Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The 111th NY Volunteers

I hope to post some photos linked to this blog and having to do with the 111th next week. Already available for your viewing pleasure are the 4 Scipio pages of the 1890 special Veteran's Census, showing Benjamin Gould of the 111th among others.

The 111th is the Unit my great-grandfather Fred Peckham enlisted in, too. A lot has been written and said about these men, who you may have heard referred to as the Harper's Ferry Cowards. Mustered in at Albany for one short month, these green troops were pitted against seasoned soldiers from the Confederacy. Their leadership was also untested and hesitant and as a result, several brave men died or were injured at Harper's Ferry through no fault of their own.

From the stunning defeat at Harper's Ferry, the 111th was sent to guard rebel prisoners at Camp Douglas in Chicago. Camp Douglas was the Andersonville of the north. During the Civil War, it held over 18,000 troops and 1 in 5 of them died, in many cases due to the deplorable conditions. Food was withheld as were clothing and blankets. Executions were regular and the remains were left visible to serve as a warning to those still surviving. A heart of darkness for our nation indeed.

The 111th redeemed themselves in the eyes of their nation at Gettysburg, and there are some very well-written books about their battles. If you'd like a list of 4 or 5, make a comment to this post.

Fred Peckham was injured after only 6 months, and discharged due to that injury. He convalesced in Virginia until well enough to leave. On Valentine's Day, 1863, Fred left Virginia and went to Williamsport Pennsylvania. We will pick up his story another day.

Benjamin Gould, also in Company I of the 111th, was injured badly and discharged on April 1 of 1865. A quick check of the battles fought shows that the 111th engaged in the Appomattox Campaign in Virginia, March 28 to April 9 of 1865. Just before the fall of Petersburg on 4/2/1865, they engaged in battle at White Oak Ridge 3/29 - 3/31/1865. In that engagement, 64 enlisted men were injured but recovered. Benjamin Gould must have been among them.

No comments: