Stevens, William H. H.
Age: 21, credited to St. Johnsbury, VT
Unit(s): 3rd VT INF
Service: enl 7/5/61, m/i 7/16/61, Pvt, Co. I, 3rd VT INF, m/o 7/27/64
See Legend for expansion of abbreviationsVITALS
Birth: 04/13/1840, Lyman, NH
Burial: Mount Pleasant Cemetery, St. Johnsbury, VT
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Carolyn Adams
Findagrave Memorial #: 119753251
Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, 5/31/1885, VT
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)
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Mount Pleasant Cemetery, St. Johnsbury, VT
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William H. H. Stevens
The Evening Caledonian-Record, May 17, 1922.
General Grant's VT. Messenger is Dead
Saw Historic Battle Between Monitor and Merrimac
Eighty-two years of an active life, filled with stirring historical events, ended Thursday morning with the death of W. H. H. Stevens at his home on Pine street. The funeral was held Sunday afternoon at the home, Rev. A. S. Woodworth officiating, and the burial was in Mt. Pleasant cemetery. The bearers were members of Frost Camp Sons of Veterans, and the honorary pall bearers were comrades of Chamberlin Post, G.A.R., of which organization Mr. Stevens was an honored and respected member.
Mr. Stevens was born in Piermont, N. H., April 13, 1840. His father, George H. Stevens, died before Henry was a year old, and the mother came with him to St. Johnsbury where he was brought up in the family of the late Major Bingham, who lived where the Charlotte Fairbanks' Cottage now stands. When the war broke out, he was employed in Truman Trescott's livery, where the Goss garage is now located. With him was the late Horace Jackson, who did not go with him to war, but who was still there to welcome him back to his old job when he returned after the war was over. He was for many years coachman for the late Col. William P. Fairbanks, and later, because of the boor health of his wife, he moved to a farm in Danville, where they lived a short time, returning to town to employment in the scale factory, where he remained until a few years ago, when, he was compelled by failing health to retire from active service.
Mr. Stevens married Annette Knapp of the Spaulding neighborhood in 1866, and to them was born one child, a daughter, Miss Mabel E. Stevens, who has been since the death of her mother, in 1876, he father's companion, and has devoted her life to his comfort and care in his declining years.
At the age of 21, Mr. Stevens heard his country's call for help, and volunteers as a member of Co. I, Third Vermont Regiment, under Col. Redfield Proctor, July 5, 1861. He was mustered out July 7, 1864. A little later he re-enlisted and served until honorably discharged after the war was over. During the first of his service he was for a time the personal messenger of General Grant, and in this capacity saw much of the big men of the Union Army, Sherman, Sheridan and others, often carrying important messages to President Lincoln himself.
He was never in battle and never wounded in fighting, but in his messenger duty he once received a wound the scar of which he carried to the day of his death. He was ordered by Gen. Grant to carry a most important message to the President with all possible haste. It was a hazardous journey, in the darkness of the night in a strange country, but the duty most important. He had made the trip successfully, delivered the message safely and was hurrying back through many dangers because of the enemy, when his horse stumbled in a sand hole and threw him. The horse hurried on to camp, and it was expected that he had been either captured or killed. There was much anxiety as to whether the message had been delivered or not. In the morning a searching party was sent out and he was finally found in an unconscious condition, with his head in a pool of blood and a deep gash on his forehead as a result of the fall. When Gen. Grant was told of the incident, and the message, which meant much for the success of the Union cause and undoubtedly was material importance in a battle which shortly followed, had reach the President safely, the Vermont boy was placed in a private ward in the hospital by order of General Grant, and his case was watched over by the great man until he was fully recovered.
Another interesting incident in his was service was when he was a teamster in the commissary department and had charge of a team made up of several pairs of calico mules drawing provisions. Several time when near the front rebel bullet holes ventilated his clothing, but luckily never got under his skin. Once while a teamster he was a witness of an historic scene which he never tired to describe. He had driven his string of calico mules with their load of food to Hampton Roads in season to witness the famous battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac. He drove his team in behind a big pile of lumber and he and two other soldiers climbed to the top of the pile, and lying flat on their stomachs saw the "cheese box on the raft" as it steamed up the course and began to throw hot shot into the big rebel ram. Mr. Stevens saw that terrible contest, and the final surrender of the big rebel to the little Yankee craft.
Those who have known Mr. Stevens in his declining years hardly imagined that that quiet, unassuming, pleasant-spoken, genial man had been a witness and even a participant in so many of the stirring events in the nation's history. Those who know Mr. Stevens best admired his sturdy loyalty to purpose, a loving father and a good citizen. He lived to a good old age and to see many of the dreams of his earlier days realized. It is for us who live after him to keep his memory green and to profit by his example, thus making the world better for his having lived in it.