This section contains articles of genealogical and historic
interest on Rhode Island in general, from old Rhode Island books and newspapers.
About 5 o'clock on the morning of June 23d, the enemy opened upon the defenses at Brashear City with the Valsude Battery near the mound on the opposite side of the bay, which was immediately answered by the gunboat. She then cut loose from the wharf and backed down the bay out of the reach of the enemy's guns. Brashear being fortified to repel a water, instead of a land attack, the guns were so situated that they could not be immediately brought to bear upon the batteries of the enemy. All the light pieces had been sent to Lafourche and Bayou Boeuf. Major Anthony ordered Captain Nollett, of the 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery, to move one of his guns down to the Sugar House, which would enable him to reach the enemy. In the absence of mules, he drew it down by hand and opened upon the enemy. The gun from the water tank was brought up and placed between the depot and ice-house. The Major then ordered Captain Crofut, of the 23rd Connecticut, to take all the men capable of bearing arms, and post them under cover along the edge of the bay to act as sharpshooters, as the enemy were on the houses on the opposite side. He did so; the artillery fight continued about two hours, when it ceased on the part of the enemy, their guns having been silenced, but active musketry fire was still going on along the whole front. The whole action lasted a little over three hours. It is impossible to say how large a force made the attack in the morning, but three hours after Major Anthony's surrender there were over 6,000 troops in Brashear City, with Generals Taylor, Greene and Morton. Major Anthony was taken to Camp Ford, near Tyler, Texas, and was held prisoner until July 22, 1864, a period of 13 months, when he was exchanged at the mouth of the Red River.
In the fight at Springfield Landing, July 2d, the Regiment lost one man killed, four severely wounded, and thirteen taken prisoners. Ten of the latter were paroled. Hard marches and an unhealthy climate also aided to diminish its numbers. Reduced below the minimum allowed, it was consolidated, by general order August 24,1863, into one battalion of four companies and united with the First Louisiana Cavalry. The field and staff officers, consisting of Lieutenant Colonel Augustus W. Corliss, Major Charles N. Manchester, Surgeon Howard W. King, Adjutant C. E. Brigham, Quartermaster William McCready, Jr., resigned and were honorably discharged. The officers retained were Captains William J. McCall, Henry C. Fitts, George W. Beach and Edwin A. Hardy; First Lieutenants Joseph N. Whitney, Charles W. Turner, John D. Hanning, Walter M. Jackson, and Second Lieutenant Frank Hayes. All the other officers were mustered out of service.
The union of the regiment with the 1st Louisiana Cavalry took place September 1, 1863, contrary to the wishes of both officers and enlisted men. Unwilling to lose their Rhode Island identity, they remonstrated against a measure which the rank and file particularly regarded as arbitrary and unjust. Some days before the consolidation occurred, they resolved that when called upon to join the Louisiana regiment they would lay down their arms rather than obey. Accordingly, when on the morning of September 1st, Lieutenant Colonel Robinson of the 1st Louisiana sent an order for the 2d Rhode Island Cavalry to transfer their camp to his, no one moved. Learning the posture of affairs, he immediately rode over and repeated the order in person, but the men simply replied, 'We belong to Rhode Island, and not to Louisiana.' In fifteen minutes the 1st Louisiana was ordered up on foot, armed with sabres, revolvers and carbines, and formed on the front and right of the Rhode Island regiment. Lieutenant Colonel Robinson then repeated the command previously given, adding the threat, 'Hurry up, or I will fire into you.' Things now assumed a serious aspect. The men saw that resistance would be useless, and with military law against them, slowly fell into line. Their tardy movements excited the ire of the Louisiana commander, and a file of men was ordered to lead Richard Smith and William Davis, the two last to follow, to a field in front of the camp, where with their hands tied behind them, their eyes blinded, and without semblance of law, or form of trial, they were shot by two squads of men detailed from the Louisiana regiment. Davis fell killed. Smith was shot through the legs, and was afterwards despatched by the revolvers of the adjutant and sergeant in charge. Lieutenant Colonel Robinson then addressed the Rhode Island Cavalry in threatening terms, after which they marched back to camp filled with horror and indignation by the butchery they had witnessed. No candid person will say that the exigencies of the service authorized this severity, and the deed will live in history to shadow the memory of the officer by whose authority it was done.
No good could be hoped from a union formed under the circumstances here described, and Governor Smith fully appreciating the feelings of the men, early interested himself to relieve them from their unpleasant connection. He communicated with the war department on the subject, protesting against the change, and claiming if the regiment must be broken up, that it should be transferred to the 3rd Rhode Island Cavalry. Assurances were received from the war department that they should be thus transferred on the arrival of that regiment at New Orleans; and pursuant to an order this was done by General Banks, January 14, 1864.
The organization of the 3d Regiment Rhode Island Volunteer Cavalry was commenced July 1st, 1863, by Colonel Willard Sayles (appointed to its command by the governor) under the authority of the secretary of war. A camp was established for the recruits at Mashapaug. August 18th the men collected there, 150 in number, were transferred to 'Camp Meade', in Jamestown, on Conanicut island, to which all subsequent recruits were sent. The 1st Battalion, Major Davis, with full rank, embarked on board the 'Western Metropolis', for New Orleans, December 31st, 1863, and was reported to Major General Banks, commanding Department of the Gulf, January 14th, 1864. The Battalion received February 2d, an addition of two companies from the 1st Louisiana Cavalry, formerly the 2d Rhode Island Cavalry, but transferred to this regiment January 14th, 1864, by order of General Banks. The regiment crossed the Mississippi river March 3d, 1864, and began the march that was continued almost without cessation through the state of Louisiana for the term of three months, and was known as the Red River Expedition. The course lay through Franklin, Alexandria and Natchitoches, to Pleasant Hill and Mansfield, on the Shreveport road, where the 1st, 3d and 4th Brigades of cavalry, with a large force of artillery, were thrown into confusion in a dense forest, where, encumbered by two brigade trains, little resistance could be offered.
The regiment arrived at Alexandria, April 25th, where it found Lieutenant Colonel Charles H. Parkhurst, with companies E, F, and L. In obedience to orders from General Reynolds, these companies embarked on board the steamer 'Superior', Tuesday night, April 20th, and sailed the next morning. Nothing of particular interest occurred until they reached Tunica Bend, some 30 miles below the mouth of the Red river, when they were fired upon by the rebels from the easterly bank of the Mississippi, who had a six pounder well supported by infantry. Three shell and shot passed through the cabin, and Corporal Logue, of Company F, received a severe gunshot wound in the right arm, badly shattering the bones.
The year 1865 opened as the preceding one had closed, and the weather continued cold with frequent rain storms through the entire month of January. On the 3d of June, the entire regiment had concentrated at Napoleonville in expectation of joining the expedition under General Sheridan to Texas, but the order was rescinded, and after remaining together for a short time employed in drilling and other duties, it was again scattered and was constantly engaged in scouting for guerrillas and bushwhackers, or in picket duty protecting plantations, until mustered out of service at New Orleans, La., November 29, 1865. The field of duty occupied by the regiment was the entire state of Louisiana. Frequent and rapid marches, the swampy nature of much of the country passed over,short rations when on expeditions longer than had been provided for, and exposure to a malarious climate, told severely on both men and horses.
On the 12th of August, 1861, Governor Sprague issued an order for organizing a third regiment of infantry. General Charles T. Robbins was appointed acting colonel, and Colonel Christopher Blanding acting lieutenant colonel. On the afternoon of the 7th of September the regiment, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Blanding, left Camp Ames, on the Old Warwick road, proceeded to Providence, and embarked on board the steamer 'Commodore' for the camp on Long Island, which was under the command of General W. T. Sherman. Colonel Eddy was succeeded in command by Colonel Nathaniel W. Brown, who continued the daily drills until the embarkation of the regiment for Fortress Monroe, October 12th, where it arrived on the 14th, and encamped about one mile beyond toward Hampton. On the 23d of October, the regiment embarked with the expedition under General Sherman and Admiral Dupont, destined to Port Royal, S. C. After a boisterous passage, the fleet arrived off that place November 4th. The regiment was presented at the naval action at Port Royal November 7th, landed two companies the same day, and the remainder the next, and was assigned to the charge of Fort Welles. Subsequently Fort Seward at Bay Point, the entrenchments at Hilton Head, the entrenchments at Beaufort, and Fort Mitchell, on Snell Creek, were garrisoned by detachments from it.
December 17th, Lieutenant Colonel Blanding, then not in service, was commissioned Major of the 3rd Rhode Island Volunteers, and for some time superintended recruiting for the regiment. On the 19th of February, 1862, he proceeded with 225 men to Hilton Head, where he arrived March 23d, having experienced a severe gale on the passage from New York. Immediately on his arrival, he was assigned to important and laborious duties. February 17th, 1862, by general order, the name of the regiment was changed to '3d Rhode Island Heavy Artillery', with authority to increase it to 12 companies of 150 men each. In the bombardment of Fort Pulaski, April 10th and 11th, companies B, F and H assisted, and after the capture of the fort Company G formed a part of its garrison.
In the movement on Charleston in June, 1862, by way of John and James islands, companies B, E, F, H, I, K and one section of C (mounted) were included. On the 16th of June the battle of Secessionville, on James island, took place, in which five companies, B, E, F, H and K, commanded by Major Edwin Metcalf, participated. Leading the brigade, companies F, F and K were employed as skirmishers, under the command of Major Sisson. The fire of the enemy was very severe, and the Union loss was 7 killed, 30 wounded, and 8 missing.
In October, 1862, the battle of Pocotaligo Bridge was fought, Company M assisted in transporting and working two boat howitzers. Companies E, K and L formed a part of the force, but were not engaged. In this action Lieutenant Jabez B. Balding was badly wounded in the left arm. April 2d, 1863, companies B, D, F, I, K, L and M, sailed for Stone Inlet, to take part in the second movement on Charleston, but returned to Hilton Head on the 12th. In an expedition up the Combahee June 1st, a section of Battery C, under Captain Brayton, participated, and did the enemy great damage. Companies B, C, D, H, I and M accompanied General Gillmore, in the siege of Charleston, and were assigned to batteries of 20, 30, 100 and 200-pounder Parrott guns on Morris island.
On the 30th of October, 1862, the regiment was called to mourn the death of its commander, Colonel Nathaniel W. Brown. He was a thorough disciplinarian, prompt and decided in action, and ever watchful of the interests of his men. He possessed to perfection one virtue of a soldier - strict temperance; and what he practiced he encouraged in others. He had a high sense of the value of religion and religious observances, and was much interested in the establishment of religious worship near headquarters at the Post, and was a regular attendant until his sickness. Lieutenant Walter B. Manton, acting quartermaster of the regiment, a valuable and highly esteemed officer, died of the same disease, October 25th. January 27th, 1863, the remains of Colonel Brown and Lieutenant Manton were brought to Providence, and after funeral services were interred, the former in the North Burial Ground and the latter in Swan Point Cemetery.
Colonel Edwin Metcalf, of the 11th Rhode Island, nine months' volunteers, succeeded Colonel Brown in command of the regiment. His successor was Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Brayton, who was commissioned colonel March 24th, 1864. He continued in command until the expiration of his term of service, October 5th, 1864.
In losses by sickness and death from disease, the 3d Rhode Island shared an experience common to all other troops in the field. The number of men who re-enlisted as veterans was 303. The return of the regiment from the scenes of war was in squads, at different times. On the 24th of August, 1864, three officers and 117 men arrived in Providence, and were mustered out of service on the 31st. They were under the command of Captains Peter J. Turner and Charles G. Strahan. September 30th another detachment, numbering 256, officers and men, under Colonel Charles R. Brayton, arrived by way of New York in the steamer 'Electra'. June 12th, 1865, Company C, Captain Martin S. James, numbering four officers and 92 enlisted men, arrived home, having been mustered out of service at Richmond. August 1st, Company A, Captain William H. Hamner, comprising five officers and 83 men, arrived at Providence in the steamer 'Oceanus'. Companies B and D, being all of the regiment not previously discharged, arrived in Providence Monday, September 11th, 1865, under Colonel Ames, having been mustered out of service at Hilton Head August 2d. They came from New York in the steamer 'Galatea', numbering nine officers and 170 enlisted men. November 4th, 1865, Major General Q. A. Gillmore, in accordance with the requirements of the war department, ordered that the names of the following battles should be inscribed on the colors of the regiment, viz.: -- Fort Pulaski, Ga.; Honey Hill, S. C.; Petersburg, Va.; Morris Island, S. C.; Fort Sumter (siege); Pocotaligo, S. C.; Fort Wagner, S. C.; Lauren Hill, Va.; Fort Burnham, Va.; Olustee, Fla.; Deveraux Neck, S. C.; Drury's Bluff, Va.; Secessionville, S. C.
The 5th Rhode Island Volunteers was organized at 'Camp Greene', in October, 1861, from which it was transferred to 'Camp Slocum', on the Dexter Training Ground, in Providence. In about seven weeks five companies were filled, and on the 27th of December, after being reviewed by Governor Sprague, the battalion departed for Annapolis, Md., to join the expedition to North Carolina. On Thursday, January 9,1862, the regiment embarked on board the transport 'Kitty Simpson' for Fortress Monroe, and there joined the fleet destined to Hatteras Inlet. On the 7th of February, a landing was effected and the battle of Roanoke Island was fought. In this battle the regiment was brought under a heavy fire, but fortunately suffered no casualty. In the battle of Newbern, March 14th following, it took a conspicuous and gallant part, losing four men killed and seven wounded. In the bombardment of Fort Macon, April 26th, the Fifth took part, and on the surrender was assigned the honor of taking possession. in May, after the fall of Fort Macon, the camp of the Fifth was on Bogue Banks, near by, where it remained until General Burnside was called to the aid of General Wright, who resigned July 25th, became military commandant, and Lieutenant William W. Douglas was appointed provost marshal of the district. The battalion having attained the proportions of a regiment, Colonel Henry T. Sisson, promoted from major of the 3d Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, arrived at Beaufort and took command January 9th, 1863.
Among the military adventures of the Fifth, the raising of the siege of Little Washington, N. C., must ever occupy the most prominent place as a hazardous and brilliant achievement. Immediately after the capture of Newbern, it was occupied by the national forces. Early in April, 1863, information reached Newbern that Major General Foster, commanding this department, who had gone to Little Washington to inspect the garrison and defenses there, was closely besieged by the enemy. Colonel Sisson, on Friday, 10th of April, received orders from Brigadier General Palmer to proceed with his command to Little Washington by water. Accordingly, about 1 o'clock, P. M., the regiment embarked on board the steamer 'Escort', Captain Wall, and started from Newbern, and the next morning arrived in Pamlico river and anchored a short distance from Manly Point, ten miles below the city of Little Washington. A blockade which had been erected by the rebels consisted of a triple row of piles extending across the river, with the exception of a passage 100 feet wide and 400 feet from the shore, directly under the guns of the battery. To increase the difficulty in finding the crooked channel, the enemy had removed all the buoys in the river. On Sunday morning, in accordance with orders from General Palmer, the expedition got under way, and slowly approached the opening in the blockade and the Hill's Point battery. A fog had arisen about daybreak, and soon became so dense as to prevent further progress, and the steamer was ordered to return to its anchorage. When the fog lifted, the gunboats commenced bombarding the battery at long range, but with no visible effect. Monday morning, 50 volunteers from the regiment were sent on shore under command of Captain William W. Douglas and Lieutenant Dutee Johnson. Their landing was covered by the gunboat 'Valley City', and was effected a short distance below Blunt's Creek. The reconnaissance was conducted with success and credit to the commanding officers and the men who were engaged in it. They discovered three batteries on the west bank of the creek, commanding its passage and preventing approach to Little Washington by land.
The pilot steered safely through the passage in the blockade, grazing only once on the piles. Just as he had cleared the obstructions, the battery opened upon the 'Escort' a terrible fire from a distance of about four hundred yards. The progress was very slow, owing to the shallowness of the water and the extreme crookedness of the channel. The gunboats engaged the battery and distracted their attention somewhat, but did not pass above the blockade. The shots from the enemy, as had been anticipated, were thrown very much at random on account of the darkness, and the 'Escort' passed by unhurt. The enemy at Fort Rodman were prepared to greet the 'Escort' warmly, as the previous firing below had warned them of her approach. The channel lay close to the bank, and their guns opened on her at about 300 yards distance. Although they were better aimed than before, the shots passed harmlessly over, only a few striking the boat and lodging in the hay. The shore was lined with sharpshooters, who fired upon the steamer with no effect except to provoke a few answering shots. Another mile passed at full speed brought the 'Escort' to the wharf at Little Washington without injury to any one on board. The passage of the blockade with a large unarmed steamer, convinced the enemy of its inefficiency; and despairing of their attempt to starve out the garrison, they evacuated their works Tuesday night, 14th of April, and left General Foster in undisputed possession of the post.
Almost immediately on landing at Little Washington, the regiment was assigned positions in the trenches and forts on the right of the line of defense, where it remained until the enemy abandoned the siege as hopeless. April 16th Lieutenant-Colonel Tew, with companies D, E, G, H and I, was detailed to take possession of Rodman's Point, and on the 22d the residue of the regiment returned to Newbern, followed on the 24th by the companies left behind.
During several months in the early part of 1864, Company A had been stationed at Croatan, N. C. About 7 1/2 o'clock on the morning of the 5th instant, the enemy approached in considerable force, having effected the crossing of Boyce's Creek at a point above our pickets. Arriving at the station, they immediately surrounded the force stationed there in preparation for an attack, and to prevent the possibility of any escaping. In the meantime Captain Aigan collected his men and threw his entire command into the fort at that place, which had one small gun, a six-pounder howitzer, and opened a vigorous fire on the enemy. A desperate fight ensued, lasting one hour and a half, when, at 12 o'clock, M., the enemy demanded an unconditional surrender. This was refused by Captain Aigan. Subsequently, however, seeing he could maintain his position but a short time, and the ammunition for the field piece being exhausted, he agreed at 3 o'clock P. M., to a conditional surrender. The force brought against Captain Aigan, as stated to him by the rebel General Dearing, was at least 1,600 men. During the fight 184 rounds were fired from the single cannon with which the fort was defended, and the rifles of the men became so hot that they had to be held by the slings. Fortunately, not one of Captain Aigan's command was killed and but one wounded. The rebels violated the terms of capitulation in every particular but one, and that was, that the garrison should march out with the honors of war. The men and officers were afterwards shamefully robbed of their private property. The treatment of the prisoners on the march, and in the prisons at Kingston, Macon and Andersonville, was inhuman in the extreme. Of the 51 captured, 32 died in prison, seven died elsewhere, and one was shot in attempting to escape.
After the return of the regiment, it re-occupied its old camp (Camp Anthony). One company (F) having for some two or three months garrisoned Fort Rowan, resumed its duties at that fort. General Foster, pleased with the manner in which Fort Rowan was garrisoned, ordered, toward the latter part of May, that Colonel Sisson should garrison, in addition to Fort Rowan, Fort Totten, the largest fort about Newbern, and not wholly completed at that time. Soon after, Colonel Sisson's command was extended to the forts on the south side of the Trent, all of which the 5th Regiment contributed largely to put in a state of defense. At the siege of Newbern, in February, 1864, Colonel Sisson's command, with the Fifth as the principal part of it, constituted the right center division of the defense. On the 3d of February, at midnight, the rebels succeeded in cutting out and sinking a gunboat lying in the Neuse river between Forts Stephenson and Anderson. Among the prisoners were Acting Assistant Paymaster Edward H. Sears, and Henry Earle, paymaster's clerk, both of Providence. May 1st, Company C, Captain Douglas, and Company E, Captain Hopkins, who had been stationed at Little Washington with the force under General Harlan, withdrew from that place, leaving it in flames, and returning to Newbern. The regiment did constant duty of the most varied kind. It was a matter of remark that if a detail was to be made for any difficult work, the Fifth was sure to be called upon. On the departure of Colonel Sisson, Colonel Tew took command of the regiment. The regiment was now succeeded at Forts Totten and Rowan by the 2d Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. The Fifth was assigned to Forts Spinola, Gaston and Amory on the south side of the Trent, and Forts Anderson and Chase on the north side of the Neuse, the whole under command of Colonel Tew.
The regiment was mustered out of service at Newbern, June 26th, 1865, and set out immediately for home, under the command of Colonel George W. Tew. It arrived in the steamer 'Nansit', between eleven and twelve o'clock on the morning of July 4th, amid the joyous demonstrations of the national holiday.
Into the idea of raising a regiment of colored men, Govern Smith early entered. He communicated with the authorities at Washington on the subject, and on the 17th of June, 1863, was granted permission to enlist a colored company of heavy artillery. This was so spiritedly done that on the 4th of August the permit was extended to a battalion, and on the 3d of September was again extended to a full regiment. This was called the 14th Regiment R. I. Heavy Artillery. 'Camp Smith' was established on the Dexter Training Ground, in Providence, and on the 28th of August the first company was mustered in. In the course of a few weeks a battalion of for companies was enlisted. In September three companies were transferred to Dutch island. The encampment on Dexter Training Ground was still used to complete company organizations. November 19th, the governor, accompanied by the legislature and many other invited guests, visited Dutch island, reviewed the troops, and presented to the regiment a stand of colors.
On the 7th of December, the First battalion left the island under Major Joseph J. Comstock, Jr., and went into camp at 'Camp Smith', in Providence, preparatory to proceeding to New Orleans to join General Banks, commanding the Department of the Gulf. December 19th the battalion left Providence and sailed from Newport on board the transport 'Cahawba' for New Orleans, where it arrived December 30th. Without debarking it proceeded to Passe Cavallo, Texas, where it arrived January 8th, 1864, and was assigned to garrison duty in Fort Esperanza, Matagorda island.
On the 8th of January, 1864, the 2d Battalion under the command of Captain Nelson Kenyon, sailed in the transport 'Daniel Webster' for New Orleans, where it arrived February 3d. The battalion was ordered into camp at English Turn, where, March 7th, Major Richard G. Shaw assumed the command. From English Turn the battalion removed to Plaquemine, 160 miles above New Orleans, where Major Shaw became post commander, and Captain Kenyon resumed the immediate command of the battalion. Here it was engaged in putting the fort in a state of defense, and in guarding the town by a long line of pickets. This line of pickets extended as far as Indian Village, twelve miles back. Frequent skirmishes occurred between the battalion and the guerrillas under the notorious Captain Scott of Plaquemine Parish. At one time they dashed upon the outposts and captured four or five men, whom they murdered as they retreated through Indian Village.
The whole regiment being now in the Department of the Gulf, its designation was changed by general order April 19th, to the 11th U. S. Heavy Artillery (Colored). On the 19th of May Major Comstock received orders to evacuate Fort Esperanza, first destroying what he could not take away, and return to New Orleans. He accordingly dismantled the works, shipped the heavy ordnance, and embarking his men on board the transport steamer 'Clinton', reached New Orleans May 23d.
Early in January, 1865, the allotment commissioner, Major Amesbury, visited the Second battalion at Planquemine, and paid up the troops to August 1st, preceding the first payment received by the men since their enlistment. Up to the opening of the new year, little had occurred at the post to vary the usual routine of garrison duty. February 16th, the entire regiment numbered 1,452 men. The effects of climate had seriously diminished its ranks. Up to the date last named, upward of 300 men had died of disease. From July 1st previous, 70 men had died at Fort Jackson. Experience provided that while black men made good and faithful soldiers, their power of endurance was not equal to that of whites. In April the station of the First battalion was transferred from Fort Jackson to Brashear City. The duties of the regiment at the several posts possessed few of the charms that give attraction and excitement to the movements of the field. It was mustered out at New Orleans, October 2d, 1865. On the 7th, it embarked on board the steamship 'North Star' for New York, where it arrived on the 15th. On landing, the regiment marched up Broadway preceded by a brass band and drum corps organized from its ranks, presenting one of the most imposing scenes that had been witnessed by the citizens of New York since the commencement of the return of soldiers from the field of war. Leaving New York in the propeller 'Doris', the regiment reached Portsmouth Grove at eight and a half o'clock A. M., October 18th, and was received with a national salute fired by a detachment of the Newport Artillery under Colonel John Hare Powell. Saturday morning October 21st, the regiment made a visit to Providence. A few days after, the men were scattered to their homes, having by their general good conduct as soldiers honored the state whose name they bore upon their regimental colors, and paying in this manner a gratifying tribute to the untiring energy of the chief executive by whom they were called into service.
The assault upon Fort Sumter April 12th, 1861, sent a thrill of patriotic indignation through all the loyal states. In no one was this more visible than in Rhode Island, and when Governor Sprague tendered to the general government the services of 1,000 infantry and a battery of artillery, he but expressed the spirit of the people. It was under this state of feeling that the Marine Artillery was organized for three months' active service by Captain Charles H. Tompkins, who was appointed to the command and commissioned April 18th. Hon. Samuel G. Arnold, lieutenant governor elect, having tendered his services to Governor Sprague, was appointed upon his staff, with the rank of colonel, and took the general command of the battery until after it reached Washington. On the afternoon of April 18th, the battery embarked at Providence on board the steamer 'Empire State' for Jersey City, taking with it over the 100 horses, six field pieces, caissons, battery wagon and forge. From thence the battery proceeded to Easton, Pa., and encamped on the fair grounds.
While at Easton, the battery exchanged its smooth-bore guns for the James rifled cannon, the first ever used in the service of the United States, and after devoting several days to drill, proceeded to Washington. It left Easton April 27th, and arrived in Philadelphia on Sunday morning, where it was hospitably entertained. April 30th, it started again for Washington, via Perryville, touching at Annapolis. Fears were entertained of being fired into in passing Alexandria, which was then in the hands of secessionists. To avoid provoking an attack, the men of the battery and all appliances of war were concealed from view, and a few persons in citizen's dress, among them Mrs. Samuel G. Arnold, who joined her husband at Philadelphia, courageously promenaded the upper deck of the steamer, giving it the appearance of a mere passenger boat. The apprehended point of danger was passed without molestation. May 2d, the battery landed at the arsenal in Washington, and passed in review before the president at the executive mansion. It quartered for a few days at the patent office. June 9th, the battery started one day in advance of the regiment, and proceeded by way of Baltimore, arriving there June 15th. Resting a few days, the first and second sections of the battery under Captain Tompkins crossed the Potomac and went into camp at Falling Waters. On the following day it was ordered back to Washington, arriving there on the 20th.
July 1st the battery started on its route by rail, and reached Hagerstown in 37 hours. After resting a short time, it advanced to Williamsport and encamped for the night. Passing over the Potomac with a body of infantry to operate against the rebels, it marched to Martinsburg, Va., and encamped near the 12th and 28th New York Volunteers. Soon after sunrise July 15th, General Patterson's grand column moved out to Martinsburg, with the battery on the right, and marched to Bunker Hill, Va. When within nearly two miles of that place, about 700 rebel cavalry appeared approaching, but on discovering the Union forces turned at once and retreated. The battery fired a number of rounds, shelling the woods, freeing them from any lingering party of the enemy, and mortally wounding one officer and two privates, and slightly injuring a sergeant. The battery took possession of the vacated rebel camp, the fires of which were still burning. On the third day, at 3 o'clock, A. M., General Patterson's column commenced moving toward Charlestown. From there the battery marched, to Harper's Ferry, arriving the same evening. From Harper's Ferry the battery proceeded to Sandy Hook, where it was relieved after the battle of Bull Run by Battery A, Captain William H. Reynolds commanding. The term of service having expired, the battery, under the command of Lieutenant Remington (Captain Tompkins being detained in Washington), set out for home. It reached Providence July 31st, and the next morning was provided with a sumptuous breakfast at Railroad Hall. August 6th the battery was mustered out of service.
The 10th Light Battery, for three months' service, was raised with the 9th and 10th regiments of three months' volunteers, and was recruited under the supervision of Captain Edwin C. Gallup. In May it left Providence for Washington in three detachments, the first under Lieutenant Samuel A. Pearce, Jr., the second under Lieutenant Frank A. Rhodes and Amos D. Smith, Jr., and the third under Captain Gallup and Quartermaster Sergeant Asa Lyman. On reaching Washington they proceeded to Tenallytown, and concentrated at Camp Frieze. The battery lay here improving in its drill until June 23d, when, in obedience to order, it moved forward to re-enforce General Banks. It was mustered out of service August 30th, 1862. During its absence it made a proficiency in artillery movements that excited the surprise and received the strong approbation of military visitants from Washington.
Battery A, of the 1st Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery, was enlisted and organized simultaneously with the 2d Regiment Rhode Island Infantry, and with that regiment had its encampment on the Dexter Training Ground in Providence. It was mustered into service June 6th, 1861, and under the command of Captain William H. Reynolds embarked on board the transport steamer 'Kill Von Kull' for Washington June 19th. On arriving there, it was attached to Burnside's brigade, Hunter's division, McDowell's army corps. It remained at Camp Sprague until the movement of the army to Bull Run. There it opened the attack on the right.
In August, in accordance with instructions from the secretary of war, a battalion of light artillery was organized, consisting of batteries A, B, and C, under command of Major Charles H. Tompkins, and in September following was constituted a regiment, Major Tompkins being appointed its Colonel. The battery wintered at Poolesville, Md., and in March, 1862, after the operations against Winchester, shared the fortunes of the army of the Potomac on the Peninsula. It was engaged before Yorktown, at Fair Oaks, Peach Orchard, Savage's Station, Charles City Court House and Malvern Hill, and was the last battery to leave the hill when the army fell back to Harrison's Landing. The battery participated in the battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 13th, and in the battle of Marye's Heights, May 3, 1863. At Gettysburg, Pa., on the 1st, 2d and 3d days of July following, it fought with distinguished bravery, losing five men killed and 23 wounded; thirty horses were also lost. October 14th it engaged the enemy at Bristoe Station, and aided in frustrating Lee's attempt to get between the forces of General Meade and Washington. On the 3d of May, the battery commenced the grand march with the entire army towards Richmond. It was hotly engaged in the several battles known as the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House, North Anna, etc., and lost a number of men wounded. It fought at Cold Harbor, May 30th. Here Lieutenant Peter Hunt was wounded in the foot, and was removed to the hospital at Washington, where the limb was amputated. Sinking under the effects of the wound, he died June 14th. His remains were brought to Providence, and on the 20th, after an impressive service in the Central Congregational Church, were escorted to their last resting place by 30 men of the battery.
The term of service of the original three years' men having now expired, the battery comprising that class returned home under Captain Arnold, and arrived in Providence Monday morning, June 13th. On the evening of June 15th, a sumptuous complimentary supper was given to the battery at the City Hotel by a number of gentlemen whose interest in its welfare had been unabated through its long and honorable career. The battery was mustered out of service June 18th.
Less than 50 men of the battery remained in the field after the departure of those whose three years' term of service had expired. These were recruits and re-enlisted veterans. The command devolved on Lieutenant Gamaliel Lyman Dwight, who re-organized it with admirable despatch. He procured men from other batteries of the corps to supply its deficiencies, and in three days announced the battery as ready for the front. On the 30th of September the battery was consolidated with Battery B, which act terminated a distinctive history marked by brilliant deeds.
Battery B, 1st Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery, left Providence for Washington August 13th, 1861. On arriving there it was assigned to General Stone's command, afterward Sedgwick's corps, Amy of the Potomac. October 21st, the left section, under the command of Captain Vaughan, proceeded to Conrad's Ferry, to operate in the unfortunate battle of Ball's Bluff. In February, 1862, the battery advanced to Winchester, Va. It moved with the army of the Potomac in the captain of the Peninsula. It engaged the enemy before Yorktown, was subsequently present as a support at the battle of Hanover Court House, was under fire at Fair Oaks, was in position at Peach Orchard, Savage's Station and Malvern Hill, having several men wounded at the latter place. At the battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 13th, the battery fought bravely under a hot fire, losing 16 men killed and wounded, and 12 battery horses shot. At Gettysburg the battery again went into action and came out with a heavy loss of horses, four men killed and 23 wounded. In the subsequent movements of the army of the Potomac up to the close of 1863, the battery handsomely maintained, especially at Bristoe Station and Mine Run, a well-earned reputation. It wintered in the valley of the Rappahannock. It was now attached to the First Division (Barlow's), Second Army Corps, and shared in all the hard fights that marked the way to Petersburg. In the battle of the Wilderness it occupied a position in an open space in front of the advance line. At Todd's Tavern, four guns were placed in the front line in woods so dense that a road was cut for each gun, and when planted the eye could not penetrate 50 yards in advance. On the afternoon of the 9th of May, the battery reached the Po, and a section was sent forward to shell a wagon train beyond the river. The rebels replied, killing two men of the battery. On the 10th, Barlow's division was attacked by a greatly superior force, and was ordered to re-cross the Po. The battery was sent to take position on a hill overlooking the river, to cover the crossing. This was done with complete success, the heavy and well directed fire upon the pursuing rebels causing them to seek shelter in the woods in great disorder. At this time one man was killed and four were wounded by an enfilading fire from rebel battery on the left. On the 12th, the battery was stationed all day within 500 yards of the rebel rifle-pits, where a sharp contest was carried on until after two o'clock on the morning of the 13th. On the 15th, Corporal McMeekin and Private Stephen Collins volunteered to run out and fasten ropes to two rebel guns that lay abandoned between the lines of sharpshooters, while a company of infantry should pull them within the Union lines. The dangerous enterprise was successfully accomplished. On the 19th the battery was severely engaged and lost one man. June 3d the battery had four men wounded at Cold Harbor, and in August five men wounded before Petersburg. Batteries A and B were now operated together under a single commander, though they were not officially consolidated until September 30th, when the two took the name of Battery B, as mentioned in the sketch of Battery A.
In the fierce battle of Reams' Station, August 25th, the combined battery A and B was nearly annihilated. The total number killed, wounded and missing numbered 52, with a loss of all the guns and 50 horses. The men served their guns faithfully and assisted in repelling three terrific assaults, but an overpowering force finally drove them from their posts; not, however, until some of the men had been killed at the cannon's side by the clubbed muskets of the enemy. This disaster reduced the battery to 72 men. The battery continued with the Second Corps in all its movements and battles until Lee's surrender. On the retreat of the rebel general from Richmond, the battery followed close upon his rear, and had its last fight at Farmsville. Thus closing its military life in the field, the battery comprising 135 enlisted men, under Lieutenant Chace, left Washington June 3d, and arrived in Providence on the 5th. The men were quartered at the Silvey barracks until mustered out of service, June 13th.
By order of General Meade March 7,1865, the following names of battles in which the battery had borne a meritorious part were directed to be inscribed on its colors: Ball's Bluff, Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Malvern Hill, Antietam, First Fredericksburg, Second Fredericksburg , Gettysburg, Bristoe Station, Reams' Station, Mine Run, Wilderness, Po River, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Tolopotomy, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Deep Bottom .
Battery C was enlisted in Providence and went into camp at 'Camp Ames', on the Warwick road, beyond Pawtuxet, was mustered into the United States service August 25,1861, and on the 31st of the same month took the cars at Providence for Washington. On the 10th of March, 1862, it moved with the grand army, first towards Manassas, and afterwards by transports from Alexandria to the Peninsula. Landing at Fortress Monroe March 24th, the battery took up its line of march for Yorktown by way of Hampton, Great Bethel, New Market Bridge and Harwood's Mills. On the 5th of April it had its first fighting experience in front of Fort Magruder, one of the defences of Yorktown. In this battle, which lasted from 10 o'clock A. M. until late in the afternoon, Battery C lost one man killed. On the 26th of June the great seven days' contest opened with the battle of Mechanicsville, where the battery was under fire. On the 27th it fought at Gaines' Farm with a vigor and bravery that commanded admiration. But courage and skill could not withstand the superior numbers hurled against the right wing of the federal army, and after repelling repeated charges, the battery was compelled to retire, losing severely in men and horses. Leaving this field of honorable disaster, the battery proceeded by Charles City Cross Roads to Turkey Bend, on the James river, and July 1st engaged in the bloody battle of Malvern Hill. The total losses at Gaines' Farm and Malvern Hill were five men killed, 21 wounded, one who died while being removed, five missing, three 3-inch ordnance guns, carriages and limbers, two caissons, two caisson bodies and 50 horses and their equipments.
When the army of the Potomac withdrew from the Peninsula, the battery with its corps joined General Pope and took part in the second battle of Bull Run. The casualties were one man wounded, six horses killed, and two sets of horse equipments lost. On the 12th of September the battery marched with the army for the field of Antietam, and during the battle of the 17th was in the reserve.
Moving again with the army, October 30th, the battery marched to the neighborhood of Potomac Creek, Va., and took an honorable part in the attack upon Fredericksburg, December 11th, 12th and 13th. After the second attempt on Fredericksburg, December 30th, the battery remained in winter quarters. Nothing further of moment occurred until the last of April, 1863, when General Hooker put the army of the Potomac in motion to meet and measure strength with the rebel army at Chancellorsville. April 30th it crossed the Rapidan river at Ely's Ford, and reached Chancellorsville at noon of the same day. The battle of May 2d and 3d was fierce and bloody, and on both days the battery moved in various directions over the field, at one time reconnoitering, and at another taking position commanding some important point.
The return march to the line of the Rappahannock commenced July 5th, was very severe on both men and horses. In the battle of Rappahannock Station, November 7th, the battery fired 160 rounds, and had two men wounded. At Mine Run, November 27th, it expended 150 rounds of percussion, fuse and shrapnel shell. The casualties were one man wounded and two horses killed.
The winter of 1863-4 was passed in Hazle Run, with little incident to relieve the dullness of life in close quarters. On the morning of May 4th, 1864, the battery broke camp and joined in the forward movement of the entire army toward Richmond. For the succeeding 27 days it shared the fatigues and perils that beset the way to the Chicahominy. June 3d it reported to Major General Smith, commanding the 18th Army Corps, at Cold Harbor, and took position in the breastworks within 300 yards range of the rebel works. Here one man was killed by a rebel sharpshooter and one man was wounded. The battery remained at Cold Harbor until June 12th, when it moved toward the James river, which it crossed at Brandon on a pontoon of 108 boats, and encamped near Petersburg on the 17th.
In the beginning of July General Early made a raid on Washington, and the 6th Army Corps was withdrawn from before Petersburg for its protection. The battery broke camp at midnight July 9th, and on the 11th embarked at City Point on board the hospital steamer 'George Leary'. It reached Washington about 11 o'clock on the night of the 12th and went into camp at Fort Stevens. The prompt arrival of the 6th Corps saved the captain from the grasp of the rebel general, who, disappointed of his purpose and conscious of the danger of his situation, made a hasty retreat. Pursuit, in which the battery joined, was immediate. An early return to share in the work before Petersburg was not anticipated, but the operations of the rebels on the Upper Potomac rendered the recall of the battery to that field necessary. For several weeks the battery was in incessant motion, now advancing and now retreating, as circumstances demanded. The heat was excessive; the dust, thrown into clouds, filled the atmosphere, and the marching was severe. These combined, greatly exhausted men and horses. In the double battle at Cedar Creek, October 19th, which for fierceness and brilliancy has few parallels in American military history, the battery was hotly engaged, and suffered severely in men and horses. Lieutenant Reuben H. Rich and Sergeant George A. Perry were badly wounded. Corporal John Keating and 13 privates were also wounded. Two guns were lost, but were subsequently recovered.
August 25th, preceding the above named battle, 44 men of the battery, whose three years term of service had expired, were mustered out near Harper's Ferry, and returned to Providence in charge of Lieutenant Rich, August 28th. A few days after they were paid off. December 23d, by order of the war department, the battery was consolidated with Battery G. By order of General Meade, the names of the following battles, in which it had borne a meritorious part, were directed to be inscribed upon its colors: Yorktown, Hanover Court House, Mechanicsville, Gaines' Mills, Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Opequan, Fisher's Hill, Cedar Creek.
Battery D was enlisted in Providence, and was mustered into the service of the United States September 4th, 1861. October 12th, it reported to General McDowell at Upton's Hill. It established there 'Camp Dupont', and remained in quarters until March 9th, 1862, when it marched to Fairfax Court House, and was attached to General King's division of Genneral McDowell's corps. Early in June it accompanied the corps in pursuit after Stonewall Jackson when on his famous raid up the Shenandoah Valley. It subsequently took part in the fights at Sulphur Springs and Groveton. In the latter battle, August 28th, several men were wounded severely and four were taken prisoners. In the battle of Bull Run, August 29th and 30th, the battery lost 18 men in killed and wounded.
After this disastrous battle, the battery returned with the army within the defenses of Washington, and marched with the army of the Potomac into Maryland, attached to General Hooker's corps. It participated in the victorious battle of South Mountain, September 14th, and on the 17th fought with great steadiness and bravery at Antietam. In this battle 39 men were lost, in killed, wounded and missing. Being subsequently assigned to the 9th Army Corps, for service in the Department of the Ohio, the battery proceeded to the Peninsula, and March 19th, 1863, departed from Newport News to join General Burnside. From April 9th to May 8th, the battery marched in various directions 237 miles. July 12th it left Camp Nelson, Ky., for Cincinnati, O., where it was employed in picket and other duties during the alarm caused by Morgan's guerillas until August.
After completing the service assigned to it in the Department of the Ohio, the battery returned in the East to rejoin the army of the Potomac. It came to Providence on a veteran furlough of 30 days, and had a handsome reception. From April 5th to the 25th, 1864, it was successively at Stevenson's Station, Kearnstown, Middletown, Summit Point, and near Winchester, Va. May 4th, it marched from Warrenton Junction as a part of the 9th Army Corps in the advance on Richmond, Va., and on the 6th took position near General Grant's headquarters.
When General Early retreated from his raid on Washington Battery D received a new armament and joined in the pursuit. September 19th it marched to near Winchester, Va., and went into action with the 19th Corps, to which it was joined. In this battle four men were wounded and six horses were killed. On the 20th, it marched to Strasburg, Va.; on the 21st shelled the enemy; on the 22d engaged in the battle of Fisher's Hill, in which the rebels were put to rout with heavy loss; and at 6 o'clock P. M. marched for Woodstock, where it arrived at daylight on the 23d. From this date to the 30th, the battery was consecutively at Edinburg, New Market, Harrisonburg, Mount Crawford, and again at Harrisonburg. October 19th, it engaged in the battle of Cedar Creek, in which it had six men wounded and 24 horses killed.
The battery continued in the Valley of the Shenandoah performing such duties as were required of it until July 10th, 1865, when it left Winchester, Va., and proceeded to Providence under the command of Captain Corthell. The battery was mustered out of service July 17th, leaving a record honorable alike to itself and to the state.
Battery E was enlisted in Providence and had its first encampment at 'Camp Greene', previously occupied by the 4th Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers. It left for Washington early in October, 1861, and remained in 'Camp Sprague' until November 5th, when it passed into Virginia and established a camp near Fort Lyon, southwest of Alexandria, which was named 'Camp Webb'. It was busily occupied during the siege of Yorktown until the evacuation when it joined in pursuit of the rebels, and at the battle of Williamsburg Captain Randolph, with a section of his battery and a section of Thompson's U. S. under him, was the first to enter the town the next day. It passed through the fiery ordeal of the memorable 'seven days', in which the right wing swung round to the James river. In the battle of Malvern Hill it lost one man killed and four men wounded. It left the Peninsula with the army of the Potomac, to join General Pope, and fought bravely at Bristoe Station, August 27th, driving the enemy, and having two men killed and two men wounded. In the second battle of Bull Run, Captain Randolph posted his battery on the left of the Leesburg road, and delivered an effective fire. He lost two man killed and three taken prisoners. In the battle of Chantilly, September 1st, the destructive fire of the battery did much to decide the day.
At the battle of Chancellorsville, May 2d and 3d, 1863, Captain Randolph being chief of artillery, the battery was under the command of Lieutenant Pardon S. Jastram, and fought with great vigor. It was subjected to a galling enfilading fire, and suffered a loss of two men killed, 16 men wounded, and 24 horses killed, wounded and missing. At the battle of Gettysburg, Captain Randolph commanded the artillery brigade in General Sickles' (Third) corps. He had five batteries of his own brigade and three from the artillery reserve in the battle, which were finely handled. Battery E was posted on the road from Gettysburg to Emmettsburg, near the Peach Orchard that formed the angle of the Federal lines. A concentrated rebel fire upon it caused a loss of 29 men killed or wounded, and 40 horses killed and disabled.
On returning to the valley of the Rappahannock, the battery was active in the various movements of the army until winter. In the advance upon the rebels November 7th, it surprised the enemy at Kelly's Ford, and drove him across the river. The loss of the battery was one man killed and two wounded. In the battle of Mine Run, November 27th, the battery took an efficient part, and had two men wounded. After this action, it went into winter quarters near Brandy Station.
May 4th, 1864, the battery moved with the army to share in the successive battles fought from the Wilderness to Petersburg.
June 1st, the battery reached Cold Harbor in the afternoon, and immediately engaged the enemy, expending 583 rounds of ammunition. On the 17th, it arrived before Petersburg, and the next day went into position within 300 yards of the enemy's skirmish lines. Changing to a point nearer the city, it threw solid shot into Petersburg, being the first fired into the city. Its casualties were five men wounded and three horses killed. June 29th the battery accompanied the 6th Corps to Reams' Station to reinforce General Wilson. July 1st it was in position to command the plank road from Reams' Station; the next day it marched with the corps to Williams' Farm; thence on the 9th to City Point, and on the 13th embarked for Baltimore. It arrived in Washington July 16th, and the next day was ordered back to City Point, where it arrived on the 19th. Through the residue of the year, the battery met promptly all the duties assigned it.
From the 29th of March until the morning of the 2d of April, 1865, the battery remained in position in 'Fort Wadsworth', on the Weldon railroad, where it had been since December 30th, 1864.
On closing its career on the Peninsula, the battery proceeded to Washington, and June 3d set out under Captain Jacob H. Lamb for Providence. It arrived from New York in the steamer 'Galatea', on Wednesday, June 7th. The returned men numbered one hundred and forty. The battery was mustered out of service June 14th. The names of the following battles in which it had borne a meritorious part were inscribed upon its colors: Yorktown, Charles City Cross Roads, Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, Chantilly, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg.
Battery F was sent to Washington early in November, 1861, and quartered at 'Camp Sprague'. After a few weeks it proceeded to 'Camp California', Alexandria, Va., and thence to Annapolis, Md., where it joined the North Carolina expedition under General Burnside.
October 10th, the battery marched on an expedition to Elizabeth City, N. C., and returned to Newbern on the 16th without engagement, marching 425 miles. It was now called from the field of its first experience to mingle in struggles with succession on the Peninsula. On the 3d of November it marched by the way of Dismal Swamp tow path to Deep Creek, Va, a distance of 41 miles, skirmishing with the enemy for about ten miles. On the 4th it marched to Portsmouth, Va., and embarked for Fortress Monroe . It disembarked there on the 5th, and arrived on the same day at Newport News. The whole distance traveled was 320 miles. December 23d it left Newport News, and proceeded on board the steamer 'Conqueror' to Point Lookout, Md., where it disembarked on the 24th.
January 24th, 1864, the battery embarked on board transports and proceeded to Yorktown. It left Yorktown May 3d, proceeded to Newport News, Va., and on the 4th embarked on board transports. Sailing up the James river, it disembarked at Bermuda Hundred, marched five miles towards Petersburg, and encamped May 6th. On the 12th of May it again left camp, and engaged the enemy on the Richmond and Petersburg Pike. In this engagement one man was killed, and three men were severely wounded. On the 16th a conflict occurred at Drury's Bluff, where Captain Belger was taken prisoner, and the command devolved on Lieutenant Thomas Simpson. The entire casualties were three men killed, eight wounded, four missing, 26 horses, two guns and four limbers lost. It again left camp June 22d, took position in the trenches in front of Petersburg, and skirmished continually with the enemy until the 27th. During this time five men were wounded, and four horses were killed. The battery remained in position in the trenches until July 8th, and on the afternoon of that day engaged the enemy, having one man slightly wounded.
April 3d, 1865, Lieutenant Simpson, who was taken prisoner October 27th, 1864, rejoined the battery, which, on the morning of April 7th, broke camp and marched to Richmond, where it was stationed, and June 27th was there mustered out of service. On the 1st of July it arrived in Providence direct from Richmond, coming from New York in the steamer 'Galatea'.
Battery G left Providence for Washington, December 7th, 1861, and went into 'Camp Sprague', where it remained occupied in drill until January 3d, 1862, when, it proceeded to Darnestown, Md. In February the battery was at Edwards' Ferry, where it was visited by Governor Sprague. On the 15th of that month it was at Bolivar Heights, and from there it proceeded to Washington to join McClellan's advance on Richmond. March 29th it left Washington for Fortress Monroe where it arrived April 2d. After landing, the battery proceeded up the Peninsula, and encamped seven miles from Yorktown. On the 28th, it was ordered to take position within 1,000 yards of the rebel fortifications, which it did, and at night returned to 'Camp Winfield Scott'. During the siege, it was constantly engaged in picket duty and skirmishes with the enemy. On withdrawing from the Peninsula, it marched by the way of Yorktown to Hampton, where it embarked for Alexandria. On the 17th it fought at Antietam, under Captain Owen, with great bravery. On the 6th of October, it was at Bolivar Heights. It left there on the 31st and crossed the Shenandoah. On the 5th of November it was at Upperville, and moving on, was in readiness, on the 13th of December, to join in the assault on Fredericksburg.
In this battle, before crossing the river, the battery was posted on the extreme right of the artillery line. On going over, it took position in the rear of Gordon's house and by a well directed fire of canister and the support of the 5th Michigan Infantry, drove back the rebels who had approached to within 150 yards in an attempt to seize the position. In the second battle of Fredericksburg, May 2d and 3d, Captain Adams led his battery into the hottest of the fight. It was early sent forward to an exposed position to silence a rebel battery on the right. The casualties were 24 men killed or wounded, 16 horses lost, and a gun carriage badly damaged. Accompanying the army of the Potomac in June following, to drive the rebel forces under General Lee out of Pennsylvania, it took a gallant part in the battle of Gettysburg, July 1st, 2d and 3d.
The battery returned with the army of the Potomac to the Valley of the Rappahannock. October 17th it was at Chantilly, Va., in the movement to head off General Lee in his attempt to flank General Meade, and get between his army and Washington. Later in the same month it was at Warrenton. In November it reported at Brandy Station. It went into winter quarters near Brandy Station, where 28 men were re-enlisted, and December 26th went home on a veteran furlough of 35 days. May 12th, 1864, it was engaged in the action near Spottsylvania Court House from 7 o'clock A. M. until 4 o'clock P. M. and had one man wounded. June 2d, it participated in the battle of Cold Harbor, in which Lieutenant Charles V. Scott was wounded. It remained in position here until the 12th, when it marched to near Petersburg.
In the battle of Winchester, September 19th, the battery was actively engaged; and on the 22d participated in the battle of Fisher's Hill. In the battle of Cedar Creek, October 19th, the battery was warmly engaged, and met with heavy losses. Six men were killed and 21 were wounded, including Lieutenant C. V. Scott, who subsequently died.
After the battle of Cedar Creek, the battery returned to 'Camp Barry', near Washington, where it received a new outfit of guns and equipments, and then proceeded to the front at Petersburg. In the spring of 1865, General Wright prepared for an assault with the 6th Corps upon the enemy's works. Captain Adams conceived the plan of sealing their defenses, getting possession of their guns, and turning them upon the rebel force, or spiking and rendering them useless, as circumstances might warrant. With the consent of General Wright he selected 17 men of his battery, and trained them carefully for the operation. On the 2d of April, the assault was made. Captain Adams with his trained men advanced with the corps to the conflict, and rushing in with great impetuosity successfully accomplished their object. The moral effect of this daring deed upon the army was inspiring, and awakened the greatest enthusiasm. In recognition of the value of this service, the war department in May, 1866, directed handsome bronze medals, struck in honor of the event, to be presented to the following named persons: Sergeants John H. Haveron and Archibald Malbone; Corporals James A. Barber and Samuel E. Lewis; Privates Warren P. Franklin, Carl Guhl, Henry Krull, H. Griffith, Charles D. Ennis, Henry Randall, Horace B. Tanner, Germon W. Potter, J. A. Taft, William F. Short, James Callahan, John Corcoran and John P. Kronke. Twelve of these men were members of Battery C previous to its consolidation with Battery G, December 23d, 1864.
After the fall of Petersburg, Battery G took part in the battle of Sailor's Creek, April 6th, and closed its long and active military service by joining in firing a salute in commemoration of General Lee's surrender. After marching to Richmond it set out for home. Accompanied by Battery H, it arrived in Providence Friday morning, June 16th. They came from New York on a steamer of the Neptune line, and were received with a national salute, and the warm greetings of waiting friends. By order of General Meade the names of the following battles in which it had meritoriously participated were directed to be inscribed upon its colors: Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Marye's Heights, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Opequan, Fisher's Hill, Cedar Creek.
Battery H was enlisted under Captain Charles H. J. Hamlen, and went into camp near Mashapaug Pond. It recruited in its camp, while in Rhode Island, more than four times its complement of men, but in consequence of the many requisitions from batteries in the field whose ranks had been reduced by the casualties of war, it was deemed necessary to furnish them with recruits from this battery, and it was only after they had been thus supplied that it was completed and permitted to leave the state. On proceeding to Washington, October 23d, 1862, it was assigned, October 28th, to 'Camp Barry', where it received three-inch rifled guns in place of the James pieces with which it left Rhode Island.
In the spring of 1864, Battery H was transferred from the comparative quiet of a defensive position to the more exciting scenes of aggressive war. On the 6th of May it marched to Rappahannock Station, on the 7th to the Rapidan River, on the 8th to near Chancellorsville, and on the 9th to near Spottsylvania Court House, where it joined the artillery reserve of the army of the Potomac. On the 11th its march was reversed to Marye's Cross Roads. It thence continued its march to Oak Hill, thence to Fredericksburg, thence to Falmouth and Belle Plain, where it joined General Abercrombie's division. Remaining here until May 24th, the battery marched to Westmoreland Plain, and the next day to Port Conway, crossing the Rappahannock to Port Royal. May 29th, Captain Allen shipped the battery on board the transport 'St. Nicholas', on the 30th was off Port Royal, and on the 31st started for Washington in tow of the steamer 'General Hooker'. June 4th he disembarked his men at the city, turned in ordnance stores, and marched to the Soldier's Rest; June 5th marched to Fort Richardson; left Fort Richardson July 10th for Fort Smith, and October 16th moved from thence to Fort Barry, where the battery was remounted. October 25th it left Camp Barry for City Point, Va., reported to the headquarters of the army of the Potomac, and October 30th was assigned to the artillery reserve.
January 3, 1865, the battery left City Point and marched to Warren Station, and joined the artillery brigade of the 6th Army Corps. Passing over the winter life of the battery, the next prominent feature of its remaining history is the part it took in the final grand assault upon the rebel works before Petersburg, April 2d. At 4 1/2 o'clock A.M., on the 2d, the battery moved forward with the division, and after crossing the rifle-pits, opened upon a section of artillery, which had a flank fire on the federal infantry. It was soon driven off, when the battery ceased firing, moved to the left, brought up the caissons, and awaited orders. It then moved forward 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 Battery H went into position. The enemy placed a rifle battery in position on the left, and obtained an enfilading fire at 1,700 yards, being beyond the extreme range of Captain Allen's guns. He was then ordered by Major Cowan to withdrew his guns, which he did, and went into park in rear of the first division headquarters for the night. In this day's action four men and ten horses were killed, and six men were wounded.
The battle of Sailor's Creek, though less severe than the assault in which the 6th Corps engaged on the 2d, was nevertheless a hard fought action, and resulted in the entire rout of the enemy. On the 7th, Battery H continued with the 6th Corps in pursuit of the flying rebels to Farmsville, where a fight occurred, and from which place Lieutenant General Grant sent a note to General Lee suggesting that a surrender of his armies would prevent a further effusion of blood, and offering honorable terms. This proposition was held in abeyance until April 9th, when it was accepted, and the war of the rebellion in Virginia practically ceased.
Terminating its services in the cause of constitutional freedom in June, the battery set out for home, and arrived in Providence on the 16th of that month. The battery was mustered out of service June 28, 1865.
When the war ceased all hearts felt the relief, as of a burden rolled away, and the return of the people to the channels of peaceful occupation was as ready and as natural as the fall of an apple to the earth. The news of the surrender of Lee's army in April, 1865, awakened sounds of rejoicing, the excess of which were soon hushed by the sad news of the assassination of President Lincoln, and the city which was but just donning the robes of rejoicing, now assumed the habiliments of mourning, while she listened, with flags at half mast, to the tolling of her bells for the death of a nation's executive head. But even so great a cause of lamentation could not long depress the spirits which were rising in gladness at the prospect of returning peace and the return of friends who had for years been absent at the scenes of war. As one after another of the organizations came marching back again to their homes, the people met them with a shout of welcome and rejoicing. The energies which had become excited by the requirements of the war to unusual actively were not suppressed, but were turned into other channels and allowed to flow on. The city had suffered no depletion of its population or financial prosperity. From the year 1860 to 1865 it had grown in population from 50,666 to 54,595, and in assessed valuation from $58,131,800 to $80,564,300. The establishments which had been engaged in manufacturing implements of war were now turned to the production of implements of peace. The 'swords were beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.' and popular education, instead of popular destruction received the benefactions of the most liberal appropriations from the city treasury.
In order to commemorate the sacrifice of the lives of the sons of Rhode Island in the war by an enduring monument, placed in a conspicuous position, the general assembly, in January, 1867, appointed a committee of prominent citizens of the state, headed by General A. E. Burnside, to secure a site and superintend the erection of a monument in the city of Providence to the memory of the officers and men in the army and navy of the United States from the state of Rhode Island who fell in battle, and who died of their wounds or from sickness, in the late rebellion. The monument was designed by Randolph Rogers, of Rome, Italy. The wisdom of the community was shown in the selection of a site in Exchange Place, near the railroad depot, one of the most conspicuous and public situations to be found in the city. It consists of a statue of America, 10 feet high, standing upon a pedestal 32 feet from the ground. The pedestal is of granite, the statue and tablets and other mountings of bronze, which were cast in Munich. The bronze figure holds in the left hand a sword depending at her side, while in her extended right hand she offers a wreath. Below, upon projecting abutments at each corner, stand bronze statues representing the infantry, cavalry, artillery and naval services. The names of 1,767 officers and men are engraved upon the bronze tablets and panels distributed upon the sides of the pedestal. Between the corner projections are bas-reliefs typifying War, Victory, Peace and History. The platform of the base is reached by a flight of five steps, which are broken at each corner by pedestals bearing mortars and balls. The whole stands in a small grass plat, enclosed by a handsome fence of granite and iron. The cost of the monument was $60,000.
The monument having been completed and placed in position, the ceremonies of unveiling it took place, by order of the governor of the state, Saturday, September 16th, 1871. A platform with seats to accommodate 2,300 persons was raised on three sides of the monument, and tickets admitting to this were issued to the families of deceased soldiers and sailors and to invited guests. The annual muster of the militia was suspended by order of the governor, and all the uniformed companies in the state were required to appear in Providence to take part in the proceedings of dedication. To provide for the veterans of the war and the uniformed militia of the state, the whole of Exchange Place was enclosed and guarded by a large body of policemen.
A large number of military organizations and other organizations, with bands of music interspersed, took up the line of march through Broadway, Knight, High, Broad, Dorrance, Westminster, South Main, Transit, Benefit, Meeting, North Main and Steeple streets, to Exchange Place. The whole line of streets through which it passed was alive with flags and waving handkerchiefs. Nearly 2,000 veterans were in the ranks. With the uniformed militia they formed at the east end of Exchange Place, and at a given signal the whole body, about 4,000 strong, in solid phalanx, the lines reaching clean across the open space, marched up to the monument. The solid host thus presented, with the many tattered battle flags which the veterans bore, their blue uniforms, the brilliant clothes of the citizen soldiers, the gleaming of the muskets with set bayonets, and the firm and regular marching to the music of 16 bands, was one of the grandest sights of the kind ever witnessed by the city of Providence. The enthusiasm which it excited in the thousands of spectators, who occupied every available foot of standing room in the neighborhood, found expression in prolonged cheers and waving of handkerchiefs. The dedicatory ceremonies consisted of instrumental music, singing by a choir of 300 voices, introductory remarks by Governor Padelford, prayer by Doctor Thayer, of Newport, an oration by Reverend Augustus Woodbury, the singing of a memorial hymn, and benediction by Reverend Doctor Caswell, president of Brown University. The memorial hymn, written for the occasion by Mrs. Sarah Ellen Whitman, is so rich in beautiful expression of inspiring thoughts that we cannot refrain from quoting it here. It is as follows:
'Raise the proud pillar of granite on high,
Graced with all honors that love can impart;
Lift its fair sculptures against the blue sky,
Blazoned and crowned with the trophies of art,
Crowned with the triumphs of genius and art!
Long may its white columns soar to the sky,
Like a lone lily that perfumes the mart,
Lifting its coronal beauty on high.
Sons of Rhode Island, your record shall stand
Graven on tablets of granite and bronze;
Soldiers and sailors beloved of our land,
Darlings and heroes, our brothers and sons, --
Gray-bearded heroes and beautiful sons!
Soldiers and sailors, the flower of our land,
Deep, as on tablets of granite and bronze,
Graved on our hearts shall your bright record stand.
Swell the loud psalm, let the war trumpets sound;
Fling the old flag to the wild autumn blast;
High in Valhallah our comrades are crowned.
There may we meet when life's conflicts are past, --
Meet in the great Hall of Heroes at last!
High in Valhallah our comrades are crowned,
Swell with hosannas the wild autumn blast!
Let the full chorus of voices resound!'
* * * * * * END Chapter VIII * * * * * *
The Newport County Reading Room Index More Biographies and History.