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13th Vermont Infantry

History
Biographical and Historical of Co. E
Thirteenth Regiment Vermont Volunteers
Civil War 1861-1865

Dedicated to the loving memory of Sergeant Henry H. Smith, killed
in the battle of Gettysburg, July 3rd, 1863, in the world
renowned charge against General Pickett's
right flank.

Right now at the beginning of this brief sketch, the writer will say that he volunteered, August 27, 1862, to apply on the quota of the town of Johnson. Together with five others, all of which enlisted the same afternoon, Wednesday, august 27, 1862, at Johnson, namely, Sumner A. Andrews, George B. Whiting, Nathan Dodge, David A. Chesmore and John H. Mudgett. On the following day, Thursday, August 28, the company was called together at Hyde Park to form a company organization. After we assembled there was one more from Johnson that enlisted, Henry C. Parsons, making in all seven from Johnson, and upon that occasion, which was a very important one in the interest of all members of the company, when the company was all gathered in the town hall and the question of electing the commissioned officers arose for discussion, a man appeared from Stowe and began advocating a strong desire to be elected captain of the company. He was a sort of a curiosity to the boys who had enlisted, for he had not even added his name to the list of volunteers, and furthermore, was not intending to unless he was elected captain, and hence the result was, as might be expected of a candidate brim full of patriotism possessed with strong desire to see the Rebellion put down but not of the genuine kind that would induce him to place his name upon the company roll, that he did not secure over one vote out of every five through the company. This said candidate's name was Cutting, a Universalist minister. At the same time both before and after entering the hall for organization while he, the said Cutting, was canvassing and laboring diligently to secure votes to aid his own election, together with the help of a few Stowe boys who had enlisted from that town, who favored Cutting for captain. he was a bright, intelligent, active young man, and wide awake the way he appeared to the writer of this article without any personal acquaintance with him, for it was the first and only time that I had ever seen the man and the same was true with few exceptions of the whole company aside from the Johnson boys, but nearly all present that day who had volunteered to serve in the company that had met to organize on that day regardless of what might be the alphabetical rank, by letter, in regimental line, felt as if their choice for captain would be some one selected from the goodly number who had already volunteered to serve their country and stand by the old flag, instead of one who hesitating to enlist, unless he was chosen commander of the company, even before he was an enrolled member and under that state of feeling expressed by word and action by a majority of the volunteers present, the name of Joseph J. Boynton, of Stowe, was presented, well backed by a goodly number from his own town, which furnished forty strong as members of the company, was named for captain and when the voting began and the first ballot was all in and counted with the result of the ballot just taken and reported, it was declared to the company that Joseph J. Boynton was elected without a strong opposition. Will say that there was not a sufficient number of names upon the roll to make a full company, according to the army regulations, but the election of line officers continued until both first and second lieutenants were elected. Then we proceeded with the organization until completed, but which a few days later proved but temporary, for it was decided to be be illegal upon the claim that there were not members enough who had already placed their names upon the company roll to form a local organization, but that was not where the shoe pinched tightest, and hurt across the stomach, as the most sensitive locality to feel the effects of such a disappointment as that company organization was to other members of the company that intended to be elected as first and second lieutenants of the company, and then some men with outside help, broke up the first organization as I stated previously. Our company was not full as to numbers and after the first organization was broken up, there was a general hustling for more additional members to the company and they were readily fond and brought within company ranks and another notice was sent out to the boys who had enlisted and were members of the company to meet at Morrisville Monday, September 8, 1862, for a second organization and to commence to drill. The company met and formed a new organization on September 8th, and everything passed off very pleasantly to all but a few whom the two lieutenants that were elected at the first organization became became duly convinced that the very cause for breaking up the first and calling the company choice of the whole company after it was recruited to over one hundred members and be re-elected at the second organization (and expecting that there would be an examination of the company when called together) they both planned from August 28 up to September 8th, to be equal to the emergency. One of the said lieutenants was a first-class machinist and was supposed to be blessed and favored with the best of eyesight, but allowing a prospective disappointment of re-election to office in as good if not the best company that would be in the regiment it played upon his mind to that extent that upon the examination on September 8th, 1862, at Morrisville, you would hardly think that he could distinguish a two horse team from a lady dressed as the style was at that date, wearing large-sized hoop skirts on the streets of Morrisville, so of course he was thrown out

The other lieutenant elected at the first organization had symptoms of varicose veins, and a desire to have them show very prominent upon examination day, which was near at hand, which would occur upon Monday, september 8th when the company was to be called together for examination, and to form the second organization, and being fully convinced that there was not the least possible chance for his re-election at the coming organization, he was planning as it seemed between August 28th and September 8th, to have the above disability aid him in being dropped from the company as it was not his desire to serve as a member of the company in a position beneath the rank of a commissioned officer, and with proper planning to bring about the required development of said disability, to that extent, that it would partially incapacitate him for serving as an infantry-man, so under those circumstances the examining surgeon was justified in rejecting him from the company

As previously referred to, that the company would be called together at morrisville Monday, September 8th, 1862, for examination and also to form the second organization, and we accordingly met on that day and first went through a slight examination. All stood the test in very good shape, only three of that number were rejected two of them were the first and second lieutenants, elected at the first organization., with both of them their disabilities had developed so rapidly during the few intervening days after being fully convinced that neither one of them could be elected at the coming organization. Then they planned to appear before the examining surgeon with disabilities so prominent that he, although an elderly gentleman and minus one arm, would readily observe that they were wholly unfit to perform the duty of soldiers. The result was, they were upon examination immediately left out. The examination was brief and as soon as through with, all assembled at the town hall to organize. Everything passed off smoothly causing no great jar. There was one man in the company, a volunteer from Morristown, who was anxious to be 2d lieutenant, but when it was found he could not be elected to that position the captain and lieutenant, told him they would give him the orderly sergeants's berth. He said, "No, if he could not be 2nd lieutenant he would be a private." The officers being of a peaceful turn of mind kindly let him have his own way, so he served as a private in Company E

The company organization was finally completed with the officers to be commissioned and also the non-commissioned were elected from the different towns that furnished men to make up the company, and the intention was seemingly judging from outward appearances, to share the company offices with the boys from each town according to the number of men furnished by their respective towns. Stowe furnished the largest number of men of any town, so the Captain, Joseph J. Boynton; 1st Sergeant, Harvey H. Smith; 4th Sergeant, Orlo L. Judson; 2nd Corporal, Joseph S. Collins; 3rd Corporal, George W. Hodge, were elected from the Stowe delegation

Cambridge next in line as furnishing the next largest number of men; 1st Lieutenant, Andrew J. Davis; 2nd Sergeant, Edwin H. Reed; 1st Corporal, Charles H. Miner; 6th Corporal, Unite W. Keith, were elected from the Cambridge members

Next in order of number of men furnished was Morristown, from which 2nd Lieutenant, Frank Kenfield; 3rd Sergeant, Horace H. Cole; 5th Sergeant, Carlos E. Cheney; 5th Corporal, Hiram C. Wolcott; 8th Corporal, Joseph M. Chaplain, were elected. One elected from Wolcott; 4th Corporal, Moses J. Leach. The 7th Corporal from Johnson was Henry C. Parsons

AFter the company organization was completed the company were all assigned to their boarding places. About one-half of the company took up quarters at the hotel, under proprietor Whippple, (not our friend and comrade T. S. Whipple.) The balance of the company boarded in private families. Several of the Morristown boys resided in or near the village of Morrisville. the next thing in order was to be put under charge of Urban A. Woodbury, as drill-master. He was captain of Company D, the 11th Vermont Regiment, that being the Lamoille County Company recruited for that Regiment. Captain Woodbury was a Lamoille County boy from the town of Elmore. He enlisted from that town, May 25,1861 in Company H. 2nd Vermont Regiment at Fletcher. At the company organization he was elected Orderly Sergeant of the company. At the battle of First Bull Run he was wounded, loosing his right arm, and taken prisoner July 21, 1861. Paroled October 5th, 1861, discharged October 18th 1861, but remained a paroled prisoner until November, 1862. He was elected Captain of Company D, 11th Vermont Regiment, in August, 1862. He was an experienced drill-master. He gave army tactics through study with a taste for the military part of the business, and seemed to take pride in having a company well drilled. He had drilled two or three companies from our county. Company A, 8th Vermont Regiment, at Hyde Park, that being the Lamoille County Company of that Regiment. The next was Company H, the 9th Regiment, next Company D, the 11th Regiment. Then in order Company E, 13th Vermont, our company, was drilled in good shape three weeks at Morrisville by our drill-master, Captain Woodbury

One day previous to the holding of the town fair at Elmore, he extended an invitation to the company to have the whole company march up in a body the day that the fair was to be held at Elmore, for he felt an interest in the fair, on account of its being his home town, for his father resided at Elmore Pond village. The company nearly all marched up when the day arrived in good style, for that was the way company E had of doing things. Soon after reaching Elmore the news spread through the company that there was a prize up of ten dollars to be won in a foot race. There were always more or less members in company E that had an eye out for all such games of luck and chance, so three of our crowd notified the manager that they would just take a shake at that game, so drill-master, Captain Woodbury, Sergeant Cheney, ass drummer, Orls C. Perkins, entered for the race and won the prize money; first prize, five dollars, won by captain Woodbury, the other two prizes won were three dollars and two which were won by Cheney and Perkins

Company E began drilling Monday, September 8th and drilled the week days of the next three weeks, closing up Saturday the 27th of September, 1862, preparatory to starting for Brattleboro the following Monday morning, September 29th. The Cambridge boys went direct to Essex Junction to take the train and would join us at Waterbury. Johnson, Eden and Wolcott boys met at Morrisville and started from there in company with Morristown boys for Waterbury by way of Stowe, and there fell in company with Stowe boys and met Cambridge boys at Waterbury, and that formed the full company. Then proceeded on to Brattleboro, arriving there Monday night the 29th of September, together with the other nine companies of the Regiment, where they met for the first time as a full Regiment

When the 13th Vermont Regiment reached Brattleboro and stepped from the train and formed in line to march to the parade ground, as as the regiment started off from the station escorted by the 12th Vermont Regiment under command of colonel Blunt, keeping step to the music of fife and drum it would not required a very sharp critic to observe in that body of soldiers comprising two regiments of Green Mountain boys, a class of men that would do credit to themselves and also do their full duty in keeping up the proud reputation established early in the war by the Vermont troops who took the field early in the summer of 1861 and have fully sustained the same reputation during the year and a half that the war had been going on prior to the date of mustering into the service of the 2nd Vermont Brigade. The powerful marching done and long distances covered by the first Vermont Brigade, when placed at the head of the line with the order from General Sedgwick to keep the ranks well closed up. the above doings of, and the record of the 1st Vermont Brigade had been published from Maine to California and across the great waters of foreign countries

At the time the 2nd Vermont Brigade entered the service, without doubt, it was the personal desire of many a member of not only the 13th Vermont but with other Regiments the same throughout the 2nd Vermont Brigade. If life was spared them to serve through their term of service to be ready and willing to to their full duty where, where or whatever it might be, either in camp or upon the march or upon the lone picket post, surrounded by rebel bush-whackers, or upon the battlefield in line of battle it should be their lot to be called upon to be in that position and if it was the lot of theirs to any or all of the different kinds of duty above mentioned which was liable to fall to the lot of any true soldier ready to perform his duty at any time when call upon, he would have a desire to perform his duty in a way that when his term of service expired and he received his honorable discharge from the army with a record just as clean and honorable according to the length of his term of service as with Vermont soldiers who had gone into the service earlier in the war

Company E reached Brattleboro with one hundred and nine men, including officers and privates. Company H reached there the same day with only forty-eight men which had to be made up to a whole company from the other nine companies, each furnishing men according to the number of men in each company respectively

In mingling with and being one of the company for three weeks, I had an opportunity to become quite well acquainted with all those that became familiar upon short acquaintance and they proved to be a fine, well behaved company of men, as bright and intelligent and well appearing as it will be the good fortune of any person to meet

There were a few men who enlisted in Company E just as we left for Brattleboro which made not only an addition in way of numbers but were of the right make-up to help keep up the highest standard of reputation that the company had already gained during their three weeks' stay at Morrisville. Our drilling-master, captain Woodbury went with Company E to Brattleboro to help them along in good shape in the way of drilling the company and he knew just what had got to be done before leaving the State and knew how to have the company appear at muster. The company drilling of Company E and also witnessing the drilling of the other companies through the regiment were both interesting and instructive to both those drilling as well as the onlookers. After a few days of drilling and planing, (and getting the hand of the barn, as the Irishman said, when he was getting ready to commence threshing, by hand in olden times) soon the talk commenced in regard to the number of men each company would be obliged to transfer from their respective companies to fill up company H to an average number of men. Company E's number to furnish was eleven

By the commissioned officers having an opportunity of being in the company three weeks at Morrisville, together with the men daily both upon drill and during leisure hours, they had become fairly well acquainted with most of the boys who had been together since organization. they had by close observation of the different men and also of the companies in full, and by having friendly conversation with all of the men and being upon a level with the private soldier who was a member of that company, the same as with a commissioned officer. By receiving the above named treatment daily from each and every one of the officers both commissioned and non-commissioned, the whole company became strongly attached to them and strictly adhered to and promptly obeyed every order with willingness and kindly feeling toward their superiors, and under those circumstances the commanding officer, whoever might be in command of the company had full confidence in every member of the company doing his full duty each and every time strictly according to orders and that was the state of feelings between the officers and all members of Company E of the 13th Vermont Regiment. When they all met at Waterbury railroad station, September 29th, 1862, and with that state of feeling existing in and throughout the entire company the commissioned officers were fully justified in feeling a certain degree of pride in the general appearance of the company

As previously stated Company E reached Brattleboro with one hundred and nine, officers and men. they were recruited from the following named towns of Lamoille County: Cambridge, 33 men; Eden, 3 men; Johnson, 7 men; Morristown, 21 men; Stowe, 42 men; Wolcott, 2 men; Westford, 1 man. Next in order was the examination of the regiment by companies. When the day arrived for examination the one hundred and nine men were drawn up in line in the room for the same, and thoroughly examined and every man in the company accepted as being all right. After deciding the question as to the number of men each company should furnish, it was decided that the quota of Company E would be eleven, which were drawn from the above names towns as follows: One from Cambridge, Napoleon B. La Monda; Eden 3, Leonard W. Leach, Marcus Demerrit, Charles J. Chamberlin; Morristown 1, Jerry O. Bisconner; Stowe, 6, Amos C. Chase, William Emerson, John B. Jusic, Joseph Merritt, Elisha Norris, Edward Taylor. One man Volney C. Babcock of Stowe was left sick at Brattleboro, when the regiment left the State and was discharged there November 27th, 1862, for disability. The above twelve being taken from the companies, Company E had ninety-seven officers and men when they left for Washington

Next in order comes the muster. We had a number of boys in Company E who could perform like first-class circus men, and drill-master Woodbury enjoyed their practice and helped to carry it on anytime between hours for drill. He made it a point to have all of that class of men and boys make a good showing on those lines when taking their run on day of muster before Adjutant Genera, PEter T. Washburn, for which he complimented them very highly, for both their activity and skill in maneuvering, in turning regular somersaults and gymnastic performances. Adjutant General Washburn thought spunky Lamoille was all right as yet and the company furnished therefrom. Every man passed muster O. K

The calls and visits by members from different companies back and forth, were greatly enjoyed, by keeping them up while in camp, at our different places. There were members from Company F and K who were acquainted with members of Company E. The writer has in memory the names of Lieutenant Naramore and W. A. Naramore, Erastus Powell and others of Company F. Comrade R. O. Sturtevant of Company K was acquainted with some members of Company E, Sergeant Edwin H. Reed, Sydney C. Cady, private. His visits were greatly enjoyed by those who were acquainted with him, and had at the same time an opportunity while visiting those whom he knew to become acquainted with others.

Source: Sturtevant, Ralph Orson. "Pictorial History: Thirteenth Vermont Volunteers, War of 1861-1865." Privately published, 1910.


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