their devotion to the
perpetuity of the institutions of our native land and its
The observances upon Decoration Day proclaim the respect
of the people for the sacrifices thus made by the dead. But, comrades
and survivors of the One Hundred and Eighty-fourth, there
is a solemn but unspoken warning that comes from every life now
silent in the grave. It asks us not to keep our kisses for the
dead; it pleads for tenderness and kindly sympathy toward those
who are still at our side. They annoy us, perhaps, for they are
human; they offend us daily, it may be, for they are not perfect;
they tax our forbearance sorely and are often harsh and unjust
to us. But the grave is only a little way before us all. When
the face that frowned upon us is white and cold, and the lip that
mocked us or said cruel things to vex us is forever silent, and the
hand that menaced us has lost its last hold upon earth, will it be
any comfort to us that we resented the injury and returned scorn
for scorn? Perhaps the fault is not all on one side. It may be,
to a juster judgment, we have sinned the most in these petty conflicts;
but if we have not, and if the wrong has been wholly unprovoked,
we shall do well to anticipate the day when the river
of death divides as, and look Just now into the eyes we shun, with
something of that tender, forgiving spirit we fain would show
when we bend above the unanswering clay. Let us not wait for
our friends and neighbors to die before we cover them with
flowers. Let us make our present fellowship a fragrant offering
that shall be a part of their life, and thus survive in memory
beyond the tomb. Such flowers and offerings are perennial blossoms,
gifted by the chemistry of the heart with perpetual beauty
and fragrance through the eternal years.
W. G. ROBINSON.
OSWEGO, ~N. Y., May 15, 1895.