54th New York Infantry Regiment's Civil War Newspaper Clippings
Fraud upon the soldiers' relief fund.—Louisa Bolly, wife of a deserter from the Fifty-fourth regiment New York Volunteers, was taken into custody by officer Newkirk, of the Second District Police Court yesterday, on charge of obtaining money, by means of false pretences, from the Fifth Senatorial Relief Committee. Mrs. Bolly's husband, it appears, was originally a member of the Forty-first regiment of New York Volunteers: but being discharged for some cause, enlisted again in the Fifty-fourth regiment. He remained in this regiment a few weeks, and after receiving his bounty money deserted. His wife was cognizant of all these facts, and continued to draw two dollars a week from the Relief Committee for five months, when she was really entitled to nothing. The facts in relation to her husband's desertion did not come to the knowledge of the committee until within the past few days, when it was determined to put a stop to the fraud, and accordingly, a complaint being made against the accused, she was arrested as already stated. Justice Quackenbush committed the prisoner for examination.
Telegraphic advices state that a serious riot occurred at Hudson City, Saturday night between members of the Barney Rifles, who are quartered at the U. S. Arsenal on the hill, and some 300 citizens, which it is feared may yet lead to serious results. A number of persons were injured, including the Mayor of the city, who while trying to quell the disturbance was stabbed five or six times about the head and body, and is very seriously if not fatally wounded. There were serious apprehensions of a riot yesterday. It was deemed advisable by the authorities to call out the militia, and companies of the 2d regiment were ordered to hold themselves in readiness at their headquarters. Some of the soldiers, it is alleged, while about the city, have insulted women to such an extent as to cause bitter feeling against them. A large number of people visited the camp yesterday, and great excitement prevailed both there and in the city.
Horace, Our Soldier.
For the Evening Express.
Your friends may well be proud of you,
Noble, generous, brave and true;
True to thy country, true to her cause,
Among the first to volunteer, and help support her laws.
Thou didst not stop to argue, if this were right or wrong,
Our country was in danger and thou wert brave and strong.
And thought it was thy duty, to be numbered with that band,
Who left their homes and dear ones, to defend our glorious land!
Thou didst pass through many battles, and fought when weak and faint,
And suffered for thy country, without murmuring or complaint.
Unselfish thou wert ever! Few are like thee here!
Offered thyself a ransom—for one to thee so dear.
Sisters! be not ashamed to weep, for one so good and brave,
For him, all earthly trials o'er, he's found a soldier's grave;
God has seen fit to call him, then let us not complain,
In that bright celestial city, we all shall meet again!
West Philadelphia Hospital, 1864. F.
Deserter Nabbed--On Monday last a chap named Peter Bradt enlisted as a substitute for a man from Medina, and after going through the preliminary escaped. He footed it to Spencerport, and the next day took the train for Suspension Bridge. At Medina his principal, Mr. Whedon, happened to step on the train, and saw the man, who, the day before, was sworn in for him. He notified Mr. Chas. E. Clark, Recruiting officer, who took him into custody. Bradt started to run, and would have escaped had not Mr. C. "drawn a bead" on him with a revolver. He was sent to jail.
THE EVENING EXPRESS.
ROCHESTER, N. Y.
THURSDAY EVENING, JULY 28, 1864.
The 54th.—This Regiment got off safely yesterday afternoon at one o'clock. We subjoin a list of the officers:
Lawrence Sellinger, Captain commanding.
Wm. H. Briggs, Surgeon.
Chas. E. Rider, Assistant Surgeon.
Chas. A. Brackett, Adjutant.
E. C. Blackford, Sergeant-Major.
John A. Sawtelle, Commissary Sergeant.
Co. A.—Captain, John Mayer; 1st Lieut., Christopher Rheinfield; 2d Lieut., Bernhard Wehrle.
Co. B.—Captain, Fred. Schoen; 1st Lieut., Adam Young; 2d Lieut., John N. Weitzel.
Co. C.—Captain, Chas. L. Fredenburg; 1st Lieut., J. H. Woodbury.
Co. D.—Captain, Lawrence Sellinger; 1st Lieut., John G. Baetzel; 2d Lieut., Michael Sellinger.
Co. E.—Captain, Richard Macauley, Jr.; 1st Lieut., Geo. W. Stanton; 2d Lieut, Henry B. Henderson.
Co. F.—Captain, Warner Wescott; 1st Lieut., Edwin H. Sawtelle; 2d Lieut, Sylvester P. Robins.
Co. G.—Captain, L. Brown; 1st Lieut, John C. Smith; 2d Lieut, John O. Loughlin.
Co. H.—2d Lieut, Alfred R. Hoyt, commanding.
Co. I.—Captain, Francis G. Maloney; 1st Lt. E. H. C. Griffen; 2d Lieut., C. E. Sabin.
Co. K.—Captain, Benj. Ridley; 1st Lieut, W. J. Winfield ; 2d Lieut, James H. Williams.
Co. L.—Captain, L S. Hobbie; 2d Lieut, A. Rosenthal.
The Regiment numbered something less than four hundred, rank and file.
OUR WOUNDED AT ELMIRA.—The Elmira Advertiser publishes the following list of arrivals at the Soldiers Home in that city, July 35th:
D. S. Sherwood, 31st N. Y. Cav, M.
D. S. Warner, 3th N. Y., Art., D.
T. H. Hammel, 8th N. Y., C.
Wm. Burnett, 8th N. Y., C.
P. Welch, 108th, F.
Walter T Writsburg, 8th N. Y. Art.
Warren F Card, 108th N. Y.
July 26th.—J J Larwood, 8th Art., C.
Wm. E. King, 9th Art., E.
Homer Richmond, 111th, D.
C Harlackcr, 104th, C.
L. D. Carpenter, 9th V. R. C., G.
F E Pool, 126th, A.
C C Bridges, 81st, G.
W Holmes 3rd Art., K.
Lewis Cross, lllth, I.
A. Van Buran, 0th Art., H.
W. B. McCormick, 3d Art., K.
J. Boaster, 3d Art., K.
Wm. Manhan, 148th, K.
C. R. Cook. 3d Art., D.
D. D. Copp, 128th, F.
John Mathews, 24th C. with husband.
Jas Booth, 4th Art., D.
THE PAY OF THE 54th REGIMENT.—There is a hitch somewhere about the payment of the soldiers of the 54th Regiment, for services rendered at Albany and elsewhere. At a suggestion of Col. Clark a meeting of the line officers of the Regiment was held, on Monday night. The meeting appointed Capts. Sillinger, Lewis, and Kennedy a Committee to go to Albany and enquire into the matter, and to ascertain why payment is not made if possible. The Committee will leave on Thursday night.
HIRAM BARNEY RIFLES.
This regiment, Col. Kozlay, is still encamped at Hudson City, N. J. They are ready, and impatient to be called to join the grand army of the Potomac.
SWORD PRESENTATION.—On Wednesday evening the officers and men of Company B, 54th regiment, N. Y. N. G., assembled at their rooms in the Armory and presented to their commanding officer, Captain Schoen, a beautiful sword suitably inscribed. The presentation was made by Mr. John Horn in behalf of the members of the company, in a few appropriate remarks, to which Capt Schoen responded in a neat speech. The company then partook of some refreshments provided for the occasion, and spent a couple of hours in an agreeable and pleasant manner.
COMPANY H, 54TH REGIMENT, N. Y.--
— The members of Company H, are requested to meet at the office of W. H. Holmes, on Exchange street, to-day (Dec. 1st.), at two and a half P. M., to attend the funeral of Corporal John Evans. A. R. Hoyt, Orderly.
THE 54TH AT MORRIS ISLAND.
[Please note that the next clipping does not refer to the the 54th New York Infantry but the 54th but more likely to the 54th Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry (Colored). This was noted by Mark Hendrickson in an email. He also wrote: "Colonel Shaw was Colonel of the 54th Mass and he is mentioned in the letter. A Lieutenant Colonel Hallowell is mentioned in the letter and a Lt. Col. Hallowell took command of the 54th Mass. after the death of Col. Shaw. The 54th Mass reported 272 men killed in the attack on Fort Wagner while the letter mentions nearly 270 men in the regiment were killed. I think you guys really need to research that and you will see that it is not from the 54th New York. Thanks. - Mark Hendrickson"
The following extracts from the letter of a young officer of the 54th regiment, to a relative in this city, give some further interesting particulars of the assault on Fort Wagner, &c.:
Morris Island, S. C., July 21, 1863.
The same day of the attack on our forces on James Island, which three companies of our regiment sustained the brunt of, we evacuated James Island, by making a night march to Cole's Island, and destroying the bridges in our rear. On the morning of the 18th inst. we came to Folly Island, and crossed over to this (Morris Island.) We remained under arms all day, while the monitors, gunboats, mortar boats, and our batteries kept up an incessant fire on Forts Wagner and Sumter. About 4 P. M. we received the order to advance, and the officers were made acquainted with the news that our regiment was to have the "post of honor," the extreme advance. We marched up the main road, passed to the front of our batteries, and formed in wings—that is the left wing in the rear of the right wing. My company was on the right of the left wing; the Colonel led the right, and the Major the left. We then lay down, awaiting the order to advance. Supporting regiments formed in our rear; the rebel batteries threw round shot and shell, and our batteries replied with the same coin. Gen. Gillmore rode to the front of our line, cheered the men, informed them of the nobleness of the cause; company officers spoke a word of praise to the steady, and threatened to shoot the coward. The men were ordered to take off everything but equipments, and to load but not cap their pieces. In this manner we occupied the time until the order "forward." Up we sprang, Gen. Strong in the front, and our gallant Colonel preceding the colors. We marched in quick time, the left wing closed up on the right, the men moved steadily amid a buzz and whirl of shell and solid shot, until within some three hundred yards of the fort. We could notice the ominous silence that preceded the storm; for a moment Wagner, Sumter and Johnson were silent—then bang—zip zip—thud—crack went the most terrific discharges of musketry, grape, canister, solid shot, and every description of ammunition into our ranks, over our ranks, and through our ranks.— Men began to fall; the double quick step was taken; away they went, over sand hills, rifle pits and abattis, every moment growing smaller in numbers, but closing on the centre. I had attempted to keep my company together, but it was of no use. It was growing dark, so I pressed to the front, and towards the colors. The course pursued was followed by most of the officers; they closed the men on the colors, and rushed forward. The fort was at last gained—now to get in. Some scrambled up the walls, others crawled up the bastions, and into the embrasures—but our men were now few in number; the fire had destroyed many, the supporting regiments had fired into us and retired; the monitor had thrown a shell or two by accident into our ranks. All this had served to discourage many men, and send them to the rear; only portions of some regiments gained the walls, but what then? Take our regiment for example. The Colonel was seen to fall inside the fort. The Major wounded went to the rear. Capts. Willard, Russell, Simpkins, Appleton, Pope, Jordan, Adj. James, Lieuts. Smith, Pratt, Tucker, ___mans, Jewett, all wounded and carried to the rear. No wonder the men could do no more and back. The other regiments were in the same conditon, without officers, and at last all fell back. I was mortified that we had not succeeded, but I was consoled by the fact that our men fought like heros and that whatever others might say, the mournful list of casualties would bear witness. So to the rear I went, and I must confess the greatest fear I had was that I should get struck in the rear —so I backed out most of the way. The rebels completely raked the field in every direction, and many were struck down at my side. Half way down I met Lieuts. Grace and Dexter, and together we went back. The road was guarded by artillerymen with orders to send all the men back to their regiments. They acted brutally and shot some men in cold blood; it was foolishness to attempt to send men to their regiments when officers and men were all gone, and I, after finding that the guard were unreasonable, and that no provision had been made to reform the regiment, determined to do what I could. I went to the left of our advanced battery, and found a rifle pit and embrasure not occupied by any men. I commenced collecting all the stragglers that came in and placed them in the rifle pits so that if necessary we could make a stand. The firing was kept up until nearly twelve o'clock that night on both sides. A strong advance picket was put out and fatigue parties were sent out to take in our wounded. Gen. Stevenson came where I was, and told me I did well in collecting the men and that he would relieve us soon. The 10th Connecticut regiment did so. We marched our men to the rear and sent them to their regiments. I found what remained of our officers, seven in all, and the men, marched to the rear and stopped for the rest of the night. We had nearly 270 men killed, wounded and missing. A great many of the wounded were very near the fort and probably fell into the enemy's hands. Those that we secured and the officers have been sent to Hilton Head.— Some other regiments suffered badly but not so badly as ours. The men behaved splendidly, and it must be remembered that the regiments they acted with were old soldiers, while we had never really been under fire of any consequence. We feel very lonely now without our other officers. I think I never saw a more agreeable set of fellows than the officers of this regiment. It is wonderful, the attachment and respect we have one toward another, and it is very hard to have so many away.
Our camp equipage, &c., which were left at St. Helena, have been sent for, and everything indicates a permanent siege until the forts can be reduced. It will be a great relief when these things reach us, for since our departure from St. Helena we have been living more like Digger Indians than U. S. soldiers. We came away without anything. We are very anxious to learn the fate of Colonel Shaw—he was last seen on the parapet of Fort Wagner, cheering on the men.
We are in General Stevenson's Brigade, the 3d of the 1st Division, Gen. Terry. I have seen Capts. Daland and Gardner and Lieut. Nichols of Salem several times. They are well.”
A letter from Dr. Stone, of the 54th Regiment, dated Morris Island, July 25th, says that in the two actions in which they have been engaged the regiment has lost about 310 men. There are some fifty slightly wounded men in camp, and some twenty ailing men. The men are really in need of clothing, and during the past fortnight they have constantly slept on the ground without blankets or shelter, and there has been a great deal of rain, wetting and drenching them completely. We have however very little sickness, and expect tents soon. The men bear the privations very bravely indeed. Col. Shaw was shot through the heart, and was buried in the trenches of Fort Wagner, with twenty-five men over him."
One hundred and eighty five of the wounded arrived at New York last week in the Cosmopolitan. Most of the wounded officers of Eastern Regiments from Morris Island left New York for Boston on Thursday evening. Lieut. Col. Hallowell is wounded in three places and has gone to Philadelphia to the residence of his father. He describes the fight at Fort Wagner as the most desperate contest he was ever engaged in, and extols the valor of the 54th Mass. regiment as almost unprecedented.
The gallant General Geo. C. Strong died of his wounds soon after arriving at New York. He was in the thirtieth year of his age. He was a native of Stockbridge, Vt., but came to East Hampton, Mass., when only eight years old, and was appointed from Massachusetts to West Point, where he graduated in 1857. His funeral took place on Saturday, the 8th regiment and 5th battery regulars forming the escort. The remains were interred in Greenwood.