Chapter 35: camp at Cole's Hill.
On the 7th of the month the regiment moved to a point three and one half miles southeast of Brandy Station
, on the south side of Cole's Hill
and halted to await the rebuilding of the railroad which the rebels had destroyed.
The men began putting up log houses, preparatory to a winter's stay in camp and many furloughs were issued.
December 9, 1863.
Commenced our houses today.
Cannot get along very fast, as we have but one axe for seven men. However, we have got all our logs up.
December 10, 1863.
Plastered up the chinks with mud, making our house quite tight.
Our fire place and door will be in front.
December 11, 1863.
Built our fire-place today.
Policing tonight on account of inspection tomorrow morning at nine o'clock.
While encamped at Cole's Hill
at this time, the question of re-enlistment was discussed, in all its forms, by the veterans.
The memoirs of Captain Adams
give interesting little anecdotes regarding this matter as it was discussed by the men of Company A, which then numbered but thirteen.
He says: ‘Ben Falls said, “Well, if new men won't finish this job, old men must, and as long as Uncle Sam wants a man, here's Ben Falls.”
Then spoke Mike Scannell
: “It is three years since I have seen my wife and children.
I had expected to go home when my time was out and stay there, but we must never give up this fight until we win and I am with you to the end.”
Others expressed themselves in the same way, and when the word was given,— “All who will re-enlist, step one pace to the front” —every man advanced.
In Company C, Ed. Fletcher
said: “They use a man here just as they do a turkey at a shooting match,—fire at it all day and if they don't kill it, they raffle it off
in the evening; so with us, if they can't kill you in three years, they want you for three more, but I'll stay.”
Many declared that they would not serve again in any infantry regiment and expressed a preference for the heavy artillery as it was always stationed in a fort where the work was not so hard and the danger not quite so great.
The subject of re-enlistment, as discussed around the camp fires during this winter, is adequately explained by Sergt. Foster
thus: “Although the grade of Lieutenant General
was not revived until Feb. 26th, 1864—on which date Gen. Grant
was nominated and promptly confirmed—it was generally believed that the rank would be revived and that Grant
would be the man and that he would command the Army of the Potomac in person.
This belief was a patent influence on the re-enlistments.
We believed that his coming would inaugurate a new era in the movements of the army and that there would be no more running up and striking a blow at Lee
and then skulking back toward Washington
We reasoned thus: our time will not be up until the 28th of next August, the campaign will be opened early in the spring, we are near the rebel lines of fortifications—one or two day's march will bring us to them—and before our term of enlistment expires some of the heaviest fighting will have been done and, perhaps, Richmond
itself captured; during that time many of us will be killed and many maybe captured and have to stay in rebel prisons for months (and just this thing did happen and many who did not re-enlist remained in prison long after their term of service had expired). If we re-enlist, we get the bounty and, what is better, a furlough home to see our relatives and friends and to have a good time and to come back much better and in a more contented frame of mind to enter the campaign.
Accordingly after much discussion, enough agreed to re-enlist to insure our return home as a regiment.”
In justice to the veterans it should be said that a very large majority of them would have re-enlisted in any event.
The greater portion of them felt that whatever might be their legal obligations, their real term of service could only be closed by the entire suppression of the rebellion, and that while a man remained
in arms against the honor and authority of the nation, it was their sacred duty to remain in arms for his overthrow.
On the 21st of December regimental line was formed by Maj. Rice
and 145 of the men were mustered out of the service of the United States
They then took off their caps, raised their right hands, repeated the oath and in a few moments were transformed into Veterans entitled to wear the service stripes of two enlistments.
They had re-enlisted for ‘Three years or during the war.’
Only about forty members of the regiment declined to re-enlist and the others remaining, not having been in the service for two years, could not do so.
The scene when these men, veterans of many terrible campaigns, stood in line and took the oath a second time was worthy the immortalizing stroke of an artist's brush.
In no other event during the entire war was real patriotism more truly displayed.
Each of the men knew just what war was. He had experienced it, had seen his comrades swept away by shot and shell and foul disease and his regiment dwindle until only a remnant of its former strength remained.
These veterans did not have in their second enrollment the inspiration and excitement of war meetings or the novelty of new gold-trimmed uniforms to urge them on, but with a full knowledge of the duties required, the hardships to be endured, and the probability that many would either be killed or wounded before their term expired.
Men who re-enlisted on December 21ST, 1863, at Stevensburg, Va.
non-commissioned officers and men:
|James H. Lord, Musician.|
|Abram A. Dow.|
|Albert H. Greenleaf.|
|Co. B.||Francis Osborn, First Sergeant.|
|George B. Borden, Sergeant.|
|Patrick Berry, Corporal.|
|George W. Cain, Corporal.|
|William B. Blair, Wagoner.|
|Charles A. Alley.|
|William P. Edwards.|
|Stephen J. Younger.|
|Co. C.||Milton Ellsworth, First Sergeant.|
|Benjamin F. Hall, Sergeant.|
|Benjamin H. Jellison, Sergeant.|
|George E. Breed, Corporal.|
|James Morse, Corporal.|
|Richard R. Foster, Corporal.|
|Moses R. Littlefield, Wagoner.|
|Richmond L. Pillsbury, Musician.|
|William E. Fletcher.|
|James H. Heath.|
|Ernest A. Nichols.|
|Edwin C. D. Saunders.|
|John H. Steele.|
|Charles W. Tibbetts.|
|Co. D.||Benjamin W. Russell, First Sergeant.|
|Charles P. Welch, Sergeant.|
|Charles K. Hills, Corporal.|
|Joshua Kendall, Musician.|
|Ira Weston, Wagoner.|
|Clarence P. Crane.|
|Co. E.||Samuel E. Viall, First Sergeant.|
|Daniel Corrigan, Sergeant.|
|James Clark, Sergeant.|
|Phillip Dunn, Sergeant.|
|Terrence Gormley, Corporal.|
|Timothy Leary, Wagoner.|
|John C. Howe.|
|John F. Jordan.|
|Edwin C. Maloney.|
|Co. F.||Cornelius Linnehan, First Sergeant.|
|Hugh McPartland, Sergeant.|
|Moses P. Bixby, Sergeant.|
|James Farrell, Corporal.|
|William Stewart, Musician.|
|Joseph I. Seavey, Wagoner.|
|George N. Burgess.|
|Enoch C. Kenney.|
|William H. Wakefield.|
|Co. G.||Charles B. Brown, Sergeant.|
|John P. Condon, Sergeant.|
|Robert J. Gamble, Sergeant.|
|William H. Tibbetts, Sergeant.|
|William H. Clark, Corporal.|
|George E. Morse, Corporal.|
|Elijah H. Mansur, Corporal.|
|William H. Lambert, Corporal.|
|John C. Copp, Musician.|
|Thomas P. Costello, private.|
|Daniel F. McNeal.|
|Samuel G. Snellen.|
|Co. H.||Albert C. Douglas, First Sergeant.|
|William A. Stone, Sergeant.|
|George B. Simonds, Sergeant.|
|Charles Cross, Corporal.|
|Edward E. Powers, Corporal.|
|William H. Bingham.|
|John H. Gate.|
|Thomas A. Morse.|
|John Restall, Jr.|
|Augustus E. Soper.|
|William J. Tirrell.|
|John A. Wilson.|
|Co. I.||Daniel Treadley, Sergeant.|
|James Corrigan, Sergeant.|
|Jonathan T. Ross, Sergeant.|
|Joseph H. DeCastro, Corporal.|
|Daniel Murphy, Musician.|
|Co. K.||William A. McGinnis, First Sergeant.|
|Patrick Nolan, Sergeant.|
|J. L. Smith, Sergeant.|
|Joseph Libby, Sergeant.|
|Joseph Burns, Sergeant.|
|Joseph E. Hodgkins, Corporal.|
|Edward Williams, Corporal.|
|Archibald Buchanan, Corporal.|
|David J. M. A. Jewett, Corporal.|
|Patrick W. Harvey.|
|John W. Hayes.|
|Thomas B. Homans.|
|Edwin B. Pratt.|
|Edward W. Schoff.|
|James B. Wiggin.|
Re-enlisted in January:
1863.—Annual return of the Alterations and Casu-
Alties, incident to the Nineteenth regiment
of Massachusetts Volunteers during
the year 1863.
Designations of posts and Stations at which
the deaths, Desertions, etc. Occurred.
|Thoroughfare Gap, Va.||0||0||0||0|
|Warrenton Junction, Va.||0||0||15||3|
|Raccoon Ford, Va.||0||0||18||8|
|Mitchell's Station, Va.||1||0||0||0|
|Bristoe Station, Va.||0||0||0||0|
|Berry Hill, Va.||0||0||0||0|
|Robinson's Cross Roads, Va.||0||1||2||3|
|Stevensburg, Va. re-enlisted.||150||1||4||1|
designation of companies in which the
At the close of the year there was a change in the staff of surgeons, assistant surgeon W. D. Knapp
being dismissed by S. O. 534, War Dept., and Dr. Gustavus P. Pratt
being mustered in to fill the vacancy.
The regimental return for January, 1864, records the following changes and transfers:
Colonel Arthur F. Devereux
, on detached service in command 2nd Brigade 2nd Division 2nd Corps.
|Lieut. Col. Edmund Rice, in command of regiment.|
|Co. A.||Captain Isaac H. Boyd, on detached service S. O. 171, 2nd Corps, July 27, 1863.|
|First Lieutenant William F. Rice, in command of company.|
|Co. C.||Capt. William L. Palmer, A. A.I. G., 2nd Div. 2nd Corps.|
|First Lieut. William M. Curtis, acting adjutant.|
|Second Lieut. Joseph W. Snellen, in command.
Transferred from Co. I, Jan. 22, 1864.|
|Co. H.||First Lieut. Charles S. Palmer, in command of company.|
Recruits transferred to Twentieth Massachusetts Regiment, Jan. 14, 1864, by Special Order 11, Army of Potomac.
Capt. William L. Palmer
|Commissioned officers present,||11|
|Enlisted men present,||157|
|Commissioned officers absent,||16|
|Enlisted men absent,||151|
, who was commissioned as Major
in September, 1863, held this position until Jan. 25, 1864. Capt. Moncena Dunn
was commissioned Major
during the winter of 1864 but could not be mustered as the regiment had not men enough to allow three field officers to be mustered.
After the re-enlistment of the men there was difficulty about their being sent home on furlough from the fact that the orders read that this could not be done unless three-fourths of the volunteers re-enlisted.
There were 124 recruits in the ranks and as they could not re-enlist at that time the commanding general claimed that the necessary three-fourths of the regiment had not re-enlisted.
The recruits were transferred to the Twentieth Massachusetts and this relieved the difficulty and enabled the regiment to come home.
The men spent the time after their re-enlistment in picket duty to a large extent.
Two or three days at a time were spent in this duty, the men having frequently to go four or five miles from camp.
In the pleasant weather this work was very enjoyable, it being a welcome change from the dull camp routine, but during much of the time it was bitterly cold, wet and gloomy and left small room for cheer or comfort.
Heavy details were engaged in the daily labor of building corduroy roads through the boundless sea of stiff, adhesive, half-frozen mud that stretched for miles around Brandy Station
The camp of the Nineteenth Massachusetts regiment was pleasantly situated on the southeasterly slope of the hill.
Near it and in front was corps headquarters; on the hill at the rear were division headquarters, and in front of the right flank of the regiment stood the tents of the brigade commander.
In fact, the camp seemed to be hemmed in by general officers.