Saturday, August 31, 2013

Old Soldiers (3): Way down yonder

Cpl. William H. Rich, 4th NH 
The Fourth and Seventh New Hampshire volunteer infantry regiments served much of the war along the Atlantic coast between Hilton Head, S.C., and St. Augustine, Fla. This was the area occupied, guarded and patrolled by the Union army's Department of the South. The department's job was to support the naval blockade aimed at limiting supplies to the Confederacy via Atlantic ports.

Gillmore medal obverse
Both the 4th and the 7th helped carry out the siege of Fort Wagner on Morris Island. The 7th lost heavily in the battle of July 18, 1863. Its colonel, Haldimand S. Putnam, was killed leading his brigade that night as it attacked behind the brigade that included the 54th Massachusetts.

Near the end of the war, the 4th also lost its colonel, Louis Bell, when he was mortally wounded during the Union capture of Fort Fisher near Wilmington, N.C. The fort was the last southern coastal stronghold. Bell died the next day, Jan. 16, 1865.

Gillmore medal reverse
The photographs at upper right and below are the last installment from a collection of soldiers who were members of Grand Army of the Republic Post No. 8 in Somersworth, in the eastern part of New Hampshire near the seacoast. The GAR was the main veterans' organization of the Union army and became a powerful political force during the late 19th century. Earlier posts in the "Old soldiers" series are here and here. As of 1902, the Post No. 8's membership was 68, and an inspector found it robust and active.

William H. Rich, the corporal pictured right above, was an 18-year-old from Somersworth when he volunteered for the 4th New Hampshire in July of 1861. Nearly three years later, in June of 1864, he was awarded the Gillmore medal, named for Gen. Quincy Gillmore, commander of the Department of the South. Gillmore created the medal and awarded it for gallant and meritorious service during the siege of Charleston. The medal depicts Fort Sumter in ruins on one side with a facsimile of Gillmore's signature on the other.

Daniel Davis of Somersworth joined the 4th
NH at age 45 and served till he was wounded
at Drewry's Bluff.
19 years old when he joined the 4th NH,
Hiram Hurd made first sergeant. 

Ivory Jones served in the 7th NH till war's end.

William E. Harmon entered the 4th NH from
Somersworth as a 17-year-old musician.
A 29-year-old Englishman living in Somersworth, John McLaughlin became one
of the Boys of '61 and served as a 7th NH private for three years.
Sylvester Card wears his veteran's medal
and GAR derby. He joined the 7th NH as
a 17-year-old private from Dover. 
James M. Lamos of Somersworth enlisted
in the 7th New Hampshire at age 18 in
1861. Though wounded at New Market
Heights, he served till July 1865.
Clarence L. Chapman joined the 4th NH as an 18-year-old corporal from Somersworth. Despite
being shot at Petersburg, he served till war's end

1 comment:

  1. My great great grandfather Horace W. Hunt was a member of the 7th NH and was wounded at Fort Wagner. He lived for most of his life in Salem NH. Thank you for posting about the 7th. Can you give me ideas as to how research GAR records from southern NH? Horace lived until 1923 and I think he may have been a GAR member. Thanks!