1st Vermont Cavalry
Departure For the Seat of War
Burlington Free Press
December 20, 1861
Departure of the Cavalry Regiment.
The First Vermont Volunteer Cavalry, Col. L. B. Platt, left for the seat of war, on Saturday. The tents were struck at 4 o'clock this morning, and at seven the first squadron, Companies A and B, marched to the Rutland Depot. The departure was by squadrons, each company filling fourteen cars-and two companies forming a train. Eight horses were placed in each freight car, four at each end of the car, facing each other, and kept in their places by bars passing across the cars, leaving a space in the centre for the men, saddles, accoutrements and forage. Four men went in each car with the horses, the remainder of each company occupying passenger cars at the rear of each train-the intention being to have them relieve their comrades at intervals, in the care of the animals. The tents, and camp equipage were loaded in the trains with their respective companies, each train being thus complete in itself, and every provision made for the careful transport and comfort of both men and horses. The embarkation proceeded regularly and in perfect order at the rate of a train an hour, the last train leaving at half past twelve o'clock. This last train carried also Col. Platt and his staff. The departure was witnessed by a large concourse of friends and spectators, who liberally cheered the departing trains. The whole process-a much more complicated and difficult one than might be supposed by one who never witnessed the removal of such a body-was completed with a regularity and dispatch which bespoke systematic and capable management, and without stoppage or accident and any description, with the single exception that one private was kicked while urging his horse into the car, but not so injured but that he took the train. A large share of the credit of this success, is due to the careful management of Mr. R.S. Chase, the capable Depot Master of the Rutland Road in this place, who had the entire superintendence of the railroad arrangements. The Regiment filled one hundred and forty-three cars, in five trains.
The Regiment will reach New York, in the course of to-morrow, and will have a formal reception by the Vermonters in New York on Monday.
Burlington Free Press
December 20, 1861
[Correspondence of the Free Press.]
Letter from New York.
New York, Dec. 16, 1861
To the Editors of the Free Press:
I have just come in from seeing the VT Cavalry pass through the city on their way to the seat of war. They reached the city yesterday morning, some hours before they were expected, marched to the quarters provided for them at the Empire Works building on 24th St., and this morning soon after ten, took up their march for the Battery, where they were to cross to New Jersey. A platoon of policemen cleared the streets before the regiment: a number of gentlemen Vermonters residing in the city, acted as escort, each with the green sprig in his hat, after whom came the regiment, four abreast, Col. Platt and staff leading, while the wailing blasts of the bugles rang out ever and anon, as at a foot pace the long line filed past, filling Broadway for a long distance. A large crowd filled the sidewalks, shop windows, awnings, and every available standing or sitting place, come out to see the Vt. Cavalry, of whom great things were expected. And I think none were disappointed. I heard but one sentiment expressed,- of admiration. The horses, after their long railroad ride, did not look so sleek and shiny as they did on parade in camp, and many of the men looked jaded. Indeed fifteen or twenty were so overcome by the fatigue of the journey and colds and illness brought on thereby, as to be unable to ride their horses. But as a whole, the regiment looked well, a fine body of men and horses, only needing drill to make them exceedingly effective.
The regiment reached the Battery about noon, and halted in line awaiting the transports, which, by some misarrangement, were not quite ready. It was therefore two hours before all were embarked; but it was finally accomplished, and so far as I know, without accident. Col. Platt superintended the embarkation in person, and his energy and ability saved much waste of time. From Pier No. 2, where the regiment went on board, to cross to Jersey City, it is thence to ride 12 miles, as I was told, before taking train again at Elizabethport. They go to Washington via Harrisburg.
I hear of but two accidents on the route thus far. One man suddenly waked up, jumped out of the car door where he was sitting. He was badly bruised, and it is a wonder that he was not killed outright, for the train was running fifteen miles an hour, and the place-near Poughkeepsie-is very rocky. He picked himself up, hailed a passenger train that came along, and joined the regiment at the next station. While quartered in the city yesterday, another private was hurt by his horse falling with him, but took his place in the ranks today. "Oh," said the Assistant Surgeon to me, "they are a gritty set."
There is much wonder, and some indignation felt, that the army of the Potomac does not move, that McClellan does not fight. The delay does seem great, but is not unreasonable, and not intentional. He will fight just as soon as he can with safety. He told Grow the other day, in reply to a question, that the army would not go into winter quarters. As soon as Burnside's expedition,-now delayed three weeks beyond its appointed time,-reaches its destination, the army will be on the move. Manassas will not be attacked probably; the rebels are too strong there, and the place is of little strategic importance, but it will be surrounded, Richmond menaced, and the rebel army, weakened by the withdrawal of troops to meet threatened attacks at several points from Fortress Monroe, will be broken and scattered beyond recovery. Gen. McClellan knows the responsibilities of his position, and though by no means insensible to public opinion and its demands, will not risk the fate of the Nation for present popularity.
Contributed by Denis & Karen Jaquish.