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5th Vermont Infantry

Regimental History

Hon. Lewis Addison Grant,
(Assistant Secretary of War),
Brigadier and Brevet Major-General U. S. Vols;
John R. Lewis, Colonel Fifth Regiment and
Brevet Brigadier-General U. S. Vols.,
and Charles G. Gould,
Captain and Brevet Major Fifth Regiment.

The Fifth Regiment Vermont Volunteer Infantry, was composed of companies organized at the following towns, the men composing them being enlisted from these and adjoining towns: Company A, St. Albans; B, Middlebury; C, Swanton; D, Hyde Park; E, Manchester; F, Cornwall; G, Rutland; H, Brandon; I, detachments from Burlington, Poultney and Tinmouth; K, Richmond.

The regiment was mustered into the United States service for three years at St. Albans, Vt., Sept. 16, 1861, and in a few days went to Washington and camped on Meridian Hill, then crossed Chain Bridge into Virginia and joined other Vermont regiments at Camp Advance, when the Old Vermont Brigade was organized.

The regiment spent most of the fall and winter of 1861-62 at Camp Griffin, near Langley, Va., going to Fortress Monroe in the spring of 1862 and taking part in the Peninsula Campaign. At Savage's Station, June 29, 1862, it suffered the greatest loss, in killed and wounded, of any Vermont regiment in any one engagement. It this battle, with not over four hundred muskets, it lost 188 officers and men in half an hour--company E losing 44 men killed and wounded out of fifty-nine, 25 of whom were killed or mortally wounded. It was here that five Cummings brothers, and one cousin, of company E, were all killed or wounded, only one of the six recovering from his wounds. Returning in August, the regiment marched out across Cub Run, near the second Bull Run battle field. It then joined in the Maryland Campaign. Returning to Virginia, it encamped during the winter of 1862-3 near Fredericksburg, taking part in the campaign near that place in 1863, and in the Gettysburg campaign. From Gettysburg it went into Virginia, and thence to New york at the time of the draft riot. Returning to the Army of the Potomac it took part in the fall campaign in Virginia. It encamped during the winter of 1863-64 near Brandy Station, where it re-enlisted, Dec. 15, 1863, being the first regiment to re-enlist and go home on a veteran furlough. In 1864 it took an active part in the terrible campaign from the Rapidan to Petersburg June 17. It went into this campaign with about five hundred muskets, and in one month lost 349 men in killed, wounded and missing, including two field officers, six captains and five lieutenants.

In July the regiment returned and assisted in driving Early from Washington, following him into the valley and becoming a part of the Army of the Shenandoah.

Sept. 15, 1864, the term of the original members of the regiment who had not re-enlisted expired, and they were mustered out at Clifton, Va., leaving present for duty with the regiment one assistant surgeon, a quartermaster, three first lieutenants and about three hundred men. This fragment of a regiment participated in Sheridan's campaign in the Shenandoah Valley, from Winchester to Mont Crawford and return. Dec. 9 the regiment left the valley and returned to Petersburg, going into winter quarters, Dec. 13, near the Squirrel Level Road, in the line south of Petersburg. It led the Sixth Corps in its assault upon the enemy's works at Petersburg, April 2, 1865, and was the first regiment in the corps to plant its flag upon the enemy's works. It took part in the pursuit and capture of Lee's army, and after his surrender it marched to Danville, Va., to aid in preventing the escape of Johnston's army. It then went to Munson's Hill, near Washington, where it was mustered out of the service of the United States, June 29, 1865, and returned to Vermont to be finally discharged. At its muster-out but 24 officers and 288 men were borne upon its rolls--an aggregate of 312 out of a total enrollment of 1,618 during its entire term of service.

For ten months of its last year of service the highest rank of any of its officers present for duty was that of captain; for more than three months of this period none of the officers of the regiment present with it were above the rank of first lieutenant, and every officer that returned wit the regiment went out as a private in the ranks.

During its four years of service the regiment sustained the following losses: killed and died of wounds received in action, 11 officers, 202 men, a total of 213, or 13.8 per cent of its total enrollment. Its total of killed and wounded in battle during the war was 685. The deaths from disease and accident, in rebel prisons and from other causes, were 1 officer, 124 men. The total number of known deaths from all causes was 338. The Fifth was one of the forty-five infantry regiments, out of all the regiments of the Union armies, that lost over 200 men, killed or mortally wounded in battle during the War of the Rebellion. It bore an honorable and active part in the battles of Lee's Mills, Williamsburg, Golding's Farm, Savage's Station, White Oak Swamp, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Dec., '62; Fredericksburg, May, '63; Fredericksburg, June, '63; Salem Heights, Gettysburg, Funkstown, Rappahannock Station, The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Bloody Angle, Anderson's Farm, Jericho Ford, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, June, '64; Fort Stevens, Charles Town, Winchester, Fisher's Hill, Cedar Creek, Petersburg, March 25, 1865; Petersburg, April 2, 1865; Sailor's Creek, and other skirmished and reconnaissances.

Mustered into the service of the United States September 16, 1861. Original members, not veterans, mustered out of service September 15, 1864. Recruits for one year, and recruits whose term of service would expire previous to October 1, 1865, mustered out of service June 19, 1865. Remainder of regiment mustered out of service June 29, 1865.

Source: Theodore S. Peck, compiler, Revised Roster of Vermont Volunteers and lists of Vermonters Who Served inthe Army and Navy of the United States During the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, Montpelier, Vt.: Press of the Watchman Publishing Co., 1892, pp. 142-143.