Friday, January 31, 2014

The 4th N.H.'s first battle, illustrated

A surveyor before the war, Capt. George F. Towle of the 4th New Hampshire Volunteers had an engineer’s mind and a talent for drafting. On Oct. 30, he wrote a long letter to his friend Charles W. Brewster, editor of the Portsmouth Journal. His main purpose was to complain about his lot, but we’ll save that part of the letter for the next post.

Eight days before Towle wrote, the 4th New Hampshire had fought its first battle  – “seen the elephant,” as the soldiers referred to the experience. It was a small one by Civil War standards, the Battle of Pocotaligo, S.C., but deadly and face-to-face. The regiment was part of a force of 4,000 men sent to cut off the railroad line between Savannah and Charleston, isolating Charleston. The Yankees were opposed by 2,000 rebels under Col. William S. Walker, but these men were reinforced from Savannah and Charleston at the crucial moment. 
       
Towle made drawings of troop positions during the three phases of the battle and sent them to Brewster with short descriptions of what happened at each. Together these give a careful, accurate account of the battle (Towle exaggerated the size of the rebel force, but that is standard practice in soldier battle accounts). I’ve reproduced the drawings and commentary below, but let’s begin with Towle’s description of what he is sending to Brewster:

A portion of Lt. Guy V. Henry's battery, which supported the Pocotaligo
“Thinking it might interest you I enclose some rough sketches of the first fight in which the 4th New Hampshire had the fortune to meet the enemy face to face. . . . I think they will give you some idea of the position occupied by the 4th N.H. in the fights. At the last position we were brought up by a marsh said to be impassable, the causeway being torn up. On the opposite side were the rebels in equal force – 4000 to 5000 – with 12 pieces of Artillery. We could hear the trains arriving with reinforcements & the cheers of the soldiers as they arrived.

“I sometimes think that if we had been ordered to charge across, we might have carried the position, but would have suffered much undoubtedly The slight loss of our regiment was owing to its coming up to the last position deployed as skirmishers. My company followed the road, deployed on each side, and was near Henry’s battery upon which the whole rebel fire of 12 pieces was concentrated. It was here I had one man killed and two wounded. Had we been in close order I should have but half my company. I have written on the back of the sketches the explanation of the actions.”

In all federal forces suffered 340 casualties, 43 killed, 294 missing and 3 wounded. The rebels lost 163, 21 killed, 124 wounded and 18 missing.

Here are Capt. Towle's drawings with his descriptions of what happened:

The top notation reads: "Thick woods full of rebels"

First Position

After landing, the troops took up their line of march for Pocotaligo Bridge, in the following order, as set down in the sketch: The 47th Pennsylvania, deployed as skirmishers, had the advance – followed by the 4th N.H., 6th Conn. and 55th Penn., successively, 2d Brigade bringing up the rear. After marching about 5 miles we came into an open field, and fire was then opened on us by the rebels with two pieces of artillery in the road, concealed by a thick belt of woods which were full of rebel sharpshooters. After some fighting the regels fell back across a marsh, taking up the bridge behind them. The 47th Penn., which had suffered severely, reformed in rear of the 6th Conn., and the 4th N.H. now took the advance.

The top notation reads: "Belt of woods full of rebel infantry." 

Second Position

The rebels having fallen back across the marsh, again opened on us as we advanced. After a few rounds from Henry’s Battery the 4th N.H. were ordered to charge. Co. “F” ’s position came precisely opposite the bridge. The companies to the left of the bridge, not being able to ford, had to come down and cross to the bridge. The companies to the right of the bridge forded the marsh with difficulty. Co. “F” rushed across the bridge. The planks had been torn up, and they crossed on the string pieces in great haste, leaving behind a caisson full of ammunition & and wounded officer with his horse. 2 or 3 dead rebels lay scattered around. We kept up the pursuit from this position to the 3d position, a distance of 3 miles, the country being mostly thickly wooded.

The top notation reads: "Woods full of rebel infantry, 12 pieces of cannon."

Third and Last Position

Upon arriving at the point where the road came upon the marsh, a furious fire from 12 pieces of cannon was opened upon us. A heavy infantry fire was also poured in. Our artillery – Henry’s battery of 2 guns – replied till ammunition gave out. The causeway had been torn up – night was coming on – the enemy were rapidly getting re-inforcements. The firing on both sides had been very hot and at short range. Besides shot, shell, grape and chain shot, the rebels fired glass bottles and old spikes from their guns. It appearing then to our generals that the bridge, which was now only a mile or so distant, could not be taken, a retreat was ordered. The 4th N.H. was selected to cover the retreat, and picked up the dead and wounded. It was from 7 p.m. till 3 the next morning retreating back 8 miles, which proves that the rebels did not care to follow us.

[The Towle letter with drawings is from the collection of the New Hampshire Historical Society.]

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pete Seeger, in his prime

I spent a chunk of my morning coffee time reading about Pete Seeger's good life. The Concord Monitor, which I edited for many years, had a terrific editorial pointing out the relevance today of Seeger's principled resistance during the red scare of the 1950s.

Pete Seeger in his prime. He died Monday at the age of 94. 
Also, I couldn't resist having another peek at The Mayor of MacDougal Street, Dave Van Ronk's posthumous memoir about the Greenwich Village folk scene. I blogged earlier on this book here and here, but I also remembered that Van Ronk had known and written about Seeger.

They were nearly a generation apart, Seeger born in 1919, Van Ronk in 1935,  and many folkies in Van Ronk's circle viewed Seeger as a fossil. In the late 1950s Van Ronk began contributing to the local newspapers of the folk revival, first using the pseudonym "Blind Rafferty." In the hope of blowing Blind Rafferty into "a really fine rage," a friend gave him a column by Seeger in Sing Out! Van Ronk didn't like the column, but his column in Caravan set this disagreement aside and addressed Seeger's place in folk music. The heart of Van Ronk's column provided a rare glimpse, from a fine performer and close observer, of Seeger in his prime.

Here is what Blind Rafferty had to say:

"I think that the man is really great, in almost every sense of the word, and it saddens me to constantly find myself in the opposition camp every time he ventures an opinion. But when he sings --

"Artists of Seeger's genre are hard to come by in this day and age. He is, in my opinion, taste and honesty personified, and a Seeger concert is a lesson which no singer of folksongs can afford to miss. When he speaks on the stage, his voice rarely raises above a conversational level, and yet he is heard. As a matter of fact, 'stage presence' of the Broadway variety is entirely absent. Seeger doesn't act; he is.

"I think that this is the key to his entire greatness. The man has no need to act in order to establish contact with his audience. He genuinely respects the people who are listening to him and refuses to insult their sensibilities with insincere theatrics. And they respond, not to an an actor or stage personality, but to the man.

"He treats his material in much the same way. I doubt if Seeger considers himself a 'folklorist' per se; but rather he looks at folk music as a human being, subject to love, hate, enthusiasm, sorrow -- in short, all of the emotions with which folk music deals. He is not 'preserving' folklore but living it, and so are we, and he knows it. He neither sings up nor down to his material but with it. And there is no dichotomy between the performer and the content of his songs. This is the reason why one never gets the 'isn't this cute' or 'how quaint" impression from Seeger's singing. When he sings, all of him is involved. Which is another lesson that many singers of folksongs could profit by.

"Again, I can't say I think much of Pete's point of view on many subjects. He is forever espousing causes which at best leave me cold. But I can't say that I think he would be better off without his causes and opinions. However wrong I happen to think they may be, they reflect a genuine concern with the real world which, to my way of thinking, is an indispensable part of a whole person, which I think Pete Seeger is.

"The tragedy is that there are almost none like him. He is almost unique and insofar as such people in folk music are rare, then it becomes necessary to form 'societies for the preservation of folklore' -- or perhaps the word should be 'embalming.'        

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

'His march is done, his camp is here'

The older I get, the more I read obituaries. I suppose this is a natural inclination. In my journal I sometimes record anecdotes and quotations from New York Times obituaries. These are usually thorough and well-written, and I admire the perspective, imagination and importance the Times brings to chronicling important lives.


Jesse E. Dewey, Co. E, 2nd NH Volunteers.
Unfortunately, most newspaper obituaries say too little about the dead. They define life by associations: churches, clubs, relatives. They strive to tell, but seldom show, that the deceased lived a worthy life. They omit life's human idiosyncrasies and inevitable rough spots.

This was also true during the early 20th century, when Civil War veterans began to die in droves, a phenomenon akin to our loss of much of the World War II generation early in this century.

Here is the obituary written by the senior editor of the Granite State Free Press in Lebanon, N.H., about an old soldier named Jesse E. Dewey, a veteran of the 2nd New Hampshire during the Civil War. The writer is probably Elias Hutchins Cheney, a longtime New Hampshire journalist who had once edited the paper and remained a regular contributor into his 80s. In spite of its elegiac tone, the obituary is better than most in conveying what kind of person Dewey was. He died on July 3, 1915, at the age of 72:

Jesse E. Dewey was born in Hanover, October 2, 1842, and was the son of Jesse Edson and Sarah A. (Porter) Dewey. The father, who for a time was in business in Lebanon, died when young Jesse was but two weeks old. The mother remarried, and Jesse was largely brought up by relatives. Besides the common school he attended a few terms at Kimball Union Academy.

Subsequently he went to Manchester, into a machine shop. He was there when the civil war broke out, and he was there, at the age of 18, the twentieth man who enlisted from New Hampshire, April 22, 1861, only one week after President Lincoln's first call for 75,000 men for three months, issued April 15. Only one regiment was assigned to New Hampshire; but nearly enough for two enlisted. On the 3d of May the president called for three-years men, and, as we recall it, most of those who had enlisted for the three months and were not included in the First Regiment, re-enlisted for three years and constituted the Second Regiment. Mr. Dewey was among the latter.

Few regiments saw more or heavier fighting than the New Hampshire Second, under Gen. Gilman Marston, who, like Col. Mason W. Tappan of the First Regiment, was a member of congress at the time. The regiment was later in command of Col. Edward L. Bailey. Young Dewey went thru that terrible struggle, was in nineteen battles, and was one of the few who came out whole.

Hardtack from Sgt. Dewey's haversack.
Mrs. Dewey still has his army blanket, thru thirteen thicknesses of which, folded and on
his person, a bullet went and lodged against a piece of hardtack in his haversack. He was never heard to complain of the hardness of that bread. A piece of it is still preserved. This was at the battle of Fredericksburg. His haversack containing a bullet hole is also preserved. For gallantry in action he was promoted to sergeant, young as he was. Returned to civil life, he lived with his mother here, now Mrs. Ellis, and worked in one of our shops. He served several years as captain, promoted from a lieutenancy, in the Shaw Rifles, a company of the National Guard organized in 1878. The company disbanded about twenty-five years later, when the two regiments of the N.H.N.G. were consolidated into one, and the number of companies was reduced.

Modest and unassuming, with only moderate education, exemplary in life, it was soon seen that he was above the average of his fellows in natural ability. He wielded a ready pen, in a handsome and legible hand, was lucid in thought expression, with tongue or pen.

He was often drafted into the service of the Free Press in hunting up and writing locals, and especially in keeping the editor posted in what was going on in Grand Army circles. Needless to say his copy was popular with compositors, especially above that of the editor. He took a lively interest in whatever pertained to the welfare of the community and the state.

Sgt. Dewey's haversack
He was elected clerk of the Lebanon Fire Precinct in 1877, and clerk of the Lebanon
Police Court on its establishment, in 1878. In 1886 he was chosen to represent the town
in the legislature. In 1893 he was appointed by the Governor trial justice of the police
court. He was the agent of the American Express Company twenty-five years, and thirty
year member of the insurance firm of Dewey, Peck & Co. He was a director in the
Manufacturers and Merchants Insurance Company at Concord.

He married Emeline A. Chase at Manchester in 1864, who died January, 1866. In November 1871, he married Sarah Louise Currie, daughter of Thomas Currie, M.D., long a leading physician of Lebanon, and Sarah A. Currie. The ceremony was at Hanover, by the chaplain of the Second Regiment, the then Prof. Henry E. Parker, previous to the war pastor of the South Congregational church in Concord. The fruits of his union are Arthur Nelson Dewey, who has lately been in business with his father, and who it is now understood succeeds to the business, and Alice Belle Dewey, who remains with the now invalid mother.

He was from its organization a prominent and active member of James B. Perry Post, G.A.R., and one of the wisest and most trusted counselors in that body. Several members have said since the decease, to the writer, “I do not know how his place is to be filled.” He rendered service in every station in the gift of that organization, including, of course, that of commander. He was a leading spirit in promoting the erection of Memorial Hall, and one of the first eight veterans to pledge twenty dollars each for that purpose.

Dewey later in life. Born in Hanover, N.H., he lived in
Manchester at the start of the war, in Lebanon afterward.
Joined Star-Spangled-Banner Army Lodge, F. & A. M., chartered by Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, 1864, at Point Lookout, Md. Affiliated with Franklin Lodge, No. 6, Lebanon. Was a member of Kimball Chapter O.E.S., Lebanon.

He is understood to have met with some losses in early business life; they only served to make more manifest to those familiar therewith his sterling business integrity. “His word is as good as his bond” is the language in which one who knew reported the facts to the writer. He rose triumphantly out of his embarrassment; acquired a comfortable estate. Besides the comfortable home in Green street, Lebanon, he leaves a cottage at Mascoma Lake, where he and his family spent twenty-three summers, and where he will be also greatly missed. Right here may be the place to say that Jesse E. Dewey was a relative, only a few removes, from the man who, at Manila, is said to have told the German admiral that he could have war if he meant that, and said to Gridley, “You can fire, Mr. Gridley, when you are ready.”

Mr. Dewey had been in feeble health recently, but was thought to be convalescing, and only an hour before the end came all so unexpected on the afternoon of July 3, he was saying that he must go to the office the 5th. Mrs. Dewey left him in bed comfortable and in good spirits, to return shortly and find the silver cord had broken and the gentle, loving spirit had taken its flight. The heart had stopped beating; a painless demise. The community was shocked as news spread over the village. It threw a shadow over the Fourth of July festivities, in which he had taken a great interest.

Dewey's grave in School Street Cemetery in Lebanon
A little while before the end he noticed that all was still outside, where the boys had been giving noisy vent to the prevailing spirit of the day. He hoped they had not stopped on his account; he liked to hear it. His country in his heart till the latest breath, and with that heart's latest beat. A life with such a beginning and so sweet an ending has its lesson for us all. To us, personally, it is a delight tinged with whatever of sadness to commend that lesson to the Free Press circle of readers.

The funeral was from the family home in Green street, Tuesday, July 6, Rev. Grant L. Shaeffer of the Congregational church officiating. The attendance was large, especially of business men, stores being generally closed for the hour. The casket was literally banked in floral tributes. Pastor Shaeffer paid tender and befitting tribute to the character of the deceased. His message to the surviving veterans of the civil war, about twenty, who attended in a body and performed escort duty, was timely and beautiful, and appreciated by all who heard it. Burial was in School street cemetery, nearby to many near and distant relatives, all of the same stock as Admiral Dewey.

The pall bearers were C.S. Ford, C.E. Cooper, C.S. Davis and C.E. Hildreth. Honorary bearers, George C. Perkins, W.S. Carter, C.B. Comings, E.S. Haskell – Past Commanders of the Post.

Brevet  Brig. Gen. Joab Patterson on his horse, Black Dave, with his dog,
Dixi, in 1904. Patterson, of Hopkinton, N.H., was wounded at Gettysburg.
Until  his death at 88 in 1923, he was a regular in parades and GAR events.  
Among those present from out of town was Gen. J.N. Patterson of Concord. A large number of letters of condolence have been received by Mrs. Dewey, including Edward L. Bailey, Colonel of the Second Regiment, Hon. M. L. Morrison of Peterborough, and the offices of the Granite State Insurance Company of Portsmouth and the New Hampshire Fire Insurance Company of Manchester. Captain Dewey had represented both companies a long term of years.

We append the following extract from Col. Bailey's letter:

“I would be glad to find words fitting to express my deep sympathy for you in the dire bereavement you have sustained, but I have learned from my own sad experience that mere words are inadequate. It may however be a consolation to feel that others suffer with you in the loss of a tried and true friend. My friendship and esteem for your husband was formed upon a basis of unusual trials and hardships such as refine and determine character as naught else can. As a soldier he was always at his post of duty, reliable, trustworthy and brave. As a man he was notable for his modesty, his retiring disposition, and upright character. We of his comrades who are left will miss him. Yet I know how little this must be in comparison to the measure of your own loss. Time alone can soften and assuage the grief that overwhelms. I trust that a merciful Providence may come to your aid."

The following beautiful sentiment was sent by Major David E. Proctor of Wilton:

His march is done, his camp is here,
His tent among the blest.
The bugle’s wild and warlike blast
Is simply sounding ‘Rest.’
We place the flag upon his breast.
That flag he fought to save;
May it now guard his final rest
As it waves above his grave. 

[My thanks to my resourceful friend Dave Morin for supplying the material for this post.]

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Elias Nason's diary (1863): Bloody fields of conflict

From the fate of local men at Port Hudson, Gettysburg and Fort Wagner to the fate of the newborn Rooney triplets, Rev Elias Nason had much to chronicle in 1863. He also kept an eye on nature, followed a vital gubernatorial election campaign and enjoyed the entertainments at Exeter Town Hall.

But here, let us allow him to introduce this, the last of his three published diaries from the war years. (Nason continued to keep a diary for the rest of his life, by the way, but he kept it in shorthand. The diary is at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass.)

“In presenting to my fellow citizens a brief transcription from my ‘Private Journal’ of Current Events for the year 1863, I would express the fond hope that while it serves to recall to memory the names of loved ones, gone before us, and scenes in which we have mingled for the support of our country and for the glory of our common God, it may also tend, in some degree, to make us cherish a deeper regard for the prosperity of our beautiful town; and strive more earnestly that the ‘Golden Rule’ of Christ may pervade and twine around and beautify the whole structure of our social life.

“Should this little register of times in ‘old Exeter’ reach our brave soldiers at the seat of war, let me tell them that we have been proud of the valor of the sons of this town on the stern and bloody field of conflict, whether at Williamsburg,  James Island, Fredericksburg, Port Hudson, or Gettysburg; or when the old flag has been torn and flying piece-meal over the slippery deck of the battle ship at sea.

“We honor you, we thank you, we love you; for by such prowess our country rises glorious and strong above the shock of this abominable rebellion; and we pray that the richest benedictions of the God of the loyal, the brave and the true-hearted may ever rest upon your head.”

On Exeter in 1863: “. . . one of the oldest and most beautiful towns in New Hampshire. Its richly endowed and ably conducted academy, founded in 1781, has had a marked influence upon the literary and social condition of the people; and few towns in the country appreciate more highly the value of learning, or send forth more men out of an equal population, to occupy public positions of trust and honor.

“Though in reality a literary and a farming town, it has, nevertheless, the following mills and manufactories: 1 Cotton mill; 1 Paper mill; 1 Hub manufactory; 5 Carriage manufactories; 1 Tin manufactory; 1 Pottery; 5 Wool shops; 3 Grist mills; 2 Saw mills; 2 Shingle mills; 1 Planing mill, and 3 Printing offices. It has, also, 1 Court and Town House; 1 Jail; 1 Bank for discount, capital $100,000; 1 Bank for savings; 2 Academies; 1 High School and 9 Churches.”

I have abridged the diary, but you can read it whole here.

Jan. 1 – The New Year opens splendidly. The earth is free from snow and the robin is still seen in warm and sunny places in the wood lands. The 1st Congregational Society hold a Festival at the Towu Hall, and presents are freely distributed to the children. “The Monitor,” a new monthly by L. M. Lane, makes its debut.

Jan. 2 – Mr. Geo. O. Dearborn has been appointed Mail Agent on the Boston and Maine Railroad. Dr. Win. G. Perry publishes a “Bill of Mortality for 1862,” by which it appears the whole number of deaths was 36, average age 45 years.

Jan. 11 – Sergeant R. Nealey, 11th reg’t, Co. I, mortally wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, is buried under arms. Funeral discourse at the Town Hall, by the Rev. Mr. Nason. [Pvt. Richard Nealey was 44 years old when he joined the 11th in September 1862. Wounded at Fredericksburg on Dec. 13, he died in a Washington, D.C., hospital on Jan. 5.]

Jan. 12 – The Peak Family – “bell-ringers” – give an acceptable concert at the Town Hall. [The Peaks, of Medford, Mass., were known as Swiss bell-ringers. They performed around New England for decades.]

Wemdell Phillips
Jan. 15 – The ladies send a large box of clothing, etc. to the U.S. Sanitary Commission.

Jan. 16 – The rain continues and the river is swollen. Wendell Phillips addresses our citizens at the Town Hall. [Phillips was a well-known Boston abolitionist. The 1863 New Hampshire gubernatorial election was in March. The Republicans had decided that, in light of the Emancipation Proclamation, their best strategy was to flood the state with abolitionist speakers. The speakers’ task was to get out the Republican votes.]

Jan. 18 – The wool dressing establishment of Mr. Wm. Lane, Spring St., partially destroyed by fire. Insured. The wool trade of this town amounts to nearly half a million dollars per ann.

Jan. 20 – About one-third of the Exeter cotton mill in operation. Cotton 75 cents per lb.

Jan. 24 –  A butterfly (papilio rhamni) is caught by Miss Eva Rowe. The snow bunting (Emberiza nivalis) very common.

The snow bunting
Jan. 25 – Rev. Elias Nason addresses the “Fraternity.” Theme – “Temperance.”

Jan. 30 – An impostor, representing himself from Bellows Falls, Vt., is in town collecting moneys for a church in that place.

Feb. 3 – Knitting needles flying busily for the soldiers.


Feb. 4 – Coldest day of the year. Ther. -4 at 7 a.m.; -3 at 2 p.m.; -10 at 9 p.m. Average for the day -9 deg. [Nason continued to make thrice-daily weather observations for the Smithsonian Institution.]

Feb. 6 РA rainy day. Hon. T.D. Weld, of New Jersey, and S.M. Wheeler Esq., of Dover, give addresses at the Town Hall upon the war. [Theodore D. Weld was the husband of the noted abolitionist Angelina Grimké. Wheeler was a lawyer.]

Feb. 7 – The Post Office robbed last night of some 200 letters – the thief entering through a window.

Feb. 9 – Col. F. Conner (wounded at Fredericksburg) and Lt. Col. H.H. Pearson in town. [Born in Exeter in 1836, Freeman Conner was colonel of the 44th New York Volunteers, known as the “Ellsworth Avengers”; Pearson was with the 6th New Hampshire.]

Feb. 15 – Adj. Geo. W. Dewhurst and Miss Hattie A. Somerby married at Hilton Head, S.C. [Dewhurst was adjutant of the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, a regiment of former slaves under Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson.]

Feb. 16 – Sig. Andrea Creghino of Italy in town.

Feb. 18 – Examination of Miss A.C. Morris’ Female Academy. Good. Mrs. Angeline F., wife of William Senior, Co. B, N.H. 3d reg’t, dies, aged 31 years, 8 months. [Senior, an Englishman by birth, served out his three-year enlistment with the 3rd.]

Feb. 24 – Ice in the river about 8 inches thick – men cutting it for summer use.

Feb. 26 – But very little snow on the ground. Leo Miller Esq. lectures on the “Philosophy of the War,” at the Town Hall. [Miller, a New Englander well known for arguing the pro side in the Spiritualism debate, cast the war as a battle between slavery and freedom.]

March 2 –  W.L. Garrison lectures at the Town Hall. [William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the Liberator, was the most widely known abolitionist in the country.]
  
March 3 – The gallant N.H. 2d reg’t arrives in Boston. [A furlough had been arranged for this reliably Republican regiment to vote in the March 10 election.]

Maine Gov. Israel Washburn
March 4 – Gov. Israel Washburn of Me. speaks at the Town Hall. [Washburn was a staunch pro-Lincoln Republican.]

March 10 – State and town election. Votes for Governor, Gillmore, 396; Eastman, 175; Harriman, 17. Capt. D. Conner casts his 70th annual vote. Miss Betsey Clifford dies, aged 84 years. She was an early acquaintance of Daniel Webster, who once boarded in her Father’s family. [Ira Eastman, the Democrat, won the popular vote for governor, but the presence of Walter Harriman on the ballot as a third-party pro-war Democrat, cost Eastman the necessary majority. The Republican legislature elected Joseph A. Gilmore governor.]

March 13 – Expenditures of the town for the financial year ending March 2, $40,907.15. For schools, $4,318,84.

March 14 – Mr. Jeremiah Tanner, 2d N. H. reg’t, and Miss Mary Ann Barlow, are married. [Tanner re-enlisted when his three years were up, became ill and was discharged. He died in 1874 at the age of 36.]

March 15 – Sleighing excellent. Warren V.B., son of Jonathan and Hannah Tebbetts, dies, aged 19 years and 7 months. Miss Abbie E. Tebbetts, sister of the above, dies, aged 14 years and one month.

March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day is not forgotten by the sons and daughters of “Green Erin.”

March 23 – Mr. Jeremiah S. Weeks, Co. B, 3d N.H. reg’t, dies at Port Royal, S. C, aged 30 years.

March 25 – 24 persons at the morning union prayer meeting. A pine log, sawed in the mill here, turns out from the butt 1500 feet of boards, the widest of which is 43 inches.

March 28  – The personal property of the late Miss Betsey Clifford is sold at auction by A.P. Blake Esq. A large number of people present.

April 6 – Delightful morning. The pleasant songs of the robin and bluebird are heard announcing the advent of spring.

April 7 – An old fashioned N.E. snow storm continuing through the day.

April 9 – Miss Charlotte, daughter of the late Rev. E. Ellis, dies, aged 55 years. A teacher of 38 years’ standing and much respected. The river is now clear of ice. Apples and potatoes are selling at 50 cents per bushel; oranges at 30 cents per dozen. The young lads hold a levee in the Town Hall, for the benefit of the soldiers. About $80 are realized.

April 10 – The parishioners of the Rev. Noah Hooper assemble at his house an make him a donation of $183 in cash; and also of other valuable articles.

April 16 – Grass appears quite green in sunny spots. Cap’t. Charles W. Rogers and Miss Mary C., daughter of the late Hon. Tristram Shaw, are married at 3 o’clock p.m. [Rogers, a naval officer, served aboard the USS Hydrangea. Built in Buffalo in 1862, the steamer served as a tugboat, a ship’s tender and a gunboat in the Atlantic blockade.]

A stereoscopic view by Alexander Gardner of the burial of the dead at Antietam.
April 17 – “Stereoscopic Views” exhibited at the Town Hall.

April 21 – Rev. John Dudley in town collecting supplies for the “Freedmen.”

April 30 – National Fast. Sermon to the united churches by Rev. O.T. Lanphear. Mr. Simeon S. Leavitt, the able Boston correspondent of the “Ballot,” and Miss Mary E. Rich are married in Boston. [The American Ballot and Rockingham County Intelligencer started as an American Party weekly in Exeter in 1858 and lasted until 1865 as a Republican paper.]

May 2 – The great battle of Chancellorsvillc, Va., in which the N.H. 5th and 12th reg’ts participate, commences. The remains of Mr. Gideon Carter of the 15th regt. buried under arms. [Carter, a 45-year-old private, died of disease in Louisiana on April 16.]

May 8 – Wind East all day, and bad news from Hooker’s army. [Maj. Gen. Joseph B. Hooker’s Army of the Potomac had retreated from Chancellorsville after being defeated there.]

May 11 – People ploughing gardens, planting peas, etc.

May 13 – Brig. Gen. G. Marston arrives in town. The elm sheds its seeds. Sergt. Leonard Caldwell shot in the left side at the battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862, is in town. The ball still remains in his left lung, and yet his health is improving. [Gilman Marston had been promoted to brigadier general in late November. Caldwell, a sergeant in the 9th New Hampshire, had been discharged in Washington, D.C., on April 15.]

May 20 – Frank O. French Esq. appointed Dep’y Col. in Boston Custom House. [French’s father Benjamin was President Lincoln’s commissioner of buildings.]

May 25 – Mr. J.P. Eldridge of New York lectures at the Town Hall on “Eloquence.” The bobolink’s wild rigmarole is heard. The white birch is in leaf and the lilac in bloom.

An eastern whip-poor-will
May 27 – Hear a Whippoorwill (Caprimulgus vociferous) in the evening. Gen. N. P. Banks’ forces make an unsuccessful attack on Port Hudson. [Port Hudson, north of Baton Rouge, was a vital Mississippi River port still held by the rebels.]

May 31 – Mr. Cyrus Osborne narrates his experience at the seat of war.

June 5 – Many of our teachers visit Boston and the Museum of Natural History at Cambridge, Mass.

June 10 – “Wood’s Metropolitan Minstrels” sing at the Town Hall; but the minstrels of the woods make better music. The silvery tones of the American Nightingale (Turdus mustelinus) now ring through the solitary glens.

June 14 – Second attack on Port Hudson. Co. B, 8th regt., suffers greatly in the charge. Sergeant George S. Cobbs, after lying all day upon the ground beneath the shots of the contending forces, is taken prisoner when the firing ceases at night. D.D. Haynes and D. Hartnett are wounded in the action. [Cobbs was released July 9; in May 1864, he was killed at Moreauville, La. Daniel D. Haines of neighboring Stratham, N.H., was also captured. After his release, he returned to the regiment but fell ill and died in 1865. Hartnett remained on active duty till war’s end.]

The common roach
June 17 – Fish abundant in our fresh water streams. The roach (Leuciscus argenteus) and the pickerel (Esox reticulatus) soon fill the basket of the skilful discipulus Waltonii on “Little River.”

June 22 – Dr. L. W. Leonard retires from the editorship of the “News Letter,” now in its 33d year, and may its shadow never be less!

June 24 – Corp’l D. Veazie Durgin dies of wound received in attacking Port Hudson. [Durgin had been wounded on May 27.]

June 25 – Our citizens present a valuable sword to Capt. John Gordon. [Gordon had enlisted in the 24th Massachusetts as an 18-year-old. He had just transferred to the 55th Massachusetts, an African-American regiment, to command a company.]

June 30 – Rain is much needed. Strawberries selling at 25 cts. a box. Mr. Andrew J. Hoyt becomes editor of the News Letter.

July 1 – The great and sanguinary battle of Gettysburg, Pa., begins and continues three days.

July 2 – Adj. A.M. Perkins and Daniel F. M’Neal are wounded at Gettysburg. Also, Adj’t Gen. P.F. Nason, slightly. Notice the remarkable fertilizing effects of phosphate of lime on some rows of Indian corn in a field belonging to Mr. William Robinson. [Perkins had been shot in the left palm at the battle of Williamsburg, Va., in 1862. At Gettysburg, while leading a company in the Peach Orchard, he was shot in the left elbow. McNeal was a private in the 19th Massachusetts, a 2nd Corps regiment that fought south of the Copse of Trees on Cemetery Hill; P.F. Nason was an officer in a 5th Corps artillery battery.]

July 4 – Anniversary of our National Independence. Bells ring and drums beat long and loud in the morning. A pic-nic in the easterly part of the town in the afternoon. Rainy. Several boating parties up the river.

July 5 – Mr. John M’Cann killed upon the Railroad at Newmarket.

July 6 – Mrs. John P. Kelly injured by fall from a carriage. News of the victory of Gettysburg fills the town with gladness. Mr. J.J. Barker, of the 11th regt., dies about this time, of typhoid fever.

July 7 – Annual examination of Phillips Exeter Academy. The trustees partake of an excellent dinner at the “Squamscott.” About 20 boys enter college. By the catalogue the total number of students for the year is 147. Feu de joie in the evening for the capture of Vicksburg.

July 13 – Great riot in New York the topic of conversation. [This was the draft riot.]

July 14 – Adj’t A. M. Perkins, wounded in the left elbow in the fight at Gettysburg, arrives in town. Bell ringing and bonfires for the surrender of Port Hudson.

July 15 –  Dr. N. Bouton of Concord in town. Edward T. Bennett, Co. B, 48 Mass., is killed at Donaldsonville, La., aged 21 yrs. [Nathaniel Bouton, a Congregational pastor and local historian, had been a founder of the New Hampshire Antislavery Society in the early 1830s.]

July 18 – Attack on Morris Island, S.C, in which the N.H. 3d regt. lose 8 killed and 23 wounded. W.S. Dearborn is struck by a shell. Judge Austin from, the Sandwich Islands, in town. [Warren Dearborn, a corporal from Exeter, had been wounded on July 10 during the landing on Morris Island. He was later wounded again at Drewry’s Bluff but survived the war.]

July 19 – Horace J. Hall, Co. B, 3d reg’t, dies at Port Royal, S. C, of typhoid fever.

Albert M. Perkins
July 30 – Dr. William Perry amputates successfully the left arm of Adj’t A. M. Perkins. The town holds a meeting to determine the amount which it will pay its drafted men.

Aug. 3 – A fine bed of oysters discovered in the river near Newmarket bridge.

Aug. 6 – Thanksgiving for national victories – business generally suspended, but as the clergy are mostly absent, there are no services in the churches.

Aug. 10 – Mr. Wm. Nudd of the 15th N.H. regt. dies, aged 48 years. He arrived in town on Saturday. [More than 10 percent of this nine-month regiment died of disease – 109 men. The 15th lost 30 men in battle.]

Aug. 11 – The draft for this district, at Portsmouth. From the 224 Exeter names enrolled, 67 are drawn.

Aug. 18 – James W., son of Samuel Sawyer, is fatally wounded by Edward Owens in Bromfield St., Boston. Dysentery quite prevalent in town.

Aug. 20 – The 6th, 9th and 11th N.H. regts. are at Covington, Ky. The Roman church is dedicated. Tho Bishop of Portland is present.

Aug. 27. – A splendid morning; “Nature in deepest verdure clad.” Many people attending the “camp meeting” in Epping. Rum kills more of us than rebels.

Aug. 29 – Adj. Orin M. Head and Sergt. Geo. S. Cobbs of the 8th regt arrive from New Orleans.

Aug. 30 – Jewell Weed (Impatiens fulva) attains the length of 6 ft. 8 inches in Dea. F. Grant’s garden.

Sept. 2 – Fall term of the P. E. Academy begins.

Sept. 8 – Eight conscripts have paid commutation $300 each. [This fee was one way out of the draft; another was to hire a substitute.]

Sept. 9 – Stockholders in the B.&M. R. R. visit Lawrence. The road sides are now decorated with various species of the aster, solidago and spired. Leaves of the elm beginning to fall.

Sept 11 – Slight frost in low places last night. Wages of hired men on our farms, $16 per month.

Sept. 13 – Private “script” has disappeared. Corn $1.80 per bag.

Sept. 21 – Mrs. George Rooney presents her husband with three children at a birth – one girl and two boys.

Sept. 23 – Capt. Daniel Conner dies, aged 92 years, 1 mo. and 5 days. Oldest man in town. Luther Austin breaks jail; but is soon recaptured.

Sept.. 30 – A spider spins its thread from the twig of a tree across the stream, some three rods wide, and attaches it to a blade of grass on the opposite bank. Mr. Saml. Lamprey opens a juvenile dancing school at the Town Hall.

Oct. 1 – Mr. J. Johnston has an apple tree, set in the Spring, which has borne two successive crops and is in blossom for a third this season. Fruit mature, fruit half grown and blossoms may now be seen at the same time upon the same tree.

Oct. 3 – Lt. Col. M.N. Collins at home, convalescing. [Moses N. Collins of the 11th New Hampshire was killed at the Wilderness on May 6, 1864.

Oct. 9 – Two oxen of N. Swasey are run over and killed by the 5 o’clock train from Boston.

The original Hutchinson Family Singers of Milford, N.H.
Oct. 13 – The Hutchinsons give a patriotic and amusing concert at the Town Hall. [This group was one of the remnants of the Hutchinson Family Singers of Milford, N.H., the country’s most popular entertainers of the 1840s.]

Oct. 16 – A sword, sash and belt presented by the citizens to Capt. A.M. Perkins in token of his distinguished bravery.

Oct. 17 – One of the triplets of Mr. George Rooney dies, aged 20 days.

Oct. 20 – A second of the “Triplets” of Mr. George Rooney dies, aged 23 days.

Oct. 26 – Leaves of the white birch, Am. Poplar and red oak still green. Mr. Ezra Gee, a brakeman, aged 27 years, fatally injured in passing under Middle St. Bridge.

Oct. 30 – Mr. M. B. Dillingham, member of the senior class, P.E. Academy, dies at Falmouth, Mass., aged 22 years.

Oct. 31 – Hay crop short this season. Butter selling at 30 cents per lb. Apples S2.50 per bushel. Miss Ellen Murray dies, aged 19 years, of consumption. Tobacco successfully raised by Mr. Henry Dow. Sergt. Josiah Norris, supposed lost, arrives in town. [Norris, of the 15th New Hampshire, lived in nearby Brentwood. He had been wounded at Port Hudson on June 14.]

Nov. 2 – An arm of Charles L. Taylor is broken by a cow.

Nov. 4 – A valuable silver pitcher is presented to Mr. J. Henry Folsom, late organist at the 1st Congregational Church.

Nov. 8 – Jeremiah Emerson, aged 67 years and formerly of E. is found dead in a culvert of the railroad at Epping.

Nov. 11 – Town meeting for raising our quota of men.

Nov. 13 –The last of the triplets of Mr. George Rooney dies.

A.P. Peabody
Nov. 18 – Town meeting to raise funds for filling .our quota (32) under the last call for troops. Wm. A. Jackson, Jeff. Davis’ coachman, gives an address in town. [Jackson had escaped slavery in 1862 and given information to Union military leaders.]

Nov. 24 – Examination of the P.E. Academy. The Trustees partake of a sumptuous dinner at the “Squamscott.” Dr. A.P. Peabody, John L. Sibley Esq. and other literary men present. [Andrew P. Peabody had graduated from Harvard at the age of 15 and gone on to become a professor of Christian morals and preacher to the university. Sibley was the Harvard librarian. Here is Sibley’s diary entry for the same day: “Rose about 4h 30m, at 6 a.m. took breakfast with Dr. Peabody, at 6.30 took horse cars to Boston, at 7½ cars to Exeter & arrived there about 9½ o’clock a.m., & attended the examination of the Academy. Dined with the Trustees. Spent an hour with the Rev. Elias Nason in talking over antiquarian matters. It rained violently, & for $1.25 I hired a conveyance to Dr. Levi Stevens Bartlett’s in Kingston.”

John L. Sibley
Nov. 29 – Dr.. N. Bouton preaches in town. Three churches contribute nearly $100 in aid of the soldiers.

Nov. 30 – Town meeting for filling our quota of soldiers.

Dec. 7 – Williams’ Panorama o’ the Rebellion exhibited at the Town Hall.

Dec. 14. – Ellinger and Newcomb exhibit some dwarfish persons at the Town Hall.

Dec. 22 – Shortest day in the year. Good skating on the river and many enjoying it by moonlight.

Dec. 24 – The parishioners of the 1st Congregational Church visit their Pastor by surprise and make himself and wife very valuable presents. The Sabbath School of the Unitarian Church hold a “Christmas Festival” at the Town Hall, where a “tree” is liberally provided with good things for all.

Dec. 30 – A valuable box is sent by Mrs. E. S. Cobbs (ever efficiently at work with head and hand to bless the soldier) to the Sanitary Commission. About 150 volumes, mostly novels, are taken from our Town library – which contains about 3,000 volumes – per week.

Dec. 31 – As the year comes in, so it closes with a beautiful day. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Elias Nason's diary (1862): Deeper into war

The year 1862 pulled Exeter, N.H., deeper into the war. The one bright spot from the front was the Union victory at Antietam on Sept. 17, 1862, but even that came at high cost. Defeat and retreat on the Virginia Peninsula in June, a second thumping at Bull Run in late August and the slaughter at Fredericksburg in December all brought a collective gloom to town. Personal grief visited the households of many local men who were maimed or killed or died of disease in the South.

Through all this, in his diary the Rev. Elias Nason remained an obedient observer and a fairly cheerful one. When Lincoln called for 300,000 more troops in the summer, Nason spoke at a recruiting meeting and was proud when Exeter easily filled its quota. He continued to record bird sightings, ice-skating parties and lectures at the Town Hall.  

More Maine regiments stopped in town on their way south, and Nason kept close track of the New Hampshire regiments with large contingents of boys from Exeter. At year’s end, he ticked off 10 such regiments in the field. He omitted the regiments that ha few or no local boys – the 7th, 13th and 14th, all three-year-regiments by then gone south, and the nine-month 15th and 16th, recently arrived in Louisiana.

Nason back-filled his accounts of battles. He could not have known on Sept. 17, 1862, for example, which men from Exeter had been killed or wounded at Antietam.

Nason’s 1862 diary was published in 1863. He opened the published version with a few facts about Exeter: 49 miles north of Boston on the B&M Railroad line, situated at the head of tidal water and navigation on the Squamscott River, eight or nine churches, a courthouse, two hotels, “a well-endowed academy,” several factories, population 3,269.

I’ve abridged the diary, but it can be read in its entirety here.

Jan. 1 – Cold and windy. Dr. Wm. G. Perry prepares his annual bill for the mortality of Exeter, from which it appears that the whole number of deaths in town in 1861 was 58; of which 29 were males and 29 females.

Jan. 3 – Mr. Oliver Lane kills four hogs – weighing in all 2150 lbs. – fattened in one pen. Mrs. Sarah Ann, wife of Thomas McNary, fifer in the 3d N.H. regt., dies, aged 22 years.

Jan. 6 – The pupils of the 2d District Grammar School, with their very excellent teacher, Mr. Aura L. Gerrish, enjoy a sleigh ride to Portsmouth and the Navy Yard.

Jan. 7 – Col. G. Marston, nearly recovered from his wound, is now in command of the gallant N.H. 2d reg’t.

Jan. 8 – Very fine sleighing. Many people skating on the river and Miss A.M. is said to lead the van. Four lads expelled from the academy. Cause; – best known to themselves.

Jan. 9 – Box of quilts, pillow cases, etc. sent to Capt. H.H. Pearson, Co. C. sixth N.H. reg’t. at Washington, D.C., by the ladies of Exeter.

Jan. 10 – Thursday opens mildly and the sun shines out very pleasantly at 9 a.m. Many of our mechanics are employed in the Portsmouth Navy Yard. Ther. 42 at 2 p. m.

Jan. 18 – The 6th N.H. regt., which contains about 40 Exeter men, has arrived at Hatteras Island.

Jan. 21 – Mr. Eldridge lectures on the social and religious condition of Georgia. S.J. [Supreme Judicial] Court sits – Judge S. D. Bell, presiding. Charles Smith aged 14 years skates from “Beach Hill” to the village – 4 miles in 30 minutes.

Jan. 31 – A clear and beautiful day. Fine sleighing. Albert F. Marsh, Co. C, N.H. 6th regt., dies at Camp Winfield, Hatteras Island, N.C., aged 18 years.

Feb. 5 – Dr. Gleason commences a course of very popular lectures at the town hall. Truth and error are amusingly interblended.

Neal Dow, colonel of the 13th
Maine regiment. A former rnayor
of Portland, he favored prohibition
and abolition.
Feb. 18 – Bells are rung at noon and at 5 p. m., and 24 guns are fired in commemoration of the capture of Fort Donelson by Gen. U. S. Grant. The Me. 13th regt. Col. Neal Dow, passes through town. Anniversary of the “Mission School,” at the Town Hall in the evening. Mr. Wm. R. Leavitt, Co B, 3d N. H. regt., dies at Hilton Head, S. C. aged 51.

Feb. 22 – Washington’s birth day is commemorated by a meeting of the citizens at the Town Hall, the reading of Washington’s Farewell Address, etc.

Feb. 28 – It snows all day. Snow is now between three and four feet deep in the forest. The children of the primary School District No. 2, make a quilt of 61 squares, each having the name of a contributor for the N.H. 2d regt.

March 9 – The Rev. Mr. Nason lectures before the “Christian Fraternity.” James H. Gasand, 14th Mass. regt., dies about this time at Fort Albany, near Washington, D. C. Battle between the “Monitor” and “Merrimack.” Asa Beals, formerly of this town, aged 32, is killed on board the “Cumberland.” [The Merrimack (a/k/a the CSS Virginia) rammed and sank the Cumberland, a 20-year-old 50-gun sailing frigate, on March 8 at Newport News, Va.]

March 12 – Mrs. Lizzie B. (Holbrook), wife of Mr. Aura L. Gerrish, Teacher, dies, aged 20.

March 18 – The academical term closes and students gladly start for “Home, sweet home!” Friends of the Rev. Mr. Hooper assemble at his house and present him about $100 in cash; together with wood, flour, etc.

Lincoln liked the humorist Artemus Ward, but
apparently he drew a small crowd in Exeter. 
March 24 – Mr. Chas. F. Browne, alias “Artemus Ward,” lectures at the Town Hall on the “Children in the Wood,” to a small audience. [Ward, Abraham Lincoln’s favorite humorist, had been a printer in Lancaster, N.H., early in life.]  

March 31 – The ladies send a box of clothing, etc. to Co. B, Capt. Stanyon, 8th N.H. regt., at Ship Island, Miss. The News Letter [Exeter’s weekly newspaper] commences its 32d volume.

April 1 – The Maine 3d Battery passes through town.

April 5 – Snow in a.m. Travelling execrable. It has snowed 35 times during the winter, and we have had about 120 days of sleighing. Freese Dearborn, Esq. dies, aged 84 years and ten days. Ther. 23. at 9 p.m

April 10 – Annual Fast. Sermon before the united churches, by Rev. E. Nason.

April 12 – Dea. Francis Grant crosses the river below the lower falls upon the ice at noon. Day superb.

April 13 – A very charming day. Hear the welcome song of the Phebe (musicapa aira).

April 16 – River clear of ice. Day warm and birds singing sweetly.

April 19 – River full and flowing down over the upper dam like the long, golden, curling tresses of a young girl. Battle of South Mills, N C. in which Capt. H. H. Pearson’s Co. participates heroically without loss.

April 20 – Dr. S.B. Swett is severely injured by being thrown from his gig. Mr. James Conden and Miss Jane Shimmick are married. Eggs are selling at 12 cts. per dozen; ham at 10 cts. per lb.

April 24 – Mr. Eben Folsom and Miss Hannah S. Bagley are married. S.S. Leavitt in town. Daniel McNary, aged 16 years, killed on board the “Brooklyn,” in the bombardment of Forts Phillips and Jackson.

April 26 – Anemone nemorosa in bloom. Also, Prunus Americana.  Mrs. Henry Manjoy dies, aged 68. S. D. Lane, Esq. kills an ox which weighs 1600 lbs. when dressed.

May 1 – Bar. 30.25 at 2 p.m. The ground is free from frost. Cold and chilly morning; a great many people out in quest of “May flowers.” The Unitarian Society hold a very pleasant May Day Festival at the Town Hall. Tableaux and music in the evening very fine. The Sabbath School of the 1st Church make an excursion to the “Elysian Fields” in the afternoon.

May 5 – Thunder storm at noon, and five elm trees on the Hampton road struck by lightning – also a white ash about 50 feet high, near Mr. Gilman Barker’s, on the Brentwood road. Battle of Williamsburg, Va., in which the N. H. 2d regt. bravely participate, and in which, of this town, William H. Morrill is killed, Lieut. Albert M. Perkins, J F. Haines, W. Floyd and G. H. Thing, wounded. Com. Long raises the “Stars and Stripes.” [Perkins was wounded again at Gettysburg the following year; Charles W. Floyd deserted on Dec. 26, 1862; George H. Thyng served out his three years but died of disease in Exeter in 1864.]

The Baltimore oriole
May 9 – The Baltimore oriole – (Ieterus Baltimore) appears.

May 11 – Blossoms of the red maple fall. Barn Swallows build their nests. The foam below the falls assumes peculiar geometrical figures. Butterflies appear. Houstonia cerulea in bloom. John S. Rock, Esq., (colored) lectures at the Town Hall. [Rock was a teacher, lawyer, doctor and abolitionist.]

May 28 – Vast numbers of chimney swallows assemble at night-fall; wheel for half an hour or so with merry song around a chimney near and take up lodgings for the night. Front street now is beautiful as the grove of Academus.

June 6 – The Academy now has 105 students; our High School 77. Mr. John F. Smith from Culpepper C. House, Va., arrives in town. Also, Mr. Colbath who was taken prisoner at Bull Run. The “Bell Ringers” give a concert at the Town Hall. [Levi W. Colbath was a 22-year-old 2nd New Hampshire  private from nearby Stratham.]

The Exeter B&M depot, from 1915 postcard.
June 10 – The depot of the B. and M. R.R. broken open last night, and robbed of about $10, in cents.  Mr. John Gilman’s store also broken open. The thief caught. Locust-tree (Robinia pseudacacia) in bloom. Parties enjoying boat excursions up the river.

June 14 – A slight frost occurred last night, by which some vines were injured. Several academy boys recruiting soldiers for the army.

June 16 – Mr. Jacob Stone returns from Port Royal, S.C. – sick. Battle at James Island, S.C. – N.H. 3d regt. engaged and the following Exeter men wounded : Wm. Caban, in the breast, mortally ; Samuel Caban, in the leg; Jacob Smith, in the breast ; Wm. Marston, in the leg, and Daniel W. Elliott, in the arm. [Stone survived his illness; William Caban did not die of his wounds until June 30; Samuel Caban’s wounds led to his discharge; Daniel Elliott returned to the 3rd and was wounded again at Drewry’s Bluff, Va., in 1864.]

June 26 – Green peas, brought from E. Kingston, are selling at 8 shillings per bushel. Rainy day. Mr. C.C. Stevens is recruiting for the 9th regt.

June 27 – Mr. S.G. Pillsbury, student, leaves for Manchester with 25 recruits (5 students) for the 9th reg’t. Farmers commence haying. Some use the mowing machine. Mr. J. B. Robinson, Co. C, 6th regt. dies at Roanoake Island, aged 40 years. Sweet brier in bloom.

June 30 – Great excitement occasioned by reports of battles in front of Richmond, Va., in which our men engage.

July 1 – A gloomy uncertainty in the minds of the people resp’g the fate of our army at Richmond.  [In the battles known as the Seven Days, Maj. Gen. George B. McClelland was actually withdrawing his army from the gates of Richmond.]

July 5 – Mr. Oliver Pray, of the Mass, 26th regt., and formerly of this town, dies at Ft. Jackson, Miss, aged about 50 years.

Exeter Town Hall
July 10 – Levee at the Town Hall for raising money for the sick and wounded soldiers; large attendance.

July 14 – A war meeting is held at the Town Hall. Hon. Amos Tuck, chairman. Mr. W. Sanderson and Miss Carrie E. Piper are married.

July 15 – A dull rainy day. War news discouraging.

July 20 – Silver change has almost entirely disappeared and glutinized postage stamps take the place of it. [The stamps were placed in round cases with clear plastic over their faces, often with an advertisement on the metal reverse. Called encased postage, this emergency money proved to be unpopular.]

July 23 – The Cashier of the Granite State Bank receives two counterfeit one hundred dollar bills on the Merrimack Co. Bank, Concord. The Portsmouth and Newmarket Banks were also deceived.

July 28 – Ladies still toiling energetically on behalf of the soldiers.

Aug. 1 – The town vote to pay a bounty of $100 to each recruit in a new, and $125 to each recruit in an old regiment.

Aug. 2 – Miss Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Mr. Thomas and Mary Wainwright, dies, in her 17th year. Mr. Henry Wood, Co. D, 4th N.H. regt., and Miss Caroline F. Weeks are married. G. James M. Levering, Esq. is appointed Collector of Internal Revenue for N.H. District No 1. A party of Exeter young men establish Camp “Cobb” at Hampton Beach, where many of our citizens are now recreating.

Aug. 11 – The President’s call for 300,000 additional men is warmly approved and many are enlisting. Remarkably fine sunset.

Aug. 13 – A grand war meeting at the Town Hall. Addresses by Messrs. Kidder, Wood, Nason, etc.

Aug. 21 – The Maine 17th regt. passes through town in 17 cars.

Aug. 26 – Ladies forward a box of Hospital stores to the “Sanitary Commission.” [The commission was an early version of the Red Cross.]

Aug. 28 – Blueberries selling at 3 cts. per quart. Hay crop very good. Golden rod (solidago Canadensis) in bloom. Catharine Halion dies, aged 33. 23 volunteers leave for the war.

Detail from a Currier & Ives lithograph of the second battle at Bull. Run. 
Aug. 29 – Battle of Bull Run, in which the 6th N.H. regt. is sharply engaged. Albert Bowley is wounded in the shoulder; S.S. Hodgdon in the hand; Morris Redding loses a thumb; Wm. and Jno. Doody, Wm. Ryan, A.J. Davis and Frank Corcoran are missing. The N.H. 2d regt. lose in all 132 men in this engagement. [Bowley, Hodgdon and Redding all left the 6th because of their wounds; the Doody brothers were regained from the missing but soon discharged; Ryan was also regained but deserted a few months later; Davis returned to the 6th and was wounded at the Battle of the Crater in 1864; Corcoran left the regiment but later rejoined it and was again captured at Poplar Springs Church in 1864.]

Sept. 1 – Ladies send a box of hospital stores to the Sanitary Commission. From Sept. 1861 to Sept. 1862, Mrs. W. has knit 50 pairs of stockings for the soldiers.

Sept. 4 – Splendid weather. The quota of soldiers from Exeter is already made up. The friends of Maj. M.N. Collins, N.H. regt. present him a sword, belt, sash, etc., on his departure for the war. Many of our people attend the Camp Meeting at Newmarket Junction. [Major Moses N. Collins, 42, of Exeter and the 11th New Hampshire Volunteers rose to lieutenant colonel before he was killed at the Wilderness on May 6, 1864.]

Sept. 7 – An eagle is seen perched for some time on the hand of the statue of Justice, surmounting the dome of the Court House.

Sept. 9 – Charming day. Great anxiety for the safety of Washington.

Sept 14 – N.H. 11th regt, containing several Exeter men, arrives at Washington, D. C.

Sept. 17 – The great battle of Antietam, in which the N.H. 5th, 6th, and 9th regts. are engaged. B. Wadleigh, M.D. French, and Samuel Page are wounded. [Sgt. Joseph B. Wadleigh of the 9th later died of disease while stationed in Kentucky; Moses D. French was actually wounded at South Mountain shortly before Antietam and left the 9th the following month; Samuel Page was discharged for disability in December.]

Sept. 19 – John Marshall, son of Mrs. E. Cobb, 1st mate of the “Sea King,” is lost, with that vessel, 10 days out from San Francisco to Liverpool.

Sept. 25 – An officer recruiting for the navy hangs his flag out at the Squamscott. Beautiful Aurora Borialis at 9 p.m. – radiant.

Oct. 1 -- Dr. Wm. Perry is appointed to examine such enrolled men as claim exemption from military duty.

Franklin Pierce
Oct. 6 – Prof. Henry B. Nason in town – also, Ex-president Franklin Pierce, who has been spending some time at Little Boar’s Head. [Three years later, Pierce, who lived in Concord, bought property at Little Boar’s Head in North Hampton, N.H., with the idea of building a summer resort there. He built a two-story cottage with a long view to the Isles of Shoals and spent the few remaining summers of his life there. He died in 1869.]   

Oct. 11 – Five dogs are poisoned by strychnine, in Franklin street.

Oct. 16 – The 25th Maine regt. Col. F. Fessenden, passes through town. Messrs. G. C. Lyford, & Co. issue “Scrip,” redeemable at the Granite State Bank.

Oct. 20 – Exeter soldiers in the Washington hospitals; W. Ryan shot in the side; P. W. Sullivan; Jno. Doody wounded in the hip; Stephen White. Mr. Chas. Wm. Young leaves for Concord, with 17 recruits. The foliage of the forest less beautifully tinted than in October last.

Oct. 24 – Ther. 24. Water froze last night.

Oct. 29 – James M. Tappan, Student, Co. A, 9th regt., dies at Pleasant Valley, Md., aged 29 years and 8 mos. [Tappan, a 9th New Hampshire sergeant, had been wounded at Antietam.]

Oct. 30 – Mr. Samuel Tilton, formerly of this town, is erecting an elegant mansion on Beacon St., Boston.

Oct. 31 – Mr. Augustus Weeks’ family came near being suffocated by kerosene oil left burning in the night.

Nov. 7 – First snow storm of the season commences at 11 a.m. – severe.

Nov. 13 – Our ladies – zealous in every good work – send a “box,” containing 399 articles to the S. Commission.

Nov. 20 – Rain storm continues. Kerosene oil selling at $1.00 per gall. Hard wood $6.00 per cord.

Nov. 28 – John T. Perry, Esq., Editor of the Cincinnati Gazette, and Miss Sarah N. Chandler of Concord, are married.

Dec. 13 – Rain and Snow. Great Battle at Fredericksburg, Va. Many N.H. regts. engaged. James M. Sleeper killed ; Richard Neally, Newton Cram, Freeman Conner, and Leonard II. Caldwell [of the academy,] wounded – the latter mortally.

Dec. 14 – News of the defeat of Burnside’s army at Fredericksburg, saddens every heart.

Dec. 26 – Rainy and warm. A valuable “box,” forwarded to the S. Commission, containing – inter alia – eight one gallon jars of jelly. About $450 in cash have been expended in filling the boxes for the soldiers this year. Our 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11 & 12 Regiments are at Falmonth, Va. – Our 3 & 4 are at Hilton Head – and our 8th is at New Orleans.

Dec. 31 – Dull cold day.

So ends a year of rebellion, trial, toil and bloodshed. – of exalted patriotism and loyalty, as of national agony; but HOPE leaning on the arm of Him who defends the right and controls the destinies of the nations, sends her brightening eye into the year now opening, and beholds the Rainbow of peace serenely smiling on the bosom of the storm.