Monday, February 9, 2015

The Seventh New Hampshire Volunteers: A Month in New York City, January - February 1862.

The Seventh New Hampshire Volunteers:
A Month in the big city: Street life, Drilling in Washington Square, Keeping Horace Greeley out in the cold, and the dinner for the Sons of New Hampshire. New York City, January - February 1862.

Paul Whipple and the Seventh arrived in New York on January 15, 1862 to await deployment to "the seat of war" in the South.  While in New York, the soldiers had the experience of being at sea for the first time during their trip.  They

"at once went on board the sound boat "Connecticut," with orders to proceed to Jersey City, N. J. 
On Long Island Sound everything went smoothly until about 2 o'clock a. m. of the 15th [of January], when the weather became squally, and the boat pitched badly. Many of the men who had never before experienced a trip by water, soon found out how people felt when under the influence of sea-sickness. All around the bulwarks appeared a measly looking crowd, and every mother's son of them seemed to have a lot to say about New York, but our destination was then Jersey City." Little, Henry F. W. 1896.  The Seventh Regiment New Hampshire Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion. Concord, N. H., I. C. Evans, Printer. p.23
Upon arriving in Jersey City, they received orders to head instead for New York City:
"we steamed up to Jersey City and laid by there a number of hours, the cause for this soon after became apparent. A telegram from Washington, D. C, awaited us, ordering the regiment into barracks in the City of New York. Consequently we crossed over to the South Hampton and Havre pier, at the foot of Canal street, where we disembarked, and were marched up Canal street to Broadway, down Broadway, and to 79 White street, near the corner of Broadway, where there was a building formerly used for storage purposes, six stories in height, including basement, which had been leased by the government as a depot for troops awaiting orders. Our regiment was at once marched inside and occupied the upper floors, the officers occupying a part of the first or ground floor, reserving the other portion for guard mounting: and every day when the weather would permit, we were drilled on Washington Square, in company or battalion drill." Little, The Seventh Regiment New Hampshire, p.23-24.
              Washington Square Park, April 20, 1861.Washington's statue holds flag from Fort Sumter.   

Provisions are easy to come by at first. 
"as soon as the boy's found they could not get out without a pass, they began to barter with outsiders from the windows, and we often noticed suspicious looking bottles going up to one of the upper floors, suspended from a line. From other windows they were hauling in small baskets or boxes loaded with pies, cakes, fruit, or clothing, the price of the articles having been previously thrown to the venders on the ground. It was soon evident that considerable " black-strap," as the men called it, was gaining admittance, and the more effectually to stop it, an order was issued to station guards or sentinels at each window, which almost wholly ended our traffic with the outside world." Little, The Seventh Regiment New Hampshire, p.24.

A vendor was allowed to set up shop instead, but soon began to charge higher prices than the traders outside.  The soldiers attacked his shop and would have looted it clean had not the officer of the guard stepped in to prevent it.  The soldiers also at first endured shorten the rations and poor quality food from the local vendors.  In protest, the soldiers would:  

"file along to their places, face the table, take their plates of bean soup, turn them upside down, and file quietly back to their quarters. Then the order of things was slightly changed, and we got mutton soup, which must have been made from the very poorest and strongest kind of mutton, to judge by the smell of the article, to which, under the circumstances,
the men did not take kindly. Consequently, when they got down at the tables and could sniff the peculiar flavor from the cook-room, they knew what was coming, and at once set up such a continuous bleating that one would think a large western sheep ranch had arrived, and at a given signal, over would go the plates, soup and all. but after a time the quality of the rations was in a measure remedied by the officer' of the day paying more attention to his duties, being present at each meal, to see if the rations were fairly issued and of good quality, and that a plentiful supply was set before the men." Little, The Seventh Regiment New Hampshire, p.24-25.
 In the midst of this, the local Sons of New Hampshire, including Horace Greeley, proposed to throw a party in honor of the Seventh, but the soldiers were again disappointed to find that only the officers had been invited, as reported in the New York Times:
Yesterday morning the Sons of New-Hampshire met at the Grand Hotel, in order to make arrangements to give the officers of the Seventh New-Hampshire Regiment, now in this City, a proper reception before they leave for the seat of war. Messrs. H. B. Perkins.W. N. Brown, N. P. Higgins, E. P. Budd, George F. Peterson, C. A. Soule and Joseph Cushing were appointed a committee to, wait upon the officers of the Seventh, and tender them the hospitalities of The Sons of New-Hampshire. The Invitation was accepted, and the dinner will take place to-morrow evening, at six o'clock. All New-Hampshire men resident in this City are expected to attend.  New York Times. January 18, 1862, col.3, p.5)

The Committee, along with Horace Greeley, ventured down to the barracks to collect the officers, but did not quite get the reception they expected:

“A few days after the regiment arrived in New York, the Sons of New Hampshire living in the city, gave the officers of our regiment a supper. The men in the ranks did not like it because all were not invited. On the evening of the banquet George W. Fisher, of Company I, was one of the guards at the officers' quarters, and the Sons of New Hampshire were to come and escort the officers over to the banquet rooms. The orders to the sentinels were not to pass anyone unless accompanied by an officer. Fisher told his comrade, who was on guard with him, that he did not know the Sons of New Hampshire from a side of sole-leather, and that he did not propose to let anyone in with-out an officer for escort. Among others that appeared and wanted to go in was a man with a gray coat, who was kept waiting with the others. After a while, Adjutant Henderson came out and told the guards that they had kept Horace Greeley out in the cold tor fifteen or twenty minutes, to which they replied that they were obeying orders. A sergeant was then detailed to pass in the visitors.” Little, The Seventh Regiment New Hampshire, p.26.
79 White Street as it looks today. Present building dates from 1915.
While the officers were treated to their dinner, Little remarks that for the soldiers:
"Occasionally some patriotic citizen would come up to headquarters and ask permission to go in and take out a few of the men to a theatre or lecture, and many life-long acquaintances were thus made by our New Hampshire boy's with citizens of the great metropolis. The men who were thus favored passed many pleasant hours with their whilom chaperon." Little, The Seventh Regiment New Hampshire, p.26-27.

The New York Times did do a fairly extensive write-up of the Sons of New Hampshire dinner, which was from this account a lively affair at the posh Metropolitan Hotel.  However, even in this account one can hear the distant horrors of the war that were already known, and the horrors to come.

Dinner at the Metropolitan Hotel—A
Cordial Greeting
Speeches by Lieut-Col. Abbott, Mr. Soule, Mr. H. B. Perkins, Horace Greeley, Gen. Hall, Judge Peabody, and others.

The sons of New-Hampshire, resident in New York, extended a cordial welcome to the Seventh New-Hampshire Regiment yesterday, as the latter passed through the City, en route for the seat of war. In the evening a dinner was given to the officers at the Metropolitan Hotel. The repast was expressly designed to meet the sharp appetites of soldiers, and abounded not only in substantials, but in some of the delicacies which the Messrs Leland know so well how to prepare. The arrangements were excellently made by the Committee, Messrs. N. Higgins, E. P. Budd, H. B. Perkins, W.N. Brown, George F. Patterson, C.A. Soule, and Joseph Cushing.
At about 7 1/2 the guests, to the number of one hundred and fifty, sat down and did full justice to the excellence of the viands presented for their consideration. At the head of the table was a vacant seat for Col. Putnam. On either side were arranged the Chairman, Mr. Soule, Lieut.-Col. Abbot, Gen. Hall, Horace Greeley, Judge Peabody, Judge Bonny, Maj. Roland, of the Berdan Sharpshooters, and others.
At the conclusion of the gustatory performance, the Chairman, M. Soule, called the assemblage to order and proceeded to address them briefly. He said they were a family party. They knew the cause was just, and the right must prevail. [Applause.] When, after the memorable events of the 19th of April, New-York saw a regiment of Massachusetts volunteers [Applause.] marching to the relief of the Capital and the defense of the Union, they believed that the ‛hidden curse’ on the assailants of the Union was being fulfilled. [Applause.] they well remember the appearance of the First New Hampshire Regiment as it came fully prepared to take their position in the armies of the Union. [Applause.] Today, they welcome the Seventh Regiment. [Applause.] They all knew that the name of Putnam, in the present as well as in the past, was a synonym of patriotism and greatness. They all remembered the part the the Second New Hampshire Regiment had taken in the battle of Bull Run, and that made the soil of Virginia sacred to them. They all remembered how Israel Putnam had sought out, and dragged her den the wolf that had been depredating upon his own and his neighbors’ property; and he hoped that the Putnam who commanded this regiment would follow the wolf of rebellion to her den, and drag her forth. [Applause.] In conclusion, he gave the health of Col. Putnam of the Seventh New Hampshire Volunteers.
Col. Putnam being absent, owing to pressing official duties, Lieut.-Col. Abbott responded. He believed that the return, rather than the advance, would prove the proper occasion for ovations like this. He hoped they would deserve such a reception on their return. [Applause.] He took occasion to show what New Hampshire has done in this war. The First Regiment had left on the 21st of May, the Seventh was on the way, and the Eighth and Ninth were under way. She had also furnished a regiment of artillery, a battalion of cavalry, and a regiment of sharpshooters. [Applause.] New-Hampshire had taken her part at Bunker Hill, and now 10,000 men in the field of this war. [Applause.] New-Hampshire had taken part in establishing this Government, and she meant to take some part in its preservation. [Applause.] They consider this war much holier than the Crusades. [Applause.] In such a war, the pomp of marching legions was eclipsed by the grandeur of their object. In conclusion, he gave,
The Sons of New-Hampshire resident in New York – Their prominence in all walks of life in the City of their adoption is only equaled by their attachment to the State of their birth, and liberality to their citizens.” [Applause.]
The Lieutenant-Colonel call for three cheers for the sons of New-Hampshire, which were given with a will and reciprocated likewise.
The Chairman reiterated that they were here as a family party, and no one could complain that they praised their noble mother, New-Hampshire. In conclusion he proposed –
The health of the President of the United States.”
and called upon Hon. Horace Greeley to respond.
Mr. Greeley spoke of the many officers of the army who had gone over to the rebels. The Preseident had a great many difficulties to contend against; a great many trials through which he was obliged to pass. Much opposition was in Washington of a very malignant type. An Army of the people had now been congregated. [Applause.] He believed, if the weather and roads were favourable, this body of men could crush out the rebellion in sixty days. He considered that the last danger was foreign interference. All oligarchs wished the overthrow of this Republic. He honored the old Tories of England who came out broadly against this country, for he knew that they had in mind the former victories of our arms. If the men who stand in the ranks of the South were to hear them, two-thirds of their number would walk over to our side. Only by wholesale lying can the rebellion be kept upon its legs for a month. The South need [ ] means more than they need men. They are called upon to buy muskets and war material, but have not the money to pay for them. He was positive that a majority of the citizens of the South, if they could be allowed the privilege of voting, would vote in favor of crushing the rebellion. He beseeched the soldiers New-Hampshire to carry upon their arms the hopes and the destinies of the human race. [Applause.]
The Chairman then read the next regular toast:
New-Hampshire, our common mother,
Where’re we travel, whatso’er land we see,
Our hearts untrammeled, fondly belong to thee.
The Honor which her sons bestow upon her, is coeval with her granite hills.”
Mr. H.B. Perkins responded eloquently.
The Chairman next offered a sentiment, complementary to New-York and her citizen soldiery, and called upon Gen. Hall to respond.
Gen. Hall responded briefly and modestly, and gave as a sentiment,
The ‛Star-Spangled Banner’ – Whether it is spread to the breeze in the North, South, East, or West, may every star in its field shine with is accustomed brilliancy.” [Applause.]
The Chairman called for “the Star Spangled Banner,” but no one seemed willing to start it.
A gentleman suggested that Mr. Tenney could sing it. Mr. Tenney said he would if he could, but he didn’t know the tune. He sang, however, with much effect, “Hurrah for Old New England.”
The Chairman next remarked that some of the lawyers of New-Hampshire had honored the bar of New-York. He gave as a sentiment –
The Bench of New-York – The Sons of New-Hampshire have sat upon it, and left it ermine unsullied.
Judge Peabody responded briefly, returning his acknowledgments for the honor paid himself and his Sate. His speech was received with much favor. In conclusion, Judge Peabody gave the following:
The War for the Union – A war not for or against any one institution, except that it is for the institution of civil liberty, but a war for the country and the Union, and whatever measures tend best to the preservation of the country and the protection of the Union are the best measures for conducting the war. [Applause.]
The Chairman next gave the following:
Reverence for and obedience to, the Law, the salvation of any country.
Judge Bonnett was called upon, and briefly responded in illustration of, and admiration for, the sentiment.
The Chairman next gave:
The Adopted Sons of New-Hampshire – She treats her sons as a mother treats her children.
Mr. Charles A. Luce, Esq., responded. He said that although the remark of Mr. Webster that New-Hampshire was a good place to emigrate from, had been interpreted as a slur upon New-Hampshire, Mr. Webster really intended it as a compliment. Mr. Webster has stated that he meant to say, that it was a good state to emigrate from, that when a man was known to hail from New-Hampshire, he was looked upon as a good fellow, and fared well accordingly. [Applause and laughter.] He complimented the energy of Lt.-Col. Abbott in raising the First New Hampshire Regiment, and bid God speed to the Seventh, on its way to the seat of war. He quoted the eloquent apotheosis of Gen. Baker to the American flag, and in conclusion gave the following sentiment:
The Seventh Regiment of New-Hampshire Volunteers, officered by regulars and volunteers – May they be each worthy of the other, and the whole combined be worthy of the Old Granite State, and the nation at large.
The Chairman next read the following volunteer toast:
Harvard University – The cradle in which the sons of New-Hampshire have learned to love their country.
Adjutant Henderson replied, trusting that he should never return until the rebellion is crushed.
Mr. Bryant, of Haverhill, said that he believed that New-Hampshire was a good State to emigrate to, and also to emigrate from. He found that the very heart and soul of New Hampshire was here. [Applause.] He was glad that though the soldiers of New-Hampshire were not to be commanded by a Stark they were to be commanded by a Putnam.
The Chairman next gave,
Our Parents, Brothers, and Sisters – If dead, we reverence them and remember them; if alive, we pray for their long life and continued prosperity.
The Chairman next gave the health of the man who saved the Great Eastern in her time of peril during the last voyage. He gave the health of Hamilton E. Towle.
Mr. Towle declined to speak, but was honored with three cheers.
The Chairman next read a volunteer toast.
The Smith Family – First in peace, first in war, and first in the hearts of their countrymen.
Maj. Smith was called upon to speak, but declined, saying he was too old to commence that business.
Mr. Lege gave the following:
The Seventh New-Hampshire Regiment – When we hear from them may they be chasing the reels and never be chased.
He called upon Capt. Chase to respond.
Capt. Chase replied in eloquent strains. The next sentiment was –
Pittsfield – We feel sad to leave it for war.
Capt. Leavitt was called upon to respond, but was excused because he was on duty. [Applause.]
Major Roland was next called upon, and sang, amid much applause, the Grave of Napoleon.
Major Roland proposed the health of Gov. Berry of New-Hampshire, which was received with cheers.
Mr. Perkins proposed the health of their worthy landlord, Simon[?] Leland, who could both make a speech and keep a hotel.
Mr. Leland was called for and cheered, but modestly declined.
The Chairman proposed the health of the Lieutenant-Colonel of the Fifty-second New-York Volunteers.
Lieut-Col. Kasinski responded, hoping that in less than one year the thirty-four stars would be united. [Applause.]
The Chairman next called upon Mr. John Raymond to respond to a toast complimentary to the legal talent of New-Hampshire.
Mr. Raymond responded felicitously.
Major Roland proposed the health of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the United States. He said that Gen. Todtleben had remarked to him, on receiving a copy of one of Gen. McClellan’s works, that we had two great Generals here, Scott and McClellan, and Gen. Todtleben predicted the future success of Gen. McClellan [Cheers]
The Chairman next gave
New Hampshire – Famous for granite, ice, and men, and celebrated for good Breeding.
Mr. Breed responded in a humorous address.
The chairman next made a toast complementary to the Press, which was received with cheers. He next gave “The Clergy,” to which
Mr. Chaplin Emerson, of the New Hampshire Seventh, responded.
Other speeches and toasts followed, and it was not until a late hour that the convivial assemblage separated.
The New York Times.  January 19, 1862, col2, p.8.  (Names in bold were given in capital letters in original.  The New York Times spelled state names such as New Hampshire" or New York" with a hyphen.)
Battle flags of the 7th New Hampshire. National Archives.