|Article from The
Letters of the Civil War (Copyright Tom Hayes 1998)
which has unfortunately disappeared.. (Paragraphs about the 15th in
From the Boston Herald, January 3, 1863, Pg. 4, Col. 3.
DECEMBER 29, 1862.
FIFTEENTH MASSACHUSETTS. NINETEENTH MASSACHUSETTS. TENTH MASSACHUSETTS BATTERY, LIGHT ARTILLERY.
Falmouth, Va., Dec. 29.
A NEW BRIGADIER GENERAL. Lieut. Col. Devereux, of the Massachusetts 19th, has been appointed Acting Brigadier General of Dana's old brigade, in place of Col. Hall, Acting Brigadier General, who is dangerously ill.
A NEW COLONEL. Capt. Plimpton, Of Co. I, is Acting Colonel of the 19th Massachusetts regiment.
MASSACHUSETTS FIFTEENTH. Capt. George W. Rockwood, recently returned to the regiment from Richmond and Annapolis, and exchanged parole prisoner, is in command of the 15th Mass. The Acting Adjutant is Lieut. Wm. G. Waters. The 15th has been doing picket duty lately.
DEATHS IN THE NINETEENTH MAINE. On the 26th and 27th insts., the following deaths occurred: Privates Wesley Denniston, Co, B, Charles Coombs, Co. K, and Samuel Wiley, 2d, Co. K, 19th Maine. Private Kenniston died of chronic diarrhea. His application for discharge was made out more than a month ago, but not acted upon by the medical and military authorities.
LIEUT. COL. CARTWRIGHT. Not apprehending that there would be any rumor of his death, the correspondent of the Herald suggested to Lieut. Col. Cartwright of the 28th the propriety of stating that he was not engaged in the Fredericksburg battle, on account of his serious sickness, but it was deemed wise not to do so. Had this been stated, there would have been no alarm at the subsequent rumors that he was killed in battle and his body found near the celebrated stone wall.
It is a little remarkable that Capt. Thomas Cartwright, the father of Lieut. Col. Cartwright, of the New York 63d, was reported to have been killed in battle, and that his son (a brother of Lieut. Col. C.,) a Captain in Duryean's Zouaves, who had been wounded in a previous battle, read that report and came from the hospital after the body of his father. He was surprised and pleased on his approach to camp to see his father alive and well. The exertion and exposure of the son in this act of devotion to the father aggravated his wounds and produced lockjaw and death, and his own body was carried away from Falmouth instead of that of his father.
REMARKABLE WOUNDS. Among the remarkable wounds in the recent battle was that of one Massachusetts officer wounded by a musket ball, which went through his pocket and carried a part of his handkerchief into the wound. When the handkerchief was drawn out of the wound the ball came with it.
A Pennsylvania officer, at the time lying with his regiment on the battle- field, was wounded by a musket ball, which passed through his upper and lower jaw and lodged in his throat. The Surgeon declined to remove the ball, as it was so near the jugular vein he feared hemorrhage and death would follow. The officer was sent off for Washington, but when he reached the Aquia Creek he begged that he might be permitted to lie down there and die, so great was his distress and pain. He did lie with his face downwards, but shortly beckoned to a friend to strike him on his back, when the ball was thrown out of the throat, and since then the wounded man has been recovering.
MORE GOODS AT THE DEPOT. Among the goods accumulating are the depot are sky-blue overcoats, nose-bags (for horses to eat grain in), horse equipments, tubs of butter, &c. The work for completing the projected building for storage does not go bravely on, and perhaps operations in that quarter are to be suspended.
APPEARANCE OF REBEL CAMPS. The rebel camps in the rear of the late battle ground in Fredericksburg look pretty and comfortable. If they have no shoes, nor clothing and nothing to eat; they appear to have good tents.
BULLET PROOF VESTS. The 27th Connecticut regiment was plentifully supplied with bullet proof vest, which protected many of the wearers from dangerous wounds, who were wounded in their legs and arms, and were saluted with several shots upon their armor, which did not penetrate it.
NOT ENOUGH EXEMPTS. Army Surgeons hope there will be less hesitation in exempting men from military duty who are unfit for service, and that there will be a more rigid examination of volunteers before they are accepted by the surgeons at home. It is suggested that in some of the new regiments men have been accepted who have been rejected by the examining surgeons of other regiments.
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY. An officer in our army, recently from Richmond, where he has been a prisoner, expresses the opinion that the United States Government will be forced to acknowledge the independence of the Southern Confederacy. This probably the southside view of the matter.
A CHRISTMAS DINNER. At Gen. Burnside's headquarters, there was a very creditable Christmas dinner. One of the General's staff has furnished your correspondent with the printed bill of fare, which is enclosed, and is handsomely printed.
THE 10TH MASS. BATTERY IN SERVICE. Capt. Sleeper's Battery, which has become the school of instruction at Washington, left for Poolesville on Thursday last. It was considered the best battery in the school.
PILING IN THE SOLID SHOT. On Thursday, the day of the first crossing to Fredericksburg, Hazard's Rhode Island Battery, stationed at the right of the Lacy House, near this end of the pontoon bridge, expended 380 rounds of solid shot upon the enemy's sharpshooters, rifle pits, and covers lining the opposite bank of the river. There was some target practice from the battery, and when a piece was aimed at a chimmey or any similar object, "down it came." All this was before the crossing.
A DESPERATE PLACE AND HOT PLACE. At 3:35 P. M., on the day of the rough fighting Saturday, when one more and last attempt for the day was to be made to take the enemy's batteries on the crest of the hill, orders were given by Capt. Morgan, an acting chief of artillery, to take Hazard's R. I. battery to the front and place the guns in position on an eminence some 150 to 260 yards from the enemy's rifle pits. Capt. Morgan said it was at the request of Gen. Couch, who doubted whether a battery could get in there or live there, but he rather lose the battery than lose the moral effect upon the infantry who were about to make a charge upon the enemy's works. Capt. Morgan expressed his belief that the only way to get the battery in would be to go in double quick. To render it easier to manage the pieces were formed in one line and the caissons in another, and the battery rushed with all speed the horses could make and as soon as they came within range of the enemy's fire they opened on it.
Capt. Hazard placed the centre and left sections on the brow of the hill and the right section in the road about 30 yards in advance of the other sections, and opened on the enemy with solid shot from the centre and left sections, and shell from the right. He continued to fire with rapidity for 45 minutes, when Gen. Humphrey's requested him to cease firing that he might charge through the battery with his brigade on the enemy's works. The battery was withdrawn after the infantry passed, by order of Capt. Morgan.
To know how hot it was, it is only necessary to add that in the space of 45 minutes, the battery lost 16 men (out of 38 it took in) and 12 horses, besides having the horses of three officers shot down. The "No. ones" of the battery are the men who sponge out the pieces. The whole six of these the enemy shot down, and when "No. threes" were taken in their places, they also were picked off. The wheel horses of the battery were picked off, but the leaders were not touched. This was shrewd on the part of the enemy, as the loss of wheel horses disables a battery more than the loss of the leaders, as their harnesses are different, and the harness of the leader cannot draw on the wheel. All the mischief of the battery was done by the sharpshooters-none with shells.
One limber was left on the field, owning to the loss of horses, but Sergeant Anthony B. Horton, who replied in answer to Capt. Hazard's question if any sergeant would volunteer to go back and bring the limber off, "I am your man," succeeded in bringing it in.
GEN. SUMNER ADDRESSES THE BATTERY. Some days after the battle, when Gen Sumner, with his staff, was making a tour of review and inspection, he called out the battery boys, and told them he had heard of them and felt proud, and wanted to assure them that he could depend on them anywhere and at any time. The men were gratified at this compliment from Gen. Sumner, who is not profuse in his commendations.
THE GLORY OF NEW ENGLAND. It will recollected that
ten men of the 15th Mass. regiment went to the assistance of the battery when his men
where mowed down by the rebel sharpshooters. They and the Rhode Island boys are entitled
to a generous share of the glory of New England won at the famous Fredericksburg battle.
(Boston Herald, January 3, 1863, Pg. 4, Col. 3.)
Thanks to the work of Tom Hayes, wartime articles
in Massachusetts newspapers have been compiled and are being typed and posted on the web
at: Letters of the Civil War
Copyright Tom Hayes 1998.