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Howard, Silas Wright


Age: 20, credited to Royalton, VT
Unit(s): 2nd USSS
Service: enl 12/16/61, m/i 11/9/61, PVT, Co. E, 2nd USSS, wdd, Antietam, 9/17/62, dis/wds, 3/5/63

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 10/17/1841, Potsdam, NY
Death: 10/10/1928

Burial: Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Royalton, VT
Marker/Plot: 8
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Joe Schenkman
Findagrave Memorial #: 168623639


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, 1/8/1863; widow Dora H., 12/8/1928, VT
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: None


2nd Great Grandfather of Gail Kaufman Jackson, Ohio

2nd Great Granduncle of Sandra Miller, Jefferson City, MO

Great Grandfather of Ronald Gene Howard, Eden Prairie, MN

Great Grandfather of Gae Campbell Hughes Kovalesky, Randolph, VT

Great Granduncle of Janet Howard, San Jose, CA

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Copyright notice


Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Royalton, VT

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


Sharpshooter During War and Seven Times Wounded at Antietam

The death of Silas W. Howard, briefly mentioned last week, brought to a close the life of another Civil war veteran – one of the few remaining soldiers of that period, and a man well known over a wide range of the countryside. He had been in failing health for several years, and confined to his bed for the last five months. A notable fact is that Mr. Howard's death is the first one to break the family circle begun 52 years ago, including the wife, seven children and fifteen grandchildren.

Silas Wright Howard was born in Potsdam, N.Y., Oct 17, 1841, being nearly 87 years old at his death. He was one of eleven children born to Elisha and Mary Davis Howard, and the last to go. Most of his brothers and sisters settled in the Middle West.

The family removed from Potsdam to Royalton, Vt., when Silas was a child, taking a farm on Royalton Hill. When the war broke out, Silas and two of his brothers enlisted. One brother was killed at Antietam and another in a railroad accident in the war area.

When Silas came home he returned to Royalton Hill. Nov. 28, 1876, he married Dora Rand of Barnard. To them were born on the Hill farm seven children, all now living, as follows: - Frank R. Howard of Braintree; Edith, wife of Gerald C. Stevens of Randolph; Erva, wife of Tom E. Howard of Ruhl, Idaho; William R. Howard of Clinton, Mass.; Arthur H. Howard of Burlington; Lucinda, wife of George N. Jerd of Randolph; Florence R., wife of Alva P. Campbell of Randolph.

During his active years, the practice of veterinary medicine was Mr. Howard's chief vocation, although he carried on the home farm also. About twenty-five years ago the family removed to Randolph village, residing for a period on Forest street and later purchasing the place on South Pleasant street which has been their home, and where their daughter, Edith, and her family have also lied. Mr. Howard followed the veterinary business until ill health compelled him to give it up.

In Royalton, Mr. Howard belonged to the G.A.R. post and to Rising Sun Lodge, F. And A. M., of South Royalton.

The funeral was held at the home Friday at 1:30 p.m., Rev. William Day officiating. The bearers were the three sons and three sons-in-law of the deceased. Delegations from the Phoenix lodge, F. And A. M., and Randolph post, A.L., attended. Burial was at the village cemetery in Royalton where Rising Sun lodge had charge.

Those present from out of town the sons, Arthur, Frank and William and their wives; Mr. And Mrs. H. G. Loisdell of Rutland; Frank Rand, Mr. And Mrs. Hugh Rand of South Royalton; Clarence Rand, John and Frank Spaulding, Charles Ford, his sons, Harcourt and Earl Ford and their wives, all of Royalton.

Mr. Howard saw long and active service during the War of the Rebellion, signalized by much danger, and received many wounds. Enlisting as a volunteer at the beginning, he qualified as a sharp-shooter and was mustered into Captain Stoughton's C. E, Sharpshooters, recruited and organized at Randolph. He trained on the ‘fair grounds,” now a part of the Highlands, residential section. Mr. Howard was probably the last survivor of this old company.

The duty of the sharpshooters was to skirmish ahead of the battle line, take cover, watch their opportunity and by their skill pick off the Rebels as they could sight them, especially officers. The Reb. Sharpshooters followed the same tactics and it often happened that the marksmen engaged in duels. On one occasion Mr. Howard noted bullets coming his way pretty close. He located their source – a Reb. Hidden high up in a big pine tree. So he took off his cap, set it on an upright stick a few feet away and wiggled it with his foot, keeping a bead on the tree all the while from his shelter. The Johnny showed himself to fire at the hat when the Yank let go and down dropped Mr. Reb.

One night the command got mixed up with the Rebs, and each man had to look out for himself. In the darkness a big Reb stepped out of the shadow and ordered Mr. Howard to surrender. “Not yet,” replied the lanky Vermonter. Each had a bayonet on his gun and each lunged at the other. Mr. Howard got a slight graze on his hip, but he brought his antagonist down and escaped.

At Antietam, about a half an hour after the great battle began, Mr. Howard was severely wounded, several bullets striking him at almost the same time. Both arms were perforated the bone in one being fractured. Another bullet entered the left side, passing through the lung and out at the back, narrowly missing the heart. A new Hampshire soldier, also wounded, came along and managed to get the stricken Vermonter back to a small town where he lay in the yard in front of a store until night came. Then his adjutant carried him inside the store. A surgeon next morning ordered him placed in the “dead room,” saying he would be ready for burial in a few hours. He had seven wounds.

A kind woman attended the wounded in the store several days, keeping the flies from their wounds. Then followed, after she left, fearful days when their wounds became flyblown and maggoty, showing what our soldiers endured before the days of antiseptics. Finally an uncle came down from home after Mr. Howard. He cleansed the wound in his body by passing a silk handkerchief through it. The uncle brought Mr. Howard home in the fall of 1862, ending his war service.

Source: Bethel Courier, October 18, 1928.
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.