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Primary Sources for the 106th New York Infantry
Letter of Abiel T. LaForge to his sister, ca. July 11, 1864
Hd. Qrs. “I” Co. 106th N.Y.V. 1st Brig. 3rd Div. 6th AC.
In the field Monday July 4th 64
My dear sister,
Do not think by the date of my letter that I shall send it to day, for I shall not have a chance for a week perhaps, when I do I will add more & forward it. My object in writing to night is the romance of the fourth, and also to answer the questions propounded in your last, least I might forget them, as I have to burn your letter as fast as received for want of transportation for them. 1st I am in com'd of the co because the capt. was captured on May 6. at the battle of the Wilderness, the 1st Lt. went home on a furlough last March and forgot to return, the 2nd Lt. was killed at the Battle of Cold Harbor June 1st so I am not only in com'd but also the only officer in the co. My Co propperly is “F” being however that there was already two officers preasent with that co- I was Placed in command of co “I”- my pay is now $108 rather higher than before you see. out of this I must buy my provisions clothing and arms- one dollar a day pays for grub in the field, in camp it would be more as we could get more to buy. So I have a little more $2,50 per day for other purposes.
Saturday July 9th- According to promise I finish my letter to you, but in a far different place from what I had anticipated. We are now about 4 miles from Frederick Md and I am sitting on the bank of the Monocacy River. And delighted is every man in the command to be able to breathe the pure mountain air of these regions again, The Loyal Citizens of F- were glad to see us come marching into town, they thought that the very name of the Veterans of the Army of Potomac was sufficient to protect them. what must have been their feelings last night when to save ourselves from capture we had to abandon the city, which was soon occupied by the enemy, I grieve at their disappointment. I will not finish this letter until night as we are likely to have a brush with rebs just now and I shall want you to know the result.
Monday July 11th 64- Ellicotts Mills, 10 miles from Baltimore. Dear friends by the blessing of God I am spared to finish this letter. Immediately after closing this Saturday I was detailed to go on duty as officer of the picket, this was 9 A.M. the enemy attacked at that hour & from that time until nearly sundown we were ingaged in in a battle as obstinately fought as any of the war; we however were pitted against such fearful odds that the defeat which I sorrowfully chronicle can be considered no disgrace to our brave Division By reading my mem's- which I enclose- you will get a faint idea of the fearful nature of the struggle; Amid such dreadful carnage it seems almost impossible that any person could escape unharmed as I did, & for which I feel truly thankful- The fertile fields of the Monocacy must have been satiated with human gore, and her waters was discoloured with the life blood of many heroes who will know no other grave than that afforded by her cool wave which is to-day gently caressing their marble brows.
Prisoners report the Rebs 30,000 which would make them over five to our one, still we held them back for eight long hours in spite of all they could do, this I consider a tribute to the bravery of the Div which may well make them feel proud. I cannot describe my heart-sickness when after such a resistence we had to give way, and the last rays of the setting sun Saw our routed & retreating army flying acrost the Maryland Hills. I must abruptly close on account of duty. Much love to all
Abiel T. LaForge Letters
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center
Diary Entry of Abiel T. LaForge
…Monday 18th Halt of the 6th Army Corps in Snickers Gap Shenandoah Mts of this halt I take advantage and shall write up my neglected memoranadum. also if I have time write to sister. I wrote a letter to Miss Porter at Baltimore and have it in my pocket yet, not having had a chance to mail it. On Sunday- 10th Our brave but defeated little army under Genl Wallace reached Ellicotts Mills - 10 miles west of Balto- were marched into a beautiful grove near the town & camped, My servant who had been behind & was I feared captured came up with my provisions & blankets the arrival of the three gave me much comfort both mentally & physically. Remained all night luxuriously sleeping among the thick leaves & obtaining in large doses the much needed rest, after two days of excessive fatigue.
On Monday 11th Geo. Powell- Lt of “K”- and I went down to the village without our shoulder straps- we never wear them on a campaign- and had a deal of attempting to make the liquor venders believe we _were officers. they were prohibited from selling to privates, and insisted on classing us among that order, probably having never seen officers just from the battlefield before- we were looking rather rough. We went into a place for a glass of ale- t'was “no go” “we were not officers, could not sell them” &c. were our only replies, while we were parleying an officer in full uniform came in with whom I had been an picket at Monocacy. I laughingly told him my difficulty, He soon set matters right by explaining to “mine host” that it was not the style of the officers of the Army of the Potomac to put on many airs or extras, & most of them dressed the Same as privates; After this I got what I wanted. I also got some lime water to dress my face which had been badly burned by a fellow spattering red-hot greese upon it- accidentally of course- the day before. Three hours before sundown broak camp and started for Baltimore- the Q. M. stores in town could not be saved, there was danger of their falling into the hands of the enemy so they were destributed gratuitously to the men. Proceeded to Balto- by rail arrived after dark and bivouacked near the upper Balto- & O- R.R. depot, remained there all night…
Abiel T. LaForge Diary
U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center
Ogdensburg Daily Journal, July 14, 1864
Capt. Robertson - All Right!
We have the extreme gratification to announce the receipt of a letter from Captain ROBERTSON, dated Sunday, July 10, furnishing a list of the losses in the 106th in the battle of Monocacy. He is in command of the regiment.
From the 106th.
CAMP OF THE 106TH REGT., N. Y. S. V.,
Near Ellicott's Mills, Md., Sunday Evning July 10th.
EDITOR REPUBLICAN & JOURNAL:
The following is a list of the casualties of this Regiment in the battle of Monocacy Junction, July 9th:
A. Henry D, Marsh, killed, Wounded. Sergt. N. V. Collins, hand, do D. Young, hip, Corp C. Pike, neck, Privt. F. Dorothy, hand, do E. Tambling, hand, do A. Miller, breast, B. — Capt. A. J. Hooker, killed, Privt. Win. A. Booth, killed, Wounded. Corp. —— Taylor, hand, do Wm. Hydren, prisoner, Privt. M. Dillenbook, prisoner, S. Wooley. leg A. Lagos, ankle Wm. Jameson, wounded and prisonor. C — Michael Bressett, killed. Wounded. Serg. L. W. Wilson, had and head F. Dana, arm. J. Williams, leg. D — Wounded. Lt. T. Shaw, ankle. Serg. C. W. Goodrich, hip, Serg. A. E. Haskell, head Corp, Wn, Heskell, wounded and prisoner. A. Nugin, “ ” S. W. Phelps, hand. James Turner, killed. E — Killed, Lt, John Kingston; Corp. Nate Wheeler. Wounded, Lyman Herriman, face, H. E. Collins, hand. Moses Lamire, head
COMPANY F. Capt. N. J. Chamberlain, wounded and prisoner, Sergt. N. J. Stearns, wounded and prisoner. Corp, A. Patterson, wounded end prisoner. Private I. Rivers, wounded end prisoner. “ R. Bennett, head. ” S. Banyle, leg. “ A, Bell, shoulder, ” B. Dishaw, leg. “ P, Lanene, hend, ” G. Sucese, both legs, “ P. Snackal, arm.
Capt, E. M. Paine, hip. A. Powers, killed. Phineas P. Carson, killed. Simeon Coal, killed. H. W. Livermare, killed. Warner Newton, killed. Wounded. Sergt. A. Landon, neck, Corp. John Carroll, leg. Private L. Hutchinson, leg. ” J. White, leg. “ C. C. Winnie, leg ” A. Mayett, side. “ L. W. Seeler, thigh, ” C. Hall, neck and arm, “ D, Miller, side, ” Wm. B. Gillispie, head,
COMPANY H. Sergt. W. H. Conger, killed, Private Joseph Eldrin, killed, Wounded. Sergt. L. B. Austin, leg. Corp. E. A. Keyes leg. “ J. Irish, leg. ” J. S. Caty, head. Private D. Richards, leg. “ J. C. Libbs, back. ” Theran Dawnes, leg. “ Patrick Johnson, face, Wounded Serg. A Wilder, neck. Corp. H. M. Trickey, hand. N. Peck, breast. E. Schoolcraft, arm. P. Coleman, breast.
COMPANY K, Joseph Kinney, killed, Wounded. Corp. W. J. Barber, leg, do W. B, Whit, hip, do A. C. Johnson, arm, Privt. H. B. Gates, shoulder. do J. Lawns, face. do Wm. Gatham, thigh. do H. W. Stowe, breast. do G. L. Seaver, arm.
There are about 150 missing. Some of them may yet come in, I will send you a list of the names to-morrow. Yours, &c.,
P. ROBERTSON, Capt. Comd'g Regt.
The Daily Journal, July 19, 1864
From the 106th.
CAMP OF THE 106TH REG'T N. Y. V.
Near Ellicott's Mills, Md,, July 11, 1864.
EDITOR REPUBLICAN & JOURNAL;—
I sent you yesterday a list of the killed and wounded of this regiment. A few particulars about our movements since we left the army of the Potomac, may not be uninteresting to our friends at home.
At 3 o'clock on the morning of the 6th we received orders to be ready to march to City Point, and at sunrise the 8d division was wending its way through a continual cloud of dust to the above named place, At 5 P. M. the 10th Vermont and 106th New York were safely on board the fire steamer Daniel Webster, and soon got under way enroute for Baltimore. We soon passed old Fort Powhattan, whose grim monsters bid defiance to all traitor intruders, It is on the south side of the James river, towering a hundred feet above the river. Near the fort lay the ram Atlanta, formerly rebel, but now doing good service for Uncle Samuel.
We passed Fortress Monroe at midnight, and believe me, any craft passing has to give a good account of its loyalty, as Gen, Ben. Butler is in command. We reached Baltimore at 5 p.m. of the 7th, and cast anchor under the guns of Fort McHenry, where we remained until midnight, when we took the cars for Frederick City.
What a contrast this country presented to the one we had left but 24 hours before. The clatter of the reaping machine was to be heard, and the large fields of yellow grain, stretched out as far es the eye could reach. The blessings of peace seemed to smile on the inhabitants. Little did they think that so soon were their fields to be bathed in human blood. We reached Frederick at noon of the 8th. Many tokens of kindness were shown us by the inhabitants and cheer after cheer was given for Rickett's division of the 8th corps. Here Gen. Ricketts reported to Gen. Wallace.
We formed in line of battle a little outside of the city, where we expected to get a few hours rest, but in this we were disappointed by 8 cavalry force driving in our pickets and trying to get into the town. They soon found it be more of a job than they bargained for.
Gen. Wallace received information that a large infantry force were trying to get between him and the Monocacy.
At sundown our force was withdrawn from Frederick and marched around on the Baltimore Pike to Monocacy Junction, where we rested for the night. The rebel cavalry appeared in our front at daylight on the 9th. Our cavalry skirmishers were driven in. Capt. Parker with a detachment of 100 men of the 106th were thrown out as skirmishers from the first brigade. The enemy opened with two batteries of 12-pounders, throwing shrapnel with accuracy. Our entire force was about 7,000, that of the enemy not less than 26,000 with 18 pieces of artillery against seven pieces, six of which were light three inch guns, Capt. Alexander's battery, They claimed to have done a good thing, but we failed to see it, as we had of late been used to batteries that would remain in position as long as they were supported.
Our lines of battle run nearly north and south, the right extending to the Baltimore Pike, held by the 8th Illinois cavalry. Next were some one hundred days' men. The centre and left were held by the 3d division of the 6th corps. At nine o'clock A. M., the battle commenced. The cannonading on the part of the enemy very severe. It was goon discovered they were trying to turn our left. They had almost succeeded when the 14th N.J. and 106th and 151st N. Y. were moved to the left to meet them. Here we suffered from a severe enfilading fire from a rebel battery, but the boys moved steadily forward till within fifty yards of the rebel line, when the order to charge was given, and such a charge as no grey backs co'd Withstand. The 106th captured one Colonel, one Captain, two Lieutenants, one Orderly Sergeant and seven privates. Here Captain Payne fell and was carried off the field.
The country here is very level and open, and presents but few advantages to resist the attacks of superior force. Again the enemy advanced a heavy skirmish line, closely followed by two lines of battle. The steadiness with which they advanced showed them to be old soldiers. On they came and patiently did our boys wait until the enemy came within easy range, when we poured a most withering fire into their flanks, which made them waver and break, Seven different times were they rallied and hurled against almost certain destruction, as our boys stood like a wall of fire. A regiment had been withdrawn from our line, and left a gap which the rebels took advantage of and sent a force in our rear, which came near, capturing what was left of the 14th N. J. and the 106th and 151st, N. Y. They were the last regiments to leave the field. Most of our wounded were got off. Lieut. Snyder had his sword broken by a piece of a shell. Our regiment went into the fight with ten officers and three hundred and twenty men. We now number six officers and one hundred and ten men. Enclosed I send you a list of the missing. Also a button from the coat of the rebel Colonel which
Yours, In haste,
Co. A—Corp. W. R. Folson, Corp. R. Williams, L. Colton, T. Miles, A. A. Westcott, G. Hatch, R. Irish, L. Gratton, G. Shippee, F. Tanner, H. C. Beardsley, J. Whiteford, Wm. Sumner, B, J. Henderson.
Co. B—W. Akin, A. L. Bellinger, W. N. Crofts, C. Gregory, B. Gregory, G. N. Grey, T. Kells, J. J. Swain, F. M, Taylor, H. N. Yerden, J. I. Lampson.
Co. C—J. Staples, E. Reynolds, O. Sheldon, C. Temple, T. Bromling.
Co. D—Corp. E. Johnson, Corp. L. B. White, J. Hackett, E. Goodrich, J. Martin, Levi J. Robinson, O. F. Salton,
Co, E—Sergt. H. Johnson, H. Bates, Wm. Burk, O. Kent.
Co. F—Corp. W. H. Cramer, Corp, A. McCloud, Corp. J. A. Myers, Jas. Bangle, J. Burk, J. Cowley, J. Dishaw, Wm. Dilcox, C. Grant, J. Gower, J. Jesmer, Wm. Line, L. Scripture, E. Tanney, Jas. Boyle.
Co. G—Corp. I. C. Sheldon, M. C. Cole, J. Goodall, A. O. White.
Co. H—Sergt. R. H. Wescott, Sergt. Prichard, H. H. Whitney, P. Hebler, E. Harie, L. Chandler, E. Carpenter, D. Cushing.
Co. I—1st Sergt. C. Hungerford, Sergt. A. Campbell, Sergt. P. G. Hawley, Jas. Raine.
Co. K—Sergt. H. Day, Corp. W. M. Wright, A. M. Cole, S. C. Jordan, H. A. Wooliver, J. McFerron, S. C. F. Norman, A. S, Pelsure, N. Copeland, M. De Semple.
The above are probably all prisoners—Some of them may be killed or wounded, as the enemy kept up a severe artillery fire while we were retreating. PR
The Daily Journal, July 27, 1864
From the 106th.
CAMP OF THE 106TH REG'T N. Y. V.
Near Snicker's Gap, July 10, 1864.
EDITOR REPUBLICAN & JOURNAL;—
I last wrote you from Ellicott's Mills, Md., in which place we fell back from the battle field of Monocacy. I have seen comments in the papers in regard to the battle at that place, Disastrous as it may have seemed at first, it is nevertheless true that it saved Washington from falling into the hands of enemy. The stern resistance made by Rickett's Division, from sunrise to sunset, caused the enemy to develope his full strength in order to force the passage, and a detention of twenty-four hours gave the 6th corps time to get to Washington, which was the salvation of the latter place. Some think that the commanding General should not have fought at Monocacy, but have fallen back to Par's Ridge, and there offered battle. Had this been done the enemy could have marched around our left flank unmolested. When the smoke of battle had cleared away we can again see the directing hand of a kind Providence, that has so often manifested itself in the darkest hour of our nation's peril.
The losses in our division are less than one thousand. By information I glean from prisoners since taken, that of the enemy will approximate twelve hundred. A dear bought victory for the rebels.
From Ellicott's Mills, we went to Baltimore, where we remained until the morning of the 14th, when we took the cars for Washington. Here we met many friends from Ogdensburgh, who gave us a hearty welcome. On the morning of the 15th we took up the line of march to join our corps, which was then at Poolesville, Md. On passing the Treasury Department General Spinner, with his corps, gave us three hearty cheers. Each regiment on passing the White House gave it three hearty cheers for the President.
In Georgetown I met a veteran of eighty three summers, by the name of Ordill, a soldier of the war of 1812.
He told me that he helped to clear the ground where the capitol now stands. He saw George Washington lay the corner stone, has talked with every President of the United States. He said he was ready to shoulder his musket to defend the capital if necessary, but thought that the rebels could never take Washington.
On the evening of the 16th, we forded the Potomac two miles below Edward's Ferry, and on the 17th, joined our corps at Leesburgh, Va. General Wright is in command of the forces here, General Ricketts commands the corps, General W. Seaton four division. Two brigades of Hunter's men had a fight at the Shenandoah river. Our corps arrived just in time to prevent the enemy from recrossing, We are now on the east bank of the Shenandoah river, near Snicker's Gap. The weather is much pleasanter here than it was in front of Petersburgh. The health of the regiment is good.
Again, we have to mourn the lose of many true hearted patriots. Among the number is Captain Alfred J. Hooker, whom we had all learned to love as a brother. He enlisted as a private in Company B. Step by step his soldierly qualities and gentlemanly deportment gained for him the position of captain, which he filled with ability and honor. His last words were “Men, they are breaking, fire faster,” when the fatal bullet pierced his brain, and he died without a struggle. The calm and placid smile of satisfaction that rested on his countenance as he lay stretched in death, told of the pleasure he had in seeing the rebel line break and give way. His body, with that of Lieut. Kingston, was carried back for some distance, but had to be left, as we retreated. Our dead were buried on Monday by the First New York cavalry, but as the enemy had stripped the bodies of everything, our heroes sleep in unknown graves. Let them rest and take their long sleep, Their deeds will live in the hearts of a grateful people, when monuments of marble shall crumble and decay.
I saw by the papers of the 12th, that Lieut. Powell and myself were reported killed, but my letter to you after the battle, will have corrected that report. Lieut, Powell received a concussion from a piece of a shell, but is all right again, Yours, &., P. R.