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Gavegan, John


Age: 38, credited to Brighton, VT
Unit(s): 11th VT INF
Service: enl 7/29/62, m/i 9/1/62, CPL, Co. A, 11th VT INF, pr 1SGT, 12/10/62, red 5/20/63, pr Co QMSGT, 1/23/63, pow 6/23/64, Andersonville, prld 11/26/64, m/o 5/13/65

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: abt 1824, County Dublin, Ireland
Death: 03/30/1880


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, 7/3/1865; minor 5/15/1879
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: Died in Roxbury, VT

Webmaster's Note: The 11th Vermont Infantry was also known as the 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery; the names were used interchangably for most of its career


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John Gavegan





DECEMBER 1, 1864


I am writing you this off the ground around the camp here, after five months of the most terrible suffering any set of poor human beings ever went through. I merely write now to let you know that I have got off----lived through disease and death and misery, and once more have the pleasure of writing to you. I will write every day for a long time to come, if I do not soon see you. They say we will all be allowed furloughs, and I hope so. Myself and James Ransom are here. He was captured at the same time; we thought he was dead. Tell his poor wife he is well and sings occasionally since we saw the stars and stripes. Sergt's Chase and Moore are here, and Newell Blanchard of Peacham; and McSherry and Robert Patterson and a young man by the name of Edward Moulton. Sam Mackey and Serg't Ross and Foster came a few days ahead of us. There are some left still in Dixie, and some I know nothing of, as they were taken out of the common pen sick. For the rest I tear a leaf out of my diary upon which are the names of those whose remains are left in the sands of Georgia. You will see it comprises 28 out of the 58 of us who were captured, and the date of their death when I could obtain it. And, Oh! My friend, how my heart bleeds for their poor friends, and how deeply we all sympathize with them; the more so as they died from pure want and starvation, and inattention. No medicine, no doctor, no shelter from storm or sun, or anything tending to preserve them. Why my friend I have seen 250 and 300 every day during the months of July and August carried out dead to be dumped in a hole and there left to rot. It is calculated that since March last 15,000 Union soldiers have died at Andersonville, Ga., where we were confined.

Yours from almost the grave,

John Gavegan


In another column will be found a letter from Sergt. Gavegan, which Mr. Longran has kindly handed us. We have but little to add to the terrible record of rebel atrocity there given. We regret that the writer could not give the given names of the dead heroes, as in some instance there were two of the same name in the company. By a letter from Foster G. Stevens, son of Mr. John Stevens, of this place, we learn he was paroled Nov. 20, at Savannah, and reached Annapolis the 28th. He is quite ill of scurvey, but quite happy from getting away from the southern "chivalry”. He says Lanson Aldrich and Alfred Ward are both dead----Young Ward was son of Mr. John Ward of Danville. Sergt. Farnham and James Taylor, whose lamentable death Gavegan records, were young men with families, and their wives have the heartfelt sympathy of the people of our village, where they have long resided. --- Mr. William Green of this place received a dispatch Saturday stating that his son John, also of Co. A., had been exchanged and was at Annapolis, but very low. Mr. Green hastened to him on Monday, but it is doubtful if he finds him alive. Geo. Morrison is alive, but not yet exchanged --- such a partial record of 58 of Co. A., 11th Vt. --- who were taken prisoners June 23d. All the accounts that we get from exchanged prisoners---men whose veracity is above question --- are simply horrid. The atrocious conduct of the rebels in refusing them shelter, water, and wood with which to cook their food --- necessaries which the well prisoners longed to be permitted to provide without trouble or expense to their captors--- will go down to posterity as one of the blackest crimes ever committed; and against what every instinct of humanity involuntarily shudders. Our town has often of late been called to mourn the death of her brave sons fallen in battle. We accept these severe strokes as the fortunes of war; but when our brave men are shut up in filthy pens and systematically murdered by inches, the people cry out with an exceeding bitter cry --- By a dispatch received here Wednesday, we learn that John Green is dead. He is the 80th victim in Co. A. to rebel barbarity at Andersonville.

Courtesy of Deanna French.