A poignant story in Our War recounts the sinking of the West Point, a transport steamer, after a collision on the Potomac River in August 1862. The chapter is called "The newlyweds," after John and Kate Cummings, who were married in December 1861 at the 6th's training camp in Keene. But the story extends to all three couples involved, the three 6th officers and their wives. All six are pictured here, though the shot of Maj. Obed G. Dort of Keene is clearly postwar.
I began researching the story after seeing the names of two of the women, Kate Cummings and Sophia Scott, on the Civil War monument in the town of Peterborough. The Peterborough Historical Society has good files on the tragedy, including the letters of John and Kate Cummings.
|Here is the color guard of the 6th New Hampshire Volunteers. Judging from the condition of the banners and the|
uniforms, the photo was probably taken early in the war.
|Here's a different shot of Lt. John S. Smith. You can read a letter from him here.|
|Sgt. Frank Corcoran of Exeter|
was wounded at 2nd Bull Run
and captured at Poplar Springs
|Sgt. Charles H. Wiley of Newmarket,|
N.H., was captured at Poplar Springs
Church, Va., on Sept. 30, 1864. Less
than three months later, he died of
disease at Salisbury, N.C., prison.
|In a letter included in an earlier post, 6th officer John S. Smith described|
Phin Bixby, his major and later colonel, as "a fellow of infinite jest." Here
Bixby poses with his dog. The mystery is how he and the photographer
kept the dog still for the long exposure time required in the 1860s.
|Julia Dort came south to see her|
husband but drowned in the accident.
|Maj. Obed G. Dort of Keene lost his wife|
Julia in the sinking of the West Point.
|Charles L. Scott of Peterborough, lieutenant colonel of the 6th, was on the steamer West Point when it|
sank in the Potomac River after a collision. His wife Sophia and two other wives of 6th officers drowned.
|Sophia Scott drowned in the West Point disaster. The veterans'|
monument in Peterborough honors her and Kate Cummings.
|Kate Cummings came to Virginia to visit her|
husband but drowned on the way to meet him.
|Capt. John Cummings, a newlywed,|
mourned his wife after the accident.
|Sherman Cooper of Claremont was|
the 6th's surgeon for 18 months.
|Marshall L. Brown of Keene served as|
a hospital steward for most of the war.