This section contains articles of genealogical and historic
interest on Rhode Island in general, from old Rhode Island books and newspapers.
Opening of the Rebellion. -- Recruiting. -- Establishment of Camps. -- First Regiment R. I. Detached Militia. -- General Burnside. -- Second R. I. Volunteers. -- Fourth R. I. Volunteers. -- Ninth R. I. Volunteers. -- Tenth R. I. Volunteers. - Seventh R. I. Volunteers. - Eleventh R. I. Volunteers. - Twelve R. I. Volunteers. -- Hospital Guards. -- First R. I. Cavalry. -- Seventh Squadron R. I. Cavalry. -- Second R. I. Cavalry. -- Third R. I. Cavalry. - Third R. I. Heavy Artillery. -- Fifth R. I. Heavy Artillery. -- Fourteenth R. I. Heavy Artillery. -- First Light Battery R. I. Volunteers. -- Tenth Light Battery R. I. Volunteers. First R. I. Light Artillery. Batteries A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H. -- Close of the War. - The City Prosperous. -- Return of the Soldiers. -- Soldiers and Sailors' Monument. -- Dedication Ceremonies. -- Mrs. Whitman's Hymn.
To go over the causes and development of the war of the rebellion of 1861-5 would be a recital of what belongs to the history of the nation in general rather than that of a single city in particular. The citizens of Providence were true to the traditions of their fathers. In common with the people of other parts of the state they shared in the most hearty sympathy with the cause of the Union. They were ready at the first call to furnish all the men and means for carrying on the war that were reasonably expected of them. The patriotic sentiments of the people were expressed in banner raising and meetings to discuss the situation, in enlistments for the service, and in preparing a thousand comforts for those who went to the front, as well as in voting the necessary money to sustain the work. Manufactories of fire-arms were established, and the city was in a feverish state of activity with the various preparations for carrying on the war.
On the 12th day of April, 1861, rebellion against the government of the United States assumed a positive form by the bombardment of Fort Sumter, then occupied by a single company, under the command of Major Robert Anderson, who bravely maintained his position upwards of 30 hours, when, overpowered by raging flames within the fort, and an overwhelming assaulting force, he was compelled to surrender. On the 15th of the same month the president of the United States made a call upon the states for 75,000 men, to serve three months in suppressing this outbreak of treason; and on the day following, in response to this call, an order was issued by Governor Sprague for an immediate organization of the 1st Regiment. Great activity prevailed in the adjutant-general's and quartermaster-general's departments, and among our citizens generally, and in a few days the organization was completed. The regiment proceeded to Washington in two detachments; the first, under Colonel Ambrose E. Burnside, leaving Providence April 20th, and the second, under Lieutenant Colonel Joseph S. Pitman, on the 24th.
Both detachments left their encampment in Providence with the warm benedictions of the immense throngs that lined the streets and crowded the wharves and shipping to witness their departure. On arriving in Washington quarters were provided for a short time at the Patent Office, and subsequently the regiment was established at Camp Sprague, a beautiful grove, with ample parade ground, in the vicinity of the city, where the time was devoted to improvement in discipline and drill. On the 9th of June a company of carbineers, to act as skirmishers, consisting of 73 privates, was organized, of which Francis W. Goddard was commissioned captain. The other officers were Walter B. Manton, lieutenant, and Sergeants John B. Campbell, George O. Gorton, Robert H. Deming, Louis T. Hall and Peleg E. Bryant. They were armed with Burnside rifles and drilled by Lieutenant Henry T. Sisson, paymaster of the regiment. Previous to their organization as a separate corps they were drilled by Lieutenant Charles E. Patterson, of the 4th U. S. Infantry. James Allen, of the Light Battery, and William H. Helme, of Company C, were authorized to act as aeronauts in connection with the movements of the regiment. An accident to their two balloons frustrated their plans for aerial reconnaissances.
The interest in the regiment by friends at home did not expend itself in impassioned farewells at its departure, but followed it through its entire absence, and almost daily packages and boxes were received in camp as tokens of friendly remembrance. A cargo of ice, the gift of 44 citizens and firms in Providence, was sent in May to the regiment by the schooner 'Sea Gull', Captain Howland, being among the principal contributors. The vessels arrived at Washington May 27th, and the welcome contribution was gratefully acknowledged by Colonel Burnside in behalf of the regiment, as was also a donation of 500 copies of the New Testament and Psalms from the Rhode Island Bible Society, and numerous other gifts from generous friends. The enterprise was inaugurated by Mr. John Kendrick, and carried forward to its final success by the persistent labors of himself and Mr. Earl C. Potter. They, with twelve other gentlemen, accompanied the vessel as a guard, and rendered efficient aid in the distribution of the cargo. They were Reverend S. W. Field, E. L. Wolcott, L. T. Downes, A. E. Bradley, E. S. Allen, J. A. Winsor, O. W. Frieze, J. A. Howland, H. S. Harris, and H. J. Smith, of Providence; P. W. Lippitt, of Woonsocket, and William Town of Pawtucket.
On the 10th of June, the regiment marched on an expedition toward Harper's Ferry, preceded the day before by the battery attached to it, to join other forces under General Patterson, for the purpose of dislodging the rebels under General Joseph E. Johnston, then holding that place. The expedition was accompanied to Green-castle by ex-Governor Dyer, of Providence, who rendered timely and efficient service. The regiment was here joined by Governor Sprague, accompanied by his aid-de-camp, Colonel John A. Gardner. It advanced to Williamsport, in the state of Maryland, but the evacuation of Harper's Ferry by General Johnston rendered the further prosecution of the campaign unnecessary, and in obedience to orders received from Washington, the regiment returned to that city, and on the 20th of June was established once more at Camp Sprague. The excessive heat and clouds of dust rendered the marching on this expedition exceedingly fatiguing, but the discomforts were borne with cheerfulness. It was on this occasion that the regiment made a march of 33 miles in a single day, and 'in half an hour from the time the head of the column arrived at the encampment, every straggler had found his proper place in his company bivouac.'
On the 21st, the contending forces met at Bull Run, and fought the first bloody battle of the war. It was honorable to the patriotism of the First Rhode Island, that, notwithstanding but a few days of its term of service remained, officers and men marched to the field with the same alacrity that they first answered the call of their country. The enlarged command of Colonel Burnside, and the absence of Lieutenant Colonel Pitman on detached duty at Providence, devolved the command of the regiment on Major Joseph P. Balch. In the order of battle, the regiment was intended to be held as a reserve, but in the exigencies of the fight it gallantly moved to the front and dealt back with vigor the heavy blows that fell so fatally upon many of its own members. Through the entire battle, which terminated so disastrously to the Union arms, and covered with a dark cloud the bright hopes with which the whole army had been inspired, the regiment was found promptly wherever most needed, and amidst all panic of defeat, and the confusion of retreat, which demoralized so many of the regiments, the 1st Rhode Island maintained a soldierly calmness and preserved its ranks unbroken until it reached once more the camp from which it went out with buoyant spirits a few days before. In the perils of this battle Governor Sprague shared, having attached himself to Burnside's brigade as a volunteer. He was present in the thickest of the fight, and had a horse shot from under him. Chaplain Augustus Woodbury, besides performing with great acceptance the duties of his sacred office, rendered active and valuable service on the field of battle, as aide to Colonel Burnside. Reverend Thomas Quinn, the Catholic assistant chaplain, was there, encouraging the men by his presence and his words. The noble Lieutenant Henry A. Prescott fell, leading on his men. Surgeon Francis L. Wheaton, having been appointed surgeon in the 2nd Regiment R. I. Volunteers, was succeeded by Doctor Henry W. Rivers, who, with his assistant, Doctor George W. Carr, very faithfully attended to the needs of the wounded.
The term of service having expired and Washington being no longer considered in danger, the regiment broke camp and left for home Thursday at midnight, July 25th, and reached Providence Sunday morning, 28th, bringing the sick and the wounded that did not fall to the hands of the enemy. It was received with military honors, and with a civic welcome that showed how deeply its patriotic services were appreciated. The regiment was mustered out of the service of the United States and disbanded August 2d, having by brave endurance of fatigue, hardship and peril, and by gallantry upon the battle field, gained the grateful regard of the citizens of the state.
In connection with this sketch of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment we may appropriately give a brief notice of its distinguished commander, whose name is so conspicuously and honorably associated with Rhode Island patriotism and history. Colonel Ambrose Everett Burnside was of Scotch descent, and was born at Liberty, Union county, Indiana, May 23d, 1824, and died in 1881. After completing his elementary education, he entered the West Point Military Academy, and graduated with distinction, in the artillery, in 1847. The following year, he received a full second lieutenancy, and was attached to the 3d regiment of artillery. The Mexican war was at this time in active operation, and soon after graduating Lieutenant Burnside joined General Scott. On the proclamation of peace, he was ordered to Fort Adams, R. I., where he remained until the spring of 1849, when he was ordered to join Bragg, in New Mexico and received the appointment of first lieutenant in the famous battery of that officer. In the new service to which he was called, he gained a reputation for coolness and bravery. Returning from his service in New Mexico, he was married April 20th, 1852, to Miss Mary Bishop, of Providence. Soon after, he resigned his commission, and removed to Bristol, R. I., where he engaged in the manufacture of a breech-loading rifle of his own invention. Failing to obtain a government contract which he had reason to expect, and meeting with other embarrassments, he was compelled to give up the business entirely. In 1858 he went to Chicago, and was appointed cashier in the land department of the Illinois Central Railroad. Subsequently, he was made treasurer of the railroad company, and took up his residence in New York.
While residing in Bristol Colonel Burnside was chosen major general of the Rhode Island State Militia, and by his urbane manners and soldierly qualities obtained a wide popularity; and when the rebellion broke out he was at once selected as the most suitable officer to lead the 1st Rhode Island Regiment to the defense of Washington. The call of Governor Sprague was promptly responded to. Moved by the purest patriotism, he left his business, and in an hour was on his way to Providence, where he was received with the warmest enthusiasm. Immediately on his arrival at Washington he was tendered the commission of brigadier general, which, from a sense of duty to his regiment and the state, he declined; but afterward, before the army advanced into Virginia, he was urged to take command of a brigade, including the 1st and 2d Rhode Island Regiments, as already mentioned, which he did. The gallantry and military skill displayed by Colonel Burnside, as commander of the brigade, in the battle of Bull Run, attracted the attention of the general government, and August 6th, 1861, he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. Besides the acknowledgment of his services by his adopted state, before referred to, Brown University, at its commencement in September, 1861, conferred upon him the degree of master of arts, and the Phi Beta Kappa Society elected him an honorary member of that body.
When, in the autumn of 1861, the North Carolina Expedition was projected, General Burnside was placed in command. With characteristic energy he organized the enterprise at Annapolis, Maryland, and early in January, 1862, the expedition set sail for Roanoke island, the stronghold of the rebels in that quarter. On the 7th and 8th of February the battle of Roanoke island was fought and the rebels totally defeated, with the loss of six forts and batteries, 40 cannon, upwards of 2,000 prisoners of war and 3,000 stands of arms. Shortly after Commodore Goldsborough sent a fleet of gunboats up the Pasquotank and Chowan rivers, and Elizabeth City, Hertford, Endenton and Plymouth fell into the hands of the Union troops. On the 14th of March Newbern was captured, after a hardly contested battle of four hours. Here the 4th Rhode Island Regiment won laurels by a fierce bayonet charge, which decided the contest. On the 23d of March possession was taken on Morehead City. April 26th, after a bombardment of ten hours, Fort Macon surrendered, and to the 5th Rhode Island Regiment was assigned the honor of taking possession.
The successes of General Burnside were received in Rhode Island with the liveliest demonstrations of joy. The general assembly voted him, in testimony of the appreciation of his eminent services, an elegant sword, which was presented to him at Newbern, June 20th, with appropriate ceremonies, in the presence of 16,000 troops. The general continued to operate in North Carolina until the latter part of June, when, for the purpose of co-operating with General McClellan, who was about to withdraw from the Peninsula, he set out with 7,000 men for Newport News, where he was joined by a division from Hilton Head, under the command of General Isaac I. Stevens, and proceeded to Fredericksburg, to take the place of General McDowell, who had been sent to the aid of Pope. After the defeat of Pope in the second battle of Bull Run, General Burnside, with his Ninth Corps, joined McClellan to drive Lee out of Maryland. He entered Frederick City September 12th and was enthusiastically received. On the 14th he fought the successful battle of South Mountain, and on the 17th fought again at Antietam Bridge, beating back the enemy at every point, and crowning the day with one of the most brilliant achievements of the war. On the 7th of November General Burnside succeeded General McClellan in the command of the army of the Potomac. On the 13th of December the battle of Fredericksburg took place, and, though unsuccessful, General Burnside stood acquitted by the words of President Lincoln, who in his address to the army declared that 'the attempt was not an error, nor the failure other than an accident.' The position of General Burnside was one of great trial and perplexity. But amidst all the vexations and disappointments to which he was subjected he bore himself with characteristic equanimity. On the 26th of January, 1863, he was, at his own request, relieved from his unsought and undesired position, and was soon after assigned to the command of the Department of the Ohio. During the campaign he gained the battles of Blue Spring and Campbell's Station, and resisted the siege of Knoxville. After retiring from the duties of the department he returned to the East.
Early in 1864 General Burnside completed the reorganization of the Ninth Corps, and joined General Grant in the final movement of the army of the Potomac toward Richmond. By a forced march he arrived on the field on the first day of the battle of the Wilderness, in season to strengthen the general. Seeing the advantage of consolidating the Ninth Corps with the Army of the Potomac, and willing to relieve General Grant from an embarrassment in relation to the command, General Burnside generously waived his rank and subordinated himself to General Meade. On the 16th of June the Ninth Corps was in position before Petersburg, and on the following day carried the enemy's works in its front. On the 18th it participated in a still more sanguinary fight, and the line of the corps was pushed to within 100 yards of the rebel defense. The most marked feature of the siege was the mining of the enemy's works. General Burnside's arrangements were judiciously made to insure success, but owing to a reversing of the programme at the last moment by General Meade, and other unavoidable causes which delayed the springing of the mine beyond the appointed time, and the want of sufficient support, after the assaulting force of the Ninth Corps had all been put in, the enterprise failed. Of course, great disappointment was felt, and by no one more keenly than by General Burnside, but he had the satisfaction, in the midst of his sorrow, of knowing that no fault justly lay at his door. A military court of inquiry, composed of officers personally interested in the results of an investigation, did indeed censure him for not doing what the testimony shows to have been an impossible thing; but the congressional committee on the conduct of the war, after a careful examination of the subject, exonerated him entirely from blame.
After this unsuccessful assault, General Burnisde tendered his resignation to General Grant, who refused to accept it, and gave him 20 days' leave of absence, which he improved in visiting his home and friends in the East, where he received from all quarters the most gratifying tokens of unabated confidence and esteem. In the course of the subsequent winter he repeatedly tendered his resignation to the president, who as repeatedly refused to accept it. He, however, did no further military duty, though his voice and influence were constantly employed in behalf of the army and the government; and April 15th, 1865, he again tendered his resignation, which was accepted.
The 2d Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers was organized under the first call for additional troops to serve three years or during the war. The work of enlisting was spiritedly prosecuted under an order from Governor Sprague, and Camp Burnside was established on the Dexter Training Ground in Providence. The command of the regiment was given to Colonel Slocum, who had been promoted from major of the 1st Rhode Island, an officer of great personal bravery, who had gained reputation in the Mexican war. Colonel William Goddard, of the governor's staff, was detailed temporarily to act as lieutenant colonel, who on being relieved was temporarily succeeded by General Charles T. Robbins. At the request of Colonel Slocum, Colonel Christopher Blanding assisted in drilling the regiment. To add to the comfort of the men, a thousand rubber blankets were presented to them by the firm of A. & W. Sprague. Many other tokens of interest and regard were also received by officers and men, and the citizens of Lonsdale made a liberal donation to the hospital department. An elegant stand of colors was presented to the regiment by the ladies of Providence, through Colonel Jabez C. Knight.
The regiment struck their tents at 2 o'clock P. M., June 19th, 1861, marched to Exchange place, where, in the presence of a large crowd of spectators, a short and spirited address was delivered by Bishop Thomas M. Clark, who also invoked the divine blessing. Resuming their march to Fox point, they embarked on board the steamer 'State of Maine', under Captain William H. Reynolds, and on board the steamer 'Kill von Kull'.
On the morning of June 22d the regiment was accompanied by Governor Sprague, Hon. John R. Bartlett, secretary of state, and Bishop Clark, arrived in Washington, was warmly welcomed, and encamped in Gales' woods, near Camp Sprague. On the 25th, the 1st and 2d regiments, with their respective batteries, paid their respects to President Lincoln, by whom they were reviewed. Commanded by Colonel Burnside, they marched to the battle of Bull Run, where it was the first, with Captain Reynolds' battery to engage, and fought the enemy 45 minutes without support, losing 28 men killed, 56 wounded and 30 missing; among the former, Colonel Slocum, Major Sullivan Ballou, and Captains Levi A. Tower and Samuel J. Smith. The death of the brave Colonel Slocum left the regiment in the command of Captain Frank Wheaton, of the United States Army, then acting lieutenant colonel to the colonelcy of which he was subsequently promoted. Captain Viall, on the fall of Major Ballou, assumed the duty of a field officer, and was afterward promoted to major of the regiment. Captain William H. P. Steere received the commission of lieutenant colonel in the same.
On the 26th of March, the regiment moved with the Army of the Potomac, to enter upon the campaign of the Peninsula. During the siege of Yorktown, it was constantly employed in picket and other important duties. On the evacuation of that place by the rebels, it formed a part of Stoneman's advance in pursuit, and participated in the capture of Fort Magruder, at Williamsburg, saving a regiment that had been badly cut up by unwisely drawing upon it the fire of the fort at 800 yards distance. It continued with the advance of Stoneman during its operations on the Pemunky and Chickahominy rivers, was the first to take possession of White House, took part in the battles of Mechanicsville and Seven Pines, and at Turkey Bend was detached with the Seventh Massachusetts, to guard Turkey Bend bridge, and remained there until Porter's corps crossed. After the battle of Malvern Hill, when the army fell back to Harrison's Landing, the regiment was assigned to the rear as a cover. On the 5th of July, it was in position on the west side of James river, opposite City Point, occupied in throwing up breastworks.
When the Army of the Potomac withdrew from the Peninsula, the regiment proceeded to the vicinity of Yorktown, where it remained a week destroying earthworks, and August 29th it embarked for Alexandria, where it landed September 1st. It shared the fortunes of Pope's Bull Run campaign, was in position at Elk Mountain on the 17th of September, during the battle of Antietam, and subsequently, after performing a variety of fatiguing duties, marched with Franklin's corps, to a position in front of Fredericksburg. In the assault upon that city, December 14th, it acted with spirit and efficiency. In the preliminary movements of Franklin's corps, this regiment was the first to cross the river, in face of a heavy body of rebel infantry and artillery, and deploying as skirmishers, drove in their pickets - a movement executed with the coolness and precision of a regimental drill. Here, Colonel Wheaton was ordered to the command of a brigade that had been under the command of General Howe, and the command of the regiment devolved on the gallant Colonel Nelson Viall, who received his commission on the field. This he subsequently resigned, and the temporary command of the regiment fell to Lieutenant Colonel Goff, an able and highly esteemed officer. He was succeeded by Colonel Horatio Rogers, Jr., transferred from the 11th R. I. Volunteers.
In the 'mud expedition', that followed this attack on Fredericksburg, the 2d Rhode Island participated. It subsequently went into winter quarters, and was employed in picket duty and the usual camp routine. On the 2d and 3d of May, 1863, the battle of Chancellorsville was fought. On the morning of the 3d, the regiment supported Gibbons' division in carrying Salem Heights, near Fredericksburg, having two men slightly wounded. In the storming of Marye's Heights, on the afternoon of the same day, the regiment led by Colonel Rogers, performed deeds of conspicuous valor. At a critical moment, it largely contributed toward checking the enemy when our forces were being driven on the right, and saved a New Jersey regiment, hotly pressed, from annihilation and probable capture.
The battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 1st, 2d and 3d, next followed. In reaching this field of Union triumph, so dearly purchased, the regiment made good time, and toward night of the second day, having marched about 30 miles, it took position on the field of battle on the extreme left, as a portion of Sedgwick's reserve. During the whole of the 3d, though not directly engaged, it was constantly moving under a storm of shells, to different parts of the field, in support of points hardly pressed, losing one man killed and three wounded, and on the following day was on picket on the further edge of the battle field.
After a quiet winter at Brandy Station, on the 4th of May, 1864, the Army of the Potomac began the grand movement that ultimated in the capture of Richmond, and the overthrow of the rebel confederacy. The marching and fighting of the succeeding four or five weeks, to reach the Chickahominy, comprise a part of the history of the regiment. In the Wilderness, at Spottsylvania Court House, and all along the succession of flank movements, it bore an honorable and conspicuous part, and in the sanguinary battle of Cold Harbor, a few days before its term of service expired, added another to the laurels won on other fields. On the 11th of June, the three-years' men, under the command of Colonel S. B. M. Read, returned to Providence, and on the 17th were mustered out of service. By order of Governor Smith, they were received by the division of militia under the command of Major General Olney Arnold, and escorted to Howard Hall, where a bountiful collation had been provided, and a formal state reception took place. Colonel Read was wounded in the head and leg, May 12th, on the third day of the battle of Spottsylvania Court House, and was promoted from lieutenant colonel on the 1st of June following, for gallant conduct in the battles of the campaign in which he had participated up to that date.
At the date of the mustering out of the first three years' men, Companies A, B and C, comprising recruits enlisted from time to time conscripts and re-enlisted veterans, remained in the field before Petersburg. Wishing to preserve to the close of the war the identity of a regiment that had served so faithfully and bravely, Governor Smith authorized a reorganization, dating from the muster out of the original regiment. Companies D, E, F, G and H were recruited and sent forward, and regimental relations were once more established, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Elisha T. Rhodes, breveted colonel April 2d, 1865, for gallant services before Petersburg.
On the 6th of July, 1864, General Early, with a portion of the rebel advance, crossed the Potomac near Antietam, into Maryland, and made a raid on Washington. The 6th Army Corps, including the 2d Rhode Island and Batteries C, D and G, were hurried to the defense of the capital, and reached there just in season to save the city, and to aid in driving the enemy, who had approached within shelling distance, back into the valley of the Shenandoah. In the battle of Winchester, September 19th, the regiment behaved with great gallantry, and had nine men wounded, one mortally. After this battle the regiment was detailed as part of the garrison of Winchester, to protect it against guerrillas, as well as to escort trains to the front. It was there when the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19th, was fought, and remained until December 1st, when it rejoined the Army of the Potomac, and passed the winter of 1864 and 1865 in doing siege duty in the trenches in front of Petersburg, Va
In the attack on Petersburg, April 2d, 1865, the regiment took a prominent and important part. The night before, the 6th Corps was massed in front of Fort Fisher, ready for the assault. Just at daybreak, Sunday morning, the lines advanced under a heavy fire, and carried the enemy's main lines by storm. The Second Rhode Island started in the second line, but were the first to reach the works, and planted its colors on the parapet. The enemy fled in great confusion after their lines were pierced. Lieutenant Frank S. Halliday, acting adjutant of the regiment, with a small party, carried a rebel fort mounting two guns, and turned them upon the enemy. The whole affair was a glorious success, and caused the evacuation of the city on Monday morning, April 3d.
In the battle of Sailor's Creek, Thursday following the above, April 6th, the regiment displayed great prowess. About 5 o'clock P.M., the division to which it was attached advanced on the enemy's lines, and the 2d Rhode Island attacked a part of the naval brigade, commanded by officers of the late rebel fleet. The regiment charged to within a few feet of their lines, when it met a severe flank fire, which forced it to retire. The action was so close that men were bayoneted and knocked down with the butts of muskets. in the confusion, the colors of the regiment were captured, but were quickly retaken. The place where it charged was swampy, with water at least three feet deep, but the men pushed gallantly forward, and regained all the ground lost, causing the enemy to flee in great confusion, who left a part of their wagons in federal hands. The loss was severe in officers and men, but there was a proud satisfaction in knowing that the efforts of the regiment hastened the surrender of Lee and his army. Captain Charles W. Gleason and Lieutenant William H. Perry, both gallant officers, were killed.
After the fall of Richmond and the surrender of the rebel Northern Army, under Lee, the regiment left that city for Washington, D. C., May 24th, was mustered out of the United States service at Hall's Hill, Va., July 13th, and left for Providence on the 15th. It reached its destination by the train from New York, at 12 o'clock midnight, July 17th, accompanied by the 11th and 58th Massachusetts regiments bound for Readville. The regiment was received with cheers of waiting friends, the salute of Marine Artillery, and the presented arms of Company A, Pawtucket Light Guard, Captain M'Cloy. Under general orders from the war department, General Meade directed, March 7th, 1865, the names of the following battles in which the regiment had borne a meritorious part, to be inscribed upon its colors, viz.: First Bull Run, Yorktown, Williamsburg, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Marye's Heights, Salem Heights, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Fort Stevens, Opequan.
The 4th Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers was organized by Colonel Justus I. McCarty, of the regular army, and at the time of his appointment holding a commission as major of an independent battalion. 'Camp Greene' was established between Olneyville and Apponaug, west of the railroad, and September 5th, 1861, the first detachment enlisted under Captain Charles W. Topliff, pitched their tents there. Others followed in rapid succession, and before the close of the month the regiment was reported full. While in camp the regiment received two elegant stands of colors from the ladies of Providence. The first was presented through Mrs. R. M. Bates and E. A. Winn, and the second through Mrs. Philip Allen, Jr.
On the 2d of October, the regiment broke camp, and embarked at Providence on board the steamer 'Commodore', for Washington, amid the thundering of cannon, and the mingled cheers and tears of kindred and friends. It proceeded to New York, and thence to its destination, where it arrived October 6th, and took temporary quarters at Camp Sprague. After two removes, its camp was established near Bladensburg, and received the name of 'Camp Casey', in honor of General Casey, a native of East Greenwich, R. I. Here for about two months the time was filled up with drills, parades and reviews. On the 28th the regiment, in connection with ten others, was reviewed by General McClellan. Soon after, Colonel McCarty's commission was revoked, and Captain Isaac P. Rodman was appointed to fill the place.
On the 30th of October the Fourth was mustered into the service of the United States, and was fairly launched upon the stormy sea of rebellion. Drills and the routine of camp duties filled up the time until November 28th, when the regiment passed into Virginia, and on the 29th pitched its tents at Camp California, near Fairfax Seminary.
Among the troops selected for the North Carolina campaign, under General Burnside, the 4th Rhode Island was included. The regiment proceeded to Annapolis, Md., where it was brigaded with the 5th Rhode Island Battalion and the 8th and 11th Connecticut, which together constituted the 3d Brigade of the Coast Division. January 7th, 1862, the regiment embarked on board the 'Eastern Queen' for Fortress Monroe, and sailed thence with the fleet gathered there for Roanoke. In the violent gale which the fleet experienced when approaching Hatteras Light, the 'Eastern Queen' was driven ashore. The steamer 'Pocahontas', an unseaworthy vessel, was beached, with the loss of all but 19 of the horses belonging to the regiment. The men suffered severely for want of fresh water and food, but finally were safely landed, and participated in the successful battle of Roanoke Island, February 7th and 8th. This was the first experience of the regiment under fire, and it had the honor of first planting the Union colors on Fort Bartow, thus announcing to the fleet that victory had been achieved. The regiment bivouacked the night of the 8th, and soon after went into camp at 'Camp Parke', where it remained for a month, recruiting its strength. The capture of Newbern, as a part of the operations of the campaign, was planned, and on the 14th of March was successfully accomplished by the combined land and naval forces, with a loss to the rebels of 46 siege guns, 3 field batteries, 3,000 stand of small arms, about 300 men taken prisoners, and 500 men killed and wounded. The federal losses were 91 killed and 466 wounded. In this battle the 4th Rhode Island was fiercely engaged, and by an impetuous bayonet charge decided the fate of the day. The regiment lost 8 killed and 22 wounded. Of the former were Captain Charles Tillinghast, of Providence, R. I., a brave and energetic officer, and Sergeant George H. Church, of Wickford, R. I.; of the latter were Captain William S. Chace and Lieutenant George E. Curtis, both of Providence.
May 1st Colonel Rodman was appointed military governor of Beaufort and Major Allen provost marshal for the entire district. Colonel Rodman having been commissioned brigadier general, the command of the regiment was assumed by Lieutenant Colonel George W. Tew. Lieutenant Joseph B. Curtis was placed on General Rodman's staff.
When the 9th Army Corps, under General Burnside, left North Carolina to co-operate with General McClellan on the Peninsula, the regiment followed his fortunes, and embarking on board the 'Empire State' arrived at Fortress Monroe July 8th, and debarked at Newport News, where the command was taken by Colonel William H. P. Steere, promoted from lieutenant colonel of the 2d Regiment, R. I. Volunteers. Lieutenant Colonel Tew having resigned August 11th, Adjutant Curtis, of General Rodman's staff, was appointed to succeed him. The regiment was now in the 2d brigade, comprising itself and the 8th and 11th Connecticut, all under the command of Colonel Harland.
From Newport News the regiment proceeded with its corps to Fredericksburg, and after General Pope's failure at the second battle of Bull Run, joined General McClellan, and took part in the great struggle made on the soil of Maryland. It shared in the spontaneous ovation bestowed by the citizens of Frederick upon the Union forces as they entered that city, and in the battle of South Mountain, fought September 14th, sustained the honor already gained in North Carolina. In the battle of Antietam, on the 17th of September, the regiment engaged with a valor second to no other on the field, and closed the sanguinary day with a loss of 98 killed and wounded. Among the latter were Colonel Steere, who received a rifle bullet in his thigh; Captain Caleb T. Bowen, taken prisoner and paroled; Lieutenants George H. Watts, severely, George P. Clark, dangerously, and acting Lieutenant George R. Buffum, mortally. The color bearer, Corporal Thomas B. Tanner, having carried his flag within 20 feet of the enemy, was killed, but the flag was saved from capture by Lieutenant Curtis. Assistant Surgeon Smalley was laboriously employed in rendering service to the wounded, Surgeon Miller being detailed to the general hospital, where his duties were arduous. Colonel Steere attempted to lead on his men after being struck, but fainting from loss of blood, was carried to the division hospital, and the command devolved on Lieutenant Colonel Curtis. The regiment was here called to mourn the death of its former commander, General Isaac P. Rodman, who received a mortal wound in this bloody contest - a musket ball entering the left breast and passing completely through his body. He was removed from the field and conveyed to the house of Doctor Horner, near Hagerstown, Md., where he died September 29th, aged 44 years, in the presence of his father and his wife, who were with him to comfort his last hours. His remains were brought to Providence October 3d, where they lay in state in the representatives' hall in the state house until the afternoon of the next day, when, after an impressive service, held on a canopied and draped platform erected on the State House Parade, they were conveyed to South Kingstown, and buried October 5th, with military honors.
In November the regiment, with the Army of the Potomac, was in front of Fredericksburg, and in the battle of December 13tth, took an active part. Lieutenant Colonel Curtis, a brave and promising officer, still in command, was killed by a ball from a shrapnel shell, while re-forming the regimental line. Lieutenant George E. Curtis, Corporal Hiram Freeborn and seven privates were wounded. The remains of Lieutenant Colonel Curtis were conveyed to Providence, where they were received with military honors, and after lying in state, were buried December 20th, in the North Burying Ground. Colonel Steere being still confined by his wound, the command of the regiment was assumed by Major Buffum, who soon after (December 24th) was commissioned lieutenant colonel. Captain James T. Bucklin was promoted to major. The regiment was now detached from Colonel Harland's brigade and with the 13th New Hampshire and 25th New Jersey, was formed into a new brigade, under Colonel Dutton. February 8th, 1863, it accompanied the 9th Army Corps to Fortress Monroe, and once more encamped at Newport News. Here it received, through Mrs. Sarah M. Hall, a handsome national flag and guidons, the gifts of a few friends in Providence. On the 13th of March the regiment made its camp near Suffolk, Va. From that time to April 16th, it was in active operations. May 3d it participated in an engagement at Hill's point, across the Nansemond river, with the loss of one man (Corporal James Grimwood) killed, and four wounded. Of the latter were Lieutenant George F. Waterman and Corporal George W. Allen. June 22d, it moved on an expedition to King William Court House, which it reached July 6th, and returned to its encampment July 13th, greatly fatigued, but having suffered no loss. Previous to this, Colonel Steere returned to his command, after a detention, by his wound, of nearly nine months.
From July 15th, 1863, to March 1st, 1864, the regiment reported from near Portsmouth, Va. April 1st, it reported at Norfolk, Va. From thence it proceeded to Point Lookout, Maryland, where it reported May 1st, May 31st, and June 30th. It subsequently went to the front, and having rejoined the 9th Corps before Petersburg, Va.., was, between the 18th and 25th of July, much of the time doing duty in the trenches, and constantly under fire. The headquarters of Lieutenant Colonel Buffum were within musket range, and the music of minie balls was a daily entertainment. During this period, Captain Frank A. Chase, Sergeant James Farley, Sergeant Cromwell P. Myrick, George Martin (musician), and Privates Thomas Lake and Christopher Plunkett, were wounded. In the assault upon the rebel forces, immediately upon the explosion of the mine, July 30th, the regiment led by Lieutenant Colonel Buffum, advanced upon the enemy's line, and under a gallant fire entered the crater of the fort, caused by the explosion, where a hand to hand fight ensued, with great slaughter on both sides. The attempt to hold the position was made in vain. The overwhelming force and deadly fire of the rebels, threatened speedy destruction to the regiment, and Lieutenant Colonel Buffum, while obeying an order to withdraw his men, was fiercely charged upon by an overpowering foe, which resulted in the capture of himself, Captains Bowen, Shearman, Reynolds, Lieutenant Kibby, and 22 enlisted men. The total loss in killed, wounded and missing, was 83. Of the killed were Lieutenants George A. Field and John K. Knowles, acting adjutant, and Corporal George S. Thomas. The capture of Lieutenant Colonel Buffum left the command of the regiment with Major James T. P. Bucklin, an efficient, brave and valuable officer. August 2d, the regiment was still before Petersburg, and September 1st reported in the field.
From the date of departure from Providence to September 9th, 1863, the regiment broke camp 85 times, made heavy marches in three rebel states, and went within eight miles of Richmond. In the same period, besides the part taken in the battle of Roanoke, Newbern, Fort Macon, South Mountain, Antietam and Fredericksburg, it had two skirmishes on the Nansemond river, and two at Suffolk. It entered the field with 890 men. On the date referred to, it had 581, including 175 recruits. Up to the same time it had lost 295 men in killed, wounded and by disease. Patriotism and fidelity are the sum of its honorable record. The last battle in which the regiment took part, was in the operations on the Weldon railroad, Friday, September 30th, on the eve of the termination of its time of service, losing two men killed and two wounded. On the Monday following, October 3d, it left scenes full of exciting interest for home, and reached Providence on the morning of the 7th. It was received with a salute from the Marine Artillery, and escorted to the Marine Armory, where the men were warmly welcomed by Lieutenant Governor Padelford in behalf of the people of the state, and then partook of a generous breakfast, prepared by L. H. Humphreys. The regiment numbered 189 officers and enlisted men, and came on in command of Captain Walter A. Read, and was mustered out of service October 15th. Of the original three years' men 175 having re-enlisted as veterans, were with recruits, remaining in the field, consolidated October 21st, 1864, with the 7th Rhode Island Infantry, to be known as the 7th Rhode Island Volunteers. By order of General Meade, March 7th, 1865, in accordance with requirements of general orders from the war department, 1862, the names of the following battles in which the regiment had borne a meritorious part, were directed to be inscribed on its colors, viz.: Roanoke Island, Newbern, Fort Macon, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Suffolk, Weldon Railroad, Poplar Spring Church, Hatcher's Run.
In May, 1862, the rebel General Thomas J. Jackson, familiarly known as 'Stonewall', with a large body of men, made a sudden raid upon the valley of the Shenandoah, and threatened the safety of Washington. A telegram to the governor of Rhode Island, calling for the immediate forwarding to the national capital of all the available troops in the state was received by Governor Sprague at midnight, and before sunrise measures had been taken to comply with the call. The excitement and enthusiasm were intense. The national guards furnished an ample reserve from which to draw. Volunteers came pouring in with great rapidity, and in two days the Lonsdale National Guards, the Natic National Guards, the Westerly National Guards and the Pawtucket Battalion, four full companies, where reported for duty, and left Providence, May 27th, for Washington, as the first detachment of the 9th Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers. The second detachment followed May 29th, thus in four days completing its organization, and commencing its journey to the field of duty.
The Ninth Regiment was organized by Colonel Charles T. Robbins, who accompanied it to Washington. It was subsequently placed under the command of Colonel John T. Pitman, whose commission bore date July 3d, 1862. July 1st the regiment crossed the Potomac into Virginia, and encamped near Fairfax Seminary. At the end of two days it returned by water to Washington, and going out across the eastern branch of the Potomac, it relieved the 99th Pennsylvania Volunteers, who joined the army of General McClellan on the Peninsula. For the remainder of its term of service it performed garrison duty, its headquarters being at Fort Baker. At the expiration of the term of enlistment, the regiment returned home. It reached Providence in the steamer 'Bay State', August 31st, and was escorted by the 10th Regiment through the various streets to Exchange place, where it was dismissed. With one exception, the companies belonged to other towns, and left the city in the earliest trains for their respective homes.
The 10th Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers was principally drawn from the companies in Providence, belonging to the 'National Guards', previously organized for state defense, or for any other emergency. These companies were the First Ward Light Guards, First Ward Drill Corps, Second Ward National Guards, What Cheer Guards, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Ward National Guards, and the Burnside Zouaves, organized and drilled respectively under Captains A. Crawford Greene, Benjamin W. Harris, Charles H. Dunham, William M. Hale, Elisha Dyer, William E. Taber, Hopkins B. Cady, Theodore Winn and Christopher Duckworth. The call had been partially anticipated and provided for in advance. At a meeting of the officers of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment National Guards, ex-Governor Elisha Dyer presiding, Colonel James Shaw, Jr., was requested to offer to the governor the service of the regiment as then officered and organized, in response to the call he made May 23d. The offer was accepted. May 25th, at midnight, the despatch announcing the defeat of General Banks, and calling for troops, was received at 1 o'clock A.M., May 26th, the executive issued an order to immediately organize the National Guards for active duty; at 9 o'clock A.M., the companies met at their respective armories; at 7 o'clock P.M., of the same day, 613 men were reported to the governor as ready to march; and on the following day (27th) the regiment, under the command of Colonel Zenas R. Bliss, left Providence for Washington, where it arrived on the 29th, and took quarters for the night in the barracks near the depot. The next morning it marched to Tennallytown, and pitched its tents at 'Camp Frieze', in the midst of a drenching rain. Officers had been left in Providence to recruit additional men for both the 9th and 10th Regiments, who completed their work in two days, and May 29th a second detachment for each regiment was sent forward.
The regiment was assigned to the brigade commanded by General Sturgis, and on the 29th of May was mustered into the service of the United States. The usual routine of camp life now commenced, with its daily drills and details for guard and picket duty. June 26th it passed into Virginia and encamped near Fort Ward, in the vicinity of Fairfax Seminary. Here it remained until the 30th, when in obedience to orders, it embarked at Alexandria for Washington, marched thence to Tennallytown and bivouacked for the night, and July 1st was distributed among the several forts, as follows: Company B, Captain Elisha Dyer, and Company K, Captain G. Frank Low, Fort Pennsylvania; Company D, Captain William S. Smith, Fort De Russey; Company A, Captain William E. Taber, Jr., Fort Franklin; Company E., Captain Hopkins B. Cady, and Company I, Captain William M. Hale, Fort Alexander; Company H, Captain Christopher Duckworth, Battery Vermont and Martin Scott; Company C, Captain Jeremiah Vose, Fort Cameron; Company G, Captain A. Crawford Greene, Fort Gaines. This chain of forts extended over a space of six or eight miles, commanding the Potomac at Chain Bridge, and all the roads leading to Harper's Ferry and Rockville.
August 6th, Colonel Bliss issued a farewell order to the regiment, and returned to Providence to take command of the 7th Regiment. On his departure, Lieutenant Colonel Shaw assumed command, and was commissioned colonel August 11th. At the same date, Captain William M. Hale was promoted to be lieutenant colonel. Colonel Shaw was a valuable officer, energetic in executive duties, an excellent disciplinarian, and ever watchful for the rights and comfort of his command. December 31st, 1862, he was commissioned lieutenant colonel in the 12th Regiment, Rhode Island Volunteers, and served before Fredericksburg and also in the Tennessee campaign, under General Burnside. Subsequently he was commissioned colonel in a Maryland colored regiment, and served with distinction in the second Peninsula campaign. The term of service having expired, the regiment was relieved by the 113th New York Volunteers, and August 25th started for home, accompanied by the 10th Battery R. I. Light Artillery. It proceeded through Baltimore, Harrisburg and Easton, to Elizabethport, where it embarked on board a steamer, and arrived in Providence on the morning of the 28th. It returned to Providence with 674 men, 25 reported as unfit for duty, and three left behind in hospitals, sick. During the term of service, two died, and their remains were brought home. The regiment was mustered out of service September 1st.
On the 22d day of May, 1862, a general order was issued to enlist and organize the 7th Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers, to serve during the war. 'Camp Bliss' was established in South Providence for drill and for the formation of soldierly habits preparatory to the fatigues of the march and the conflict of the field. Welcome B. Sayles, Esq., of Providence, having been commissioned lieutenant colonel, engaged energetically in the work of enlistment, but which, owing to unfavorable circumstances, proceeded slower than in preceding regiments. By the unwearied diligence of officers and agents, the regiment had, early in September, nearly reached its maximum number. September 10th it broke camp, and under the command of Colonel Zenas R. Bliss, an accomplished officer, proceeded to Washington, where it arrived on the 12th. It was soon called to the front at Fredericksburg, Va., and engaged there in the hard fought battle on December 13th. Throughout that sanguinary day the regiment exhibited the most unflinching bravery, and after expending all its ammunition, besides that procured from the dead and wounded, and from other regiments, it remained on the field with fixed bayonets until ordered off at 7 1/2 o'clock in the evening. In this battle the regiment suffered severely -- 140 killed and wounded being reported. Lieutenant Colonel Sayles was instantly killed by the fragment of a shell. Major Jacob Babbitt was mortally wounded. Adjutant Charles F. Page, Captains Rowland G. Rodman, James H. Remington and Lewis Leavens; Lieutenants George A. Wilbur and David R. Kenyon, and Sergeant Major Joseph S. Manchester, were severely wounded. Colonel Bliss had several narrow escapes. The remains of Lieutenant Colonel Sayles were brought to Providence, and after lying in state in the Representatives' Hall, under a spacious marquee, formed of mourning drapery, were entombed December 20th in Grace Church Cemetery, with Mason and state military honors. The deceased was 50 years of age when he fell. He was a native of Bellingham, Mass., and possessed uncommon executive ability. He was for eight years postmaster in Providence, was one of the founders, and for several years chief editor of the Providence Post, and had long been a conspicuous leader in the democratic party of Rhode Island.
After the Fredericksburg battle the regiment remained at its old camp near Falmouth, suffering much from sickness and death, until February 9th, 1863, when with its corps it proceeded to Newport News. From Newport News the regiment proceeded to Kentucky with the Ninth Army Corps, under General Burnside, who had been assigned to the 'Department of the Ohio'. It reached Lexington March 31st, and at different dates, until June 1st, 1863, was at Winchester, Richmond, Paint Lick, Lancaster and Crab Orchard. From Kentucky it proceeded to join the army of the Tennessee in front of Vicksburg, Mississippi. It embarked at Cincinnati on steamboats and disembarked at Sherman's Landing. On the 15th of June it made an effort to join General Grant's army, in the rear of Vicksburg, but before accomplishing that design, was ordered to Snyder's Bluff, on the Yazoo river, to assist in defending Grant from an attack by Johnston. On the surrender of Vicksburg the regiment was joined with other troops in pursuit of the retreating Johnston. July 10th it reached Jackson, where a large amount of the rebel president's private correspondence was discovered and seized as a trophy of war. July 20th the regiment left Jackson, and on the 24th arrived at Snyder's Bluff, where the campaign of the Mississippi ended. August 8th the brigade embarked on steamboats for Cairo, and soon ran aground in the Yazoo river. In attempting to get off, the boat containing the 7th Rhode Island broke her rudder, and was detained until the afternoon of the 10th. Many of the men were taken sick with the Yazoo fever, and during the trip up the Mississippi three died and were buried on the shore. August 20th the troops arrived at Cincinnati, and proceeded to Nicholasville, Ky. Including the two killed at Jackson, there was a loss of 35 by death to October 1st, besides many subsequently discharged or transferred to the Invalid Corps. On the 7th of September the regiment was ordered to join the army of General Burnside in Tennessee; but on representation of its condition, it was sent to Lexington, Ky., to do provost duty.
On the 2d of April, 1864, the regiment set out on its return to the Army of the Potomac. It proceeded by the way of Cincinnati, where it took the cars for Annapolis, Md. The regiment left Annapolis for Alexandria, Va., April 23d, and passing through Washington encamped on Arlington Heights on the 25th. April 27th it marched to Fairfax Court House, and the next day departed for the south bank of the North Anna river.
May 4th the regiment moved with the 9th Corps from Bristoe Station, Va., toward the Rappahannock. On the 5th it was detached from its brigade to guard trains, but rejoined it in time to share in the bloody struggles around Spottsylvania Court House. On the 10th it lost one man wounded. On the 12th it occupied and held a position from which two large regiments had been driven. In the battle of this day Lieutenant Darius I. Cole was killed. On the 18th the regiment held a position in front of the Union lines for six hours, exposed to a raking fire from a battery in close proximity. During six days it lost 62 in killed and wounded. All the way to Cold Harbor, from May 19th to June, hard marching and hard fighting was its daily experience. In a bloody charge on the 3d of June, nearly one-third of the regiment went down. At Cold Harbor, from the 6th to the 12th, two lines of works were built, and skirmishing was most of the time going on. On the 14th the Chickahominy river was crossed, on the 15th the James river, and in the afternoon of the 16th the regiment formed a line and dug pits in front of the enemy's works around Petersburg. While here its decimated ranks were replenished by the re-enlisted veterans and the recruits of the 4th Rhode Island, which (October 21st) became consolidated with it. From the opening of the campaign to May 18th, Captain Theodore Winn commanded the regiment, and Captain Alfred M. Channel from June 15th to 17th; after which Captain Perry Daniels took command, and June 29th was commissioned lieutenant colonel. After the explosion of the mine before Petersburg, July 30th, on which occasion he led a brigade of another corps (his own regiment acting as engineers), he was breveted colonel for gallantry and general good conduct. In this battle he received three bullets through his clothes, and on several other occasions was touched by rebel lead, though never seriously wounded.
On the 28th of September the regiment took part in an engagement near the Weldon railroad.
From the last of November, 1864, until the fall of Petersburg, the regiment formed a part of the garrison of Fort Sedgwick, generally known as 'Fort Hell', from its exposed position, on the Jerusalem plank road, and a part of the time Colonel Daniels was in command of the fort. In the action of April 2d, 1865, the regiment, though in garrison, was under a heavy artillery fire much of the day, and was engaged most of the forenoon, one or two companies at a time, in carrying ammunition to our troops in the captured works. The casualties of this day were Major Peleg E. Peckham, Captain Edwin L. Hunt, Lieutenant Albert A. Bolles and 11 privates wounded. The wound of Major Peckham proved fatal. On the receipt of the news of President Lincoln's assassination, it moved with the corps for Washington, and arrived at Alexandria April 28th, where it was mustered out of service on the 9th of June following. By general orders, the names of the following battles, in which the regiment had borne a meritorious part, were directed to be inscribed on its colors: Fredericksburg, Siege of Vicksburg, Jackson, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, Popular Spring Church, Hatchers Run.
The regiment set out immediately for Providence, where it arrived in the steamer 'Oceanus', from New York, Tuesday morning, June 13th, accompanied by the 35th Massachusetts Volunteers en route for home. The regiment returned with 350 enlisted men and 20 officers. In marching by the residence of General Burnside, the men cheered their old and beloved commander in the most enthusiastic manner, which touching demonstration of affection he gracefully acknowledged. June 21st Colonel Daniels issued a spirited farewell order, and the 7th Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers, with its record of gallant deeds, passed into history.
There remained still in the field Companies B, D and G of the re-enlisted veterans of the 4th Rhode Island, and the recruits belonging to the Seventh, whose term of service had not expired. These, by special order of the war department, were formed into a battalion of three companies, to be known as 'Battalion Seventh Rhode Island Volunteers'. This organization was continued until July 13th, 1865, when the battalion was mustered out of service near Alexandria, Va. The men, about 200 in number, returned to Providence under the command of Captain Caleb T. Bowen, with Adjutant George B. Costello and Surgeon C. G. Corey. The other commissioned officers were Captain Daniel S. Remington and Lieutenant A. R. Collins, Company B; Captain Winthrop A. Moore and Lieutenant Merchant Weeden, Company D; Lieutenant C. Goffe, Company G. The battalion reached Providence at 3 o'clock Wednesday morning, July 17th, and was refreshed with a bountiful breakfast, prepared by direction of Captain Crandall.
When the president of the United States, on the 4th of August, 1862, issued a call for 300,000 men to serve for a period of nine months, the people of Rhode Island responded promptly and with great unanimity. Two regiments were to be raised, the 11th and the 12th. 'Camp Stevens' was established on the Dexter Training Ground in Providence, for the reception of recruits, and the charge of organizing the 11th was assigned to Captain A. C. Eddy. Eight hundred men, including two companies raised through the exertions of the Providence Young Men's Christian Association, were enlisted in this city; 200 were sent by North Providence, Smithfield, Pawtucket and Central Falls; and on the 23d of September the ranks were filled. Colonel Edwin Metcalf was appointed to the command. From the ladies of Providence the regiment received a national flag bearing its name, and the motto, 'God and the Constitution'. October 1st it was mustered into service, on the 4th it performed escort duty at the funeral ceremonies of General Isaac P. Rodman, in Providence, and on the evening of the 6th broke camp and departed for Washington, where it arrived on the evening of the 8th, and spent the night in the barracks near the depot. The next day it encamped on the East Capitol hill, and the following Saturday marched across Chain Bridge to near Forth Ethan Allen, and the next day made its second camp about a mile from that fortification. After a little more than a week spent there, the regiment proceeded to Miner's hill, where it established a camp. Drills, parades and picket duties now made up the daily routine of regimental life, all tending to toughen the men for the more serious work of the front, which they hoped to see. Once only were they called to answer to the long roll, when a midnight march to Mills' Cross Roads, accompanied by two regiments of the brigade, proved that the rebel cavalry whose approach had caused the alarm were not disposed at that time to measure strength. Colonel Metcalf having been appointed to the command of the 3d Regiment of Heavy Artillery at Hilton Head, S. C., left in November for that field of duty, with the sincere regret of the regiment, devolving its command on Lieutenant John T. Pitman, who, during the entire nine months' service, won to a rare degree the respect and confidence of the men.
The desire to enter at an early day upon the active duties of a campaign was not to be gratified, and in place thereof the regiment, January 14th, 1863, was assigned as a guard to the 'Convalescent Camp', midway between Washington and Alexandria. Spring wore on without much incident until April 15th, when the regiment proceeded to Alexandria, embarked on the 'Hero', and sailed for Norfolk, Va., where it landed, and after a few hours delay took a train for Suffolk. This was an agreeable change, and gave promise of life more in accordance with military aspirations.
At Suffolk the 11th was annexed to the brigade of General Terry, who commanded the western front of the defenses. By an order of Colonel Church, the encampment received the name of 'Camp Perry', in compliment to the regimental surgeon. It marched to the 'Deserted House' on the South Quay road, and remained until the evening of the 20th, when being attached to the 3d Brigade, Colonel Farrar, 26th Michigan, commanding, it joined the division under command of General Corcoran, and marched to Windsor, where it encamped until the 22d, when it marched to the extreme front, three miles from Blackwater Bridge, throwing Company F as pickets one mile to the front, who were soon engaged by the enemy, and a brisk skirmish ensued which lasted until dark. On the afternoon of the 23d, Companies C, K and E, picketing the front, were attacked by six companies from a Mississippi regiment deployed as skirmishers. Company B was sent forward as a support, but soon deployed as skirmishers. The firing continued for some hours, the enemy being driven steadily back, leaving their dead on the field. Several prisoners were captured. Obeying orders to fall back to Windsor, the picket companies acted as a rear guard. On this expedition the regiment was absent eleven days.
June 12th the Regiment with a large force of infantry, cavalry and artillery, under the command of Brigadier General Corcoran, started on an expedition towards the Blackwater, and returned on the 18th, having suffered much from heat and excessive marching. Several times during the expedition it was in line of battle, but was not called into action. June 19th, it left Suffolk and proceeded to Norfolk, where it embarked on board the steamer 'Maple Leaf', and was conveyed to Yorktown. On the 22d, in company with many other regiments, the march was continued to Williamsburg, where the 11th was distributed among the forts and redoubts defending that place. June 30th, the Regiment was relieved from duty in the fortifications, retraced its steps to Yorktown, and reached its camp on the morning of July 1st. The term of service having expired, it embarked on board the propeller 'John Rice' for home, July 2d, and reached Providence at noon on Monday the 6th, with 838 men and 38 officers, leaving 55 men in hospital, and 1 commissioned officer and 3 privates on detached service. During the nine months' absence, 7 deaths occurred.
Nearly simultaneously with the organizing of the 11th Regiment the 12th commenced. Honorable George H. Browne was appointed its colonel, his commission bearing date September 18th, 1862. He immediately established his headquarters at "Camp Stevens," on the Dexter Training Ground, in close proximity to the 11th, and under his energetic action enlistments rapidly progressed. In less than four weeks the work was accomplished, and on the 13th of October the Regiment was mustered into the service of the United States. On arriving at Washington the regiment passed over the Potomac to 'Camp Chase', in the neighborhood of Arlington Heights, but before completing the work of tent pitching, was assailed by a violent storm of wind and rain, which raged two days and nights as a prelude of discomforts soon to follow. Here it was brigaded in General Casey's division of the army of the defenses of Washington, and received for its arms the old Springfield smooth bores. Soon after, the Regiment proceeded to Fairfax Seminary, and establishing a camp, devoted the time to drills and picket duty until December 1st, when the line of march was taken up for the front at Fredericksburg, Va., where an important blow was soon to be struck.
The regiment remained at Acquia Landing for three days, when with the brigade it marched to Fredericksburg. It arrived at Falmouth on the afternoon of Wednesday, December 10th, and was there brigaded with the 7th in the First Brigade, General Nagle, Second division, General Sturgis, of the Ninth Army Corps, General French, General Sumner's grand division. Here the regiment lay all night on its arms, ready to march at a moment's notice. The next morning it was ordered out, and forming in line towards Fredericksburg, remained in that position all day. About five o'clock, P. M., it was ordered back, and unsheltered passed another night, reposing on its arms. On the morning of the 12th, it crossed the river to Fredericksburg, where it passed the night, and early in the morning of the 13th formed in line of battle and marched to the front, where the fighting had already begun. In reaching the field of action the regiment was obliged to cross a deep cut, where it experienced a heavy enfilading fire from the enemy, which, had it been directed with as much accuracy as vigor, must have told severely on its ranks. To descend into the cut was easy enough, but to ascend the opposite bank was nearly impossible, and forming in line in the bottom of the cut, under a perfect storm of canister and grape, Colonel Browne marched his men by the flank down to its intersection with the railroad to where the right wing crossed. There forming in line they pushed up, and Lieutenant Abbott planted the regimental colors on the extreme front of the Union line.
The Regiment occupied one of the hottest positions on the field, and doggedly held its ground until evening, when, having fired away all its ammunition, and the other regiments retiring, it filed into the rear of the retreating column and returned to the position it occupied in Fredericksburg the night before. Roll call showed 109 killed and wounded, besides 95 missing, many of whom afterwards came in. The Regiment remained two days in Fredericksburg, and on Monday night, December 15th, re-crossed the river and went into camp.
The regiment remained in camp until January 9th, 1863, when it accompanied the Ninth Army Corps to the Peninsula and made its next camp on the banks of the James river, gaining greatly in health by the change. The day before withdrawing from the Rappahannock, Lieutenant Colonel James Show, Jr., joined the regiment. On the 25th of March it started for a new field of operations, and arrived at Cincinnati on the evening of the 30th, where it received a hospitable welcome. It crossed the river to Covington, Ky., the same night, and the next morning proceeded to Lexington. From the 1st to the 23d of April, it visited Winchester, Boonsboro, Richmond, Paint Lick and Lancaster. From the latter place it moved to Crab Orchard, where preparations were made for an advance into Tennessee. But the order was countermanded and another issued directing a march to Vicksburg in support of General Grant. The regiment started from Crab Orchard in company with the 7th for that place, but on reaching Nicholasville, an order was received detaching it from the Ninth Corps, and directing it to return to Somerset and report to Brigadier General Carter. It arrived at Somerset June 9th, having marched over dusty roads and under a broiling sun 100 miles in six days. When the arms were stacked and the roll was called, every man was found in the ranks. Here it was detached, and with the 32d Kentucky Volunteers, Lieutenant Colonel Morrow, was sent to Jamestown, near the borders of Tennessee, where it arrived June 24th, and was soon busy in guarding the fords on the Cumberland, and by various movements holding Morgan's guerillas in check.
On the 5th of July the regiment commenced its return to Somerset, having 20 prisoners in charge. On the 9th it was at Crab Orchard again, on the 10th at Dick's river, and on the 11th at Hickman's Bridge. A single day of service only now remained due, and the steps of the regiment were turned homeward. It arrived in Cincinnati July 15th and was received with demonstrations of respect. Morgan and his command now hovering in the vicinity and threatening an attack, the regiment, by request of General Burnside, took post at the junction of the roads of Mount Auburn, guarding the approaches to the city, and contributing to calm the apprehensions of the citizens. Here it remained until the 19th of July, when its services being no longer required, it set out for Providence.
The regiment arrived in Providence July 22d, and was met by the 4th Regiment State Militia, Colonel Nelson Viall, and the 6th, Colonel James H. Armington. The men were then dismissed, and on the following Wednesday, July 29th, were mustered out of the service. The regiment returned with nearly 800 men, 706 of whom on their arrival answered the roll-call for duty. During the term of nine months it traveled 3,500 miles, 500 of which were on foot.
Among the earliest thoughts of the citizens of Rhode Island after the battle of Bull Run, with other fields of carnage looming in the distance, was the care due to those of her sons who should be wounded in the progress of the rebellion, or become the victims of disease. The Marine Hospital, located in the city of Providence, seemed well adapted to the purpose, and on application of Governor Sprague, May 19th, 1862, the surgeon-general of the United States authorized a hospital for sick and wounded Rhode Island soldiers to be established there, and Doctor James Harris was appointed surgeon in charge of the same. This arrangement continued until August 18th, when the United States government having, in the latter part of June previous, established a hospital on an extensive scale at Portsmouth Grove, which received the designation of 'Lovell General Hospital', and Doctor Harris having been appointed surgeon of the 7th Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers, the patients of the former were transferred to the wards of the latter. A military police was now seen to be necessary. General Charles T. Robbins was directed by Governor Sprague to detail a guard from the active militia for duty at the United States Hospital, Portsmouth Grove, and the hospital in Providence. This arrangement was continued until November 15th, when a detachment from a company being enlisted by Captain Christopher Blanding, as a permanent garrison of the post, was sent to Portsmouth Grove to relieve the militia. This company was enlisted under an order of the war department, bearing date October 4th, 1862, and was mustered into service December 6th following. In the organization of the company Captain Blanding was not permitted to recruit able-bodied men, but was required to select from such as had been disabled in the field, yet were fit for garrison duty. Both himself and his lieutenants came within that rule.
The duties of the company at the hospital were the same as performed at any garrison. A chain of sentinels encircled the entire camp. The guard house was under the commander's control, to which all prisoners were committed. The company was a sort of provost guard to carry out the rules and regulations of the hospital, and to enforce the discipline necessary in so large a camp, composed of soldiers from different regiments throughout the Union. The hospital was closed August 25th, 1865, and the guards were resolved into private citizens.
The 1st Regiment Rhode Island Cavalry was originally composed of three battalions, two of which were recruited by the state and one by New Hampshire. In the work of enlistment in Rhode Island, Major Willard Sayles, Major William Sanford, General Gould and others were actively engaged. The regiment was organized in the autumn of 1861. Its first camp, named 'Camp Hallett', was in Cranston. In November Colonel Lawton received his commission. In December the regiment was removed to the Riding Park in Pawtucket, which received the name of 'Camp Arnold', in honor of Lieutenant Governor Samuel G. Arnold. March 12, 1862, the Second battalion, under Major Sanford, left for Washington, followed on the 14th by the First and Third. On arriving in Washington the regiment was assigned to the cavalry of the army of the Potomac, under Brigadier General George Stoneman, chief of cavalry. At Front Royal, in May, a sharp engagement ensued between the Third battalion and the rebel cavalry, infantry and artillery occupying the town, which resulted in their rout, with the loss of 133 men taken prisoners. The loss of the battalion was ten killed and wounded. Joining General Pope's army at Culpepper, it was assigned to picket duty at Raccoon Ford. It marched thence and opened the fight at Cedar Mountain, August 9th, losing seven men killed. It participated in all the battles and skirmishes of Pope's campaign. At Groveton, August 29th, and at Bull Run, August 31st, it was under fire. At Chantilly, September 1st, it drew the enemy's fire and engaged in the fight, losing two men wounded and two horses. Resting for a few weeks at Poolesville, Md., it was again in motion October 27th for Falmouth, and during the entire march was constantly on the flanks of the army and doing picket duty. In an affair at Montville, in the Louden valley, where it was attacked by a large body of Stuart's cavalry, Captain Lorenzo D. Gove was killed, and Lieutenant Joseph F. Andrews and several privates were taken prisoners. What was called 'the first cavalry fight of the war' took place at Kelly's Ford, March 17th, 1863. Here the regiment displayed great gallantry and achieved an honorable distinction. It charged across the river, the fords of which were deep, well defended and barricaded, repulsed the enemy, and took 24 prisoners. In an open field across the river three charges were made by the Union forces, each time driving the enemy. The whole number of killed and wounded was 26.
In April following this battle, the regiment accompanied General Stoneman in his raid toward Richmond, and in May took part in the battle of Chancellorsville, losing a few men taken prisoners. June 9th, during the battle of Brandy Station, it was employed upon the flanks and rear scouting. June 17th the regiment advanced to Middleburg, where the rear guard of Stuart's command was encountered. After a brisk fight of half an hour, the rebels retreated in disorder. The town was held till 7 o'clock, P. M., and barricaded. At about 5 o'clock, Captain Frank Allen with two men, was despatched to General Kilpatric, at Aldie, for re-enforcements. In the meantime the enemy surrounded the town and attempted to storm the barricades, but were repulsed with great slaughter. In three successive charges they were driven back, but in view of his perilous situation, and no aid arriving, Colonel Duffie retired from the town, crossed Little River and bivouacked for the night. With no prospect of succor, and being informed by scouts previously sent out that the roads in every direction were full of the enemy's cavalry, Colonel Duffie on the 18th directed the head of his column on the road to Aldie, when a severe engagement with the enemy commenced. Though hemmed in by a vastly superior force in the front and rear and on both flanks, the colonel succeeded in cutting his way through, and escaped by Hopeville Gap. This fight resulted in five killed, fourteen wounded, and 200 taken prisoners.
From September 12th to November 10th the regiment participated in engagements at Culpepper Court House, Rapidan Station, Pony Mountain, Sulphur Springs, Auburn, Bristoe Station, Wolf Run and Rappahannock Station, besides guarding the rear and railroad communications at Catlett's Station. About the 20th of November it was detached from the brigade and reported to Brigadier General Kenly for duty with the First Corps in guarding the railroad. The army advanced to Mine Run, and during the battle there on the 27th, the regiment was engaged in scouting for guerillas.
January 5th, 1864, the New Hampshire battalion was permanently detached from the regiment to form a nucleus of a regiment from that state, and subsequently went home to recruit. March 26th the regiment, including the re-enlisted veterans, came to Providence on furlough, under command of Major Farrington, and were greeted on their arrival with a national salute. April 8th the regiment left for Washington, and on the 9th of May was ordered (unmounted) on duty in the defences of the capital, and was assigned to the cavalry brigade commanded by Colonel Charles R. Lowell. July 26th the regiment crossed the Appomattox river; on the 27th crossed the James river at Dutch Gap, and had a brisk skirmish with rebel cavalry; and on the 28th attacked the rebel infantry and drove them to Malvern Hill with the loss of one man killed. Early in August the regiment joined General Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley, and participated in the movements against General Early in that quarter. It was engaged in skirmishes and battles at Charlestown, Kearnysville, Smithville, Berrysville, Summit Point, Opequan river, Winchester, Fisher's Hill, Milford Creek, New Market, Waynesboro, where Captain George N. Bliss was wounded and taken prisoner, Kernstown, Woodstock, Cedar Creek and Road's Hill. January 1st, 1865, it was consolidated into a battalion of four companies. February 28th the cavalry commenced a march with General Sheridan, which eventuated in the battle of Five Forks, and after the battle near Waynesboro, March 3d, in which General Early's forces were routed, the regiment returned to Winchester in charge of prisoners captured. March 24th it marched to Mount Jackson to parole the men of General Lee's surrendered army. June 22d it was relieved from duty with the army of the Shenandoah and marching to Monrovia Station, Md., reported to General Lew Wallace, at Baltimore. July 28th it marched to the Relay House and reported to General Kenly, and August 3d was mustered out of service at Baltimore. Proceeding without delay to Providence, the regiment, now a battalion of 335 men, arrived there Saturday morning, August 5th. The men were paid off August 15th, by Major Hapgood, Paymaster, U.S.A.
The 7th Squadron Rhode Island Cavalry consisted of two companies. Company A, Captain Christopher Vaughn, was enlisted mostly in Providence. Company B, Captain Sanford S. Burr, was composed of students of Dartmouth College, N. H., and of Norwich University, Vt., who offered themselves to Governor Sprague for the three months service, and were accepted by him. The Student Company arrived in Providence June 19th,1862, and went into camp on the Dexter Training Ground.
On the 24th of June the squadron was mustered into the service of the United States, and on the 28th departed for Washington. It established for a few days 'Camp Eddy', near Fairfax Seminary, and then marched to Winchester, where a considerable force was stationed under General White. Its encampment was named 'Camp Sigel', and until September the squadron was constantly engaged in picket duty and scouting.
While at Winchester, the term of service being nearly expired, the officers and enlisted men agreed to remain until the rebels should be driven out of Maryland. On the 2d of September the squadron was sent on a scouting expedition as far as Newtown and Middleburg, and took several rebel soldiers prisoners. With the departure of Lee from Maryland, the work of the squadron closed. Setting out for home, it reached Providence September 26th, and was quartered at the Silvey barrack. Though the campaign had been short, the services performed were creditable to the squadron, to its commander, Major Corliss, and to the state.
On the 31st day of August, 1862, the war department issued an order for raising the 1st Battalion, 2d Regiment Rhode Island Cavalry, to be under the command of Major Augustus W. Corliss, then the senior officer of the 7th Squadron Rhode Island Cavalry. On the 15th of November, another order was issued to make it a full regiment of three battalions. The 1st Battalion was full December 24th; the 2d Battalion, January 19, 1863, and Major Corliss was promoted to be lieutenant colonel. The two battalions were ordered to join Major General Banks, and arrived in New Orleans in season to take part in the first advance on Port Hudson, March 14, 1863. The regiment was embraced in the force engaged in the Teche expedition. It started from Baton Rouge, and proceeded by way of Algiers, to Brashear City, took up the line of march thence with General Emory's division, and participated in the battles of Bisland and Franklin. The expedition proceeded to Alexandria, La., and the regiment was actively engaged in scouting and foraging.
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