164th New York Infantry Regiment's Civil War Newspaper Clippings
OFFICIAL PAPER OF THE CITY
UTICA THURSDAY, JULY, 30, 1863.
HEADQUARTERS 164TH REG'T N. Y. S. V.,
MANASSAS JUNCTION, Va., July 21, 1863.
To the Editor of the Evening Telegraph:
Time has effected many changes, and for the past few weeks they have been quite rapid.—On the 12th inst. we received orders for immediate marching. The reported successes of Gen. Meade and his following up the enemy, awakened the surmise that we were to follow his army, allowing those in his rear to join him, which eventually became true.
After a short delay we embarked on the steam transports, which were to convey us to Washington via Potomac River. Nothing occurred to relieve the monotony on board a crowded vessel. After a tedious trip of thirty-four hours we arrived safely at Washington, and immediately marched to our camping-ground, which was situated about a mile from the Long Bridge. To speak of the unpleasant weather which awaited our coming, called to mind that time-worn dialogue, "It never rains but it pours" around Washington, which is very true. Not a tent raised, and standing twelve hours in such a storm, reminded one of the comforts of home. It was some relief to us when orders were received to proceed to Alexandria in light marching order; thence to Springfield, Fairfax Court House, Centreville Heights and finally halted in this forlorn place. On the march the many deserted houses, torn down fences and trampled fields presented to the imagination a dismal picture for the future to work upon. Passing over the Heights of Centreville the old camp of the 126tb Regiment N. Y. V. came in view. The arches erected by its members, though faded, still remain firm. In conversing with a lady living near the camp, she spoke in the most flattering terms of both officers and men, and when speaking of the losses which that Regiment sustained in after battles, she could not suppress her emotions, and tears flowed freely from her eyes. Such is the regard which many residents here have for the majority of the New York Regiments. In passing over one portion of the battle-field of Bull Run, the scene was terrible; the constant rain storms have washed away the ground covering the many hundreds killed at that last battle, rendering it almost impossible to pass along the road. Large quantities of camp equipage and ordnance stores lay strewn over the field. On the 23d inst. Gen. Greggs met a large number of the enemy in Ashby's Gap and gave them battle. The flashes from the artillery could be faintly seen from our camp. After fighting for six hours the enemy were obliged to retreat; there was considerable loss on both sides.
The guerrilla chief Mozart is scouring the country about here. He captured five of the 69th Regiment who had wandered into the woods. Having relieved them of the money they had that day received from the Paymaster, he paroled them and they arrived in camp this morning. A wagon train of three hundred and fifty wagons has just passed, en route for Meade's army. Gen. Greggs has again attacked the enemy at Ashby Gap. The cavalry scouts are not permitted to give details. Yours,
HEADQUARTERS 164TH REG'T, N. Y. S. Vols.,
KING'S DIVISION, CENTREVILLE, Va., Sept. 4, 1863.
To the Editor of the Evening Telegraph:
Although some time has elapsed since my last communication, the unusual inactivity in this Department has occasioned a great scarcity of items. The repeated raids of Moseby's guerrillas tend, to a certain extent, to relieve the monotony of camp life; and these, of late, are growing less frequent, on account of the wound which Moseby received in a skirmish, about ten days ago, near Drainsviile.
On the night of the 25th of last month the regiment, supported by one regiment of cavalry, started out on the Little River Turnpike, towards Drainsville, arriving at that place about four o'clock in the morning. Here we received information from an "intelligent contraband," that the guerrilla chieftain had left Drainsville in a dying condition. His men were informed of our advance by the numerous female spies which infest this locality. Starting immediately in pursuit, we arrived at Middleburg about 12 o'clock, where fresh evidences of a hasty departure were manifest, yet the knowledge of a superior force of the enemy being encamped about two miles above, and no means of having an addition made to his small force of men, induced Col. Mahon to retrace his steps towards camp, where we arrived about 10 o'clock the next morning, wearied out. Although having been participants in several scouting parties, nothing was ever accomplished except the recapture of sutler's wagons and bringing in confiscated property.
Camped but 35 miles from Alexandria, yet the guerrillas have passed with a force of two thousand cavalry from Richmond, across the line of the Alexandria and Orange Railroad, which is the only rail communication with Meade's army. This has been done repeatedly, and still continues. Nothing prevents them from cutting off our supplies at any moment. The motive for allowing this to be carried on, is a mystery to all here.
Since Moseby's accident, White's and Kinswello's bands have been quite active. Advancing to within a mile of Alexandria, they succeeded in carrying off a large number of horses which were being sent to the front to replace those condemned. Still, they are partial towards the sutlers' trains, and continue to hover around them. As our sutler was going to Washington about two weeks ago to buy goods, he was captured when within three miles of Alexandria. For some days fears were entertained for his safety, as it was known that he had a large sum of money with him, and that he would show resistance to being captured. On the 1st his partner received word from the War Department that he was in Libby Prison, awaiting to be exchanged. Cusick (Heenan's trainer) was in camp a few days ago, having escaped from the t rebels when near Staunton, on the road to Richmond.
Conscripts are daily being sent to Meade's army. This morning nine car loads of rebel prisoners passed through to Washington from the front. Although a large force has been sent from the immediate front to Dumfries, the rebels make no demonstrations of an early attack.
President Lincoln passed through here a few days ago to visit the army of the Potomac.
It is currently reported that this division will go to Charleston. Not withstanding this, log cabins are rapidly advancing on towards completion, leaving us in doubt where we will spend the winter. If left upon the dreary heights of Centreville for three months, no engagement could thin our ranks so quickly. The health of the troops at present is very good. Yours, Sebastian
P. S.--The report of Moseby's death is not credited here.
FROM THE 164TH N. Y. V.—The following letter from a member of the 164th will be read with interest:
Alexandria, Va., Sept. 6th, 1864.
Editors Commercial:—Dr. Hasbrouck, of the 164th N. Y. V., who was captured with a large portion of the Regiment at the battle of "Reams' Station," has returned from the Libby Prison today, and gives me some information that will interest your readers.
Capt. Maroney and Lieut. Boyle are both dead. Capt. Beatty, of same regiment, helped to burry them. Capt. Maroney died of lock jaw and typhus fever; Lieut. Boyle of fever. They were from Lockport. Captains T. Kelly, O'Rourke and Beatty are well and in Libby Prison. Capt. McCowing is badly wounded; will probably die. Capt. Beatty is paroled and at Annapolis. Lieut. Dunn has been sent to Andersonville, Georgia.
I have this moment received a letter from Captain Beatty, paroled prisoner, just from Richmond, who informs me that Capt. O'Reilly and Lieuts. Hearn, Cantwell, Ryan and McTarnish, with 96 others are in Richmond, leaving about 50 of the Regiment detailed and in camp.
THE 164th REGIMENT BATTLE.—This Regiment, made up largely of volunteers from this vicinity, has, it appears from the account of one of its members, who is a correspondent of the Daily Union Press, suffered severely during the present campaign.
During this short contest on the morning of the 18th inst., the 164th Regiment lost about 110 men in killed, wounded and missing. The loss of the other regiments I know not. Shortly after the fight I saw Major Byrne, of the 164th, badly wounded in one of the hospitals on the field. I hope he will recover. His conduct whilst engaged evinced the true spirit of a brave soldier. Lieut. Col. Delacy, of the 164th, was also badly wounded. Lieut. Waters, of Buffalo, was killed; but the task of recapitulating the casualties is more than my present strength is able to effect.
DEPRIVED OF THEIR COLORS,--We omitted to mention yesterday that the 8th N. Y. Artillery and the 164th N. Y. Vols. have been deprived of the privilege of carrying colors by command of Maj. Gen. Gibbon. It is very strange that two of the best regiments in the service should be treated in this manner. Possibly the reason may be (as we heard a friend remark) that the Col. (Willet) of the 8th artillery, has been nominated by the Democrats for Congress.
EXECUTION OF SOLDIERS.--Three soldiers of the 164th New York Volunteers--Eneas Daily, P. Hargroff and C. Harrington-- are under sentence to be shot on Friday on a charge of desertion. They originally enlisted in the Duryea Zouaves as nine months' men, that corps having then served out fifteen months of its two years' term, and were recruited under the impression that they were only to serve for nine months (up to the 5th of April last) They, together with severity-five others, including three officers, refused to be transferred to the 164th and were tried by court martial. The officers were cashiered, and all the others were condemned to different grades of punishment, but the three unfortunate men above named were sentenced to die. Efforts are being made to procure the clemency of the President, and it is thought that, under the circumstances, the application will be favorably regarded.
Letter from Major M'Mahon.
The family of Major John M'Mahon have received a letter from him dated on the field, two miles from Petersburg, June 30th, from which we are permitted to make the following extracts:
" We have been under fire now four days, and although our regiment has suffered terribly, I have not yet received a scratch. On Saturday we made a charge on the rebel works to carry a position and lost 29 men killed and wounded. There were 9 men of Company G wounded, 3 of whom I think will die. Doolittle was slightly wounded in the leg below the knee, but he has not left the company. His hurt will not amount to much. Barry Amends was killed. He died about two hours after being shot.
" We are now lying behind breastworks which we constructed night before last. We are shelled most of the time and the rebel sharpshooters have a good range on us. But there has been only one man hurt since we occupied these works.
" Patrick Winn of Company C, and James Moffat, both of Rochester, are wounded, the former badly. Both will probably get over their injuries.
Wayne County Soldiers in the 164th. —A private letter states that Company I, 164th regiment, belongs in part to Wayne county.—The company was originally recruited for the 17th New York, (one of the two years regiments) and after it disbanded the three years men were transferred as above to the 164th.
COL. JAMES MCMAHON.--The correspondent of the N. Y. Tribune gives the following particulars of the capture of Col. McMahon, who is well known in this city:
Col. Jas. McMahon, 164th New York, Corcoran Legion, is supposed to be a prisoner, badly wounded. In the charge he was in advance of his regiment, had mounted the parapet simultaneously with the color-bearer, had taken the colors in his own hands, had rammed the staff into the earth, and was shouting to his men, only a few of whom were near, when he was seen to clap his hand to his side, to walk back a few steps, and then to sink upon the ground.
Col. JAMES P. MCMAHON.—The correspondent of the N. Y. Tribune gives the following particulars of the capture of Col. McMahon, who has near relatives and many friends in this city:
Col. James P. McMahon, 164th N. Y., Corcoran Legion, is supposed to be a prisoner, badly wounded. In the charge he was in advance of his regiment, had mounted the parapet simultaneously with the color-bearer, had taken the colors in his own hands, had rammed the staff into the earth, and was shouting to his men, only a few of whom were near, when he was seen to clap his hand to his side, to walk back a few steps, and then sink upon the ground.
A dispatch in yesterday's Tribune, dated Washington, Monday, says: "Col. McMahon is a prisoner and not wounded." We noticed yesterday, among the ladies engaged in ministering to the wants of the wounded soldiers in St. Mary's Hospital, a young sister of Col. McMahon.
Colonel James P. McMahon.
The following tribute to the late Col. James P. McMahon who, although never a resident here has many friends in this city, appears in the Army and Navy Journal of Saturday:
In the fierce contests of the 3d instant before Richmond, Colonel James P. McMahon, of the 164th Regiment of New York Volunteers, fell mortally wounded. The heroic manner of his death has in all probability attracted more than ordinary attention. Leading his men to assault the enemy's works he daringly dashed ahead, and foremost, fighting with the National colors in one hand, was in the act of planting them upon the earthworks which entrenched the foe, when his body was pierced with six bullets by the Rebel sharpshooters. An enfilading fire of the most deadly character thinning the ranks at every volly, his men were compelled to fall back, leaving the body of their heroic chieftain where it had fallen, from whence it was afterwards recovered by the determined bravery and exasperated devotion of the regiment.
Colonel McMahon was a native of Ireland, but was only an infant when he came to this country, 1835, and was about twenty-nine years old at the time of his death. He was a graduate of St. John's College, and was admitted to the bar in 1860.
The friends of Colonel McMahon in this city will many of them remember the zeal with which he entered into the business of recruiting, in the hope to entitle himself to a second or perhaps a first lieutenancy. His generous and gay temper, his rare wit, together with a most simple, confiding and affectionate disposition, ensuring him ... warmer regard than is usually given by man to man, his martial and adventurous turn of ... obtained for him among intimate friends the soubriquet of "Charley O'Malley." In 1861 Colonel McMahon raised a company for the Irish Brigade in which he held a captaincy, but was soon after assigned to the staff of Brigadier-General Meagher, and subsequently to that of ...adier, afterwards Major-General Richardson. ... then became Lieutenant-Colonel of the 164th New York Volunteers, commanded by his brother, Colonel John E. McMahon, and on the death of said brother, about a year ago, was promoted to the command. Another brother, Major Martin T. McMahon, was of Gen. McMahon's staff up to the time of his retirement, after which he was transferred to the staff of Major-General Sedgwick, and stood at the side of his chief receiving orders when that distinguished officer was killed. But few men in the army united so many of the qualities which are traditionally attributed to the dashing and invincible soldier as were possessed by this brilliant young man.