This section contains articles of genealogical and historic
interest on Rhode Island in general, from old Rhode Island books and newspapers.
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The History of Battery H - First Regiment RI Light Artillery
in the war to Preserve the Union 1861 - 1865
by Earl Fenner
Providence: Snow & Farnham, Printers, 1894
p. 137 - 138.
WARNER ALDEN. Warner Alden, son of Oliver and Lucinda (Cobb) Alden, was born in North Middleboro, Mass., Feb. 3, 1830. He is a lineal descendant of John Alden, who came over in the 'Mayflower', and was one of the founders of the Plymouth Colony. His father, Oliver Alden, served in the War of 1812. His mother, Lucinda (Cobb) Alden, was the daughter of Ansel and Cynthia (Howard) Cobb. Comrade Alden's parents had three children, Abner, William C., and Warner. Abner served at the age of nineteen in the Florida War, and was discharged as a first lieutenant. He died in 1883, in Iowa. Wiliam C. enlisted in the Third Massachusetts Infantry, during the War of the Rebellion, and went to Fortress Monroe, and served three months. Upon the expiration of his term of service he returned home with his regiment, re-enlisted and served three years in the Fortieth Massachusetts Infantry, and is now living in Boston.
In his youth Comrade Warner Alden received a common school education in the public schools of his native town. After leaving school he learned the trade of mason, which calling he still follows.
Comrade Alden enlisted Oct. 1, 1862, in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, and was mustered into service with his battery Oct. 14, 1862. He served faithfully and continuously with his battery until he was mustered out of service June 25, 1865, at the termination of the war.
He married Matilda White. They have four children: Mabel J., May F., Lizzie N. and Gordon Brooks.
Comrade Alden is a worthy member of Prescott Post, No. 1, Department of Rhode Island, Grand Army of the Republic, having joined that Post Sept. 2, 1892. He is also a member of Battery H Veteran Association, First Rhode Island Light Artillery.
HENRY A. ALEXANDER. Henry A. Alexander, son of James A. and Jerusha M. (Skinner) Alexander, was born in Foxboro, Mass., on the 20th day of January, 1824. He attended the district school of that town in his youth, and subsequently attended school in Natick, Mass. He afterwards learned the business of a rubber worker, which calling he still follows.
He enlisted in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Sept. 25, 1862, and was mustered into service Oct. 14, 1862. Owing to failing health he was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps Sept. 30, 1863. On his return from the army he located in his native town (Foxboro), and is an honored member of E. P. Carpenter Post, No. 91, of the Department of Massachusetts, Grand Army of the Republic. He is also a member of Fair Oaks Commandery No. 20, of Natick, Mass. He is also connected with Battery H Veteran Association.
p. 101 - 104.
CRAWFORD ALLEN, JR. Lieut.-Col. Crawford Allen, Jr., was born in Providence, R.I., April 2, 1840. He is the son of Crawford and Sarah S. Allen, and grandson of the late Rev. Nathan B. Crocker. He received his education at Brown University, and, upon leaving that institution, he traveled in Europe, and subsequently made a voyage to China, visiting various islands in the East Indies. He afterwards went to California, and was in the city of San Fransisco upon the breaking out of the Rebellion. He immediately returned to Rhode Island, and received a commission as second lieutenant in Battery G, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Nov. 7, 1861. This battery proceeded to Washington Dec. 7, 1861. It took part with the Army of the Potomac in the campaign on the Peninsula. It withdrew from the Peninsula, marching by way of Yorktown to Hampton, where it embarked for Alexandria. The guns were sent forward by transports, in charge of Lieutenant Allen. At the battle of Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862, the batter under Captain Owen fought with great bravery. This battery also performed good service at the second battle of Fredericksburg, May 2d and 3d, 1863, when Lieutenant Allen received a slight wound.
Shortly after this battle Lieutenant Allen was made adjutant of the regiment, and acting adjutant-general of the Artillery Brigade Sixth Army Corps, which positions he continued to hold until Sept. 30, 1863, when he was promoted to the captaincy of Battery H, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Captain Hazard. Captain Allen was mustered into Battery H Oct. 1, 1863. Captain Allen commanded Fort Richardson, near the falls of the Potomac, for several months.
A correspondent of the Providence 'Press', writing from Camp Barry, under the date of November 30th, says:
'Captain Allen, in the time he has been with us, has shown himself quite efficient as a commander, as well as exceedingly popular with the men.'
In the battle before Petersburg, Va., April 2, 1865, Captain Allen with his battery bore an honorable part. The battery went into action at four A.M., with one section under the immediate command of Captain Allen. It moved forward with the division, and, after crossing the rifle-pits, opened upon a section of rebel artillery which had a flank fire on the Federal infantry. It was soon driven off, when the battery ceased firing, moved to the left, towards Hatcher's Run, bringing up the caissons and awaiting orders. It then moved forward again with the skirmish line and engaged with a rebel battery, which soon had to leave its position. It was followed up until arriving at the Whitworth House, where the battery went into position, near the house which General Lee (Conferate) had occupied as his headquarters. The enemy had placed a rifle battery in position on the left, and obtained an anfilading fire at one thousand seven hundred yards. As the rebel battery was beyond the extreme range of our guns, Captain Allen went to Captain Adams of Battery G, of our regiment, and requested him to open fire upon the enemy. Captain Adams immediately opened on the rebel battery and soon silenced its fire.
Captain Allen was then ordered by Major Cowan to withdraw his guns, which he did, and went into park in rear of his First Division headquarters for the night. In this day's action four men and ten horses were killed, and six men wounded.
General Wheaton, commanding the First Division of the Sixth Corps, in his report to Major Whittlesey, under date of the 15th of April, says:
'During our advance towards Petersburg Capt. Crawford Allen Jr.'s Battery H, of the First Rhode Island Artillery, was admirably handled, and his losses were severe. His guns were always in front, frequently in advance of the skirmishers; and as our lines moved forward he invariably forced the enemy's batteries to retire, and followed them closely. Earlier in the day, when the assault commenced, Captain Allen very handsomely compelled a section of the enemy's artillery to retire. If these guns, occupying one of their intrenched works and thoroughly enfilading our lines, had not been silenced, they might have materially retarded our advance.'
Captain Allen was promoted major for gallantry and meritorious services before Petersburg. He subsequently received the brevet rank of lieutenant-colonel.
At the surrender of Lee's army at Appomattox Court House, to Captin Allen with his battery was accorded the honor of firing the first salute in honor of the victory.
p. 134 - 135.
LEON ALLISON. Artificer Leon Allison, son of James and Josephine Allison, was born in Three Rivers, Canada, May 1, 1820. He worked on a farm until his eighteenth year, when he went to Spencer, Mass., where he learned the shoemaker's trade. From there he removed to Providence and worked at his trade for awhile and then enlisted in the navy about the year 1841, serving on board the United State man-of-war 'Deleware' for three years, when he was honorably discharged, returned to Providence, and resumed his former occupation, the shoemaking business, and was thus engaged when he entered the army in the War of the Rebellion.
He enlisted as a private in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Oct. 9, 1862, and was mustered into service Oct. 14, 1862. He was subsequently promoted to artificer. While the battery was stationed at Fort Smith on the Potomac River, near Aquaduct Bridge, Comrade Allison was sent into Washington on official business. On his return he was brutally assaulted and all his valuables taken from him, even to the the shoes on his feet. Upon his arrival at the fort he was sent to the hospital, where the surgeon found that his jaw was broken. After he had recovered from his injuries he resumed his duties in the battery, and served with credit until his muster out June 28, 1865.
On returning to Providence he again followed his accustomed avocation, and has been engaged in the shoemaking business ever since. Although a veteran in years as well as of the war, he is still active and strong for a man of his age and is highly respected in the community.
He is a member of Prescott Post, No. 1, G. A. R., of Providence, and also of Battery H Veteran Association.
ORVILLE BALCOM. [This sketch was received too late to be placed in the list of sergeants.] Sergt. Orville Balcom, son of William and Eliza Doty (Thomas) Balcom, was born in the town of Cumberland, R.I., in 1841. His parents removed to Attleboro, Mass., when he was six years of age. During his youth he attended the public schools of Attleboro. He was mustered as a private into Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Oct. 14, 1862. He was subsequently promoted to corporal and sergeant. In the battles before Petersburg and at Sailors' Creek he performed every service incumbent upon him with credit to himself and likewise to the battery. He was mustered out of service June 28, 1865. He is a member of Battery H Veteran Association, and is connected with various societies in Attleboro, and enjoys the esteem and confidence of the citizens of that town.
p. 108 - 110.
GEORGE W. BLAIR. First Leiut. George W. Blair, son of William and Zilphia (Ross) Blair, was born in Woolwich, Me., May 28, 1835. His grandfather, James Blair, was a soldier of Bunker Hill. On his mother's side, his grandfather, Ebenezer Ross, served in the War of 1812.
His parents removed to Bath, Me., when George was about four years of age, where he received a common school education. His father was a sea captain, and was lost at sea on a voyage from Bath to Baltimore. At the age of seventeen he learned the trade of blacksmithing, of Duncan & Davenport, Bath, manufacturers of shipping supplies. He removed to Boston in 1856, and worked in the repair shop of the Eastern Railroad Company, East Boston. The following year he went to Providence, R.I., and was employed in the blacksmithing department of Thomas J. Hill's machine shop. He remained there until the breaking out of the Rebellion, when he enlisted as a private in the First Rhode Island Light Battery, April 17, 1861. The battery was mustered into service May 2, 1861, at the Patent Office, at Washington, D. C. At the expiration of its term of service (Aug. 6, 1861), it was mustered out. Soon after his return to Rhode Island, he enlisted for three years as sergeant in Battery B, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Aug. 13, 1861. While he was with his battery he participated in every engagement in which it took part. At the battle of Ball's Bluff, the battery received its first baptism of fire. In the Penisular campaign it took part in the Siege of Yorktown, battles of Fair Oaks, Seven Pines, Peach Orchard, Savage's Station, White Oak Bridge, Glendale, and Malvern Hill. It also distinguished itself at the battles of South Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg.
On the 2d of December, 1862, Sergeant Blair was promoted to first sergeant, which position he held until discharged to accept an appointment as first lieutenant in Battery I, of the same regiment, to date from Feb. 2, 1863. This battery was never organized, and he was subsequently transferred to Battery H, April 23, 1863. He served with credit in this battery, participating in the battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania Court House. He resigned his commission April 29, 1864.
Shortly after his return north he was employed by the Fairbanks Scales Company, of Boston. He was afterwards appointed to the police force of that city, and served four years in that capacity. He then returned to his old position in the Fairbanks Scales Company. He was subsequently appointed special officer of the property connected with the Old South Church, of Boston.
About the year 1875, he removed to Providence and entered the employ of the Barstow Stove Company, remaining there several years, when he went to Sing Sing, N.Y., and was appointed inspector of stove mountings in the prison, and in the employ of the Perry Stove Company, formerly of Albany, N. Y. He remained with this company two years, but in consequence of ill health he was compelled to relinquish this position and returned to Providence, and entered the employ of the Providence Furniture Company, and had charge of the Stove Department for several years. Since that time he has been employed as night watchman at the Weybosset Mills, Olneyville, R.I.
Lieutenant Blair was one time a member of Slocum Post, in Providence, but soon after the organization of Arnold Post, he was transferred to the latter post, where he has ever since retained his membership. He has held the several positions of adjutant, junior and senior vice commanders, and commander. He has also been president of Battery B Veteran Association.
p. 155 - 156.
HORACE C. BRIGGS. Horace C. Briggs, son of Silas and Robey Briggs, was born in the town of Pittsfield, Oswego County, State of New York, on the 12th day of May, 1829. His grandfather, Joseph Briggs, served in the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. During his youth the subject of our sketch attended the district school in his native town.
Comrade Briggs enlisted in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Sept. 9, 1862. During a portion of his term of service he was on detached duty as an orderly for Lieut.-Col. Albert Monroe, of the First Rhode Island Light Artillery, who was chief of artillery of the Second Army Corps. He was mustered out of service with his battery at Providence, R.I., June 28, 1865.
Conrade Briggs is a member of E. B. Piper Post, No. 157, Department of Massachusetts. He has served as junior and senior vice commander of his post, and is held in high esteem by his fellow townsmen of Walpole, Mass., where he now resides. He is also a member of Battery H Veteran Assocation.
JOHN P. CAMPBELL. First Sergt. John P. Campbell, son of James S. and Ann Campbell, was born in Treat's Village, in the town of Voluntown, Conn., March 29, 1844. He was educated in the public schools of that place. During the Civil War he enlisted as a private in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, June 24, 1862. He was mustered into service with his battery Oct. 14, 1862. By good conduct, gentlemanly bearing and kind consideration of all with whom he came in contact, he won the love and confidence of his comrades, and the approbation and esteem of his superior officers, and was successively promoted to corporal, sergeant, and in December, 1864, first sergeant, retaining that position on his muster out of service with the battery, June 28, 1865.
Comrade Cambell is at the present time (1894) a respected citizen of the village of Lafayette, in the town of North Kingstown, R.I. He holds the position of head overseer in the Rodman Mill, and is greatly beloved by all for his sterling worth, and especially by those employed under him for his many acts of kindness toward them.
[facing page: engraved portrait of First Sergt. John P. Campbell.]
p. 132 - 133.
JOHN P. CAMPBELL. Corp. John P. Campbell, son of John and Nancy J. (Malin) Campbell, was born in Boston, Mass., on the 8th day of April, 1842. His parents were of Scotch descent. On his father's side he is descended from the Campbells of Clyde, having an ancestry of rank in the Scottish Highlands. On his mother's side also his ancestors attained high distinction.
The subject of our sketch in his youth was brought up in the family of Jeremiah Russell Smith, father of William Russell Smith, a noted musician in South Medfield, Mass. He attended the South Medfield and Walpole schools, previously going to schools in Boston.
In the War of the Rebellion he enlisted as a private in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Sept. 19, 1862, and was mustered in Oct. 14, 1862. He was subsequently promoted to corporal. That he served with credit and honor in his battery is attested by his being wounded severely in hand, shoulder, and foot, in action near Petersburg, Va., April 2, 1865. He was corporal of the right piece, of the right section of his battery in that engagement. He was mustered out of service June 28, 1865.
Immediately upon his return from the army he went West, and was engaged in teaching in schools, etc. He received his college education in Cornell College, Mount Vernon, Iowa. After leaving college he read law under Judge Alonzo Converse, and was admitted to the bar in Iowa. He went to Abilene, Kansas, in the year 1876, where he located in the practice of law, and where he has since resided. He there established the 'J. P. Campbell Collection Agency', at the head of which he has continued since its formation. His practice has been in all courts, and has been a successful and profitable one. He is the author of several literary publications, brought out by some of the west known publishing houses in the country.
He is also well known as a lecturer, and has met with much success in that direction. His lectures on 'What is Life?' 'Courtship, Marriage, Divorce', 'A View of Heaven, from the Poet's Standpoint', and 'The Soldier', have been spoken of in the highest terms, and been received with universal favor. Of the author of these lectures this has been said:
'John Preston Campbell has, perhaps, the most complete choicely selected law and literary library in the State of Kansas, and being greatly attached to books, of his more matured and written deliberations much that is entertaining, ennobling and beneficial may be expected. An hour was spent in his rooms examining his books and chatting with one of the most genial converstationalists we had ever met.'
He has always been in warm sympathy with his comrades-in-arms, the 'boys who wore the blue' in the trying days of the Rebellion, and is an honored member of Post No. 63, Department of Kansas, Grand Army of the Republic.
[facing page: engraved portrait of Corp. John P. Campbell, 2d.]
p. 126 - 127.
EMULOUS A. CHEEVER. Sergt. Emulous A. Cheever, son of Amos and Abigail (Keech) Cheever, was born in Attleboro, Mass., Aug. 27, 1841. Sergeant Cheever's parents formerly resided in Wrentham, Mass., but subsequently removed to Attleboro, Mass., where the subject of our sketch was born. He received his education in the public schools of the town.
He enlisted in the service of his country Aug. 4, 1862, and was mustered in with his battery Oct. 14, 1862. He was promoted to corporal in 1862; and November 6th of that year was made a sergeant. He endeared himself to his comrades by his manly and upright character, and by many sterling qualities. He was mustered out of service with his battery June 28, 1865.
p. 111 - 115.
BENJAMIN H. CHILD. Second Lieutenant Benjamin H. Child, son of John G. and Mary A. Child, was born in Providence, R.I., May 8, 1843. He was educated in the public schools of his native city. Whe he was fourteen years of age he was apprenticed to Grenville Greenleaf, to learn the wire working business.
At the age of eighteen he enlisted as a private in the Second Rhode Island Battery, afterwards known as Battery A, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, June 6, 1861. The battery was hotly engaged at the first battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. It was the only six-gun volunteer battery taking all of its pieces from the field, two of them being in a disabled condition. Private Child was slightly wounded in this action. Battery A was connected with the Sixth, Ninth and Second Corps, Army of the Potomac. It was engaged in every battle in which the Second Corps participated. Private Child was present with his battery in the fight at Bolivar Heights, Sept. 16, 1861, and subsequently in the campaign on the Peninsula. On the 16th of July, 1862, he was promoted to corporal, and Sept. 12, 1862, he was made a sergeant. At the battle of Antietam he was again wounded, this time severely by a bullet in the head.
In the severe struggle at the battle of Gettysburg, Pa., Battery A fought with distinguished bravery, losing five men killed and twenty-three wounded. Here Sergeant Child was severely wounded in the shoulder, at the time of Pickett's charge on Cemetery Ridge. He was sent to Satalee Hospital, at West Philadelphia. When sufficiently recovered to be removed he started for Rhode Island. While on his way home he passed through New York City, at the time of the draft riots. Sergant Child witnessed the fearful scenes in the streets while he was being conveyed in a carriage through the city to the Fall River steamer where he was to embark for Rhode Island. It appeared as if the rabble might attempt to attack the wounded Union soldier, and he remarked that it would be 'rather humiliateing to be slaughtered by a mob after passing through the charge of Gettysburg.' But the drive of the carriage kept as far as possible from the centre of disturbance, and Sergeant Child was soon safely aboard the steamer. He was hurried aboard in such haste and in such rude fashion that his wound, but imperfectly healed, had to be opened again, and the result is that he is troubled with a stiff shoulder to this day.
In recognition of his services in the field Governor Smith commissioned him a second lieutenant in Battery A. He was afterwards transferred to Battery H, his commission dating from Nov. 6, 1863. Owing to his wound he was unable to report for dity until after Christmas. He then proceeded to Brandy Station, where Battery A was at the front, and received his discharge from that battery. The mustering office at General Sumter's headquarters had hardly signed the papers when a shell burst through the tent, and seriously wounded that officer. Lieutenant Child then returned to Washington, and reported for dity to Captain Allen commanding Battery H, which was then stationed at Camp Barry, in the defenses of Washington. He was mustered into this battery Jan. 8, 1864. He served with credit in his new position until he was compelled in consequence of his wounds to resign his commission, Nov. 23, 1864. For about eighteen months he was employed in the quartermaster's department at Washington.
On his return to Providence he was employed by Greenleaf & Company, on Westminster Street, for about two years. He was subsequently appointed watchman at the Rhode Island State Prison.
On the 1st day of May, 1868, he was appointed by the late Mayor Thomas A. Doyle a patrolman on the police force of the City of Providence, and he was promoted to doorman, Station 1, June 4, 1874; sergeant, Aug. 16, 1877; captain, Aug. 8, 1879; elected chief Jan. 5, 1881. Re-elected every year since.
He joined Prescott Post, No. 1, June 7, 1867. He was appointed Aide-de-Camp to the Department Commander in 1887-8; he was elected a delegate at large to the National Encampment in 1888; and elected a member of the Council of Administration of the Department of Rhode Island in 1889. In 1890 he was elected to the new position of Senior Vice Department Commander, and in the following year (1891) to that of Department Commander. He is a member of the Massachusetts Commandery, Loyal Legion of the United States. He is one of the committee on the publication of the 'History of Battery H'.
It may not be out of place here to mention the fact that Lieutenant Child's twin brother, William D. Child, served with distinction in Battery A, entering the service as private and rising successively to the rank of first sergeant. After this battery was consolidated with Battery B, it took part in the fierce battle of Reams's Station, Aug. 25, 1864, when the combined battery was nearly annihilated. The total of killed, wounded and missing numbered fifty-two, with a loss of all the guns and fifty horses. Lieut. William S. Perrin, who was in command of the battery, had his leg shattered and was taken prisoner. Lieutenants Chace and Spencer were also made prisoners. This disaster reduced the battery to seventy-two men. Captain Brown being on duty in Rhode Island, and the other officers in the hands of the enemy, the command devolved on First Sergeant Child, who continued to serve in that capacity until the arrival of Captain Brown.
On the fifieth anniversary of his birth, which occurred May 8, 1893, the friends of Chief Child (and they are legion), in recognition of his long and faithful service on the police force of the city, determined to show their affection and esteem for him in a substantial manner. On the evening of the above day, at his own home, with a large assembly present, he was made the recipient of an elegant solid silver tea service, the gift of the officers and members of the Providence Police Department; also a handsome remembrance from the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen of the City of Providence. One of the gifts which he prizes highly is a beautiful picture presented to him by his comrades of the Grand Army of the Republic. His estimable wife was also pleasantly remembered by several appropriate gifts from many friends and acquaintances.
p. 138 - 144.
SOLOMON CLOSE. Solomon Close, son of Joseph and Sarah (Brown) Close, was born in the town of Greenwich, Fairfield Country, State of Connecticut, Oct. 19, 1845. His ancestor, Thomas Close, came from England about the year 1661, and settled in Greenwich, Conn. He had four sons, Thomas, Joseph, Benjamin, and John. Comrade Cose is a direct descendant from Joseph. The names of Thomas Close and Thomas Close, Jr., appear of the list of seventy-two proprietors who purchased a large tract of land in West Greenwich, Conn., in 1762.
The grandfather of Comrade Close (Solomon Close) was a soldier in the War of the Revolution. At the time of the attack made by the British upon West Greenwich, under Governor Tryon, Feb. 26, 1776, he was an eye witness of the escape of General Putnam down the precipice as he was being pursued by the British soldiers. Putnam afterwards said he could hear the enemy's bullets strike in the trees as they fired at and overshot him as he rode down the steep declivity.
It is also related of Comrade Close's grandfather that two other soldiers and himself were concealed for twenty-four hours in an old stone wall at Throg's Neck, then occupied by the British. They were there for the purpose of capturing a British officer. They failed in the accomplishment of this object, however, as the enemy obtained information of their designs and instituted a search for the Yankee soldiers, who were hiding in an arch in the old stone wall, which was covered over with salt grass by a friend of the Yankee soldiers. While lying there the British walked over the very spot where they were concealed, and our comrade's grandfather says he could have struck the blade of his knife into their feet as they walked over him. They halted near the spot for quite a while, as the grass was considerably trampled down at that point. One of the British soldiers remarked the 'd----d rebels' must have lain there the night before. They were subsequently released from their perilous position by the aid of their friend already alluded to, and made good their escape. It is stated that Solomon Close was present at the storming of Stony Point, by the Continental forces under the command of Gen. Anthony Wayne. Our comrade's grandfather died Jan. 28, 1840, before his grandson was born, and for whom he was undoubtedly named. Other members of the Close family served with distinction in the War of the Revolution, and one particularly, Elnathan Close, was engaged in privateering. His exploits in connection with others like himself have formed the basis of many exciting tales.
Captain Andrew Meade and Elnathan Close, of Greenwich, with other daring spirits were engaged in privateering to the great annoyance of the enemy. They saillied out on their expeditions provided with large whaleboats, which were easily hidden from view in the day time in the small bays along the coast. On one occasion they proceeded by night to Ferry Point and seized upon a small store vessel, and secured her as a prize. The vessel was anchored in a small inlet known as Chimney Corner. The prize was so valuable that the enemy pursued them with one of their war vessels. They anchored off Chimney Corner, and began making dispositions to retake their vessel. But the people on shore who had assembled for the purpose of defending the prize, determined if possible to prevent its falling into the hands of the British. With a six-pounder, which was the only large gun in the town, they fired upon the British vessel. The first shot struck the deck of the vessel. The enemy returned the fire, but finding it impracticable to retake the vessel or inflict injury to the people on shore they relinquished their efforts in that direction and hastily withdrew.
The attack on the British vessel at Ferry Point had been made in two divisions. One division was commanded by Captain Meade and the other by Elnathan Close. Captain Meade while leaving the vessel with his division was wounded in both arms from shots fired by two marines on guard. Elnathan Close with his division at the same time boarded the vessel on the opposite side, soon had possession of the decks, and the forces below quickly surrendered with but little resistance.
Thus is will seem that Conrade Close came of good military stock. On his mother's side his ancestor, Thomas Brown, of Sussex, England, emigrated to this country in 1632. Comrade Close's father, Joseph, was at one time captain of a company of militia at White Plains, N. Y., where he then resided. He subsequently removed to Greenwich, Conn., and purchased a farm of about one hundred acres, and pursued there his occupation of farmer and drover, dealing largely in cattle, which he bought mostly in the middle and western states.
Joseph Close's family consisted of six children, four boys and two girls. One of these boys, Solomon, the subject of our sketch, was attending school when the War of the Rebellion began. He became imbued with martial ardor and had a strong desire to enter the army. But his parents opposed it. Not because they were not loyal to the Union cause, but they deemed it advisable that Solomon should remain at school a while longer.
In February, 1865, while his father was away buying cattle, our comrade decided that if he could not enter the service of his country as a soldier, he would go on a whaling voyage. To this proposition his mother reluctantly gave her consent. He proceeded to New York city and shipped for a voyage. From that city he was sent to New Bedford from which port the ship was to depart. While waiting for the vessell to sail Comrade Close observed the arrival of a whaler from a long voyage in the Arctic regions. The appearance of the vessel and the crew and the rough usage to which they had been subjected cooled the ardor of our friend for a cruise in the northern seas, and he sought the shipping agent and requested that he might be allowed to enter the army instead. To this arrangement the agent consented, and, as there was no recruiting office in New Bedford, our comrade proceeded to Providence, R.I., and enlisted as a private in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, March 7, 1865, and joined the battery at Burkeville Junction, Va., April 22, 1865, the day before the battery left for the long march to Danville, Va. Although not permitted to share in the more stirrng scenes of the battery's history, yet he cheerfully performed every duty incumbent upon him during his brief term of service, and was mustered out with the battery June 28, 1865.
On the 11th of June, 1866, he enlisted in the city of New York in Troop K, Fourth United States Cavalry, and served three years on the Texas frontier. In August, 1866, that dread scourge, cholera, made its appearance, and several men of his company were taken sick and died. Two of his tentmates were among the victims. Comrade Close was detailed to regimental hospital to care for the sick, and remained there until the epidemic abated. His regiment was at that time stationed a few miles outside of the city of San Antonio, Texas. After the cholera had disappeared the several companies of the regiment were scattered for a time, some of them being sent to different posts on the frontier, his company being assigned to Fort Inge, about ninety-five miles west of San Antonio. His company scouted the country in the vicinity of the post for two years, having several sharp engagements with the Comanche Indians. In this capacity the company continued the larger portion of its stay in Texas, hunting Indians, Mexican bandits, and outlaws. It was subsequently relieved by the Ninth United States Cavalry, and the company was ordered to Fort Brown, Texas, where Comrade Close was honorably discharged, June 11, 1869, his term of service having expired. He arrived home July 4, 1869.
On the 22d of October, 1869, he was employed as locomotive fireman on the New York and New Haven Railroad. May 28, 1873, he was promoted to locomotive engineer, and still retains that position. Although our comrade has seen twenty-four years of railroad service, yet he has never had a collision, nor has a passenger been injured on any of the trains he has run. It is a singular coincidence that three of his brothers have also been locomotive engineers.
Comrade Close married Cornelia J. Husted Sept. 25, 1872. She died Oct. 29, 1873. He married Mary F. Knapp Sept. 26, 1876. They have two children, Joseph, born Feb. 25, 1878, and Mary F., born Dec. 11, 1879.
Comrade Close is a resident of Stamford, Conn., and is an honored member of Hobbie Post, No. 23, Department of Connecticut. As indicative of the esteem in which Comrade Close is held we will state that on the 11th of April, 1893, he was made the recipient of a handsome gold badge of the Grand Army regulation pattern, studded with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, and presented to him by a number of his comrades and friends. He was elected Junior-Vice Commander of Hobbie Post, Dec. 7, 1893. He is also a member of Battery H Veteran Association.
ELMER L. CORTHELL. Capt. Elmer L. Corthell enlisted as private in Battery A, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, June 6, 1861. He was promoted to corporal soon after the first battle of Bull Run, and was transferred to Battery F, of the same regiment, Oct. 31, 1861, and appointed sergeant the same date. He was promoted to second lieutenant Oct. 11, 1862, and assigned to Battery H; first lieutenant Nov. 6, 1863, and transferred to Battery G. He having established an excellent military reputation by long service in the field, was promoted to captain of Battery D, Oct. 21, 1864, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Captain Buckley. He was mustered out of service July 17, 1865. After the war he engaged in the business of civil engineering, and located at Chicago, Ill.
[facing page: engraved portrait of Capt. Elmer L. Corthell.]
p. 127 - 130.
EARL FENNER. Corp. Earl Fenner was born in Providence, R.I., on the 20th day of April, 1841. He is the second son of James M. and Sarah A. Fenner. His mother was the daughter of Gould and Mary Brown, of North Kingstown, R.I. His ancestor, Capt. Arthur Fenner, erected in Johnston, R.I., (then a portion of the town of Providence) what was known as the 'Old Fenner Castle', a strongly constructed log house, built for the purpose of resisting the assaults of the Indians. The old 'Castle' and the lands adjacent thereto descended in direct succession to James, son of Capt. Arthur Fenner; then to his son Thomas Fenner; then to James M. Fenner, the father of Conrade Earl Fenner.
The subject of our sketch attended the public schools of Providence in his youth.
When the War for the Union began Comrade Fenner became imbued with the martial spirit of the times, and was desirous of taking part in the great struggle for national existence. On the 25th day of August, 1861, he enrolled as a private in Battery C, First Rhode Island Light Artillery. This battery left Providence on the 31st day of August, and proceeded to Washington. It remained at Camp Sprague engaged in daily drill until October, when it crossed the Potomac and encamped near Fort Corcoran, giving to its encampment the name of 'Camp Randolph'. From thence it removed to Hall's Hill, and again to Miner's Hill, Va., and became identified with Porter's division of the Army of the Potomac. While the battery was stationed here the privations and hardships of a soldier's life greatly impaired the health of Comrade Fenner, and eventually caused his discharge from the service Dec. 9, 1861.
Regaining his health the following year he again yearned to serve his country in her hour of peril, and enlisted as a private in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Sept. 24, 1862. From this time on until its final muster out Comrade Fenner became closely identified with its history. During his term of service he served as private, bugler and non-commissioned officer.
When the Army of the Potomac was moving towards Gettysburg, Pa., in June, 1863, Comrade Fenner was detailed to headquarters of the Third Brigade, of the Twenty-second Army Corps, and was ordered on special duty as a bearer of dispatches to the commanding general on the Army of the Potomac. As that army was on the march against the enemy his instructions were very explicit to deliver the dispatches entrusted to him to the general commanding wherever he might be found. On one occasion while returning from one of these journeys he narrowly escaped capture by Mosby's guerillas near Germantown, Va.
In the battles before Petersburg, the engagement of Sailors' Creek, and the closing scenes of Appomattox, where the surrender of the Confederate army occurred, Comrade Fenner was an active participant with his battery, and at the termination of the war returned to Rhode Island, where the battery was mustered out of service June 28, 1865.
Comrade Fenner is a member of the First Rhode Island Light Artillery Veteran Association, and served as Executive Committee of Battery H in the regimental association a number of years. In 1891 he was chosen first-vice president of the association, and in 1892 president.
On the 27th of June, 1891, he called a meeting of the old members of Battery H, for the purpose of forming a veteran association of the battery. Starting with only four members, through his untiring efforts as secretary and treasurer, the association now numbers on its roll fifty members. He was unanimously chosen historian by his comrades of the battery. Having in his possession a very valuable war diary that he kept while in service it has formed the nucleus from which a large portion of the facts and incidents relating to the history of the battery have been gathered. This diary has also been the means of aiding many of his comrades and thier widows in obtaining pensions, and likewise been of great service to the pension office in settling disputed cases.
Comrade Fenner is connected with various societies. He is a past chief patriarch of Narraganseet Encampment, No. 1, I. O. O. F., and has held the office of recording secretary in Hope Lodge, Nov. 4, I. O. O. F. He is a past great sachem and past great prophet of the Great Council of the Improved Order of Red Men of Rhode Island, also holding the position of great mishewina in the Great Council for two years.
Comrade Fenner has been for several years in the employ of his brother, James M. Fenner, druggist, in the city of Providence.
[facing page: engraved portrait of Corp. Earl Fenner.]
GEORGE W. FREEBORN. George W. Freeborn, son of Samuel and Eliza P. Freeborn, was born in Newport, R.I., on the 18th day of May, 1845. He received his education in the public schools of his native city. He enlisted as a recruit for Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Feb. 25, 1865, and reported to the battery at Fort Tracy, in front of Petersburg, Va., March 1, 1865. In the battle before Petersburg, April 2, 1865, he proved to be a man of courage and thoroughly reliable in every emergency. He was mustered out of service with the battery June 28, 1865. He returned to Newport, R.I., and in 1867 married Martha A. Goslin, the daughter of John and Jane Goslin. They have five children.
Comrade Freeborn is now residing in Fall River, Mass., and is foreman of the packing house of David M. Anthony. He is a member of Richard Borden Post, of Fall River, and is also a member of the Veteran Firemen's Association, and the Firemen's Relief Association. He is connected with the American Order of Druids, and a member of Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery Veteran Association.
p. 135 - 137.
HORACE F. FLOYD. Guidon Horace F. Floyd was but a stripling of fifteen years of age when he entered the service of his country. He became so imbued with martial ardor that he walked from Webster, Mass., to Providence, R.I., and from thence to Camp Mauran, where he enlisted as a private in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, and was mustered into service Oct. 14, 1862. He was subsequently promoted to battery guidon.
In January, 1863, while the battery was encamped near Fairfax Station, Va., Comrade Floyd was taken sick with typhoid and rheumatic fever, and was sent to the hospital at Fairfax Seminary, returning to the battery at Chantilly, Va., in May or June of that year. While stationed at Fort Scott in the fall of 1863, he was sick with rheumatism and malaria.
In the battle before Petersurg, Va., on the 2d of April, 1865, he won special commendation from his superior officers for his gallant conduct. He carried the battery guidon at the head of the battery throughout the entire action. In the seventh and last position which the battery occupied on that eventful day in rear of Whitworth House, while the battery was under a very severe cross fire from the enemy he was ordered by captain Allen to deliver a message to Colonel Cowan, commanding the Artillery Brigade of the Sixth Corps, requesting assistance. In compliance with this request the Colonel sent his New York battery to our support. Comrade Floyd on returning to the battery after delivering the message, while riding down our line of battle his horse was struck by a shell, killing him instantly. Our comrade was prostrated by the concussion of the shell, and his horse also falling upon him, injured his leg severely and caused a severe strain upon his bodily powers, producing nervous prostration, with which he suffered for some time afterwards. Colonel Cowan in referring to this affair said: 'I received a dispatch from Captain Allen by the boy guidon of Battery H, and could not help admiring the courage and patriotism displayed by this lad on that occasion.' Comrade Floyd subsequently recovered from his injuries, and was mustered out with the battery, June 28, 1865.
Comrade Floyd now (in 1894) resides in Buffalo, N. Y. He is a member of Chapin Post, No. 2, Department of New York, and has held the office of adjutant in the post, and is also a past president of the Army and Navy Union of Buffalo. For over nineteen years he has been connected with the Seventy-fourth Regiment New York National Guard, rising from the ranks of private to the position of first lieutenant. He resigned this office several years ago to accept the position of armorer in the regiment. He is a member of DeMolay Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, and has held the office of marshal. He is also an active member of the Royal Arcanum.
Comrade Floyd is held in high esteem by his military associates, his breathren in the various societies with which he is connected, and by his fellow citizens. In the opinion of the writer Comrade Floyd deserves a medal from Congress for the bravery he displayed in front of Petersburg.
[facing page: engraved portrait of Horace F. Floyd.]
SYDNEY A. GOODRICH. Sydney A. Goodrich, son of Jacob M. and Hannah Goodrich, was born in Shapleigh, Maine, March 1848. In his youth his parents removed to Providence, R.I., where he attended the Transit and Arnold Street schools, until his enlistment in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Oct. 12, 1863. He reported to the battery at Camp Barry, Washington, D. C., about Oct. 17, 1863. He served with credit in his battery until his muster out of service June 28, 1865.
Comrade Goodrich is a member of Gen. Lander Post, No. 5, of Lynn, Mass., where he now resides. He is also a member of Battery H Veteran Association.
p. 145 - 146.
JOHN A. GRAY. John A. Gray, son of Lawson D. and Harriet E. Gray, was born in the town of Walpole, Mass., Jan. 17, 1839. He attended the schools of that town in his youth. In the War of the Rebellion he enlisted in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Sept. 22, 1862, and was mustered into service with his battery Oct. 14, 1862. He served with credit during his entire service, and was mustered out June 25, 1865.
Returning to Walpole on the completion of his army service, he has ever since been an honored resident of that town. He is a member of Post No. 157, Department of Massachusetts, a member of Lodge No. 39, United Workmen, and is also connected with Battery H Veteran Association, and with the First Rhode Island Light Artillery Veteran Association.
GEORGE W. HARADON. George W. Haradon, son of Elisha and Sarah M. Haradon, was born in the town of Sharon, Mass., June 14, 1842. He attended the district school of the town in his youth, and later he attended the Bristol Academy at Taunton, Mass. After graduation he learned the carpenter's trade. He enlisted as a recruit in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, March 2, 1865. He reported to the battery at Fort Tracy, in front of Petersburg, Va. He participated with his battery in the battle before Petersburg, April 2, 1865, where he displayed all the qualities that are requisite to make a good soldier. He was mustered out of service June 28, 1865.
He is now located in Manchester, N. H. He is a member of Passaconnaway Tribe of the Improved Order of Red Men, attaining the rank of a chief in the tribe. He is regarded by his fellow townsmen as a man of sterling character and a good citizen.
p. 99 - 101.
JEFFREY HAZARD. Captain Jeffrey Hazard, son of John Hazard, and grandson of Governor Jeffrey Hazard, was born in the town of Exeter, R.I., on the 23d day of September, 1835. His elder brother, John G. Hazard, served with distinction in the War of the Rebellion, rising from the rank of first lieutenant to brevet brigadier-general of volunteers. The subject of our sketch obtained his education at the Providence High School, and, previous to the war, was a teller in the Manufacturer's Bank.
He received a commission as second lieutenant in Battery A, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Oct. 5, 1861, and was subsequently appointed regimental adjutant. He participated with his battery in many engagements. Among these may be mentioned Balls Bluff, Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Malvern Hill, and Antietam. At the latter battle the battery won for itself great renown, holding an advanced position under a heavy fire from the enemy. It fought nearly four hours within three hundred yards of the enemy's line of battle, losing four men killed and fifteen wounded. The only officers of the battery present with Captain Tompkins were lieutenants Hazard and Mason, who bravely worked the guns for want of men.
On the 1st of October, 1862, Lieutenant Hazard was promoted to the captaincy of Battery H, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Capt. C. H. J. Hamlin. Captain Hazard immediately proceeded to Rhode Island, joined the battery at Camp Mauran, and assumed command. Shortly after his arrival he was ordered by the governor to proceed with his battery to the Dexter Training Ground, where the Twelfth Rhode Island Infantry was encamped. Trouble was ancipated in regard to bounties, which had been promised the men before leaving the State. Four guns of the battery were placed at the corners of the grounds ready to repel any mutiny that might arise. Happily no blood was shed, and Captain Hazard returned with his command to Camp Mauran.
October 23, 1862, Captain Hazard's battery left Providence for Washington, D. C., and proceeded to the artillery camp of instruction, Camp Barry. While stationed here the battery attained great efficiency in drill and discipline, due in great measure to the indefatigable efforts of its commander.
At the time of the battle of Chancellorsville Captain Hazard, with one section of his battery, was ordered to Rappahannock Station, where it remained nine days with the Twelfth Vermont Infantry, for the purpose of safeguarding the river at that point.
On the 29th of June, we find Captain Hazard with his battery on Little River Turnpike in the vicinity of Forts Worth and Ward, where it was engaged in supporting the picket line, as it was apprehended that the enemy, who were reconnoitering on the turnpike, might be seeking to force an entrance within our lines at that point. Commendable mention is made of the services rendered by Battery H at this time by Colonel Abbott, commanding the brigade to which the battery was attached.
On the 17th of August, Captain Hazard resigned his commission and took his departure on the evening of that date. The battery deplored the loss of its commander, for by his energy and ability he had labored to bring it to a high state of proficiency, and he had the satisfaction of knowing that it was unsurpassed by any of the volunteer batteries stationed around Washington.
On his retirement from the army Captain Hazard engaged in mercantile pursuits, and is now the senior member of the well known firm of the Hazard Cotton Company, cotton merchants, in the city of Providnece.
He is connected with the Massachusetts Commandery Loyal Legion of the United States, and is a member of Prescott Post, No. 1, Department of Rhode Island, Grand Army of the Republic.
He is a member of the Providence Board of Trade, and held the office of president in 1887 - 8.
ANTHONY B. HORTON. Second Lieut. Anthony B. Horton, son of John W. and Mary A. Horton, was born in the city of Providence, R.I., on the 22d of January, 1836. He attended the Fountain Street School in that city until his tenth year, when his parents removed to Rehoboth, Mass. He assisted his father on the farm during the spring, summer and fall months of the year, and attended the district school in the winter.
At the breaking out of the Rebellion he enlisted as private in Battery B, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Aug. 13, 1861. On the 25th of March, 1862, he was promoted to corporal, and on the 1st of December of the same year he was advanced to sergeant. He re-enlisted Feb. 8, 1864, and was appointed first sergeant Oct. 3, 1864. He was discharged Dec. 19, 1864, to receive promotion as second lieutenant in Battery H, to date from Nov. 29, 1864. He was a very brave and gallant officer, cool and collected in the hour of battle. He was promoted to brevet first lieutenant April 2, 1865, for gallant and meritorious services before Petersburg, Va., to date from Nov. 29, 1864. He was mustered out of service June 28, 1865.
EDWARD N. LAWTON. Edward N. Lawton, son of Isaac and Mary Ann Lawton, was born in Newport, R.I., Jan. 15, 1847. He attended the public schools of that city in his youth. He enlisted as a recruit and was assigned to Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Feb. 27, 1865. He reported to the battery at Fort Tracy, Va., in front of Petersburg, Va., and was present with his battery at the battle before that place April 2, 1865, where he exemplified all the attributes that constitute a good solider. He was mustered out with the battery June 28, 1865.
He is a member of Charles E. Lawton Post, No. 5, Newport, R.I. He served two years as junior vice commander, and declined further advancement. He is also a member of Battery H First Rhode Island Light Artillery Veteran Association. He was a brave soldier, and, consequently, is a good citizen.
p. 117 - 119.
GEORGE LEWIS. Second Lieut. George Lewis was born near Summit, in the town of Coventry, R.I., Nov. 1, 1831. His father, Benoni E. Lewis, in early life was a farmer, but afterwards became a carpenter and builder, doing business mainly in the villages of Harrisville, Quidnick, and Anthony. Sarah Lewis, the mother of Lieutenant Lewis, was the only daughter of the Hon. George and Martha (Stone) Hawkins, and a niece of the late venerable Rev. Richard C. Stone, 'who with each of his nine children', says the Bunker Hill (Ill.) Gazette, 'have taught yearly in high schools, colleges, and universities, from two to thirty-one years each.' His grandfather Hawkins in early life passed through the subordinate military ranks till he held a major's commission. He was a representative in the General Assembly from 1819 to 1829, and senator from May, 1829, to 1831. For over forty years he was deacon in the Rice City Christian Church, of Coventry, R.I.
In early youth Mr. Lewis attended the public schools at Rice City, in Coventry, and at Sterling, Conn. In March, 1841, his parents moved to the Crompton Mills, in Warwick, R.I. Here George was employed in the cotton mill as a back-piecer in the mule room. He afterwards went to live with his uncle in Coventry, working in the shingle mill and on the farm, except in the winter months, when he attended the public school.
About the first of April, 1848, at the age of sixteen, George was apprenticed for three years to his uncle, Jason Lewis, then of Phenix, to learn the carpenter's trade. He afterwards left his uncle's employ, and worked for his father, who had commenced the same business, continuing with him most of the time until the summer of 1852. In September of that year he moved to Providence, R.I., and worked for several firms until the spring of 1854. He was then employed by Cyrus T. Eddy & Company, with whom he continued the greater portion of the time until September, 1861, when he entered the service of his country as a private in Battery E, First Rhode Island Light Artillery.
He was mustered into the service September 30, 1861, and participated in all the battles in which his battery was engaged. He was wounded slightly May 3, 1863, at the battle of Chancellorsville. He was promoted to lance corporal May 29, 1863; corporal Sept. 4, 1863; re-enlisted Feb. 1, 1864; lance sergeant April 9, 1864; sergeant Oct. 20, 1864, to date from October 4th; second lieutenant March 31, 1865; assigned to Battery H, May 29, 1865; never reported or mustered as such; mustered out of service June 14, 1865.
After the close of the war Lieutenant Lewis resumed work for the same firm with whom he was employed before entering the army. He continued with them until February, 1866. He then went to Worcester, Mass., where he was employed as foreman in the carpenter shop of the 'Earle Stove Company'. That company not succeeding in business closed their works in June, 1869. In July of that year Mr. Lewis entered the employ of Spicers & Peckham (now the Spicer Stove Company), the well-known and successful stove founders of Providence, R.I., with whom he is still (1894) employed, having had charge of their carpenter shop for over twenty-four years.
Mr. Lewis is a member of Slocum Post, No. 10, Grand Army of the Republic, and is also connected with the Soldiers' and Sailors' Historical Society. He has served as a vice-president of the First Rhode Island Light Artillery Veteran Association.
He was chosen historian by his comrades to write the history of Battery E, First Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery. He labored with untiring zeal and ability to further this object, and the imperishable record he has been instrumental in preserving to the archives of the State will every redound to his honor as a soldier and a patriot.
[facing page: engraved portrait of Lieut. George Lewis.]
p. 106 - 107.
CHARLES F. MASON. First Lieut. Charles F. Mason, son of Earl P. and Ann (Larcher) Mason, was born in Providence, R.I., March 30, 1842. He is descended from good stock, his ancestor, Sampson Mason, being a dragoon in Cromwell's army, the famous 'Ironsides'. He came to this country in 1649, and settled in Dorchester, Mass., and afterwards removed to Seekonk, and thence to Rehoboth. The father of Lieutenant Mason was a prominent business man in Providence, being intimately identified with various railroad, steamship, and commercial interests, besides being connected with the celebrated firm of Mason, Chapin & Co., a house which still controls an immence trade in drugs, dye-stuffs, and chemicals.
The subject of our sketch was educated at Merrick and Emory Lyon's University Grammar School, in this city, and subsequently entered Brown University, graduating in the class of '61.
Lieutenant Mason entered the service as second lieutenant of Battery A, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Dec. 24, 1861. He was present with his battery in the Penisular campaign, and distinguished himself by his gallantry at the battle of Antietam, Md., where he personally assisted in working the guns, rendered necessary by the want of men. He was promoted to first lieutenant Oct. 1, 1862, and was subsequently transferred to Battery H, and mustered in Oct. 15, 1862.
Upon the resignation of Captain Hazard, Lieutenant Mason assumed command of the battery until the arrival of Campt. Crawford Allen, Jr., who had been appointed to succeed Captain Hazard.
In November, 1863, he was appointed on the staff of Col. Charles H. Tompkins, Chief of the Artillery Brigade, Sixth Army Corps, where he served with honor until he resigned his commission, April 21, 1864.
Lieutenant Mason is now prominently engaged in business in Providence, R.I. He is President of the Rhode Island Locomotive Works, and Treasurer of the Bolton Manufacturing Company. He is also connected with various commercial and mercantile enterprises. He is a member of the Providence Board of Trade.
p. 120 - 123.
GEORGE MESSINGER. First Sergt. George Messinger, the son of Eli and Ann J. (Roberts) Messinger, was born in the city of Providence, R.I., March 27, 1842. At the commencement of the Civil War, he was attending a private school in that city, preparatory to entering Brown University. With all the ardor and patriotism of youth, and imbued with a strong desire to serve his country in her hour of peril, he offered his services and was mustered into service as a private in Battery A, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, June 6, 1861. He participated with his battery in the first battle of Bull Run.
The battery was subsequently ordered to the Upper Potomac, and was stationed at different points between Harper's Ferry and Washington. At the time of the battle of Ball's Bluff one section of the battery to which Private Messinger had been assigned was stationed near Poolesville, Md. It was dismounted and crossed the Potomac on a scow, but took no active part in the engagement, and the next day recrossed the river and returned to its old camping ground.
About this time Private Messinger was seriously attacked with typhoid fever and pneumonia. His father, who had enlisted in the same battery, was detailed to attend him during his illness. His mother also came on from Providence, R.I., to render her assistance. He was removed to the house of Mrs. White, the mother of the well known (Confederate) Gen. Harry White. Private Messinger after becoming convalescent was granted a furlough, and returned to Rhode Island. On regaining his health he was detailed on recruiting service in Providence.
Battery H was then organizing in that city, and Private Messinger was transferred from Battery A and promoted to first sergeant of Battery H. The battery was subsequently ordered into camp near Mashapaug Pond, in Cranston, R.I. At this time frequent drafts were made upon the battery for recruits to serve in the batteries already in the field. Sergeant Messinger combined with his other duties that of drill master, and was kept constantly employed in that capacity until the battery left its camp and proceeded to Washington in October, 1862.
His career from that period until the termination of the war was closely identified with the history of the battery. In October, 1863, while the battery was stationed at Fairfax Court House, Sergeant Messinger was wounded by the accidental discharge of his revolver, the ball passing down his leg on the inside of his boot, entered his heel, and went through and lodged in the heel of his boot. It being in a vulnerable spot, he suffered considerable inconvenience from his wound.
Soon afterward, entirely unsolicited on his part, an application was made for him for a commission, which was signed by all of the officers in his battery and by the colonel and major of his regiment. The application was supposed to have been forwarded to the governor of Rhode Island, but nothing was ever heard from it, and in January, 1864, Sergeant Messinger re-enlisted as a veteran and received the customary furlough of thirty days.
While at home on his furlough he had strong hopes that he might receive a commission from the governor. One day while reading a newspaper he was astounded to learn that a commission had been granted to a personal friend of his, but whose service as a non-commissioned officer was of a very recent date. Feeling aggrieved at this treatment he had received he went to the governor and requested that his application for a commission might be returned to him. He was greatly astonished to find that no application or recommendation had ever been received, and it was not until sixteen years later that he learned what had become of the papers that had been forwarded to the governor.
It may be well to state that his friend who received the appointment was assigned to Battery E, in the very position which Sergeant Messinger had anticipated might be alloted to himself. In the very first battle in which this officer took part after he had joined his battery he was killed, so that Sergeant Messinger has good reaon to congratulate himself that he did not receive the coveted commision at that time.
And now we are able to inform our readers what became of those papers. It seems there was a soldier well known in the battery (now deceased) whose name we do not desire to make public, who cherished an enmity against Sergeant Messinger because he had been appointed a corporal at Camp Mauran against his wishes. He only held the position a short time, then returned to the ranks, and was appointed mail carrier for the battery. He was present in the officers' quarters to take the mail the morning the captain sent the papers to Rhode Island, and heard the captain express the desire that the papers might soon bring Sergeant Messinger his commission.
The mail carrier afterward said to Sergeant Messinger that he determined at that time that he (Messinger) should not have the commission if he could prevent it. He took the papers from the mail bag and destroyed them. No wonder they could not be found in the governor's office, and that Sergeant Messinger did not receive appointment to the position which he was so well qualified to adorn.
After Captain Allen took command of the battery, Sergeant Messinger was appointed company clerk, and served in that capacity until the muster out of the battery. He settled all the affairs of the battery for Captain Allen in a manner creditable to himself and to all concerned. Even to this day there is no member of the battery who is more highly esteemed and respected than he, and no one who takes a livelier interest in the welfare of his comrades. He has had the opportunity and privilege of visiting many of the members who are scattered over the country, and they always find him ready to extend a hearty welcome to all; and no deserving comrade ever found him turning a deaf ear to his plea for help in time of need.
He is at present engaged in the manufacture of pottery at East Brookfield, Mass. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic in his town, and is an honored citizen of the community in which he lives. He is one of the committee on the publication of the 'History of Battery H.'
[facing page: engraved portrait of Company Clerk George Messinger.]
p. 147 - 149.
EDWIN NORTHROP. Edwin Northrop was born in Fishkill, N. Y., Dec. 15, 1838, his father being Jonas Northrop, of Bradford, Yorkshire Country, England, who came to this country in the year 1830, at the age of nineteen. His mother, Ann Gaunt, was a native of Leeds, England.
Comrade Northrop received a common school education, and at the age of seventeen was apprenticed to learn wool sorting, and continued in this calling until his entrance into the service.
Comrade Northrop married Sarah Kyle, daughter of John Ballantine, of Blackstone, Mass., and four children were the fruit of this union.
At the commencement of the War of the Rebellion he made an ineffectual attempt to enlist in a company then forming in Woonsocket for the Second Rhode Island Infantry, afterwards designated as Company I, but so eager at that time were the young men of that town to enroll themselves among the defenders of the Union, that before Comrade Northrop's turn came to enter the armory, it was announced that the roll was complete, and he was debarred the honor of enrolling his name with a company that won fame and renown in the annals of the history of the State.
Aug. 25, 1862, after making careful provision for his little family, he enlisted in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery. He was mustered into service with his battery Oct. 14, 1862, and served faithfully and continuously with it until its final muster out June 28, 1865.
Soon after his return from the army he learned the dyer's trade in Blackstone, Mass., leaving there in 1867, and settling in Norwalk, Conn. While here he became intensely interested in the principles of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was largely instrumental in the organization of Buckingham Post, No. 12, at that place. He was adjutant of the post from 1881 to 1883, and again in 1885, and its commander in 1884. He was aide-de-camp on the staff of Department Commander Ira E. Hicks, in 1882, and served the department as assistant mustering and inspecting officer.
In 1886 he removed with his family to Dalton, Mass., and here again took up the work of the Grand Army. He took an active part in organizing Hancock Post, No. 187, Department of Massachusetts. He was elected junior vice commander in 1887-8, senior vice commander 1889, commander 1890, and was also appointed post historian. His wife is an earnest working member of Hancock Woman's Relief Corps, No. 133, of the Department of Massachusetts.
He was aide-de-camp to Department Commander Myron P. Walker; served as inspector and mustering officer, and was elected an alternate to the National Encampment in 1888.
On his removal to Kenyon, R.I., 1892, where he is employed by E. Kenyon & Sons, he became interested with the comrades of Burnside Post, No. 2, of Shannock, and before joining the post was, for services rendered, voted an honorary member. He is now (in 1894) commander of the post. He has received many testimonials of the esteem in which he is held by his comrades of Buckingham and Hancock posts, which he values very highly.
He is also a Free Mason, having joined the order in 1868, at Norwalk, Conn.
[facing page: photograph of Edwin Northrop.]
ESEK S. OWEN. Sergt. Esek S. Owen, son of Thomas J. and Dorcas (Sayles) Owen, was born in Smithfield, R.I., Aug. 21, 1839. His parents subsequently removed to Central Falls, R.I., where Esek attended school. His parents afterward moved to Connecticut, and he attended school there for three years. He also pursued a course of study at the East Greenwich Academy.
He enrolled as a private in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, May 19, 1862, and was mustered into service with his battery Oct. 14, 1862. In the battle before Petersburg, Va., April 2, 1865, he commanded the left piece of the right section. In this engagement he was slightly wounded. He also commanded the left piece of the right section in the Battle of Sailor's Creek, Va. He was always cool and self-possessed under fire, winning the respect and confidence of the men under his command. He was mustered out of service with his battery June 28, 1865. He is at the present time (1894) an esteemed citizen of Pueblo, Colorado.
p. 130 - 131.
FRANKLIN E. PAUL. Corp. Franklin E. Paul, son of Captain Clark and May (Young) Paul, was born in Dover, N. H., Sept. 14, 1829. He received his education in the public schools of his native town. His father was a sea captain, and followed the sea for over forty years. At the age of fifteen he went to North Bridgewater, now Brockton, Mass., and lived on a farm for about a year, and then learned the trade of boot and shoe making. After serving faithfully three years as an apprentice, he started out for himself, working in different towns in Massachusetts.
In 1858 he removed to Mansfield, Mass., and in September of that year he married Almira Alger, daughter of Edmund Alger, Esq., of that town. While busy in his calling, the tocsin of war resounded throughout the land, and aroused within him a spirit of loyalty and devotion to country, and he determined to enroll himself among his country's defenders, and do all in his power to maintain the honor and integrity of free institutions and good government.
On the 29th of September, 1862, he enlisted with five others from Mansfield, in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, and was mustered into service Oct. 14, 1862. Leaving a good home, a devoted wife, and a little daughter, he offered all upon his country's altar, and served loyally and faithfully with his battery until the termination of the war. He was promoted to corporal in 1865. He was mustered out with the battery June 28, 1865.
On returning to his home in Mansfield, Mass., he worked at his trade for two years, and then removed to Boston to take charge of a large shoe manufactory on Pearl Street, in that city. He continued in this position until May 27, 1877, when he received an appointment as clerk in the Boston post-office, in which capacity he still remains.
In the year 1892 he was unanimously chosen first vice-president of Battery H Veteran Association, and in August, 1893, was elected to the office of president. On assuming the chair he delivered an excellent address appropriate to the occasion, which was listened to with marked interest and attention. He is also a member of the publication committee on the 'History of Battery H'. He is held in high esteem by his comrades of Battery H, his associates in the Boston post-office, and by his fellow townsmen of Chelsea, Mass., where he now resides.
[facing page: photo of Corp. Franklin E. Paul.]
p. 124 - 125.
HEZEKIAH POTTER. Lieut. Hezekiah Potter, son of Christy and Lucius (Smith) Potter, was born in Pawtucket, R.I., on the 1st day of July, 1834. His parents subsequently removed to Providence, R.I., where he received his education in the public schools of that city.
Previous to the War for the Union he was engaged in the wholesale grocery business, first with his brother in the city of Syracuse, N.Y., and afterwards managed the same business for A. & W. Sprague with marked success for about five years. He was subsequently connected with William Sheldon in the same capacity.
In August, 1862, he was enrolled as private in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery. He was afterwards promoted to the rank of quartermaster-sergeant in this battery March 28, 1864. On the 21st of October, 1864, he received a commission as second lieutenant, and was assigned to Battery E. He was mustered into the battery on the same day of his arrival, Nov. 11, 1864. Although a man of few words he won the respect and esteem of all the members of the battery. He was cool and self-possessed under fire, and was always found reliable in every position he was placed. He participated with the battery in the almost daily conflicts with the enemy in the intrenchments before Petersburg, and was present at the final and successful assaults on the enemy's lines, April 2, 1865. He was mustered out of service June 4, 1865.
After the close of the war he was employed for several years with Hubbard & Aldrich, wholesale grocers, in Providence, R.I. He has since been employed in various kinds of business.
p. 150 - 151.
OTIS P. SNELL. Otis P. Snell, son of Barney and Rebecca Snell, was born in Cranston, R.I., in the year 1832. After he became a lad his parents removed to Smithfield, R.I., where Otis attended the district school in the fall and winter months, and assisted his father on the farm during the remainder of the year. He subsequently worked in a cotton mill for a time.
In the War of the Rebellion he enlisted in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Sept. 6, 1862, and was mustered into service Oct. 14, 1862. He participated with his battery in all the battles in which it was engaged, and proved himself a good soldier.
Since his return from the army Comrade Snell has worked in a cotton mill, but is now (1894) employed on a farm near Georgiaville, R.I. He is held in high esteem by his old comrades and fellow townsmen.
JOHN TAFT. John Taft, son of John and Jane (Moore) Taft, was born in Ireland June 5, 1832. He attended a private school in his youth. He afterwards emigrated to the United States and located in Natick, R.I.
On the 20th of February, 1865, he enlisted as a recruit and was assigned to Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery. He reported to the battery at Patrick's Station, Va., Feb. 24, 1865. In the battles before Petersburg and at Sailor's Creek, he evinced great courage and proved to be reliable in every emergency. He was mustered out with the battery at Providence, R.I., June 28, 1865.
Comrade Taft married Jane Rafferty, daughter of John and Mary Rafferty. Two children have been born to them, namely Thomas and Joseph P. Taft. Our comrade is an esteemed member of Reno Post No. 6, of East Greenwich, R.I., where he now resides, and is honored and respected by his fellow townsmen.
WILLIAM H. TASKER. William H. Tasker, son of William and Annie (Carroll) Tasker, was born in Providence, R.I., Nov. 12, 1842. His father served as a soldier in the Mexican War, and was especially commended by his superior officer for bravery in battle. The subject of our sketch attended school in his youth in the city of Providence and also in the town of Johnston, R.I. In the Fall of 1862 he enlisted in the navy as an able seaman, and was assigned to the United States gunboat 'Iris'. He was subsequently promoted to signal quartermaster for good conduct, and afterwards to quartermaster. After serving his time in the navy he was mustered out, and shortly afterwards enlisted as a private in Battery H, when it was stationed near Fort Tracy at Petersburg, March 7, 1865. In the battles before Petersburg, and also at Sailor's Creek, he displayed good conduct in action, and was finally mustered out with his battery June 28, 1865.
Comrade Tasker is a member of Slocum Post, No. 10, of Providence, and is also a member of Farragut Naval Association, having served as lieutenant, lieutenant-commander, and commander in that assocation. He is connected with Battery H Veteran Assocation. He is now a resident of Rehoboth, Mass., having purchased the Bowen farm, and is therefore a respected tiller of the soil, honored and respected in the community.
CHARLES D. VAUGHN. Charles D. Vaughn, son of John and Catherine (Danforth) Vaughn, was born in Providence, R.I., July 17, 1836. He attended the public schools of that city in his youth. At the breaking out of the Rebellion he enlisted as a private in Company C, First Rhode Island Detached Militia, May 2, 1861. He participated with his regiment in the battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861, and was mustered out at the expiration of his term of service, Aug 2, 1861. He enlisted as a private in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Feb. 23, 1864, and served with credit in the battery until its muster out of service, June 28, 1865.
p. 105 - 106.
CLEMENT WEBSTER. First Lieutenant Clement Webster, son of Stephen and Lydia (Kimball) Webster, was born in Kennebunk, Me., Oct. 16, 1817. He attended the public schools of Kennebunk in his youth, and later, a seminary at Leamington, Me. He learned the trade of printer in Saco, Me., where he and his brother Stephen started the 'York County Herald', a weekly paper. About the year 1841 or 1842, he removed to Providence, R.I., where he worked at his trade as a printer, and was also for a time employed in the Providence post office. He started the 'Providence Daily Post' as editor, and was the exception of brief of brief intervals, its editor until his death.
In the early period of the war he received a commission in the Third Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, but Governor Sprague insisted that he should remain in Rhode Island, where he considered that he could be of greater service with his voice and pen, than in the field. Nevertheless later on he was desirous of taking a more active part in the Union cause, and accordingly was commissioned a first lieutenant in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery. He was mustered into the service Oct. 14, 1862, but did not enter the field, and resigned his commission Feb. 7, 1863, in consequence of ill health. He died at Providence, R.I., Oct. 16, 1864.
He married Catherine P. Littlefield, of New Shoreham, R. I., May 15, 1839, by whom he had two sons. The elder son, Benjamin F., died at Providence in 1861. The other son, George E., after the death of his father became private secretary to Governor (then Senator) William Sprague, and was clerk of the Senate Committee of which the Senator was chairman during the session of 1864-65. He afterwards entered the Pension Bureau, where (interrupted by secret service work) he remained until the winter of 1871-72. He is at the present time (1894) clerk of the Common Pleas Division of the Surpreme Court of this State.
Lieutenant Webster remarried Oct. 21, 1858, and of this marriage one child, Arthur M., was born. He died while a member of the Junior Class in Brown University.
p. 153 - 154.
ALBERT WELLS. Albert Wells, son of Silas and Mary (Bowen) Wells, was born in Exeter, R.I., March 21, 1830. He attended the public schools of this place in his youth, also those in River Point and West Greenwich, R.I. His parents removed to Sterling, Conn., he attended school there, working a portion of the time in the Valentine mill in that town. His parents subsequently removed to Central Village, Plainfield, Conn., in 1847, and afterwards, in 1848, to Griswold, Conn., where he worked in Doane's mill.
In 1849 Albert left home and went to Crompton to work in the machine shop in that place. In 1851 he married Almira O. Johnson, and subsequently went to West Greenwich where he worked on a farm, and afterwards engaged as a contractor for ship timber for Dexter Irons. In 1855 he took a contract for supplying ties for the Providence, Hartford and Fishkill Railroad Company. In 1857 he was a contractor for ship timber with the United States government.
Comrade Wells enlisted as a private in Battery H, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, Aug. 5, 1862, and served honorably with the battery until its muster out of service June 28, 1865.
Shortly after his return to Rhode Island he worked for a while in the Liberty factory in West Greenwich, R.I. In 1866 he built a small shingle mill in that place, and was afterwards engaged in furnishing wood supplies for woolen mills. In 1877 he built a large mill farther up the stream for the same purpose. In 1882 he removed to Providence, R.I., and was employed in the Rhode Island Locomotive Works, remaining there until 1889, when he engaged in the carriage business for himself for one year, and then went to work in the repair shop of the Union Railroad Company, where he has remained until the present time (1894).
Comrade Wells is a member of Prescott Post, No. 1, of Providence, and is also connected with Battery H Veteran Association.
p. 116 - 117.
WILLIAM B. WESTCOTT. First Lieutenant William B. Westcott, son of Harley and Laura Westcott, was born in Pawtucket, R.I., March 16, 1841. He received his education in the public schools of his native village. In 1857 he went to Providence and was employed as a clerk in the grocery store of Thomas Merewether, and was thus engaged when the War of the Rebellion began.
On Dec. 2, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Battery G, First Rhode Island Light Artillery. He was promoted to sergeant Dec. 15, 1861, and quartermaster sergeant, June 9, 1862. On the 26th day of April, 1864, he was promoted to second lieutenant of Battery H, and was mustered in May 1, 1864. He was promoted to first lieutenant March 2, 1865, and transferred to Battery B. He was mustered out with his battery June 12, 1865, and returned with it to Rhode Island.
Oct. 14, 1865, he entered the wholesale drug store of Oliver Johnson & Co., as a clerk, and has remained in the service of that company ever since. He is at the present time (1894) head clerk in that establishment.
Comrade Westcott joined Prescott Post, No. 1, G. A. R., of Providence, about December, 1867. He served as officer of the day for two years. He was department inspector in 1870-71, and assistant quartermaster-general of the department in 1874.
Comrade Westcott is a member of Hope Lodge, No. 4, I. O. O. F., and is also connected with Providence Council, No. 566, American Legion of Honor, having held the office of Commander in that order.
His brother, Gilbert O. Westcott, also served honorably for three years in Battery G, First Rhode Island Light Artillery, and is a member of Prescott Post, No. 1, G. A. R. Another brother, George H. Westcott, served as corporal in Company D, First Rhode Island Detached Militia. He died in 1875.
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