Perkins, Hiram Edward
Age: 22, credited to St. Albans, VTVITALS
Birth: 1838, Castleton, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Greenwood Cemetery, St. Albans, VT
Check the cemetery for location/directions
and other veterans who may be buried there.
Here is the text of the two letters written from Lieut. Hiram Perkins, 1st Vermont Infantry, to George Stannard in the spring of 1861. I've kept the spelling and sentence structure as it appears in Hiram's handwriting. Incidentally, the first letter tells of the same encounter with Confederate home guard troops that Howard Coffin mentions in Full Duty.
Tim Upton, 2nd-great-grandson of Hiram E. Perkins
Fort Monroe Va.
Thursday May 23d 1861
Not knowing what kind of news you received, if any from the "Ransom Guards" I take this opportunity to inform you May 24th I commenced this letter yesterday and as you will see by the date was called off. I received an order from the Conl. to have all my men armed and ready to march at 3 o'clock. I then had 20 minutes. The whole Regiment had the same orders at 3 o'clock the Regiment was formed and headed by the Conl. and a Pickett Guard we started for the town of Hampton which is a secession town 3 miles from Fort Monroe. After we had got abt. one and one half mile on the way you could see the Secession Pickett Guard which was mounted on Horses leaving for Camp as fast as horses would carry them. we arrived at the Village which was deserted of all the whites but lined with Negroes, and found the secessions had fired the bridge abt. 200 ft Long to prevent our men from crossing Conl Phelps arrived on the Bridge with his Pickett Guard and put out the Fire and the Regiment went over into the Town.
We were met by Conl. Jones and aids Conl Jones is comander of the secession troops in this section Conl Jones wanted to know what our object was. Conl Phelps reply was what did you Fire that Bridge for We are United States sitizens and solgers sent here to defend the Stars & Stripes &c Conl Jones replyed that the solgers under his charge were nothing but a home guard organised to protect their Homes Families and property. Conl Phelps said what ever he saw fit and they gave in Every man was in for a fight and we had made up our minds to have one before we came back. Conl Phelps is a smart fearless officer and the men all like him and respect him. And will follow him where ever he sees fit to lead us. but we had to return without a Brush which made the men our of sorts they wanted the priveledge of fighting
**What has become of Capt George G. Hunt** [underlined]
I received an order from Conl Phelps today to hold an election to fill vacancy of Captain in this Company Said Election was held and C.G. Chandler was elected Captain of the 3d Comp 1st Reg V.V.M. which I think is satisfactory to us all. Troops from Mass and other Parts are arriving every day Genl Butler arrived day before yesterday is a splendid looking man we have received orders that he is commander of us all I canot go back to the time that I last see you George it would take 9000 paiges of paper we have broke up house keeping or camp three times since we first left and we have just received orders that we shall Encamp in the town of Hampton or what is called Hampton Rodes Tommorrow night among the Hot secessionist and we have got to keep our eyes open I under stand that a Reg. from Troy NY which arrived to day were to encamp with us which will make us 1800 strong that will make us good for any 3600 they can bring on aint that so George. The Company and Reg. are in as good health as can be expected only one of my men in the Hospital he is from St. Albans name Mitchel Brother to Deck he has been pretty sick but is getting better The weather & Climate agrees with me first rate I received the Muster Rool of the Comp to day the one we were mustered in on at Rutland which is dated the 9th of May we shall not get off until the 9th of Aug. and if every thing goes right at Home & here I think I shall stay longer and see this thing ended George dont show this to anyone Give my best Respects to Ed, Jo, and all the rest and I would like to here from you wright me a good long letter and tell the rest to do the same
I must close and go to Batallion Drill and Dress Parade you know what that is George I tell you we have to work I was officer of the day yesterday and had to be up last *night* [underlined] but it wont come again for twenty dayes we do not get any news here we have all sorts of reports in camp but cant find out wheather it is true or not tell all to wright my respects &c
H.E. Perkins 1st Lieut
3d Comp 1st Reg VVM
direct Letters to Ft. Monroe
and they will be forwarded Newport News
Sunday June 2d 1861
Your letter of May 29th I received yesterday June 1st Chandler has just written you and I suppose all that is going on here it is a dreadful hot day and if it was not for the Sea breeze I do not think we could stand it. the men are all feeling well I went out this noon & read your letter to them and it pleased them very much they said if it was not Sunday they would give **Three Cheers** [underlined] for you and when I read abt. a little pocket change to buy Tobacco &c with it would of done you good to off seen them Every man sayes Good, Good. The truth of it is they have not got aney money nor aney Tobacco I have let them have money untill my own pile amts to Forty Cts .40c Chandler and Bell have done the same. We have to board ourselves and pay an awful price for everything. I shall be glad when the provision arrives from St. Albans I tell you we will live for a while. There is not aney use to try and thank the People at Home for what they are doing and what they have done for us **Time I hope will** [crossed out] George wont you find out where M. A. Doty's wife is Doty wories a greate deal he has not herd from them since he left St. A. he sayes he did not leave but a little money with her but was told by Ro Hoyt and a number of others to go with the Company and she should have every thing that she wished for. George Kittredge wife wrote him if he had not left money with her she did not know what she would of done I do not mean aneything out of the way George but did not know but doing so much for the Company and other matters that the families of three or four of our men had been overlooked L. A. Greene is another. We are having a nice Thunder shower the first one we have had since we left Rutland Geo it is not aney funey matter to go to war it is hard tiresom work from half past four in the morning untill nine at night I will give you the out lines of our entrench Camp which has been named Camp Butler - Give my respects to Edwd. Taylor Jon Newton write soon & oblidge H.E.P.
[Below the text Hiram drew a map of the fort showing the shoreline and a 3-sided fort facing inward from it. It notes where the cannon are placed - he marked three *12 pounder brass* and one *howitzer* - and where the entrances are. He made notes that the breastwork was 12 feet thick and the outer trench was 6 feet deep. He also makes the following notes:]
This brest work is thrown up 8 ft high of durt out of the trench the brest work is thrown up against posts which ar set as thick as they can stand 10 inch through
They are mounting canon all the time on this bank to command the water The men are geting out a pole and the Stars & Stripes will soon wave on Camp Butler VA. Paper is a secred article I borrowed this of Adjt. Stevens
Death of Hiram E. Perkins
Hiram E. Perkins, one of the best known Grand Army men in the state in these latter years and a long time resident of St. Albans, died at his home on Upper Welden St. last evening at 11 o’clock of heart disease after an illness lasting several months. The funeral will be held at the house tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 o’clock. “Captain Perkins” as he was popularly known (although he had won and held the rank of major) was born in Castleton October 13, 1838 and learned the machinist trade. He came to St. Albans when a young man and entered the employ of the foundry here, where he rose to a general management of the plant. When the Civil War broke out, Perkins and George D. Stannard, afterward the famous Vermont general and one of the heroes of Gettysburg, were fellow employees at the foundry, and, as the young men were anxious to go into the army and it did not then appear prudent for business reasons that both could go, the opportunity fell to Perkins, who at that time was already a corporal in the local militia organization known as the Ransom Guards. This company was mustered into the United States service as Company C, 1st Vt. Vol. Inf., and Perkins was made its first lieutenant. He was made captain of Company E, 8th Vt. Vol. Inf., January 2, 1862 and April 9, 1863 promoted major First Louisiana Native Guards, which was a regiment composed of free colored men(73rd U.S.C. Inf). He commanded this regiment during the famous Red River campaign and part of the time commanded a brigade. He resigned July 30, 1864, having served three years and three months in the United States volunteer army. He was present in action at the capture of Fort Jackson and St. Phillip, capture of New Orleans, Port Hudson second, the Red River campaign, besides several other battles and skirmishes. In after years here in St. Albans, Captain Perkins took a prominent part in G.A.R. matter, was commander of the local post, and was assistant adjutant-general of the department of Vermont during the administration of Department Commander Seymour H. Wood, who said of him to a Messenger man upon hearing the news of his death that he was one of the best men in that position the department ever had. Captain Perkins was also interested for a number of years in the Vermont National Guard and was for some time captain of Company B, 1st Inf., then known as the Barlow Grays. Captain Perkins returned to St. Albans after the war but soon went to Malone, N.Y., where for several years he conducted a foundry and machine shop, returning to this place about 1880. He entered the clerical service of the Central Vermont road here and remained with the company for perhaps twenty years. He then set up an office as pension attorney, notary public, and passed the last ten years of his life in that line of occupation. He was trustee of the old village of St. Albans at one time and served as constable and collector of the city also. He married Carrie, daughter of the late Curtis Pierce of this place, and is survived by his wife and four children. H.R. Perkins, Sheridan E. Perkins, Mrs. Charles A. Oliver, and Mrs. Waldo J. Upton, all of this city.
Hurlbut Post to Attend Funeral
H.C. Allen, commander of A.R. Hurlbut Post, No. 60, G.A.R., asks The Messenger to announce that all members of the post are ordered to meet in post rooms at 3 o’clock Thursday afternoon to attend the funeral of Comrade H.E. Perkins.
St. Albans Daily Messenger, July 22, 1908
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau.
The funeral of Maj. Hiram E. Perkins, who died Tuesday evening, July 21, at 11 o'clock at his home on Upper Welden st., of heart disease, was held at the house Thursday afternoon at 3:30 o'clock, the Rev. George F. Fortier, pastor of the Universalist church, officiating. The bearers were S.C. Greene, C.D. Watson, Fuller C. Smith, N.N. Post, S.S. Watson, and Robert Johnston. The honorary bearers were Col. George T. Childs, Maj. S.H. Wood, A.D. Collins, H.C. Pomeroy and M.M. Rice, of this city, and Gen. T.S. Peck, of Burlington. The burial took place in the South Main St. cemetery. Those people from out of town who attended the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. C.E./ Peck, of Malone, N.Y., and ex-Gov. U.A. Woodbury, of Burlington. A.R. Hurlbut Post, No. 60, G.A.R., attended the funeral in a body.
St. Albans Daily Messenger, July 30, 1908
Courtesy of Tom Boudreau