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4th Vermont Infantry

Regimental History

Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen M. Pingree

The Fourth Regiment Vermont volunteer Infantry, was raised chiefly in late August and early September, 1861, simultaneously with the Fifth regiment. The Fourth, to the extent of nearly nine of its ten companies, was raised on the east side of the mountains, while the Fifth, in fully as great a proportion, was being recruited on the west side.

Company A of the Fourth was fully raised in, and very near to Bennington county. Windsor county furnished a large number than any other for the Fourth, being company C, most of E, a considerable part of K, and a fraction of B--the larger part of B being from Orange county; D was largely from Orleans county, with a fraction from the northwesterly part of Windham county; F was from Windham county, largely along the Connecticut River in Brattleboro, Rockingham, and between; G and H were chiefly from Washington and Caledonia counties; it was largely from Windham county, though partly from the north-easterly part of the State, while K--except as above stated, and a small fraction from Windham--was from Washington county and the north-westerly part of Orange county.

Its original aggregate, as a regiment, was 1,048, of whom it is believed less than forty deserted, some of whom returned. The most numerous desertions were from companies C and K. The smallest losses, "killed and died of wounds," (battle losses) were in B, E, F, I and K, and of these, ten in B was the least. Four companies--A, C, D and G--each lost over twice that number. Twelve officers and one hundred fifty enlisted men died in battle; one officer and two hundred seventy-nine enlisted men died of disease and as prisoners, sixty of whom died in Confederate prisons.

In the battle of the Wilderness, Va., in May, 1864, seven officers were killed and eleven wounded, one of whom died of his wounds, and out of less than five hundred fifty enlisted men in that battle, forty-one were killed outright. Two hundred twenty-three were wounded, forty-three mortally, and four were missing; so that, in this battle, the actual death loss was eight-four, the largest suffered by any Vermont regiment in one battle, and a loss seldom equaled by any infantry regiment in a single engagement during the war. Its total losses by death were in excess of those of any other infantry regiment from the State. The first Colonel, Edwin H. Stoughton, was but 23 years of age. He was the youngest officer to take a regiment from Vermont, and is believed to have been the youngest from New England. His brother, Charles B., (Second Co.) was made Colonel at 21.

The regiment was mustered in at Brattleboro, September 20, 1861, started for Washington next day, and in five days joined the other Vermont troops then in Virginia, at Camp Advance, and was soon followed by the Fifth and Sixth, which, with the Second and Third who had "gone before," made up the "Old Vermont Brigade," which remained unbroken, save by casualties, and was present at the surrender of Lee. Like other Vermont organizations the Fourth was fortunate both in its officers and its men. It was also extremely fortunate to form part of a brigade, organized and commanded by that gallant and unexcelled soldier, Gen. W. T. H. Brooks; to form a part of a division, led by the brave and soldierly William F. Smith--"Baldy"--and of a corps--Old Sixth--which, under the command of Franklin, and later of the incomparable Sedgwick, became the pride and idol of the volunteer service. "Over all this waved the Greek Cross" never humbled and never dishonored.

To have been esteemed worthy, for nearly four years of war, to share the companionship in arms of our fellow regiments from Vermont, and to have borne in their opinion a deserving part of the great work of the Old Brigade, ought to be, and is, accepted as a sure passport that the Fourth regiment was all it need to have been, or claims to be. Her history is everywhere a part of the history of a brigade famed throughout our Nation, and whose losses in battle, killed and mortally wounded, exceed those of any other brigade in the Union armies, east or west.

Roster of the Fourth Regiment

Mustered into the service of the United States, September 21, 1861. Original members, not veterans, mustered out of service September 30, 1864. First, Second and Third Companies of Sharp Shooters transferred to Fourth Regiment, February 25, 1865, but their names do not appear in this organization, their record having been completed in their original companies. Veterans, recruits, and men transferred from the Sharp Shooters consolidated into eight companies February 25, 1865. Recruits for one year and recruits whose term of service would expire previous to October 1, 1865, mustered out of service June 19, 1865. Remainder of regiment mustered out of service July 13, 1865.

Source: Theodore S. Peck, compiler, Revised Roster of Vermont Volunteers and lists of Vermonters Who Served in the Army and Navy of the United States During the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, Montpelier, Vt.: Press of the Watchman Publishing Co., 1892, pp. 106-108.