Saturday, May 16, 2015

Roll call of death for a company of the 7th New Hampshire

Sergeant Teel was 21 years old when he was wounded at Fort Wagner. Evacuated
to Hilton Head, S.C., he died the next day . He was from Wilmot, N.H.
A couple of years ago on this blog, I wrote about meeting Dicky Ferry, an expert on the Battle of Olustee and a collector of things associated with that battle – letters, weapons, uniforms, caps and photographs of the participants. In Our War: Days and Events in the Fight for the Union, I told the story of the 7th New Hampshire Volunteers’ debacle at Olustee, the only major Civil War battle in Florida, on Feb. 20, 1864. For my book Dicky kindly allowed me to use several photos of 7th New Hampshire soldiers.

He had bought the collection from a dealer. The men in the photos, many of which were blowups of wartime cartes-de-visite (CDVs), were all from Company E of the 7th. Many of the men of this company had been recruited in and around Penacook, a village in Concord. Its captain, Abner Durgin, was a stalwart citizen of the village.

The Pencacook chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic, the main Union veterans’ organization after the war, was named after Durgin. Dicky and I both surmised that the photos had most likely been displayed in the GAR hall, an honor to comrades the company had lost in action.

I recount this story because several of these photographs were sold recently on eBay. I included many of them on my earlier post, but here are the ones now being sold. While I understand economics and the collecting urge, I find it unfortunate that the collection will be scattered. After all, the resolute faces of these comrades-in-arms have stayed together for well over a century.

All these men of Company E were wounded or killed at Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863, when the regiment attacked the battery shortly after the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, the famous African-American regiment, led the charge. The 7th lost 77 men killed or mortally wounded in the battle.
A rare non-New Hampshire private in the regiment, Daggatt was a 31-year-old from
Massachusetts. He was wounded and captured at Fort Wagner. Returned to Union
forces, he died on the hospital ship Cosmopolitan two days after the battle.
Baker, a Loudon, N.H., native who lived in Boscawen, was 39 when he died at Fort Wagner.
Sergeant Haven, a 34-year-old from Sunapee, was severely wounded at Fort
Wagner and captured by the rebels. He died four days later in Charleston.
Private Holmes, a 20-year-old from Concord, was killed at Fort Wagner.
Private Connor, 28, of Penacook died at Fort Wagner.
Private Prichard, 24 when he was killed, was from Boscawen, N.H.
Wounded and captured at Fort Wagner, Private Kimball died the next day in
Charleston. He was 24 and enlisted from Salem, N.H.

Private Abbott, a native of Boscawen, was wounded at Fort Wagner but returned to
duty. He was discharged in June 1865 and died a short time later. The Abbott family
was large. Oliver's brother George, also of Company E, was wounded at Olustee.

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