Clark, Myron A.
Age: 21, credited to Addison, VTVITALS
Birth: abt 1841, Addison, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Died in Pennsylania
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and other veterans who may be buried there.
Myron A. Clark was born June 2, 1841 in Addison, Vermont. His parents were Isaiah Jr. and Harriet (Sickle) Clark. He had seven siblings. The oldest was brother George, born in 1825 and the youngest was Flora, born in 1839. Myron was the baby of the family. His father, Isaiah, was a very prosperous farmer in Addison, according to the 1850 Federal Census. His real estate was valued at $18,000 - a sizeable amount for the times. In 1860, eight month old Edwin P. replaced Myron as the youngest member of the Clark family. Isaiah was still farming the Addison County clay, but the census taker at the time felt that his real estate was only worth $7,500. Fluctuating market prices seemed to exist in the mid-eighteen hundreds too!(Courtesy of Bernie Noble)
Two years later, September 16, 1862 to be exact, Myron decided to leave farming and join the Union Army. The twenty year old (actually 21), five feet ten and one half inches tall young man with light complexion and hair and brown eyes was assigned to Company I, Vermont 14th Infantry Regiment. He was credited to Addison, Vermont. His enlistment was good for nine months. He wasn't officially mustered-in until October 21, 1862 when he reported to Brattleboro, Vermont. On November 3, 1862, less than one month after enlisting as a Private, Myron was promoted to Sergeant, skipping the customary Corporal rank entirely!
The Fourteenth Vermont only existed for a short time, but they saw hard service during their enlistment. At first, the Regiment was attached to those units making up the defenses around Washington, D.C. After December 11, 1862, the Fourteenth was placed on guard duty in and around Fairfax Court House where it was engaged in the repulse of Jeb Stuart's cavalry raid. From March to June, 1863, the Vermonters were stationed at Wolf Run Shoals, Virginia along with other Vermont troops to guard the vital river ford on the Occoquan River. On the 25th of June, the Fourteenth was attached to the Third Division of the First Corps and began its march northward towards Gettysburg. It was a grueling march sometimes covering twenty miles a day for consecutive days at a time. Over two hundred of the Regiment were forced to drop out before ever reaching Gettysburg because they could not keep up the pace. The Fourteenth arrived at Gettysburg too late to take part in the first day's action. It bivouacked in a wheat field to the left of Cemetery Ridge. Late on the second day, the Regiment was called into action to help the Thirteenth Vermont repel an attack by General A.P. Hill on the left center of the Union line. After the tremendous opening cannonade of July 3, during which several men of the Fourteenth were killed by an explosion of a battery caisson, the left flank of Pickett's long grey line could be seen advancing towards the concealed Vermonters. At less than one hundred years distance from the enemy, the men of the Fourteenth rose at command and delivered a devastating volley into the Confederate columns. The Thirteenth and Sixteenth changed fronts and added their fire to that of the Fourteenth. The result was that Pickett's right wing was caught and crushed. After the main charge was halted and Pickett's divisions were streaming back towards Seminary Ridge, four companies of the Fourteenth, A, F, D and I, captured most of Confederate General Wilcox's Brigade as prisoners. This action by the Vermont Regiments was credited by the Union high command as being crucial to stopping Pickett's Charge. The Fourteenth was also part of the Union's pursuit of Lee's forces after July 3. It was during this pursuit of Lee, on July 18, 1863, that the Fourteenth was released from duty and sent home. The Regiment was mustered-out on July 30, 1863.
However, Myron never saw any of the Gettysburg action of the Fourteenth as described above. He "mustered-out" moments after the Confederate cannonading began at 4:30 a.m. on the morning of July 3. Civil War author, Howard Coffin, relates the details of Myron's last hours of life in his book "Nine Months To Gettysburg":
"…For Stannard's Vermonters, Friday, July 3, began with cannon fire well before dawn….The fire was coming from a rebel battery on Seminary Ridge commanded by William T. Poague in Isaac Trimble's division….Myron Clark was in the ranks of the 14th, the 21-year-old of a diary who had written late in the long march, 'I'll fall out tomorrow for I cannot stand it.' But the next day he had washed and changed his shirt and made it to Gettysburg. Sometime early July 2 he wrote, 'Pickett skirmishing this A.M. Some artillery.' The next entry is in another hand, 'July 3, 1863 - Early in the morning, about 4 o'clock, the Batteries commenced firing & CLARK WAS KILLED at nearly the first fire by a solid 12-lb shot taking off the back part of his head, killing him instantly. He was a good boy and soldier. The whole Co. mourns his loss & Especially his Capt. Such are the fortunes of war and they are deplorable." This shell is the same one that continued on its path and hit the caisson of a battery nearby, killing several more of the Fourteenth.
The young Vermonter was only two weeks away from going home when he became one of the fifty thousand Gettysburg casualties. He was probably hastily buried, like the thousands of others on that field, in Pennsylvania. A check of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg does not bring up his name. NOTES
1. Ancestry.com, Curren/Wernhoff Family Tree.
2. Ibid., 1850 United States Federal Census under Myron Clark.
3. Ibid., 1860 United States Federal Census under Myron Clark.
4. Fold3.com, Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Vermont, p. 2, image 312164080 (herein referred to as Compiled Service Records…) and Ancestry.com, U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865.
5. Ibid., Compiled Service Records…, p. 3, image 312164082.
6. Ibid., Compiled Service Records…, p. 5, image 312164088
7. Ancestry.com, U.S. American Civil War Regiments, 1861-1866, 14th Infantry Regiment Vermont.
8. Coffin, Howard, "Nine Months To Gettysburg: Stannard's Vermonters and The Repulse of Pickett's Charge", The Countryman Press, Woodstock, Vermont, 1997, p.213.