Transcript of an 1888 issue (Vol. 1, No. 8) of the post-war "The Volunteer" newsletter published by the post-war "Society of the Roundheads" under the motto "WE LOVE OUR COUNTRY", revised from the original Camp Kettle newspaper motto of "WE KNOW ONLY OUR COUNTRY"
“WE LOVE OUR COUNTRY.”
VOL. 1. – No. 8. NEW CASTLE, PA., OCTOBER, 1888. Price 5 Cents.
HISTORY OF THE ROUNDHEADS.
By Sergeant James C. Stevenson, of Company E, Secretary of the Society of 100th P. V. V.
(CONTINUED FROM OCTOBER.)
The Maryland Campaign.
The reappointment of Gen. McClellan to the command and the reorganizing and offering some of the subordinate commands, in connection with the large amount of new troops coming to the front just now, caused us to enter this campaign with hopes of success, in which we were not entirely disappointed.
Gen. O. B. Wilcox was now put in command of the First Division, Col. Welsh, of the 45th Pa., of our Brigade, consisting of the 45th and 100th Pa. and 17th Mich., a new regiment that had just enlisted. By easy marches we reached Frederick City on the evening of the 12th, and the following evening marched out near Middletown, Md.
In the battle of South Mountain on the 14th, we were engaged two or three different times and places, being under fire nearly all day, doing excellent service, not however, without the loss of 8 killed and 28 wounded.
The 45th Pa. lost 145 killed, wounded and missing, while the 17th Michigan had 27 killed and 114 wounded. The troops in front of us were South Carolinians and Georgians, belonging to McLaw’s Division of Longstreet’s Corps, and were known as first-class fighters. With many of them it was their last fight. We were grieved to lose our corps commander, Major General Jesse L. Reno, whose good generalship and personal bravery had contributed so much towards winning the victory.
In the battle of Antietam on the 17th, we were lookers on until some time in the afternoon, when we crossed the stone bridge which had been captured by our Second Division during the forenoon, and formed as skirmishers, facing northwest towards Sharpsburg. We were followed by solid lines of battle, but as we were descending the hill were soon under the fire of both artillery and infantry, but came off very safely, having but two killed and four or five wounded. We had a good chance and I have no doubt, did great damage to the enemy.
I would here say, that a regiment’s casualties or losses sustained is no criterion to judge of efficient work. A regiment might be in such a position that they could almost annihilate another and yet sustain no damage, as was the case here. We were posted in a hollow behind a rail fence, where we could see the enemy, yet their fire was directed to the solid columns of troops away in our rear.
On the 19th we moved to Antietam iron works where we remained until October 6th. By order of Gen. Wilcox. Sunday, Sept. 19th, was observed by the Division as a day of “special thanksgiving” for our recent victories. The entire Division was present, four chaplains taking part in the exercises.
On the 3d of October we were reviewed by President Lincoln and Gen. McClellan. Although very different men, and with material differences of opinions on the conduct of war, they each had the love, confidence and respect of the great mass of the soldiers.
Our next camp was at Pleasant Valley, and while there we made two or three unsuccessful attempts to catch the rebel General Stuart, who persisted in making unwelcome raids up into Pennsylvania and Maryland. Col. Leasure also returned from the hospital, bringing with him a large number of convalescents and some recruits.
Changes were made in the commands. The 36th Mass., a new regiment of fine, soldierly looking men, joined our brigade; Col. Leasure taking command of the Brigade, Gen. Burns, a new man to us, the Division, and General Wilcox the Corps.
On Sunday, October 26th, we broke camp, crossed the Potomac on a pontoon bridge, and although the rain fell in torrents, nearly all day, we marched through the mud to the singing of “John Brown’s Body” and “David’s Psalms” alternately.
We continued our advance by easy marches, reaching Rectortown on the 5th, and Carter’s Run on the 7th. Here we learned of the change in commanders, and although we of the 9th Army Corps, thought all the world of Burnside, both as a man and a soldier, we would have been satisfied to try “Little Mack,” the “Idol of the Army of the Potomac,” a little longer. The successes of the battles of South Mountain and Antietam had renewed our confidence in him as a general, although the letting Lee escape after he was completely whipped and nearly surrounded had caused a great deal of criticism.
We lay here one week and as we had nothing to eat except what corn, pigs and poor sheep we stole, and persimmons, which we gathered, we named the place “Hungry Hollow.” On the 15th we moved to White Sulphur Springs, where we drew rations, and on the 19th arrived and went into camp opposite Fredericksburg.
In the battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 12th, 13th and 14th, we were among the first to come over, and the last to re-cross, but were not engaged only as pickets and met with no loss.
Now followed the long, dreary, dark days of the war. The winter was alternately cold, wet and stormy. Wood was scarce and our little dog tents were very uncomfortable.
The Copperheads and the rebel papers in the North denounced the administration, and the attempt to bring the people of the South back into the Union. Called this a “nigger war,” and thousands of letters were written to the soldiers urging them to desert and come home. A few of the 100th deserted, but the number was small compared with some other commands.
Several of the companies becoming company I was disorganized and its members transferred to companies G, H and K.
On the 26th of January, Gen. Burnsides, at his own request, was relieved of the command of the Army of the Potomac, and Gen. Hooker assigned to the unenviable position.
On the 10th of February we left the Army of the Potomac, going to Newport News, where we drew new clothes, plenty of rations and recruited our wasted energies, as well as reviewed our old, and added some new lessons in military “tie-tax.”
On the 20th of March we broke camp during a terrible snow storm, marched to Hampton and lodged in negro shanties, deserted old, and unfinished new buildings two or three days, when we boarded transports which carried us to Baltimore. Here we proceeded to work off the bad effects of the late storm with Baltimore whiskey to such an extent that it was with difficulty enough sober men could be found to unload the boats and load the cars. It will be long years before some of the scenes at Locust Point will be forgotten.
On the evening of the 24th a train of fifty packed cars drawn by two engines moved out of Baltimore, carrying our brigade through to Parkersburg, where we were at once transferred to a new Pittsburgh steamer – “Jennie Rodgers” – which carried us down the beautiful Ohio to Cincinnati, where we boarded cars which carried us to Lexington, Ky., arriving and going into camp on the 29th.
We remained here doing guard duty until the 8th of April, when we marched south some 30 miles, stopping at the beautifully camp Dick Robinson.
While here Capt. Sam’l Bentley, the oldest officer in the regiment, on account of failing health, resigned and came home. He was a Methodist preacher, had considerable military pride, was a good talker, well liked by the rank and file, but the most inveterate Copperhead hater we had in the regiment. He could not bear to hear any one speak disrespectfully of our Government, and if he had had his way of it, he would have hung every mother’s son of them. He died April 1st, 1865, a few days before Lee’s surrender.
On the 23d of April we started again, and for ten days and several nights, tramped over bad roads, but through a finely wooded country, trying to capture small parties of Johnnies, but as they were generally mounted on good horses they kept out of our way.
About the 1st of June, when at Columbia, a reorganization of the division was made, Colonel Leasure’s brigade to consist of the 100th Pa., 79th N.Y., 2d, 8th and 20th Michigan.
On the morning of the 4th of June, when we thought we were to advance in Tennessee, to our great surprise, we moved in an opposite direction, marching to Lebanon, where we were paid off, and took the cars for Louisville, arriving on the 6th. We then crossed the Ohio to Jeffersonville, Ind., and proceeded by railroad to Cairo where we boarded the steamer, “Alice Dean,” for Vicksburg. On the 14th we disembarked t Young’s Point, marched down the bed of Grant’s canal to a point below the city where part of the corps was crossing the river, but the plan was countermanded, we were brought back, boarded transports and taken up the Yazoo river, going into camp at Milldale in the rear of Vicksburg.
On the 29th, the 9th corps, which was commanded by Gen. John G. Parke, General Burnside having remained in Cincinnati as commander of the Department of Ohio and Kentucky, moved some ten miles towards the Big Black river, near where the rebel Gen. Johnson was collecting a force to attack the besiegers and raise the siege. We went into camp at Flower Hill Church where we remained until the ever memorable Fourth of July, when Vicksburg surrendered and that evening started after Johnson, who had retreated towards Jackson. On the 11th we encountered our enemies near the State insane asylum about two miles north of the city. The 2d Mich., commanded by Colonel Humphrey, being the skirmishers for our brigade, had a rattling fight with a whole brigade of Johnnies, driving them out of their quarters. Just then the bugle sounded a retreat, and in falling back this gallant little regiment that had fought in the first battle of Bull Run, with Kearney on the Peninsula and through the Pope campaign, lost in killed and wounded nearly one-third of their numbers.
Somebody blundered. Had the whole line advanced just then the bridge across the Pearl river would have been seized and Johnson’s entire army captured.
The next day the artillery on both sides opened and for a few hours the screaming of shot and shell over our heads was terrific.
On the night of the 16th, Johnson and his entire army left, burning his stores and the bridges, illustrating the couplet, “He who fights and runs away, will live to fight another day.”
On the morning of the 18th, our brigade marched to Madison Station on the Mississippi R. R., burnt the station house, the cars and a large quantity of cotton. Also tore up several miles of track, burned the ties, and after heating, wrapped the rails around trees, effectually destroying them for further use.
On the 20th, the entire corps started back towards Vicksburg, leaving part of Sherman’s corps to occupy Jackson. We arrived at our old camp at Milldale, where we had left our tents, knapsacks and all extra clothing and proceeded to clean up and pack up preparatory to coming back to “God’s country.”
This had been a terrible campaign, the most disastrous to health we experienced during the war. The excessive heat in connection with the scarcity of water caused a great deal of sickness and many deaths. The rebels in their retreat had thrown filth, dead animals and poison into the wells and pools of water so that it was almost impossible to find any water to drink. On the search back many were prostrated with sunstroke, form which they have never recovered, the writer among the number. Had it been for Jeff Justice, our Quartermaster, finding me lying by the roadside and sending me to a railroad station, where I received attention and returned to the regiment via Vicksburg, I would probably have joined the confederacy never to have returned.
When we embarked on the steamer “Hastings” on the 1st of August to return North, I do not suppose we had a dozen well men in the regiment. Many of our sick were left in the hospitals at Cincinnati and Covington, Gen. Welsh being among the number, where he died on the 14th of August.
On the 11th we reached our former ground near Nicholasville, Ky., where we remained until the 28th, when we marched thirty miles further south, going into camp near Crab Orchard.
On the 9th of September, Cumberland Gap with 2,500 prisoners and 11 pieces of artillery was captured by our cavalry, and on the 10th the entire division started for East Tennessee, arriving at Knoxville on the 2d of October.
A month was spent in trying to run down and capture a few regiments of rebel cavalry, commanded by “Mudwall Jackson,” and which had been a terror to the Union people of East Tennessee. The only engagement in which the 100th participated was at Blue Springs on the 10th of October. It was here that Gen. Ferrero, our division commander, showed his fighting qualities, thereby winning the confidence of the men in his command.
About the 1st of the month the regiment went into camp and built winter quarters at Lenoir Station on the East Tennessee railroad, about twenty miles south-west of Knoxville.
On the 14th of November we received orders to pack up, burn quarters and everything we could not take along, and that night, as a guard to the wagon train, the regiment, excepting companies, A, F and D that were detailed to destroy abandoned property, started for Knoxville. The balance of the troops were taken in the other direction to meet and retard the movements of the enemy.
A hotly contested battle was fought on the 16th near Campbell’s Station, at the junction of the Lenoir and Kingston roads, about midway form where we started to Knoxville; in which our troops of the 9th corps, under Gen. John F. Hartranft, and of the 23d corps, under Gen. Julius White, repulsed a large force of Longstreet’s advance, that had crossed the Tennessee at Kingston and were making for Knoxville by the nearest rout, at a headlong gait.
It was said by those who witnessed the maneuvering of the troops on both sides, to have been one of the prettiest little fights of the war. But three companies of the 100th, A, F and D, were engaged. The Union loss in this engagement was less than three hundred, while the rebel loss was over five hundred.
On the 18th, another battle was fought just west and outside of the city, in which Gen. W. P. Saunders, commanding a brigade of our cavalry, was killed. He was a gallant young officer and his death just at that time was a great loss to our army. By the evening of the 18th were inside a line of forts and rifle pits and digging for dear life. Our orders were to “hold these works or go to Richmond.” We were prisoners furnishing our own rations which were poor both as to quality and quantity, but it was preferable to “Libby.”
Every available force was put to work strengthening our lines of defence, and a vigilant watch kept to prevent a surprise. During the siege several attacks were made on the other’s lines by both sides, resulting in loss to the attacking party every time.
On the 24th of November the 2d Michigan made a gallant charge in order to drive back the enemy’s pickets, who were so close to our works as to be very annoying. They accomplished nothing and lost nearly 100 men killed and wounded. Among the former were Major Bynington and Adjutant Noble, both grand good men and brave, accomplished officers. It was the 100th Regiment’s turn to make the charge, but Col. Humphrey, who was commanding the brigade, knowing the dangers, refused to send any but his own regiment. This will account for the love the Roundheads ever afterwards had for the 2d Michigan and its noble commander.
About 11 o’clock on the night of the 28th our pickets, to the west and north of the city, were driven in and their holes occupied by foe. On Sabbath morning, the 29th, just at the break of day, the Roundheads were formed outside of their works for the purpose of taking and re-occupying the line lost, but thanks to a rebel battery across the river that opened on us just in time to scare us back into our works, thereby delaying the charge one or tow minutes, during which time through the intervention of Capt. Critchlow, who was officer of the day, the order to charge was countermanded and we fell back into our works. This latter movement saved not merely us but probably the entire command. Where we expected to charge Longstreet’s troops, three lines of battle deep were massed to make a charge on us, which they did ten minutes later. Had we charged first, their fate would have been ours – only they would have followed up our repulse and entered the city.
This charge on Fort Saunders is well known in history, so I will omit giving any particulars, suffice to say that eleven of Longstreet’s best regiments charge, and were not only repulsed by nearly annihilated. Their loss as given in their official reports was 129 officers and men killed, 558 wounded and 226 prisoners; 3 battle flags and about 600 stands of arms.
Our forces within the fort could not have exceeded 300, and consisted of Benjamin’s, with parts of Buckley’s and Roemer’s batteries, with detachments of the 79th N.Y., 2d and 20th Mich., 29th Mass. And company A of the Roundheads.
(CONTINUED NEXT MONTH.)
A monthly paper devoted to perpetuating the memory of the Soldiers of the War of the Rebellion – as well as furnishing to the young, reliable history, patriotic eloquence, both prose and poetry. Songs with music, suitable for use in patriotic schools, literary societies and camp fires of the G.A.R.
SUBSCRIPTION……………. 50 CENTS PER YEAR.
Communications, historical, biographical, also local items pertaining to Soldier’s meetings of all kinds, as well as applications for advertising space should be addressed to
J. C. Stevenson.
Editor and Publisher.
New Castle, Pa.
Entered at the New Castle, Pa., Postoffice April 22, 1888, as Second-Class Mail Matter.
EDITION - - - - 5,000.
COMRADES AND FRIENDS: Eight months ago, on the earnest solicitation of some comrades, we started THE VOLUNTEER publishing 5,000 copies of each issue so we could supply back numbers.
Our first intention was to make a local paper and confine it principally to matters pertaining to Lawrence county soldiers, advocating among other things the erection of a soldier’s monument in the county.
In July we enlarged the paper to double its former size, and commenced the publication of the list of the Lawrence county men who fell in battle and who died of disease, but getting almost no assistance in the collection of names, and a great deal of blame for a few errors and omissions, we discontinued the publication for the time being, until we could get our rolls more complete. The expense of publication has been much greater than anticipated, and the patronage, both of subscribers and advertising in our own city and county much less. This we attribute, however, to different causes, the most prominent being the political excitement and the large amount of free reading matter distributed. We would, however, thank those who, even in the din of battle, thought enough of the cause we are advocating: viz., the perpetuation of the names and the heroic bravery of our country’s defenders, as also the education of the young in love of country, gave us their encouragement and support.
At first, when publishing a four-page paper, we received a large number of subscribers at 25 cents, and by the enlargement of the paper they have now received more than they expected to received. We would therefore ask all such, either to send us a new subscriber at 50 cents, or renew their subscription for another year.
Some have already done this and a few have sent in clubs of five or ten subscribers. To my comrades of the 100th Pa. Volunteers, I would ask you to order the numbers containing our history for your friends. A complete set will be sent to any address for 25 cents.
To comrades of other commands, I would apologize for the great amount of space given to the 100th Regiment, on the ground that I didn’t make history. It was made twenty-five years ago. The next number will close the history of the 100th Regiment and then we are ready for another.
Let some one in each Western Pa. regiment prepare a similar history with accompanying biographies, and other regiments will soon be equally interested in The Volunteer.
To our comrades and friends who have received sample copies, as well as any who have been receiving the paper regularly but have not paid, we would say, please send in your subscription, and encourage us to go ahead and improve the paper. You may not need its teachings yourself, but your children and grand-children do.
The paper will continue to advocate the Per Diem and other pension bills, and in this way we hope to be of financial benefit to a very large number of those who loan us the small contribution asked. In conclusion, make us glad on Thanksgiving Day, or soon after as possible, by reviving your subscription, either in silver, paper, turkey or garden truck.
The subject of pensions, and especially service pensions, is and has been attracting a great deal of attention for the past year, and probably will for the year to come or until our Congress takes some definite action on the subject.
All agree that if a man was injured by wounds, or in health, in the line of his duty, the Government should pension in proportion to his injury. The difficulty with a great many is, not that they do not have a good claim, but on account of failure to make the required proof.
The disability pension bill, over which there has been so much wrangling, had so many objectionable features that there were a great many soldiers opposed to it.
The $8 per month bill when considered as a service pension, also has objections. To pay the 60-day soldier the same as the 800-day man, would not in case, there was another war, be much of inducement for honest, faithful work.
The bill placing soldiers on the pension list at the age of 65 years, if considered as a service pension, is the most unjust of all.
One fourth of those old enough to get the benefit of this bill, were too old to perform their duties as soldiers, drifted into the hospitals, and on account of their hospital record are receiving pensions now.
The young men who entered the army between the ages of 16 and 25, and who toughed it through, doing the greater part of the service, would have to wait many years yet before it would benefit them.
They are the ones who wore themselves out, and who, like the “Deacon’s one-horse shay,” are ready to tumble to pieces. Disease brought on by hardships and privations, is now cutting them down ten or twenty years sooner than if they had not been in the army.
The bill known as the Per Diem Rated Service Pension Bill, although it may not be just in all cases, certainly has the principles of justice in it, and is approved by the business men of the country outside of the army, and if all the comrades would take hold and give it their earnest endorsement and support, it would be a great start towards rewarding the laborers for services rendered.
The Union Veteran Legion at their National Encampment at Youngstown, Ohio, last December, endorsed this bill; and the Union Veteran’s Union, another soldier’s organization, at their National Encampment at McKeesport, Pa., last month, passed strong resolutions in favor of its passage. Quite a number of the State Encampments have endorsed this bill, and all would do so if they were not ruled by a few short timers and pension agents, the latter opposing it as it would very materially affect their income.
It is said that there is a larger per cent, of the short term soldiers getting pensions now than of the long service, which may be accounted for in several ways.
First, a great many broke down to the breaking-in process, were sent to the hospital, and within six or nine months after enlistment, were discharged and had no difficulty in providing by comrades and their hospital record all that the Government required.
Then a company of six months or nine months men did not have so many things to remember, and were enabled to give more satisfactory and positive proof of events occurring during their shorter service than those who were out three or four years.
There were not so many of them came home at once, and the people at home, especially their family physicians, could remember more about them than they did of those who served through to the end of the war and came home in a body.
If the proper laws were enacted there would be little call for special legislation.
The interest and welfare of this country, is of more importance than the interest and welfare of any man or any party. The great interest of America and our American institutions should be the first and great concern of all Americans, of all parties in this free land of ours.
We are, and should continue to be a free, happy and prosperous people, and no man, or party, should attempt to clog the wheels of progress. The doors of progress for the elevation improvement and the betterment of the conditions of the intellectual, moral, financial, and political standing, should never be closed to any American citizen. But all should be encouraged to camp upon the broad and fertile plains of progress, truth and justice, and all should have an equal chance in the great battle of life.
Our first and great object in these United States should be, for the passage of such laws as would better the condition of our own people. Let us do justice to ourselves and our own country, though the Heavens fall. This government owes to the laboring classes laws which are not oppressive. Laws under which the bread earners an feel that they have a friend in the law making power. The soldier should be made to feel that the government appreciates the service which he rendered for the salvation of constitutional liberty; that it is thankful to him for the preservation of the Union and the flag. Many of these veterans, who for love of country and home, gave the best days of their lives for their country, should now, that they are old and poor, received the aid and assistance, of the country they risked their lives to save. Those veterans faced the storms of nature and also the storms of fierce battle. Stood bravely in the front, when shot and shell, were hurled upon their devoted ranks, stood amid the fire and storm of battle were death reigned almost supreme. But still they stood, almost as immovable as adamant, all for country and home, for the Union and the flag, which they loved and honored, stood firm although their comrades were falling on the right and on left. Still they stood facing death, because they knew that the success of confederate cause would be death to glorious, happy and prosperous country. And those brave men stood true to themselves, true to their homes and loved ones, true to their country and true to the flag. And now a redeemed and saved republic, a prosperous country, and a united land, should be true to those old veterans, who brought all this weal to this great people.
This great republic, ahs no large standing army, but in times of great danger it depends upon the patriotism of its citizens to avert the danger. Therefore this Republic cannot afford to deal unjustly with those old veterans now, who snatched from the very jaws of destruction, this mighty Republic, and laid at its feet the flag unsullied, without one star being plucked from its field of blue.
This being true, the time has now arrived when every comrade who went forth to battle for the old flag, should be remunerated in a substantial manner for service rendered in behalf of the country he helped to save. The time has now come when all quibbling should be stopped and the soldier’s discharged should be sufficient evidence for this government of the United States, to see the Justice of its course, and place the comrades names on the pension rolls, as worthy of all consideration, and his money should be paid to him without stint, or grumbling. When this is done then, and not till then, will this government have done full justice to those brave men who saved this country.
- Grand Army Advocate.
William Finley Templeton.
Second son and fourth child of Aaron and Eliza Templeton, was born in Hopewell township, Washington county, Pa., March 2d, 1831, on the farm upon which his grandfather had settled in the year 1790.
Like the great majority of farmers’ sons, his youthful days were spent in laboring upon the farm, attending the district school during the winter months. He was fitted to enter college at an academy conducted upon the farm of the late Judge Wotring, and afterwards at Buffalo village. Entered Washington College, whence he graduated in 1851.
After graduating, he with his brother Matthew, engaged in merchandising, in West Middletown, for several years. He then entered upon the study of the law with the late john L. Gow, Esq., of the Washington bar, and was admitted to practice, May 21st 1860.
Under President Lincoln’s call for three months’ men he volunteered and on April 25th, 1861, was mustered into the U. S. service as First Lieutenant of Company E, 12th Regiment Penna Volunteers, from which service he was honorably discharged, August 5th, 1861.
August 27th, 1861, he re-entered the service of his country as First Lieutenant of Company A, 100th Regiment Penna. Volunteers. September 10th, 1861, he was promoted to Captain of the Company. He served with the Regiment continuously until August 29th, 1862, when he was killed in action at Bull Run, Va.
[Biographies of every man who ever belonged to the 100th Pa. Vols. Wanted by J. C. Stevenson, New Castle, Pa.]
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