Sheldon, Minos Leonides
Age: 27, credited to Derby, VT
Unit(s): 8th VT INF
Service: enl 11/22/61, m/i 2/18/62, Pvt, Co. B, 8th VT INF, m/o 6/22/64
See Legend for expansion of abbreviationsVITALS
Birth: 12/13/1834, Underhill, VT
Burial: Mount Zion Cemetery, Glasgow, IA
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Richard K. Thompson
Findagrave Memorial #: 103834444
Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Not Found
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)
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Mount Zion Cemetery, Glasgow, IA
Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.
Minos L. Sheldon
LAMOILLE NEWSDEALER: AUGUST 29, 1861
FROM THE 8TH REGIMENT
The following is from a Cambridge boy, an extract from one of whose letters we gave a few weeks ago
ALGIERS, LA. JULY 31, 1862
DEAR WIFE---I once more take my seat to engage in pleasant task of writing to you. Our regiment is still at this place, and is guarding the great Western Railroad line. Numbers have been and are being discharged from our regiment on account of ill health. My health remains good. A number of deaths have occurred in our regiment of late. No cases of yellow fever have yet occurred.
I wrote you in my last letter about the return of the fugitives Joshua and Rosa to their master. I am delighted in telling you that they remained with him but a short time. They have escaped once more and are now safe within our lines. Such happy persons we seldom see, as they are engaged in work. They are very intelligent and smart, and are truly a help to us. Joshua does our washing --- Rosa irons and helps about the cooking. We have also, three other colored men, making five contrabands at work for us in the hospital. One of those, Sam by name, can read very well, and write very intelligibly. The others are anxious to learn, and soon have quite a school, provided we can get the requisite books. Sam and Jack are pious. The latter is a good singer, and expresses so much fervency, I can but believe him to be a child of God. He tells sad stories of his wrongs. I have seen his back and legs, which are now sore and swollen from a severe whipping. I had often before coming to the South, heard from others the story of the cruelties of American Slavery; but now have seen for myself and can testify from personal observation to the enormous guilt that the slaveholder must bear.
One of the men of Co. H, wounded the 22d of June, died last Sunday of diptheria. The other wounded men are recovering slowly. I feel greatly blessed in laboring for the benefit of my fellow soldiers, whenever I can alleviate a pain, or calm a raging fever.
Yesterday I visited the city market at New Orleans. So great was the crowd of people there, that one could scarcely pass along. There were exposed for sale there, goods of all kinds. The weather continues to be hot and sultry, besides a good deal of rain.
LAMOILLE NEWSDEALER: DECEMBER, 1862
THE FOLLOWING IS A LETTER FROM M. L. SHELDON, WARD MASTER OF THE HOSPITAL OF THE 8TH REGIMENT, TO HIS WIFE IN CAMBRIDGE,
ALGIERS, La. NOV. 14th
I am very tired this evening, but as the "Rhoanoke" leaves for N.Y. tomorrow, I feel as though I must send a letter to you even though it may be a short one. Doubtless you will wish to know what I have been doing that I should be so tired. The prisoners taken by the guerrilla, Sept. 4th, were brought down from Vicksburgh yesterday, 123 in number, having been paroled; among whom were fifteen sick ones. They were at once brought to our hospital, and I had to fly around and get them washed, fix their beds, and get them something to eat, &c, &c. I have been on a perfect run all day. Some of these boys are pretty sick. Lieut. Green of Co. G. is very ill.
They have seen rather hard times, some of them having had no blankets, and very poorly supplied with clothing, consequently they were poorly prepared to endure the rainy season, or southern winter. Their food has been meat and Indian pudding. Poor fellows!---I am glad they have been released. We have more in the hospital now than ever before, at any one time, yet all appear to be doing well at present.
The entire length of the railroad from here to Berwich's Bay, a distance of 80 miles, is now in our possession. This is as far as the road is completed.
The Vt. 8th retook Boutte Station, and DesAlmands without any fighting. Col. Thomas is doing well for us. Gen. Weitzel with his command took LaFourche and Tibadoux, and routed the enemy and captured many prisoners, with the loss of only 70 in killed, wounded and missing.
The Vt. 7th left yesterday for Pensacola, Fla. Capt. Landon, Sergeant Martin Robie, and Sergt. Parkhurst return home on the Rhoanoke. I saw Robie today. He looks miserably, indeed. My health never was better.
LAMOILLE NEWSDEALER: AUGUST 8, 1862
SENDING THEM BACK
The following is an extract from a recent letter to his wife, from M. Sheldon, who went from Cambridge in the 8th Regiment.
The Vt. 8th is engaged in defending the town of Algiers, and the Great Western Line of Railway, a distance of some 70 or 80 miles, and our services are well appreciated by Gen. "Picayune" Butler, as he is called here. It is quite healthy here and in the city. Typhoid Fever is carrying some away to their long Home. No cases of Yellow Fever that I have heard of. It is the prevailing opinion that it will not reappear again this summer. The weather is growing hotel every day. Oh, how sultry the days and nights are until toward morning, it seems like a furnace heat. During the day when sitting reading, or writing, the sweat will "just pour" from my face. All night the mosquetoes, come upon us in swarms of thousands, consequently I can sleep but a little. I will now relate to you an incident which occurred last week (as I know you are fond of stories), one I hope and pray I may never be a witness again. One week ago today (July 9th), two fugitives, a black man and Rosa, his wife, came to our hospital, by order of Col. Thomas, to work doing chores about the buildings &c., they having escaped from their old Master the day before, and traveled 15 miles to this place, bringing their clothes and bedding with them. The man, as he said was 42 years old, his wife much younger. We admitted them to the hospital and found them very useful in cooking, cleaning the sick-rooms &c. They were very anxious to work, and were also smart and intelligent. They were also desirous to read. By their industry, intelligence, and good behavior, they gained the good will of all connected to the hospital, yet this dark son and daughter of our race sighed for Liberty, their God given rights. He was born in Virginia, he said, and hoped to return with us north, and visit the home of whence he was stolen when but 9 or 10 years of age. He told us many accounts of his bondage up until the present time. His name is Joshua Gibson. His present master is a "Creole," or part French and Spanish, and has owned him almost six years. Yesterday he came to take them back to slavery. He had previously been to the city, and taken the Oath of Allegiance to the Federal Government. They were ordered by the Provost Marshall to be delivered up. As soon as they knew that they must go, Joshua came to see me and said, "Mr. Sheldon, I must leave you, our old master has came after us and the Doctor says we must go." He now choked for utterance, and the tears filled his eyes, and ran down his face. He seemed to think that I could do something for them, as they had placed great confidence in me, I told them if it was in my power, I would prevent their returning to slavery, but under the circumstances I could afford them but little relief. Oh, how I pitied them, and though I have often read of similar instances, yet I never felt in my soul the cruelty and sinfulness of oppression until then. Rosa, the smart, enterprising woman taken back to be still the object of her master's sinful passions, and her husband to be treated with greater severity than before. Oh Slavery; thou curse of my country, how long ere thy death Knell shall sound throughout our land.
LAMOILLE NEWSDEALER: JANUARY 15, 1863
FROM THE 8TH VT. REGIMENT
REGIMENTAL HOSPITAL, BRASHHEAR CITY, LA.
DECEMBER 20, 1862
Dear Wife: ---In my last letter I promised to give you the description of a sugar house in Louisiana, and the process of sugar making. Well, on Monday last, myself and two others went to the manufactory, situated upon the old "Brashear Estate". After leaving the hospital we passed the old mansion, now deserted; Mrs. Brashear having left on the approach of our forces, with her money, goods, and the most of her slaves. We then passed long rows of Negro houses, which I will briefly describe. They are generally built of boards, very low, with a long roof on the back side, and a sort of verandah on the front. When we came to the manufactory-- a large brick building, one and a half stories high, and perhaps 300 feet in length. In front of one end is a, low shed, to which the cain is brought from the field. The cane is cut as we would cut cornstalks, and stripped of its leaves, then taken in carts, and drawn by mules to the shed. We found the work in operation. In the shed were several women placing the cane upon an elavator, which carried it a long distance into the main building where it fell between two huge rollers, carried by steam power. Here the juice is all pressed out, and conveyed by spouts to a large cistern or vat, whence it is run, at pleasure, into the first of a range of six evaporators, or shallow kettles, and heated by means of a furnace below. From that it is dipped into the next in succession, until it reaches the last. In this it is boiled to the consistency of sugar, or thick enough to crystalize, and is then carried to large wooden boxes and cooled. It is then packed in hogsheads, ready for market. The establishment is now worked mostly by slaves, who are hired by the government. This much for sugar making in the South.
I am still well and hearty, but not as well contented since our removal here. Situated as I have been the past summer, upon the banks of the Mississippi , I have become partially wonted to the scenery of New Orleans and vicinity, but now our move to this place has carried us nearly 100 miles further from my loved New England home. Whatever conflict and trials other Vermont regiments may be called to pass through, the 8th have thus far, and no doubt will continue the farthest from their native soil, but such is the fortune of war;---no abiding place for the soldier. Onward bound, he knows not whither. Each move may be his last;---but let me not repine; my lot is cast with the soldier for the present. I would prove faithful in discharge of every duty, to my God, my Country, and the poor and suffering who are cast in my way.
Gen. Banks supersedes Gen. Butler in command of the department of the Gulf. This change is received very favorably by the majority. There has, I suppose, been a great amount of speculation during the administration just closed. Gen. Butler's brother, for instance, has made nearly a million. He is not connected with the army. On one occasion, at the sale, , by auction, , of some confiscated sugar, Mr. Butler bid a certain price per pound. Immediately after, an enlisted man bid higher, but because he was a soldier he was told that his bid could not be regarded. The poor private who is suffering and toiling to reclaim his country to state and honor must not speculate; but others may fill their coffers with the price of treason and betrayal, and stand glutted with wealth upon the smouldering ruins of the country that gave him birth, and nourished them to manhood. The love of gain, I fear, will yet prove the ruin of these United States. Oh God!! Save our beloved country from sinking under the immense load of crime and unfaithfulness that now rests heavily upon her. Take my life, but save my country.
The time when the Presidents proclamation is to take effect is close at hand. What the effect will be here we cannot tell.; thought we hope it will tend to bring this cruel war to a speedy close. I trust that the time is not to far distant when an honorable settlement will be consummated, which will bring a permanent peace, one which will cripple the slave power if not immediately emancipate the slave, though I believe gradual emancapation is much better for the interest of the entire land. The darkness of the slave mind cannot be lightened by the rays of knowledge and civilization at once. It must be gradual work.
Our regiment is quite healthy now. We have only 20 sick ones in the hospital at present--- only one dangerous.
Lamoille Newsdealer: March 19, 1863
FROM THE EIGHTH REGIMENT
REGIMENTAL HOSPITAL, FEB. 25, 1863
CAMP STEVENS, LA.
DEAR WIFE: --- Having wandered from camp and seated myself on the Levee of Bayou LaFourche, I will try to give you a description of the Levee or embankments built here for the purpose of keeping the waters within proper bounds. The service of Louisiana, Mississippi, and a portion of Arkansas is so low that the rivers have to be walled up in artificial banks, or else the whole country would become inundated at once. Bayou La Fourche is a branch, or mouth of the Mississippi River, setting in from Donaldsonville 50 miles above here, and emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. The Levee here is about 10 feet high. The surface of the water is now several feet above the level of our camp, and is very riley and dirty, yet we have to use it for tea or coffee; also for cooking and drinking purposes I fear it is not very healthy. Oh, how I have longed for of one drink of good Vermont water since I came here. It seems that nothing would taste better.
The Levee is, as I said, some 10 feet high and 12 to 15 feet at the base, and gradually narrowing to about 3 feet at the top, making a good path for pedestrians. The Levee here is mostly over-grown with clover, which has grown finely all winter; also dandelions, and some other flowers are now in bloom. In some places spikes are driven down, but mostly the Levees are built on solid earth. The whole country could be easily submerged in a short time simply by cutting through these embankments. A report came out in the papers a short time ago, that there was danger in this, as the guerilla had cut the banks at several places in the Mississippi, for the purpose of planting their guns to intercept our boats while passing up and down the river. We hope they will not trouble us. I think we shall not remain here long. Gen Weitzel is Brig. Gen. of our Brigade. His headquarters are here. The village of Thibadoux is about one mile from here. The railroad crosses about three miles below. There are several plantations near or either side of the Bayou. Our regiment are in tents now. Our Hospital is in a very poor building. We have but few sick at present
Now a few words about the contrabands here, their condition, prospects, &c. As to their present condition, it is bad enough, though perhaps not worse than when on their old plantations. Some of them have suffered from exposure, not having a comfortable place to live, and their manner of life being far different than when with their masters. . They receive rations from the Government the same as the soldier receives. Most of them are better clothed than when they came among us. These considerations, together with the opportunities of obtaining small wages, are, to say nothing of future freedom, far more satisfactory to them than to be constantly under the whip and spur of the brutal overseer. They cannot expect many comforts whilst following the army from one place to another, nearly all of them are sufficiently intelligent to obtain a good living, and by proper culture and teaching, all might in a few years become independent members of a colored community. Most of the men who left their masters last fall have now enlisted in the colored regiments raising in this department. Who is better to fight for their liberties than the oppressed themselves? The prospects of the bondman are truly brightening. They are all aware of the Presidents Emancipation scheme, and are patiently expecting deliverance. The feeling of the slaveholders are, as a majority, of course, against Lincoln's Emancipation policy, yet some of them admit that this is the only and best means of quelling the rebellion, and hope it may succeed. The spirit of freedom is spreading and may it soon triumph. I believe slavery is doomed, and let the monster die!
M. L. SHELDON
Lamoille Newsdealer: March 26, 1863
FROM THE 8TH REGIMENT
BRASHEAR CITY, LA.
HOSPITAL, 8TH VT, FEB 28, 1863
We are once more at the Bay, comfortably quartered in a fine building, on the opposite side of the rail road, from what we were before. It was with no reluctance that we left the vicinity of Thibadaux, that wet, damp place. I always liked here very much, yet after all we may not remain here long. Our steps are now turned Texasward. Thither I suppose we are bound; even there I am willing to go, if it is the divine will. The fortunes of war are various, and conflicting. Brightness and glory now beams upon us, and then darker shades dim the horizon. Today we advance, and to-morrow we retire; and then followed perhaps, by another advance movement. Oh! When will war cease? When shall man acknowledge the higher law- the law of God? I visited New Orleans, staid over night with a Swiss family. I visited the place where the battle of New Orleans was fought --- saw on Friday afternoon, the departure of 282 rebel prisoners, for above Baton Rouge, to be exchanged. Great excitement existed in the city, many citizen "secesh," of course, turned out to see them off. They crowded the Levee and Balconies of the houses, in the vicinity of the boat. Some five-hundred rushed onboard the steamer "Laurel Hill". Moored near by the Empire Parish, the one in which the prisoners were, to cheer and salute them, whereupon the Captain of the " Laurel Hill" put on steam, and bore off downstream with his five-hundred "secesh," some five miles to a coal yard, where he landed them, and they were compelled to return on foot, the whole distance to the Algiers Ferry, then pay their picayune a -piece, to get across the river, when they found their fun, of seeing the prisoners off, and encouraging them by their cheers, and salutations was all up' New Orleans has a mighty rebel sympathy yet.
We came to Brashear City the 24th inst. The 160th, 75th, and 114 New York, and the 12th Conn., 8th Vt. and several Batteries are here now. Our gun boat, the "Gray Cloud," being on picket, at the mouth of the Teehe, last night, ran against a snag breaking into her keel, and causing her to leak badly. The commander ran her down the Bay, and as much as he could into shallow water below the wharf at this place, but before reaching the shore she sank entirely out of sight, and became a total loss. Five of her men were drowned. The mail steamer "Columbia" arrived here last night. The ill-fated Steamer " Ella Warley" due previous, was lost by collision with the "North Star". But her mails were mostly preserved, and will arrive here soon.
My arm is gaining very slowly, it is now nearly 8 weeks since it was broke, and I can use it but little.
We expect another advance movement soon.
M. L. SHELDON
Lamoille Newsdealer: MAY 7, 1863
FROM THE 8TH REGIMENT
WOFFORDS PLANTATION, LA.
APRIL 13, 1863
DEAR WIFE: --- You will perceive, by the above date, that our location is once more changed. We left Camp Mansfield, Bayou Boeuf, Parish of Assumption, one week ago today, and are now are Low Pen Island, near Brashear City. The hospitals of the entire Brigade are here. The reason of this of this you will comprehend, as Gen. Banks is now making a general move up the Teche. His army numbers 30, 000 men. Doubtless the Vt. 8th will be in the front of the engagement, and I firmly believe them equal to the task. We have lately received several additional gun boats, and our artillery is now very strong, the 21st Indiana Regt. having been converted to Heavy Artillery, The reserve force left Brashear City early this morning, as a general engagement is hourly expected up the Teche.
The hospitals are located here preparatory to receiving the wounded, which may arrive at almost any hour. Our Hospital is very pleasantly located, and the buildings are large and commodious, with spacious verandas in front and rear, and large out buildings, for cooking, &c., and besides that, we have excellent water. . Jas. N. Wofford, the owner of this plantation, skedaddled when our gun boats came into these waters. It is stated by some of his slaves who were left, that he would not have gone, but for his wife and daughter. The women are stronger secesh than the men as a general thing. He must have been very wealthy, for everything is fitted up in style. We have hospital tents besides the room in the house.
Since writing the above, the tide of battle has commenced! Heavy cannonading is heard on the Teche this afternoon, and the roar is almost constant and fearful. Oh Heavenly Father, spare cherished friends from death on the battle-field! I want anxiously to learn the results of the action.
APRIL 24th --- The news from Teche to-day are very satisfactory. The somewhat noted "Queen of the West", taken from us by the rebels below Vicksburg, and subsequently taken into Bayou Teche, to operate against our forces here, was blown up last night. A solid shot from our "Estella" passed entirely through her boilers, and her commander, the notorious Capt. Fuller, formerly of the rebel gunboat "Cotton", with some 90 men were taken prisoners. She was in 'Grand Lake" at the time our gunboats discovered her. They proceeded toward her, and when within range, fired very effectually upon her, for almost the first shot struck her magazine, causing an explosion which completely destroyed her. Reports say that the gun-boat "Diana", lately taken from us, is recaptured. Many other prisoners were taken and sent here. I intend to visit them in the morning.
Our forces are now near Franklin, some 30 miles from Brashear, and have the rebels penned in on three sides; and to use a military phrase, hope soon to "gobble them up". Our wounded are getting along finely. The 114th N. Y. lost four. I will be able soon to give you more facts to these matters. May God speed the right.
M. L. SHELDON
Lamoille Newsdealer: July 18, 1863
FROM THE 8th REGIMENT
DONALDSONVILLE, LA. ; JULY 10
DEAR WIFE: --- -I have the pleasure of announcing to you the fall of Port Hudson, the boasted Gibralter of America. Gen. Gardner, the confederate commander within Port Hudson, surrendered to Maj. Gen Banks at 12 o'clock July 8th. Our prisoners number 6, 000, also a large number of guns. I passed through the place yesterday and saw the shells previously thrown from our batteries, and all the desolation of sanguinary, destructive war-fare, and several confederate officers and a whole line of privates. They were dressed as usual, in coarse, home-made clothes, and the officers in gray. Their rations were nearly exhausted, being reduced to peas, corn-meal and molasses. Their only grist-mill was burned by us some time before the surrender. After this they were compelled to grind their corn in a small mill run by a R. T. locomotive, elevated from the track for that purpose. .
The depot, one or more decent sized shops, a Catholic church, and a few small residences, complete the maximum of Port Hudson. It presents a gloomy appearance.
The contest here was severe. Our forces occupied the woods which surround the town, and aided by gun-boats, held the enemy in close quarters. The lines of our breastworks and the enemy's were but a short distance apart; so our boys often conversed with the rebel pickets.
During the siege, our fleet occupied the river above and below the town, with a battery on the opposite shore, which is so low and the bluffs so high on the side, that we could not get the range so as to reach them to good effect. The bluffs are similar to points on the Upper Mississippi, being about 125 feet high.
The position of the 8th occupied during the siege was on the side of one of these bluffs. Upon the summit were erected parapets of timber and earth, over which our sharp=shooters were constantly getting shots at rebels, and frequently too, our boys were seriously, and many times, mortally wounded by the little bullets from the rifles of the enemy's sharp-shooters. A large number of our men are wounded in the head.
The past three months has been a season of constant hardship and fatigue. Our regiment is greatly reduced, numbering only 250 efficient men; however it has acquired laurels for itself worthy to be mentioned in history. We greatly regret the loss of our 1st Lieut., S. F. Spaulding. He fell in the battle of the 14th inst. Col Thomas has been acting brigadier, and is highly esteemed by all.
Most of the wounded are doing well. We are now 80 miles below Port Hudson. A fort is built here, which commands the river. The enemy endeavored to get possession of it recently, but were repulsed, losing in killed, wounded, and prisoners, 200. We lost 6 killed and several wounded.
Just before reaching this place, we were fired into by a guerilla party, wounding several of our men. They will soon suffer for the cowardly act.
M. L. SHELDON
LAMOILLE NEWSDEALER: MARCH 30, 1864
U.S. General Hospital, Franklin, La. March 4,1864
My Dear Wife:---Again I resume my pen to send a few thoughts to you on paper. You will see by the date of this that I am still in the hospital, yet I am happy to inform you that the fever has left me and I am daily gaining strength. Indeed, I begin to feel some like myself again. I shall be very careful, and hope to get along without further sickness. The Doctor is very kind and I have good care. The hospital is now filling up pretty fast, with cases of measles, from the 30th Maine Regiment, which has just arrived from the North. It is also quite sickly among the recruits of the 8th Vt., who have been here about two weeks.
Those who re-enlisted in our regiment will go home soon on furlough. But I feel as though I had rather wait a little longer, and then go home for good. You wish to know if it is true, that we have been notified by the War Department that our time would not expire till three years from the date of our muster into the service? Well, we did receive such a communication some time; but a few days since Col. Thomas read a notice which he received from Washington, and also one from Gov. Smith, that those of us who did not re-enlist could be mustered out of the service June 1st; so there will probably be about 70 of us, in this regiment, who will come marching home=ward in about three months --- veterans in heart, if not in name.
The weather is getting very warm here. Fruit trees are in full bloom, and a number of gardens are planted. There are a number of splendid residences in this town. It must have been, in prosperous times, a very pretty place, though the curse of slavery, in its mildew and blight, may be most plainly seen here, as elsewhere in those parts of the South where I have been. But, thank God! Slavery is soon to be wiped out forever. Even to-day, the first Union anti-slavery governor is to be inaugurated in Louisiana. His name is Michael Kahn. He was Union representative to Congress last year. This is an important era in the history of Louisiana.
There is evidently a movement being planned, to soon start from here for the Red River region in Texas. Shrevesport is being strongly fortified. It is not yet decided whether the 8th is to enter the spring campaign or not. I am sanguine that the war will soon close. Does not a bright future await our beloved country? Let us not despair!
Submitted by Deanna French.