Veazey, Wheelock Graves
Age: 26, credited to Springfield, VTVITALS
Birth: 12/05/1835, Brentwood, NHADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Arlington National Cemetery, VA
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|This soldier was awarded the Medal of Honor|
Wheelock Graves Veazey
Rank and Organization: Colonel, 16th Vermont Infantry.
Place and date: Gettysburg, PA, 3 Jul 1863.
Entered service at: Springfield.
Born: 5 Dec 1835, Brentwood, NH
Died: 22 Mar 1898.
Buried: National Cemetery, Arlington, VA
Date of Issue: 8 Sep 1891.
Citation: Rapidly assembled his regiment and charged the enemy's flank; charged front under heavy fire, and charged and destroyed a Confederate brigade, all this with new troops in their first battle.
Veazey, Wheelock Graves, of Rutland, son of Jonathan and Annie (Stevens) Veazey, was born in Brentwood, N. H., Dec. 5, 1835. Brentwood was the home of his ancestors back through many generations.
He received his early scholastic education at Phillips (Exeter) Academy, matriculated at Dartmouth College and graduated therefrom in the class of 1859. Having selected the practice of law for the future labor of his life he studied in law offices and in the law school at Albany, N. Y., and graduated there in 1860. He began practice in Springfield in November, 1860, and was admitted to the Vermont bar at the next December term of the Windsor county court.
Mr. Veazey was actuated by clear conviction of duty and animated by patriotic enthusiasm when he enlisted as a private in Co. A of the 3d Regt. Vt. Vols. When the company was organized in the month of May, 1861, he was elected to the captaincy, and in the following August received promotion to the ranks of major and lieutenant-colonel, and continued to hold the latter rank until sent home to bring out a new regiment in the fall of 1862. On the 27th of September, 1862, he was elected colonel of the 16th Regt. Vt. Vols. With this gallant body of men he continued to serve until August 10, 1863, when, with his regiment at the expiration of its term, he was mustered out of the service of the United States. General Hancock then assured him a brigadiership if he returned to the service, but his health would not permit. During his military experience Colonel Veazey took part in many of the battles of the Army of the Potomac. For some time he was a member of the staff of Gen. W. F. (Baldy) Smith, and on several occasions was placed in command of other regiments besides his own. In the seven days' battles before Richmond, in 1862, he was a participant, commanding either his own regiment or some other to which he was temporarily detailed. At Gettysburg the 16th Vt. formed a part of the third division of the First Army Corps under General Doubleday, and actively shared in the sanguinary encounters of the three days of the greatest battle of the war. In the battle of the second day, near its close, his regiment was in the fight between the corps of General Sickles and the rebel forces under General Longstreet.
That evening Colonel Veazey was ordered to take his regiment and others and establish a picket line along that portion of the field where the battle of the second day had been fought. The position of the Sixteenth in that line was along that part where Long-street's corps made the famous charge of the third day. This is popularly known as Pickett's charge. Veazey's regiment was, therefore, in the pathway of Pickett's division, and not having been relieved on the morning of the third, on account of the difficulty of doing it, owing to the severity of the skirmishing on the picket line during the morning, was the first to be struck by the charging column. Under Veazey's order the men resisted the rebel skirmishers, but when their main lines approached, Veazey, instead of falling back through the Union lines, moved his men to the left just far enough to uncover the rebel front, and thereby had them in position to attack their flank as the column passed him. About that time General Hancock, then commanding all that portion of the Union lines, dashed down to the danger point where Pickett's charge was aimed, and was there wounded and bleeding on the field as Veazey moved his regiment back and to right to take position on the left of the Thirteenth Vermont in the deadly assault made by these regiments, which crushed Pickett's right flank. In this movement Veazey passed where Hancock was bleeding and refusing to be taken from the field. The latter watching and appreciating the movement, said to Veazey: "That's right, Colonel, go in and give 'em hell on the flank." Veazey's next move was to get his men into line, as they were scattered over the field gathering in prisoners, and again change front to the left and charge the flank of Perry's and Wilcox's approaching brigades, which he crushed, capturing many hundred prisoners and two stands of colors. This was the substantial close of the battle of Gettysburg. This young officer's feats in the battle gave him a national reputation, and secured him a medal of honor, under a resolution of Congress, having upon it an inscription as follows: "The Congress to Col. Wheelock G. Veazey, 16th Vt. Vols. For Distinguished Gallantry at the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., July 3, 1863."
Colonel Veazey returned to Vermont in 1863, and, as soon as health badly shattered in the service would permit, resumed the practice of his profession at Rutland, and continued in practice until October, 1879.
From 1864 to 1873, by virtue of eight consecutive elections, he served as reporter of the Supreme Court, and in this capacity prepared nine volumes of the Vermont Reports.
In 1872 and 1873, he represented the citizens of Rutland county in the state Senate, and officiated in that body as chairman of the committee on military affairs and also in the committee on the judiciary. In 1874 he received the appointment of register in bankruptcy, and retained it until the repeal of the bankrupt law. In 1878, he and Hon. C. W. Willard were appointed commissioners by Governor Proctor to revise the laws of the state. The revision was duly made, reported, adopted by the Legislature in 1880, and is now in force as the revised laws of Vermont. In the same connection Judge Veazey also made a searching investigation and report to the Legislature upon the subject of court expenses, which resulted in a reduction of the same to a very large amount.
The elevation of a lawyer so competent and judicious to the bench was simply a question of time. It came in 1879 by his appointment as judge of the Supreme Court to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Judge Dunton. Beginning with 1880, and including 1888, Judge Veazey was at each biennial session elected a judge of the Supreme Court. This position he resigned in 1889 to accept an appointment as a member of the interstate commerce commission, the duties of which important place he continues to perform.
In the educational, financial and corporate institutions of the state, Judge Veazey was naturally deeply interested. He was one of the trustees of Dartmouth college from 1879 and until his resignation in 1891; he has also been trustee or director of other educational as well as industrial institutions in and out of the state. Before going upon the bench, Colonel Veazey was active in public and political affairs. He was a delegate-at-large to the national Republican convention at Cincinnati, which nominated Rutherford B. Hayes for President. He has always taken the greatest interest in his comrades of the war, and been connected with them in their organizations, state and national. Colonel Veazey was one of the early department commanders of the Grand Army of the Republic in Vermont, and has been president of the Reunion Society of Vermont Officers. In 1890 he was elected commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a position than which there is none more honorable in the Union. In all the high places held by him–-in military and civil life–-he has kept the respect, won the admiration and had the affection of his old comrades, and of his fellow-citizens. He received the honorable degree of LL. D. from Dartmouth college in 1887.
He was married on the 22d of June, 1861, to Julia A., daughter of Hon. Albin and Julia A. Beard, at Nashua, N. H. They have had four children, two of whom are living.
[He died at Washington, D.C. on March 22, 1898 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.]
Source: Jacob G. Ullery, compiler, Men of Vermont: An Illustrated Biographical History of Vermonters and Sons of Vermont, (Transcript Publishing Company, Brattleboro, VT, 1894), Part II, p. 408.
Judge 1879-1889. Born Brentwood, N.H., Dec. 5, 1835; son of Jonathan and Annie (Stevens) Veazey; died March 22, 1898. Graduated from Phillips (Exeter) Academy, and Dartmouth College 1859; graduated from Albany, NY, Law School 1860; admitted to Vermont Bar 1860; began practice in Springfield. Enlisted as a private in Co. A, 3rd Vermont Voluneers; was elected captain, and promoted major and lieutenant-colonel; in September 1862, was elected colonel of the 16th Regiment Vermont Volunteers; took part in many of the battles of the Army of the Potomac; was for a time on the staff of Gen. W. F. (Baldy) Smith; was mustered out of the service in August, 1863; was voted a medal of honor by Congress for his services at Gettysburg; returned to Vermont 1863 shattered in health; supreme court reporter 1864-73, preparing nine volumes of the Vermont Reports; state senator from Rutland County 1872-4; appointed 1874 register in bankruptcy; in 1878 appointed by Gov. Redfield Proctor one of the commissioners to revise the laws of the state; supreme court judge 1878-89, resiging to accept an appointment as a member of the interstate commerce commission, which he held until his death; delegate to the Republican national convention 1876; trustee of Dartmouth College 1879-91, and received degree of LL. D, 1887; commander-in-chief of the national GAR 1890. In 1861 married Julia A. Beard of Nashua, N.H.
Source: Prentiss C. Dodge, compiler. Encyclopedia Vermont Biography, Burlington, Vt: Ullery Publishing Company, 1912, p. 87
NARA File Number: V-319-VS-1862.
See also: Beyer and Keydel, 239.