Ranking Sergeants of Company G

austinThe Civil War was two months old on June 14, 1861, when these New Yorkers left their camp in Bethlehem, N.Y., and posed for their portrait brandishing weapons and an air of confidence. 3rd Sgt. Luther Lee Partridge, 4th Sgt. Andrew Christie Bayne, 1st Sgt. John Henry Austin, and 2nd Sgt. Edwin O. Betts all served in Company G of the Sixteenth New York Infantry, and they had mustered into the Union army a month earlier at Albany. All four men resided in De Peyster, a hamlet located in the far north of the Empire State. Although each man held the rank of sergeant, none had yet received the chevrons that denote their rank.

Four days after they had this picture taken, the ranking sergeants of Company G and the rest of their regiment left for Washington, D.C.

The Sixteenth spent the rest of its two-year term of enlistment in the South. It fought briefly at the First Battle of Bull Run, and suffered heavy losses during the Peninsular Campaign and at Crampton’s Gap during the Antietam Campaign. The regiment was held in reserve during the Battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg, and returned to action to fight in the Chancellorsville Campaign.

The regiment mustered out of the army on May 22, 1863, and the losses were tallied: 112 were killed or mortally wounded, and 84 died from disease and other causes.

All four of these men survived.

Luther Lee Partridge (1838-1881) was wounded on May 3, 1863, in the fighting at Salem Church, Va., during the Chancellorsville Campaign.

Scottish-born Andrew Christie Bayne (1841-1893) enlisted the Veteran Reserve Corps after he left the Sixteenth and advanced to the rank of captain by the end of the war. He then joined the regular army and remained in uniform until 1871.

John Henry Austin (1835-1913) became second lieutenant of Company G a few months after sitting for this portrait, and mustered out with most of his comrades on May 22, 1863.

Edwin O. Betts was reduced to the ranks on September 29, 1862, and remained in Company G until the end of its enlistment.

This image is new to my collection, and available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr.

New to My Flickr Photostream: Captured During the Bristoe Campaign

This carte de visite of Lester Douglass Phelps was taken in 1865 after he returned from 18 months as a prisoner of war. Phelps (1838-1910) began his war service in the summer of 1861 as a lieutenant in the Eighth Pennsylvania Cavalry. The regiment participated in a number of engagements with the Army of the Potomac, including the May 1863 Battle of Chancellorsville, where it received high marks for its performance by Gen. Alfred Pleasonton, who commanded the cavalry corps of the army: “The distinguished gallantry of the 8th Pa. regiment, in charging the head of the enemy’s column, advancing on the 11th corps, on the evening of the 2nd inst., has excited the highest admiration. * * * The gallant [Lt. Col. Duncan] McVikar, the generous chivalric [Maj. Peter] Keenan, with 15O killed and wounded from your small numbers, attest the terrible earnestness that animated the midnight conflict of the second of May.”

Phelps survived the fight, but was captured in action on Oct. 12, 1863, during the Bristoe Campaign near Sulphur Springs, Va. He spent the rest of the war in prisoner if war camps throughout the South. He gained his released in March 1865 and returned to his regiment in May 1865 at Appomattox Court House. He sent the last weeks of his military service as Provost Marshall of Appomattox County.

He became a probate judge in Connecticut after the war.

This portrait is now available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr:
Captured During the Bristoe Campaign

New to My Collection: Chancellorsville Survivor

John W. Ogden left his job as a clerk in the summer of 1862 and enlisted in the Thirteenth New Jersey Infantry. He and his comrades had their baptism under fire at Antietam in September 1862. Eight months later the regiment was decimated at the Battle of Chancellorsville. According to one biographical sketch of the Thirteenth, “At Chancellorsville it behaved admirably throughout, again showing that it was made of royal stuff. The loss of the regiment in killed and wounded during the three days’ fighting was some 130, being nearly one-half the number taken into battle.”

Ogden was wounded slightly in the left cheek and was hospitalized. While he recuperated, the rest of the regiment participated in the Battle of Gettysburg. Ogden never returned to the Thirteenth. Considered unfit for combat duty, he joined the Veteran Reserve Corps, an organization created by the U.S. War Department for men unable to withstand the rigors of life in camp and on campaign, but able to serve light duty off the front lines.

This portrait is now available on PinterestTumblr, and Flickr:
Chancellorsville Survivor

New on NYT Disunion: Samuel Noyes, Mountaineer

Samuel Bean NoyesMy profile of Samuel Bean Noyes is now available. A New Hampshire native who dropped out of school to enlist in the Twelfth New Hampshire Infantry, Noyes’s officers did not think he had much potential as a soldier at first, and assigned him to be the regiment’s mail carrier. After the Twelfth was decimated at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Noyes was moved into a combat role and participated in his first big fight at Gettysburg.

This is my 45th contribution to Disunion, and the first in which I included a paragraph to explain the origins of the carte de visite:

“Noyes went home to New Hampshire for a brief visit about this time and sat for his portrait in a Concord photograph studio. His image was captured in the popular carte de visite format, a French style that became a world phenomenon after it was introduced in 1854. Indeed, “Cardomania” was all the rage in America during the war years. One of the advantages of the format was that multiple paper prints could be inexpensively produced from a glass negative. Photographers typically offered a dozen cartes de visite for a few dollars. Noyes likely purchased at least a dozen and distributed them to family and friends.”

Read the full story of Noyes and his war experience.