THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

thelivyjr
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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

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THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIV. The Volunteers., continued ...

On the second of August a brigade composed of most of the Fifth and the First Vermont approached Orange C.H., from the east under the command of General Crawford.

The streets were silent and apparently deserted, as the troops entered; but a sudden and heavy fire poured upon them announced a concealed enemy, and while confused by its effect they were repulsed and driven back from the town.

Captain Hammond had been detached in charge of Companies G and H across the country to the Gordonsville road which penetrates the village from the southwest.

He reached the road, and was approaching with no knowledge of the assault and repulse of the brigade.

The Confederates were equally ignorant of his presence.

Ordering his command to draw sabres, he said to them: "This is the first favorable opportunity you have had to try your sword; use your hardware well and we will take the place or die in the attempt."

They rushed at full speed upon the enemy in an impetuous charge and with a wild shout.

Although surprised, the Confederates met them by a withering discharge of musketry; but the enthusiasm of the cavalry was irresistible.

The enemy were driven back to an open space, where they rallied for a moment and then broke and fled in utter disorder.

More prisoners were taken than the feeble force were able to secure.

The charge was most gallantly executed and terrible in its effect.

The area, in which the rebels made their last stand, was strewn with the killed and wounded, and with unhorsed men bearing fearful evidence of the force of the sabre's blow.

When the cavalry, after these events, advanced along the street, they were first apprized by the dead and dying, men and horses, of the preceding combat.

Lieutenant Penfield of Company H was peculiarly conspicuous in this brief conflict, by his chivalric bearing.

The enemy's force was composed of the celebrated Virginia horse, which had been organized by Ashley. 18

18 The ludicrous and comic sometimes relieves the grim visage of war. As the command was advancing to the charge, Captain Hammond advised the company's cook, Henry Spaulding, who was leading a pack horse, loaded with frying pans, kettles, and all the paraphernalia of his office, to remain in the rear; but this, he was unwilling to do. Guiding his own and leading the pack horse, with sabre in hand, he kept well up and boldly rushed into the thickest of the affray. The gallant officer who furnished me with the anecdote, remarked that he often doubts, whether the strange din of the kettles combined with the shouting of the men, was not as effective as their sabres.

TO BE CONTINUED ...
thelivyjr
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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

Post by thelivyjr »

THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIV. The Volunteers., continued ...

Soon after this action, a part of the regiment was engaged in the battle of Cedar Mountain.

During the month of August it was occupied with brief relaxations, in toilsome marches, reconnaissances and various harassing and exhaustive duties.

It participated with great gallantry in the warm engagements at Kelley's Ford and Waterloo, and on the 27th of August was broken up into detachments to perform escort services to different generals.

Duties of this character, patrolling, observing roads and guarding trains constitute an important part of the operations cavalry, acting in a campaign under the circumstances which surrounded both armies in the war of the rebellion; but like the trench duties of the other arms of the service, these operations were far the most irksome and onerous imposed upon the mounted regiments, attended often with greater hardships, toils, and perils than actual combats; they were not sustained by the excitement and glory of battle.

The movements of the Fifth, with a few brief interludes of repose, were incessant and generally severe.

Its history from May, 1862, when it entered into active duty, to April, 1865, presents a remarkable and scarcely parallel series of severe services and hard fought battles.

Besides the toils and endurance of this special service, it was engaged in a mass or by detachments in one hundred and eighteen skirmishes and fifty-three battles, necessarily varied in their importance and severity. 19

19 The interesting Historic Record of the Fifth New York, by the Rev. Louis N. Boudrye, its chaplain, exhibits a tabular statement of the skirmishes and battles in which the regiment was engaged, with the date and locality of each.

TO BE CONTINUED ...
thelivyjr
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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

Post by thelivyjr »

THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIV. The Volunteers., continued ...

The scope of my work will permit me only to glance at some of the most prominent of these events.

The Fifth was on the bloody fields of second Bull Run, Chantilly and Antietam.

Major Hammond conducting an expedition in October, came in collision with the Confederates at Leesburg, Upperville and Thoroughfare Gap, and engaged in a running fight while pursuing their cavalry from Haymarket to Warrenton.

The opening weeks of 1863, were devoted by the regiment to unremitting picket duty charged to oppose and repel the incursions of the guerrillas, that thronged the front of the Union lines.

On the 26th January, a detachment was ordered in pursuit of a party which had captured a picket of the Eighteenth Pennsylvania, and at Middleburg, Major Hammond, who was in command, executed a brilliant charge through the town, captured twenty-five of Mosby's cavalry, and dispersed the party.

A fortnight later, Captain Penfield in command of Companies F and H, was engaged in warm skirmishing with large detachments of the enemy at New Baltimore and Warrenton.

On the 9th of March, Mosby by a bold movement surprised, at Fairfax C.H., nearly six miles within the Federal lines, an Union detachment and captured thirty prisoners, including General Stoughton and Captain Augustus Barker, of Company L, and fifty choice horses, belonging to the Fifth.

These men had been detached from the regiment, and were acting under the command of the provost marshal.

The brigade pursued the enemy by different routes, but with no success.

On the 23d, the regiment experienced another severe and mortifying reverse.

The rebels making a feint attack on a picket retreated rapidly, pursued by a part of the Fifth, in charge of Majors Bacon and White.

The pursuers were arrested by a barricade across the road, and suddenly assailed by a sharp fire in front and flank.

At this moment Mosby dashed upon them in an unexpected impetuous charge.

The cavalry broke and precipitately retreated, with a loss of five killed and wounded, and thirty-six prisoners, including one commissioned officer.

It was at length rallied by the efforts of the officers, and reenforced; it in turn repulsed and pursued the enemy a distance of several miles.

Yet the chagrin and mortification of the defeat remained.

TO BE CONTINUED ...
thelivyjr
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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

Post by thelivyjr »

THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIV. The Volunteers., continued ...

Whatever lustre was lost to the fame of the Fifth by this reverse was gloriously restored on the 3d of May.

Early in the morning, the First West Virginia cavalry while dismounted, were surprised by Mosby with a detachment of the Black Horse Cavalry and a guerrilla force.

Separated from their horses, the First retreated to a house, and courageously defended themselves, refusing to surrender.

Mosby then ordered the building to be fired.

At that critical juncture, the Fifth, which, without the knowledge of the rebels, was bivouacking in a neighboring grove, burst upon them, under the command of Major Hammond.

A furious fight ensued; but the Confederates fled, broken and scattered, sustaining a heavy loss in killed, wounded and prisoners.

This gallant exploit was noticed in warm commendation by a special order of the division commander.

On the 30th of May, the rebels, by an adroit expedient, arrested a train advancing by the Orange and Alexandria rail road to the Rapidan, heavily ladened with army supplies, and opened upon it a fire from a twelve-pounder mountain howitzer.

The infantry guard upon the train, unable to oppose the storm of cannister, dispersed, and the whole train with its contents was consumed.

The Fifth, with the First Vermont and Seventh Michigan cavalry was stationed on the road, and through their encampment the train had just before passed.

They were startled by the report of the gun, and those not engaged on picket duty directly mounted, and taking different routes marched across the country with the hope of intercepting the rebel retreat.

The Fifth first came upon them and immediately charged; but was repulsed by a discharge of small arms and the howitzer, at close quarters in a narrow road which the guns completely commanded.

The officer in command of the Fifth, Capt. Hasbroock, judiciously hesitated on renewing the assault, but Lieutenant Barker of Company H, unwilling to allow the enemy to escape in their triumph, and calling on the men to follow in the charge upon the gun, he dashed up a steep hill at the head of less than a score of volunteers, and when they had nearly reached the howitzer it poured forth a withering shower of cannister, by which the young leader was stricken down with two shot through his thigh, another severing the sole from his boot; his horse received three grape and two pistol balls in his body.

Three of the little band were killed and most of the others severely wounded; but before the piece could be reloaded the survivors were sabreing the gunners at their post.

After a brief but fierce conflict the howitzer was recaptured, for it had been taken at Ball's bluff, and to the captors it was a proud and grateful trophy.

The rebels lost two officers and several men, wounded and captured.

In this movement Mosby first introduced his use of artillery. 20

20 The age of nineteen was attached in the compact I have mentioned to the signature of Elmer J. Barker. On the 9th of February, preceding this action, he suffered a severe contusion by the fall of his horse while charging in the fight at New Baltimore. After receiving the wounds mentioned in the text, he was first carried to the hospital at Fairfax C.H., and subsequently in haste to Alexandria. From thence he was removed to New York, nursed and tenderly cared for by two ladies whose husbands were in the regiment. From New York he was brought by the wife of a distinguished officer to his native mountains, where he recovered from his wounds and returned to the army.

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thelivyjr
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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

Post by thelivyjr »

THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIV. The Volunteers., continued ...

Soon after this occurrence, the cavalry division to which the Fifth was attached, joined the army of the Potomac in the Gettysburg campaign.

On the last day of June, the cavalry division of Kilpatrick, with two batteries of artillery, were defiling through Hanover, Penn.

Each regiment, in its passage, was regaled by the patriotic citizens.

While the Fifth was in the act of participating in this hospitality, a cannon sounded from an adjacent height.

For the moment it was supposed to be connected with the demonstration, but it proved to be a signal gun, and its echo had scarcely ceased, when Stuart, at the head of a large party of cavalry, rushed in a furious assault upon the Eighteenth Pennsylvania, which held the rear of the brigade.

Stuart was unexpectedly present with three thousand horse, supported by artillery, and was in occupation of the surrounding hills.

With consummate coolness and judgment, Major Hammond, then in command of the Fifth, which in the street received the first shock of the attack, instantly formed the regiment, faced to the rear in column, and charged the enemy's front.

A fearful hand to hand conflict in the narrow street succeeded, when the rebels, broken and repulsed, with a heavy loss, sought the protection of their artillery.

The casualties of the Fifth were forty killed and wounded, and a few missing.

Adjutant Gall was killed while charging in the street, and Major White slightly wounded.

The trophies of the Fifth included the commander of a brigade, and a battle flag, and a few prisoners.

The division was engaged in the afternoon of the 2d of July, with the enemy's cavalry on the left of their line at Gettysburg.

Custer, with the second brigade, retained that position through the 3d.

The First brigade including the Fifth, under Kilpatrick and Farnsworth, marched all the night of the 2d, and reached the right flank of the rebels about ten o'clock on the 3d, and maintained a vigorous contest through the day.

Repeated charges were made upon the enemy's infantry line, in one of which General Farnsworth, the commander of the brigade, gallantly fell.

The Fifth, during a part of these events, was left in support of Elder's battery, and exposed to a tremendous cannonade.

On the night of the 4th, the cavalry division intercepted upon the summit of South mountain the enemy with an immense train transporting the spoils of Pennsylvania.

After a sharp contest the entire train was captured with fifteen hundred prisoners and two hundred wagons burnt.

On the 6th, the division was engaged in the defense of Hagerstown against the attacks of Stuart's cavalry, and in the afternoon of that day retreated before Hood's infantry towards Williamsport amid continuous and severe fighting.

In one of the charges in these conflicts the horse of Captain Penfield of Company H was killed under him, and while attempting to extricate himself from the fallen animal he received a fearful sabre cut upon the head, and was taken prisoner.

He suffered in the southern prisons until March, 1865, and resigned soon after his exchange.

The third division, united with Burford's, maintained on the 8th upon the plains near Antietam creek a severe engagement with Stuart supported by Hood.

The conflict was desperate and sanguinary, but in a final charge by the Union cavalry towards the close of the day, the rebels were swept from the field with a heavy loss.

On the 14th the division attacked the rear of the retreating enemy near Falling Water, and captured a brigade of infantry under General Pettigrew, who was mortally wounded, two flags and two pieces of cannon.

During the remainder of the summer and far into autumn the regiment was incessantly engaged in the severest field duties, attended with frequent bloody collisions with the enemy's horse.

TO BE CONTINUED ...
thelivyjr
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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

Post by thelivyjr »

THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIV. The Volunteers., continued ...

On the 10th and 11th of October, the division was involved in a most critical position from a formidable attack by infantry and cavalry in the neighborhood of Culpepper, and near Brandy Station.

Surrounded by the enemy, it was only extricated by one of the most daring charges led by Kilpatrick, Davies and Custer that signalized the war.

The enemy was checked, and the division united with Burford's, and at night fell back across the Rappahannock.

During these operations, Major Hammond, with half of the Fifth, was in support of a section of Elder's battery, while Major White was supporting the other section with the remainder of the regiment, and by a bold and opportune charge they saved the battery from capture.

On the 10th of December, Major Hammond and Captain Krom were ordered home on recruiting service, and returned to the regiment before the middle of March, having enlisted five hundred men by great efforts and personal disbursements.

A large part of the regiment at this time reentered the service on a new enlistment.

At the approach of the new year of 1864, the Fifth were permitted to construct near Germania Ford its winter quarters; but this promise of repose resulted in only slight actual relaxation of their active patrol service.

On the 28th February, the entire third division marched upon a raid of more than usual importance towards Richmond.

A detachment of the Fifth was detailed to serve in the subordinate and unfortunate expedition of Colonel Dahlgren, but it embraced no member of Company H.

The division encountered in its movement extreme suffering and toil, at length reached the Union lines near Yorktown, were transported to Alexandria, and from thence reached its former camp at Stevensburg.

Towards the close of April, the regiment broke up its nominal winter quarters and prepared for the impending campaign.

On the 4th of May, the Fifth leading the division forded the Rapidan; the first regiment in this campaign that crossed that stream.

TO BE CONTINUED ...
thelivyjr
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Re: THE HISTORY OF ESSEX COUNTY

Post by thelivyjr »

THE MILITARY AND CIVIL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW YORK; and a GENERAL SURVEY OF ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, ITS MINES AND MINERALS, AND INDUSTRIAL PURSUITS, EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORTHERN WILDERNESS; AND ALSO THE MILITARY ANNALS OF THE FORTRESSES OF CROWN POINT AND TICONDEROGA., continued ...

By WINSLOW C. WATSON.

CHAPTER XIV. The Volunteers., continued ...

Early the next morning a heavy column of infantry appeared on its flank, and a furious conflict immediately commenced.

This action was the initiative of the memorable battle of the Wilderness.

Colonel Hammond after holding his ground three hours, advised General Meade of the evidently large force in his front, with the assurance that he would "hold them in check as long as possible."

By voice and example he maintained the regiment resolutely in hand.

A portion of it was dismounted, and assailed the enemy with the Spencer rifle with terrible effect.

Until relieved by a part of the sixth corps, the Fifth, with unsurpassed firmness and devotion, confronted for five hours the assailing column, and slowly and defiantly falling back.

It performed most valuable service to the army but at a fearful sacrifice to itself.

After this brilliant achievement, the Fifth was ordered to bivouac near the Wilderness Tavern, to be under the immediate orders of General Meade.

On the 7th, the Fifth, in conjunction with two other regiments, all under the command of Colonel Hammond, was again in the advance, intrusted with the responsible duty of guarding the fords and picketting the roads.

In the afternoon, the command was attacked by cavalry and artillery, and a part giving way, Hammond was compelled to make a rapid retreat down the river.

When Grant effected his first flank movement, the Fifth was the last regiment that left the Wilderness.

It was in the rear of Burnside's corps, and the command of Hammond, subsequently formed the rear of Hancock's corps.

Colonel Hammond was reenforced on the 17th, by the First Massachusetts, twelve hundred strong, with direct orders from General Meade, to destroy the Guineas station, and make a reconnaissance on Lee's flank.

He found the enemy strongly fortified on the banks of the Potomac, and a warmly contested action occurred, without dislodging their force.

Four days later, the regiment had another severe fight on the Mattapony.

On the 23d, it encountered the enemy in large force, near Mt. Carmel church.

A furious fight ensued, that brought on a general engagement between the armies, which resulted in the rebels being driven from their strong position on the North Anna.

The brigade, on the 1st of June, met the rebels in a conflict of unusual severity, at Ashland station.

Although inflicting a heavy loss upon the enemy, it suffered itself severely.

Major White of the Fifth, was dangerously wounded, and Colonel Hammond received a ball just above the ankle, that had flattened upon his scabbard.

On a previous occasion he had been wounded in the hand.

At Salem church the brigade was again engaged, and on the 15th, near White Oaks Swamp, the division suddenly encountered a heavy Confederate column, and after a severely contested action, the division was overwhelmed by superior numbers, suffered heavily, and was compelled to fall back.

General Wilson, who had succeeded Kilpatrick in the command of the Third division, aided by Kautz's brigade of cavalry, and fourteen pieces of flying artillery on the 22d of June, commenced his remarkable raid which was designed to sever the enemy's communications below Richmond.

Rushing with the utmost celerity along devious roads and through unfrequented bypaths, it accomplished a vast work of devastation.

It first struck the Weldon rail road; it next reached the South Side road; here and everywhere on its march destruction marked its track.

Near the close of the second day, it was met by a strong force of the enemy; a sharp engagement followed, protracted long into the night.

The Fifth was in the skirmish line, and fought with its usual ardor and efficiency.

On the 24th the expedition reached and effectually broke up the Danville road.

The next day Kautz was repulsed in an attempt to burn the bridge over the Staunton river.

Up to this point, ten important and several smaller stations and depots had been destroyed, and fifty miles of rail road track with their bridges and culverts.

The course of the expedition was now describing a wide circle gradually tending towards the Union line.

The 28th, it reached the Weldon road, and through the night with brief pauses was engaged in a fight with an infantry force.

TO BE CONTINUED ...
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