Dean, Caspar Honorus
Age: 20, credited to Monkton, VT
Unit(s): 6th VT INF
Service: enl 10/1/61, m/i 10/15/61, Pvt, Co. A, 6th VT INF, dis/dsb 1/6/63
See Legend for expansion of abbreviationsVITALS
Birth: 02/22/1841, Monkton, VT
Burial: East Monkton Cemetery, Monkton, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Alan Lathrop
Findagrave Memorial #: 36555990
Alias?: None noted
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)
Remarks: Restored gravestone photo courtesy of Deborah Hardy and Jim Woodman.
Great Grandfather of Alden Dean, Chicopee, MA
Great Grandfather of John R. Burbank, Bristol, VT
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East Monkton Cemetery, Monkton, VT
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Casper Honorus Dean,
Civil War era
Martha Dorinda Ball, c1850
Montpelier Oct. 6, 1861
I now take my pencil in hand to inform you that I have arrived at Montpelier and I am feeling well. Our company arrived at this place about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. A soon as the cars stopped, we marched out and formed into companies after which we moved into the center of Montpelier village - staid there about an hour then we went into a concert hall (I should judge it was) and waited until supper was ready for us. W took supper at Burnhams' Boarding House after which we, with other companies of the state, started for our encampment which is about 1/2 mile from Burnhams'. We got there at dusk. Ten of our Monkton boys camped in one tent, while we were carrying straw and preparing our tent. We were ordered out to receive our blankets. We have two blankets, one rubber and one heavy coarse blanket.
We had a great deal of fun last night and are enjoying ourselves today. Last night some were singing, some playing on the violin, some were dancing and some travelling around all night.
Two companies came last night between 10 and 11 o'clock. There are now nearly one thousand men in camp. We have not commenced living on pork and beans yet but expect to tomorrow morning. Have not received our uniforms yet, did not organize yesterday. I shall probably have my likeness taken sometime this week and you will, if you can read.
The boys want I should speak of our nightcaps. I wish you could see us, it would make you laugh. Some of us look like old women when we have them on. You will do well if you can read this. I have been writing on a little trunk while the boys are singing and telling stories. It is raining very hard. Tell Frank that Simeon Jay is here.
Write often if you have anything to tell because I shall be gone in a short time if I pass muster and I think I shall.
Address Casper H. Dean, Montpelier Washington D.C. Vt.
Camp Griffin, Va.
March 4th, '62
I received your strange letter the 28 of Feb. which I hardly know how to answer. In the first place you did not answer my inquiries directly. You answered interogatories in such a manner that some things look rather dull to me. Now what made you answer the question. Did I miss it because I did not sign the allotment roll in the manner you did. I told you the reason why I did not. I told you that I thought I could send my money home by letter easier and be less trouble than to have it go to the state treasury first. You said you thought that it would be a damper on my moral character and it shows an ungovernable appetite for the luxuries of life and a disposition to spend as I earn like my uncle Charles and also shows a wants of respect or confidence in you as surity for the money which mortifies you very much. Now the next time again write. I hope you will clear up things and explain all so that I shall understand your meaning. There may be such a thing as you did not understand me. I also wanted to know if my money was worth more to you than to let here at pretty good interest. This you answered as if something was wrong somewhere. I am sorry your pride is so moertified on my acct. As for my character I will leave for this to tell. I will stay with the Monkton boys on mother's account. I am very well contented with them. Think the Vt boys will move before long. Also the whole Grand Army of the Potomac. John Elliot went up to Joseph Tracy and Moses Colt from Monkton.
About 12 o'clock of the 28thult, the rebels run a battery out of a piece of woods in front of us into an open field and commenced shelling our camps very briskly. The Vt. Brigade soon skedaddled down the west bank of the Chickahoming to get out of range. Many shells struck among us but did not kill any of us. Some were wounded. One shell struck a tree and dropped down on one man's knapsack while he was lying down. After being shelled a while, we rec'd orders to march back into the large piece of woods where we formed a line of battle. After shelling was over a detail of men was made to go back to camp to get the knapsacks and haversacks.
At 3 o'clock in the afternoon the Vt. Brigade marched about one mile to the left at which places we formed a line for the night. Before dark 10 of us volunterred to go back to camp to destroy what property there was left. We destroyed tents, ammunition, potatoes, the hard crackers and other things, returning to the right after dark. Early in the morning of the 29th we began our march to the rear. Marched to within 1/2 mile of Savage Station before halting any length of time. Rather expected a brush with the rebels before getting there. We threw out skirmishers a number of times. While the Brigade was resting, I went to the railroad to get some water. While there I saw a number of wounded soldiers who expected to fall into the enemy hands of the enemy soon after our passing that place. There were large piles of hard bread and other provisions besides a great deal of ammunition. Soon after getting back to the Regt. We started again and marched out into an open field near the railroad and halted a short time. Here I could see a great many troops marching toward James River. A great many were coming from the direction of Fair Oaks.
Our Brigade marched across the railroad and went into a piece of woods and rested quite a little while. When we were resting the Federals set a fire to the ammunitions cars, hard bread and other articles that would be of any value to the rebels. On we marched until the rebels overtook those that were in the rear. Marched by a number of Regts. Soon we heard cannonading in our rear and soon after we halted. We were now very tired, nevertheless we had to march back 2 or 3 miles to fight the enemy and in quick time too. Had to march by Regts. that were near to the rebels. When within 1/2 mile of the enemy, we formed in battle line and marched so, said distance through woods, some of time on double quick. The 5th Regt. Was in the hottest of the fight, they getting on the field first. The enemy was soon repulsed. By the time the fight was over, the most of us were so tired that we could hardly travel. Some fell out- before getting near the rebels.
As near as I can learn, Barney and Cox fell out. They not being very well and almost tired out. A great many threw away their knaposacks. I kept mine although it carried heavy. I helpt to carry off some of the wounded. Do not know the number killed and wounded. You will probably get the official report before receiving this. None of the Monkton boys were killed or wounded, though 1 or 2 maybe prisoners. Orderly Sergeant Elliot was wounded and taken prisoner. John Scarborough of Bristol wounded and prisoner, Corporal Henry B. Parker wounded and prisoner, Corporal John Parker prisoner, Mark Melon wounded. All of Co. A.- E.A. Barney I think must be taken prisoner and perhaps A. G. Cox. The fight closed just before dark. As soon as it was dark, we started again toward James River, leaving many of the killed and wounded on the field. After the fight we glad to get dirty and filthy water to drink.
On we marched slowly because there were many teams ahead of us to keep us back. When we had traveled half of the night Asa Green and myself thought we would fall out and have a little rest. We rested in the woods until daylight. Then marched until 8 o'clock when I woke in the morning there were many struggles going along. I was very much rested. Green and I soon packed up and started to join the Regt. The road was strewn with knapsacks, wagons and almost everything else. We found the Regt. When the sun was two hours high. It was very small I can tell you. At this time I had not heard one word from Barney., Cox, Tracy or Colt. I began to think that they were all prisoners. The Vt. Brigade had maneuvered around a good deal when Cox came along nearly tired out. About noon of the 30th ult. The Vt. Brigade was resting on a rise of ground on the opposite of a small stream from the rebel country when the rebels commenced shelling our Regt. in a terrible manner.
We were taken by surprise, some men being asleep. The Brigade soon shedaddled for the woods leaving knapsacks, guns and many articles of value to the soldiers. The rebels had overtaken us and planted many guns on the other side of the stream. The heft of the army had gone along. The Vt. Brigade was most exposed. Our batteries soon stopped the heft of the enemy guns when the shelling commenced. I was to a house after water, when the shelling was nearly over I went back where the Regt. was and got my knapsack, haversack, canteen and gun and went to where I thought the Regt. would rally. I must break off shortly and send what I have written. Will finish this letter in a day or two. My health is very good. The Monkton boys are all right except E. Barney and A. Cox. Have not heard from them yet. Think A. Cox will come around after awhile.Yours In Haste,
To C.S. Dean
Camp in the Woods
Warwick County- Va
Apr 18th 1862
Father, I have received a letter from you and will commence now to answer it thinking that you would like to know how we have got a long for the last 2 or 3 days because we have been placed in a dangerous position. I have written to Cart and directed to Monkton through a mistake. Did not have time to finish it be fore the mail left here but sent it so that you could hear from me a little sooner than you otherwise would. I wrote Cart all of importance up to about 8 o'clock the day before yesterday, at which time Co. A went skirmishing. We went to where the batteries were and then deployed as skirmishers into the woods on the right of an open field, which was between the batteries and the rebels. Skirmished into the woods about 40 rods and then marched by the left flank into the open field right in front of the rebel fortifications and I should think within 100 rods of them.
We went along walking a part of the time and creeping on our hands and knees a part of the time keeping within 5 paces of each other. When the most of us had got out of the woods, the rebels commenced firing at us with rifles and fired once or twice with cannon. We dropped flat on the ground. One cannonball came very near to us. Shortly after, our men let a few shells fly over to the enemy-- there we were between two firings. Some of our own shells flew very near to me. Some of us felt rather ticklish soon went back unharmed. The object of this move was to shelter one of Gen. Smiths' aides from harm while he could take a view of the fortifications. Soon went back to our Regt. at noon. The whole Regt. went back to camp to get our knapsacks. Had not got our knapsacks packed before orders came to fall in. Fell in and marched to where we were in the morning in quick and double quick time. Here we found that some fighting was to be done. A no. of pieces of artillery was in the open field and others going on. Our Regt. went into the woods, before mentioned just at the right of the artillery. Had not barely taken our place before the rebels opened fire upon our batteries with shell and solid ball. Our batteries soon returned the fire with 12 or 15 cannon I should think. There was a continual stream of firing.
You can imagine how much noise was made better than I can tell you. We were where we could see our men load and fire. The rebel batteries were soon silenced. Our men kept up the firing more or less all afternoon. At about 4 o'clock P.M. we heard rapid volleys of musketry on the left side of said open field in the woods. We soon had orders to move. We soon marched across the field in the rear of our batteries in double quick time. Then halted and marched by the flank into the woods on the left of the open field mentioned above. There we rested in battle line a short. The 5th Regt. soon came in after us. Skirmishers were ahead of us firing at the rebel skirmishers. When we were resting, a man from the 3rd Vt. Regt. came up in front of us from the direction of the enemy. He stated that some companies from that Regt. had crossed the stream of water, which I will describe bye and bye, had got all cut up and taken prisoners. Their cartridges had all got wet so that they could not do much. The volley's of musketry mentioned above was between the 3rdRegt. and the enemy: our Regt. had not rested long before we had orders to charge on the rebels. The sun then was about one hour high.
I will stop now and tell what I know about the stream of water. The stream was about 15 rods wide and was very shallow except in the channel where it was 3 feet or more in depth. The opposite side of the stream was about 10 rods from the enemy's fortifications. There were a number of large trees in the stream where we crossed and to the right of us were a lot of trees cut down. Where we were to cross was between the place where 4 Co.s of the 3rd Regt. crossed and where the trees were cut down. When we were ordered to charge across the right of the stream, we went ahead and as soon as Co. A reached the water's edge, the rebels commenced firing on us with musketry in great fury. The firing came mostly from their rifle pits. Could not see much of them but their heads and shoulders.
(some parts are missing from this letter, here)
On we moved into the water toward the rebels firing at them as well as we could while showers of lead came in amongst us like hail stones upon goslings. The water really bubbled.
Though we were exposed to a gulling fire from the rebels and they almost entirely covered from our shots, the first Co.s went up to within 8 or ten rods of the enemy while the Co.s in the rear of us were more exposed than we were. It was so near dark in the woods across the stream that we could not see where all the shots came from but we did our best until we were ordered to retreat. As soon as the rebels opened fire on us the artillery was all that saved us from being entirely put out of existence. When I came to where balls were flying very fast, I sheltered myself behind trees as much as I could.
Did not fire a gun until I got most up to the rebels, at which time I got between a large tree and blazed away 3 or 4 times. Think I dropped one rebel and perhaps more. I saw one up in good sight and took deliberate aim and fired. There were two men beside me when I shot. They said that they saw him fall. They were shooting this way so they happened to be looking the same way when I fired.
6 Companies had entered the stream when we were ordered to retreat. I was one of the last that retreated. Not knowing that we had orders to retreat. I did not retreat the way the rest did because I thought that I could with more safety by going to the right---where the bullets were not flying so fast.
Soon after coming out of the stream, our Co.s were rallied and for a long time after rallying, Co.A could not rally but 21 men. We supposed of course that we had lost a great many men. A. Cox was among the missing. At least all of Co.A were accounted for but A. Cox and I thought he was in the bottom of the water, dead, but it was not so. He made his appearance the next day safe and sound but somewhat fatigued. He was taken prisoner. You must read his letter home in order to find out the particulars in his capture and escape. 6th Vt. Regt. lost 11 killed and 77 wounded, Co.A none killed but 7 wounded. None of the Monkton boys were wounded except O. Sheppard who had his nose slightly clipped. Not enough to do any hurt. Joseph Oakes and Henry Snay were dangerously wounded and perhaps mortally. The 3rd Vt. Regt. lost 25 killed, 7 mortally wounded and 56 wounded.
Apr. 21, I have been writing some today under the first date and have got to go on picket very soon. The day before yesterday, a flag of truce was raised, by the enemy, for the purpose of having two hours time to bury their dead. They buried their and brought 29 of our dead across the stream to our officers. Our men were buried at night in one hole. The Monkton boys sure all well, up to this date, and going on picket today.
Have you saved my letters that I have written home? I hope you will because I shall want them after I get home. Tell Minirva Hayes that Joseph Hayes has not time to write now. He is well, she must write as usual.
Casper H. Dean
To C.S. Dean
Source: Photographs and letters courtesy of Alden Dean, Casper and Martha's great-grandson.