United States Sharpshooters
Vermont Riflemen in the War for the Union<
Second Bull Run. Antietam. Fredericksburgh.
About the middle of August, the government having determined upon the evacuation of the Peninsula, the army abandoned its position at Harrison's landing. Water transportation not being at hand in sufficient quantity, a large portion of the army marched southward towards Fortress Monroe, passing, by the way, the fields of Wil-
liamsburgh, Lee's Mills and Yorktown, upon which they had so recently stood victorious over the very enemy upon whom they are now turning their backs. Co. F. was with the division which thus passed down by land. Upon arriving at Hampton the Fifth Corps, to which they sharp shooters were attached, embarked on steamboats and were quickly and comfortably conveyed to Acquia Creek, at which place they took the cars for Falmouth, on the Rappahannock opposite Fredericksburgh.
No sooner did McClellan turn his back on Richmond in the execution of this change of base, than Lee, no longer held to the defense of the rebel capitol, moved with his entire force rapidly northward, hoping to crush Pope's scattered columns in detail before the Army of the Potomac could appear to its support. Indeed, before McClellan's movement commenced, the Confederate General Jackson - he whose foray in the valley in May had do completely neutralized McDowell's powerful corps that its services were practically lost to the Union commander during the entire period of the Peninsular campaign - had again appeared on Pope's right and rear, and it was this apparition that struck such dread to the soul of Halleck, then General-in-Chief at Washington. Now commenced that campaign of maneuvers in which Pope was so signally foiled by his keen and wary antagonist.
The Fifth Corps left Falmouth on the 24th of August, marching to Rappahannock Station, thence along the line of the Orange & Alexandria
R. R. to Warrenton junction where they remained for a few hours, it being the longest rest they had had since leaving Falmouth, sixty miles away. On the 28th of August the sharp shooters arrived, with the rest of the corps, at Bristoe's Station where Porter had been ordered to take position at daylight to assist in the entertainment which Pope had advertised for that day, and which was to consist of "bagging the whole crowd" of rebels.
The wily Jackson, however, was no party to that plan, and while Pope was vainly seeking him about Manassas Junction, he was quietly awaiting the arrival of Lee's main columns near Groveton. The corps remained at Bristoe's, or between that place and Manassas Junction, inactive during the rest of the twenty-eighth and the whole of the twenty-ninth, and the sharp shooters thus failed of any considerable share in the battle of Groveton on that day. During the night preceding the 30th of August, Porter's corps was moved by the Sudley Springs road from their position near Bristoe's to the scene of the previous day's battle to the north and east of Groveton, where its line of battle was formed in a direction nearly northeast and southwest, with the left of the Warrenton turnpike. Morell's division, to which the sharp shooters were attached, formed the front line with the sharp shooters, as usual, far in the advance as skirmishers. With a grand rush the riflemen drove the rebels through the outlying woods, and following close upon the heels of the flying enemy, suddenly passed from the comparative shelter of the woods
into an open field directly in the face of Jackson's corps strongly posted behind the embankment of an unfinished railroad leading from Sudley Springs southwestwardly towards Groveton.
It was a grand fortification ready formed form the enemy's occupation, and stoutly defended by the Stonewall brigade. Straight up to the embankment pushed the gallant sharp shooters, and handsomely were they supported by the splendid troops of Barnes and Butterfield's brigades. The attack was made with the utmost impetuosity and tenaciously sustained; but Jackson's veterans could not be dislodged from their strong position behind their works. The sharp shooters gained the shelter of a partially sunken road parallel to the enemy's line and hardly thirty yards distant; but not even the splendid courage of the men who had held the lines of Gaines Hill and Malvern against this same enemy, could avail to drive them from their shelter.
To add to the peril of the charging column, Longstreet, on Jackson's right, organized an attack on Porter's exposed left flank. The corps thus places, with an enemy in their front whom they could not dislodge and another on their unprotected flank, were forced to abandon their attack. The sharp shooters were the last to leave their advanced positions, and then only when, nearly out of ammunitions, Longstreet's fresh troops fairly crowded them out by sheer numerical superiority. Of Co. F the following men were wounded in this battle: Corporals H. J. Peck and Ai Brown
and Private W. H. Blake. Corporal Peck was honorably discharged on the 26th of October following for disability resulting from his wound. The sharp shooters were not again seriously engaged with the enemy during Pope's campaign. On the night after the battle they retired with the shattered remains of the gallant Fifth Corps, and on the 1st of September went into camp near Fort Corcoran. So far the campaigns of the sharp shooters had, although full of thrilling incident and gallant achievement, been barren of result. Great victories had been won on many fields, but the end seemed as far off as when they left Washington more than five months before.
Disease and losses in battle had sadly thinned their ranks, but the remnant were soldiers tried and tempered in the fire of many battles. They were not of the stuff that wilts and shrivels under an adverse fortune, and putting the past resolutely behind them, they set their faces sternly towards the future, prepared for whatever of good, or of ill, it should have in store for them.
THE ANTIETAM CAMPAIGN.
On the 12th of September, the main portion of the army having preceded them, the First Corps crossed to the north bank of the Potomac, and by forced marches came up with the more advanced columns on the sixteenth and took part in the maneuvers which brought the contending armies again face to face on the banks of the Antietam.
The rebels, flushed with the very substantial
advantages they had gained during the past summer, were confident and full of enthusiasm. Posted in an exceptionally strong position, their flanks resting on the Potomac while their front was covered by the deep and rapid Antietam, they calmly awaited the Union attack, confident that the army which they had so signally discomfited under Pope would again recoil before their fire. But the Union situation was not the same that it had been a month before; McClellan had resumed the command, not only of the old Army of the Potomac - the darling child of his own creation, and which in turn loved and honored him with a devotion difficult for the carping critic of these modern times to understand - but of the remains of the army of Northern Virginia as well.
These incongruous elements he had welded together, reorganized and re-equipped while still on the march, until, when they stood again before Lee's hosts on the banks of Antietam creek on the 17th of September, they were as compact in organization and as confident as at any previous time in their history. Then, too, they were to fight on soil which, if not entirely loyal, was at least not the soil of the so called Confederate States; and the feeling that they were called upon for a great effort in behalf of an endangered North, gave an additional stimulus to their spirits and nerved their arms with greater power. But with the history of this great battle we have little to do. The Fifth Corps was held in reserve during the entire day. It was the first time in the history of the company
that its members had been lookers on while rebel and Unionist fought together; here, however, they could, from their position, overlook most of the actual field of battle as mere spectators of a scene, the like of which they had so often been actors in.
On the day after the battle they received a welcome addition to their terribly reduced ranks by the arrival of some fifty recruits under Lieut. Bronson, who had been detached on recruiting service while the army yet lay along the Chickahominy during the previous month of June. On the 19th of September they pursuit of Lee's retreating army was taken up, the Fifth Corps in the advance, and the sharp shooters leading the column. The rear guard of the enemy was overtaken at Blackford's ford, at which place Lee had recrossed the Potomac.
The rebel skirmishers having been driven across the river, preparations for forcing the pursuit into Virginia were made, and the sharp shooters were ordered to cross and drive the rebel riflemen from their sheltered positions along the Virginia shore. The water was waist deep but, holding their cartridge boxes above their heads, they advanced in skirmish line totally unable to reply to the galling fire that met them as they entered the stream. Stumbling and floundering along, the at last gained the farther shore and quickly succeeded in compelling the rebels to retire.
Advancing southward to a suitable position, Co. F was ordered to establish an advanced picket line in the execution of which order a party under Cor-
poral Cassius Peck discovered the presence of a small body of the enemy with two guns, who had been left behind for some reason by the retreating rebels. This force was soon put to flight and both guns captured and one man taken prisoner. The captured guns were removed to a point near the river bank, from which they were subsequently removed to the Maryland shore. Remaining in this position until after dark the sharp shooters were ordered back to the north bank of the river, to which they retired. Morning found them posted in the bed of the canal which connects Washington with Harper's Ferry, and which runs close along the Maryland shore of the Potomac at this point. The water being out of the canal, its bed afforded capital shelter, and its banks a find position from which to fire upon the rebels, now again in full possession of the opposite shore from which they had been driven by the sharp shooters the previous afternoon, but which had been deliberately abandoned to them again by the recall of the regiment to the northern shore on the preceding night.
It now became necessary to repossess that position, and a Pennsylvania regiment composed of new troops were ordered to make the attempt. Covered by the close and rapid fire of the sharp shooters, the Pennsylvanians succeeded in crossing the river, but every attempt to advance from the bank met with repulse. Wearied and demoralized by repeated failures, the regiment took shelter under the banks of the river where they were measurably protected from the fire of the enemy,
and covered also by the rifles of the sharp shooters posted in the canal. Ordered to recross the river, they could not be induced by their officers to expose themselves in the open stream to the fire of the exulting rebels.
Every effort was made by the sharp shooters to encourage them to recross, but without avail. Calvin Morse, a bugler of Co. F, and thus a non-combatant (except that Co. F had no non-combatants), crossed the stream, covered by the fire of his comrades, to demonstrate to the panic stricken men that it could be done; but they could not be persuaded, and most of them were finally made prisoners. In these operations Co. F was exceptionally fortunate, and had no casualties to report.
The regiment remained at or near Sharpsburgh, Maryland, until the 30th of October following. The members of Co. F, except the recruits, were but poorly supplied with clothing; much had been abandoned and destroyed when they left their camp at Gaines Hill on the 27th of June, and much, also, had been thrown away to lighten the loads of the tired owners during the terrible marches and battles they had passed through since that time, and the little they had left was so worn and tattered as to be fit for little more than to conceal their nakedness. The rations, too, were bad; the hard bread particularly so, being wormy and mouldy, and this at a place and time when it seemed to the soldiers that there could be no good reason why such a state of things should exist at all. But time cures all ills, even in the army, and
on the 30th of October the regiment, completely refitted, rested and in fine spirits, crossed the Potomac at Harper's Ferry and were once more on the sacred soil of Virginia. Moving southwardly towards Warrenton they arrived, on the evening of November 2d, at Snicker's Gap and were at once pushed out to occupy the summit. The night was intensely dark, and the ground difficult; but a proper picket line was finally established and occupied without event through the night. The next morning's sunlight displayed a wonderful sight to the eyes of the delighted sharp shooters. There were on the very summit of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and below them, like an open map, lay spread out the beautiful valley of Virginia.
Scathed and torn as it was, to a close observer, by the conflicts and marches of the past summer, from the distant point of view occupied by the watchers, all was beautiful and serene. No sigh of war, or its desolating touch, was visible; except that here and there could be seen bodies of marching men, and long trains of wagons, which told of the presence of the enemy. Now, however, the head of every column was turned southward, and the rebel army, which had swept so triumphantly northward over that very country only two months before, was retiring, beaten and baffled, before the army of the Union. The scene was beautiful to the eye, while the reflections engendered by it were of the most hopeful nature, and the sharp shooters descended the southern slope of the mountain
with high hopes and glowing anticipations of speedy and decisive action.
From Snicker's Gap the army advanced by easy marches to Warrenton, where, on the 7th of November, Gen. McClellan was relieved from command and Gen. Burnside appointed to that position. The army accepted the change like soldiers, but with a deep sense of regret. The vast mass of the rank and file honored and trusted Gen. McClellan as few generals in history have been trusted by their followers. He was personally popular among the men, but below and behind this feeling was the belief that in many respects Gen. McClellan had not been quite fairly treated by some of those who ought to have been his warm and ardent supporters. They felt that political influences, which had but little hold upon the soldiers in the field, had been at work to the personal disadvantage of their loved commander, and to the disadvantage of the army and the cause of the Union as well.
Whether they were right or wrong, they regretted the change most deeply, and I this general feeling the sharp shooters stood with the great mass of the army.
While they were always ready with a prompt obedience and hearty support of their later commanders, the regiment never cheered a general officer after McClellan left the head of the Army of the Potomac.
After a few days of rest at Warrenton to allow Gen. Burnside to get the reins well in hand, the
army was put in motion towards Fredericksburgh where the arrived on or about the 23d of November. While at Warrenton Gen. Burnside effected a complete reorganization of the army, on a plan which he had been pressing upon the notice of his superiors for some time. The entire army was divided into three Grand Divisions, the right under Sumner, the center under Hooker, and the left under Franklin. The Fifth Corps formed part o the Center Grand Division under en. Hooker, and at about the same time Gen. F. J. Porter, who had been its commander since it organization while the army lay before Yorktown during the preceding April, was relieved from his command and was succeeded by Gen. Dan'l Butterfield.
Gen. Burnside, having been disappointed in finding his ponton (sic) trains, on which he depended for a rapid passage to the south bank of the Rappahannock, ready on his arrival at Falmouth, was constrained to attempt to force a passage in the face of Lee's now concentrated army. The position was one well calculated to dampen the ardor of the troops now so accustomed to warfare as to be able to weigh the chances of success or failure as accurately as their commanders, and to judge quickly of the value to their cause of that for which they were asked to offer up their lives, but they undertook the task as cheerfully and as willingly as though it had been far less uncertain and perilous. The Rappahannock at this point is bordered by opposing ranges of hills; that on the left bank, occupied by the troops of the Union and called
Stafford heights, rising quite abruptly from the river bank; while on the southern shore the line of hills, called Marye's heights, recedes from the river from six hundred to two thousand yards, the intervening ground being generally open and, although somewhat broken, affording very little shelter from the fire of the Confederate batteries posted on Marye's heights. On the plain and near the river stands the village of Fredericksburgh.
During the night of the 10th of December Gen. Burnside placed in position on Stafford heights a powerful array of guns, under cover of whose fire he determined to attempt the passage of the river at that point, while to the Left Grand Division under Franklin was assigned the task of forcing a passage at a point some two miles lower down. On the night of the 11th attempts were made to lay the ponton bridges at a point opposite the town. The enemy, however, well warned, posted a strong force of riflemen in the houses and behind the stone walls bordering the river, whose sharp fire so seriously impeded the efforts of the engineers that they were forced to retire. The guns on Stafford heights were opened on the town, and for nearly two hours one hundred and fifty guns poured their shot and shell upon the devoted town. Each gun was estimated to have fired fifty rounds; but at the close of the bombardment the annoying riflemen were still there. Three regiments were now thrown across the river in ponton boats, and after a severe fight in the streets of the town, and after heavy loss of men, succeeded in dislodging
the enemy, and the bridges were completed. Of course a surprise, upon which Burnside seems to have counted, was now out of the question; but urged on by the voice of the North, whose sole idea at that time seemed to be that their generals should only fight - anywhere, under all circumstances and at all times - he threw Sumner's Grand Division over the river and determined to try the issue of a general battle.
The Center Grand Division, under Hooker, were held o the left bank of the river and were thus unengaged in the earlier portion of that terrible day; but from their position on Stafford heights, the sharp shooters were eye witnesses to the terrible struggle in which their comrades were engaged o the plain below - where Hancock's gallant division, in their desperate charge upon the stone wall at the foot of Marye's height, lost two thousand men out of the five thousand engaged in less than fifteen immortal minutes, and where a total of twelve thousand, three hundred and twenty-nine Union soldiers fell I the different assaults; assaults that every man engaged knew were utterly hopeless and vain; but to the everlasting honor of the Army of the Potomac be it said that, although they well knew the task an impossible one, they responded again and again to the call to advance, until Burnside himself, at last convinced of the hopelessness of the undertaking, suspended further effort.
During the day Griffin and Humphrey's divisions of the Fifth Corps, and Whipple's of the Third, all belonging to the Center Grand Division
were ordered over the river to renew the attack which had been so disastrous to the men of the Second and Ninth Corps. Hooker in person accompanied this relieving column, and after a careful personal inspection of the field, convinced of the uselessness of further effort in that direction, sought t o persuade the commanding general to abandon the attack.
Burnside, however, clung to the hope that repeated attacks must at last result in a disruption of the enemy's line at some point, and the brave men of the old Fifth were in their turn hurled against that position which had been found impossible to carry by those who had preceded them. Griffin and Humphrey's divisions fought their way to a point farther advanced than had been reached in former attempts, some of the men falling within twenty-five yards of the enemy's line, but they were unable to reach it and were compelled to retire. It was clearly impossible to carry the position. Hooker's educated eye had seen this from the first, hence his unavailing suggestion before the useless slaughter. His report contains the following grim lines: "Finding that I had lost as many men as my orders required me to lose, * * * I suspended the attack." With his repulse the battle of Fredericksburgh substantially closed. The sharp shooters were not ordered to cross the river on the thirteenth, and thus had no share in that day's fighting and no casualties to report. On the early morning of the fourteenth, however, the remainder of the Center Grand Division crossed to
the south bank, remaining in the streets of the town until the night of the fifteenth, when the sharp shooters relieved the advanced pickets in front of the heights, where considerable firing occurred during the night, the opposing lines being very near each other. The ground was thickly covered with the bodies of the gallant men who had fallen in the several assaults, lying in every conceivable position on the field, gory and distorted. How many of the readers of this book will make it real to themselves what gore is? A familiar and easily spoken word, but a dreadful thing in reality, that mass of clotted, gelatinous purple oozing from mortal wounds.
Such things are rarely noted in the actual heat of the battle, but to occupy such a field after the fury of the strife is over is enough to unman the stoutest heart, and many a rave man, who can coolly face the actual danger, turns deathly sick as he looks upon the result as shown I the mangled and blood stained forms of those who were so lately his comrades and friends. During the night the army was withdrawn to the north bank, and just before daylight the sharp shooters were called in. So close were the lines that great caution was necessary to keep the movement from the sharp eyes of the peering rebel pickets. To aid in deceiving the enemy the bodies of the dead were propped up so as to represent the presence of the picket line when daylight should appear. The ruse was successful, and the sharp shooters were safely withdrawn to the town. They were the last troops on
this portion of the field, and on arriving at the head of the bridge found that the planking had been so far removed as to render the bridge impassable. They had, therefore, to remain until the engineers could relay sufficient of the planks to enable them to cross. In their retreat through the town they picked up and brought away about one hundred and fifty stragglers and slightly wounded men who had been left behind by other commands. The Army of the Potomac was again o the north bank of the Rappahannock. They had fought bravely in an assault which they had known was hopeless; they had left behind them twelve thousand of their comrades and gained absolutely nothing. The loss which they had inflicted bore no proportion to that which they had suffered; what wonder, then, if for a time officers and men alike almost despaired of the cause of the Union? This feeling of depression and discouragement was, however, of short duration. The men who composed the Army of the Potomac were in the field for a certain well defined purpose, and until that purpose was fully accomplished they intended to remain. No reverse could long chill their ardor or dampen their splendid courage. Defeated to-day, to-morrow would find them as ready to do and dare again as though no reverse had overtaken them.
Thus it was that after a few days of rest the army was ready for whatever task its commander might set for it. The sharp shooter remained quietly in their camp until the 30th of December,
when the accompanied a detachment of cavalry on a reconnoissance northwardly along the line of the Rappahannock to Richard's Ford, some ten miles above Falmouth. The cavalry crossed the river at this point, covered by the fire of the sharp shooters; a few prisoners were taken, and on the 1st of January, 1863, the command returned to their comfortable camp near Falmouth, where they were agreeably surprised to find the Second Regiment of Sharp Shooters, and among them, two other companies from Vermont. The little band of Green Mountain boys composing Co. F had sometimes felt a little lonesome for the want of congenial society, and hailed the advent of their fellow Vermonters gladly
At about this time Col. Berdan became an appendage to the general staff, with the title of Chief of Sharp Shooters. The two regiments were distributed at various points along the line, and the detachment reported directly to Col. Berdan. The right wing, under Lieut. Co. Trepp, was assigned to the Right Grand Division under Gen. Sumner, but Company F remained near army headquarters.
On the 19th of January the Grand Divisions of Franklin and Hooker moved p the river to essay its passage at Banks' ford, some six miles above Falmouth, but in this affair, known as the Mud Campaign, the company had no share, not even leaving their camp. Of the campaign it is enough to say that it had for its object a turning operation similar to that undertaken by Hooker some
months later; but a furious rain storm in converted the country into one vast quagmire, in which horses, wagons, guns and men were alike unable to move. It was entirely abortive, and, after two days of exhausting labor, the disgusted troops floundered and staggered and cursed their way back to their camps, actually having to build corduroy roads on which to return. IN consideration of their dry and comfortable condition in camp, the sharp shooters freely conceded all the glories of this campaign to others, preferring for themselves in inglorious ease to the chance of being smothered in the mud. Some of the difficulties of the march can be understood by recalling the requisition of they young engineer officer who reported to his superior that it was impossible for him to construct a road at a certain point which he had been directed to make passable for artillery. "Impossible," said the commander, "nothing is impossible; make a requisition for whatever is necessary and build the road." Whereupon the officer made the following requisition in the usual form:
REQUISITION FOR MEN.
Fifty men, each twenty-five feet high, to work in the mud eighteen feet deep.
I certify that the above described men are necessary to the building of a road suitable for the passage of men and guns, in compliance with an order this day received from Major-Gen. -------. Signed,
-----, Lieut. Engineers.
On the 25th of January Gen. Burnside was relieved from the command and Gen. Hooker appointed to succeed him. The army accepted the change willingly, for although they recognized the many manly and soldierly qualities possessed by Gen. Burnside, and in a certain way respected an even sympathized with him, they had lost confidence in his ability to command so large an army in the presence of so astute a commander as Lee. His manly avowal of his sole responsibility for the terrible slaughter at Fredericksburgh commended him to their hearts and understandings as an honest and generous man; but they had no wish to repeat the experience for the sake of even a more generous acknowledgement after another Fredericksburgh.
The remainder of the winter of 1862-3 was spent by the men of Co. F in comparative comfort, although severe snow storms were of frequent occurrence, and occasional periods of exceedingly cold weather were experienced, to the great discomfort of the men in their frail canvas tents. Both armies seemed to have had enough of marching and fighting to satisfy them for the time being, and even picket firing ceased by tacit agreement and consent.
Soon after assuming command, Gen. Hooker reorganized the army on a plan more consistent with his own ideas than the one adopted by his predecessor. The system of Grand Divisions was abandoned and corps were reorganized; some corps commanders were relieved and others appointed to
fill the vacancies. The cavalry, which up to this time had had no organization as a corps, was consolidated under Gen. Stoneman, and soon became, under his able leadership, the equals, if not the superiors, of the vaunted horsemen of the South. In these changes the sharp shooters found themselves assigned to the first division of the Third Crops, under Gen. Sickles. The division was commanded by Gen. Whipple, and the brigade by Gen. De Trobriand. The detachments were called in and the regiment was once more a unit. Under Gen. Hooker's system the army rapidly improved in morale and spirit; he instituted a liberal system of furloughs to deserving men, and took vigorous measures against stragglers and men absent without leave, of whom there were at this time an immense number - shown by the official rolls to be above eighty thousand. Desertion, which under Burnside had become alarmingly prevalent, was substantially stopped; and by the 1st of April the tone and discipline of the army was such as to fairly warrant Hooker's proud boast that it was "the grandest army on the planet."
The sharp shooters parted with their comrades of the Fifth Corps with regret. They had been identified with it since its organization, while the army lay before Yorktown, in April of 1862; they had shared with it splendid triumphs and bitter defeats; they had made many warm friends among its officers and men, with whom they were loth (sic) to part. Of the officers of the Third Corps they knew nothing, but they took their place in
its ranks, confident that their stout soldiership would win for them the respect and esteem of their new comrades, even as it had that of the friends they were leaving. Gen. De Trobriand, their new brigade commander, was at first an object of special aversion. Foreign officers were at that time looked upon with some degree of suspicion and dislike, and perhaps the foreign sound of the name, together with the obnoxious prefix, had an undue and improper influence in the minds of the new comers. However it came about, the men were accustomed to speak of their superior officer as Gen. "Toejam," "Frog Eater," and various other disrespectful appellations, much to his chagrin and discomfiture. Later, however, when they became better acquainted, they learned to have a mutual respect and esteem for each other and two years later, when they parted company finally, the general issued to them a farewell address more than usually complimentary, as will be seen further on. Indeed, long before that time and on the field of actual and bloody battle he paused in front of the line of the regiment to say to them: "Men, you may call me Frog Eater now if you like, or by whatever name you like better, if you will only always fight as you do to-day." The sharp shooters passed the winter months in comparative inaction except for the ordinary routine of drills, inspections, etc., incident to winter quarters; they took part in all the grand reviews and parades for which Hooker was somewhat famous, and which, in somewhat fatiguing to the men and smacking
somewhat of pomp and circumstance, had at least the effect of showing to each portion of the great army what a magnificent body they really were, thus adding to the confidence of the whole.
On the twenty-first of February First Lieut. Bronson resigned, and was succeeded by Lieut. E. W. Hindes, while, in deference to the unanimous petition of the company, Sergt. C. D. Merriman was promoted second lieutenant; both commissions to date from February 21, 1863. The roster of the company now stood as follows:
Captain, C. W. Seaton First Lieutenant, E. W. Hindes. Second Lieutenant, C. D. Merriman. First Sergeant, H. E. Kinsman. Second Sergeant, A. H. Cooper. Third Sergeant, Cassius Peck. Fourth Sergeant, Edward F. Stevens. Fifth Sergeant, Lewis J. Allen. First Corporal, Paul M. Thompson. Second Corporal, Ai Brown. Third Corporal, L. D. Grove. Fourth Corporal, Chas. M. Jordan. Fifth Corporal, E. M. Hosmer. Sixth Corporal, Edward Trask. Seventh Corporal, W. H. Leach. Eighth Corporal, M. Cunningham
The winter was not altogether devoted to sober work. Sports of various kinds were indulged in, one of the most popular being snowball fights between regiments and brigades. Upon one occasion after a sharp conflict between the first and second regi-
ments of sharp shooters, the former captured the regimental colors of the latter, and for a short time some little ill feeling between the regiments existed, a feeling which soon wore away, however, with the opening of the spring campaign.
On the 5th of April the first regiment had a grand celebration to mark the anniversary of the advance on Yorktown where the sharp shooters were for the first time under rebel fire. Target shooting, foot races, jumping and wrestling were indulged in for small prizes. Jacob S. Bailey of co. F won the wrestling match against all comers and Edward Bartomey, also of Co. F, won the two hundred yards running race in twenty-eight and one-half seconds. In the shooting test the Vermonters were unfortunate, the prize going to Samuel Ingling of Michigan. Gen. Whipple, the division commander, accompanied by several ladies who were visiting friends in camp, were interested spectators of the games. As the season advanced and the roads became settled and passable, preparations began on all sides for an active campaign against the enemy. "Fighting Joe Hooker" had inspired the army with much of his own confidence and faith in the future, and it was believed by the troops that at last they had a commander worthy in every respect of the magnificent army he was called to command.