13th Vermont Infantry
Biographical and Historical of Co. H
Thirteenth Regiment Vermont Volunteers
Civil War 1861-1865Dedicated to the loving memory of Andrew E. Osgood, mortally wounded in the battle of Gettysburg, July 3rd, 1863.
This Company in several important particulars differs from the other nine companies of the 13th Regiment. For some reason the company was not recruited up to the required number prior to organization and going to Brattleboro to be mustered into the United States army. Only about 50 had actually enrolled and took part in company organization, election of officers and these were from Calais, 15; Cabot, 16; Woodbury, Marshfield, Worcester and East Montpelier, 18 or 20, making in all some 50 when called to go to Brattleboro for muster in. On arrival the situation was reported by Captain Peck to Colonel Randall, and by him to Major Austine, of the United States army, assigned to muster in the new regiments. Colonel Randall was informed that the 13th Regiment could not be mustered in until every company had the required number present. Company H must be supplied and the situation demanded haste, for the government at Washington was anxiously waiting for troops. While Company H was short of men the other nine companies had more than they required which could be transferred unless too many were rejected by the medical examination to be made by the United States surgeons then present and waiting for that purpose. The medical examination took place and only a few rejected, leaving more or less in each of the other nine companies available for transfer to Company H if it could be arranged. Though some of the recruits that had enrolled into the other companies emphatically objected to being transferred and threatened to refuse to be mustered in unless (they) could remain with the companies they had joined; considerable friction and contention arose and the commissioned officers of the several companies were in trouble as to the outcome and were not inclined to be responsible or take part in selecting out who should be transferred. Were of course willing to do anything to aid in making up Company Ho to the required number f harmony could be maintained. It was finally arranged, but not agreeable to all, and in this way Company H was made ready for muster in. On account of this condition Company H was made up by recruits from 30 different towns in Chittenden, Washington, Franklin, Lamoille and Grand Isle Counties. Hence it was truly the only cosmopolitan company in the regiment. they were mostly strangers to each other and did not mix up pleasantly. The transferred men as a rule were mad and not inclined to submit to the arbitrary proceeding and some spoke their minds in no uncertain language because of such treatment and two, or three or more in after years, gave this transfer business as a reason for deserting. It was an unfortunate combination and a stormy time followed; no two agreed on any one questions suggested. Company H boys were thankful for the additions and the commissioned officers of Company H were happy and tried t make matters pleasant for those who came in from other companies, and did, in a measure, smooth the matters over so that proper discipline was maintained. It was a long time before Company H could be denominated a happy family. The raw material transferred was as good as any in the regiment and finally settled down to business, all realizing the high purposes that induced them to enlist, accepted the situation and before the spring campaign opened were friendly and satisfied and was one of the best fighting companies in the regiment. In passing it may truthfully be said that the officers of Company H were not lacking in thos qualities essential to inspire, command and lead. Captain Aro P. Slayton was the leading and dominant spirit in Company H and to him more than any other person is due the record made by Company H during its term of service especially in the battle of Gettysburg. Captain Slayton was an exemplary man and officer, a rare disciplinarian and maintained order by tact and good judgment and fair treatment. He was kind and generous and all loved and respected him, a man of principle in every relation of life, was in fact of old Colonial stock that first settled in Brookfield, Mass., emigrating from England early in the 17th century. His grandfather and uncles settled in Vermont as among the first settlers during the stirring times of the original Green Mountain Boys and from that time had been prominent men in guiding the affairs of Vermont, ever on the side of the right. Patriotic in thought and action. There were six Slaytons of the same family in this company and quite a number more in the 13th Regiment. The Slaytons were born and bred, loyal to home and country and were on hand at all times to defend the right even with their lives. Though this company sailed over a rather stormy sea in its first weeks of service, it finally acquitted itself with credit and honor equal to any company in the line. Though made up as it was of so many different nationalities and creeds of religious views, yet they were among the bravest heroes in the 13th Regiment and their intrepid conduct in the desperate charge of the Second Vermont Brigade against General Pickett's right flank won for themselves esteem at home and unstinted praise for daring deeds in battle and were personally commended by General Stannard and Colonel Randall. This company represented more towns than any other and acted with the idea that each must do his best to bravely represent the town from which he volunteered. Nearly 60 of this company have passed to the beyond and joined the silent majority waiting for the grand review that will follow the final muster out of the noble heroes who followed the Stars and Stripes from Fort Sumter to Appomattox.
"On Fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead."
Source: Sturtevant, Ralph Orson. "Pictorial History: Thirteenth Vermont Volunteers, War of 1861-1865." Privately published, 1910.