Anecdote

The battle of Gettysburg had been in progress the entire day of July 1st, when early in the evening, the Thirteenth Vermont Infantry, commanded by Colonel Francis V. Randall, reached the battle-field after seven days of steady marching. That night was devoted by the entire Third Brigade, under General Stannard, to much needed rest. On the following day, with the battle renewed, the Vermont boys were called upon for heavy work and they responded bravely all along the line. In the afternoon a body of Confederates was seen dragging off a battery that had just been captured from General Sickles' forces and just at that particular time, batteries were needed. At this juncture General Hancock rode up, and, seemingly addressing the entire regiment, asked: "Can you Vermont men take those guns?" The commander of the regiment, Colonel Randall, replied: "We'll try, General." Then followed the command forming five companies for a charge, then the charge. Company A was in the lead and in command of Captain John Lonergan, who describes the succeeding events as follows:

"My company reached the guns first, and placing my hand upon the nearest gun, I ordered the enemy to surrender. All this time the whole regiment was under severe fire, with men falling all along the entire charge; but we reached the guns comparatively together and in good form. The Confederates obeyed my summons to surrender, after which my men lay down their guns and taking hold of the wheels of the gun carriages, began moving them to a new position where they could be utilised.

"Meanwhile I noticed that we were sustaining much damage from firing that came from the Codories House in our front. And so ordering my command to pick up their guns, we made a charge of the house. We quickly surrounded the building, the men at once covering the windows and doors with their guns, so that no man should escape. Then I stepped to the front door, and knocking it in, I ordered: 'Surrender! Fall our here, every damned one of you!'

"My order was obeyed almost instantly, for the Confederates came tumbling out, led by their commanding officer, until we had eighty-three men as prisoners. The officer in command handed me his sword and each man laid down his gun until I had a considerably larger number of men as prisoners, than I had in my entire command. When all was over for the day General Stannard sent for me, and upon my arrival, he said: 'Captain, you did well to-day, but do you know you violated all military laws in capturing those prisoners in the Codories House?'

Photo

"'How is that, General?' I asked.

"'Why,' replied the general with a smile, 'you know that in forming a company line, the command is, 'fall in!' and at the Codories House you said" fall out.'

"I saw the joke and answered: 'Yes, General, but they were already in, and so had to 'fall out.'"

Source: Beyer and Keydel, 226-8.


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF CAPT. JOHN LONERGAN, COMPANY A.

MANY incidents with their mixture of humor and pathos, many disappointments, which if properly looked at, contain the key to their own solution, group themselves round every undertaking in a soldier's as well as a civilian's life. The record of these incidents, even if on a comparatively small scale appeals to all, as the reader, according to his constitution, race and upbringing sees himself reflected therein and almost unconsciously finds his pulse quicken as their recital proceeds to a successful ending. What is here stated has an apt illustration in the circumstances that led to the formation of Company A. It is the plain record of duty done, of patriotic impulse perservered in, of principles applied as they were understood, of an estimation that lives and is cherished round many firesides. If to a Vermonter there are no homes like Vermont homes, he may he pardoned for thinking there are no men like Vermont men, no soldiers like Vermont soldiers, either native or foreign born, who look to that state as to a land they love, even for its very ruggedness of nature, its hills and mountains that have inspired her sons with something of their own strength and stability.

The record of Company A is the record of a blend of races, the officers and major portion of men being Irish-Americans, the remainder being composed of native Vermonters, with a sprinkling of French Canadians. The following account will show they were all good soldiers, all good Americans, and valiant defenders of the Union. How the company was not organized till the war had been in progress a year, and how it was finally sent out, and became hardened soldiers by camp life, picket duty, and skirmishing for the great drama of Gettysburg, is the object of these pages. The way was not strewn with roses, and if the habits of character are catching, if patriotism, to be of value, has to be properly nursed and disciplined then Company A, owes no small share of its success to the officer who recruited it, fought with it and was mustered out with it, at the close of the campaign.

The late John Lonergan, Captain of Company A, 13th Regiment Vermont Volunteer Infantry, was born in the town of Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipparery, Ireland, April 7th, 1839, being the eldest son of Thomas and Mary Lonergan. Captain Lonergan received his preliminary education from the Christian Brothers. His schooling was however cut short by emigration, and coming to Vermont in 1848 with his parents, who settled in Burlington, he was soon at the bench helping to support a large family. In these young years, the work of the day being over, he busied himself at night by studying and reading, with the occasional assistance of a private teacher. His military instinct developed itself early, and in 1859 he was a member of the Allen Greys, of Brandon, Vt., in which organization he learned some useful military lessons. In 1860 he started in the grocery and provision business at Winooski, Vt., and organized Company B, 4th Regiment, uniformed Militia, of which at that time George J. Stannard was colonel. By these means Captain Lonergan had acquired a good training for the coming conflict, and when President Lincoln, on April 15th, 1861, issued his proclamation, convening Congress on July 4th, and calling upon the several States for seventy five thousand men, "to aid in the enforcement of the laws and the suppression of insurrection", he at once offered his services to Colonel Stannard, and was ordered by him to attend the first war meeting of the officers of the state militia held in Burlington April 19th, 1861. Though only (our days had elapsed since President Lincoln's call for troops, yet the meeting promptly supported that demand with armed assistance. There were present Adjutant-General Henry Baxter who presided and Captain Peter T. Washburn, as well as the representatives of the thirteen companies throughout the state. It was resolved to take the ten best prepared companies and form the 1st Regiment of the three months' men. Captain Lonergan received his commission to recruit a company for the 2nd Vermont Regiment, which read as follows:

State of Vermont,
Adjutant and Inspector General's Office,
Rutland, May 7th, 1861.

John Lonergan, Sir You are hereby appointed a recruiting officer to be stationed at Winooski, in this state, for recruiting and enlisting one company of able-bodied volunteers to "serve this state and the United States, when duly called for, for the period of two years, from and after the first day of June, 1861", in accordance with the provisions of an act of the Legislature of this state approved April 26th, 1861. By order of the Governor and Commander-in-chief,

H. HENRY BAXTER,
Adjutant and Inspector General.

The receiving of a commission to recruit volunteers must have thrilled the spirit of a young man, twenty-two years of age.

Thus while the war was still in its infancy. Captain Lonergan, throwing himself with his accustomed energy into whatever he was doing, enlisted as a private on May 7th, and recruited Company K, of which he was chosen captain June 1st. On that day he reported the full complement of enlisted men, and received the following order:

State of Vermont,
Adjutant and Inspector General's Office,
Rutland, June 3rd, 1861.

Captain John Lonergan, Co. H, Winooski.

Dear Sir You will herewith receive orders to report with your command to Lieutenant Colonel Stannard, at Camp Underwood, Burlington, on or before Thursday next. You will receive your commission on my arrival at Burlington. Yours,

H. HENRY BAXTER,
Adjutant and Inspector General.

Captain Lonergan reported at Camp Underwood, on the old fair grounds, which was surrounded by a high fence, and many a young soldier, thus brought under restraint for the first time, took delight in jumping it, being anxious to get back for awhile to town life. Captain Lonergan was assigned to quarters by Colonel Stannard, and received the letter K, instead of H, as by order. But an unexpected event then occurred; Captain Lonergan had not spared himself in getting his men together, nor in shaping them into soldiers, and was now not a little surprised and annoyed by the receipt of an order issued by Governor Fairbanks, on June 18th, 1861, disbanding the company on the ground that the regiment was delayed in consequence of Company K, not having the requisite number of men. As Captain Lonergan and sixty-five men had been sworn into the service of the United States, and were in consequence rather however cut short by emigration, and coming to Vermont in 1848 with his parents, who settled in Burlington, he was soon at the bench helping to support a large family. In these young years, the work of the day being over, he busied himself at night by studying and reading, with the occasional assistance of a private teacher. His military instinct developed itself early, and in 1859 he was a member of the Allen Greys, of Brandon, Vt., in which organization he learned some useful military lessons. In 1860 he started in the grocery and provision business at Winooski, Vt., and organized Company B, 4th Regiment, uniformed Militia, of which at that time George J. Stannard was colonel. By these means Captain Lonergan had acquired a good training for the coming conflict, and when President Lincoln, on April 15th, 1861, issued his proclamation, convening Congress on July 4th, and calling upon the several States for seventy five thousand men, "to aid in the enforcement of the laws and the suppression of insurrection", he at once offered his services to Colonel Stannard, and was ordered by him to attend the first war meeting of the officers of the state militia held in Burlington April 19th, 1861. Though only (our days had elapsed since President Lincoln's call for troops, yet the meeting promptly supported that demand with armed assistance. There were present Adjutant-General Henry Baxter who presided and Captain Peter T. Washburn, as well as the representatives of the thirteen companies throughout the state. It was resolved to take the ten best prepared companies and form the 1st Regiment of the three months' men. Captain Lonergan received his commission to recruit a company for the 2nd Vermont Regiment, which read as follows:

State of Vermont,
Adjutant and Inspector General's Office,
Rutland, May 7th, 1861.

John Lonergan, Sir You are hereby appointed a recruiting officer to be stationed at Winooski, in this state, for recruiting and enlisting one company of able-bodied volunteers to "serve this state and the United States, when duly called for, for the period of two years, from and after the first day of June, 1861", in accordance w^th the provisions of an act of the Legislature of this state approved April 26th, 1861. By order of the Governor and Commander-in-chief,

H. HENRY BAXTER,
Adjutant and Inspector General.

The receiving of a commission to recruit volunteers must have thrilled the spirit of a young man, twenty-two years of age.

Thus while the war was still in its infancy. Captain Lonergan, throwing himself with his accustomed energy into whatever he was doing, enlisted as a private on May 7th, and recruited Company K, of which he was chosen captain June 1st. On that day he reported the full complement of enlisted men, and received the following order:

State of Vermont,
Adjutant and Inspector General's Office, Rutland,
June 3rd, 1861.

Captain John Lonergan, Co. H, Winooski.

Dear Sir You will herewith receive orders to report with your command to Lieutenant Colonel Stannard, at Camp Underwood, Burlington, on or before Thursday next. You will receive your commission on my arrival at Burlington. Yours,

H. HENRY BAXTER,
Adjutant and Inspector General.

Captain Lonergan reported at Camp Underwood, on the old fair grounds, which was surrounded by a high fence, and many a young soldier, thus brought under restraint for the first time, took delight in jumping it, being anxious to get back for awhile to town life. Captain Lonergan was assigned to quarters by Colonel Stannard, and received the letter K, instead of H, as by order. But an unexpected event then occurred; Captain Lonergan had not spared himself in getting his men together, nor in shaping them into soldiers, and was now not a little surprised and annoyed by the receipt of an order issued by Governor Fairbanks, on June 18th, 1861, disbanding the company on the ground that the regiment was delayed in consequence of Company K, not having the requisite number of men. As Captain Lonergan and sixty-five men had been sworn into the service of the United States, and were in consequence rather beyond the jurisdiction of the Governor, he felt an injustice had been done to him and his command. The following afi&davit shows the view taken of the dlsbandment of the company by General Stannard:

St. Albans, Vermont,
November 7th, 1864.

I, George J. Stannard, formerly Lieutenant Colonel 2nd Vermont Infantry, take this occasion to say that I know Captain Lonergan, and that he was under my command at Camp Underwood, Burlington, reporting to me under orders with his company on the 4th of June, 1861, and assigned his position in line, his company being designated by the letter K. Captain Lonergan performed all his duties well and his company was considered a good one. His company was disbanded, the reason of which I never knew. I considered this act at the time a piece of injustice to Captain Lonergan, and was sorry to lose him and his company, and more especially after their having been inspected, accepted, and sworn into the United States' service. Captain Lonergan spent considerable time and money, and in my opinion was dealt with unjustly, and ought to receive a compensation for the same.

GEORGE J. STANNARD,
Brev. Major-General Volunteers.

After the close of the war Captain Lonergan, entering a claim against the State, was awarded the indemnity referred to, by a special act of the Legislature. Meanwhile protesting but submitting to the Governor's order, and seeing for the moment his hopes dashed to the ground, in the early part of the summer he followed the regiment to Virginia, taking with him thirty-five men, recruited mostly by Captain Burnham, Company H. Captain Lonergan was welcomed by officers and men of the 2nd Vermont, and was under fire with them several times, at Lewinsville, Falls Church and Munson's Hill. But finding himself in the peculiar position of not being recognized by the regimental roll, he secured a pass from "Baldy" Smith to go to Washington to interview Simeon Cameron, Secretary of War.

After listening to Captain Lonergan's statement of the dlsbandment of his first company, Secretary Cameron extended his pass to Vermont, at the same time advising him to report for duty, very often to Adjutant-General Washburn, as also to every U. S. officer he met on the way. Captain Lonergan followed this advice faithfully and as it created quite a stir between Washington and Woodstock. Vermont, the result anticipated was obtained. Previous to the outbreak of the war, as he was a captain of a company of state militia (the Emmet Guard), Captain Lonergan, after repeated demands was finally again called upon to report for duty with his company of 101 officers and men. These instructions were issued in a general order by Adjutant and Inspector General Peter T. Washburn, on August 8th, 1862, declaring 4,898 militia to be Vermont's quota of the 300,000 men summoned to the colors by President Lincoln. This order of the Adjutant-General, which brings to mind the stormy and threatening days of the war, enjoins in substance, that all companies of uniformed state militia be detached for service in compliance with the proclamation of the President. Furthermore, the commanding officer of each of the said companies is directed to report with his company for active service, as the law requires, at such place of general rendezvous as shall be named, and in the meantime each such ofiicer is notified to hold himself in readiness, with the company under his command, in the town in which such company is located, until further orders. When Captain Lonergan received a copy of this order, as commanding officer of a company of militia, he was in an awkward position. His personal wishes, and hopes long deferred, were now gratified, but he had In fact no company, as after dlsbandment the members of it had been scattered or absorbed by the other companies of the 2nd Vermont. But Captain Lonergan, taking a practical view of the matter, set to work recruiting more men. He attended war meetings and from Burlington, Winooski, Westford and neighboring towns, enrolled the names of those who were willing to enlist. Going to Rutland where he was fortunate in getting Lieutenant Sinnott and Lieutenant McDevitt to join him, he addressed the Irish quarrymen there, and enlisted nearly a score of men on the spot, securing in all over forty recruits in the same city. The result was that forty-eight hours ahead of time the company's ranks were complete. The election of officers resulted in the unanimous choice of John Lonergan as captain and John T. Sinnott as first-lieutenant. There were three candidates for second-lieutenant, namely, Alvin H. Henry of Westford, James B. Scully of Burlington, and David McDevitt of Rutland, the latter finally being chosen. As some friction had arisen in the appointment of the second-lieutenant, the wisdom of withdrawing by the Westford recruits, and joining one of the other companies of the county was discussed, but harmony was restored by the distribution of places to noncommissioned officers. Upon making known the organization of his second company. Captain Lonergan received on September 26th, the following order by telegraph from the Adjutant-General:

"Report at Brattleboro, with your company, on Monday next."

With this concise command begins the connection that united Captain Lonergan to Company A, 13th Vermont, for the ensuing year.

Previous to leaving Burlington there took place on September 28th, 1862, a very complimentary affair, by which Messrs. D. C. Barber, proprietor of the Howard House, John B. Wheeler, City Attorney and S. C. Crombie, at a private dinner, presented Captain Lonergan with a handsome Colt's revolver, and the following word of encouragement for which he was ever grateful to those gentlemen: To Captain John Lonergan, (Emmet Guard.)

Dear Sir We beg your acceptance of the accompanying revolver, as a slight testimonial of the regard we entertain for you as a man, and the confidence we have in you as a soldier and an officer. With a steady hand and a quick eye, we trust the revolver will never fail you in the hour of danger.

At Brattleboro came the leave-taking and the final preparations to start for Washington.

With the company now fully organized some reference to their make-up as they turned out for drill seems opportune. An examination of the original rolls, preserved among the papers of the late Captain Lonergan gives interesting results. The medical inspector's report, dated Burlington, September 17th, 1862, shows 103 men on the list, with 11 rejected and 17 minors. According to this report 42 men enlisted from Rutland, 35 from Burlington, 21 from Westford, and one man from each of the following towns: Georgia, Vergennes, Essex, Benson and Wallingford.

When the company reached Brattleboro to be mustered in on October 10th, the thinning out of undesirable recruits began. There are shown in these rolls 116 names, of which 11 are marked deserted, 8 not present at muster, and 14 rejected by the medical inspector, leaving 83 officers and men accepted. Of the 8 men not present at the muster-in, a subsequent report dated three weeks later declares that three men had deserted, and one was ill. A misplaced Initial would account for the presence of another private, giving a remainder of three more not reported. Upon comparing this roll with previous ones, one supplementing the other as to details, it is found that some 20 native Vermonters were mustered in, of which about 15 were from Westford. There were besides 5 French-Canadian citizens accepted, making in round figures 60 Irish-Americans, 1 from Burlington and Rutland, and 25 native Vermonters and French Canadians, who marched shoulder to shoulder In Company A. The journey to the South, the arrival at Baltimore, and the camp at Capitol Hill, in Washington, together with the marches into and in Virginia must be passed over. All this and the clashes with the enemy served the purpose of moulding Company A, into what Colonel Randall was accustomed to call his Irish Regulars. This phrase does credit to their efficiency, as it also records an attachment existing between captain and rank and file, that prompted him in the height of the battle of Gettysburg to decline to leave the company, and assume the duties of the lieutenant colonel, who had been reported wounded. Besides he also felt, though the matter is a delicate one to mention, that he had not been promoted at the proper time, and this with the recollection of earlier difficulties, made him determined to stand by his men, who in fact always stood by him. In this connection an Incident, regarding an unintentional encroachment on the liberty of conscience requires mention. When the first Christmas came around the usual orders were issued to attend divine service. Knowing the feelings of his men, most of whom were Catholics, and while declaring afterwards, the day might have been better observed under the circumstances by going to a non-Catholic service than by Idling In camp. Captain Lonergan objected to being forced to go, and refused to turn out his company. For this breach of discipline captain Lonergan was placed under arrest and relieved of his sword. This occurrence, which attained much celebrity In camp at the time, ended In the honorable return of the sword, and In a modification of regimental orders to the extent that in future attendance at church services was made voluntary.

Such Incidents go far to show that the following address presented to Captain Lonergan in Virginia by the company, with a sword and belt, was no unmeaning bit of phrasing, but was on the contrary a genuine testimonial of affection and regard :

Occoquan, Virginia, May 9th, 1863.

Captain Lonergan Sir: It is with pleasure and with pride that this duty devolves upon me, to perform which I have been deputed by the members of your company. They have long had It in mind to present you with some token, however, small, to represent to you the high opinion they have of your gallantry and courage as a soldier, the great respect they entertain for you as a man of upright integrity) and faithful and fearless attachment and devotion to what is right and just; but above all, to express to you their appreciation of your conduct towards them as "OUR CAPTAIN." Sir, though you have always performed your duty without fear or favor, yet you have tempered It with kindness and forbearance towards those under your command. It has been your endeavor to soften and mitigate the hardships of the camp, the march, and the bivouac. You have. Sir, done all in your power to make us good soldiers; you were always watchful of our good name and welfare; you saw that nothing was left undone, which ought to have been done to make us contented and comfortable. Sir, you have been kind to us. Receive, then, from us, this sword and belt, as a mark of our appreciation of that kindness, as also of your conduct as a man and a soldier' as an officer and a gentleman. We know you will carry it with gallantry and courage; and when it flashes and gleams on the battlefield, we have the proud satisfaction of knowing that this trusted steel cannot be propelled by stouter arm, nerved by braver heart than yours. Long may you live to wear it!

Lieut. John T. Sinnott.
" David McDevitt.
Sergeant James B. Scully.
" Thomas Blake.
" Joseph Weeks.
" P. W. Burtch.
Corporal John Patten.
" Thomas Traynor.
" Thos. J. Cullegan.
" Timothy Cummings.
" Torrey W. Sibley.
" Allen G. Prisbie.
" Jacob S. Drew.
" John Crowley.
Private Paul Seegar.
" Israel Videlle.
" Albert Tisdelle.
" John Ashey.
" Albert Swan.
" John Lang.
" Terrence Tully.
" James Knowles.
" Michael Quilty.
" Peter Gaherty.
" William Woodruff.
" Joseph McLaughlin.

Private Lewis Martin.
" Michael Moylan.
" Joseph Wallace.
" Thomas Farrell.
" Julius Goodrich.
" Edgar H. Woodruff.
" David T. Hard.
" Otis N. Rublee.
" Patrick Corey.
" John Shannahan.
" Patrick Ready.
" John Nugent.
" Martin Maloy.
" Edward McNeills.
" Michael O'Loughlin.
" Peter Shiette.
" Nicholas Lamb.
" Edward Lyons.
" Michael Mclnerny.
" James Corey.
" William Ryan.
" John Collins.
" John Hanlin.
" Patrick McMahon.
" Patrick Mclnerny.

This touching and manly address was written by Lieutenant Sinnott, who left his school teacher's desk in Rutland to go to the front with Company A. His death at Gettysburg was much regretted. Before the battle both lieutenant and captain agreed to write but not to mail their letters home, so In case anything happened to either of them, one would know what to do. It became the sad duty of Captain Lonergan to take charge of Lieutenant Sinnott's letter, wherein were instructions as to the disposal of his effects, and a word to his betrothed. The grave was marked and later the remains were brought to Vermont for interment in West Rutland, where a monument has since been raised to his memory by the town authorities.

A short time previous to the presentation of the sword and belt Company A, was detached from the regiment, and supported by the 2nd Connecticut Battery, was placed to guard Wolf Run Shoals. What attracted much attention at the time for its daring capture of a Union general in camp, is referred to in the following order:

Head Quarters 12th Regiment, Vt. Vols.
Near Wolf Run Shoals, Va.,
Feb. 6th, 1863.

Captain You will detail from your company one (1) lieutenant, and fifteen (15) men to occupy the upper part of Ford's barn to-night. One man will be kept continually on the lookout especially towards morning. By order of,

COL. A. P. BLUNT.

P. S. This detail will be relieved at 7:30 o'clock a. m. to-morrow.

This order, which was repeated three days later, relates to the capture of General Stoughton, by Mosby's guerillas, at Fairfax Court House. The object of sending a detail of Company A, to the barn was to make a prisoner of Miss Ford, who was supposed to have been Instrumental in the capture of the Union general, by making known to Mosby's men the countersign of the picket line. She was subsequently arrested but was released owing to lack of evidence. Interesting as these events are, with their unmistakable touch of camp life, the skirmishing and the strange feeling of being in the enemy's country, they can only be briefly referred to. It is but necessary to say that Company A, with the other Vermont companies, had all the while taken advantage of every opportunity to fit themselves for the great battle that was now to burst over their heads with a shock, the echo of which will long be heard in American History. (Company A, was time-expired as some claimed by nearly two months when the federal and confederate armies began to converge to a central point, to decide supremacy at Gettysburg, but to a man they decided to go into the fight.) What led up to the battle need not here be related. It is a matter of general history, as Is also the marvellous attempt made by General Lee to invade Pennsylvania, and threaten Washington. It would however give a very inadequate idea of what was going on not to mention that the 2nd Vermont Brigade, under the command of General Stannard, was fully aware of the importance of the seven days' march they completed before arriving at Gettysburg, at sunset, on the first day of the battle July 1st, 1863. On the afternoon of that day. Company A, with other Vermont troops came within earshot of the cannonading. The certain proof that the enemy was now in front, and that there was work to be done outweighed every recollection of fatigue, crowded their minds with fugitive thoughts of home, of the peaceful view of nature that lay on each side of them, but above all with the sense of duty, that none but a soldier could know, at that moment when duty became more personal and Imperative to them as the hours wore on.

The mounted courier that brought the news of the death of General Reynolds, and the determined stand the Confederates were making, acted on their minds with a premonitary effect, and as they felt the battle was to be no common one, they girded themselves for the conflict.

The canvas here becomes so large, the number of eminent generals and officers on both sides so great, and the feats of heroism so numerous, that to confine the great panorama to the doings of one brigade and to one regiment, and to one company, seems a task bound to result in failure. But as each company and each regiment and each brigade are units, performing in miniature the sum of deeds done at Gettysburg, it is obvious that, providing the proper perspective be observed, the record of one regiment nay of one company, cannot but prove of interest. As regards Company A, Captain Lonergan always had reason to feel proud that he and his men performed their full duty. Two achievements stand out above the rest in this record; the part taken by the company in the re-capture of 4 guns of a U. S. Battery, Turnbull's or Weir's of the Reserve Artillery and the capture, by the company of sharpshooters and infantrymen in and about the Peter Rogers house on the Emmitsburg road.

As to the re-capture of 4 guns of a Battery U. S. Artillery Reserve when the order to charge bayonets was given. Company A, was not behind the other companies under command of Colonel Randall. The boys of Company A, were among the first to reach the lost battery and covered themselves with glory in that brave and daring incident.

As creditable as this was, and though the honor of re-capturing the guns of that battery is shared by those who took part therein. Company A, was now called on to perform a most gallant deed, one in fact that only brave men could hope to accomplish. (Benedict, Vermont in the Civil War, Vol. II, p. 457.)

When it was noticed that the regiment was sustaining severe loss from firing that came from the Rogers house on the Emmitsburg road, Colonel Randall, turning to Captain Lonergan said: "that house is full of sharpshooters, take your company and capture them."

There was no hesitation to comply. Captain Lonergan afterwards wrote an account of the part taken by Company A, in the battle on reaching the house. "Near the door I saw an officer with a rifle in his hands and called for his surrender, demanded and received his sword and shouted: 'Come out here, every confounded one of you.' My order was obeyed instantly, for the Confederates came tumbling out until we had a large number of prisoners. Each man laid down his gun, until I had a considerably larger number of men as prisoners than I had in my entire company."

Colonel Randall wrote the following letter to Captain Lonergan soon after the war. It was apparently in reply to a request for a statement of the company's record, and coming from such a source it must long be held in estimation for its fair discrimination as regards Company A.

Montpelier, July 13th, 1869.
Captain:

Your letter is received. I shall always be found ready to do justice to old Company "A" of the 13th Regiment, ranking officer and all. I have on more than one occasion particularized that Company for their efficiency as soldiers, and particularly for their zeal and bravery at Gettysburg. Some interested parties have tried, and are still trying, to rob the 13th Regiment of the laurels fairly won by them at Gettysburg, or to parcel them with other regiments who had no part in them. If any act entitled the brigade to commendation during the fight, it was the retaking of Hancock's guns and the capture of two guns from the rebels, and the capture of prisoners on the afternoon of the second day of the battle. To you and your company belongs the immediate honor of capturing prisoners at the Roger's house on the Emmitsburg road. And on the following day, when the 13th led and made the flank attack on the rebel column that attempted to break our center. Company "A" being the right company of the Regiment, nobly stood and formed the pivot on which the Regiment swung as we changed front under the most murderous fire of the battle, and I have not forgotten, too. that it was here that the noble Sinnott fell. The position of your Company at that moment was most trying of all, being at a stand-still, while the other companies were in motion. This was a daring movement to perform and we lost several l)rave boys in its execution, but I shall always believe the result of the battle of Gettysburg turned on the circumstance of General Stannard and his Second Vermont Brigade holding the front battle line against which General Pickett with his 12,000 gallant heroes made their desperate and last charge; and in this opinion I am sustained by many good officers, among whom were Doubleday and Hancock, the latter of whom has so assured me by his autograph letters, which I have.

Now, Captain, I hope you do not think that I laid up anything against you personally on account of the Ranking Officer affair, for I never did. All colts have to be halter broke and then we get good horses of them. I had some colts.

Truly,
F. V. RANDALL.

The concluding paragraph of a statement prepared by Captain Lonergan on the subject of Company A, about which he talked but rarely, except when strongly moved as on this occasion, deserves to be quoted:"! trust I may be excused" he says, "tor using the personal pronoun so often. It is not easy to separate me from my company. I have in this letter given testimony of the valor of Company A. Heman Allen was there, Jas. B. Scully was there, Sibly, Hanlin, Shannahan and others were there. God alone saved you boys, and long may you live to enjoy the blessings of your great nation, to behold her as she is, great, glorious and free."

Out of a total of 11 killed in the regiment at Gettysburg, Company A, lost 4 men, to which should be added the name of Sergeant-Major Smith who fought with the company in the battle on July 3rd, in the capacity of lieutenant. The killed of Company A, were: Lieutenant John T. Sinnott. Sergeant Thomas Blake, Patrick Corey and Michael Mclnerny. The wounded were: Corporal T. W. Sibley, John Hanlin, Martin Maloy, Michael Moylan, John Shannahan, William Woodruff, and Joseph Wallace, making a total of 12 casualties. (Benedict: Vermont in the Civil War, Vol. II, pp. 488, 494; also attached list.)

Among the papers of the late Captain Lonergan is the following comment on the discharge of the company, between whom and the writer there was always a strong bond of affection, in fact more than is usual between officer and men: "After the gallant work done and the remarkable achievements of the 13th Vermont, and by my boys in particular, as stated by the colonel above, the 13th Vermont may well retire to their own green hills, having so nobly finished their term of enlistment."

The regiment having been ordered home a few days after the battle of Gettysburg, was discharged from the service of the United States at Brattleboro, Vt., July 21st. 1863. On arrival at Burlington, Vt.. Company A, was royally welcomed. An address on behalf of the citizens was read to Captain Lonergan by Sol Adams. It was a joyful occasion to see loved ones again, and though the ranks had been thinned by death and disease,their reputation had gone before them, to the responsive hearts of generous minded people, "all of whom turned out to receive us", wrote Captain Lonergan. "all work being suspended for the occasion, that I and my men will long hold in grateful remembrance."

Though the late Captain Lonergan was never wounded, he sustained internal injuries that incapacitated him for a time after his return to Vermont. But to the call of duty he was ever attentive. What is known as the St. Albans Raid roused up the people of Vermont to the danger that lay near their doors. The news that an armed force had crossed the line from the Dominion of Canada into the State, and had looted several banks, caused emergency meetings to be held, and as the Dominion was the home of many Confederates, with whom the Canadians were in sympathy, it was determined to take active measures to repel any attack that might come from that quarter. Captain Lonergan was chosen to recruit Burlington's quota of 15 men, and enlisted himself as a sergeant, on May 3rd, 1865, in the Frontier Cavalry, (26th, New York), and was on duty near Saxe's Mills when Lee surrendered, being discharged from service June 27th, 1865, at Burlington.

In civil life Captain Lonergan was twice appointed a deputy collector of U. S. Customs. The last occasion was in 1886 when he was sent to Montreal, Canada. It was while living in that city that deserved recognition was made by the U. S. Government of his services as a soldier. Upon recommendation being sent to Washington by the friends of Captain Lonergan, at the head of which was Senator Proctor, the much coveted medal of honor was granted to him as is referred to in the following letter:

Record and Pension Office,
War Department,
Washington City, Oct. 28th, 1893.

Captain John Lonergan,
late of Co. A, 13th Vt. Vols.,
Montreal, P. Q., Canada.

Captain I am directed by the Secretary of War to inform you that I have this day forwarded to you in registered mail a medal of honor, awarded you for distinguished gallantry in action at Gettysburg, Pa., July 2, 1863, in accordance with the act of Congress approved March 3rd, 1863, providing for the presentation of the medals of honor to such officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates as have most distinguished themselves in action.

Very respectfully,
F. P. AINSWORTH,
Col. U. S. Army.

The full inscription on the reverse side of the bronze medal reads as follows: "The Congress to Captain John Lonergan, Company A, 13th Vermont, Volunteers for distinguished gallantry in action at Gettysburg, Pa., July 2, 1863."

In the official circular published by direction of Secretary of War Taft in 1904, giving the list of names of those to whom the medals of honor had been awarded, with reference to Captain Lonergan, it is declared the award was made for "Gallantry in the re-capture of four guns and the capture of two additional guns from the enemy, also the capture of a number of prisoners." *

Captain Lonergan held his position in the U. S. Customs till failing health obliged him to retire. He died August 6th, 1902, in Montreal, and was buried at Burlington, a place towards which his heart ever turned.

In politics Captain Lonergan was a Democrat, and in religion a Roman Catholic. Any sketch of him would not be complete without a reference to his adherence to fixed principles, an instance of which may be mentioned. After losing his first political appointment, he picked up his tools and worked at his trade for some fifteen years till his party went into power again, when he was re-appointed. Conduct of this kind and his war record won him friends among both parties, wherever he went. His sense of humor, quick wit, and command of ready effective speech, made him as much at home on the public platform, as he was a welcome guest at the camp-fire and banquet table. He is survived by his wife, one son and two daughters.

It may not be out of place here to remark that Captain Lonergan, in 1864, published and edited in Burlington during six months, a weekly paper called "The Irish Watchman."

THOMAS F. LONERGAN.

_____
* Confederate Historians claim that no cannon were lost by General Lee during the battle of Gettysburg. They ought to know, and likely are correct.

Source: Sturtevant, p. 426

Death Notice

Capt. John Lonergan Dead.

He Was a Captain in the 13th Vermont in the Civil War

Rutland, Aug. 6, - Word was received here today of the death in Montreal this morning of Capt. John Lonergan, at the age of 62 years.

Captain Lonergan was a native of Lincoln, and was well known all over the state in military circles. He was captain in the 13th Vermont regiment in the Civil War. The funeral will be held at Burlington Friday.

Source: St. Albans Daily Messenger, August 7, 1902
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.


Obituary

St. Albans Daily Messenger, 7 August 1902

Capt. John Lonergan

Capt. John Lonergan, a notice of whose death in Montreal Wednesday morning, appeared in yesterday's Messenger, passed his boyhood and youth in Winooski, where he assisted his father in his business as a cooper. After the opening of the Civil War, he enlisted a company of volunteers in Burlington which later became Co. "A" of the 13th Vermont regiment of which he was the captain. He served throughout the term of service of the regiment and especially distinguished himself in the battle of Gettysburg, taking part with his company in the recovery of the guns of a Union battery during the last fighting of the second day on the left of Cemetery hill, and capturing eighty-three Confederate prisoners who had taken shelter in the Rogers house in front of the Union lines. The next day the company under his command took a gallant part with the regiment in the reception given by Stannard's brigade to the great Confederate assault and in the flank attack of Pickett's division which had such an important part in securing the victorious result of the battle.

Captain Lonergan was a favorite with his company and received from his men the present of a handsome sword at the opening of the Gettysburg campaign. He was mustered out July 21, 1863.

In 1865 he had a short term of service as sergeant of Co. M of the frontier cavalry, raised to guard the frontier after the St. Albans raid. He also served as deputy collector and inspector of customs under Collectors Stannard, Smally, and Benedict, being stationed much of the time at Point St. Charles, Montreal.

Captain Lonergan was a brave soldier and a loyal citizen. His fund of humor, gifts as a story teller, and warmth of heart made him a general favorite.