This is a narrative of
Wethersfield’s participation in the great Civil War. [Approximately
200] Wethersfield men served in the war. At that time the population was
2,700 so more than 1/3 of the town’s able-bodied young men were in the
war. Nine were African-Americans who were part of the Connecticut
regiments consisting of African-Americans.
Twenty-nine men died,
one of which was shot for desertion. Of these twenty-nine, five were
killed in battles, two died from wounds, four died in prison camp and
the remaining eighteen died from other causes, mainly disease. Nineteen
men were wounded and nineteen captured. Forty-three deserted, but this
was not a realistic number in that after the war many soldiers went home
without waiting for official discharge procedures. There was much to be
done at home and the war was over.
The remainder of this paper
will concentrate on regimental or other unit activities that
particularly affected Wethersfield men.
Volunteer Regiment had five Wethersfield men enlisted in this
90-day regiment. At that time most of the people in both the North and
South thought that the war would be very short and 90-day regiments were
common. The regiment was at First
Bull Run but saw no action. Four of the five men re-enlisted in
Volunteer Regiment was another 90-day regiment, which contained
four Wethersfield men and saw some action of First Bull Run.
5th Volunteer Regiment was formed from many of the men in the
90-day regiments and continued to fight throughout the war. The regiment
fought against Stonewall Jackson in his valley campaign and was in the
final skirmish at Chancellorsville
in which Jackson was wounded by his own men and later died of
complications. It also fought at Gettysburg
and later transferred to Sherman’s army participating in his march to
Seven Wethersfield men were in this regiment, one of
whom was wounded in the Atlanta Company and later died of his wounds.
7th Volunteer Regiment was one of the first regiments that
reflected the realism that it would not be a short war. Enlistments were
for 3 years. There were 20 Wethersfield men who were part of this unit.
They spent the early part of their service in the sea islands of South
Carolina and Georgia. Two Wethersfield men died on Hilton Head Island
where no fighting was being done. This is an example that disease was a
major killer of the Civil War soldiers. Later in that war they fought in
campaign, suffering deaths, wounds and capture. Desertions were higher
in this regiment including three Wethersfield men who did not return to
their units after recovery from wounds.
8th Volunteer Regiment contained 18 Wethersfield men including
Chaplain John Morris who later co-authored a book on the war. Their
fiercest fighting was at Antietam
where Morris was said to have picked up a gun in the heat of the battle
and at Cold Harbor
where 2 Wethersfield men were killed and one was wounded.
9th Volunteer Regiment contained two Wethersfield men, one of whom
died in New Orleans. The regiment spent the early part of the war in
Louisiana and finished it in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
10th Volunteer Regiment served in North Carolina, Florida and
Virginia. It contained 11 Wethersfield men.
11th Volunteer Regiment was with Burnside’s expedition to the
North Carolina barrier islands. The later went with him to Antietam and
suffered heavy casualties. Of the ten Wethersfield men in this unit, two
were killed. The regiment fought in the Richmond-Petersburg campaign
losing it’s brigade colonel, Hartford’s Gifford Stedman who is buried in
12th Volunteer Regiment was known as the Charter Oak Regiment,
being recruited in the Hartford area. Eleven Wethersfield men were in
the regiment, one of whom died. It fought under Benjamin Butler in
Louisiana and later with Nathaniel Banks in his Louisiana campaign.
13th Volunteer Regiment had 9 Wethersfield men and had parallel
service with the 12th being recruited in New Haven.
16th Volunteer Regiment was one of Connecticut’s and
Wethersfield’s tragic regiments. It was mustered in late August of 1962
and in less than a month was thrown into the final part of the Battle of
Antietam. The unit was untrained and only recently armed. Predictably
they were ineffective and ran, suffering heavy casualties. Of the 15
Wethersfield men, two deserted the day of the battle.
fought at Fredericksburg with
slight loss and was then transferred to the Southern Virginia, Northern
North Carolina area. The regiment was stationed at the town of Plymouth.
There it was attacked and captured by an overwhelming Confederate
force. 436 were captured and sent to various prison camps. Most of them
were sent to Andersonville and
about one half died there. Nine Wethersfield men were captured of which
18th Volunteer Regiment contained one Wethersfield man who
participated in no battles.
20th Volunteer Regiment fought at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg
and then transferred to Sherman’s Georgia Company. There were four
Wethersfield men in the unit.
21st Volunteer Regiment fought at Fredericksburg, Cold Harbor,
and in the Petersburg campaign. There were four Wethersfield men in the
22nd Volunteer Regiment contained 41 Wethersfield men. This
regiments was a 9 month regiment which spend most of its time in the
defense of Washington, but also spent some time on the Virginia
peninsula. Ironically, the troops were mustered out on 7/7/63, four days
after Gettysburg. The degree of its involvement in the battle can be
inferred from the fact that the regiment had no one killed in battle.
25th Volunteer Regiment was another 9-month regiment which was
primarily engaged in the siege of Fort Hudson in Louisiana which fell
shortly after the fall of Vicksburg.
One of the 17 Wethersfield men was captured in this campaign.
27th Volunteer Regiment contained only one Wethersfield man who
was captured at Chancellorsville, but was shortly released. The regiment
faced severe fighting at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and
29th Volunteer Regiment was the first Connecticut regiment of
African Americans formed near the beginning of 1864. It saw action under
the direction of General Benjamin Butler who was one of the early
advocates of using black soldiers. There were eight Wethersfield men in
this unit, one of whom died after the fighting was over but was still
with the regiment.
30th Volunteer Regiment was the other Connecticut African American
regiment. One Wethersfield man became sergeant in this small unit which
was involved in the famous battle of the crated and went on to Lee’s
surrender at Appomattox.
Connecticut Heavy Artillery Volunteer Regiment was originally in
the Connecticut 4th infantry. It was one of the first regiments in the
North to agree to a 3-year enlistment. There were 20 Wethersfield men in
the unit. They were assigned to the Army
of the Potomac. They performed significant service at Lee’s assault
on Fort Stedman in March of 1865 which was to be his last offensive
effort of the war.
Connecticut Heavy Artillery Volunteer Regiment was organized as the
19th Infantry Regiment and was changed to Heavy Artillery in November
of 1865. In May of 1864 General Grant decided that he needed Infantry
more than heavy artillery and changed their function back but not the
name. They were assigned to one of the best brigadier generals, Emery
Upton, and fought in many of the key battles in the east. There were
seven Wethersfield men in this unit.
1st Cavalry Volunteer Regiment fought unsuccessfully against
Stonewall Jackson in his famous Shenandoah Valley Campaign and
successfully with General Phil Sheridan in his later cleanup of the
Valley and in the campaign to the end of the war in West Virginia. There
were six Wethersfield men in this regiment.
men served in some non
Connecticut units and 4 men served in the Navy including Sherman
Adams who was Asst. P.M. of the Gunboat Somerset doing blockade duty
along the Florida peninsula.
About the Author: Wes Christensen