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13th Vermont Infantry

Biographical and Historical of Co. I
Thirteenth Regiment Vermont Volunteers
Civil War 1861-1865

Dedicated in sacred remembrance of Benjamin N.
Wright, slain in the battle of Gettysburg, Pa.,
July 3rd, 1863. Interred in National
Cemetery of Gettysburg, Pa.

The volunteers that enrolled into this company were from the towns of Montpelier, Barre, Waterbury, Middlesex and nearby towns. Montpelier being the capital town of the state, and having comparatively quite a large population and many eligible young men suitable in every respect for the strenuous life of a soldier in active warfare, and also living in a locality where the tide of patriotism and military spirit ran high, and all, men and women, rich and poor, old and young, were intensely interested and aroused concerning the fate of the Union; for these reasons Company I was fortunate in the character of those who responded under the call to join this company. This was an advantage that the other companies of the 13th Regiment did not have. This primary situation bore fruit in the organization of the 13th Regiment in that more than a proportionate number were selected from this company to positions of honor and responsibility as officers of the field and staff. We do not for a moment claim that Company I as a whole, was any more zealous, patriotic or loyal than the other companies of this quite important regiment. It was, however, more advantageously surrounded than the other companies and into its ranks a superb class of volunteers admirably equipped and qualified for office, had freely and early joined the ranks of Company I as privates. Because of these circumstances a large number than otherwise would have been the case, were elected and appointed to take charge of the regiment. The subsequent history of the regiment demonstrated the wisdom of those chosen to command and conduct the affairs of the 13th Regiment. I refrain from the mention of names for I would not make invidious distinction between the companies of this quite famous regiment. The high type of men that enlisted into Company I gave promise of devoted and valuable service in the pending conflict. I know there were volunteers in the other companies educated and of high character that would have graced any position and distinguished themselves in battle if the opportunity had been given them. The test of suitable officers to command is the exigency of a hard fought battle and thus it was during the battle of Gettysburg, on many occasions in the crisis at the salient points of desperate contest those who had from the beginning marched in the ranks and charged bayonets in the face of belching cannon and a desperate foe, exhibited again and again their fitness to command, even a regiment. The volunteers of Company I and all of the other companies were composed of no ordinary class of men, they were of the best of Vermont's noble heroes They acquitted themselves with great credit and won unstinted praise in the gory charge against the very flower of General Lee's army, led by that intrepid fighter, General Pickett, down in the valley of Plum Run, where Colonel Randall's Green Mountain Boys crossed bayonets with the desperate and valiant foe. The biographic sketches of Company I that follow, mention the names and individual incidents of those who served in this company.

Company I is entitled to all honor and praise not only for freely volunteering when the Union was struggling for its life, but also for its conspicuous conduct in the great battle of Gettysburg. My dear comrades, sincerely do I regret that language at my command cannot be invoked that would more amply and justly speak of the living and the dead who offered their lives that their country might be saved. Company I was in the van in gathering up the prisoners taken and one of the companies selected by Colonel Randall to conduct them to the rear. Many of Company I in civil life since the war have become prominent in the various vocations, won honor and esteem and gained riches and high standing in letters and politics.

(William W. Holden)

Source: Sturtevant, Ralph Orson. "Pictorial History: Thirteenth Vermont Volunteers, War of 1861-1865." Privately published, 1910.