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Seeley, Abel Hildreth


Age: 0, credited to Cambridge, VT
Unit(s): 5th IL CAV
Service: enl, Centralia, IL, 9/28/61, comn MAJ, 5th IL CAV 12/30/61, pr LTC 10/10/63, m/o 10/27/65, Springfield, IL

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: abt 1821, Cambridge, VT
Death: 02/15/1886

Burial: Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, CA
Marker/Plot: Section ES-F, Lot 412 (Cremains)
Gravestone researcher/photographer:

Findagrave Memorial #: 0
(There may be a Findagrave Memorial, but we have not recorded it)


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, widow Mary A., 7/3/1886
Portrait?: Unknown
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: Originally buried in San Francisco's Masonic Cemetery, which was destroyed in the 1906 flood


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Copyright notice

Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, CA

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.

Abel H. Seeley



Lyman Seely, of Cambridge, a brother of Major Seely, furnishes the following sketch:

"Major Seely was born in Cambridge. His parents were poor, and he had not the chance in the world that some have.

When he begun his life, he had nothing but his hands, and worked at the carpenter and joiner's trade, and won the praise of all that he worked for.

He went to Illinois about thirteen years ago, where he worked for a number of years. In 1857 he went to Nashville, Tenn., and worked for the Rail Road Company, building a depot, and was among the rebels when they revolted. He then went to his family in Illinois, and enlisted to put down the Rebellion.



The following was written by Lyman Seely:


DEAR BROTHER:----It is some time since you heard from me. I think the last letter I wrote you, was from Tennessee, about a year ago. I left there the last week in August, and went home and stopped 5 days. I put out again, and the 27thof September, I got the position of Major in the 5th Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Cavalry. We laid in camp all winter. The first of March we were ordered to St. Louis; from thence to Pilot Knob, and then to Doniphan, Mo., where we stopped about four weeks. We had some little skirmishing, but nothing of any importance. From that point we were ordered to Pocahontas, Ark., where we stopped about two months, and I was in my saddle nearly all the time, scouting and foraging. Then I was ordered, with two companies, to a little town called Smithville, about sixty miles from Little Rock, Ark., where I still remain,Suspense command, of the force at this place. The rebels are all around me, but as yet they have-not attacked me. I may never get home from this war. I had rather leave my body on the field, for the ravens to carry off, then to go home branded a coward, although I do not boast of bravery. This is an awful rough county --- hilly, rocky, and thinly settled. I tell you, a soldier has rough times. I have been 48 hours, without eating but two meals, and you may judge how much sleep we got. I am looking for a battle now. I would like to hear from you.

From your absent brother,
Maj. A.H. Seely

Lamoille Newsdealer: January 22, 1863


We are permitted to make the following extract from a letter by Major Seeley, written to his brother in the 13th:


DECEMBER 27th, 1862

DEAR BROTHER: --- Your letter of the 21st is just at hand, and I hasten to reply. We are having pretty busy times here just now. We are on the wing nearly all the time. I have had a few days rest, having been detailed for Court Martial, according to an act of Congress of July 17th, 1862, providing for a field officer to here and determine all cases of a regimental character and impose the penalty thereto. That has kept me pretty busy, but it was a relief. For 18 days I was in my saddle every day, and some days we marched 45 miles, and you may judge for yourself whether we are seeing service or not. I have not heard from my family for a month. I do not know the reason, unless the rebels intercept our mails. We are nearly cut off by them. You can see by the map that we are pretty well down in "Dixie".

I sympathize with you in your bereavement for your son; but those things we have got to expect; we are torn from our homes and friends, and many of us will never see them again --- such is the fate of war. It seems hard, but I suppose we ought not to complain. I want to see the rebellion put down. We are periling our lives, health and perhaps our future happiness for our once happy and prosperous Country. It was conceded before the war broke out, by all nations I think, that the American people were the happiest and most prosperous people in the world, but, Alas! What are we now? A wreck tossed upon the political billows of the Country. Look at a great portion of the men that are left at home. Those that are not trying to pull down the government are trying to get their hands into the public crib. Look at the corruption in many of our public officers --- men that were elected by the people, supposing them to be honest and conscientious, now have proved themselves traitors to their friends, their country, and their God. I left my family, my home and my all, to help to sustain my country, the laws and constitution, (the latter, one of the greatest instruments that was ever devised by men of modern days), and it will be a chance if I ever get back to home again, and it makes my heart ache to see things go as they do.


Maj. A. H. Seely, writing to his brother, from Helena, Arkansas, Jan. 10th, complains a great deal of speculation and politics among officers of the Western army. We copy the following account of an adventure in which he was engaged:

When we were over in Mississippi, at Oakland, near Grenada, as we marched into the place, the advance was attacked, at a point where there was a grove of second growth of Blackjack Oaks, which grow very thick and full of wild vines. It is almost impossible for a man to get through on foot. The Col. was commanding the brigade and that left me in command of the regiment. When I formed in line of battle, part of my line was in the thicket and part in the field. The day was pretty warm, and some of the men had taken off their overcoats, and laid them on their saddles in front of them. We marched in this thicket about a quarter of a mile; when we came out there was sixty-one of the boys bearheaded, and 16 or 18 dropped their overcoats. The rebels were five thousand strong, and only 21-hundred of us; but cavalry marching by twos makes a large show where the forces are small; they broke and fled. Our horses were so jaded that we did not pursue them,

On that trip I was in my saddle 18 days, besides riding two nights all night. Cavalry service is hard on men and horses.

Lamoille Newsdealer: APRIL 30, 1863




MR. EDITOR: --- -Being a native of the beautiful town of Cambridge, Vt., a town and state I ever shall be proud of, although now a resident of the State of Illinois, I take the liberty of writing to your paper from the army.

I have been the army, battling for my country, for twenty months, and have been through Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi, have seen all kinds of fare, made hard marches in the rain and mud, and camped many nights with no shelter to shield us from the weather but the high canopy of Heaven; but with all our hardships and privations, I think our men are more eager to push the war through than when we first went into the field. I never believed there would be such a change in sentiment as there is. When I went into the army, I was for putting down the rebellion, and not interfering with the institution of slavery, but twenty months of observation has convinced me that the only successful way to put down the rebellion is to wipe out slavery from the American Continent. I am convinced that the system of slavery is a curse to the Anglo-Saxon race, and a sin in the sight of God; and if there is not something done with the poor unfortunate creatures to colonize and enlighten them, and deliver them from slavery (where it is policy to keep them in ignorance) we will have a state of society in less than one-hundred years that any sane man raised in a Christian land would revolt at.

We hear from the Loyal States every day, and as often hear from the Copperhead peace-meetings. The soldiers are disgusted with such proceedings. We do not want peace on any other terms than an unconditional submission of the people of the rebellious States to the laws and Constitution of the United States. They have ignored all rights they ever had as a Christian or law abiding people; and before I would succumb to the acknowledgement of the so called Southern Confederacy, I would rather our population of the Loyal States be all turned out, except old men, women and children, than have the disgrace go down to posterity. We have three times the available men that the south has. I think I speak the sentiments of the officers and men of this army when I say I will conquer them or die trying!

When we look back and see how many men have been slain in the battles of this war, and others that were victims of disease, and contemplate the tens of thousands hearts and homes that are made desolate and wretched it stimulates us on. We have had nearly every disease in our camp since we went into the field, that flesh is heir to, and now we have the small pox; aside from that, our men are healthy. The bad weather is over now, and it is warm and pleasant. The forest trees are all leaved out. The country around where the army has been is desolated --- plantations laid waste, buildings destroyed, &c. That is the fortune of war.

Yours truly,

Major A. H. Seley

5th Ill. Cavalry

Lamoille Newsdealer: MAY 28, 1863



HELENA, ARK. MAY 15, 1863

MR EDITOR: --- Perhaps a condensed account of the Army in the Southwest may be of some interest to your readers in the North.

The principal duty of the army at this point, the present time is scouting, and hunting guerillas which are very thick and troublesome in this vicinity. The Cavalry force was all sent out from here last week, to capture the notorious guerilla chief and his men, by the name of Dobbins, who has been a great annoyance to the army for sometime. When some sixty miles from this place, they very unexpectedly encountered Marmaduke's army on their retreat from Cape Girardeau, eight thousand strong. Our force was all told was but twelve-hundred, and divided into two columns. We drove them three times, with the loss of three killed and twelve wounded, and then thinking prudence the better part of valor, retreated before the enemy had time to flank our forces and cut off our retreat. The reports that contrabands bring in, say they retreated from us with all dispatch. Our forces all returned to camp in good spirits, though somewhat fatigued, being absent eight days.

Government has authorized the organization of Negroes in this department. One regiment has been organized, armed and equipped, and sent into the field. When they were equipped they made a fine appearance. They have had but seven weeks practice drilling, and I must confess, they excel some of the regiments that been in the field for seven months. It is predicted by military men that they will make good soldiers.

Yours truly, Major A. H. Seley

Submitted by Deanna French

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