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Willis, Monroe C.


Age: 19, credited to Newfane, VT
Unit(s): 16th VT INF
Service: enl 9/20/62, m/i 10/23/62, Pvt, Co. I, 16th VT INF, wdd, Gettysburg, 7/3/63, m/o 8/10/63

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: abt 1843, Marlboro, VT
Death: About 08/30/1874


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, 2/26/1864
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 Coushatta, LA


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The Murdered Men of Coushatta.

Who Were They and What Is Their History?

These and many questions of a kindred nature arise in the mind of every Northern man, and especially do they come home to ever (sic) Vermonter, for the press has heralded the fact that three of the victims of the fatal tragedy were sons of Vermont. It is of these three that we propose to speak, having known them from childhood to the day of their tragic death. To make their story complete we must first present the readers with a short sketch of Capt. Marshall Twitchell, the present State Senator of Louisiana. He was reared a farmer's son in Townshend, Vt., and if our memory serves us right, he first enlisted as a private soldier in the 4th Vt. Regiment, and was severely wounded in the head at the battle of Antietam. After his recovery, and upon the organization of the colored regiments, he received a Captain's commission in one of these regiments and was stationed in Louisiana. Here he not only fought and conquered rebels in the field, but crossed that last ditch, the threshold and fireside of the ex-planter, and wooed and won the heart and hand of a southern lady. The close of the war found him established as a citizen of Louisiana, with all his Yankee ambition and intuition, wide awake and ready to embark in the first laudable money-making business enterprise that might present itself. The opportunity was at hand, and he established himself on a Red river plantation near Coushatta. This enterprise proved to be a decided financial success, and by way of proving his title to Yankee blood he erected a steam saw mill and told hold of business as he had of war, to make things move. He entered into the political reorganization of the State with the same energy and determination to win, establishing and editing for a time a Republican journal at Coushatta. Midst all this business and political warfare, he has been the object of deep rebel hatred. Many times has his life been threatened and but narrowly has he escaped in a number of instances. He doubtless owes his life to-day to the fact that he was in New Orleans when his family butchery occurred. Thus much we have felt it necessary to say of the living to make complete the story of the dead.

Monroe C. Willis and Clark Holland were both farmer's boys, born and reared in Newfane, Windham County, Vt.; both graduated at the same district school; both were worthy sons of the old Green Mountain State. In the early part of the rebellion Willis's oldest and only brother enlisted as a sharp shooter, and was killed during Gen. Pope's disastrous campaign in Virginia. When the call came for nine months men, young Willis was ready to go and avenge his brother's death. He enlisted in the 16th Vermont regiment, and was always found at his post. He was in his place on that forced march to Gettysburg and nobly did his part on that field of carnage. As night was closing in on the day of the final rebel rout, he was wounded by a stray shot in the wrist and forearm, and only saved his hand from the surgeon's amputing knife by dint of Yankee pluck, taking care of the wound himself after its first dressing. He came home with his regiment, received his honorable discharge, and again took up the labor of the farm with his aged father, who is today past three score years and ten. Somewhere between the years 1867 and '69, young Willis, King and Holland, married the three Twitchell sisters, Ellen, Bell and Katie, and the widow Twitchell removed from Townshend with her son Homer and took up residence with William in Newfane. In 1870 Capt. Twitchell's business in Louisiana had become so extensive that he found himself in a situation to offer his brothers and brothers-in-law good business positions - inducements which they saw fit to accept. We think that Homer went to Louisiana in the spring and Mrs. Twitchell with her daughters and their husbands in the fall of 1870, since which time they have been engaged in business, and two of them, as we have seen, have become office holders. Last year Capt. Twitchell came north to visit his friends, and employed Henry Scott and family of Townshend, who went on there early this year. Homer Twitchell last winter married Charlotte, daughter of Samuel P. Miller of Fayetteville, and joined the new colony. In a word, Coushatta has been a growing community, not of roving, shiftless men, but of thrifty, enterprising Northern families. Mr. Willis visited his friends here last May and gave them a graphic description of Southern life and society, the sum total of which showed that the Southern rebel still hates the Northerner and looks upon the Yankee as a mudsill, treating him and his family with contempt. Southern life to him had proved such in a social point of view that he had made up his mind to remove North with his family next year. He returned South about the first of July, taking John Miller (son of S. P. Miller) of Fayetteville with him. We close without comment on this terrible ending of a family history, for every parent's heart will do its own commenting.

Vermont Phoenix, Brattleboro, VT, September 11, 1874

Submitted by Heidi McColgan