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15th Vermont Infantry

Regimental History

Ex-Governor Redfield Proctor,
United States Senator,
Colonel Fifteenth Regiment.
and Hon. William W. Grout,
Member of Congress,
Lieut.-Colonel Fifteenth Regiment.

The Fifteenth regiment was organized September 26, 1862; went into barracks at Brattleboro October 8; was mustered into service October 22; started for Washington October 23, and arrived on the morning of the 26th, in a drenching rain. It remained at the "Soldiers' Rest" till next day, when it went into camp on Capitol Hill. An order constituting the Second Brigade of five Vermont regiments was issued October 27--Colonel Blunt command until December 7, when General Stoughton took command.

October 30, the brigade crossed into Virginia. The Twelfth and Thirteenth went November 1 to Hunting Creek. The Fourteen and Fifteenth returned to Capitol Hill, and in three or four days, with the Sixteenth, joined the Twelfth and Thirteenth near Hunting Creek, establishing was was known as "Camp Vermont."

This camp was in a low malarial place, and the mortality of the brigade, especially the Fifteenth regiment, was very great for the six weeks it was there, and for some time thereafter.

The time was spent in stockading tents, in drill duty, on the picket line, and in fatigue duty at Fort Lyon. November 25, on a dark, rainy night about ten o'clock, Colonel Randall, of the Thirteenth, with his own and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth regiments started for Bull Run, then the outer picket line in the defenses of Washington, for the purpose of move effectually guarding the Orange and Alexandria railroad. They made a slow, weary march amid darkness and drizzling rain till about four o'clock a. m., when the rain turned to snow and the command bivouacked on the left side of the turnpike about two miles short of Fairfax Court House.

The next night the Fifteenth bivouacked near Fairfax Station in a sapling pine grove, on old tobacco grounds, the camp fires lighting up in a weird way the dense growth of small but tall pine trees. Next day it went to Union Mills and took position about half a mile to the right of the station, relieving the Garabaldi Guards, Colonel D'Utassy. The regiment remained here till December 4, when Colonel Proctor received an order relieving it from this duty about three o'clock p. m. At four the regiment was in line for movement on "Camp Vermont." It halted a little after dark in a chestnut grove about one mile south of Fairfax Court House. After coffee and a brief rest the regiment completed the march to "Camp Vermont," of about thirty miles, before midnight.

December 12 the brigade left "Camp Vermont" for good and went to Fairfax Court House, the Fifteenth establishing itself in the chestnut grove above mentioned. Here fine stockades and officers' quarters were constructed from the large, straight grained chestnut trees which were easily split into planks and boards.

December 28 cannonading was heard at Wolf Run Shoals, and the Fifteenth was ordered to Centreville, and at dark had a picket line strung from near Blackburn's Ford up Bull Run pas the Stone Bridge. The cannonading at Wolf Run Shoals was followed by Stuart's cavalry raid in rear of Fairfax Court House.

At about nine o'clock orders came from General Stoughton to fall back to the Court House. The picket was promptly withdrawn, and everything ready at about eleven o'clock to execute the order, when another order came from General Stoughton to "hold Centreville at all hazards." Thereupon pickets were again thrown out guarding every approach to the town, and the whole regiment kept ready for action the entire night. But Stuart did not come that way. The next morning he went out of the Union lines at Aldie, just north of Centreville.

In a few days the regiment returned to Chestnut Grove camp, and soon thereafter moved to Fairfax Station, where it remained till spring, engaged in drill, both battalion and brigade, and fatigue work on rifle pits southeast of station.

May 7, the Fifteenth regiment went to Bealeton Station, and on the next day General Stoneman's cavalry came out at that point from their extensive raid in rear of Lee's Army. Here the regiment and Stoneman's cavalry did picket duty together for several days, when the regiment returned to duty on Bull Run, camping at Union Mills.

General Stannard took command April 20. May 30, 25 men from the Fifteenth, upon a supply train, under Lieutenant Hartshorn, near Catlett's Station, were attacked and overpowered by two or three times that number under Mosby, with a piece of artillery, and the train was partially burned.

About June 10, the Fifteenth was ordered down the Orange and Alexandria railroad -- four companies with Lieutenant-Colonel Grout at Catlett's, and the other six, under Colonel Proctor, at Bristoe. Late one night the four companies fell back to Bristoe under orders from General Buford, and in a day or two the whole regiment under orders from Stannard, returned to Union Mills, having improvised transportation for camp and garrison equipage from what was left of trains burned at Catlett's and Bristoe by Jackson the year before; while General Buford, just across Kettle Run, at Catlett's, burned his suppslies and stores for want of transportation.

June 25, at three o'clock p. m., the whole brigade left Union Mills on a forced march to join the First Corps, Army of Potomac, to which it had been assigned, and which it overtook at Gettysburg on the first day of the fight.

The day before at Emmettsburg the twelfth and Fifteenth had been detailed to guard the corps train, which they accompanied July 1, to within about two miles of Gettysburg, where, under order from General Sickles, whose corps was moving rapidly to the relief of howard, the Fifteenth went upon the field, and, a little after dark, joined the Thirteenth fourteenth and Sixteenth in a wheat field to the left of Cemetery Hill. Next morning the four regiments were placed in support of the batteries on Cemetery Hill.

Just about 12 o'clock, p.m., General Doubleday, commanding the First Corps, learning that the Fifteenth, to which had been assigned by Reynolds the day before to guard the train, was on the field, and being disquieted also, by reported attacks upon the train by Stuart's cavalry, ordered the Fifteenth to overtake the train with the lest possible delay and rejoin the Twelfth in guarding it.

Two companies of the Fifteenth, with two from the Twelfth, were left in charge of First Corps ammunition train near the field.

The regiment found the train at Westminster the next forenoon. From Westminster the regiment went with the train to Frederick City and South Mountain towards Hagerstown, and rejoined the brigade in front of Funkstown.

On Sunday, July 12, the army formed in line of battle in front of Hagarstown, the Vermont brigade taking position on the right of First Corps, and Lieutenant-Colonel Grout, of the Fifteenth, with 200 men from the Sixteenth, went upon the skirmish line.

Two days later Lee crossed the Potomac, and a few days after that at Berlin, Md., the regiment took the cars for home.

It reached New York in the midst of the draft riots.

Its term of service was then up, but at request of General Canby, commanding in New York, it remained till quiet was restored.

It was mustered out August 5, 1863, at Brattleboro, Vt.

Source: 1892 Revised Roster