HARTLAND IN THE CIVIL WAR
Fifth Installment, January, 2014
by Les Motschman
The War Becomes a Crusade
The fourth Hartland Historical Society Civil War newsletter of last June ended with the Battle of Gettysburg July 1, 2, and 3, 1863. In this issue, I will wrap up descriptions of the “nine months” men’s service, and recognize Hartland men who joined the army in the second half of 1863. As after Gettysburg there were no major battles in 1863 where Hartland men would have served, I will take the opportunity to describe how after two years of hard fighting, the war changed in some aspects. Lastly, I received interesting responses from four HHS members regarding their family members’ involvement in the war.
The 40 or so Hartland men who enlisted for nine months in the fall of 1862 after President Lincoln called for 300,000 volunteers were mustered out of the Army in the summer of 1863. Most of the Hartland men joined the 12th Vermont Infantry Regiment, the first of the five Vermont regiments to make up the 5,000-man Vermont 2nd Brigade. The 12th was the first to form up at Brattleboro, the first to leave for Virginia, and thus the first to come home. Its members were mustered out of the army at Brattleboro on July 14, 1863. Seven Hartland men joined the 16th Regiment, which was the last of the five to form. They were mustered out August 10, 1863.
In a talk I attended, Howard Coffin said that the 2nd Vermont Brigade, whose term of enlistment was nearly over, was detailed to bury the dead at Gettysburg. Soon after Gettysburg, the enactment of a new draft led to demonstrations and riots in many locations throughout the North, including Irish quarry workers in West Rutland. The New York City riots were the worst, where there was extensive property damage and 250 killed or seriously wounded. Some of the returning Vermonters volunteered to go to New York, but they were not sent. Instead, seasoned combat troops from the Army of the Potomac, including Vermont’s 1st Infantry Brigade, and presumably some Hartland men were sent north to quell the rioting. Unlike the police, they did not hesitate to fire into the rioting mobs. Some soldiers who survived Gettysburg and the fierce fighting in Funkstown with Lee’s retreating army were killed in New York City.
It’s not surprising that many of the men who enlisted early in the war, mostly motivated by patriotism, looked down on the “nine months” men, who enlisted for such a short term and for such big money. The three-year men in Vermont’s 1st Infantry Brigade, who went from one great battle to another, referred to the men of the 2nd Brigade who spent most of their short service in camp as “Nine Monthings hatched from two hundred dollar bounty eggs.” Colonel Farnham, a 2nd Brigade Commander, thought the “nine months” strategy to fill the ranks a terrible waste and bad for overall morale. Just as the Brigade was ready for fighting, it was disbanded and sent home.
Certainly the heroics of the 13th, 14th and 16th regiments at Gettysburg earned the “nine months” men a measure of respect. All the men who volunteered did what was asked of them, and those thrown into the thick of battle performed bravely. None of the “nine months” men from Hartland died in combat, but several young men died of disease. From my perspective 150 years later, I’m inclined to believe that many of the Hartland men of the 12th and 16th were quite proud of their service. The war was probably the most memorable event of their lives. I have a list of 50 Civil War veterans buried in Hartland (many left town after the war), and I have visited about half of their graves. The young men who died early in camp were usually sent home and buried in the family plot.
What is telling is how many gravestones of men who died when elderly feature their unit right under their names. Sometimes that is all that is on the stone, other than birth and death dates. Many of these men died decades after their service, yet this small piece of their life from when they were young is prominent on their gravestones.
Gravestones of two brothers who died a month apart, Plains Example from Village Cemetery: Cemetery (Austin was in the 4th Vermont Regiment): John F. Colston J. P. Hutchinison Austin Hutchinson Musician Co. B 12th Reg. VT. Vols. 7th VT Inf. Died at Camp Griffin, VA 1841–1921 d. Mar 20, 1862 d. Feb 4, 1862
The Emancipation Proclamation
January 1, 1863
The overall title of this installment (The War Becomes a Crusade) comes from Howland Atwood’s 1963 Hartland in the Civil War, where he dedicates only a few paragraphs to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Lonnie Bunch, Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History, said on NPR’s Tell Me More program in early January 2013 that the Emancipation Proclamation is one of the most misunderstood documents in American history. Most people think it freed the slaves, when in fact slavery ended when the 13th Amendment was ratified on December 6, 1865. The Emancipation Proclamation began the process of emancipation when the Federal government said that slavery is wrong and it must end. Bunch said Lincoln realized that he could impact the South by taking away its workers, encouraging them to come North to work or maybe even join the Union Army. It would also add a moral tinge to the war. It’s clear that Lincoln felt that if he could end the war and restore the Union without ending slavery, that would be all right with him. The war had been going on for two years, and it wasn’t going well for the Union. Lincoln knew he had to do something bold, but he waited until the Union victory at Antietam so he could speak with more authority. For Lincoln it was an evolving situation. As soon as the war broke out, hundreds and then thousands of African-Americans fled to the Union lines. This put pressure on the North to say what it was going to do with all these people.
When he was asked, “How was the Emancipation Proclamation received?” Bunch replied, “In a variety of ways.” European nations such as England and France saw that it put a stamp of moral authority on the war. While such countries depended on the cotton that slaves produced, they decided not to recognize the Confederacy. Of course,
the abolitionists and the free black community really supported it and felt it was the beginning of the end of slavery.
Even so, many in the North asked, “Why is Lincoln making the war about slavery?” That notion didn’t go over well in the Northern Army, and many soldiers let it be known they didn’t join up to free the slaves.
Howard Coffin, in Nine Months to Gettysburg, writes that despite Vermont’s history of abolitionism, despite its 1777 Constitution as the first to outlaw slavery, and despite its role in the Underground Railroad, many of the men who fought held racial attitudes not much different from those of their Southern counterparts. What is clear, though, is that a profound reverence for the Union is what spurred many men to join the Army.
A Boston Globe article at the time of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation noted that before the war slaves comprised the largest single financial asset in the United States. Some considered the freeing of the slaves the greatest confiscation ever of private property by the Federal government.
The November 30, 2012, Vermont Humanities Council weekly “Civil War News” noted that President Lincoln for years had favored the colonization of free blacks outside the United States. By the time of the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln was referring to slaves as Americans of African descent and asserting that objections to colored people remaining in the country were malicious.
The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment
President Lincoln made emancipation a tactic and a goal of the war, and with it opened the military to black soldiers. Massachusetts soon became the first to call for the raising of black regiments. Frederick Douglass, a leading black activist of the time, threw himself into the effort, urging African American men throughout the country to come to Boston to join up. Hundreds did, free and fugitive alike. Of course the units would have to be segregated because even in the North most white soldiers would not serve alongside blacks. Then, the problem became who would lead them. Governor John Andrew, an abolitionist, asked 25-year-old Robert Gould Shaw, the son of a wealthy abolitionist who lived on Beacon Hill, if he would take command of the 54th. Shaw, who had been in the Army since the start of the war, reluctantly accepted, and started training the regiment. In April 1863, he was promoted to Colonel and married his sweetheart. On May 28, 1863, the Regiment marched through Boston to the cheers of a massive crowd to board ships to Hilton Head, South Carolina.
The 54th fought well in limited action, so when an attack on Fort Wagner was planned, it was given the honor of leading the assault. Moving across open beach, the 54th came under heavy fire. Colonel Shaw sprang to the front and led his men as they charged. As he waved them on, he was shot through the heart. Despite the valor the 54th displayed, its assault was repulsed, and nearly half of the men were killed or wounded. Disregarding custom, the Confederates stripped Shaw’s body and threw it into a mass grave with his men. When commanders later offered to make an effort to recover the body, Shaw’s father replied that that would not be necessary, as his son would have preferred to rest with his men.
The 54th is famous. In 1883 a Boston committee commissioned sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens to create a memorial for Boston Common. It was to be complete in six months, but it took him fourteen years, and it’s a magnificent work. The 1989 film, “Glory,” tells the story of Colonel Shaw and the men of the 54th. Most of the information for my piece comes from the Boston African-American National Historic Site on Beacon Street, near the memorial and across the street from the Hooker entrance to the Massachusetts State House.
Note: The Shaw/54th Memorial is across from the State House on the highest corner of Boston Common. Having attended college on Beacon Hill and visited the city at least a dozen times a year in the ensuing 47 years, I have stopped to look at the Shaw Memorial dozens of times. I did not know the story behind it until the film, “Glory”, and then I thought the memorial showed the unit marching into battle. A year after starting this project, I went to the small museum in the Fairmont Hotel on Battery Wharf where a recruiting poster for “Colored Men of African Descent” caught my eye. The text under the poster described the memorial as depicting the 54th passing in review in front of the State House, headed for Battery Wharf to board ships for South Carolina. I thought after all those years that I finally really understood what the Shaw Memorial is all about. On a subsequent trip to Boston, I visited the memorial with the knowledge that it showed the 54th passing in front of that very spot. Then I realized the men are shown marching west on Beacon Street instead of east down to the waterfront.
I talked at length with Gregory Schwarz of the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site. He has written a book about the Shaw/54th Memorial. He said the original plan was for the memorial to be across the street on the State House grounds. This would explain why it appears backwards to me, except that Gregory Schwarz said Saint-Gaudens was aware of the change when he started the project. A picture taken at the 1897 dedication ceremony shows veterans of the 54th in formation marching east in front of the memorial in the opposite direction of what is depicted in the sculpture. In any case, you can see a bronze casting of the Memorial that was done in 1997 for the site in nearby Cornish, New Hampshire.
I hope Hartland Historical Society readers enjoyed reading about the 54th Massachusetts and the Shaw Memorial. I am sure some of you wondered what that has to do with Hartland in the Civil War. Readers will probably be as surprised as I was to learn that Hartland is credited with sending three men to the 54th. Austin Hazard, Sylvester Mero and Henry Parks were mustered in on January 22, 1864, so they would not have been involved in the events described above. They served until August 1865, a few months after the war ended. Hazard was a butcher and
thirty-two years old when he enlisted. Nineteen-year-old Mero was listed as a farmer and as having been born in Woodstock. Less is known about Parks and he is not on the Vermont in the Civil War roster for Hartland, but his name is in the March 1864 Hartland Town Report. These three ‘volunteers’ were among thirty-six who received $500 bounties that year. It is not always easy to determine from the roster who was from Hartland as men often enlisted in neighboring towns or even traveled to towns desperate to fill their quota and offering higher bounties. [The recruiting posters for the 54th in Boston were offering $100 bounties.] The three enlistees in the 54th may have been part of a black community that existed in Woodstock. The Vermont in the Civil War website indicates that there were over seven hundred African Americans living in Vermont in 1860. One hundred and forty-nine served in the Union Army.
Men credited to Hartland who enlisted in late 1863 or early 1864 by unit
|3rd Vt. Inf. Reg.
5th Vt. Inf. Reg.
1st Vt. Light Artillery Battery
U. S. Sharpshooters
|6th Vt. Inf. Reg.
|7th Vt. Inf. Reg.
9th Vt. Inf. Reg.
11th VT. Inf. Reg.
54th Mass. Inf. Reg.
|* Died of disease 2/17/1864
** Died 2/18/1864
*** Joseph Mayo was the only one of the nine-months men to re-enlist at this time.
After serving two years in the 6th Vt. Regiment, Perry Lamphere re-enlisted 12/15/1863 and died of disease 1/1/1864.
The Gettysburg Address
November 19, 1863
The short speech President Lincoln gave at the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg is well known and regarded as one of the most important moments in American history. There is no need to report on it here, except as it relates to the theme of this installment. In the speech, Lincoln articulated why, because of the war’s terrible cost and suffering, it was then important to strive to create a better and freer nation than had existed before the war.
From Hartland Historical Society Newsletter Readers
We received a nice letter and copies of family “treasures” from Marion Rodgers Howard of Florida. She makes a claim that I doubt few could match. Marion remembers meeting her Civil War veteran grandfather! In her words, “I wonder how many living adults can call a Civil War veteran ‘Grandpa’? My Grandpa, William Wallace Rodgers, died in 1926. I was born to his oldest son Walter Rodgers in 1923. I remember Grandpa at our family Thanksgiving in Temple, N.H., in 1926 slightly before his death.”
Marion sent along a 1911 picture of 14 members of the Rodgers family, including her father and grandfather. She also sent two good pictures of Civil War camps. Unfortunately, they are not identified. A very old picture of her great-uncle Charlie was of special interest to me. I described in the second installment of Hartland in the Civil War that his tombstone in the Weed Cemetery caught my attention soon after we moved to Weed Road nearly 40 years ago. The stone indicated that Charles Rodgers was with the 12th Regiment Vermont Volunteers and that he died at the age of 18. I didn’t know he died of disease in a Virginia camp after only one month in the Army until I started this project. I never dreamed that I would someday know what the young man looked like.
The Rodgers brothers lived near the “Cream Pot,” as did their cousins Augustine and Daniel, and all were in Co. B of the 12th Infantry Regiment. Howland Atwood writes that William returned to the farm after the war and lived there many years. William is buried in the Village Cemetery. Augustine, the same age as Charlie, died in the 1890s and is buried in the Weed Cemetery. Daniel at 22 was the oldest of the four when they enlisted. He lived the longest. My records indicate that before he died in 1931 at the age of 91, and he probably was the last living Civil War veteran from Hartland. Daniel is buried in Morrisville.
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Carol McArthur Rumrill supplied information about her and Deana McArthur Dana’s great-grandfather, Johnson Ames McArthur. He was living in Vershire when he enlisted in the 15th Vermont Infantry at age 22. His service as a “nine months” man was from October 22, 1862, to August 5, 1863. Howard Coffin in Nine Months to Gettysburg writes that the role of the 15th in the Gettysburg Campaign was similar to that of the 12th, which included most of the Hartland “nine months” men.
In late June 1863, General George Stannard was leading the five regiments of the 2nd Vermont Brigade from the Virginia camps north to Pennsylvania. After a week-long march, they reached Pennsylvania where a commander ordered General Stannard to post two of his regiments to guard the Corps’ wagon trains. The 12th and 15th stayed with the wagons while the 13th, 14th, and 16th continued on to the battlefield. Later in the day, Major General Daniel Sickles, commanding the Third Corps, which was also heading north, came upon the Vermonters and thought there were too many fine-looking soldiers guarding the wagon train. He brashly ordered the 15th to join his command and proceed to Gettysburg. Reportedly, the men gave a rousing cheer when they learned they would be joining the battle. The 15th joined the other Second Brigade regiments very early on the second day of battle. Just in time for break- fast, supply wagons had moved to the front line under the cover of darkness to feed the men they knew to be short of rations. Two companies were ordered to guard the ammunition wagons at Rock Creek Church, 2-½ miles away. The rest of the 15th marched over 20 miles back to Westminster, Maryland, to join the 12th Regiment guarding the Corps’ wagon trains, made up of hundreds of wagons and hundreds of cattle.
After the war, Johnson McArthur settled in Hartland, moving to the brick house on the Quechee Road where George and Carol Little have lived for many years. Mr. McArthur died in 1902 and is buried in the Village Cemetery. McArthur Brook runs through the former McArthur farm under the Quechee Road, Route 5, I-91, and the railroad to fall over Bish Bash Falls and into the Connecticut River.
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Hartland Historical Society Board Member Diane Bibby gave me a newspaper death notice describing her great-great uncle’s life. It is titled “Big Pete Aubrey’s Death.”
Mr. Aubrey was born in Rouse’s Point, New York, of French descent, his grandfather having come to this country before the Revolution. His ancestors were all fighters in various wars. He learned the blacksmith’s trade, which he pursued in Rouse’s Point and later Malone. He married in 1851 when he was 18 years old. When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted in Co. G of the 98th New York. Aubrey went through the Peninsula Campaign, taking part in the battles at Williamsburg and Yorktown, where he was slightly wounded in the head by buckshot. Then came Fair Oaks, Chickahominy, Seven Pines, Malvern Hill, and the Seven Days fight. When his term of enlistment was up, he returned home to his trade. In 1863 he moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, where he obtained government work. In October he again enlisted, joining Co. G of the 2nd Regiment Heavy Artillery. The company was first stationed in Norfolk, Virginia, and then sent to Fort William on the Roanoke River in North Carolina. The fort was attacked by 30,000 rebels on April 17, 1864. For three days the rebels were held at bay, but on the 20th the Union troops were obliged to surrender. They were put aboard a freight train, packed into the cars like cattle, and taken to Andersonville prison camp in Georgia.
Mr. Aubrey was a strong, robust, hardy man when he went to war, but he was so weakened by the privation he suffered in prison that he was not able to work or accomplish much after the war. He got by on a pension of only $16 a month, despite what he had offered his country. He was too little appreciated or honored in life, given that service. He was a member of the Grand Army Post and Anderson Survivors Association. Leaving a wife and nine children, he died on January 6, 1897.
Les’s note: In his book, Civil War, Bruce Catton writes that early in the war there were few prisoner-of-war camps. Both sides paroled prisoners or just swapped equal numbers of men. This arrangement ended after the Emancipation Act, which encouraged slaves to run away to the North where they would be put to work or enlisted in the Union Army. The Confederacy did not recognize runaway slaves as Union soldiers. Both sides established POW camps where conditions were generally terrible. Andersonville was the most notorious; one in three died there from disease or malnutrition. Many survivors were plagued with poor health the rest of their lives.
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Hartland Historical Society Webmaster, Brad Hadley of South Berwick, Maine, initially indicated he didn’t have any Hartland ancestors in the Civil War, even though there are many Hadleys buried in Hartland. (He said his ancestors had a way of avoiding such things.) After checking the Civil War records in the National Archives, however, he found the file of James Hadley, who was born in Hartland in 1834 and joined the 3rd Regiment of Vermont Volunteers on June 1, 1861, to be mustered in on July 16. He had been living in West Windsor prior to 1860 and he is credited to Windsor. He was the son of Wells G. Hadley, who lived near the upper end of Weed Road. He was Brad’s great-great uncle.
James Hadley went to Camp Lyon across the Potomac from Washington. His unit then went to Langley, Virginia, for the winter, where many soldiers fell ill. James died in a Georgetown hospital on March 20, 1862, just days before the 3rd Regiment sailed for Fortress Monroe to prepare for the Peninsula Campaign. James Hadley’s name appears on his parents’ gravestone in the Hartland Village Cemetery, but it’s not clear if his body was shipped here. He could have been buried in a mass grave at Georgetown.
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I welcome any accounts of Civil War veterans in your families and will continue to devote a separate section in the newsletters to them. Send info to Les Motschman, 193 Weed Road, Windsor, VT 05089 (or to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Special thanks to Pat Richardson for her excellent editing, greatly improving my writing and to Susan for her contributions in the typing, layout and finished product of these installments.