Thursday, September 26, 2013

'The monument is wholly unlike any other on the ground, and naturally attracts much attention'

Veterans and family members at the 5th New Hampshire monument dedication on July 2, 1886. Seated on the boulder with his feet on the ground is Elias T. Marston, the speaker that day. On July 2, 1863, he had been the 5th's 20-year-old adjutant. Next to him is Charles Hapgood, the 5th's lieutenant colonel, who had helped identify this as the spot where Col. Edward E. Cross was shot. Beside the monument opposite Marston is Gus Sanborn, a private from Franklin who rose to captain. At the far right is Sgt. John McCrillis, who painted the 5th's symbol, a large red trefoil, on his barn after the war. 
When the veteran soldiers of New Hampshire who had fought at Gettysburg gathered there again in 1886, it had been 23 years since the gore, fear, ferocity, near-defeat and ultimate triumph of that battle. They came together to walk the field and remember.

The Sharpshooter monument is made of Concord granite.
Veterans of the 2nd and the 5th New Hampshire volunteer infantry regiments and Companies F and G of Berdan's Sharpshooters dedicated their monuments on July 2, the anniversary of the day they had been in action. Companies F and G of Berdan's Sharpshooters, both recruited in New Hampshire, had fought on the Union left on July 2, 1863, but chose to place their monument at their third-day position on Cemetery Ridge.

The 12th New Hampshire Volunteers also fought on the second day, but their monument was not dedicated until September 1888. It bears lines from a poem by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., father of the future Supreme Court Justice. The inscription reads:

The 5th New Hampshire monument is in Rose’s Woods on the spot where Col. Edward E. Cross was mortally wounded. Lt. Col. Charles Hapgood, who was speaking with Cross when he was shot, helped identify the spot. He attended the dedication.

Congressman Haynes
The 2nd New Hampshire monument is on the southwest corner of the Peach Orchard just at the L-shaped angle where the 3rd Corps line turned east toward the Wheatfield and Little Roundtop and north along the Emmittsburg Road toward the town of Gettysburg. The speaker at its dedication was Congressman Martin Alonzo Haynes, who had been an articulate young rifleman in the 2nd in 1863.

In Our War, I tell the story of New Hampshire at Gettysburg through the experiences of Cross, Haynes and Richard W. Musgrove, who gave the dedicatory speech at the 12th’s monument.

On July 22, 1886, nearly three weeks after the veterans gathered in Gettysburg, the The National Tribune in Washington, D.C., published a detailed account of their return to the battlefield. Most likely, it was written by Haynes. Here it is:

The first Reunion of New Hampshire soldiers who participated in the battle of Gettysburg in July, 1863, took place in that historic town, in connection with that of the Third Corps, under circumstances of peculiar interest.

It will be remembered that at the last session of the Legislature an appropriation of $500 was made to each of the military organizations of the State which participated in that memorable battle upon Northern soil for the purpose of erecting a monument to mark the position of such organizations upon that battleground.

Private Haynes 
The New Hampshire contingent of participants in this Reunion and dedication of monuments left on June 29, and proceeded via the Fall River line of steamers and the Pennsylvania & Cumberland Valley Railroads, arriving at Gettysburg at 6 o’clock on the evening of the 30th. The party was soon quartered in hotels and private houses, mainly in the village, although some tarried in a house upon the Emmittsburg road, near the historic Peach Orchard, in order to be nearer the scene of their action of 23 years ago. 

Thursday, 1st, the 23d anniversary of the opening day of the battle of Gettysburg was spent in looking over the battlefield, and especially the portions occupied by the Union forces on the second day of the battle.

Of course 23 years have wrought many changes in the appearance of the battlefield, which covers so vast an extent of territory, and it was not to be wondered at that it required careful search and retracing of steps to fix the localities of events which made a deep impression upon tho boys in blue at that time. But this was done, and the positions of the 2nd and 5th N. H. and of the Sharpshooters, on the 2nd and 3rd of July, were traced in detail, even to the spots where comrades fell or prisoners were captured.

It can be said to the credit of the 2nd N.H. that the most advanced position in the line of battle on our left at the Peach Orchard on the 2d of July was occupied by it until forced back to escape being cut off by Gen. Barksdale [Brig. Gen. William Barksdale was mortally wounded during the devastating attack his Mississippi made on Union 3rd Corps units.] Altogether the day was most busily spent, and nightfall found the boys weary with their campaigning, but amply repaid for their day’s tramping over the line of battle of the second day of the Gettysburg fight.

Friday, the 2nd, being the anniversary of the fighting on the left, in which Gen. Sickles’ Third Corps was engaged, and sustained such heavy losses, it was decided that the monuments to the 2nd and 5th N. H. and Sharpshooters should be dedicated and turned over to the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association on that day. Accordingly, at 8 o’clock a car was taken on the short line of railroad which runs from the village of Gettysburg to Little Round Top Park, and passes very near to the Sharpshooters’ monument, which is located but a few rods from what is known as “Hancock Station.”

This is a station in name only, there being no structure for passengers to wait in, but only two or three steps which rise from the track to the slight knoll where a board announces that Gen. Hancock was wounded, and to the small clump of bushes to which ho was carried. [Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott Hancock, one of the heroes of Gettysburg, led the 2nd Corps, which included the 5th New Hampshire.]

John C. Linehan
Maj. E. T. Rowell, of Lowell, Chairman of the Monument Committee, called upon Comrade Rev. C. H. Kimball to offer prayer, after which “America” was sung, and Maj. Rowell addressed Past Department Commander John C. Linehan, the New Hampshire Director of the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association, tendering the monument, to which Col. Linehan responded in eloquent terms.

The 5th N. H. monument was also dedicated. This monument is located on the spot where Col. Cross fell mortally wounded, in the woods near the field in which Gen. Sickles was wounded.

The monument is wholly unlike any other on the ground, and naturally attracts much attention. It consists of a hammered disk of New Hampshire granite, upon which the names of the dead are inscribed, resting on large boulders, and also surmounted by a boulder.

Capt. J. R. McCrillis, Chairman of the Monument Committee, called upon Col. Hapgood to offer prayer, after which Adjutant Elias T. Marston delivered a fine address. Capt. McCrillis, in a short and appropriate address, turned the monument over to the Battlefield Memorial Association, and Col. John C. Linehan replied appropriately.

John W. Adams, the 2nd's former chaplain.
The 2nd N. H. monument was dedicated at 3 o’clock, the suspension of the rain serving to give an increased audience over the forenoon exercises. This monument is located on the advanced line in the Peach Orchard, which was occupied by the regiment on July 2, 1863, near tho old rail fence, and fronting upon an avenue that is to be laid out through the Peach Orchard. The Orchard, by the way, does not contain any of the trees that grew in it 23 years ago, but a lot of thrifty young trees. Gen. Patterson, Chairman of the Committee to procure the monument, called upon Chap. J. W. Adams to offer prayer, after which Congressman Martin A. Haynes spoke most eloquently. 
We give the concluding paragraphs:

“The 2nd had made its record at Gettysburg. The plain figures chiseled upon that block of granite are the eloquent record of the deed. One hundred and ninety-three men stricken not from a division, not from a brigade, but from one little skeleton regiment numbering but 355 officers and men.

“Do those who never stood in the battle line understand what such figures mean? Why, battles have been fought which were pivotal events in history and are quoted as monuments of valor, with less aggregate loss than that of the 2nd N. H. upon this spot. Our fathers won Bennington, and bravely won it, with a loss of but 70 killed and wounded. Trenton and Princeton combined cost Washington only about half the men that Gettysburg cost our single regiment. And Yorktown was won and American independence assured with less than half the loss to the American army that our regiment here sustained; while the total loss of our French allies fell seven below our figures, amounting to 180 men. “Tippecanoe” became the rallying cry of a great political party, upon which its hero was elevated to the Presidency; but Tippecanoe, stubborn fight that it was, cost Harrison’s army only 188 men. There is a world of suggestion in such figures as these. It was a veteran regiment that fought here, and it can be safely assumed that none but a veteran regiment could have stood such a test and done such a work.

“These were men who fought at Bull Run, who followed Hooker in the battles of the Peninsula, who charged with Grover over tho railroad bank at Groveton. But not all that stood with us at Gettysburg had such a record. The number in line at the Peach Orchard was probably less than the recruits which the regiment had from time to time received.

2nd New Hampshire monument in the Peach Orchard.
“Our brave old Col. Marston [Gilman Marston of Exeter also remained a congressman intil early 1863] wore the well-earned stars of a General, in another command, and he who had been the 10th Captain in the line had risen by regular promotion to the command of the regiment [Col. Edward L. Bailey of Manchester, 23 years old at the time, was wounded during the battle]. Such had been the changes incident to the service. But that the regiment was a veteran regiment by no mean carries the assumption that it was composed exclusively of veterans. In fact, there were in our ranks nearly a hundred men who here for the first time heard the roar of hostile guns, it was a rough initiation, but of all who fought here there were none braver or better than our raw recruits, the men of the dismantled 17th.

Such was the regiment – such was its deed. Our State has indicated its pride in both by setting here this memorial stone. We are not many, we who stood at Gettysburg. Some escaped the iron hail here only to meet their fate on other fields, and our number is rapidly growing less. For us the living, this monument stands as a memorial to our comrades, our brothers, who here gave up their lives. Our recompense while living is ample in the proud privilege of saying, ‘I was with the 2nd regiment at Gettysburg!’ And when we are all gone – and that day will not be long in coming – generations of New Hampshire men will point to the record there inscribed with an honest pride in the achievements of their ancestors who lived in an age which they will recognize as heroic.”

Edward L. Bailey, the 2nd's "boy colonel" at Gettysburg.
The address was followed by a poem by Chaplain Adams, and the reading of a letter from Col. Edward L. Bailey by Comrade Thomas B. Little. Gen. Patterson turned over the monument to the custody of the Battlefield Monument Association, to which Col. Linehan replied. Group pictures were taken of the three monuments by local artists, which will be in demand in the several organizations, as they were pronounced to be good ones.

The losses of the 2nd and 5th regiments in killed, wounded and missing on July 2 were very heavy, and an inspection of the monuments already erected upon the field does not reveal any so heavy. The roll-call of the 2nd when it went into tho Peach Orchard was 24 officers and 330 men. At the close of the day 19 had been shot dead, 13 were wounded, and 38 missing. All of the field officers were wounded. Among the killed were Capt. Metcalf and Lieut. Roberts. Lieuts. Ballard, Dascomb, Vickery and Patch and Capt. Hubbard died of their wounds in a few days. The 5th went in with 21 officers and 165 men, of which number four officers and 82 men were killed and wounded.

[My thanks to Dave Morin and Andrew Harris for material that helped me prepare this post.] 

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