Monday, June 17, 2013

From Fernandia to "Hilton Head, S.C.; thence to Folly Island, S.C., June 15-19" 1863: Paul Whipple and the 7th N. H. Volunteers.


Captain Paul Whipple and the 
Seventh Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers
in the War of the Rebellion*

From Fernandia to "Hilton Head, S.C.; thence to Folly Island, S.C., June 15-19" 1863.

The 7th New Hampshire arrives in Hilton Head and deploys to Folly Island in preparation for the attack on Fort Wagner.  Little's comment from his Seventh Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion is followed by an article from the Boston Herald dated June 19, 1863.

"....Fernandina was the home of the rebel general, Finnegan, so we were informed, and we were shown his residence, which was a fine one : the buildings and their surroundings were evidence that previous to hostilities he had been in affluent circumstances, but at the commencement of the war he had accepted a commission in the Confederate service and was in command of the rebel forces in Florida. 

We were now settled down in good shape and were getting comfortably situated when, on the 5th of June, the steamer "Boston" came in at 7 o'clock in the morning, with orders for Colonel Putnam to report at once with his regiment at Hilton Head, S. C. The steamer brought on board the Eleventh Me. Volunteers, or what was left of that regiment, for it only mustered three hundred men ; orders were at once issued and the 6th was consumed in making preparations for leaving, and on the 7th, the Seventh went aboard the "Boston," and at 3 o'clock p. m. we steamed out of the harbor. As we fondly looked upon the receding shore we scarcely realized that many of us- were taking our last farewell of Florida, where we had passed so many pleasant and happy days, and as the out- lines of her coast faded gradually from view there was a sadness noticed among the men who had taken kindly to the beautiful climate and had almost begun to consider that state as the next place to home. On the night of the 7th, we anchored off Stono Inlet, near a light-ship, and on the morning of the 8th proceeded to Hilton Head, arriving there at 8 o'clock a. m., and anchored in the stream. Colonel Putnam at once went ashore to find out whether we were to go into camp at Hilton Head or at St. Helena Island, and in the afternoon we received orders to go ashore at Hilton Head ; therefore we steamed up to the wharf', disembarked, formed line, and eight companies marched to a camp-ground about two miles out in a southeasterly direction, while companies A and D were detailed to go to Jenkins Island, on picket duty."   Henry F. W. Little. The Seventh Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion. Seventh New Hampshire Veterans Association, Concord, N. H., 1896.

“From the Department of the South”
The Boston Herald, June 19, 1863, pg.4.
Fernandia, Fla. June 7.

‘Your correspondent arrived here on Friday last, having accompanied the 11th Maine Volunteers to this place from Beaufort, S.C., in the fine steamer Boston, Capt. Norris.... They were sent down to relieve the 7th N. H., a larger regiment, which, it is anticipated, may take part in active operations before long.... The 7th New Hampshire is, in many respects, the finest regiment I have seen in the department. It is composed of a superior class of men, well offered, well drilled, and well taken care of. The discipline is noticeable as being just the mean between the two extremes of laxity and severity. Col. H. S. Putnam, of Cornish, is a graduate of West point, a strict disciplinarian, but not a martinet, with a rare reputation among both officers and privates for impartiality, and those other qualities which make a commander beloved by his men. He commanded a brigade in the Charleston expedition. Lieut. Col. Jos. C. Abbott, of Manchester, was formally Adjt. General of his State, and has distinguished himself in the editorial profession. Major Thomas A. Henderson, of Dover, is a graduate of Bowdoin College and Harvard Law School. The following is a list of the staff officers:
Adjutant, H.G. Webber of Manchester; Quartermaster, Geo. S. Hanson of Dover; Chaplain, Rev. W. W. Brown, of Manchester; Assistant Surgeon, Dr. H. Boynton.

The Seventh have done much important service for the Government, as credible to them as if their ranks had been decimated in battles and their banners inscribed with the names of a hundred bloody conflicts, which they would have been glad to participate in. They were sent first to Tortugas, where they put Fort Jefferson in excellent condition. Then they were ordered to Beaufort, where their duties were arduous , and, in spite of all precautions, their numbers were diminished by sickness. They they went to St. Augustine, which post Col. Putnam commanded til about five weeks since, when the regiment was sent to Fernandina. Where ever they have been they have been praised, and it is to be hoped they will now have their quality tested on the battles-fields, which the most reliable sort of rumors assure us they will soon find, wither in front of Charleston or on the Potomac.

Lieut. Frank G. Wentworth, of Co. F., as resigned, and his resignation has been accepted. The vacancy caused by this resignation is the only one in the regiment.

I regret to state that Quartermaster Hudson was thrown from a vicious horse ten days ago, and striking on the wheel of an army wagon, has one of his ribs broken, and was otherwise injured. His friends, however, will be glad to learn that he is rapidly recovering, and is already beginning to re-assume charge of his department.
Capt. W.E.F. Brown has been acting as Provost Marshall since the 7th has been here. He is now relieved by Capt. F.W. Sabine, of the Maine Regiment.

I witnessed the final dress parade of the 7th, last evening, and they appeared to great advantage. Lieut. Col Abbott was in command, and all the exercises were performed with precision and skill. A large number of the inhabitants of the post, and nearly all of the Maine regiment were present, and applauded the New Hampshire for their performance.

The Regiment embarked on the Boston for Hilton Head, early in the afternoon, presenting a very fine appearance as they marched through the streets to the wharf. They are now well on the way to Hilton Head, where they will remain until the final disposition of the troops there is settled on.....”
 One year later, the Boston was scuttled after running aground near a Confederate battery.  The New York Times article can be found here:

See also: Alan Albright The USS Boston Project. In Underwater Archaeology Proceedings
Hilton Head and Jenkins Island, S.C.

*Title taken from Henry F. W. Little's regimental history The Seventh Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion. Seventh New Hampshire Veterans Association, Concord, N. H., 1896.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Paul Whipple and the 7th New Hampshire: Letter from H. W. Baker - duty at St. Augustine, Fla. 1862-1863

Battle flags of the 7th NH, 1865.
 Captain Paul Whipple and the 
Seventh Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers
in the War of the Rebellion*

September 15, 1862 - May 10, 1863
Duty in St. Augustine, Fla.
A letter signed "H.W. Baker Lt. 7th New Hampshire Infantry."  Baker would be killed later that year during the assault on Fort Wagner.

It reads in part: 
  St. Augustine, Florida, February 18, 1863...
 "....I, too, glory in being a Yankee, and glory in proclaiming it here, where the very word is detested...I see them here, eating the bread of charity and that charity coming from government that they have disowned, a government that their husbands, sons, brothers, and lovers are now in arms against - do it unblushingly and clamor about their rights!! Every mouthful ought to choke them.
Yankee though I be, I would grow my finger nails for a dinner, sooner than accept it of a man that I hated as they profess to hate us....We only garrison this old town, hel 'Old Abe' reposses Fort Marion and prevent this post being a use to Secession....More than 100 of our men have died since the Regt. was organized. The climate works noiselessly but its victims are as sure as those claimed by the bullet...We have built entrenchments to prevent a rebel dash from that direction as there are prowling bands of guerillas between us and the St. Johns. They sometimes show themselves on the otherside of the river, or on the Jacksonville wall, but they are sneaking scoundrels, used more to keep up the reign of terror in the country back of us, than with any design to operate against us. The country is very favorable for their operations...Occasionally there are patches of tolerably fertile soil on these are settled a race of people calling themselves white - a race peculiar to the South and called by the cotton lords 'Crackers' - by the negroes 'poor white trash.' They are poor, ignorant and chiefly vicious. They work but little some own a few negroes, they raise corn, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, cattle, horses and hogs. The livestock (excepting the negroes) runs at large in the woods...Since we have been here, there has been three companies of these guerillas in this region, sometimes between us and the St. Johns, at others hovering about the vicinity of Jacksonville. Once a week, a gunboat goes up the river, to prevent batteries being built along its shores. These fellows have a wholesome respect for the Gunboats, when they show themselves these valiant horseman 'skeddadle' for the back country to come back when the boat is gone..."
The letter was sold at auction in 2006. 
Baker's entry from Henry Little's Roster of the Seventh:
"Baker, Henry W. Co. E: b. Loudon; age 37; res. Boscawell; enl Nov. 7, '61, as Pri.; app. 2 Lt. nov. 12, '61 must. in Nov. 12, '61, as 2 Lt.; killed July 18, '63, Ft. Wagner, S.C."
Of the Battle of Fort Wagner, Little mentions Baker here:
"Five officers fell before reaching the moat which surrounded the work. Of the line, Captain Brown and Lieutenants Cate, Baker, Bennett, and Bryant, fell dead on or near the works. Captain Leavitt lived until he reached Charleston. Captain House died of his wounds in October, and Lieutenants Davis and Worcester died on board transports, after they were exchanged. All other wounded officers recovered. It is an historical fact that in this assault the Seventh New Hampshire lost more officers than any other regiment in any one engagement during the war" (Little, pg. 126).

*Title taken from Henry F. W. Little's regimental history The Seventh Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion. Seventh New Hampshire Veterans Association, Concord, N. H., 1896.