Age: 19, credited to St. Johnsbury, VTVITALS
Birth: 1844, CanadaADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
St. Josephs Cemetery, Manchester, NH
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and other veterans who may be buried there.
Rejection of Pension Application
52nd Congress, 1st Session.
Senate Report No. 1051.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
July 22, 1892.-Ordered to be printed.
Mr. Cookrell, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the following
REPORT: [To accompany S. 1146.]
The Committee on Military Affairs, to which was referred the bill (S. 1146) to remove the charge of desertion from record of Patrick Larkin, have duly considered the same and submit the following report:
This bill proposes to remove the charge of desertion from the military record of Patrick Larkin, late a private in Company K, Fourth Regiment Vermont Infantry Volunteers, and to issue an honorable discharge as of date February 17, 1864.
There are abundant testimonials as to the character, standing, etc., of Mr. Larkin as an honorable, worthy, and reliable citizen and business man.
Your committee have also had the strong indorsement of Mr. Larkin by Senator Gallinger for favorable action, and have therefore given the case the most careful consideration.
While your committee are anxious to remove any improper charge from a soldier's record, yet the records ought never to be so amended as to show anything not actually a fact.
The following papers, War Department records, petition of Patrick Larkin presented in Fifty-first Congress, and the affidavits of said Larkin, made December 9, 1891, and May 18, 1892, and presented in this Congress, have been duly considered and are as follows, to wit:
Case of Patrick Larkin, late a private in Company K, Fourth Vermont Volunteers.
Record And Pension Division, June 3, 1890.
A report in this case -was furnished the Senate Committee on Military Affairs on Senate bill 2548, Fiftieth Congress, first session, April 11, 1888, of which the following is a copy, to wit:
"Patrick Larkin was drafted August 26, 1863, at Woodstock, Vt., to serve three years; was assigned to Company K, Fourth Vermont Volunteers, and served therein until February 12, 1864, when he is reported as 'deserted at Brandy Station, Va.' He never rejoined his command, which was retained in service until July 13, 1865, and there is no record that he was ever a prisoner of war.
"The following is a synopsis of testimony heretofore submitted to this Department in connection with applications for removal of the charge of desertion against this soldier, viz:
"On February 16. 1883, Larkin testified that on February 17, 1864, near Brandy Station, Va., he, and five comrades, while foraging by permission, were captured by White's guerrillas; that his comrades were scattered and he never saw them again; that he was retained by his original captors and not turned over to the rebel authorities because of his having had some $400 in his possession, which they took from him; that in the fall of 1864, near the Allegheny Mountains, he was sent out ostensibly to get some cattle, but really, as he now thinks, in order that he might escape; that he did escape and traveled through the country until he came near the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, where he sought and obtained employment with a farmer, with whom he remained about four months, when, having earned sufficient to pay his expenses, he went home to St. Johnsbury, Vt., and remained there; was but 19 years of age and ignorant of the requirements of military law in such cases.
"On November 15, 1887, Joseph Minor, a former comrade, testified that he distinctly remembers Larkin and some others going out foraging; that several of them were captured; that one Lewis Pacquette told him that Larkin, in trying to escape, was fired upon and wounded, and that he, Minor, never again saw Larkin until this present year (1887).
"On February 20, 1888, Stephen M. Pingree, late lieutenant-colonel Fourth Vermont Volunteers, testified that he learned from William O. Tracy, first lieutenant Company H, who heard it from Pacquette, who was killed at the battle of the Wilderness, that a party of which Pacquette was one went out foraging for mutton and was captured; that in endeavoring to escape the party was fired upon and Larkin was wounded and recaptured; that he does not believe that Larkin or any of the party had any intention of deserting, and that up to that time Larkin was a good, faithful soldier.
"On March 17, 1883, this Department declined to remove the charge of desertion against this soldier on the ground that as such charge appeared to have been properly laid the Department had (then) no power to remove the same, and on March 10, 1888, it again declined to remove the charge on the following grounds:
"The official records show that within six months after enlistment this soldier deserted at Brandy Station, Va., on February 16, 1864, and that thereafter he neither rejoined his command, which was retained in service until February 13, 1865, nor reported his whereabouts to the proper military authorities of the United States. In 1883 he swore that he and five comrades while foraging by permission were captured by guerrillas; that his comrades were scattered, but that he was retained by his captors and not turned over to the rebel authorities because he had $400 on his person, which they took from him; that he was allowed to escape in the fall of 1864, and that after working four months on a farm near the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad he made his way North. Testimony is now submitted by former members of the Fourth Vermont Volunteers to the effect that one Pacquette, supposed to have been one of the foraging party, said that Larkin, in trying to escape, was fired upon and wounded. Such hearsay testimony is not, however, of any value, especially as it does not even accord with the applicant's original story, in which he says nothing about having been wounded.
"'Without laying stress on the improbability of his capture, retention, and escape, as claimed, it is clear that had he left his command by permission or by orders from competent authority, and under circumstances that exposed him to capture, he would, upon his failure to return, have been reported as missing and not as deserted. It was, moreover, his duty when he got away from his captors to report to the military authorities, and his failure to do so then or at any time while the war lasted shows that lie felt guilty. The application must be denied.'"
Since the date of the foregoing report the following additional testimony has been received:
Under date of February 27, 1890, the soldier testified that he was grossly in error in making the statements contained in his former affidavit, and that he can only say in explanation that it was due to defective memory, caused by being injured in the head while trying to escape shortly after his capture; that upon a great deal of reflection and talking with friends he can recall the fact that after escaping from the guerrillas he traveled several miles and must have gone in the direction of Richmond, Va., because the farmer with whom he stayed was not far from that city; that after escaping he was captured by a "young fellow" and taken to Richmond, from which place he made his way home, going by rail from Baltimore, Md.; that he can not understand how he came to mention the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad unless it was for the reason that it was fixed in his mind from the fact that it was the first railroad he traveled on after leaving Richmond; that he thinks the farmer for whom he worked lived near some rebel camp for the reason that a confederate officer visited the farm every day for weeks, and that he (the soldier) was with the said farmer about six months before taken to Richmond. The soldier further declared that at no time between the date of capture and that of having Richmond in May, 1865, was he near the Union lines.
C. H. Rich, a comrade, testified December 15, 1888, that the soldier (Larkin) remained with them until February, 1864, when he, with others, went out foraging for "some mutton;" that some of those who went out with him returned and reported that they had been captured by guerrillas, but that they escaped that night; that they never saw Larkin afterwards and supposed that he had either been killed or taken prisoner.
Lucius J. Goodwin and Willis H. Morton, in separate affidavits, give testimony similar to that of the affiant Rich in the matter of the foraging party, capture and escape of its members, and the disappearance of Lark in, Goodwin claiming that he was one of the party, but that after a few miles out he was compelled to return by reason of sickness.
John J. and Edward Hodgkinson, in separate affidavits dated September 27, 1888, testified that they saw the soldier immediately upon his return home in St. Johnsbury, Vt., in June or July, 1865, and that he told them he had been a prisoner in the hands of the rebels for a long time and that he was only able to get away a short time before he came home; that afterwards they (affiants) heard him tell of his experience as a prisoner and how he was wounded in attempting to make his escape; that upon his return home as aforesaid he was in poor health, looking thin and worn.
Melvin F. Hutchins, of Manchester, N. H., testified September 27, 1888, that in April or May, 1805, he resided and was doing business in Richmond, Va., and that about the last of April or first part of May, 1865, while standing in his store door, he saw the soldier in company with a boy who was armed; that upon inquiry the boy said he had found Larkin prowling about the outside of the city unable to give an account of himself and therefore took him into custody, as he (the boy) was a provost guard or something of that sort." Affiant told the boy that the war was over and that he had no right to hold Larkin as a prisoner; that the soldier then came into affiant's store and stated that he had been captured by guerrillas, had been wounded and sick a long time, and had been wandering through the woods in hopes of finding the Union Army; that he (the soldier) did not know the war was over or what part of the country he was in; that he was emaciated, ragged, filthy, and somewhat mentally affected, the latter owing to his hardships; that affiant kept him a day or two, gave him some clothing and $5, and instructed him how to reach home; that he (affiant) did not see him again until 1887, when he recognized him in a store in Manchester, N. H., as the one he had assisted in Richmond, Va., as heretofore stated.
On March 6, 1800, the Department considered the additional testimony submitted in this case as wholly insufficient to warrant any change of record, and the application was, therefore, again denied.
Since then the status of the soldier remains unchanged.
F. C. AINSWORTH, Captain and Assistant Surgeon, U. S. Army.
The Secretary Of War.
To the honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled:
I, Patrick Larkin, of Manchester, in the County of Hillsboro, and State of New Hampshire, respectfully represent: That I was a private in Company K, Fourth Regiment of Vermont Volunteer Infantry during the late civil war, and was mustered in said service and into the service of the United States in the month of August, in the year 1863 (being at that time about 19 years old).
I continued in the service above mentioned until the beginning of the month of February, 1861, when I was captured by the enemy near Brandy Station, Va. In trying to escape I was wounded in the head and leg and recaptured in an unconscious condition, and was detained in Virginia and not able to report within the Union lines until after the close of the war.
My name was entered on the company rolls as a deserter, the officers not knowing of my capture. Conscious that while in the service I did my full duty, and was ever faithful to my country and its cause, that I did not desert or ever for a moment entertain such a dishonorable thought, I feel keenly that a great wrong and injustice has been done me by this record, and most respectfully pray that a law may be passed by your honorable bodies authorizing the Secretary of War to amend my military record and issue to me an honorable discharge certificate as of the date of the muster out of service of my regiment or the close of the war.
The original affidavits and evidence to sustain this application for relief, fully showing the facts and circumstances attending my capture and captivity, are on tile in the office of the Adjutant-General, U. S. Army, and will, I have no doubt, be furnished to any committee of either House that may have this matter in charge.
State Of New Hampshire, County of Hillsborough, ss:
In the matter of Patrick Larkin, applicant for an honorable discharge from the service of the United States as private, of Co. K, 4th Regiment Vermont Vols.
Personally came before me, a clerk of a court of record in and for aforesaid county and State, Patrick Larkin, aged 52 years, a citizen of the city of Manchester, county of Hillsborough, State of New Hampshire, well known to me to be reputable and entitled to credit, and who, being duly sworn, declares in relation to aforesaid case as follows: That he was enrolled in Co. K, 4th Vermont Vols., in the month of August, 1863, and served therein until February 17th, 1864, at which time he was captured by guerillas under the following circumstances: The 4th Vermont Vols, were at that time stationed at Brandy Station, Va., and were doing picket duty, and having on that date just been relieved from a tour of picket duty, he, with five other members of the regiment who had been on picket with him, asked permission of Second Lieut. Worcester, of Co. K, to go outside of the picket line to procure some mutton, as they had, while on their tour of picket duty noticed some sheep in the open land beyond the picket lines, and nearly everyday foraging parties were going outside the lines, and when said Larkin and his party had got out some four or five miles they were taken prisoners by an irregular body of Confederate cavalry, known as "White's guerillas," and circumstances favoring them during the night they were able to make their escape, and as soon as they were missed their captors followed them and succeeded in flanking them before they could reach the Union lines, and upon nearing them tired upon them, wounding said Larkin, the claimant, in the left foot and right hand, disabling him so much that they left him at a farmhouse some distance inside of their lines where his wounds could be cared for; and when the "guerillas" moved from that vicinity, claimant, not being able to go with them, was left at the farmhouse, the occupants of which were an aged lady and her young son, and when he became able to travel he set out to get through the lines and got into a mountainous region and continued working his way along from farm to farm, and finally was again taken prisoner by some provost guard, and this was on or about March. I860; and he was taken to Richmond, Va., and when the Confederacy collapsed he was set adrift and informed that war was over, and he finally reached Baltimore, Md., and from there made his way to his father's home in Cambridge, Mass., supposing that as the war was over that would be all that he needed to do. He was at the time a raw, green, uneducated boy, and supposed he was doing right at that time in going at once to his home. He makes this application that his military record may be completed and a discharge furnished, and he makes no claim for pay or allowances.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this day by the above-named affiant; and I certify that I read said affidavit to said affiant, and acquainted him with its contents before he executed the same. 1 further certify that 1 am in nowise interested hi said case, nor am I concerned in its prosecution; and that said affiant is personally known to me: that he is a credible person and so reputed in the community in which he resides. All erasures and additions were made before signing.
Witness my hand and official seal this 9th day of December, 1891.
[seal.] John C. Bedford,
Clerk of Police Court, City of Manchester.
State Of New Hampshire, County of Hillsborough, ss:
That I, Patrick Larkin, of Manchester, in said county and State, doth depose and say: That I was of the 4th Regt. of Vermont Vols., Co. K. and that I was, as before stated in former affidavits, on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which I found since was a mistake, but it was on some railroad, name unknown, in central Virginia, where I was located and was cared for while under wounds received from rebel forces, and of which was absent without leave on account of not being able to return to said Co. and regiment on account of said wounds, and therefore charged with desertion without a just cause, as my intentions were to return to said Co. and regiment, but could not, and after said wounds was so much better that I might have returned, but could not on account of rebel forces in that vicinity.
Sworn to and subscribed before me this 18th day of May, 1892.
John A. Greenwood, Justice of the Peace for State and Quorum, State of New Hampshire.
There are some strange things in this case. Mr. Larkin says, in his application to War Department, under oath, on February 16, 1883, he, with five comrades, was captured and his comrades were scattered and he never saw them again, and he was retained by his captors and not turned over to the rebel authorities, because he had some $400 in his possession which they took from him, and that in the fall of 1804 he was sent out ostensibly to get cattle, but as he thinks, in order that he might escape, and that he did escape, and traveled through the country until he came near a railroad, where he sought and obtained employment with a farmer, with whom he remained about four months, when, having earned sufficient money, he returned home and remained there, being only 19 years old.
In this there is no claim that he attempted to escape and was wounded and recaptured.
In his next application to War Department, under oath, on February 27, 1890, Mr. Larkin explains the error in his first affidavit as to name, etc., of the railroad, and claims the mistake arose from defective memory, caused by being injured in the head while trying to escape from capture, and attempts to locate the farmer with whom he staid not far from Richmond, Va., and that he thinks this farmer resided near some rebel camp, for a Confederate officer visited the farm every day for weeks, and that he was with said farmer about six months before taken to Richmond.
In his petition presented to the Fifty-first Congress he claims to have attempted to escape his captors and was wounded in the head and leg, and recaptured in an unconscious condition, and was detained in Virginia and not able to report within the Union lines until after close of the war.
In his affidavit of December 9, 1891, he states that he and his comrades, under permission of Second Lieut. Worcester, went outside the picket lines to get sheep they had seen in the open lands beyond such lines. And after having gone 4 or 5 miles they were taken prisoners, and during the night were able to escape and were pursued by their captors, fired upon, and he, Larkin, was wounded in the left foot and right hand, recaptured and left at a farm house, where his wounds could be dressed, and when captors left they left him at the farm house occupied by an aged lady and her young son, and when able to travel he set out to get through the lines and got into the mountainous region, and continued working his-way along from farm to farm, and finally was again taken prisoner by some provost guard, which was on or about March, 1865, and he was taken to Richmond, Va., and when the Confederacy collapsed he was set adrift and informed the war was over, and he finally reached Baltimore, Md., and thence made his way home.
This affidavit does not refer to any wound or injury in head. He does not give the names of his five comrades. One, Private Pacquette, is accounted for, and was afterward killed in battle, and we have what he is reported to have said. L. J. Goodwin, now living, claims he started with the Larkin party outside the lines, but had to return, being sick. The others, three or four, are not named and not accounted for, and no reason given, nor does Mr. Larkin give the name or names of the farmers for whom he labored.
It is respectfully submitted that with all these records, statements, etc., before it, your committee can only report this bill adversely and recommend it be indefinitely postponed.